What would you want out of a BPD Mom program?

My boss has given me permission to begin research in the hopes of creating a program for Mom’s with BPD improve their relationship with their children and themselves. I am preparing a survey and in the meantime, I wanted to reach out here! If you do not already know me, I am a Mom who experiences borderline traits.

There is a lot of research out there that bashes Moms who experience BPD. Resources for Moms with BPD are scarce and I want to change that! If you feel comfortable, please leave a response in the comments below or you can wait for the survey as it is anonymous.

Who am I looking to hear from:

  • Moms who have BPD, borderline traits or believe they have BPD and have never been officially diagnosed.
  • Moms (of any age child)
  • Pregnant, first-time moms
  • Women who would like to be moms

What I would like to know is: if you signed up for a program on Mothering and BPD, what would you want in it? What would help you the most improve your relationship with your children? What would make you feel confident in your mothering as a first-time mom or someone who wants to be a mom?

 

Motherhood & Madness: I knew this would be hard but this is REALLY hard.

I am staring at the computer screen trying to think of how to illustrate to you how difficult I find my life now. This does not mean I hate it, it just means I spend a lot of time wanting to throw my hands up in the air and say “fuck it”. After having my son, I was supposed to not work for a year. This did not turn into a reality. B was supposed to be actively involved. This did not turn into a reality. I am trying to hardest to balance caring for my son and work to bring in money. I also take on the majority of the responsibility for the physical chores and mental work (ie: noticing my son’s needs and what our household needs to function). I am not different from the millions of women and femmes that are in these beautiful and strenuous loving caretaker roles. This is new to me though and the adjustment makes me want to rip my hair out.

I finally know what sleep deprivation feels like and it feels like stupid. I am very forgetful and cognitively slow. I never feel rested. I always feel like I’m pushing myself and running on fumes. I find myself spending longer in the bathroom or shower when I can so I can have more time to myself. I bubble with rage when B says that he’s tired because I know he has slept longer than I have. I cannot for the life of my figure out why B has time to watch a movie and I don’t. How is it that he has finished 2 books since our son was born and I have started 4 books and abandoned them all?

I am trying to balance everything because I need to radically accept that this is what is happening in my life. I was life-balance_23-2147533397given a colouring book day planner and have started to attempt to organize my time. I have decided to dedicate 2 days a week to each of my jobs. None of these days will be weekends. All the other days will be solely dedicated to my son and to doing enjoyable activities during his naps such as reading, colouring, meditating and whatever else I want. I want to enjoy my son and when I am worried about fitting in work I do not enjoy him. He deserves all of me.

Well, a new year is a chance for a new me right?

I wish you all a very happy new year and that 2017 brings you one step closer to wellbeing 🙂 We got this!!

Check out more posts from me on Healthy Minds Canada!

I am very pleased to be a volunteer blogger for Healthy Minds Canada. Any opportunity for me to share my experiences, knowledge and help others is always a great opportunity. To date, I have published 2 blogs. I would love it if you would check them out and also check out the other blogs from other Canadians.

Self-harm free! 

“*Content Warning: Talk of self-harm, no details* My name is Kristen and this is my first blog post for Healthy Minds Canada. I am beyond excited to be able to announce in my first post that December 2016 is the month I celebrate 2 years of being self-harm free! Wow!”

You are perfect how you are in this moment.

“A popular picture “pinned” by others on my Pinterest account reads, Note to self, I am doing the best that I can with what I have in this moment. And that is all I can expect from anyone, including me.”

 

Join me in learning DBT Skills!

When I get right down to it, if I had not of learned Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skills I would not have my son. I feared that if I did not get my emotions under control I would not be able to properly cope with the trials of parenthood and not give my child the best version of myself. Before DBT, I felt stuck and worried that I would never have the family I knew I deserved.

Very quickly, I saw that the DBT skills were changing me. Emotion regulation skills taught me about my emotions (to listen to them, not hate them) and how I can influence them. Interpersonal effectiveness skills taught me how to better communicate my needs and that I am not responsible for people’s responses. Distress tolerance skills taught me how to cope in times of stress and how meeting my physical needs helps tolerate emotional distress. Mindfulness skills taught me how to slow down and notice the moment so I do not become overwhelmed in this fast paced world.

Maybe you can relate to my experience. Maybe your emotions and ability to cope with them are holding you back from having a life worth living. I would like to encourage you to consider joining me in learning DBT. I work for an organization, based out of Toronto, Ontario called Dialectical Living. We have spots currently open for our 2017 DBT skills classes. The great thing about our classes is that you do not have to live in Toronto to attend! In February 2017 we are launching our Intro to DBT course ONLINE! Learn DBT with me and my co-facilitator wherever you are in the world!

