Reflection

It’s been over a year since my last post, and a lot has happened. So I thought it would be a good time to reflect.

Becoming a mum has been intense. I always knew there would be things I would be able to handle just fine because of my experience in childcare, and it’s definitely helped already knowing how to change a nappy, handle a baby, different techniques for sleep and calming. But there’s definitely a big difference between handling your own one baby and eight baby’s that belong to other people. Being able to have a break is a big advantage in daycare, half an hour to an hour of uninterrupted adult time, to eat without a little one whinging at you for attention, or trying to steal your food. Having other adults there to support you is also major. The best thing about daycare work was knowing that if you needed a break from a kid screaming, or they were being constantly difficult, you could put your hand up and get someone else to take over for a while. At home, no such luxury. And of course, the obvious one: sleep. After 8 months, I truly, truly appreciate the sleep that I was able to have after coming home from work in the old days. The blissful, uninterrupted peace and quiet of resting your head on your pillow and knowing that the only reason you might have to get up is if you need to pee. Oh, I miss that.

But, of course. There are so many beautiful things about having your own child. Watching them master new skills and develop their own personality. I love the way my little girl pulls faces and reaches out for me when she’s hurt or upset, or just wants a cuddle. She’s at such a great age now: really curious about the world around her, and getting better at moving herself around. She’s still little enough that sometimes at night I’ll feed her and she’ll snuggle into me and fall asleep. And knowing that I’m her whole world, it’s such a joy, and such a responsibility. I want to be my best for her. But some days I feel like I let that down a lot. I try not to blame myself or beat myself up about it, it’s usually those days where she’s woken up every couple of hours overnight and I’m just feeling like a total zombie. Only the essential’s get done on those days, and that’s okay.

We’ve also moved house. We’re home owners now, and that’s pretty massive. We never would have been able to if I hadn’t inherited from my dad. Something I never expected to happen. It’s an amazing weight off our shoulders. We’ve got a mortgage, but it’s cheaper than renting was. We have a house we can change however we want, and a place for our daughter and any future babies to grow up in. We’ve got a couple of kittens, now that we don’t need to worry about getting the landlords permission, or whether they’ll be an issue with a new landlord if we needed to move.

It feels like so many things have just fallen into place for us over the past year. It’s strange to remember how shattered and broken I felt before I found out I was pregnant. I’d managed to find a really dark place in my psyche, but thankfully I emerged, and surely will only be stronger and wiser in the future because of it. There will always be problems, and I’ve discovered new obstacles in life as a parent. But I’ve also found many new perspectives and avenues of support (both old and new). I trust myself and my body more now, having come through pregnancy and childbirth. And I am reminded each day what a loving and supportive partner I have, he’s an amazing dad and husband, I’m so lucky to have him in my life.

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Big news

Nothing like a personal post to offset a few about ideals and ideas.

It has been a massive couple of months.

My first big news (and it’s amazing to feel like I can shout it to the world here, even though it’s anonymous), is that I’m pregnant. Yay! It’s been so exciting and scary. We did the test at the start of February because I was a couple of days late and I figured I always get “that time of the month” the day after a test. So my husband brought a box home and it came up positive. We were in a major state of shock. Especially since, according to my GP, my day 21 progesterone test was apparently too low for me to have ovulated. But of course, after all our fears and the slow degrading of any belief that we could do it naturally, we actually managed it. We’ve had two ultrasounds to try and date the pregnancy, both have come back fine and normal, and I’m due around the end of October.

In another big development, I found out on the day of my first ultrasound, that my dad had passed away from a heart attack. It’s strange for me. I’ve never really known my dad, he was a paranoid schizophrenic and because of that my mum left him when I was a baby. So there isn’t the emotional loss of someone you are close to. But it’s still a strange feeling for me, I suppose just that he’s not there anymore. There’s no chance left to get to know him. He’s not “out there” anymore. And, given his condition, I may never have had the chance to get to know him. But it’s strange to know for sure now.

So, that’s all I really want to say at the moment, I’m very excited for the future. I’m looking forward to our family (and my belly) growing and finally being able to include this child we’ve been waiting so long for.

 

Feminism and Violence against Women

I’m getting very angry with people.

Particularly when these two topics come up together and everything gets twisted.

