Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Little Help In The Bedroom?(NOT the little blue pill!)

Being as motherhood is made possible by sex, I feel healthy sexual relationships relate to "all things mommy". Happy mommy, happy kids, right? (wink)

A sex surrogate. You mean, a person insiminating my wife? No, I mean a person hired to COUNSEL you OR your partner about intimate insecurities, trying new things. And there MAY be sex involved. A sex surrogate works alongside other therapists and refers patients to the surrogate that are willing candidates for sexual surrogacy. Not just anyone can knock on a sex surrogates door and pay for sex.

Linda Poelzl, a sexual surrogate was interviewed by Jessica Pilot and says "People assume sex surrogate therapy is one big sex party. And clients often assume they can get a few sex lessons and then they are fine, but it’s usually more complicated than that.”

Truth is, there are tons of married couples, many I have encountered online and in my personal circle of friends that suffer from feelings of inadequacy, lack of knowledge, or there is something in their past that is holding them back in the bedroom.

Sexual surrogacy is "a dying breed" as Poelzl puts it. Just over 30 years ago, there were 200 nationwide and now there are 50 and the numbers are dwindling. As a society that believes in monogamy and not many consider polyamory, sexual surrogates may seem taboo.

Let's look at the bigger picture here: Say your husband or wife were shamed or pressured in some way that made it very difficult to become aroused or if they became aroused, they felt dirty for it. They then cannot perform and feel even more guilt and shame. Someone, such as Linda, not only has practice in knowing what goes on mentally with these problems, but shows ways that patients can become more comfortable and work through it.

This may be where the sex comes in and even then, the person doesn't "finish". It's used to explore the body language of the client and getting to know them and pointing out where they may be faltering or letting themselves clam up.

Sexual surro's, since they are all-in-all a therapist, do not obligate their patients to disclose that they are being treated to their partners, as there is patient/provider confidentiality. When asked if she would classify her practice as cheating, she replies "I think there are easier ways to do it, like hiring a call girl. That’s a much quicker way to have a good time." Not many would agree, but being as this is extensive sex therapy, and not much sex going on, if you wanna get your rocks off, go put your boots under a hooker's bed.

As someone who believed society, saying that men want sex ALL the time and that it's all they think about, I was in for a surprise when my relationship went from new to normal. "It" would happen every 4-8 weeks. At 18, and believing the media that he should be all over me, I began to believe that there may be something wrong with me.

Help from someone like Linda may have been a good thing. Not having sex with her, but understanding the dynamics of an intimate relationship, instead of expecting things to happen, when they clearly can't be forced. Let me know, readers: what are your thoughts on sex surrogates?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Motherhood and Mental Health

Mental illness.... and motherhood. Not something one would think to include in the same sentence, right? Not many seem to talk about it, in fact, not many women are taken too seriously when they tell people that they have a mental illness. Any why would they be taken seriously? After all, the phrase equals "sick in the head".

There is some unspoken expectation that mothers need to have it all "together" or they are deemed unstable. Even a mother that doesn't have a mental illness won't have everything perfect. A mother with a mental illness has many obstacles that a mother without an illness might not ever worry about. Bouts of uncontrollable, unexplainable depression, mood swings, fits of rage, fatigue, impulsive and harmful behavior.

All of these are things that mothers with an illness deal with, on top of other daily mothering duties. The isolation, some explain kills. Anxiety of meeting new people and feeling like they'll be rejected for no reason. Having to hide their mental illness for fear of rejection is another one. Everybody needs to vent or just let someone know what we're feeling. What happens when mommy is too afraid of not being accepted?

Having patience to cope with being a mom to small children is an obstacle that diagnosed mothers find difficult to hurtle. Some will go into fits of rage, out of inability to deal with overwhelming emotions. Some children get hurt, others end up fearing their mother. If this happens, the mother will feel that they need to bottle these emotions, to hide their illness from their children. One mom shares her experience with hiding Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) from her young children:

"Being a mum is the best thing that could happen to me but the worst is hiding a mental illness from them and when your son asks why are you sad or angry for? having to lie to protect him by saying oh my thyroids are playing up! Or they want to play with you but your just not up to it and seeing there disappointment at you! But my kids have made my last few days worth living seeing their smiles makes me smile knowing no matter how hard it gets they are there to pick me back up."
Borderline Personality Disorder is believed to be caused by early childhood and adolescent trauma. It seems to occur more in women, and this makes the diagnosis more prevelant in women with children. A study of mothers with BPD that went untreated, or not treated properly had less responsive or less positive responsiveness in infants when interacting with strangers. Symptoms of BPD include, but are not limited to:

  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as risky driving, unsafe sex, gambling sprees or illegal drug use
  • Strong emotions that wax and wane frequently
  • Intense but short episodes of anxiety or depression
  • Inappropriate anger, sometimes escalating into physical confrontations
  • Difficulty controlling emotions or impulses
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Fear of being alone

  • A mother explains how her Bipolar has affected her motherhood in a negative way by saying, '"My 'episodes' have altered and changed my everyday life before I even had time to digest my own thoughts. I feel like I don't deserve my children. I made them go live with their Father. I still see them but I don't think I'm good enough for them. That's just the tip..."'

    Many Bipolar patients seek help either by themselves, or are ordered by the courts to do so, for the well-being of their young family. Not receiving treatment for Bipolar is not only damaging, but can result in death, due to manic depressive episodes. Some Bipolar patients describe their episodes as an '"out of body, or 2nd personality experience."' This means that while the person is hyper-manic or manic depressive(highs and lows) what they feel isn't a part of them. They feel like they are another person and what they do doesn't affect anyone else. Their actions aren't selfish, because they have almost no control over what they do. There are three different types of Bipolar. Type 1 is the most severe, making it hard to hold jobs and be consistent with everyday life. Type 2 is alot less serious, with sudden mood change. And also, Cyclothymic disorder or Cyclothymia is the least severe, with less dramatic highs and lows.  Symptoms of Bipolar are:

    Other symptoms include seasonal changes in mood, psychosis, and rapid cycling bipolar disorder.

