#EDAW2015, #effyourbeautystandards, #spoonieproblems and self hate (TW)

I don’t get on with my body very much. In fact that’s quite an understatement. And today that self loathing hit me like a sledgehammer. I’ve got a romantic day out with my husband planned, at a spa, we’ll be getting massages and spend time in steam rooms and jacuzzis. It all sounds heavenly. The problem is that I need swimwear now, so I thought I’d pop in to town and pick up a swimsuit. In my excitement about the spa day I forgot just how bad it could be. As I stood in the changing room, listening to the size 8 teen in the next cubicle complain she was too fat and needed to be at least a size 6, and staring at myself in the full length mirror I felt utterly broken.

There I stood, size 20, an overhanging belly, fat dimpled thighs and upper legs, sagging boobs, and massive silver stretchmarks cobwebbing their way across large swathes of my flesh.. I felt disgusting. I wanted to be sick, I wanted to starve, I wanted to binge, I wanted to cut and carve and tear away chunks of flesh. I wanted to physically hurt.

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Time to Talk: PTSD the hidden cost of NICU

MurderOfGoths:

I’ve written about the difficulties faced both during and after my daughter’s NICU/SCBU stay. It really does mess with your head in a way that you just cannot anticipate.

Originally posted on The Smallest Things:

#TimetoTalk

I saw a post last year; it simply said “PTSD – The hidden cost of having a premature baby?”

Nothing can prepare you for parenthood, but you allow yourself to imagine the arrival of your baby; those first precious holds, taking them home to meet loved ones, the time together to grow and bond – and then suddenly everything you imagined is dramatically replaced with the alien and uncertain world of neonatal intensive care.

seeing our son for the first time seeing our son for the first time

It is widely reported that parents who’ve spent time with their babies in neonatal care are a greater risk of developing anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some studies suggest that it affect as many as 70% mothers following NICU and given the nature of NICU this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yet this is a topic that remains relatively unspoken about and more importantly there are limited, and in some areas…

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My gentle boy and my strong girl

You are both so little still, both still under 3, and already I can see that society is valuing some of your traits over others.

This breaks my heart, because you are both so much more than stereotypes, you are incredible and complex and will only get more so as you get older. I hope that I can bring you up to not be ashamed of parts of you just because they don’t conform to gendered expectations. Nothing about you is wrong, society and it’s small boxes are wrong.

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#PerformingDisability and feeling a fraud

I just saw this excellent post by @LUBOttom on performing disability when you have an invisible illness and it made me think of a blog post I’ve had in Draft form on the blog for almost a year now, one that I keep putting off actually finishing and posting. The reason I put it off is because I hate that I felt the need to write it.

That day I’d been for a day out, it had been a wonderful day, surrounded by friends and family. It was my 30th birthday and I’d been dreading it, I don’t have much luck with birthdays so was expecting a disaster! But it was a lovely day, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. So at 10pm I sat down to write a blog post about it, was it a post about how happy I was and how much fun I’d had? Was it going to be full of joy and laughter? Not even slightly.

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One year on

Today is the 24th of January, a spectacularly uninteresting day to many I imagine. For me it was the start of a traumatic experience, an experience that is still ongoing, but there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

I have written about this before, 3 times in fact. It has been a big deal. If you want the more in depth story, try these links.

When is a mother not a mother

A mother who is still not a mother

and

World Prematurity Day: Bonding can be hard

I will summarise in this post though.

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#GirlsMatter I’m proud to be an ex girl guide

A lifetime ago I was a Brownie and then a Girl Guide, and I loved it.

I’ve spoken before about never quite feeling like I fit in, but this was one of the areas of my life where I did. I wasn’t an outsider looking in, I was right in the thick of it. This wasn’t because I was a naturally sociable child, nor was I confident, or any other of those traits that normally propel you straight into a group. It was because it was a space in which all talents, all interests, and all personalities could be at home. A space where everyone was valued and nurtured.

Guiding was wonderful for me, I was encouraged to try new things, to be brave and take chances. I was taught that you didn’t need to be perfect at something to enjoy it.

I was very lucky, and I don’t know how much of it was good leaders and how much was Guiding in itself, but I suspect the latter played a large part.

We did all sorts in Brownies and Guides, and I don’t recall it being heavily gendered, if we did activities which were traditionally for girls we did them for the joy of doing them, not because it was “the done thing”.

Guiding can be a wonderful way to teach girls they have so much to give, that their worth isn’t dictated by their appearance or how well the conform to a gender. It’s a wonderful thing and I am proud to lend my voice to #GirlsMatter.

I couldn’t agree more with the 8 changes they ask for, and I’m so glad to see young girls fighting for their needs.

Their 8 Calls for Change

  • Listen to girls and young women, take them seriously and make sure their voices count
  • Demand that schools take a zero-tolerance approach to sexual bullying and harassment
  • Call on all schools to teach body confidence and gender equality
  • Make girls’ rights a priority in the UK’ s approach to international development
  • Stop children’ s exposure to harmful sexualised content in mainstream media
  • Empower girls and young women to speak out and be heard on the impact of media sexism and stereotyping
  • Modernise Sex and Relationships Education so all young people can make informed decisions and stay safe
  • Guarantee that women will be equally represented in Parliament

I pledged support here and hope 2015 sees them make some real strides.