Tag Archives: comment begging

Postpartum periods

I’m on vacation with my family, both the one I was born into and the one I birthed, and I am bleeding. Vulva Baby is ten months; with the Boychick I had fourteen, a difference that might not seem hugely significant until faced directly with that half-year difference. I have with me one menstrual sponge — “just in case”, proving either precognition or paranoia — and not so much as a preemie cloth diaper else. I am surviving on simple tasks and stolen Tylenol.

So regale me please, in these my days of need, with tales of YOUR first postpartum periods. How quickly did your menstrual cycle return? Were you expecting it or were you surprised — pleasantly or otherwise? Were you across the continent from your pads and place and pieces of comfort? Did it return and bring with it body dysphoria? Do you long for the perfection of uterine transplants so you can discover their joy (or not) for yourself?

Tell me your stories, that I can curl around them like a too-hot rice pack, soothing and slightly too much at once, and so be comforted.

Help a blogger out

Today was another “Yes! I am inspired! I will write about this Topical Topic! I can feel a kick-ass rant coming on! Wait, but the baby needs to nurse. And now I only have one hand. And the big kid is yelling at me. And now I am a parenting failure, and feel completely drained. No, I will write! Are you fucking kidding me? My blog won’t let me log in. Fine, I’ll restart the computer. WHAT DO YOU MEAN SYSTEM ERRORS?? And now The Man has to go back to work. Right. I will never blog again. Think I can make it as a professional pumpkin carver?” day. Which, minus the pumpkin carving, is at least the third time that’s happened in the last three weeks, and honestly, I’m starting to despair.

See, I could totally go pro with the pumpkins. Yes, that is a rotary cutter. Mmm, power tools.

So, while I wait for The Man to come home three two hours early in an attempt to give me half an hour of writing time1, I ask you: how do you eke time out of Life to, y’know, write? Or how do you stay out of the crazy-dark-despair when you can’t? How do you work on one piece a piece at a time over several days, a skill I’ve never quite managed? How do you make your sleep-deprived, slug-like brain function during the fifteen minutes an evening you carve out? How do you convince yourself that the little you can do is good enough for now?

How the hell do I do this?

And:

Happy Halloween

  1. Think that’s unrealistic? There’s getting Vulva Baby transfered to him, reminding myself what I’m supposed to be writing about, taking Vulva Baby back to nurse, re-reading my Twitter rant on the topic for inspiration, getting interrupted by the Boychick telling me about his video game/asking me to play Chinese Zodiac with him/breaking my heart by talking about how much he misses his dead grandparents and wants to put out a path of petals so they can find him on The Day of the Dead, redirecting him to his dad, trying to shut out the cries of Vulva Baby who has just been woken by her brother’s yells of protest, completely losing it myself, attempting to repair the damage done to both kids by hearing a mother’s primal scream, nursing Vulva Baby again, talking with The Man about dinner, remembering there’s a Halloween party to get ready for, looking at the computer with longing and breaking into tears…

    You’re right, it is unrealistic. No way am I getting even half an hour.

Preggo brain, bipolar brain: the strange and typical experiences of pregnancy

There’s this Thing, and I don’t really know what it is. I thought it was burnout from that last quarter of school/first trimester of pregnancy marathon-sprint-thing. Or maybe about the projects I’m working on outside this blog, which are abundant1. And it would be easy to make the excuse of “pregnancy brain”, or mumble something about how this is a special time of introspection2 and introversion3, a drawing inward to nourish and care for that which is growing inside. And those all might have shades of truth.

But I think there’s something else, too, some other reason that I feel ok shrugging4 and choosing sleep over composition three or four or more days in a row: I think, frankly, my moods are more stable.

This raises all sorts of questions for me. Yes, I’ve often called writing an integral part of my mood stabilization, but it disturbs me to think that without the threat of totally-losing-it it falls rather far on my prioritizing list of urgency (if not importance). What does this say about my “normal”, non-pregnant moods? Have I been a lot crazier this whole time than I thought I was? What does this say about my writing, and its quality? Does motivation necessarily impact performance? Is it possible to parse out the parts of me that are “writer” from those that are “bipolar”, and is it even desirable to try? How can I tell the difference between calm and flat, between stability arriving and unipolar depression descending?

