Today, I would like to share a few resources for mental health and crisis assistance. While that may seem like a depressing conversation for such a joyful holiday, I want to acknowledge that there are people who are struggling, and might be having a tougher time than usual because of it being a holiday.
All resources are geared towards Ottawa and Canada. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to either google your own city, or reach out to people who can help you.
I’m certain that this topic could be discussed in WAY greater detail. A whole dissertation’s worth, in fact. However, I don’t have that kind of time and I’m not getting a PhD afterwards. Feel free to continue the comments.
We watched Let it Snow on Netflix a couple weeks ago. (Super cute movie) In this movie, there is a lesbian relationship. I don’t think it’s spoilers to say that the girls kiss at some point during the movie. Our 3 year old daughter was very confused by this kiss. “Where’s the boy?” she kept asking. It took us a few tries to figure out what she was getting at. Apparently we’ve been watching too many Disney movies, because to her, relationships were a boy and a girl. I say were, because as soon as the movie was over, we corrected her. She didn’t believe us. So we pulled out a book that we haven’t read to her in a while (apparently). Promised Land. It’s a typical fairytale romance, with just the one slight change. The romantic leads are two men. She believed us after that, thankfully.
I’m not saying that Disney movies (or any other movie or book) is wrong to portray heterosexual relationships. Go for it.
But I’d like some diversity, please.
I’d like, for once, for a Christmas movie to have two men play the romantic leads. And I DON’T want the movie to be about them “finding themselves” or “coming out to the family” or any other trope.
I want the typical romantic movie. One goes home for Christmas to his family from the big city. Oh look, the guy he had a crush on is still super hot. Hijinks ensue. Due to Christmas magic, they end up together. You know, the Christmas movie we usually get on Hallmark channel.
And I know the perfect book to adapt. Faux Ho Ho, by ‘Nathan Burgoine, has ALL my favourite tropes. They were roommates, check. Fake relationship, check. There was only one bed, check.
So come on, Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon Prime! I know the book was only released yesterday, but why haven’t you made a movie yet??
I want my children to grow up with movies and books that include all types of relationships. Gay, lesbian, poly, ace, you name it, I want it. And please use the same tropes as for the het relationships.
My friends and I are getting to the age when our kids are getting shots that were not available when we were young.
The chicken pox vaccine, for one. (Varicella)
I, personally, had a very severe case of chicken pox over Christmas when I was 7 years old. My dad (and his mother) weren’t sure if he had had it as a kid, so I wasn’t allowed to go near him OR my 3 year old baby sister. Not a great Christmas.
Now, there’s a vaccine that prevents the horrible, full-body-and-sometimes-inside-the-mouth-and-on-the-eyelids, itchy rash. I’m ALL FOR IT. The vaccine, I mean.
But there’s another vaccine that wasn’t around when I was young: HPV9.
I heard about it in University. I was still under the age limit to get it for free, and chose not to. I think that was a mistake. I was not very well informed about it and I regret not looking into it better.
Because the HPV9 vaccine protects against 7 types of HPV that cause types of cervical cancer, anal cancer, and genital warts.
And, more importantly, you can get HPV without having had sex.
Because HPV is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact, if someone with HPV touches their genitals (say, wiping after going to the bathroom), doesn’t wash their hands (ew), and then touches you….you have a pretty good chance of catching it.
So if you have the chance, please get the HPV9 vaccine. It is super safe and will protect you for the rest of your life.
I’m sure, if you’re on the internet, you’ve seen the image of the girl putting a condom on over her arm. She wrote a tweet back in 2015 to prove that anyone saying that their penis is too big for a condom is either not telling the truth or hasn’t done their research.
While a regular condom might be too tight on a larger penis, there are definitely options out there.
It is important to wear the appropriate size of condom. If it is too loose, it might slip off inside the partner. If it is too tight, there is danger of it ripping.
To use a condom size chart, you must first measure the penis, both length and girth, while it is erect.
And remember, natural vaginal lubricant, saliva, and lubricated condoms are NOT sufficient amounts of lube for intercourse. Friction will require additional lube (and make sure to get lube that will not disintegrate your condom).
