Body Shaming…

I saw a comment on a picture posted on a popular Instagram account and it said “You got a body only a baby daddy could love” and it brought me back to my own ordeals. The gag is that this woman wasn’t asking to be loved, she already had that and more. People just always have to project the world as they see it on you; no matter how ignorant. It is as if they believe you need them and THEIR standards.

This is a flashback post written June 22, 2014….

At two weeks after I had my child, someone asked me why do I still look pregnant. Precisely, ‘why do I look like I still have a baby in my belly’. I said wtf and moved on. This was a man, who had limited social graces and was known for being inappropriate. At 8 weeks post-partum, I had a mother tell me I needed to visit the things that made people lose weight. To this I replied that she should back all the way up as I just had a kid and not to comment about my body especially when she isn’t a size 2.  I told her that she is rude and whether or not I want a summer body is my business and I’ll get it on my time when I’m ready, I further said that as a mother she was disgusting and that she should respect my journey. I further stated, that not that I owed her an explanation but that I am not cleared to work out/go to the gym and when I am, I will still be going when I’m ready, not when it’s pleasing to her eyes. So maybe next time she should think twice before making a comment like that.

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Me. Minding my own business….

I kind of feel like my response (this was on Instagram!) was a bit harsh and I maybe should have taken the high road BUT I felt so embarrassed because my husband is the one that brought my attention to the comment (I would have just deleted it if I saw it first but I felt the need to defend myself)! I haven’t even had my pp checkup yet (this week), but I already had my insecurities with my new body! I won’t apologize for having a child and I really really wanted to punch her in the face ;-( She ruined my entire night after an amazing Father’s Day;-( I’m not mentally prepared for these comments which is why i wasn’t posting my body much but today I was in good spirits and was now so upset I had that feeling snatched away from me!! I feel ashamed to discuss it with my hubby as I don’t want the ‘don’t want to make you cry so I’ll just be diplomatic’ answer, especially since I have turned into a major ‘cryer’ for real! However, I felt so drained. I was just getting the hang of having to take care of an infant and wanted just a little credit for just keeping the kid alive.

This is the drawback to sharing your pictures on social media. People think your life is now fair game for them to say whatever is on their mind, not realizing how much they are showing themselves up. All my followers will see your comments and every one that looks at and shares whatever I post. You don’t want to be the ‘nasty’ troll. You don’t want to be left bare, showing just how disgusting a person you are. Filter yourself and if it isn’t constructive; leave it alone.

Personally, I have been having a hard time with how much people have inserted themselves in my life and just how much their words have an effect on me. I would usually be the one to take the high road or laugh an uncomfortable comment off, but I have completely lost it. We have been doing it all on our own, with a minimum amount of visitors and keeping our circle uber small; so things can get trying and judgement is definitely not what we need.  In a time like this where there is so much to do, learn, get used to and accept as things change constantly; thinking about my weight was not very high on the list. It, however, was always in the back of my mind, naturally I watched for strange faces when my husband looked at my body and I ask obscure questions about my ‘new look’ to see where his head space was and if I was still acceptable.  My hands were tied with how much I could do for myself at 2 months post- partum, but I never beat myself up about it, even though it hung in the balance. Yes, I know I did something amazing by bringing a life into this world but being embarrassed for that is not to be tolerated.

Postpartum pressure pt. 2…

Eventually my husband made his way into the washroom where we argued through tears. He was very successful in quelling my delirium and managed to convince me to shower and take a Benadryl for the hives, then take a nap. We had a worse scare when the Benadryl had the worse effect on me physically and mentally. My stretch marks were raised and black, I got a hard stomach and I was passing the most painful clots ever. In addition, I was hardly saying anything that made sense, neither of us could understand what I kept saying whenever I opened my mouth and we could do nothing but let it pass. This was a very scary moment for us and the Telehealth nurse said Benadryl wouldn’t do that to me but somehow I beg to differ as coupled with the day I had, it may have.

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Better days….

Another battle was having so many people in my space. By nature I am a hermit, I stay inside, hardly have visitors over and whenever we do go out, it’s with the same people all the time. I was known to not care much for people and their opinions. Still, I understand newborns do things to people and that they will want to be around the baby, I just could not handle the volume that people that wanted to visit; their words and their demands. So we decided to have just a handful of visitors which offended others, but they couldn’t be my priority. Everything people said about me or my child affected me. The most incessant comments about who my child looked like to people asking about and making jokes about my estranged mother and passing on their advice about our relationship just rocked me to the core. I found none of it funny and was literally very upset at how people were handling themselves when it came to wanting to visit to asking a million questions about my labor and delivery or baby. Every time I saw that I had to reply to a message, text or email or take another phone call I died a little bit inside. I lashed out on social media when my estranged grandmother sent my aunt to message my husband for my number. I just had enough of people and their selfishness during this time and my hubby had enough of me being miserable. I just thought they wanted to insert themselves in my life too much and too fast and though I tried to remain respectful there were so many days when it felt like the world was closing in, squeezing my head. Eventually I learned to lean on my husband again and let most of the calls/texts/messages go through him. The visits I ensured I had the final say so that I could ensure myself and baby was in a good place. This was a weight lifted off my shoulders and eventually I got back to a place where people’s comments once again meant absolutely nothing to me.