It’s not that I’ve stopped writing, or stopped having off days or hard days or mood shifts at all. It just all seems… less, in many ways5. I thought I would be writing thoughtful pieces about pregnancy, would rant about the way society treats the pregnant body (as property, largely), would opine on pregnancy and birth choices (and how so many have lack of access to same). And I have been, and I will, but the rate has definitely been slower than I’d expected.

And mostly, I’ve been going with it. I give thought to balance, to making sure no part of me is neglected, including this blog6, to dancing over the ever changing ground of this life of mine, a never-ending experiment in dynamic stability. But when I feel exhausted and, though I want to write, I don’t feel the tears building up if I set it aside for another night — I put down the computer (eventually), and amble into bed. And if I find myself doing that more and more often, well… I don’t know what that means. Except it’s probably a little bit of everything. And it’s almost certainly a short episode in my life, and the last time I hope to go through this strange state called pregnancy, so if that’s what my body wants… Why not let her have it?

Although the experience of pregnancy as inward-turning is a meme so ubiquitous at least in my culture as to be cliche, I know it is not the “typical” experience of the emodivergent to stabilize when pregnant. So I ask you: what was your experience of pregnancy? Did you turn inward, did you reach out, did you get more psychoemotionally stable, or less, did you proudly proclaim your “preggo brain”? Indulge my curiosity, if you will. I am, as you know, always a fan of hearing people’s truthful stories, but now perhaps more than usual, I want to know what this is like for others. Not to beg “am I normal?” for I know I’m not (though I also know I’m hardly the only to ever go through these experiences), but just to hear, to listen, to know.

What was it like for you?

  1. Submission for publication, getting licensed as a massage therapist, looking at buying a house (because that’s the thing to do whilst pregnant, I hear), starting the process of zine publication of my own — and yes, you’ll hear more about that last one soooooon.
  2. I can’t be the only one to have noticed the trend of topics lately to being even more personal than usual.
  3. One thing I’ve noticed has been I’ve been linking off the blog a lot less, though I’m not sure that didn’t start before the pregnancy. But I can’t be bothered to research that at the moment. Which itself is probably a more significant explanation for the lack of linking…
  4. With, granted, a smidge of mostly superficial moaning about it on Twitter.
  5. Worse in others, especially on days I’m completely exhausted and the Boychick has nowhere to go to run off his energy, but I wouldn’t say those days are more frequent, just that they occur now after a full night’s sleep instead of after a late-night writing binge.
  6. Because oh yes it is a part of me, and an important one, even if the individual acts of its creation each seem less urgent now.

Reflections on trolls, the bias against emotionalism, and a new way to harass, I mean, communicate with me

Some of the feedback to A really bad day has been… interesting. About what I’d expected, really, but sometimes it’s not that fun to be right. Most of the comments were supportive, some of you really got it, there was a troll who called me middle-class and sheltered (and also a monster, but that was part of hir “I’m-so-clever” trolly shtick), and I got accused of begging for absolution with flowery language.

Was the post a reasoned assessment of the severity of what happened? Was it an objective reflection on the potential damage of that level of physicality with one’s child? No. And it wasn’t supposed to be. It accurately reflected (with its “flowery language”) the emotional state I was in at the time. It fascinates me — perversely, granted — that some people’s response to an emotional outpouring whose intensity they think is disproportionate is not to respond to the emotional content, but to belittle it, and the person expressing it. We (over)value “objectivity”, and hold emotional expressions — especially those we deem “disproportionate” — in contempt.

I could probably do a 1000 word treatise on why, but, frankly, I’m not in the mood. And you all know who-what I’d blame, anyway.1

What I wanted from that post, far from absolution (which I don’t believe anyone else can give me), was two-fold: one, help, which — having asked for — I received, before it was even posted; and two, to be seen, acknowledged, and not rejected. (Which, it occurs to me, is what our children so often are asking for. “Mama, do you love me?” indeed.) It’s what most of the Naked Pictures of Faceless People authors are asking for. It is, I would argue, what most personal bloggers are seeking. When we are seen, naked and raw and we think so very ugly, and are accepted anyway? Not forgiven, not unforgiven, simply seen, and not turned away from: it’s one of the most profound transformitory experiences possible.

