Tag Archives: anxiety

Celebrity Parents

30 Mar

Celebrity culture has always been somewhat of a twatwaffle to me. I don’t get into the drama; I don’t understand the hysteria. I don’t follow Perez Hilton’s blog. For all intents and purposes, I think celebrities are a bunch of middle class morons who happened to fall upon fame and wealth because they were either a) favored with big tits or b) can make themselves cry on cue. (Daisy and I are blessed with both of these attributes. Where are our millions?) At some point in their journey from mediocrity to internationally irrelevant, someone issued them all (collectively) a license for weirdness.

I didn’t used to mind the weirdness. Tom Cruise wants to put his money in a tax shelter and call it religion? Fine. Follow that up with a critique of psychology as a legitimate medicine practice? He’s an asshole, but I didn’t give him enough credit to care. Fergie wants to pee-pee in her pants without a Huggies, then shower in champagne to cover it up? Have fun! But then these weird-ass movie stars decided to tell the world how to parent. That’s when I became annoyed.

First, we had Mayim Bialik telling us that we need to breastfeed our kids until they’re five. (Anyone else think of the movie Grown Ups when you hear that?!)  January Jones, of Mad Men fame, wants you to eat your own placenta after you deliver your afterbirth. (And I know that in some less civilized cultures, that’s acceptable, but I’m a middle class American. We don’t cannibalize our extraneous organs.) Now, Alicia Silverstone wants us to feed our children like we’re pigeons by chewing our food and spitting it into the waiting infant’s mouth. Oh, hell no.

Here’s my problem: for one, parenting is a completely individualistic practice. No two mothers are alike, and no two children are alike. Prescribing any parenting practice is risky business (haha, Tom Cruise joke!) because methods that worked in one family may fail in another, and who will the failing family blame? The person who offered the advice in the first place. Not a wise idea if your income is based on your likability. My other problem with this celeb-mommy-culture is that too many people put these assholes on a pedestal. For these people, anything a favorite celebrity spews from her mouth is scripture. Cameron Diaz wants me to exfoliate with llama fetus eyeballs? Sounds great! Jack Black suggests I huff Dorito Cheese dust to make my hair grow longer? Yum! So when the Hollywood-types tell you that you should cover your kid in olive juice every day to prevent AIDS, some ignorant imbecile will take that to heart and buy a Costco-sized jar of olives.

Weirdo celebrity parents: keep your strange-as-shit thoughts to yourself. If you want to name your kid Pilot Inspektor or Jermajesty, be my fucking guest. No skin off my back. But to promote your strange (and possibly harmful) parenting tactics to your unassuming, impressionable fan base is wrong. You’re fucking with a child’s well-being when you tell his parent to eat a lock of his hair every year on his birthday, or whatever unusual shit you do with your children. Just like with politics, Hollywood Freaks, keep your nose out of shit you don’t understand, and stick to acting/singing/slutting.

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Vagina Vengeance, or: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

22 Mar

I had the most horrific, gruesome vaginal delivery of anybody I know. What do you think?

The first day of FCATs (for you non-Floridians, that is the No Child Left Behind high-stakes test that Florida students have to take and pass to graduate), I felt the anxiety levels climbing. For the past several weeks, my obstetrician had been warning me about my escalating blood pressure levels, afraid that I would fall into the risky hypertension zone if I wasn’t careful. He wanted me to stay away from stress, red meat, horror films, etc. At 37 weeks pregnant, dealing with the stressors of getting the students rolling and fearing their plummeting scores was no picnic. By the end of the first day of testing, I had a massive headache, and I was especially swollen. After work, I stopped by my Obstetrician’s office to pick up some paperwork. Aware that my blood pressure had been climbing the past few weeks, I asked a nurse if she could quickly take my BP as a precaution. She told me that the office was closed, and to head across the street to the hospital’s Labor and Delivery ward. I followed her instructions. In the hospital, they tested my blood pressure for two hours and collected my urine to test (ew, gross, right? Keep reading; it gets worse.) Upon reading my scores, the OB on shift had me stay the night for further observation. And then another night. After about 72 hours of observing my vitals, one of the doctors in my practice told me that I had preeclampsia, also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension. As a result, she wanted to get the baby out of me ASAP before my astronomical protein levels climbed even higher, rendering me possibly comatose.

Like a whirlwind, I was moved from ante-partum to the labor and delivery unit, where the doctor broke my water and hooked me up to oxygen and a million other machines. The team started me on Pitocin to initiate contractions, and I was officially in labor. I had a magnesium sulfate drip thrusted into my veins. If you’ve never had “The Mag,” let me tell you something: it makes one feel like one has a nasty flu. Imagine being in labor with a fever and other flu symptoms. It sucks. It was a necessary evil, though, to prevent me from having a BP-induced seizure (which this epileptic is prone to.) Of course, when they shoved the catheter in me, that was just as pleasant as a spring day…or not. I will admit to being slightly amused watching the nurses empty out a milk jug of pee from under my hospital bed, and having no knowledge as to how it got there. But I’m just weird. Moving on…

Two hours later, I was dilated enough to receive an epidural. There was never a question as to whether or not I would have one; I’m no fucking hero. For the next eight hours, I labored painlessly as the epidural worked its magic. I even napped a little; good thing, because I would soon learn how much I needed that rest.

