Crooked

14 Jun

It’s no surprise that I have crooked teeth. I am not happy about it. I would change it if I could. When I was in primary school, it became apparent that my teeth were very crowded. I had to wear a plate which was very uncomfortable and was told that in order to straighten my teeth now would be the perfect time to have braces.

I grew up in a single parent family without much money.  Despite this, my Mum was in a situation where she was potentially able to purchase a small holiday house, going in with a friend. This decision for her depended entirely on whether or not she had to spend money on my braces. So she asked me what I thought she should do. A 12 year old girl.

I had been convinced that a holiday house would give us a great lifestyle and holidays that all of us could enjoy. It was then implied that the braces would be a selfish and superficial choice, focussing on surface level appearance which is not important. I was told that I was beautiful the way I was and that people will love me for my personality rather than my looks anyway.

You can probably guess which choice I made. It also helped that I was very scared of getting braces. So at the time it was a fairly easy decision. But a few months later, I started getting bullied for having crooked teeth. Thankfully primary school was almost over but I was still referred to as “Rattus” by most of my classmates from that point forward. Even when I saw them again years later.

As it turned out, my Mum reassessed her finances and was not able to purchase the house she and her friend wanted without us relocating so our home could be rented out… so I didn’t get braces or a beach house. But I didn’t really care about the beach house.

You might be wondering why having crooked teeth even bothers me, I have amazing friends, a successful business and a loving partner. But I don’t feel as though I can smile or even talk confidently because of it. Every time I have my photo taken I have to try and conceal my teeth. And every time I meet someone new I am terribly nervous that they will notice how childish and ugly my smile is. It doesn’t matter how you try to convince me that this isn’t true. I still believe it.

In my early 20’s I vowed to make a change, to pay for my own braces. So I went to an orthodontist for a quote and was told that my crowding is so bad that I would need to have several teeth removed in order to even make room for the straightening to occur. On top of this I was given a price tag of around ten thousand dollars (more than double the price that my Mum was given nearly 15 years prior). So again, I was faced with the reality that this was out of reach for me and I guess I gave up. I am however determined to one day have the means to fix my teeth for good.

As my daughter’s teeth grow, I am seeing that even her baby teeth are coming through crooked and I know what the future has in store for her. Thankfully these days, there are improved approaches to straightening children’s teeth meaning that braces may not even be needed. Even though I agree with letting children make their own decisions, I will certainly be encouraging her to have the courage her teeth straightened. Although superficial, being able to smile genuinely and from the heart without worrying about your appearance is something that I would like my child to be able to experience, because up until now in my life, I still don’t know what that feels like.

Support

12 Jun

I am so used to being independent that I hadn’t really imagined what life could be life if I had more support. Bob and I are basically on our own here in Qld. We have a handful of friends, many of which live a long way away but our closest family is a 12 hour drive away.

When we were in Adelaide recently we had a taste of what it could be like if we lived closer to my parents and brother’s family. I was able to work – in the middle of the day. It was amazing. My Mum jumped at any opportunity to have Dottie all to herself so Bob and I were even able to have a night out. Wow.

Since having Dottie, I’ve probably been away from her for maybe about 8 or 9 hours. Seriously. I can remember every single time and can count them on one hand. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish my time with my daughter but if I had the opportunity to work for more than 20 mins at a time or to just have a little break. Having a glance at what a life with more support could be like and then coming home to this lonely place has been difficult for me.

Thankfully, we’re often so busy that I don’t have much time to notice the isolation or to think about what I’m missing out on. Our situation also has an unfortunate impact on our thoughts around having more children knowing that we’re on our own… and that probably isn’t going to change.

It’s strange for me going from being defiantly independent to craving help and support. It’s been a tough journey to even get to a point where I can admit that help would be nice. I’ve been opening up more and more about this and people tend to react by uncomfortably trying to figure out how they could babysit for us as if it’s their duty to save us. It’s not. I’m just talking about what’s going on for me. You don’t need to fix it and you couldn’t fix it even if you wanted to.

