While I am not looking forward to the long editing process, I am thrilled to have done it!
So, how was your November?
With the holidays approaching, life can become stressful for anyone. Imagine being pregnant or having just given birth, this adds to the worry and anxiety for moms. There is a place to look for help in the comfort of your own home.
AnxietyBC.com is a not-for-profit organization. Their mission is to increase awareness about the various anxiety disorders. The site helps promote education for the public, persons affected and those in the health care industry by increasing access to resources and treatments that have been proven.
Services and Resources they offer:
What about baby’s birth effects?
Will I have a miscarriage?
How will I cope with the pain of the labour?
Will I be a good parent?
Will the baby change my relationship with my partner?
It is Anxiety BC’s aim to help women learn how to effectively manage anxiety during the pregnancy and postpartum period. They do that by helping to recognize anxiety before and during the time. They will also show how anxiety can affect the pregnancy body. Tools for self-care during and after pregnancy is crucial for all moms. There is also information for loved ones to help the expectant mom.
Anxiety is very common for expectant moms. It can be harmful on personal and professional relationships. Many don’t seek help in fear of the stigma and discrimination for their anxiety.
There is help for women. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable. By getting help as early as possible will improve your quality of life.
For more information:
Turning 40 this year sparked something inside of me. After going through a health scare within the past year and coming out all right, stirred something inside me. While I laid on the operating table staring at the ceiling and waiting for the staff to do what they need to do, I had one regret. I didn’t write enough. I didn’t write enough of my stories so my girls would know more about me.
When I woke up and the ICU ceiling came into focus , I felt calm. I knew what I had to do next. I made a promise to myself to write the painful summer my mom died and what happened afterwards. As I healed, life got distracting in another way. I read a lot as I recovered, and was finally given a clean bill of health.
As fall progressed, the kids got settled in their classes. I resumed my love of writing. Then, I turned 40. I spied the Surrey International Writing Conference updates. For weeks I stalled buying a ticket. I did not feel adequate. I had a little blog, stories in collections and my self-published kids books. I felt I needed to up my game before going. Despite the fact that I lived only 20 minutes away from the conference, it nagged me.
So, I toe-dipped on the Sunday half-day. I was anxious to meet with two writers that I met with online: Kim Foster and Leanne Shirtliffe. When I found out that one of my favorite YA writers, Janet Gurtler, was conducting a workshop, I was hooked.
With any conference pass you can book a meeting with an agent or editor to pitch your work. One agent I have noticed was available for the Sunday morning. So, I booked it regardless of my apprehension.
As I entered the Sheraton Hotel in Guildford I was greeted with warm and kind people who directed me where I needed to go. I got very crazed at the Book Fair, which was run by Chapters. They had an abundance of great titles available for purchase. Shortly into the morning speech, I had to leave to meet the agent.
My heart pounded as I checked in and waited. I didn’t have a completed manuscript. I questioned myself why I even came. Then, I got called and away I went. I was nervous and felt like the agent could hear my heart pounding. Because they started late, I never got my full pitch out and the next appointment was waiting. As I prepared to stand up, the agent handed her card to me in slow motion. Along with her card was an offer from her to want to read it when my manuscript was done.
I floated through the rest of the day, which ended way too fast.
As I said my goodbyes and drove home, I felt confident that I did belong there. Even if this bite doesn’t pan out in the end. I did it.
Thank you SIWC for breaking me out of my comfort zone. I will be back.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Neuroplasticity and Education: Strengthening the Connection conference. The Eaton Educational Group hosted the event. The group consisted of Eaton Arrowsmith Schools, Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre and Magnussen School. For those who know me, you may be shocked that I went. But, here is why-
I had the chance to listen to the great speaker line-ups that came from all over North America to share their experiences, education and knowledge about the brain. The day started with Dr. Justin Davis who covered his Brain Basics to set off the day. He went from what happens in infancy through to the age that brain development slows down (29 years old). He covered how the hippocampus (map of the brain) is like a bush with branches. There is no proof that spatial memory is caused by a person’s brain having a larger map or hippocampus. He also reinstated what every parent knows: 60 minutes of physical exercise is crucial for kids and adults for their brain health and fitness. He also covered how supplements for Omega 3Fatty Acids are not proven to be effective. It is best to eat rich foods instead. Exercise and nutrition do provide the best learning tools for our kids.