Post-partum depression has many faces and I don’t believe anyone can claim to be worse than the other because you never know what you can do to yourself or your baby whether over a long period of time or a short period of time. Recognizing the signs and seeking ways to deal is utmost important and addressing the issues will be one of the most important things you can do for you and your family. Be honest, direct and get help.

Postpartum pressure…pt. 1

On the 29th of April 2015 at abut 12pm, 4 days after birth, my hubby left me at home alone with the baby for the first time. While baby napped, I cleaned the washroom, something I hadn’t done in awhile. I felt useful and ecstatic to be able to take care of home. We joked about how I was going hard at the cleaning and that I should actually be laid down, feet up; but is unable to sit still. About an hour after he left to run errands, the baby was up. It was a change/feed cycle that we were just getting used to, in addition to learning baby’s cues. I changed my son and had a bottle on hand to start a feeding. He was erratic, screaming in the worse way and continuously stiffening his body. He was turning more and more reddish orange with every wail and I had no idea what the hell was going on. He wouldn’t eat and then he started foaming at the mouth and hitting himself while turning his head left to right. I thought I was in the twilight zone; alone. He then gave himself a big hit to the nose and a ton of mucus flew out. I was in disarray. I lost it and pretty soon I was wailing far more and harder than he was. I immediately called my husband to come home and as much as I tried he sensed the panic in my voice and kept asking me what was wrong. Unfortunately I did not know. All I thought was that I hurt the child and was now pleading with the gods to not let my child die.

Daddy decided we would go to the doctors right away just to ensure all was well. IMG_20150926_003755We packed son, his pooed in diaper, the bulb syringe I used to try to pull some of the mucus out and a heavy heart.  I was a mess. I had passed a point of no return and physically could not stop crying. Tear after tear kept falling and I could not hold my hurt and shock in, no matter how much I tried. As time passed I got worse, in the waiting room I was a mess but tried my best to contain myself. As the doctor checked our son, I tried so hard to hold it together but I believed he sensed something. I was constantly asked if there was anything he could do for me, if I needed his help with anything and if I had any issues I needed to talk to him about. I of course said no to all of the above and made son the center of focus for our visit. I had even broken out in hives due to an allergic reaction to penicillin I received in the hospital but was so caught up I hadn’t mentioned it. When he said we were doing a good job and that baby was a-ok, the tears began to flow again. This time, I’m not sure if this was due to feeling stupid. Every baby has mucus on their chest and will be trying to bring it up as they get older. We did not know that or knew what we should be looking for in new newborns. I felt like a failure. I couldn’t handle myself and my husband was getting pretty annoyed with my disposition.

After the visit, we went to Wal-Mart where I got into a fit with my husband and when he snapped at me, asking why everything has to be a problem, I lost it again. This time I demanded the keys and bawled the entire way to the car where I stayed until he was done shopping. Again, another round of tears and wailing, this time in a hot untinted car, stationed in a busy parking lot. This time I felt alone, like I couldn’t depend on even my husband to understand what I was going through and respect that I needed some time. We went home at once when he came back to the car and when we got home I locked myself in the washroom where I spent a good hour or more just crying uncontrollably. I hadn’t touched my son since my husband came to our rescue and I felt no way about leaving him in the car seat when we walked through our apartment doors. I love my son and will do anything for him, but I had so much anxiety I felt disconnected. I never wanted to touch him for fear of hurting him and disappointing myself more.

College Mom….

BABY TYPEGoing to College as a mature student is not the same as going to College as a mother. Especially when you have had to stop going to school, then re-enter your course. Everyone I started school with is long gone; hopefully to gainful employment. I simply have no choice but to fade to the back and let those young, vibrant kids lead the pack. Especially since, you know, I’m now the granny! I realize also how lost young adults are and how many think the ditzy, airhead, word dragging persona is so cute! Worse when you find out how bad of an act it really is (seriously, do you speak like this around your mother?!). Also, so many of them despise getting an education which is the key to career advancement!

I have no interest in addressing the catty, bitchy attitudes from this impressionable generation and is at my quota of f-bombs being used after EVERY. SINGLE. WORD!  I can’t let group conflicts affect my temperament around my son as he needs the best of me. I also don’t have the time and really just want to get work done so that I can get back to the kisses and kicks. Oh and for the love of God! The stares that befall me when people find out I have a child burns like someone turned a floodlight towards me.