Of course I accept what cannot be changed but on occasion, I entertain a thought that maybe it could be different.

Unpopular

11 Jun

Bob and I have started a new blog about food & recipes and as a result I’ve changed my Facebook page and Twitter over to the new name. The Badlet blog was started as a way to keep in touch with my Adelaide friends when we moved to Tassie and turned into a place for  me to explore my personal challenges, interests and opinions. I never expected it to become popular with anyone other than my friends and it never really was. That’s why I’ve decided to just keep it low key and cancel the Facebook page etc. I plan to keep friends updated by posting in my personal Facebook feed but I encourage people to follow this blog for reliable updates about posts (link on right).

Thanks heaps to all my readers and commenters.

Communic-Hating

13 May

As much as I wish I wasn’t, I’m a hater at heart.

As much as I give my clients (and friends) good advice about how to cope in an imperfect world, I still struggle because I have such high expectations of people. The comments in this post illustrate this.

I desperately want people to drop the sarcasm, be nice to themselves, show an interest in others, ask questions, be compassionate and care for their children – so badly that it hurts. So much that sometimes I don’t know what to say and other times I need to take a deep breath and occasionally I have to leave the room. It’s hard. I’ve come to realise that the struggle is a valid part of my journey which has great potential for self improvement, although in many of my recent challenges I’ve failed to ‘find the gift’ and have just slipped into old habits.

I understand the solution to this problem intellectually but my deep rooted emotions are fierce and seductive. Tegan & Sara know how to explain it. It’s sort of like smoking, you wake up all haggard and croaky wishing never to smoke again but by lunchtime you’re rolling one ‘for later’, but then decide to just have it now. It pulls you in, you want it, even though you really don’t.

At first I thought continuing to do the same thing rather than making a change was simply the easy way out but it would seem that staying the same actually requires more effort, creates more discomfort and has a greater cost in the long run. Why then am I so reluctant to simply accept ‘what is’? Why can’t I just be fine when Bob’s parents talk over him, cut down his ideas and completely ignore him? And why can’t I just agree with people who never expect life to get any better or who blame others for their problems?

Why!?

I know better I guess. In fact on the outside I probably come across pretty chilled or maybe even a bit deadpan but inside often I am tense! My control freak tendencies remain over the top and shamefully hidden. Then I carry my stress around with me unable to let it go! I know that avoidance is never a great solution but for now it’s the only one I have apart from just breathing through it …. phew.

Sellout

11 May

Yep. I am. Remember this post where I righteously crapped on about how good it was not having a TV? Well some of those reasons I gave you have changed and I’ve changed a little too…

Last time I owned a TV I watched it a lot. I had a hard time turning it off and was always searching for something else to watch but after 2 years without one I am glad to say that I am over this. I know what I like and what I want to watch everything else can piss off.

Having a child makes you realise how precious free time is and seriously – I have much better things to be doing than watching shit I don’t like. So yes, it’s on most days for an hour or so am I am ok with that. When I worked at Radio Adelaide, we were taught about how people listen to the radio for background noise and for a sense of company – well I could sure use some company! Even if it’s only a TV for now.

I’m somewhat of an independent hardass but once again, having a child has made me aware of my lack of local support & family. It’s just Me, Bob & Dottie on our little lonesome up here in mountain town which most of the time works famously well. But sometimes I do feel isolated and I must say it’s nice to have a little distraction to turn to.

So, yes I have arrived on the dark side, please welcome me… and expect a few more rants about TV shows.

