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nature or nurture

Image courtesy of Google

Image courtesy of Google

I woke suddenly last night to the terrifying sound of hysterical, uncontrollable screams from my 10 week old baby son. I rushed to the nursery to find him red faced, writhing in agony, almost breathless from screaming. I have never heard anything like it, the closest I can remember are the shocked, indignant cries we first heard as he was pried from his comfortable home in my womb 2 months ago.

I have never known the kind of fear I felt in my stomach as I tried to comfort my precious son. I can’t ask him what’s wrong, he can’t understand me telling him it’s going to be ok, and I don’t even know if I believe that it will be. Thank goodness for all my reading and google Dr’ing because one of the techniques for “settling your newborn” finally worked and I managed to bring him back from the brink of utter madness. In about 15 minutes he was calm in my arms and able to take a feed and fall asleep.

Once he was swaddled and safely back in his bassinet I went to cry in the bathroom and spent the rest of the night listening to his every breath, sick to my stomach that he would kick off again and this time I wouldn’t be able to fix it.

All the other parents out there will understand the fear I felt last night. Somehow, and I am amazed at myself, I managed to control my fear and stay calm through the longest 15 minutes of my life, even though every second I was terrified something was seriously wrong and I wouldn’t be able to help him. In a few minutes every possible scenario played out in my head… the drive to the hospital, the wait for the ambulance… which will take longer? I swear, the neighbours must have thought we were torturing him, his screams were truly blood curdling.

It turns out it was just gas and hunger (evident once a few big burps and good feed had him returned to the picture of newborn perfection). Gas pains probably woke him up and then he realised he was hungry but unable to feed because of the gas pain… and so the vicious cycle begins.

It seems my poor little man has inherited my temperament. Rock solid and reliable until a tiny little something at precisely the wrong moment sets us off… and once we’re off it’s a mammoth task to bring us back down. If only he was like his dad, cool as a cucumber and totally logical and solution focussed in times of crisis. I can only hope his dad’s influence rubs off as he grows up!

So what is the bigger influencer in our lives, what makes the difference in the person we grow up to be? The age old question, nature or nurture?

Take for example how different siblings can be. You all grow up in the same house, with the same parents, same school, same experiences but you can ask how someone’s childhood was and get totally different answers from each family member. How do we all see things so differently? Some people find difficult and painful situations easy to forgive and accept, while others carry the scars with them for life like a crutch.

I’ve often wondered how anyone could ever choose to be angry and hurt all the time, it must be a miserable, exhausting way to live. Why wouldn’t you choose forgiveness and healing? But maybe in the end, it isn’t a choice at all. Can our temperament be so inborn that we have no control over how and where we fit in to the world? Is it unfair to expect anyone to ever really change and grow?

My only hope for our innocent little baby is to have enough love and guidance in his life that he can learn to manage disappointment and fear as he grows up with a little less fireworks. Or maybe his little tantrum last night was a one off and he will grow up like daddy after all. For his sake and mine, I hope so.

mixed recycling

A girlfriend of mine once told me that my writing style reminds her of Carrie from Sex and the City. You remember… the statement opener followed by, “I couldn’t help but wonder”… and the question that neatly leads us in to the episode.

Image courtesy of Google

Image courtesy of Google

I wasn’t sure whether to take this as a compliment or feel guilty when I realised that she was right, have I stolen my writing style from my beloved Sex and the City 20 something years?

So I did… wonder… how much of anything is original these days. How many remakes are there on our screens at the moment of shows and movies we saw as kids (Footloose, 21 Jump Street, Karate Kid), music our parents listened to (it’s true Gen Y, Michael Jackson wrote Smooth Criminal, not Alien Ant Farm!) and books written in a series where each volume is just a rehash of the last (21 shades of monotony anybody)? Have all the good ideas in the world already been used up or is our generation so devoid of ideas and creativity that we need to borrow from the past to feed the future? Is it easier just to piggy back off someone else’s success, a little tweak here, a word or 2 changed there, a bar in a different cord here, and it’s an original composition all of our own?

I’ve always taken alot of pride in my writing, I’ve kept a journal since I was about 12 years old, written poetry, music, short stories, novels. I wonder now if I read back over all my old work how much of it is truly mine, and what I have been influenced to write along the way.

They say imitation is the truest form of flattery, so if my writing style has indeed been influenced by any of my peers and idols, I hope they can take some gratification from any success I may achieve.

And I guess I can always hope for a call from Candace Bushnell and the execs at CBS saying they’d like me as an assistant writer on the next season of The Carrie Diaries!

each to their own

This article is bound to spark some debate as has the subject in recent weeks around the world.

In the last few weeks two women have posted images on social media that have attracted global attention. Here are those images:

skinny mums

Caroline Berg Eriksen, a Norweigen fitness blogger and soccer wife, posted this image in her underwear 4 days after giving birth, prompting angry outbursts from bloggers and readers in Norway and around the world as the image spread. The caption Berg Eriksen posted with the picture said, “I feel so empty and still not… 4 days after birth”. Talk about asking for trouble!

Maria Kang is a fitness enthusiast and former personal trainer. Kang insists she posted the photo to be an inspiration to other mums and was surprised when she received so much negative feedback. One reader commented that she cried when she saw the photo, knowing that without surgery she would never be able to look that way after the birth of her children.

So why did Berg Eriksen and Kang feel the need to post these images publicly? Are they trying to inspire and motivate others or simply show off and feed their own egos? Is it not possible they’re simply proud of the fact that they have been able to maintain their fitness and their figures throughout pregnancy which is an absolutely gruelling challenge on the female body? Are they not entitled to show off a little at the end how well they came through it?

I made it through my pregnancy only putting on 13kgs which was the weight of my baby and the associated fluid etc. A few days after I gave birth to my son I was actually lighter than before I got pregnant. I have a terrible pregnancy to thank for my post baby figure. I lost 10kgs before I even started showing! Even so, am I proud of my body after the journey I had to parenthood, absolutely! Do I feel good when people are shocked that I had a baby 2 months ago because I am so slim, heck yes! Should I feel bad about it that the majority of women struggle to ever get their body back after baby? Well, sure, I feel sorry for them… but I know in a lot of cases they gained excess weight thinking that pregnancy was their excuse to “eat for two” and stop exercising for 9 months.

You can’t control the cellulite and stretch marks that appear with normal and healthy pregnancy weight gain, but it’s totally in your control to keep excess gain to a minimum. If you’re chowing down on pasta servings for two at every meal, don’t be surprised by the end of your pregnancy when you’ve gained the weight of a small human being. And don’t put down women who work hard to stay fit while promoting your own weight gain as a healthy and beautiful part of creating life, it’s not.

Sure, maybe posting these images is a tad insensitive and certainly provocative, but these women have every right to be proud of their bodies. I am not in the least bit offended, if I had gained 30kgs over my pregnancy and was finding it impossible to shift maybe I’d feel differently… but any resentment would be purely driven by jealousy.

In the end, we all have to be comfortable in our own skin. If you are the sort of person who is offended or upset by images you see on line or in magazines ask yourself why. And if you are truly turned off and disgusted, change screens or turn the page. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own self-worth and happiness, you should never let it be determined or influenced by someone on the other side of the fence, let alone the other side of the world.

And if you still can’t get passed the resentment when you look at these kinds of images, just remember that not everything is as it seems and often the people who feel the need to share this kind of information often have the lowest self-esteem of all.selfie

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