Saturday, November 25, 2017

THE "CRAMPY" WOMAN: Cramping your way through periods & pregnancy.

As soon as I watched this video by the comedian Iliza, shared by my wonderful hubby (he loves comedy), I knew what I wanted to talk about this week.


This one will have you all thinking, laughing, almost feeling pity for our gender as women.

Is every woman “Crampy”?  Sort of πŸ€·πŸΎ‍♀️

Menstrual cramps happen due to contractions in the uterus or womb, which is a muscle. Long story short, it’s a muscle and if for some weird reason the oxygen supply to the blood vessels surrounding the uterus are in short supply, you will be cramping for a day or two or the entire time, depending on your body. 

That was BIOLOGY!
Now to REALITY!

PERIODS HURT !
But you already knew that. Didn’t you?

I remember when I first got my period. I was maybe 12 or 13. There was a tradition for the female child when she gets her period. I don’t know if it’s still being followed or if my parents just tricked me... lol.
But anyway, I woke up that morning with a stain of blood in my panty.   



Where I come from- #Nigeria #NaijaBabe πŸ‡³πŸ‡¬#YorubaPrincess #MamaAfrica (waves flagπŸ‡³πŸ‡¬) my dad explained, one must kill a cock and have it for dinner, on the day your oldest daughter becomes a woman.
WHATTTTTT? πŸ˜³
If you grew up in my corner of Nigeria, you probably experienced this bizarre ritual. I even think my parents violated the ordinance and killed a hen instead. I ate it though. The delicious chicken certainly made the cramps hurt a bit less. 

I also went to a female-only boarding school where I saw different experiences of the female specie. Oh boy! You could almost cry for some ladies during their periods. 
A senior of mine would practically pass out when she got her period. Very intense. Some had terrible cramps that Doctors diagnosed would not reduce until child birth.. πŸ˜³πŸ˜³
πŸ™†πŸ½‍♀️πŸ™†πŸ½‍♀️πŸ™†πŸ½‍♀️ I mean what the heck..

True, there are no long-term consequences of menstrual cramps, except your mood can swing from 1 to -10 within an hour for no reason but the cramps. You snap, cry and crave chocolate. Do you know I literally ate a whole cup of gelato on this period πŸ€¦πŸΎ‍♀️. No chill!

Anyway, Since my teen days, I have managed a period and also managed to push out two healthy baby boys. 
I remember a friend of mine who told me her husband literally passed out while she pushed her daughter through those tiny vaginal walls. 

So there is a slight difference between your period cramp and the pregnancy cramp. Actually, this information is for those who haven’t given birth to a child yet.. ha ha. 

On the 9th day of September, I was strapped like a cow, my thighs were gallantly separated, expanded for the baby I had been bouncing back and forth with in my belly to make his way out of my precious oven. 
My blood pressure had been fluctuating so my Doctor felt it was time for an induction since the Baby was 39wks and 5 days.. 
Soon, I felt this warm water beneath my bum, next thing I know I was feeling painful cramps right. Pretty similar to the period cramps but way more painful. I felt like a thousand needles were being pressed deep into my skin simultaneously πŸ™…πŸ½‍♀️. Full disclosure: My husband thinks I have an irrational fear of needles.

After several hours of monitoring and a failed epidural(took it too late or something).. didn’t work for me- The nurse came and did her normal check and saw that baby’s head was almost falling out.. hehe. 
They all came rushing.. 
Push..
Push...
And there came Baby Emmanuel, 9lbs, 3oz, 21.75 long. 

All the Doctors and nurses were amazed that I just pushed a giant of a baby for my first pregnancy. The baby had them all fooled. They kept saying he was going to be about 7lbs, but oh well.. he came out extra extra large. 