The Truth

8 May

It’s been over 6 months since I made a post on the blog. It’s not because I haven’t had anything to say and it’s not because I’ve had a baby and now all of a sudden I’ve forgotten about my blog. Apart from the fact that I managed an exhibition in the Fringe Festival, planned and ran my first few workshops in over 2 years, went on a trip to Adelaide AND have been caring for a baby – who is now 9 MONTHS OLD! Apart from all of that…

I’ve been dealing with something that is too hard to explain. Normally all you badasses hear it straight, I tell things to you straight, even when it’s not pretty or when I’m not proud of myself. But now, what’s been going on for me is so personal… so confusing that I just can’t seem to get it straight in my own head first before explaining it out loud. Definitely not something that I’m used to struggling with.

Many times I’ve started to write, with the intention of sharing my situation but I end up just freezing and no words come. This has been blocking me for so long now that I think it’s best just to address it, share what I can and move on. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things and keep the momentum going (you know that comments always get me going). So let me just say this: I had a more difficult time with childbirth than I let anyone know (a true hardass). I did not recover well. Everyday I am reminded of this. And even though I am feeling much better and will continue to do so I feel that it’s important to tell you the truth. The truth is… sometimes I will tell you that I’m fine – when actually I’m not.

Back on board

14 Oct

You might recall that during my pregnancy I had undeniable cravings for meat. You can read more about my journey with meat eating here.

I had never really cooked much meat before this, so I was confronted with the reality of learning to cook it and, you know I love cooking right? So I’m sad to admit that I actually started to get creative with it and even enjoy it a little.

I had hoped that once giving birth that I could give up meat eating instantly but I found that early on the cravings got worse! Breastfeeding left me feeling dehydrated and hungry all the time and I was craving nutrient dense, high protein food, I was after all, making milk! I was eating around 6 meals in 24 hours and my body was going crazy for meat.

So now not only had I begun to feel used to the meat cravings I was actually enjoying cooking and eating it. It went from being a medicinal addition to my diet to a staple. So now that I’m no longer breastfeeding, my body has calmed down and as I’d hoped, my meat cravings have dissipated. The problem is now that I have an appreciation for meat in my life that I never had before. What’s a girl to do?

Thankfully after being a vego for so long it was impossible for me to eat meat unconsciously. I am very aware of what my choices support and had to make peace with that. I’ve recently been inspired by people who do the occasional-ethical-meat-eating thing and I think that for the time being, that’s what I’m going to do. In no way am I going to have it regularly but I have decided that every once in a while I might choose to have some. I am ok with this.

Still, please don’t offer me meat at your place or expect to be served any at my place. I’ll choose when and where I have it or if I have it at all. That being said, I’m SO glad to be rid of those damn cravings!

Under The Pump

8 Oct

So when Dottie was born, she needed to be taken to the special care nursery and we were separated. When we tried to breastfeed a few hours later she wouldn’t latch. Over the next few days we tried again and again without success. We took her to an osteopath and saw many midwives and lactation consultants, it just wasn’t happening and no-one was sure exactly why.

Initially I hand expressed precious droplets of colostrum around the clock. When we went home from the hospital I upgraded to a double pump and my new life as a pumper began. I pumped every 2 hours for 30mins for the first week, leaving little time for sleep or even caring for Dottie.

Once my milk supply was established we were building up quite a stockpile so I decided to drop back to 3 hourly pumping and then 4 hourly. Still it was hard work and I couldn’t have done it without Bob who became a night feeding pro! Then the pain began…

Firstly my breasts became engorged and full all the time. Although pumping is a good way to express milk it does not at all replicate a baby’s natural feeding rhythm so my body didn’t really know how to cope. Then I started getting lumps from blocked milk ducts. They were incredibly painful and could lead to mastitis. So now I had a dilemma, pumping relieves the pain of engorgement but then tells your body that it needs more milk. So if I pumped before the specified time I would get some temporary relief but would make the problem worse in the long run.

This continued for weeks. I was determined to give Dottie the best start I could but the pain and sleep deprivation was beginning to take it’s toll (not to mention the fact that I was missing out on caring for her). I ended up getting mastitis several times and the lumps continued… as soon as one cleared another would appear and I often had a few at a time.