You can find him on Twitter @drnoggins
The speaker that really caught my attention was Dr. Max Cynader, who covered how to maximize the brain’s potential. There is proof how some people can be genetically predisposed to learning disabilities. Genes can predict your health success. It can also be a warning about future health risks so one can plan to combat genetic history illnesses before they start. The early, the better.
I reacted to this in a good way. My youngest daughter (who has ASD) and I went through a BC Cancer Agency genetic study to see if we had the gene Cowden P-ten Chromosome. The reason we qualified for the study was because my sister has the gene and it was linked to her cancer battles. The same gene has been linked to my health issues, and also girls with autism and big heads. That helped us on so many levels to get what she needed. We are able to tailor her therapy programs by knowing what to focus on.
The morning progressed with other speakers, all whom had a core message: exercise wakes up the brain. Dr. John Ratey, who had us do an exercise right away, confirmed that it did wake us up a bit. J The doctor talked about ways to get out of a bad mood—go for a walk. Dr. Ratey is an advocate for pe4life.com team by helping schools reach students potential with different exercise techniques, including having students use exercise balls and bike desks to keep them engaged and learning at school.
Dr. J. Brad Hale began the late morning sessions by covering how neuroscience will revolutionize education. It makes sense since the brain is the organ responsible for learning. Teaching results in the changes in brain functioning, including children with learning disabilities who process information differently than neuro typical children.
He also covered how stress during pregnancies can cause mental illnesses. It IS the first 5 years of a child’s life than can help in the brain development. The brain is plastic, which allows the rewiring to either be functional or dysfunctional in during development.
This is a fact that still needs to be learned by expectant parents. We have the ways to control our baby’s brain development. And no, it is not Baby Einstein. It is instigating and maintaining a positive learning environment from day one.
Dr. Hale has many books out on how teachers and professionals can assess kids for potential learning disabilities. As each child is different, so is its ability to learn. We just need to have a better understanding of the brain to point in the right direction for teaching.
Thank you Eaton Arrowsmith Group for letting me come and answer some questions from attendees, and allowing this autism gladiator to learn more on how I can help my daughter’s team lead her in the best direction possible.
For more information on the entire speaker line-up check out: www.
For more information about the schools and how they can help your child who may be struggling, check out their site: http://www.eatonarrowsmithschool.com
So, this is 40 and I could not be happier. This time last year I feared turning 39, the age that would make me older than my mom at her passing. Subsequently, my dear husband and loved ones surprised me with a fantastic party. Friends from all over sent well wishes and precious gifts with kindness.
I still have those days of guilt, like why did I get to live when my mom didn’t? Then, I feel extra guilty because that thought it is not fair to my girls. When I got hit with the tests that revealed that I needed a hysterectomy fast, I got very scared. I became wrapped up in getting my household ready while I was in great pain. I avoided my emotional pain through distractions that included making sure my husband knew our youngest’ therapy schedule, amongst other details.
When I woke up in ICU after the surgery, I was filled with exhilaration. My giddiness made the staff think they gave me too much morphine. At that time I did not know if my journey to good health would be on hold, or be okay. Some days it feels like I have lived 1000 lifetimes. If only I could go back to my 20s to teach myself then what I know now. But, would I have really been the same person today if I did?
The biggest lesson I have learned in my 30’s is to rid my world of the toxic people and the Negative Nellies. I used to sweat when people would not ‘like’ me, or I would try lame attempts to be their friend. What I did not rationalize is why would I want them as friends? “Mean Girls” became Mean Moms. Life is too short to not surround myself with loved ones who see me in the good, and especially important the bad times.