In the Intro to DBT course you will learn all of the core DBT skills over a 12 week period. The course is cost-effective and one of the most affordable DBT courses out there. It is very important to myself and the staff at Dialectical Living that we are as affordable as possible so everyone who needs DBT can access it.

To learn more about our courses please visit our website: http://www.dialecticalliving.ca/online-skills-group/

 

Motherhood & Madness: How Radical Acceptance is Changing My Life

Motherhood&Madness

 

It has been awhile! So many things have happened aside from giving birth to my son that I have really struggled to prioritize everything that needs to be done.

My son is almost 2 months old. These have been the most wonderful and challenging 2 months of my life. Around the third week after my son was born I found myself feeling very frustrated with the changes that were happening. I was sitting in the rocking chair around 3 am trying to get my son back to sleep. I was finding it very difficult and I sat in the chair saying to myself, “I hate this! I want to go to sleep!” I was coming closer and closer to tears. It suddenly dawned on me that I need to radically accept that the situation was happening. I needed to accept that I would find myself up at 3 am a lot (and I am every single morning without fail) and that my son would be fussy for various reasons. I needed to accept that my role as a parent involves sacrifices to ensure my child is fed, comfortable and safe. Radically accepting this doesn’t mean I’m ok with waking up at 3 am, it means that I am going to accept this is my reality because fighting it will do nothing except cause me pain.

I realized in that moment I also needed to change the narrative in my mind. Instead of thinking about how much I hate being awake at 3 am I decided to start thinking that these are bonding moments. Every moment I spend with my son is an opportunity to bond with him. I can see the positive effects of the hours I spend with my son such as getting his first real smiles and him looking to me for comfort when other people are holding him and he is upset. It’s an amazing connection that is worth the few months of broken sleep.

Radical acceptance and changing the narrative have made the past 7 weeks more enjoyable. I am not always successful since lack of sleep can increase emotions like sadness and anger and I am still successful most of the time as I acknowledge that this is allowed to be hard, I am allowed to be upset and that regardless I am doing the best I can for my son.

Motherhood & Madness: I could not have asked for a better birth

Motherhood&Madness

 

My son is now 16 days old! I am able to look back on his birth with memories that involve less physical pain and really appreciate how amazing my birth experience was. I would very much like to share my birth story with you and I would love to hear yours as well!

On Thursday, September 22nd, I went to see my Midwife for a regular check-up and I also was given the stretch and sweep I asked for to try and get labour started. I was 39 weeks and 1 day. While I had no medical reason for this non-chemical induction my overractive uterus (constant practice contractions that would not go away no matter what) was causing me great discomfort and sometimes pain. There were no guarantees it would do anything and I didn’t hold out hope that anything would happen (technically have no proof that the sweep did bring on labour, he may have come the day he did anyways).

On Friday, September 23rd in the afternoon, I began to experience mild cramps that felt like a period cramp. I had been experiencing these on and off for the past few weeks as my body prepared for labour but they hadn’t meant anything. These cramps started happening more frequently and for longer. Something, I don’t remember what, prompted me to put a panty liner on (I think I had felt like something was coming out and didn’t want to wreck my clothes) but I figured it was just regular old discharge. Around 7pm, I felt like I had peed myself and ran to the washroom. There was no pee but there was another liquid. My water broke! I can’t remember if it was before or after my water broke but my mucus plug also came out. I had all the signs that labour was starting!

I lay in bed and tried my hypnobirthing meditations and visualizations to help me get through the contractions which were growing in strength and gradually getting closer together. Despite everything I was trying and had prepared none of my comfort measures were working. Looking back this may have been because I had been allowed to labour alone. My midwife would later tell me that if she had arrived earlier (or if I had a doula) my comfort measures probably would have been more effective. I became the most concerned when I was in the shower and began violently shivering (I did not know that shivering is the body’s way of releasing tension during labour). I contacted my Midwife a handful of times because I felt like my contractions felt stronger despite being 6-7 minutes apart. She said that I seem to be coping well the contractions (doing my best to breathe through them) but I had decided that I wanted to change my birth plan. I was in a lot of pain and didn’t want to give birth at home, unmedicated anymore. We agreed that she would call me at 7 am on Saturday, September 24th and that would be when we could probably head to the hospital and I could have an epidural. “Whatever you want is what I want,” she said to me. My Partner and I called his Mom to see if she could drive us to the hospital. She came over (it was around 2 am or 3 am).