Next phase, as they tried to sew me back up, they realized I had lost too much blood. I passed out and had no pulse for a few minutes. I practically died that day and was brought back to life. I was revived and spent the next 3 days in the ICU. So yeah.. you’re all witnesses to my resurrection story. πŸ™πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ☝🏾

Baby number 2 was easier actually. 
Guess what? 
I drank my strawberry and banana smoothie, berry smoothies and carried a jug of water every where I went. 
Being pregnant in the summer will make you Crampy- well any time really, but especially the summer. I was pregnant in the summer with both babies. I would sit naked on my rocking chair... and have the fan... haha. Anyhow... nothing like a fresh breeze on your naked, pregnant body, on a hot summer day.

I look back and I have the utmost respect for my mom. The birth of my first child, Emmanuel, changed my relationship with my mom. Prior to that, we were like frienemies (friendly enemies). I was just purely a daddy’s girl. But today, I am my mama’s girl. We talk practically every day. Though she’s hit meno'stop' now, I just have this respect knowing she did it! She made it through the ferocious menstrual cramps and three episodes of pregnancy cramps. 

Are you looking forward to a “Crampy” lifestyle? 
Lol.. well, all the best! 
We are in this together, one cramp at a time! Don’t forget your chocolate and ice cream.. 

On a more serious note though, during your period;
  • Drink water 
  • Avoid caffeine and salt 
  • Avoid alcohol 
  • EXERCISE! (Ladies don’t like this). 

It is important to feel great during your period especially if you have longer periods. You can reduce the risk of a crappy mood if you eat well, exercise and be emotionally healthy. 

Or well just take it like a woman! 
Comfort yourself in the knowledge that all over the world, women of all races, nationalities, religions, political affiliations, professions, and causes; are feeling the same pain you are feeling. Thumbs up πŸ‘πŸ½ to all the men who will forever partake in the aftermath of a periodic cramp! 


Saturday, November 18, 2017

WHO IS ANGRY?

"Leslie met Andy four years ago at a wedding where Andy was the best man. They immediately kicked it off. Like young couples freshly in love, they were full of passion which sometimes resulted in outbursts and lash outs. One day, during one of their frequent fights. Andy got so angry and struck Leslie in the face. Leslie, unable to wrap her head around the fact that she had just been sent to hell and back, simply stood frozen from the shock.

Andy was angry. He blamed Leslie for not understanding he needed his space, in the heat of that moment. After what seemed like a day apart, Andy would later send her flowers and chocolate, with a sincere apology for his outburst.

Things quickly progressed from an occasional slap, to a regular black eye and bruises for Leslie.

On the afternoon of Thursday, October 26th, Leslie’s cousin, Josh, had stopped by to pay her a visit.
Andy, staggered in around 7:30pm.
Full of rage, and alcohol, assuming the worst, he reached for his baseball bat, and swung it with deadly accuracy into Josh’s skull.
Josh hit the ground for the last time."

—-



Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure. This feeling will happen at different times, at different points and phases in a person’s lifetime.

Dr Cole explains that the first signs of emotions that we see in a child are partially based on temperament, or the individual differences that babies seem to be born with.

Some babies are fine extroverted and will be okay with everyone passing them from hand to hand and some the total opposite.

We are advised to cater to each child according to their temperaments.. Ignoring this important detail in childhood can lead to an outraged adult.

While it is part of the human nature to have this strong feeling of displeasure, just like love, it is important to recognize this emotion and master the control of it. 
What do you do when you are angry?

As a little girl, I would get so angry that I would throw things, or just burst out crying.
Also, as I grew, I watched my parents argue a lot- and even had to play “mediator” between them a few times.
Meanwhile, on the inside of me, a tornado of anger lay brewing, as I suppressed many personal issues.

When I was about six, a teen relative of my dad’s uncle tried to molest me. My brother, who was five at the time, helped me fight him off. I promptly told my parents when I got home.
I watched my dad punch this young man in the face, knocking out several teeth. I was young but I remember it. My dad was very protective of his girls, as any parent should be.

As an adult my anger issues came to a climax when I went through physical abuse.