If you are angry about violence against women (and I certainly am) does that make you a feminist? Is violence against women only a feminist issue? No, violence against women is an issue that anyone can talk about and be disgusted by. It is not the sole province of feminists.

Now, I don’t have any particular problems with feminism. There are some bad examples, and people who say stupid things in the name of feminism, but that happens in every group and I don’t think it needs to reflect badly on the movement itself.

I do have a problem with talking about something really serious like violence against women, and having people ignore the issue in favor of their anti-feminist agenda.

Because anything to do with women in the media must have an evil feminist agenda.

It must be the feminists way of reminding everyone that men are evil and must be treated like dogs or worse….

Accepting that violence against women is most often committed by other men, to me, is a no-brainer.

 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is clear on this: in 2012, 87% of domestic violence victims were women. Where women are the perpetrators, the violence is different: studies have repeatedly shown that it’s not as prolonged, and that men are far less likely to be living in fear. They’re also far less likely to be murdered: men kill women in four out of five intimate partner homicides. In the vast majority of cases where women kill their partners, the death follows a history of being subjected to domestic violence.

https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2015/march/1425128400/jess-hill/home-truths

 

And that’s just domestic violence. Even if you add in the acts of random violence committed towards men, I very much doubt that you would find female violence outweighing male violence.

That’s not an attack on men. Those are facts. Very sad and frightening facts.

If we are going to do something about the unnecessary violence going on in people’s homes and on the streets, we need to work together to solve it. Men and women need to stand together and say ‘NO, we don’t accept this kind of behavior”. That is the one, and only message that people should be concentrating on right now.

We shouldn’t be hearing the police warn “particularly females” about the dangers of walking their streets in broad daylight. If I go for a walk nude it doesn’t make me responsible for someone else violating my right to safety. It is my right to be safe on the streets. It is not another person’s right to attack me for ANY reason.

And I don’t need to hear how one violent attack is just another platform for “feminist fear mongering” or that somehow means that all women are suddenly in danger. The recent attack was horrific, and it was random. That doesn’t mean that every man on the street is out to get you because your a woman. What it does say, is that the woman who died could have been any woman in that park that day. The attack wasn’t targeted, meaning that any woman, and possibly any man would have been enough. And that is not okay. We should be telling ourselves and each other, that whoever the victim, the actions of that man are not okay. That until we address the type of society we’re living in, where the message is that women shouldn’t be alone in public, that’s not going to change.

People who perpetrate violent crimes need to know that we don’t accept it. That they will be held responsible for them. That as a society we see them and we blame them for their actions. Not their victims.

I don’t need to be a feminist to have the common sense to see that violence against women is a problem we need to address differently. But I applaud feminists with the guts to address it themselves and publicly.

Fat-Shaming

Honestly, I am so angry right now.

It began a few hours ago when I clicked on a link on my facebook for an article about exercising for enjoyment, not the end goal of losing weight. I enjoyed that article and felt the change of focus from weight-loss to enjoyment and health was both pleasant and would be much nicer in everyday life.

From there I clicked on a link about fat-shaming and thin privilege. Not really new things to me, I experience it pretty regularly and found talking about the definitions around thin privilege (or why it can be classified as such) to be well thought out and clearly understandable.

But reading about other peoples experienced of fat-shaming really really made me mad.

It’s so disgusting that people seem to think it’s okay to treat someone like less of a person because of something as trivial as weight.

Maybe you don’t find fat people attractive. You know what? Fuck you, nobody cares. If you don’t want to date a fat person, go take your shallow-asshole self elsewhere coz fat people don’t need your shit.

Maybe you’re “only concerned about their health”. Well fuck that too, it’s their health, and you can’t know whether a person is healthy or not just by looking at them.

And these things go for skinny-shaming too, people who are skinny don’t necessarily need to “eat up” because they’re “sticks”. It’s probably just the way their body is and what made you think it was any of your goddamned business anyway?

I’ve had some pretty bad shit said to me because of my weight. I’ve heard of a lot worse from others, especially after tonight, and it just makes me so angry.

I feel like if I ever hear any of this shit in person things will really hit the fan.

The people that do this are surely either incredibly misguided, have issues with their own weight, or are just assholes. Right?