Could Have/Should Have
I used to think that if I knew that I was going to be a new mom in my 30s I would have done things differently. I would have traveled more, saved more money and tried another shot at a career. If I went through the other door, would I still of had my girls?
Do What I Love Now.
Doing what I love is the sanest and simplest way to be the best me. I began writing when my oldest was just a baby. In between naps, diapers and tantrums, writing became my vice. It did not matter if I was sleep deprived, I felt my creative self being fed constantly. Writing has evolved to a part-time career that I can do from home.
The last lesson I learned this decade was to trust my instincts. In my 20’s, I did not listen to my inner voice enough. This decade, I began to fine-tune my gut instinct enough to rely on it. When I steer from it, a roadblock appears. Go figure.
As I enter the Fab 40’s, I am showing more gratitude for today. It is the only one I have.
What have you liked/disliked about a certain age? Any lessons have I missed?
Early this summer I had to go in for urgent surgery, a hysterectomy. Here is why it was the best thing for me.
For once, my family history made me a priority when my periods became erratic. I have suffered from endometriosis since I was a teen. It slowed down during my two pregnancies. Last Christmas it picked up speed painfully. It got to the point I wasn’t able to leave the house or be a present mom.
What They Found
After waiting for the best OBGYN in town for months, she sent me for test. Thankfully, I got in quickly. At that time, several fibroid tumors and one polyp was found in my uterus. Surgery was scheduled 5 weeks from the original testing date. There was no time to waste. A partial hysterectomy was scheduled quickly. (Uterus and tubes removed, ovaries were clear.) My body took a turn for the worst fast.
Baby Factory Closed
Due to the endometriosis, I never expected to be pregnant once, let alone twice. Three doctors told me I could not conceive naturally. After meeting my girls and seeing my youngest go through her challenges with autism, my baby factory is closed. I am at peace with that. If I ever feel a baby urge, I can visit one of my friends’ newborns.
No more late-night grocery store trips when I run out of pads. No more impossible-to-handle cramps when my girls need me. No more forgetting to stock my purse every week in case I am out when ‘Aunt Flo’ arrived.
I am here!
Because of my high-cancer risk due to a genetic disorder I have for ovarian and endometrial cancer, having the surgery reduced my risk dramatically. I am older than my mom lived. History has not repeated itself. I won’t let it. Apparently my body agrees.
I turn 40 on October 10th this year. I cannot think of a better birthday gift than being alive for my family and me.
I am frozen mid-step. My eyes are burning in hopes to not be recognized. The bright sun does nothing to warm my heart. I sheepishly look down at my phone as the woman passes, hoping she does not stop. Instinctively I raise a hand to my heart to try to get it started again.
Damn. I feel the tears rise in my eyes as I race to my car. Fumbling my key in the lock, I finally get it as the waterworks open. My heart is on the floor again.
I thought it would get easier as time wore on. What a load of crap.
I see the woman stride over to the entrance to her shop, a store I may never go in again. I hope she did not see me. I could not bear the questions or the idle chitchat that makes grief so hard to swallow. I could not help it. Opening my mouth was not an option.
It has been two weeks since I have seen her and her staff to fill my order. I have no idea if I will be in there again. The pain is too raw.
For the first time in 19 years, our home floors do not have the echo of our four-legged boys. A short while ago, our beloved Indy passed away. IT was the most excruciating task I have ever done as a parent, to deliver the news to our oldest girl that he died. I can still hear him through our walls, whining for breakfast. Or hear the click of his claws on the hardwood, racing to jump on my lap.
A realization answers my question. Every time a loved one passes, it opens up the old wounds. With that, I know I am never going to be grief-free. It is about going one day at a time.
After her first week in public school, I felt the urge to write this letter.
Dear Teacher and Other Parents,
Do you see the mom standing off to the side from the other parents at school pick-up?
Chances are she just has nothing in common to say to you.