Monday, 16 January 2012

Abortion: my story.

I am against abortion (Or if you want to use the term designed to make it more palatable: termination of pregnancy. Or better still: ToP).

I always have been.
Sure there are some exceptions. Like rape or a child conceived out of incest. I still don't think that I would personally go ahead with it, but I can understand that some women may choose to.


That had always been my stance on abortion. Until............. life happened, and changed my mind...

My second baby was planned, wanted and loved (as was my first). We were so excited! Our family was finally going to be complete. The first few months were very similar to my first pregnancy: pretty easy. A bit of morning sickness and a good dose of tiredness but nothing out of the ordinary.

And then our world crashed.
Tests revealed that bub had been exposed to a condition that was very likely to cause severe fetal abnormalities. We were faced with potentially having a baby who could not feed himself, who would never talk, who would never run around giggling his little heart out, who would not hear the lullabies I'd sing to him.

Our doctor did not know much about the condition. He said that we needed to consider our options and that a termination of pregnancy was one of those options.

We went home devastated. We cried and cried and cried.
In me, was this precious little being, whose heart was beating, and we had to decide whether to let him live and potentially have a severely disabled child or take away his life. Stop that little heart beat.
I'd seen him on the scans. I saw his little nose, his hand held high above his head. How could I let them take him away?

Part of me was screaming that we could not have a termination just because he was not going to be perfect. That to me, was not a good enough reason to terminate. If that was what life had in store for us, then so be it. I'd judged women who'd terminated for that reason before.

But when faced with the reality of having a child who could never care for himself, who would be like a baby for all of his life, who would have no quality of life, who would sit there, drooling, watching his brother run around kicking a ball, I did consider having an abortion.

It broke my heart to even imagine killing my child. Because that was what it was to me: I was going to kill my child because I didn't want to have to deal with him. He was relying on me for his life, and I was going to take that away from him. The doctors were going to put me to sleep, go in there and suction him out. Would he feel the pain? Would he scream? I didn't know how I was actually going to go ahead with the procedure. The guilt was going to destroy me. I didn't know how I'd ever live with myself after that.

But it wasn't just me I had to consider. It was the impact it would have on our couple, and more importantly, on our son. Would he be neglected because of all the attention that a special needs kid requires? I know plenty of kids have special needs siblings and cope quite fine but at that moment, all I could see was my son playing on his own because mummy was busy with his little brother's many needs.

And what about my baby? Would he want a life of sitting in a wheelchair, in nappies forever, being fed through a tube? And what would happen to him when we were too old to look after him? Would he end up in a home? Would his brother visit him?

I imagined meeting my child one day, and having to explain to him why we had chosen to do away with him. I was broken.

The worst was that we had to make a decision, not knowing whether or not our baby would have any problems. Would we be terminating a perfectly healthy pregnancy? There was no way of knowing until after he was born. And if we terminated, we would never know.

The guilt of having an abortion, I knew, would stay with me forever. How would I feel about sex after that? How would I feel about falling pregnant again? How would I get up the next morning? How do you go to hospital and lie on that bed for them to take your baby away?

The toll on me would be immense if I killed my baby. But perhaps it was what had to be done for the better of my family, including my unborn child. Perhaps it was the sacrifice I had to make.

We gave ourselves a week to decide. We spoke about it and cried for a week. On our own. Because this was not something we could share with friends and family. We couldn't face having to tell them that we'd decided to terminate. When someone close dies, friends and family are there to support you, but when you grieve after an abortion, you grieve on your own.

At the end of that week, after many tears and sleepless nights, we chose to keep the baby. We couldn't go ahead with the termination. We would take our chances. The doctors said that he may be ok, and we held on to that.

I have always been against abortion.
And I still am.
In principle.
Especially when abortion is used as a means of contraception.
But when faced with reality, I considered it. And I can now understand why some would choose to have a termination in those circumstances. I personally couldn't go ahead with it, but I know the heartache. I understand the pain of having to make that choice. And I will not judge again.

Part 2 of this post coming soon: the stress of the pregnancy, the endless tests, and our baby.

Monday, 9 January 2012

My opinion on drunk driving idiots (including me).

2 things:
I think people who drive drunk are complete idiots!
And I've done it before. Once.

It was stupid. Absolutely stupid! I'd had a few drinks. Felt fine but knew I was over the limit. I lived just around the corner (literally 2 minutes drive) in a small country town (a village really), and it was 2am (so not likely to see any cars). In the car, were my boyfriend, my brother and his friend.

And the police stopped us.
What were they doing there?? They are never there! And I mean never! I was shaking like a leaf. Trying to look cool and relaxed.

Oh gosh! It's my mom's car, she is going to kill me!

The policeman asked for my license and had a look at the car. And then... let me go.

I could not believe it! No breathalyzer!

I think the fact that a woman was driving three men around suggested that I was the designated driver so they didn't bother.