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I’ve lost weight recently, and I’m happy about that because I need to in order to get to IVF. It’s nice to be fitting smaller clothes again, though I’ve still got a lot to lose. And sometimes I wonder if it’s right that people are so happy about it. I mean those that know why I’m actually doing it I’m less worried about. Though I’ll still get “and you’ll be so much healthier” comments… like, I’m so unhealthy now? The worst part of my health at the moment is my mental health which seems to be slowly breaking down under the pressure of comments like those, and constant feelings of failure. But those that don’t know I need to lose weight must just assume that I don’t like being fat. And generally I don’t, but it’s mostly because of the judgement, shame (both from others and from self-criticism), and discrimination that I feel just doing normal things, not the fact of being fat.

It’s wondering if you didn’t get the job because unconsciously the interviewers assumed you were lazy because you’re fat. It’s disgusted looks walking around the supermarket, because how dare you invade this public space with your gross fat presence. It’s feeling self-conscious with your husband who loves you for who you are not what you look like, because “guys don’t like fat chicks”, because apparently I have nothing to offer a man besides a thin body, and boy did I fail at that! It’s hoping you don’t offend anyone on public transport for sitting down, or godforbid eating, when those comforts should only really be given to those with the “discipline” to be thin instead of fat.

And it’s all bullshit.

When I talked to my doctor about what I eat, honestly (because of course people assume that fat people can’t be honest about what they eat, filthy liars), she said to me, that probably the most likely reason that I’ve gotten to the size that I am – is that I DON”T EAT ENOUGH. That I eat so little during the day that even eating a normal meal at night it screwing up my body and tricking it into thinking it’s starving. Starving = store fat to prevent death.

I really feel for all the people that have to deal with this. Whether it’s fat-shaming, skinny-shame, or just general hatred/dislike of your body, men and women. It’s ridiculous that we allow ourselves to live in a world where we feel like we’re not worthy as human beings because of a number on a scale, or a lump of fat on our amazing bodies. I certainly can’t purport that I have embraced fat acceptance or am immune from the awful feeling of being unacceptable. I’m still trying to work on giving myself the same care I can so easily give to others. But I try to remember: I am me, not my weight.

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When everything makes you cry

I’ve heard plenty about pregnant women being overly emotional, and that sensitivity carrying on into motherhood. I know plenty about depression and mood disorders. I also know that I’m a pretty empathetic person. But I don’t think what I’m experiencing is any of that. Obviously I don’t expect to be pregnant, it’s been so long I never really expect that anymore. Hope, a little; but expect, not a chance. And while I know I’ve been struggling with bouts of minor depression lately I can’t really match that with what has been happening lately.

Just everything makes me cry at the moment. My husband and I went to see Big Hero 6 at the movies the other day (and then the Hobbit) and it had a short film before it called Feast, about the life of this puppy. And it was a really sweet short film, but it wasn’t really sad. Yet by half way through I had tears streaming down my face and hubby looking quite worried. He asked me, ‘is it sad,’ and I had to shake my head because it wasn’t really. If anything it was largely a happy story; but something still managed to tug my heart strings in a way usually reserved for death scenes or proper tragedy in fiction. Like the beginning of the movie Big Hero 6 (which I won’t give away) which made me start crying all over again!

I don’t know what to think. And I don’t know what to do with myself. This over sensitivity and propensity to cry at the drop of a hat is making me fear interactions that actually do hurt a lot. I don’t like to cry in front of people, probably my husband is the only person I will freely cry in front of. I suppose there’s an aspect of feeling weak and vulnerable to that, but probably more so, I get scared that if I cry in front of others they’ll reject me and my feelings instead of caring.

Mostly, though, I just wish I knew why. Why am I feeling and reacting like this? How can I get to a place where I don’t need to feel like this anymore? What do you do when everything seems to make you cry?

Removal of GTAV

So when the whole Grand Theft Auto 5 being removed from the shelves of Target and Kmart first hit, I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know about it. That is, until someone I’m connected to through Facebook decided to post their thoughts on the matter. Thoughts which directly blamed feminism for the “ridiculous” ban.

It took me a while to sort my thoughts on the matter. Not in small measure due to the fact that I had yet to gather the facts of the actual story.

As it turns out I now think the whole ‘outrage’ over the decision is idiotic.