When I was pregnant, I was excited about having a dairy free child. I never imagined that breastfeeding would be so difficult for me but when I was faced with the difficult reality, I had to consider dairy-based formula as an option.

I resisted to start with. I hated the idea of 1) feeding my daughter something inferior  and 2) supporting an industry which I am passionately opposed to. I may have eaten some meat during pregnancy but I never once consumed dairy or even wanted it. I soon realised though that hating something which could in fact be my saviour was futile, I needed to find appreciation for it and in essence love it.

It took some time but I was able to feel gratitude towards baby formulas and the cows who make them possible. And then one weekend I was pushed over the edge. I was in so much pain, pumping provided no relief. I was living on paracetamol, I couldn’t lie on my side or sleep at all. Bob had to take nearly a week off work to look after me and help care for Dottie because I couldn’t even lift her up. That was enough. We switched to formula. And thankfully I was emotionally ready.

I was planning on continuing to pump with the objective of cutting down to just a few pumps a day. The lumps and pain continued. The blockages were so bad that pumping wasn’t providing relief from the constant agony. So, I stopped cold turkey. I figured that I didn’t have much to lose. I’d have a few days of pain and it would be over rather than having to deal with the pain indefinitely. And I have NO REGRETS WHATSOEVER.

Dottie was fed breast milk exclusively for 6 weeks and although it’s not what I’d hoped for, it’s better than nothing. Once the pain was gone, I was able to sleep! Precious sleep. I felt human for the first time in what felt like forever. I was able to hold Dottie and hug people again and I could finally start being a Mother!

Dottie’s Birth Story

22 Aug

Disclaimer: I am happy for this story to be linked to on this blog however I do not give permission for it to be reproduced, printed or reposted on another website. The photos are my own and may not be copied. The Badlet blog is an exploration of my personal journey, opinions and interests – it is not a pregnancy, birth or parenting blog. This story is deeply personal and I make no apologies for not following the apparent “rules” for writing a birth story. I ask that comments remain respectful and understanding. Judgemental or preachy comments will be deleted. I have no judgement whatsoever of the choices of others and ask for the same freedom in return. More about that here. Sorry that I even need a disclaimer but it seems that everyone has an opinion on how birth “should” be to which I say, “take your self-righteous preaching and fuck off!”. Open-minded nice people can read on! Much love, Naomi xx

We were planning a homebirth. The birth room was set up, everything was in order. My due date came and went. You can read about the week following my due date here.

My contractions began on Sunday 22nd July after 2 stretch & sweeps in the days prior. That was the last night that I had proper sleep… My Mum arrived from Adelaide the next day and after a week at home awaiting the baby, I decided to get out of the house and go with Bob to the airport to pick her up despite my contractions. That night the contractions were strong and regular (about 5 mins apart) and painful enough that I didn’t sleep. The next day they eased and I was determined to do whatever I could to get things moving again. I used my breast pump and had an acupuncture appointment that evening. By the time I went to bed my contractions were nearing 3 mins apart and once again, painful enough to prevent sleeping. I was hopeful that things were progressing but unfortunately they never did…

My midwife, Rosie arrived the next morning and I was 3cm dilated. Dottie was posterior so we spent an hour or so getting her repositioned and then I laboured at home all day without much change. Over the following 10 hours I had reached 4cm and I was utterly exhausted! I was not able to sleep or even lay down to rest.

At 5pm my midwife suggested breaking my waters. As much as I was keen to get things moving along, I felt as though I couldn’t go on without sleep. After much deliberation, lots of crying and weighing it all up with Bob, I looked within and found my answer… I wanted to transfer to hospital for pain relief and sleep. As hard as it was, I knew this was the right decision.

I had honestly not expected to need to transfer but we had a bag packed and a plan just in case. We spent the next 20 mins getting packed up and then I jumped in the car with Rosie for the 40 minute trip down the mountain. On the way in, Rosie coached me through each contraction and I felt surprisingly at peace with my decision. Upon arrival we weighed up options for pain relief.

