Friday, February 20, 2009

An Ode to my body...

Having spent so much time reminiscing about how my body used to look, and how much my scar bothers me, and how defeated as a woman I used to feel just at the prospect of my own cesarean, I felt compelled today to write more about how well I've healed, despite everything.

Now I know, I've complained an awful lot about my c section. I still do not like that I was cut open. I mean hello - that's the most important part of my body, and nope, I didn't like the experience one bit and frankly, I find the idea that first time mums are choosing this procedure over natural childbirth...well, completely straight-jacket-style insanity. But hey, after all of that, my bouncy little body actually did manage to rectify itself pretty nicely. Let me show you a
picture of what my scar looks like right now:

Now honestly, isn't that really quite neat? There's been not tomfoolery or doctoring of the above snap - you can tell because you can see where I had my clothes on my belly (the wrinkled lines). It's not causing me any kind of trouble. I have absolutely no overhang, as I know some ladies with c section scars have been left with. That's my tummy, up there - that's how it looks. Just a little red slit really, isn't it. That's just the exterior, too - I can't feel the stitches in my muscles at all any more and my uterus feels totally separate from the external scarring I have - actually, my womb feels completely healed - yes, totally whole again. The cut on my womb in the first place, when full term, was smaller than the external cut and went the same way.

All together, I think I've done rather well - or rather, I think my body has done rather well indeed. I've just sat here wrestling with emotional issues - my body has known how to heal with the help of my vitamin concoction, which has become an object of confused fascination for H, who now wants to put up a shelf to house all the bottles. I agree - I think I do need a shelf. Perhaps I need an entire cupboard in which to house the herbs and vitamins that have helped me heal...

Anyway, so there we have it. That's my belly. In the end, the incision scar is a permanent new resident of my body and I have no choice other than to try to welcome it into my being and provide it's tissue the same nourishment and healing potency as I give to the rest of my body. Psychologically it's still hard to totally do that, but I try more every day and as I try, I find that the very small amount of feeling I lost in that area is slowly coming back.

So there, that is how Josie came out. Now that I am healed, perhaps soon there will be another little life deep inside there to shine it's life force out through my belly and my incision. Perhaps I will get a tattoo on my incision some day, try to celebrate it some how. I don't know.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My fellow mamas...

I wanted to write an ode to the beautiful women who have helped me through this process of healing. They are in my most favorite group of people in the world and I love them all so much. I am touched every day that they are there with me in spirit as I heal, and that they honor me by allowing me to be there with them as they too, heal.

To go through something like this is, as someone I know once put it "the most difficult thing a parent will ever have to go through". Absolutely true. Losing a child is not something that one can ever plan for, not even if that child is diagnosed with a life threatening or terminal illness. At the end of it all, there is that silence, no matter what - when a moment before, a child's heart was beating, and then it stopped. It's that finality that is the edge of the cliff into nothing, and really, there's nothing that can stop you from falling, bleeding from the heart, into the void that is below.

Now when you're falling, you can fall alone into this dark blue, cold, endless abyss. It is so deeply frightening, and you cry so much you can barely stand to breathe any more. It's amazing really, that you even can go on living. I think many of us were astonished that our own hearts continued to beat as those of our children were so still.

But, if we're lucky, we have support when we fall from other, wise people, who will fall with us and join hands. Falling all together like that, we form a giant parachute of people and drift through the seemingly endless void of nothingness, until one day, we see a ground below, and brightness coming out of the darkness. Like parachutists coming out of the sky, we can support each other until we come to land in the new world. Depending on the support, we can land in a far better place than someone who fell alone.

I think of us, myself and the wonderful fellow mamas and other amazing people who have helped me and our little family cope through this as many versions of Icarus, who tumbled from the sky when his wings melted. Angels all shot through the heart by their tragedies and their empathies, but who are luckier than the legendary Icarus in that they found others like themselves to create a substitute for wings by which they could travel down safely to earth again. I don't subscribe to the Christian version of an angel, since I am of a more pagan heart, but I can call people angels nevertheless!

So, there is a thank you so far to all of those who have been there and who continue to be there. You are truly wonderful, worthwhile, brave, strong and valuable people.

Low Fat Food...

Alright, totally off topic (well, mostly) but I have to have a dig at low fat food today, consequences be damned.

It really bugs the heck out of me nowadays, that I cannot seem to walk into any large corporate grocery store and find normal yogurt. I see "low fat" written on practically everything, bar two brands that I know of. I don't want low fat yogurt, I want normal, cultured, normal fat yogurt, preferably containing strawberries or peaches, which are also normal. No added color or preservative or crazy-making E numbers, just plain old normal yogurt with normal fruit in it. Where the hell has that gone?

And another thing: low fat "meals". It's bad enough that you have to eat two of the "one serving" ready meals when you're feeling lazy, but those low fat ready meals really take the biscuit don't they? There's not enough in one of those cartons to feed a large mouse, is there? Does anyone in the world (bar those with reduced stomachs - and I am not one of them) really get full off one of those? Plus, on top of that, they cost about $3 each and contain artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives and whatever else. What a rip off!

Companies boast left, right and center about "low fat" this and "low fat" that. People actually drink skimmed milk nowadays and still firmly believe they are drinking milk. Does anyone actually know the fat content of full fat milk any more? It's about 5%, for those who are interested. Funnily enough, that percentage equates to a "95% fat free" product which in any other case would be labeled a health food! Yet people seem to believe that cutting down to tinted water is going to make them thinner, or healthier. I firmly do NOT believe that cutting down from whole to skim milk (without other dietary changes) will make anyone thinner, unless half their diet is milk. And unless we're talking about a nation of calves here, I doubt that can be the case.

What the hell happened to eating a balanced diet? is a balanced diet cutting out sugar and all traces of fat, starving yourself and watching the calories on everything you eat? Nope. How about this: eat more fruit and veggies as a part of your daily diet. If you're full, stop eating. If you're eating a full Olive Garden style mean every two hours, perhaps it would be wise to cut down, no?

How can it be that eating a tiny sandwich with hydrogenated vegetable oil as a spread and low fat ranch loaded with artificial stuff to make it taste real can be a better option than wholewheat bread, with a nice slab of turkey, normal butter and mayo, and some greens, plus a nice bowl of peaches and cream as afters, all washed down with a lovely hot cup of tea? Apparently the caffeine isn't good, the fat isn't good, the meat is too much, the BREAD has too many calories in it and mayo has now become the Devil's little friend.

Come on people - there's no need to eat enough for six, sure, but you do realize we NEED CALORIES to LIVE, don't you? Yes, that's right, eating 800 calories a day is not a good choice as a normal diet - you need about 2000 on a normal day just to get done what needs doing. Dear God, get up, walk the dog, play with your friends and encourage your kids to do the same and for cripes sakes, eat a normal, balanced diet free of artificial crap while you're doing it.

Personally I will take the mayo, the butter, the slab of turkey, the nice CALORIE laden wholewheat bread and the caffeinated cup of Earl Grey and burn it off doing fun things. At least when I die (eventually) my body won't sit there, preserved from all the artificial preservatives I've been eating for 70 or 80 years. I don't want anyone digging me up in 2000 years and saying "Wow, did they embalm her well!".

Nix the silly, expensive, low fat fake foods and stick with the real stuff in moderation. That's all I have to say about that (a la Forrest Gump). Okay, rant over.