You might notice that a pregnant person has especially lustrous and thick hair. This is because of the high levels of estrogen and increased blood volume; during the nine months of pregnant, normal hair loss just…doesn’t happen.
After the baby (or babies) is born, hormone levels and blood volume decrease dramatically, but in terms of hair loss, that doesn’t start happening until at least a couple days after the baby is born, and sometimes up to a couple of months!
But this re-start of regular hair loss doesn’t mean that they’ll go back to the normal amount of hair loss – there are nine months of no (or low) hair loss to make up for! The walls of the shower, the pillow, the hair brush – it starts to feel a little scary to see the massive quantities of hair being lost, especially if you weren’t aware of the phenomenon.
One of the ways to help mitigate is to get a short haircut.
(This has the added benefit of not getting your hair in baby burp-up, because no matter how chill your baby is and how little they burp-up, they still will occasionally, and if you have long hair, it WILL get in it.)
With my first child, I wore my hair in a ponytail until she was 4 months old. (And even then, I occasionally got my hair stuck in a sticky wet mess on my shoulder.) At that time, I read an article about a baby that had almost lost a toe because one of the mother’s long hairs had wrapped around the toe inside the sock.
So I chopped off my hair. Better not to risk it. And I deeply regretted not getting it cut earlier. It was so much easier to deal with!
Now, with my second child, I cut it off just before he turned 1 month. I’m barely noticing the hair loss (at 2 months, it is still possible that it hasn’t reached maximum loss yet) but compared to when I had long hair, I doubt I will notice unless it starts falling out in clumps.
Longer hair definitely makes the hair loss seem more extreme.
Shorter hair also reduced the amount of stress on your hair follicles. Less weight, less brushing, and fewer forceful hair styles (pony tails, braids, etc) means less hair loss.
There are cases of extreme hair loss – large patches of missing hair, higher levels of hair loss for more than a year – and in those cases, see a doctor. It could be related to a hormone imbalance or a vitamin deficiency.
There are things you can do to help lessen hair loss other than chopping your hair off. Diet, supplements, reducing stress, and modifying hair care routines can all help. See the references for more details.
But how do you choose your doula? Where do you find one?
If you have a midwife, most offices keep a list of doulas
that work in the area. Even OB/GYN’s are beginning to come around to the idea
of doulas as partners in the birthing process and asking at your doctor’s
office could be a good place to start.
Ottawa is home to the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Center,
located on Walkley Road. It can be a huge resource for parents looking for
birth options and for links to local doulas. On the third Wednesday of every
month, if you have a midwife, you can attend their Choice of Birthplace seminar and it can be very informative if you
are on the fence about where you want to birth and the type of birth you are
looking for. Especially for a first-time parent.
There is also word of mouth. Ask around among other pregnant friends, see if anyone recommends someone, and doing a google search for doulas in your area can also give you a place to start.
Finding a doula and choosing a doula are two different
things. It’s a good idea to interview your doula options, ask about their
previous experiences, their training (if they have any), maybe some references
if they are really new. But when it comes down to choosing your doula it’s
about connection. You might connect with the one who has 14 years experience or
you might connect with the one who has just finished training and is looking
for some experience. Pay close attention to how your gut feels about the doula.
“I think connection is one of the most important things,”
says Anderson, “because it’s very intimate giving birth. You need to be careful
with who you have there and the people who are there should be on your side and
you should feel good about that.”
The process of birth can be an incredibly empowering
experience for women, and a doula can help avoid traumatizing pitfalls that can
stay with women long after the labour is over, affecting their mental health by
increasing the chances of postpartum depression and making it more difficult
for a mother to connect with their newborn in the days and weeks that follow.
Whether you enlist a doula to support you in your labour or
not, please do your homework on what your rights are and be aware of the
cascade of interventions that can lead to a less than optimal outcome for both
mother and child. Medical advancements have saved a lot of children, but when people
rely too heavily on machines and stop listening to their bodies, the scales tip
back towards there being a potential for more trauma due to unnecessary
interference. The US has some of the most medicalized births, relying very
heavily on machines and interventions, but they also have worse birth outcomes
than some third world countries, so those machines do not necessarily know
better than a woman’s body what it needs to do.