I was pretty keen for an epidural but Rosie encouraged me to consider pethidine in order to get a little rest (it lasts about 2 hours) and then hopefully continue to labour naturally. I chose this option but I don’t think I would do it next time. I was able to sleep however I could feel the pain again (preventing me from sleeping) within 1 hour and once it wore off I had not dilated any further and I felt totally drugged!

The recommendation was for a synto drip and to break my waters to which I agreed along with the epidural so I could sleep. Meconium was found when my membranes were ruptured which (had we done this at home) would have been a cause for a transfer anyway. I knew that I’d made the right choice by transferring when we did.

As much as I’d wanted a natural birth, I loved the epidural and felt fine on the drip. I was still able to move my feet a little meaning that I was able to reposition myself easily. I got a few hours of broken sleep and by sunrise I was fully dilated and ready to push – the only problem was… pushing with an epidural is virtually impossible. While I was pushing, the pain of the contractions in my lower back returned. Ontop of this my temperature started to rise (suggesting an infection) which meant that I required antibiotics. I really didn’t want to have them but my temp kept escalating and I was advised that it was the best option.

Then, back to pushing… I was restricted to lying on my back or side. Dottie was moving down very slowly but it was hard work and I was running low on energy. When I had been pushing for two hours, my strength started to fade and Bob spoke to the doctors about a vacuum extraction which we were really keen for. Once this was organised, the whole energy in the room changed, it was great. The resuscitation team were on hand and the Doc doing the extraction was positive and vibrant. I was relieved to know that it would soon be over because I was certain that I wouldn’t be able to push her out. Once the vacuum was attached, her head was born on the next contraction! On the following contraction her body emerged and was placed on my belly. The cord was too short to reach any further! She had her hand up near her head which was partly why I was having such a hard time pushing her out. She required oxygen and observation so was taken to the resus unit before coming back to me, My placenta came out within 2 minutes and I was informed that I had a second degree tear requiring stitches (I was so thankful not to have an episiotomy). I happened to look down at the exact moment that the doctor was preparing the hook needle – I’ll never get that image out of my head!!

Dottie was returned to my chest but was still very pale so she was taken within a few minutes to the special care nursery and Bob went with her. I wasn’t concerned, I knew in my heart that she would be perfectly fine and of course she was.

So it didn’t really go at all to plan but I have no regrets. I made every decision from an empowered, informed and peaceful place and as a result, I had a peaceful experience!

I’ll continue this story to include my recovery when I get a chance. Follow Badlet on facebook or twitter for updates on new posts.

Self Absorbed

18 Aug

We have had so much amazing support from our neighbours and friends since being home with Dottie. We’ve had people bring us food and help with cleaning which has made a huge difference to our lives. Then, Bob’s family came to visit…
They are the most self absorbed and socially awkward people I’ve ever encountered, thankfully they were only here for two days!

Everytime they visit it’s the same. They sit on the couch knitting & playing solitaire while we cook, clean and tidy for them. Then they eat the food we’ve made without saying thank-you and often end up making themselves a cheese sandwich after having 2-3 helpings as if to say “we really don’t appreciate anything you do”. It’s like babysitting the most ungrateful, non-talkative teenagers.

They will help with things like dishes if we ask but they rarely think to offer. I thought that considering we were adjusting to life with a 3 week old baby, perhaps we might see a more thoughtful side to them, unfortunately not.

Not only did they not contribute any food or assist with food prep (leaving us to cater for 5 adults in our precious free time), they also didn’t help with Dottie at all! In fact they didn’t even want to hold her!

They confessed that they had not held a baby in more than 30 years since they had their own children and they only picked up Dottie for the purpose of taking a photo. I can understand feeling nervous about holding someone else’s baby but I thought that most people couldn’t wait to have a snuggle with their first grandchild. Not these people.

Thankfully Bob turned out ok despite their detachment – I’m sure that Dottie will be fine too… more snuggles for us!