Monday, August 4, 2014

Messages to Women: World Breastfeeding Week

It's world breastfeeding week.  The world is celebrating breastfeeding.  

I thought I'd take a moment to explain the basis of why I advice for breastfeeding and breastfeeding moms. 

Beyond the benefits for mom and baby, I think it all comes down to messages society sends to mothers. 

Breastfeeding is hard. It might be natural, but it takes some hard work at the beginning. And society is set up to make breastfeeding hardER for moms. From the culture of harassing and shaming mothers who breastfeed in public, to standard birthing processes that sabotage the process, to lack of maternity and family leave. But, what does society do to women when we a) set them up for failure and b) tell them they are incapable of nourishing their babies? 

When it comes to moms with chronic illness, the lack of researching on medications and lactation (when such research would be relatively easy to do) means that doctors often wrongly tell mothers that because of their disease, they can't breastfeed. What message is the medical community sending women when they say that because of our disability, our bodies are incapable of nourishing and feeding our babies? What happens when we are denied a basic biological process? 

This is why I will keep working for moms with chronic illnesses. This is why I will keep asking the question "what about breastfeeding?" This is why I will keep sharing the latest research. 

Until the medical community recognizes patients as whole beings with the desire to become parents, get pregnant, breastfeed, I will keep pressing, I will keep blogging. 

-SM

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tidbits

Why did I choose a black background with white text for my blog theme?

Because it's easier for me to read when I have a migraine.  Dark screen = good


That's it for random tidbits.
- SM

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Kiddo's Chores

I met someone today who was surprised that my little one (now, officially 3 years old) has regular chores. 

There are so many things I can say to that, but the bottom line is, my background as a teacher and special educator mean that I am all for teaching independence in areas that I can. 

Yes, I baby my little one and many people would say she's spoiled because she still sleeps with hubby & me most of the time, I still kiss booboos, I cuddle her when she asks...

But nevertheless, she still has responsibilities around the house. 

Here's what she is expected to do:
-feed the dog (we have a pre-measured scoop so no over- or under- feeding)
- put dirty clothes in her own hamper
- she is the designated salad-spinner
- clearing her own place from the table after meals/snacks

Now that she's three, we're going to add wiping the entire table after dinner, and "making" her bed. 

The bottom line parents (especially spoonie parents) is that we need to EXPECT our kids to contribute to household chores early on.  So many parents are over-worked and over-stressed because they do things for their children that the children can do for themselves-doing both ourselves and our children a disservice.

What chores do you make your little ones do? What is one task you can delegate to them to make your house run a little more smoothly? 

-SM

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Turns out, I don't have to fire my neurologist

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about Firing my Neurologist.  I felt that she and I were no longer communicating, and that she had hit a wall with my treatment, and maybe wasn't willing to speak up to me about it.

Well, I went in for what would have been my final visit to her last week, and she admitted that she was running out of treatment options and wanted me to see an acupuncturist and that she wanted me to see "the" headache specialist in our area. (Well, 60 miles away)

I was very excited to hear the words.  This doctor only takes patients with a physician referral from a treating neurologist, and I wanted to see him.

So, it turns out that she WAS hearing my frustrations about the daily headaches and migraines.

I'm glad that we were both on the same page about where to go next.

That goes to show that you should give your doctors a chance when you are frustrated with them, and that you should make sure that you communicate your wants and desires with them.  Many doctors are listening.

In the end, I did end up firing my primary care physician, because I gave him that second chance and he wasted it.  I'm happy with my new PCP, and I'll post the questions that I used to interview my new doctor later.

Because patients need to forget that they are not only patients, but they are also consumers, and they have rights.

Have a great week!

-SM

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Celebration of Toddlerhood

I love babies.  Love them. I'm one of the few people that don't mind the sleepless newborn phase of parenting.  (Probably because I was fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom and I was able to sleep when the baby slept)

I mean, newborns are fantastic. The smell good.  They want to be snuggled, fed, and changed.  Not too difficult.  I had no problem getting small chores done around the house because I wore my baby in a wrap-style carrier.  It was wonderful.

HOWEVER, today something happened that I wanted to share with you:

Me: Kiddo, do you want to go to the library and store with mommy?
Kiddo: Yes! Go bye-bye with mommy.
Me: Okay, go to potty and put your shoes on and we'll go.
(Kiddo takes herself to the bathroom and then puts on her shoes)

Not once in nearly three years of Kiddo's life has been going out been that easy.  Not having to check and refill a diaper bag, change a diaper, take twelve steps to get her dressed.  It was that easy.

So, although I miss having a baby, and I do want another one, let's celebrate this phase of parenting.

-SM

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Entertaining a kid during medical appointments

We've talked about how difficult it is for a mom of little ones to entertain kids during medical appointments.  Although it isn't easy, I have found one thing to help with entertaining a kid while waiting to see a doctor or during appointments when I need to talk to a doctor with minimal distractions.  

I finally got the idea to bring crayons with me so kiddo can color on the papers covering the exam table.  They have to change the papers between patients anyway, so why not let the kid have a big pallet to keep themselves entertained?



It's getting easier to keep the kiddo entertained during appointments as she grows older. It still bothers me that doctors that don't typically see pediatric patients don't look to see how to keep their offices entertaining and safe for children.  

From little things like electric outlet covers (hello, safety!) to simple toys and books, the steps to keep children entertained and therefore their parents less stressed during appointments are a great way to look at patients as whole people.  

I mean, even my church has bags for parents to take that are filled with coloring books and quiet toys to keep kids entertained during service, so why couldn't a doctor's office?  


Monday, June 16, 2014

Forcing Rest

I went on vacation this past weekend.  I pushed my body a little further than I would normally.

I climbed this sand dune, for example.


The weather has turned where I live to hot, humid, and miserable- that means more syncope for me and more swelling than usual.

I am having a particularly difficult period this month.

I'm starting to feel the familiar pressure of the facial neuralgia returning.

It's time for some landscaping projects at my house that NEED to be done, so I went plant shopping today even though I knew I needed to rest.

I have about 1200 loads of vacation laundry to do.

But, I am forcing myself to stay in bed for the rest of the evening. If I don't, I know I'll regret it.  My spoon bank account needs some replenishment. 

-SM