While some anger might seem justifiable, like a father protecting his daughter, or a jealous lover protecting his interests, or a mother who lost her only child, the truth is, where do we cross the line of healthy expression of anger?

Anger requires a lot of energy and if left unchecked, can be quite destructive. It would be naive to think some anger isn’t normal, but at what point does it become dysfunctional?

On the one hand, anger "can reduce violence, benefit relationships, promote optimism and be a useful motivating force, but it can just as easily be destructive."

On the other hand, the effects of unchecked/repressed anger are presently causing havoc in the world, especially lately. Many families are suffering as a result of extreme acts of violence and terrorism.

“In 2009, in North Carolina, Robert Stewart opened fire at a nursing home, killing seven very elderly residents and a nurse. Police speculated that the forty-five-year-old Stewart, who did not commit suicide and is currently in custody, targeted the facility because his estranged wife once worked there.”

What can we do about all this wanton violence in the world?
If you are asking that question, great!

We really should also be asking: Am I an angry person?

According to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, close to 8 percent of adolescents display anger issues that qualify for a lifetime diagnoses of intermittent explosive disorder.
The Washington Post, while researching Americans’ access to guns; stated that “roughly 22 million Americans — 8.9 percent of the adult population have impulsive anger issues and easy access to guns.”

It is of vital importance to understand anger symptoms, causes and effects, especially if you suspect that you, or someone you know, are suffering from an anger disorder.

Some of the different types of anger include but are not limited to;
  • Chronic anger, which is prolonged, can impact the immune system and be the cause of other mental disorders
  • Passive anger, which doesn’t always come across as anger and can be difficult to identify
  • Overwhelmed anger, which is caused by life demands that are too much for an individual to cope with
  • Self-inflicted anger, which is directed toward the self and may be caused by feelings of guilt
  • Judgmental anger, which is directed toward others and may come with feelings of resentment
  • Volatile anger, which involves sometimes-spontaneous bouts of excessive or violent anger
I think of the six different types highlighted, we should be able to address some of the reasons we feel the way we do.
I believe that when it comes to anger issues, self-awareness is critical.
Knowing the problem is the first step to redemption.

It is true that we can do nothing about the gift of emotion but we can look out for some of the subtle extremes.
For instance,
Do you experience road rage more than once a week?
When faced with a situation you’re not comfortable with, do you lash out instead of constructively expressing yourself?

There are angry people everywhere and everyday. A lot of married couples abhor anger against their spouses.
The world is becoming less safe.
It is not just because of terrorists.
It is because of people. Angry people. People like you and I. Yes they are people first, before the different labels.

Remember that you are responsible for managing your anger.
No one is to blame for your actions.


Sources


Guides, Psych. “Anger Symptoms, Causes and Effects.” Signs and Symptoms of Anger, www.psychguides.com/guides/anger-symptoms-causes-and-effects/.

Ingraham, Christopher. “Nearly 1 in 10 Americans Have Severe Anger Issues and Access to Guns.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 8 Apr. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/04/08/nearly-1-in-10-americans-have-severe-anger-issues-and-access-to-guns/?utm_term=.1d3034ad5e8c.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

GRACE'S ADDICTION..



"Rise and shine!.. Rise and shine..!! It's time!!!" 
Grace pounds her head into the pile of pillows on her bed hoping she was still dreaming.

"Up, up, up sweetheart... It's morning, we have to be on time for Church today.” 

"Mom!! Can I have five more minutes please? P-pree-tie pleaseee" Grace muffled faintly.  

May paused, took a long look at her daughter. 
Grace was born almost ten years ago.
It felt like just yesterday, she was holding her little girl in her arms for the very first time. She was red and full of hair. Beautiful. 
May made her way to the blinds. She flung them open from one side to the other. She waited until Grace got up, staggering to the bathroom.  