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Thank you Tim Hortons

I don’t know who dropped an album last week, understand the Kylie Jenner’s lip kit crisis of being sold out (at that price too!) or the correct words to the latest song. I probably have been wearing the same outfit all week and my hair is disheveled and every meal is coffee and some sorta wrap on the go. I promise I don’t smell though! No, you cannot shop online while we are doing school work! Whatever the hell just got released is definitely way too expensive! Yes, I shop at the supermarket; leggings are my life and no I don’t own those overpriced Roots sweatpants. Pretty sure I used ‘dude’, ‘brah’ and ‘guy’ incorrectly many times today. No, I don’t need to upgrade my laptop (that costs money, hello) and yes a Surface would be nice. Finally, I’m not that old so please DO NOT call me Miss or Ma’am!

No, I don’t expect pity, or wish to be understood. I just notice more now that my priorities are very different. I can’t meet up to drink all night long or randomly meet my groups when meeting plans pop up out of nowhere. Mommy brain plus over tiredness is ruining my life and being smart with my wits about me has proven to be very challenging. My apologies for not being able to pay attention but this class time away from my baby is perfect for me to pay my bills or google what the hell that sound is that baby keeps making, how to get his stool softer and even finish work for another class. Yes, I just pulled a bib or baby mittens out of my pockets and they’re there only because he refuses to keep them on. Sigh!

I believe the worse part of all is the guilt of having to leave him in the care of someone else because mommy is behind on her life goals. Missing my son comes a close second and when we do see each other we hug and fawn over each other like old friends reuniting after years of being apart. I fear he won’t need me as much and so I consciously work on my breastfeeding supply. Can’t shake the feeling but every time he nurses feels like the only thing that I am doing right for him; for now.

 

Assimilation Adventures….

This is a flashback piece written in October 2013….I won’t post the entire document.

This personal narrative assignment will reveal the cultural lessons I learned in the Canadian workplace.

Immigrating to Canada came prematurely based on the plans for my life. Therefore, integrating needed to be done as soon as I landed. Life isn’t much without an income and thus, this was my premier focus. My education had to be pushed back, as I learned pretty quickly that that was another beast to be tamed. Canada was so much more than my little country and absorbing it all is something I’m still trying to do 5 years later.

One foot before the other, I did all that was necessary to apply for a job. I wasn’t given the chance to even finish University before being uprooted, so I had no marketable education. I had worked every summer since I was 16 and had decided to draw on those experiences and apply them to what felt like a hundred interviews. My work experiences were tossed aside and my demeanor and ability to speak was all I had to land me a job. Adamant and sure, I gave it all I had and got my first job. This job was as a telemarketer, something I had no experience with. It required talking to Canadians all across the different Provinces; some of which I still couldn’t pronounce properly. I was so grateful I felt like every bit of me was on fire. Most immigrant horror stories are about the effects of not finding work for months and 4 weeks later, here I was hired and ready. So ready, I prepared work clothes for the whole month the same afternoon I got hired.

The workplace environment was a whole other ball game. I wore suits and my co-workers dressed down; sometimes in pajamas. I spoke in the most eloquent way and over enunciated everything I said; my peers were terribly rambunctious. I often times prepared what I would say to my supervisor before approaching him, ensuring that I was most respectful and clear, he related to me in such an overly friendly manner, I was appalled and disgusted with how normal it seemed. I obeyed every single rule and worked diligently and silently; my environment resembled a party bus on some days. I was a fish out of water.  I stood out so badly there was a lull every time I walked by or approached my co-workers. I felt sick and refused; I had no friends and am almost sure I was made fun of.

I eventually assimilated to the Canadian work world. The working environment in my country is so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Work attire is taken so seriously, most professional organizations have uniforms and stipulations punishable if not closely followed. Supervisors are to be respected and whatever they say is never to be questioned. Hard work is key and anything mediocre is purged. As puffed up as this environment was, what it lacked in Human Resources laws and protections, it certainly made up for in building character.

The relaxed working environment did however make me a better worker. I could be me. My ideas and suggestions are valued and utilized and there is less pressure on the less important things and more focus applied to the goals of the company….

….Our cultural identities have to change, with age, with our lifestyle choices, with uncontrolled events that we have to adapt to and with socialization. In changing the way I carried myself in the workplace and being one with my co-workers, there was a plethora of knowledge that came my way.

A change came about partly because of how well I interact, is patient, understanding and respectful of people and their own culture. The older I got, the more I did for myself, the more I had to manage as an adult woman and change is inevitable. I laugh at my past now because of how crazy I must have seemed or looked and feel sad for how standoffish I must have seemed. That humility gained from my past experiences continues to build me up for the future.