When the nurse told me it was time to push, the doctors eased up on my epi so I could feel the contractions. What they did not anticipate is that my kid wasn’t in the mood to be born, and after the first twenty minutes of pushing, the medicine wore off completely. I pushed and pushed and pushed for two hours. Two hours of unmedicated pushing. Nobody else among my friends and family pushed for that long. Moments before that final push, my kid turned sideways in my birth canal, and even though she was a teeny preemie, her exit caused a third-degree tear in my baby door. For those of you unfamiliar with the terminology, a third degree tear means that I was split from baby door to food dumpster. In other words, there was a brief window of my life when I only had two holes, not three.

The nurses put my brand new baby on my chest for skin-to-skin bonding, and I remember looking down from my kid long enough to see my OB stitching me up with a length of thread longer than my body. Seven months later, I required additional surgery to repair the disaster area that used to be my lady-parts; that’s how badly I tore. To add insult to injury, I pushed so hard and for so long that I blew a bunch of capillaries in my eyes, and every bit of white part was red for two weeks. Even my kid’s pediatrician made fun of me for that one. (She took one look at my eyes and said, “Rough vaginal delivery, huh?” Thanks, Bitch.) (Remember that episode of Family Guy where Stewie tries to crap in his diaper but blows the blood vessels in his eyes instead? Yep. That’s precisely how I looked.)

Doesn’t that sound horrendous? Gentlemen, doesn’t that make you glad you were blessed with a penis? Ladies, do you pity me? All that pain, all that pushing. Most of my friends who experienced vaginal deliveries pushed for anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, just to put it in perspective.

And even though I had the worst possible vaginal delivery, I still would rather do that again than face major surgery to pull my kid out. My stitches did not require me to wear elastic-waist pants (just those delightful hospital mesh panties, of which I stole dozens.) While my recovery was painful as shit, it didn’t limit my mobility. My discomfort did not prevent me from holding my brand new child, as many other C-section moms I know experienced. I didn’t have to worry about resting her on my stitches while holding her in the rocking chair; I just made extra sure not to sit on her. The resulting surgery, seven months down the line, was a bitch. The preemptive medical work leading up to the corrective surgery was a bitch. It was also pretty rotten to hear my OB tell me that he’d rather I never deliver vaginally again. I decided, though, to fuck his recommendation and attempt a vaginal birth in the future, should Pterodactyl be blessed with a sibling one day. There is no way I’m voluntarily going through what my dear sister Daisy suffered, and she was among the lucky ones!

Tell us: what was your vaginal birth like?


© Daisy and Violet 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Shrink Rap

16 Mar

Mental health is a funny thing. Your body could be operating at 100%, while you run five miles daily and eat nutritious meals, but if your mental health is imperfect, the rest of your world fails you.

I’ve been wondering why we have such a stigma against mental health treatments in our society. My husband and I are both in therapy (for different reasons), and we’re both medicated for what psychologically ails us. My family is completely supportive of our efforts to improve our mental health, just as they are of our efforts to lose weight, eat healthy foods, and exercise. Coming from a family where mental health is valued, I am shocked when I hear of the stigma that accompanies it in the rest of American society. I know my parents and siblings are more liberal than the norm when it comes to their perspectives on psychology and psychiatry, and I’m sure that is why I can’t comprehend how mainstream society perceives it.

What’s the problem, people? Why, as a culture, do we look down on people who treat their mental health with the same focus as they treat their physical health? We’re a society who will admonish a smoker for polluting his lungs, but we choose to look the other way when a loved one is trying to cope with depression, anxiety, or stress without a physician’s supervision.

I have the MyFitnessPal app. Dozens of friends send me encouraging comments online when I remain under my calorie intake goals for the day. When I joined a local gym, I got virtual high-fives all around. When I lose pounds, I’m rewarded with congratulations. Everyone wanted to hear the gory details of my graphic and painful labor and delivery, and congratulated me for pushing the kid out with strength and gusto. But when people find out I’m in therapy, and especially that I’m on medical leave from work to focus on my mental health treatments, they’re astonished. “Mental health isn’t real health – why did you use up all your sick days and take leave?” If you haven’t lived at the mercy of debilitating mental health, you can’t possibly understand.

I even quit breast-feeding for the sake of my mental health. Those of you who read my “Why I Quit Breastfeeding…and that’s OK!” post remember that I was struggling with internal and external triggers for depression after I had my baby. My choices were to either continue breast-feeding and try to fight my demons independently, or to resume my medication schedule and stop breast-feeding. (And yes, they were mutually-exclusive choices. Psych drugs are categorized as a Class 4, which means that they do effect fetuses and do transmit to baby through breast milk.) A stable, healthy mother is so much better for my child than a crazy mother with active mammary glands.

For those readers who are wondering if therapy is a good choice for you: it is. Whether you suffer from extreme depression symptoms or are simply passive-aggressive, therapy is an excellent way to exorcise those problems and get to the root of your troubles, thereby extinguishing them. Contrary to popular belief, therapy IS for everybody. Shit, even my therapist goes to therapy. We all come with baggage. (Reminds me of that episode of How I Met Your Mother where people are carrying around suitcases that say things like “Daddy Issues” or “Oral Fixation” lol) Some people have more problems than others, but I don’t know of one perfectly stable, confident, mentally- flawless person. Insurance is a bitch, and these treatments can be costly, so research what your insurance will and will not cover. Did you know that in many states, Medicaid even covers mental health treatments?

Before you resume passing judgment on those of us who take charge of our mental health, why don’t you check out the benefits that therapy has for yourself? You may find, like I did, that you love it. To those of you who are already working toward psychological Nirvana, mazel tov. You’re making a fantastic choice for your life and the lives of those around you.

© Daisy and Violet 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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