My Partner began to pack our hospital bag and get the car seat ready. At one point my partner was in the washroom and I suddenly had the overwhelming urge to poop. I bolted up in bed and yelled, “I NEED THE WASHROOM!” My Partner quickly got out and I went and sat on the toilet. My body began involuntarily pushing. The sounds that came out of my mouth were sounds I never thought I’d make. I guess I could describe it as a grunt. I can see why people say birth is primal. I became moderately afraid that I would give birth, unassisted and have my baby fall into the toilet. I had my partner call my Midwife and after speaking to me (it was very hard to talk on the phone while experiencing painful contractions and involuntarily pushing) she said she was coming over. My Midwife arrived, along with the Student Midwife, around 5 am on Saturday, September 24th. They checked how dilated I was and I was told I was 9 cm! My Midwife said that since I only had 1 cm to go it was safer to give birth at home (home births are completely safe, I’m talking about reducing my risk of giving birth in the car) rather than put myself in a car and head to the hospital where I wouldn’t even be able to get pain drugs because I was basically ready to push. I agreed to stick with my original plan of having a home birth. By the time my Midwives had set up their equipment (about 20-30 minutes) I was dilated to 10 cm and ready to push. The Midwife in charge of caring for the baby was called and she arrived within a few minutes.

I tried pushing on the birthing stool, on my back and very briefly on all fours and ended up doing most of the pushing on my back with my legs supported. It was the most comfortable position for me. My Partner stayed up by my head and told me that I was doing a great job, that he loved me and other words of encouragement. He responded to my demands of “don’t touch me” very well (touching during a contraction felt horrible) and let me hold his finger (seriously, just one finger was all I wanted) during my rest between contractions. As time passed, I kept asking my Midwives how much longer and where the baby’s head was (I admit that I probably slowed down the arrival of the baby because I was embarrassed about pooping myself so I wasn’t pushing the way I should have). They kept saying “soon” and eventually I said, in a joking way, “You’ve been saying soon for over an hour. That’s not soon!” Once the baby’s head got past the pelvic bone I could feel the pressure and burning pain and the only way to make that stop was to get the head out. I was asked if I wanted to see or touch the head but I said no, that I just wanted to get the baby out. Eventually, the head was born, my Partner saw it, and I felt the pressure ease a little bit (a neck is smaller than a head after all). The hard part was over and now all I had to do was give birth to the rest of the body. As I pushed the Midwives got in there with their hands to help get the rest of the body out. I did stop pushing at one point and said, “Ow” because it was hurting but as soon as I was finished saying “Ow” the baby slid out and was placed on my chest.

I was shocked at this fairly large, purple and puffy baby that had been placed in front of me. We confirmed that it was a boy and he had a good cry. After about 3 min, when the umbilical cord stopped pulsing (meaning my son had gotten all of the blood he needed from the placenta) my Partner cut the cord. I was very happy he did because he wasn’t sure if he would feel like he would want to. I delivered the placenta utilizing active management with no problem (it’s now in our freezer and will be buried under a tree when we buy a house). My son was born on Saturday, September 24th, 2016 at 8:25 am after 13 hours of labour. He weighed 9 lbs 8 oz, was 21 inches long and had a 37 cm head. He’s a big boy and shares a birthday with my best friend!

One thing that amazed me was how I needed every person that was there. If my Partner or a Midwife stepped away for something I felt a little more helpless. That may sound bad but I mean that together the 5 of us were stronger and I needed every person there to make the space feel comfortable and safe. Each person helped me give birth and we were a great team!

I really could not have asked for a better birth. It was exactly what I wanted. Am I going to rush to have baby number 2? Hell no! Pregnancy and birth are a lot of work and the recovery time has shocked me! While some may be able to get up and do everything they want after giving birth that was not me. I had some tears so moving and walking were very painful for awhile. I still have some pain but mostly feel it if I sit down to quickly, sit on the toilet, walk slowly or stand. If there’s one thing that gets to me it’s feeling this pain and having the bleeding. While all of it is normal, it has made it difficult for me to interact with my son the way I would like to. I am getting there though and plan on setting up a little play area for him today so we can do some quick tummy time when he wakes up!

B has been a massive help! He took two weeks off work and while I thought the two weeks would be great bonding time for B and his son, B has also been an amazing support to me while I have been healing. These past 2 weeks have been a special time for our little family. Tomorrow is my first full day by myself with my son. I am nervous but excited. My Mom will come by at some point and I do have some outings and appointments that will keep us both active.

Please feel free to share yours in the comments. Good or bad, it is important to own our birthing experience so if you did have a traumatic birth you can recover from it and learn about how you may want it different if you choose to give birth again. Sharing our birth stories also teaches others about birth. While nothing really prepares you for what birth will be like, it is good to read others experiences to get an idea. Thank you so much for reading my birth story.