On Self-Care, in Theory and Practice

I developed really bad depression during and after my pregnancy, so I've been made aware of the concept of self-care. The hardest part for me is the guilt of putting myself above both my husband AND my son. Basically, there was roughly a year where my husband had to do everything - work full time, take care of the house, look after his constantly-vomiting (then utterly self-hating) pregnant wife. Add a baby, and how can I claim I deserve 'time off' more than him?

But if I don't take that time off, my brain will cave in on itself, and that's so much worse for everyone.

For now, I'm trying to find ways to self-care that can be crammed in around other-care. A way to balance my own needs with my guilt (which I'm also working on!). I'm making some little kits of a nice essential oil blend and some hand or body lotion (and perhaps a small piece of really good chocolate). The idea is to create a moment of ritual and pleasant smells/touch to ease my mind, short enough and simple enough that I can do it while the toddler's eating breakfast or on the way to work.

Posted on November 15, 2014 at 8:18 pm 2

On The Shark Has Pretty Teeth, Dear: Why I Teach Women Self-Defense

I'm afraid I have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to 'Women should learn self-defense to avoid being raped', and your article made me examine it more fully.
I realise now that my reaction is probably rooted in the fact that suggestion is usually offered as part of a set that includes gems like 'dress appropriately' and 'avoid going out alone late at night' and all those other damned platitudes that are dribbled out as 'simple common sense'. Shark's teeth is such a perfect description.
Thank you for so clearly defining the paradox, and pulling my mind away from this particular shark.

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 10:55 pm 0

On Writing, Depression and Learning How to Handle Attention: A Conversation with Allie Brosh

I used Allie's pain chart during childbirth. It worked really well, especially when I made the joyful discovery that I'm really susceptible to the Happy Gas. I'm lying in the bath, sucking down the gas whenever a contraction hits, and when my husband asks what my pain is like, I say (giggling) 'I see Jesus coming for me, but it's okay. Want some of my gas, JC?'. The midwive is very confused, so my husband is all, 'Uh, there's this website called hyperbole and a half, and there's a pain chart on it and..'
'Oh, I remember that one,' says the midwife. 'OK hun, let me know when the bear's mauling you.'
It was a Bonding Moment.

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 12:55 am 15

On An E-Mail Announcement From the Proud New Mommy

@pollypeachum Um, is it bad that I've told my husband I want my 'push present' to be a plate of soft cheeses? We heard of the whole push present thing, both went WTF? and then I told him triple cream brie was what I was really dreaming of.

Posted on May 13, 2013 at 10:34 pm 2

On Scandals of Classic Hollywood: In Like Errol Flynn

During my undergrad biology class, the lecturer announced that Flynn's dad was best known for an experiment in which he fed a dog a piece of meat with a long piece of string attached. Eventually, the string came out the other end, and this, uh, proved that our digestive tract is one long tube? Showed how long dog digestion takes? I have no damn idea, I got stuck on the mental image of a dog-on-a-rope and now it's the first thing I think of whenever I hear of Errol Flynn. (FYI, the dog was apparently quite fine with the string arrangement, but knowing what I do about 1910's science, that could be taken a number of ways).

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm 1

On Ask a Woman in a Wheelchair

@OxfordComma: Thank you for asking this. We've got a few wheelchair-bound people in our area and some hills/ramps (a particularly large one is the only way to our train station's platforms). I offer to help but I'm always really conscious of how I say it because on one hand: patronising, but on the other hand: it's a big honking ramp, you know? Then I feel like I'm being ableist for even thinking about it (I don't think twice about helping someone get a pram onboard) and now everyone can see I'm a neurotic weirdo, can't they?

I never push the matter if they refuse, so at least I'd be okay with your aunt, @packedsuitcase!

Posted on September 25, 2012 at 11:28 pm 0