Grace loved her pretty dresses. 
She loved to look pretty- like a princess.
Her Sunday school teachers always said she was their little pop star.
She thought the boys in Sunday school were silly. Always lurking around and muttering incoherently. Sometimes cute. But silly. 
Oh, but how she dreaded the morning ritual of grooming herself and getting ready for church. She much preferred her sleep. 

Grace enjoyed spending her Sunday evenings at Lucy’s home. Lucy's family moved in next door about four months ago and they had immediately hit it off. 
They would play with Lucy’s Barbie collection and usually close out the night watching TV in their basement, while the grownups chatted away upstairs. 

On this night, they rummaged through the big box of VHS tapes. “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Lion King”, “Snow White”, the list went on. They settled on Grace’s favorite story, Cinderella. 

Lights, Camera, Action! 

The girls sat grimacing at what was on their TV screen. Everything around them seemed frozen in time.
Grace felt something going on within her thighs.
Like a fountain of gooey springs was forcing its way out of her tightly crossed legs.  
Lucy jolted her friend out of it..   

“Eeww.. what's that?”   
“That's gross...”   
“We shouldn't be watching that..”  
“Where did that come from?”  

Lucy and Grace were inundated by unfamiliar sounds of moaning and heavy breathing from the TV. Cinderella was naked but seemed to be enjoying the strange things Prince Charming was doing to her.   

“This isn’t Cinderella.”  
“What happened?”  

They watched for a few more minutes, hoping the tape would fix itself and reveal their heroine in a pretty dress and glass slippers. 
Instead the naked man and woman, went on and on, oblivious- as though in mockery of the girls’ expectations.   
They soon gave up and turned off the screen. 
But the images would return to taunt them later that night.  

Thus began a habit that would control Grace’s life for many decades. 

As a teenager, she would come to accept that her sexual desires were natural. Her love for x-rated content was justified. Touching herself was a perfectly harmless and satisfying alternative- to having sex.   
The fear of being labeled “a slut” was all that kept Grace from acting on her impulses with boys.  
She would eventually have sex, but it just never seemed to be enough. So she continued to pleasure herself. Every morning as she took a shower. In between classes while in college. Every evening after work. Before sex. After sex. Any time she felt like it. And she felt like it 3 or 4 times a day. Sometimes more.

......................................


The dictionary defines addiction as the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to anything that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

How to identify an addiction??

As defined by Psychology today; Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continuation of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary responsibilities and concerns, such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is out of control, causing problems for themselves and others.


How to overcome an addiction
  • Identify the addiction.
  • Take responsibility. 
  • Be Open.
  • Seek help (therapy, accountability partners, counseling, church groups etc..).
  • Set realistic short term goals.
  • Celebrate milestones.
  • Forgive yourself and try again when relapse occurs.
  • Seek God. 
If you are not struggling with any addictions, here are some things to think about..
  • Are you judgemental in your approach or interactions with people who have struggles?
  • Are you open to helping someone by listening and empathizing with their struggles?
  • Are you willing to sacrifice your time and resources in support of someone else's journey to wholeness?
I also recommend the book, Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions  by Gerald G. May M.D.

Also, for additional information, check out the following websites:

  • www.asam.org 
  • www.addictioncenter.com.

 Sources

Galanter, Marc. “Overcoming Addiction.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 1 Nov. 1992, https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199211/overcoming-addiction

Monday, November 6, 2017

DEALING WITH THE PAST THAT WON'T GO AWAY



A Yoruba proverb says:
 "Bi a ba diju keni ibi o koja, eni rere a koja a o sini mo (If you close your eyes because an evil person is passing, you may not notice when a good person is passing as your eyes are closed)"

Some of the realities of life are not easily summarized on pen and paper. 
If a hidden camera was placed in my home, and it captured everything that went on, I sometimes wonder what you would think of me. I wonder if you’d think my life was a romantic comedy? or an over-the-top dose of drama? Or perhaps a sad tragedy?
What about your home?

