It’s the kind of thing you expect soldiers to return from war with. In the olden days, I think people would just say “Oh, you know Uncle Bill~ He’s never been the same since the war...” but now we have a name for it, and no one is really all that surprised when troops return from a combat zone suffering from it.
What we don’t usually expect is for women to return home from the hospital after giving birth suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Stretch marks, sure. But PTSD? What the heck?
This is the time when she’s supposed to feel all glowing and happy and in love with this new little person. Often it is that time, but sadly for many women it isn’t.
Apparently, June is PTSD awareness month, so before it’s over, I wanted to mention the topic since it’s one that unexpectedly affects a number mothers. For the families it touches, it’s a big time bummer deal.
PTSD is not the same as Baby Blues. Those are more of a hormonal let down that can cause weepiness, and mood swings and happen to most women in some degree. In some cases can be a precursor of a full blown depression, but in most cases, they blow over fairly quickly~ usually more quickly and easily when the mother has lots of support in place.
PTSD is it’s own ball of wax~ a reaction to a traumatic experience that involves flashbacks, nightmares, numbing reactions and social distress.
That’s just terribly sad when one of life’s most memorable moments turns into a trauma.
Having worked in the birthing field for nearly 15 years, I’ve seen a lot of births firsthand and heard a countless number of birth stories. I went into the business wanting to help women have magical and empowering experiences, and have been amazed in both good and bad ways since then.
It's officially summer time, at least in my part of the world, and supposedly, the living is easy (or so the song says anyway...)
Solstice has come and gone with it's huge super moon, and the assortment of classes, end of season performances and parties are wrapped up for the season. Whoo Hoo!
The end of spring evolved into somewhat of a tornado in these parts. I know I’m not alone, and not nearly as crazy busy as many other women in my shoes, but still. Even though it's mostly good stuff I’m rushing around doing, there are times where even a social gal like me feels like running for the hills (disclaimer: I technically already live in the hills, but I'm in town like every stinkin day)
Now summer is here, and I’m ready to savor it. I’ve been a bit freaked out about time lately, and thinking about what’s really important to me this season.
Here are my Top 3 biggies (Summer Must Haves):
Last summer, I was inspired by the good people at the Happy Family Movement to create a Summer Bucket List. We hung cards with our goals of what we wanted to accomplish on a ribbon, and tossed them in a bucket as we got them done.
The whole thing was awesome~ the planning & collaborating with my favorite young people, the visual reminders, the number of fun things we made happen~ it was all good. In fact, we did all but 2 items~ we were thrilled with all we did get to do, and actually OK with the couple of things we bumped, because other cool stuff filled its place.
So, on my list for tonight~ sitting down with the kiddos over brownies and tea for a dreaming and scheming session for this summer.
I know it’s totally a first world problem, but there are just too stinkin many options for organized summer activities for kids.
I guess the whole idea is that boredom is bad, and constant enrichment and stimulation is good, but I'm not so sure about that.
Every day it seems like I come across several more wonderfully fun things I could sign my kids up for. Many start in the early mornings, which makes it easy to say no. As for the rest, luckily my kids are old enough to just say no, and neither has been interested in filling up their summer calendar with places they have to be at set times.
Both of my kids want time to lounge (Yes, they are wise young people, aren’t they?) That's actually good, not just because I'm lazy and want to lounge around myself, but because when they have time to relax, to sleep in, spend the day in PJs, and get bored, then they come up with a lot more independent creative projects on their own.
In fact, after just a couple of days, they’ve started on the script for another movie in a silly series. (They love comments by the way, and are already learning about sound issues involved with filming in wind)
I’m so glad they spoke up to preserve their free time, as I could have easily fallen for the glimmer of those enriching activities which would have not only filled their free time, but committed mine to driving and not going on holiday while they were in session.
Motherhood, by nature, leans towards selflessness.
It starts from the time we donate our bodies to house and feed our children, and continues as they grow and we sign them up for sports, music lessons, dance and art classes. We use our free time driving them to and from all these activities and work extra hours to pay for it all.
When talking with some other basketball moms, I learned that some of them spend all five weeknights and their entire Saturday revolved around kids' sports~ every week. These women had full time paid jobs too.
None of them seemed too happy about it, but they all acted as if that's what having kids was all about.
I wondered if they ever think about playing sports anymore, or making music or art or dancing or doing any of the things they used to love?
Or do they just get to live vicariously through the next generation?
I felt baffled and a little sad.
Not that I don’t enjoy my kids being involved in great activities. I love seeing them grow and have fun, and am happy to facilitate it however I can. But, I also enjoy participating in fun stuff too, not just watching, driving and providing funding.
Maybe I’m a wee bit selfish too, but I think it’s a mental preservation thing. I’m a more cheerful chauffeur, coordinator and financial sponsor for their lives when I get to have a life too. It's almost like a public service to keep me from being mean.
For me, it’s a matter of balance that’s worth pursuing.
I’m glad we have a lot of fun together~ making art, playing games, going hiking, all sorts of things. But sometimes, I want to do something for me, even if no one else is particularly interested, or it’s not geared towards young people.