There are two reasons, I believe, that you would be angry about the Coles-Myer group decision with relation to these two Australian stores. The first, is about the practical problems with banning the game: ergo, it’s unavailability in-store.

From this perspective, “gamers” (and I use the quotation marks because it is my belief that this label applies to a rather select section of the actual cohort) are complaining like greedy children. Target and Kmart aren’t exactly popular stores for gamers to hang out and get a fantastic selection of games anyway. The game is, however, still available at all of the places I would consider to be actual hubs of gaming culture – EB Games and JB-HI-FI. I would also note that this game has been available for purchase for over a year. So the hardcore fans would, largely, have already bought it. Therefore, there is no reason to complain about two stores removing this game from their shelves, regardless of their reasons.

 

The second, and more insidious argument, is based on the principle of the ban. These people say things like: “the game isn’t about violence against women” or “this is just feminism gone mad trying to control everything”. The worst offenders of this type of opinion even threatened women who signed the petition for the removal of the game, presumably knowing that many of those women petitioned because they had experienced violence in their real lives. But we’ll discount that group of idiots for the meantime, they represent a much larger problem in society and gaming.

Now, personally, I don’t believe that removing this game (distasteful as I find it) will make much difference in regards to large issues such as male violence, entitlement, or violence in games. There has been no solid evidence that violence in games can be linked to increased violence in actual behaviour and so I do not subscribe to such fear mongering. I have no interest in playing a game like GTAV so I haven’t, I would not need a ban to make that so. Many of the arguments made for banning this game are illogical or untrue. But, I am much more on the side of a group of people who have gone through horrible experiences trying to find a way to make a positive change in the world, than people who would mock or put those people down over a game they don’t even play. And then blaming feminists – who are clearly not involved in the petition, just seems to me to be an excuse to knock down a movement that seems to be constantly under attack in our current environment.

Surely, if you’re going to get angry over the principle of a thing, something actually meaningful would be a much more worthy use of your time than joining a group of immature “gamers” in a vendetta against a group that didn’t actually make the decision anyway. Target and Kmart listened to their opinions, and if they were selling heaps of copies of the game they probably wouldn’t have. Grow up people.

 

Staying Positive

I suppose my last few entries have been a bit depressing. I certainly wouldn’t say that I’m bereft of hope. I think that mostly I’m in a processing stage of this journey, and I don’t want to shy away from the hard parts just because they are hard. I also consider myself a realist and to tell myself or anyone else that this is easy or won’t cause any pain would be a lie. These emotions are part of me, and I wouldn’t be the same person I am if I couldn’t acknowledge and then try to deal with them.

But it’s still good to balance that with more positive thoughts and feelings.

At the moment I am feeling more hopeful, and probably more hopeful than is technically wise for me as well. You see, I’ve fallen into the trap of having a “feeling” about this month.

It started a couple of weeks ago when I had weird tummy pains. It reminded me of the cramping I get with my period, although less severe and mostly focused in my abdomen (I tend to get back pain as well). Not being too sure about why I would get this feeling, and not being able to relate it to other stomach pains like indigestion or gas I did consult some fellow TTC*ers on a forum I’m involved with. A haven through all this if anyone is in a similar situation, I highly recommend finding a forum you feel comfortable with and sharing there. I asked them what ovulation pains felt like to them, as I thought to suspect that could be the cause. While no-one can say for sure, it sounded like that could have been what was happening. Just in case, my husband and I made the effort and I silently prayed for a miracle.

Since then I haven’t felt any particular symptoms or reasons to feel hopeful. I haven’t tested yet, and will probably wait a while longer before I succumb to the invariable madness of peeing on a stick. Nevertheless, a small kernel of hope has been growing inside me for the past fortnight and it has helped me to remember my positivity. It has also reminded me that even in this, the capacity for hope is hard to extinguish.

My weight has been trending down nicely, and even if this isn’t the month for us. Even if we still need to go through IVF just to get pregnant. At least I can see that I am capable. I can get there. I will do whatever it takes to get us to where we need to be.

I will still be sad and disappointed if I’m not pregnant. That’s always the dream that I want to become reality. That hope, however, hasn’t been nurtured for nothing. It has renewed my determination should this not work out, and given me pleasant thoughts to send me to sleep at night. For both, I am grateful.

*TTC = trying to conceive