That was the first and last time I drove "under the influence".

When patients come to see me and admit to drunk driving, I put on my psych, non-judgemental voice and we talk about how they feel about it and what the potential consequences are.

But what I really feel like saying is: "you blimin' idiot!!" And that's still putting it mildly!

What an incredibly stupid thing to do! Never mind the fact that you are putting your life and others at risk, what about the risk of losing your license? Going to jail? The embarrassment? Possibly losing your job? Is it really worth it?

An aspect of drunk driving that we don't always think about is the impact it has on both the victim's and the perpetrator's families. Before writing this post I asked for stories about drunk driving and that was the common thread: the impact on the family left behind. With jail time comes loss of income as well as embarrassment for the rest of the family.

I personally know someone who was killed by a drunk driver. She was 16. He too thought he was fine to drive. They all do. And he killed someone. She was someone's daughter and sister. She played the guitar.

Could you live with yourself if you killed someone? Take a minute to really think about that. Imagine being responsible for the death of someone. Being the one who actually caused someone to stop breathing. If it was out of your control it would be hard enough, never mind if you had been drinking.

So next time you go out drinking, don't be an idiot! Grab a cab home. Call someone. Sleep in the gutter if you have to. It may not be pleasant, but it beats killing someone.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Why I haven't been honest

So here's the deal: I haven't been completely honest with this blogging business.

A few months ago, as the end of the year was approaching, and with it the end of my maternity leave, I started dreaming about being a stay at home mum and still being able to contribute to the family income. I looked online and found out about these individuals who had made a fortune (ok, a reasonable income) blogging.

Image Credit
So I thought I'd give it a go. I had visions of going viral and companies paying me to advertise their products on my page. Yeah, kind of funny now. And I do feel a bit silly for even thinking that was a possibility.

The new year has come and I haven't quite gone viral. So it's back to work for me. Not without a sad heart...
When I first started blogging, I wanted to write honestly about different topics. I wanted this partly to be my safe space where I could write whatever crossed my mind without worrying about what others thought and a place where I could be me. Not the psychologist with the poker face who can't say what she really thinks or feels.

I managed that to a certain extent. But the truth is, I was so concerned about increasing my readership (because that's what you need for companies to pay you to advertise their products), that I carefully thought about what I was writing. See, I was concerned that writing about my thoughts on abortion for example may lose me a few followers.

So a lot of topics were watered down or outright dumped.

However, something good is happening. Now that I'm giving up on making an income out of this, it doesn't matter whether or not I have a lot of readers (although it does matter to my ego! Lol!). This means I am now free to write exactly what I think. My priority now is to use this space to share with you, some of my thoughts and fears and failures and successes.
Not to make an income.

So I won't be blogging quite so often anymore. I'll write when I feel like it. When I have something to say. Phew! What a relief to not have to try and come up with a new topic EVERYDAY!

I'll probably also be posting some images, funny or inspirational on my Facebook page. I won't flood your wall, promise.

If you want to stick around and hear about it and perhaps share some of your fears and failures, awesome! If not, it was really nice "meeting" you. And thanks for your support over the last few months.

Bring on 2012!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

How to improve your self-esteem in 5 minutes.

How's your self-esteem at the moment?
Feeling on top of the world?
Love your body?
Think you are a good person?
Happy with your role as a parent/partner/professional?

If you are anything like me, you go through phases of feeling like you really have owned your place on earth and can justify your existence, and at other times, you feel completely and utterly useless as a parent, you question your skills at your job and look at yourself in the mirror and wonder where those love handles came from!

Well, when I'm having one of those days, one thing I like to do is to look back at my achievements. Sometimes I look at what I've achieved that day and sometimes I go all the way back to the last 10 years.

It doesn't have to be any major achievements. Something as small as "managed to not kill the plant (even if it was a cactus)" is something!

So now that we are almost at the end of 2011, it's time to look back at the year. Here's my list of achievements (in no particular order) (Gosh isn't this egocentric! Oh well, it's MY blog!)

The little human I created -
bub a few minutes old.

- Had a baby (that's big when you think about it - I created another human being!
- Got a promotion - albeit a small one.
- Started blogging.
- Put together lots of pieces of furniture.
- Made Christmas advent calendars (I am not very crafty!)
- Helped a few people along the way (patients).
- Completely planned a surprise holiday overseas (hubby normally does that).
- Ran workshops.
- Lost all my baby weight.
- Taught my toddler to write his name, say thank you and draw circles.
- Supported hubby through some very difficult times.
- Decorated my baby's nursery complete with painted wall art.

As I said, some of them are small and some huge, but I do think that we shouldn't underestimate our role as mums, partners or colleagues. You just don't know how much of an impact your actions will have.

As I look back at 2011, I see that despite my faults and mistakes, I have achieved good things.
Good things for me and good things for others.
 And that's all that matters in the end.

What have you achieved?