In A World Looking For Rainbows, I Flock To The Dirty Truths

A few years ago, I wrote a piece about triggering media that was based on a couple of series and a documentary that were deemed controversial or too triggering. They covered topics like suicide, eating disorders, and postpartum psychosis, all things I’ve experienced in my short forty-one years.

I knew all three of these would trigger me in some way – and they did, but I watched them anyway, regardless of how I may or may not feel during or after.

To me, they were important to watch.

After going through some of my own trauma for over two decades, I found these programs comforting on a level that I feel only those who have gone through these kinds of traumas can truly understand.  read more

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Why We Don’t Need Sophie the Giraffe Or Any Other High Priced Items

I went for a walk with a friend of mine a while back and we found a discarded Sophie the Giraffe teething-toy lying in the middle of the sidewalk like it was a free-for-all. We could hardly believe that anyone would just toss this overpriced piece of rubber on the ground and walk away, but we had no idea how to find the owner.

My friend picked up the what looked like a brand-new Sophie and all we could think about was how some mom somewhere must be losing her shit searching for it. I mean, this isn’t something to just drop and lose. It costs a paycheque, after all.

While worrying about the poor mom, the toy got us thinking. Why in all things holy and sacred do we hold so much value on this small crazy-expensive rubber toy?

It’s a must-have, but why?

For us – two moms who went through postpartum depression and anxiety – dove into a conversation about the kind of expectations placed on new moms.

You have to get the best of the best because the internet said so, and moms around the world are all in favour in driving themselves mental getting unnecessary costly items for babies.

For us, Sophie became our mascot for postpartum disorders.

I know it sounds extreme, but hear me out.

First time pregnant moms have a shit-ton of stuff to figure out while their bodies change from normal to being stretched out like silly-putty and riddled with everything from retaining water to sciatica to all-day nausea.

Questions like will you breastfeed or what colour should you paint the walls invade your thoughts like a broken record.

I remember telling my mom I needed it. How important it was. How everyone raved about its effectiveness in assisting in the development of a baby’s mouth structure.

My world, how ever did our generation survive without this toy?

I mean, everyone has it, so you should too, right?

Wrong.

Sophie the Giraffe, while adorable, is unnecessary. Not only does Sophie paraphernalia cost anywhere from $19.98 to $149.99, but some kids just simply don’t take to it, like my son.

The first time I introduced the giraffe to my son, he paid it no attention. Eventually, he took the Sophie, twirled it around like a baton, put it in his mouth for a photo op, and then threw to the side, never to be touched again. I kept it in the hopes that one day, he’d pick it up in excitement and use it while creating for himself the world’s best mouth structure.

But he just didn’t care for it, and that was an eye opener.

Why is there so much pressure on families to get these kinds of over-priced items for their babies? Whatever happened to simple and affordable?

We put far too much pressure on ourselves and allow others to interfere with our Zen, telling us what we need and don’t need. We lose ourselves in the shuffle and pay ridiculous amounts of money for the best new things when really, simplicity works just fine. I mean, we all turned out well, didn’t we?

A newborn baby isn’t going to grow up shunning its parents for not buying some expensive giraffe, nor will it remember any of the over-priced items you just had to get. All it needs is the basics and your love.

So, the next time a new mom comes to you for advice, unsure of where to turn or what to get, let her know that the simple stuff is more than okay, and Sophie the Giraffe is not a must.
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Embracing The Change In The Way We Parent

While taking a breather from playing tag at the wet park with my crew this evening, I was taken aback by the beauty of the coloured leaves that were scattered across the ground. Suddenly I found myself picking up and placing the different colours in a bunch so I could take a picture.

Each leaf represents a different story. Each leaf is at a different stage in its life, growing from greens and changing to oranges and yellows, then to purples and deep reds, before taking their last bow and turning to brown.

These changed leaves, for me, resemble parenting (yes, I’m feeling a bit sappy, bare with me).

I mean, we all start out so sure of ourselves and the decisions we know we’ll make once graced with children. Face it, we are all perfect parents to hypothetical children. Except, as time moves forward and we are living with the reality of our once hypothetical, we notice how many more colours there.

Parenting is not all black and white, just like a leaf never stays the same shade of green before turning into a different colour entirely. It’s colourful. It’s spontaneous. It’s exciting and it’s vibrant. Our views and our choices change with time, just like leaves change with seasons.

Maybe instead of being so hard on ourselves for changing tactic when realizing that our reality is so much harder than our hypothetical, how about embracing the change and allow ourselves to work through any given situation as natural as a leaf turning colour.

We don’t have to get it right the first time, nor do we need to do exactly what we said we’d do. More importantly, we should change the way we want to and not the way someone – or society, including the sanctimommies – tells us we should.

Let’s give ourselves the permission to change and parent as easily and naturally as the leaves change their colours. Everyone knows what’s best for them and their families, just like a leaf knows when it’s their turn to start their change.
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