Welcome to the imperfectly broken world where everyone and everything seems to have some form of dysfunction. 
This state of “damage” is one of the things that fuels my drive and passion for improving my universe. 
I may not be able to completely fix my broken world, but I can do something about it.
Is it possible to live happily ever after in a broken system, broken heart, broken family, broken country... etc? 

Are you like me who has dealt with or deals with:
An ex lover, ex husband, child/ren from an ex relationship/marriage? A new blended family?
Perhaps a sibling rivalry that went too far?
Perhaps a broken or even non-existing family unit?

Let me be real here for one quick second and say it is never easy. It can get better if you identify your situation, how it makes you feel, and then systemically deal with it. 
It won’t go away by yelling, crying, feelings of self-pity, depression, complaints, ignoring it...
This is your life, so embrace it and LIVE it. 

My first son is now 8 years old. He is the product of a previous relationship and it is a bitter-sweet-tough past staring me in the face daily. While I have no regrets about having him, the reality of such incidences, challenges your life as a person. Period.

First if you are single, make sure you try to avoid falling into situations like this. 
Situations like getting pregnant before marriage. I can’t stress how easy your life would be. If any guy is interested in test driving and you are too desperate to be test driven, perhaps you are likely to get drunk πŸ˜΅ while being test driven, please do the needful, just hurry to the registry and do the right thing. 
You both are mature enough to have sex, so just get married right πŸ˜‚. Don’t we wish it were that simple πŸ™ˆ
There are folks who do everything right and still end up in a broken marriage. So much for my sermon. Broken world I told you. 
Your situation isn’t unique after all. 

Secondly, if you are already caught up in the single parenting stage... no worries. I once lived it, matter of fact, I have friends who live as single parents and it is not impossible to be a happy camper in this stage of your life. You will have to deal with this. Question is: Are you ready to admit your own mistakes and give the marriage/love journey another try?

Now, there are many out there who claim that all members of the opposite sex are demons.. lol. If you want to be honest, you are not too far away from that equation.. lol. It takes two!

So.. what’s the deal here? Abuse? 

Have you ever felt so numb, though you wanted to be strong and okay, but there are so much residue that keeps nudging you to remember that ordeal? Your memory constantly forcing to re-live the painful past in the dark crevices of your mind.

You question everything. 
You question your purpose.
You even question your existence. 
You are so afraid. 
Afraid that maybe you even hate the child/ren by that abuser or that the abuser will return. 
God forbid you say anything.. after all you are the parent, and you should love your child unconditionally. 

This much I know, anyone can be a total failure, even while in the middle of their own success. If that makes sense. It will take Grace and Courage to first forgive an abuser. 

Above all, you will need to forgive yourself. In fact that forgiveness is a constant renewal. You will agree that emotionally this can be difficult, but it is do-able. 
The mind naturally wants to hold on to the hurt, but you have to fight so hard! 
You know why? There is so much more to life than the hurt you hold on to. 
You will never know until you set yourself free from the hurt and your abuser. 

"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."-- Alexander Graham Bell

It will take Grace to heal from that whole feeling of self-unworthiness and self-doubt that abuse imprints on the soul. 

For me, it took Grace to accept a new identity. 
It took Grace to hold my head up while others spoke of my son and I in shameful and derogatory terms (Africans detest single parenting). With the divorce and single-parenting status quo on the rise, you will agree that the society in general, is now a bit more lenient on women in abusive and divorce situations. 

Where You are now is a CHOICE!
And what you do hereon will be a choice to either continue feeling sorry and angry or to truly let go and start fighting for your own happiness!

Take these necessary steps in your wholeness journey; 
  • Forgive yourself.
  • Forgive your past.
  • Forgive the heart breaker.
  • Speak to a counselor or therapist.
  • Be open to Love. 
  • Love yourself first.
  • Love with your head and heart.
  • Surround yourself with folks that love you genuinely. 
  • If you are in a new relationship, be reminded, that no two people are the same. 

So, what’s your story? Do you still think living with your past is impossible? 
And why is that?

K.G