So, starting next week, I’m treating myself to a photography class.
Holy Moly, I’m turning 42! (I’m aware that I may slightly abuse exclamation points, but I think this is a completely appropriate occasion! I mean, forty freakin’ two!!!!!) Seriously, how did that happen?)
I actually had to do the math to figure out how old I am, because at some point in the recent past, I seem to have stopped caring or keeping count. (No, it’s not because I’m just so old now that I can’t remember. I just have better things on my mind.)
Not that I don’t care about my birthday~ I LOVE to celebrate! It’s just the number of years doesn’t so much matter to me anymore.
What does matter a LOT to me these days is time, or what feels like a lack of it.
The last 6 months have included a whole lotta working my booty off (although my actual booty has not decreased in size at all~ it’s possible it’s even grown. Only my figurative booty has been worked off, but you know what I mean.)
In some cases, it’s been a conscious choice, and in others, it’s because the alternatives were terribly lame. But, the awesome thing that’s happened is that I’ve been able to ditch some of the scarcity mentality which has been long held and deep seeded in me.
I realize how much a focus on what’s lacking decreases my quality of life, and how much power I have to whip things around. Not to perfection by any means, but a definite increase in realizing the abundance around me.
But time is the one area where I’m kind of freaking out. It’s the one thing I can’t make any more of, no matter what, and too often it feels like the demands are exceeding the supply available.
If I don’t like my house, I can work to make more money to paint it or move. (I opted for painting and am loving the improvement!) But I can’t buy more time. None of us can, and none of us really even knows how much we have.
My recent transition to breadwinner has landed me some wonderful jobs. I love them, but they take up a lot of time~ time that I used to have to explore, create, read, cook, travel and just hang out with my kids, animals, or myself. They're amazing and flexible and have been a HUMONGOUS blessing in what’s been a big life change, but boy do my days fly by now, and they’re structured by outside forces more than they have been in years.
On extreme days, when it seems as though a constant stream of people is wanting commitments from me, I get to the point where I feel a little like a chained dog ready to snap at the next person who walks by and asks me for anything, even if they’re being nice.
Sometimes, the mere fact that something has to go on the calendar makes my heart start racing, my eyeballs bug out and in my mind (at least I hope it’s only in my mind) I hug myself and start rocking back and forth and humming loudly so I can’t hear the request.
It’s ridiculous really, because I have the same internal mental reaction whether I’m being invited to a party or jury duty. These are just a few of the not so subtle signs that help me realize I’m being a nut job and need to chill out.
It's Monday and I'm feeling like we could all use some Happy Thoughts.
So, I made some up over the weekend, and they are available here for free download.
Hooray for Free Happy Thoughts! Whoo Hoo!
I spilled water on the happy home card, and I didn't realizes until I scanned them in that they're a bit lopsided. But I wanted to share them anyway. If I wait till I have something perfect, we could all be expired.
I hope you'll use these however you like~
They're to remind you of the awesome possibilities you've got going on.
You can print 'em, cut 'em out and tape them up to places like your bathroom mirror, front door, desk or rear view mirror in your car.
Or, you can put the cards face down in a basket and draw one out when you want or need some positive affirmations.
You can staple them together into a happy little book of joy.
Or, you can read them aloud with a partner and laugh~ whatever floats your boat.
One of my favorite parts of teaching Empowered Birthing Classes is a little thing we do at the end of each session. After we've relaxed, checked in with our bodies and been taken care of with massage and all that good stuff, I pass out Happy Thought Cards and we go around the circle reading them aloud.
At first some people (usually the dads) seem to wonder what kind of woo-woo out there nonsense I'm making them do now, but they're all smiling by the end, and I'm pretty sure they're feeling a bit more ready to take on labor, birth and parenting.
These are just general happy thoughts for life, but I'm planning some more that are specific to birth, parenting and homeschooling soon.
Let me know what you think~ and what helps you feel happy. Enjoy~
This is supposed to be a positive blog~ a place of inspiration and joy~ but some days it’s really hard to find a smile, let alone share one.
Yesterday was one of those days.
It’s really hot where I live right now, and we lost 2 of our adorable baby chicks in the heat. I had left them outside in the shade, but the shade moved before I knew it and they overheat quickly, so I blamed myself for being busy and distracted and not catching it earlier.
We tried saving one for over an hour, calling 3 vets, and hearing the same thing I knew in my heart, that it might be too late. It was.
It didn’t matter how sorry I was or how bad I felt. It was too little, too late and it could never be fixed. I held the little thing as it took it’s last breath, and then had to pretend everything was OK so I could drive one of my kids to a dress rehearsal.
That’s when it hit me.
All of the grief of the last year felt like an empty ache in my chest. The dying little chick added to the list of things in life that could never be fixed: a Grandmother’s undiagnosed broken bone that could never heal, a marriage neglected until it was too far gone to save.
Who is Zesty Mom?
I'm an Artist, Writer, Funschooling Facilitator, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, Former Goat Herding Chicken Lady, and Full Time Mamacita Extraordinaire to a Couple of Cage Free Kids.
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