One which doesn’t require that our nakedness be as ugly as we think it is. And in fact, rarely proves to be so.

*****

It also amuses me when trolls think they’re saying something new and shocking and horrifying when they ridicule me. As sixyearitch said on Twitter: “No one can hate on me like me. Fools game. Plus I do it better.” Or, to quote the Doctor2 speaking to a version of himself3: “There’s no one in the universe who hates me as much as you.”

Hate me for abusing my child? Disgusted with me for equating what I did with “real” child abuse? Think my writing is self-indulgent navel-gazing? Been there, thought that. Frankly, it’s kinda old. The day a troll says something I haven’t heard from myself before is the day I quit blogging because I’ve achieved perfect silence from the crazy voice and won’t need this outlet anymore.

Not that any of this will stop the trolls. Only silence will, and I’ve no plan to shut up any time soon.4

*****

In other news, I acquired a post office box, which means Raising My Boychick has an official public mailing address!

Arwyn Arising5
Raising My Boychick
PO Box 80241
Portland OR 97280
USA

Send me anything except chocolate6 or death threats7. Or toenail clippings8. Or junk mail9. Or, y’know, anything illegal10

*****

Consider this the kitchen sink post: anything you want to say or ask or comment on or get off your chest or share11 that you haven’t had a chance to in the regular-irregular posts? Say it now! Or forever hold your — well, actually, or say it later. Or, hey, send me a real paper letter! Your choice.12

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  1. Kyriarchy, for the newbies. Which really is a bit of a tautology, in that kyriarchy is the sum of all that which encourages the effed up hierarchies we live under, including objective-over-subjective and intellectual-over-emotional (which some might see as aspects of male-over-female, but I’d argue that’s too gender essentialist). But we’ll leave that as a discussion for another day, one in which I’m feeling far more pedantic. Yes, I do get more pedantic. Yes, you should be afraid.
  2. Yeah, I’m going there. I may keep it mostly off the blog, but never let it be said I am not a Whovian.
  3. Spoilers!
  4. The crazy voice isn’t going anywhere, though sometimes I manage to sing louder than it can whisper.
  5. This is a pseudonym. Though you’ll probably start seeing my real last name around here soonish. And anyone determined could find it in about an hour online right now. But so far, I haven’t managed to acquire any trolls quite that persistent. So we’re sticking with the pseudonym. And it amuses me how many sentences in a row I’ve managed to start with a conjunction, all stuffy rules of grammar be darned unto heck.
  6. Triggers migraines, and yes this sucks, and no I don’t want to hear — again — how awful it is. Because it is. And yet I survive. Somehow.
  7. This one should be self-explanatory.
  8. Ditto.
  9. The toe nail clippings of the mail system, yet less appetizing.
  10. Don’t blame me when you get arrested or investigated.
  11. Dirty jokes? Troll-B-Gon recipes?
  12. This is a gratuitous footnote entirely in honor of Hel. Blame her.

Three questions and an announcement

Not in that order. Because when do I do anything in the expected order?

The Announcement: I have in secret1 started working with a designer to enact a blog overhaul2. I have seen proposals, and I am giddy. It’s still a work in progress, but still: snazzy! Professional! Not the product of many hours of cursing over several days by me! It’s happiness making.

In doing the redesign, a couple questions arose, and I, ever lazy resourceful, would like to put them to you, my readership:

Question One: In addition to the theme change, my goal is to drastically simplify the categories3. Fundamentally, it seems to me, I write about three things:

  1. Parenting
  2. Body
  3. ???

That ??? represents all that other stuff I talk about, privilege and activism and kyriarchy-blaming. What do I call it? Feminism is problematic4, Intersectionality is obscure, Anti-Kyriarchy is negative, Social Justice has a white-savior connotation, Activism isn’t specific enough, Pathetic Pedantry might possibly put people off… I’m stuck. I think Intersectionality/Intersections is my favorite meaning-wise, but I’m leaning toward Social Justice as most understandable — but there’s that I Know What’s Best For You outsider feel to it. Or is that just me?

