Help me develop a DBT-based parenting program!

This program will be based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If proven successful there is a high possibility it will be moved online to support moms from around the world!

Here is the link for the survey! Thank you for your help and support 🙂

Experiences of Mom’s with Borderline Personality Disorder/Borderline Traits

 

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!!

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: He is here!

Motherhood&Madness

 

I may be especially absent over the next few weeks because my son is now in the world! Needless to say, all of my attention is on him and healing my body (which I for some reason did not think would hurt the way it does…silly me).

When I have sorted through some of my other work I hope to share my birth story here. It is probably the proudest moment of my life and one that has left me feeling stronger.

For the privacy of my son I will not be sharing his name, initials or pictures.

I finally have a therapist to see through the psychiatric program that specializes in women with mental health issues and pregnancy/postpartum. I have this therapist a lot later than I thought I would but I’m glad I have one now because I was ready to leave the program.

I look forward to sharing more of this adventure with you and hearing about your adventures with your own children!

Motherhood & Madness: My Top 5 Fears

Motherhood&Madness

B and I recently completed our hypnobirthing course. For our last class, we were asked to think of our top 5 fears and rate them on a scale of 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest). I would like to share my 5 fears with you as I believe there is much about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood that we don’t talk about. Many parents are shamed for their fears despite the majority of parents having the same fears.

  1. I am afraid that B will not be there for me after the birth (ranked 5): Certain things in our relationship have me fearful that it will mean I do a lot of parenting alone. While I completely recognize that as the mom that is staying at home with our son I am going to do most of the baby care I am afraid that it will even extend into when he should also be caring for our son. B has verbally said that he will be there for the baby and the fear is still in the back of my mind. It will be a transition for both of us and we will have to negotiate.
  2. I am afraid about not knowing what labour and birth will feel like (ranked 3): This is a huge unknown for me as a first time mom. No one can accurately describe pain, and everyone experiences pain differently. I think this fear is mostly linked to me being nervous that I will not recognize when labour is beginning. Hypnobirthing is used to help manage pain but what if I can’t use it because the pain really catches me off guard? I just don’t know what this experience will be like.
  3. I am afraid that I will isolate myself and not socialize/lose friends because I have a baby (ranked 3): I already isolate myself from others and have been for over 2 years. I don’t want to use the baby as an excuse to stay away from people and experiences. I know that if I do this then I will plummet into sadness. I have heard of people losing friends after they have children and I think it’s more about being at a different stage in life. I don’t want to lose anything because I’m having a baby. I want to gain.
  4. I am afraid that I will not bond with my baby (ranked 3): Pregnancy is very abstract. I can see pictures of my baby, hear his heart beat, feel him move, see him move and I can even feel body parts. I still don’t see him as being something that is real. I do feel this has affected bonding and I know that actually holding him will make a difference, I still cannot shake the feeling that I will see him and after the initial high I will still feel detached. What parents wants to feel detached from their child?
  5. I am afraid that my baby isn’t growing (ranked 1): People keep telling me that I look small. When we think of pregnant people we think of a huge belly and I don’t really have one of those. I think this is also a common fear that will never leave me. Parents always want to make sure their children are healthy. I do know that I am growing as evident by the measurements done by my midwife, my belly pictures, and ultrasound pictures. Still, every month I wonder if he is growing.

These are fears. They are not facts. Many of my fears can be dealt with, with facts (ie: measuring my belly to ensure growth) and proactive strategies (ie: attending mommy and baby groups). We all have fears while pregnant and becoming parents. I think if we didn’t have fears then we wouldn’t properly prepare ourselves, open ourselves to different possibilities and improve ourselves.

Article: Having Kids with a BPD Diagnosis

Check out the post, “Having Kids with a BPD Diagnosis” on the Roanne Program website!

This article is extra fun because I am quoted in it as Pride in Madness!

“Pride in Madness states “I will have children. I will love my children. My children will be alright. ”

What has it been like for you to be a parent with a mental health diagnosis and/or with emotional differences?

Mad Pride Toronto 2016: “A Mad Mother is not a Bad Mother”

Please check out my latest post for Mad Pride Toronto 2016 about becoming a Mad Mom!

http://www.torontomadpride.com/2016/05/a-mad-mother-is-not-a-bad-mother/

Many of us are familiar with the judgement people pass on us as parents in general and when we have emotional differences the judgment becomes even stronger.

Probably one thing I am really excited to teach my son is that everyone has a different mind and that we are all supposed to. I want my son to always challenge normality and find peace with who he is.