What do you think? What word would you use to describe that aspect of my writings?

Question Two: One part of the proposal has, as a minor accent, the transgender symbol (without the pink triangle background) — in addition to bi-sexed, male, and female gender symbols. While my goal with including this symbol would be to indicate welcome and inclusion, I worry that it would be appropriative of a symbol that is not-mine. And though I am not concerned about potential confusion for cis people, I do not want to mislead trans readers who may expect something other than the writings of a cisgender woman about a probably-cisgender child.

The broader question is, how, symbolically, do activists communicate welcome without crossing the line into appropriation? How do we state goals of inclusion without purporting to represent the “other” (thereby marginalizing once again)? While the answer in a larger organization might be “privileged folk sit down and shut up”, that doesn’t work so well in a one-person format like this. So: do I have male and female symbols only, bisexed only, or all of the above? Does including more gender symbols make the trans symbol inclusion make sense, or simply increase appropriation?

(Note: I’m not asking for permission from anyone, only opinions; and while I do welcome everyone to comment, if your initial reaction is to dismiss outright any concerns over appropriation, or to put scare quotes around the word, please do us both a favor and go do some more reading first.)

Question Three: Another part of the redesign, and a fairly significant impetus for it, will be spaces for advertising and public service announcements.5 This, somehow, is the most nervous making for me. But after nearly two years (!) of saying “no way will anyone want to pay me” and “there are no companies that fit my tiny, obscure niche of attachment parenting and kyriarchy-deconstruction”, I’m starting to see that I do deserve to be paid for the very real work I do here, there are such companies, and I can support them and myself at the same time.

Do you have a business that would like to advertise on Raising My Boychick? I may not have the most materialistic audience, but my readership is diverse and loyal to companies committed to non-discrimination.

Or, equally significantly, I can showcase causes that I support6, from Best for Babes to Violence Unsilenced to TransYouth Family Allies to… what nonprofits do you know of that could use a little more exposure?

Bonus Favor Request: Still another part of the redesign is to make the blog more accessible; although the designer is educated in web standards for universal accessibility and we are not expecting anyone to teach us how not to be exclusionary, if I have any readers who use screen readers who would volunteer to help out two mostly clueless sighted folk test the new design, it would be most appreciated. If you’re willing, please contact me at arwyn at raisingmyboychick dot com.

Summary: I’m excited. Nervous as hell, but excited. I’m coming up on two years of blogging, and I so ain’t done yet. Don’t you think that deserves a pretty new home? Yeah. Me too.

————–

  1. Secret except for Twitter and everyone I’ve talked to I can get to sit still long enough to tell all about it.
  2. Yes, again. But this time I’m paying a professional.
  3. And streamline the tags, so that they actually are of some use in finding content a reader might be interested in. Or are amusing. I’d be happy with either
  4. By which I mean that feminism-as-a-movement has a long and ugly history (very much continuing to modern times) of bigotry, most especially racism, transmisogyny, and classism. I do not care about palatability to white folk picturing hairy bra-burning man-haters; I do very much care about the real pain inflicted and damage done to women — women of color, trans women, immigrant and poor women, and so on — in the name of feminism.
  5. People have asked me, because I never wrote about it, what I gained from attending BlogHer, and one of the three most lasting things I took away from it was a conversation in the back of a tiny French restaurant, dining at 9pm with a dozen other women, sitting across from Annie of PhD in Parenting, listening to her and others talk about advertising, and finally, finally starting to see how blogging remuneration could be achieved ethically and with integrity.
  6. While I eschew some organizations for being overtly bigoted despite doing some good works, I do not make claims of perfection or complete elimination of all forms of discrimination from all the ones I do support, if for no other reason that I doubt any such organization exists in reality in current kyriarchal society.