  • Euphoria
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Poor judgment
  • Rapid speech
  • Racing thoughts
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Agitation or irritation
  • Increased physical activity
  • Risky behavior
  • Spending sprees or unwise financial choices
  • Increased drive to perform or achieve goals
  • Increased sex drive
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Easily distracted
  • Careless or dangerous use of drugs or alcohol
  • Frequent absences from work or school
  • Delusions or a break from reality (psychosis)
  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Sleep problems
  • Low appetite or increased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities once considered enjoyable
  • Problems concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Chronic pain without a known cause
  • Frequent absences from work or school
  • Poor performance at work or school

  • Depression is often self-explanatory. Treatment for depression varies widely from using Lithium or even medical marijuana. Treatment for clinical depression is crucial. We all know what untreated depression can result in. Here are some symptoms and cause for concern of a family member:

  • Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
  • Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Changes in appetite — depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
  • Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren't going right
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
  • Crying spells for no apparent reason
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

  • Postpartum Depression is another mental health issue that many new mothers seem to overlook. It is very serious, and can lead to harm to mother or baby. The mother feels extreme guilt for not being happy with her new baby, and for not wanting to take care of the baby.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Severe mood swing
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby

  • Mental illness takes a backseat in alot of cases, when you become a mother. Feeling guilt of taking care of your needs, when your children have needs that go unmet is a major factor in not being treated. Appointments get in the way of soccer games, or buying medications could sometimes come before a new pair of pants or shoes for the kids, etc.

    If you know someone with a mental illess and have trouble tolerating them, just remember that they are sick. They don't have a choice in having this illness, just as much as a diabetic has no choice in having diabetes. People need to educate themselves on mental illness, instead of fearing it. If you ever encounter someone who has trouble accepting your illness, give them some references in which they can educate themselves. Most of the time, reasoning with someone who doesn't understand your illness will not work, and only makes it worse.

    Mothers, it may seem selfish to seek help for your illness, but you're helping your family in the long run. A healthy mommy equals healthy children.

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Update For Mommies and Tattoos

    I got my tattoo yesterday after a car trouble delay. I have to say, the pain was comparable to the pain of my last childbirth experience. haha But, like having my babies, I feel the pain was worth it. The flowers represent my childrens' birth months. The Poinsettia is for December, the orange Calandula is for October, and the blue Chrysanthemum is for November.

    As I mentioned in my first post about nursing mothers and tattoos, my artist almost didn't tattoo me, because I am breastfeeding because of some of the stuff in the ink. I informed her that I have pumped milk to last a few days and would pump and dump while I gave him the milk I'd pumped beforehand. My artist had me sign an additional waiver, and went ahead.

    I was allowed to nurse during a 10 minute break in the middle of the tattoo, so my son did famously during the session and even slept through half of it. I am very happy with the results, and my tattoo artist was exstatic that I presented her with a photo realist challenge with my tattoo. Yay for mommies and tattoos! I love having this as a special way to think of my children!

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Tattoos And Mommies

    In honor of me getting my kids' birth flowers tattooed on my shoulder today, I thought I'd do a piece on mommies and tattos.
    Tattoos are a phenomenon that many debate about and discuss with friends. We show them all off. Some of us boast our tattoo artist's tattooing prowess, some are sheepish when they pull up their sleeve to show the drunken tat that they got while on spring break 10 years ago.

    Though it has changed in the last few years, tattoos used to be a permanent mark on your body. This could mean that you had gang symbols tattooed on yourself even though you're not in the gang life anymore, or that you had an ex-spouse's name on your right bum-cheek. Nonetheless, tattooes commemorate what was important to you at the time.

    Now, speaking of important, let's talk about moms and their tattoos. Alot of mommies get tattooed, and those mommies almost always get something put on their body that will always be important to them. Tattoos representing their children. Wether it be a footprint and their birthdate, their "sign" or something showing their personality or even their names, us tatted mommies find a way to make sure our children are with us always.

    Mothers, especially some new mothers, will inquire about tattooes and the safety of tattooing and breastfeeding, if they've chosen to breastfeed. La Leche League(LLL) has provided some vital information reguarding breastfeeding and tattoos. Here is the link for breastfeeding and tattoo safety on LLL's website. Some things they say to take into consideration while deciding to get a tattoo are:

    • The ink: According to LLL, the ink molecules are too large to absorb into the body to get to your milk.
    • A reputable ink parlor: Check with other friends to see which tattoo parlor is better and more clean, to avoid diseases such as Hepatitis, HIV and Tetanus.
    • Aftercare: Be sure to follow the tattoo artist's aftercare instructions to avoid infection.
    • Infection: If the general region where your tattoo is becomes infected, make sure you seek medical attention.
    If you do decide to get a tattoo while breastfeeding, make sure your artist knows you are breastfeeding, and make sure they are comfortable with it. Chances are they will turn you away(because of the risks of infection), or they will ask you to sign an additional waiver. Whatever the case, even if you're turned away, you will still have a beautiful tattoo to look forward to getting when you're done breastfeeding, or when you're not nursing as much.

    If you'd like, you can email me your pictures of tattooes, in honor of being a mother. One unmistakable sign you've carried a baby inside of your tummy is your stretchmarks. But if you don't like showing those off, show off your "baby" tats!

    Here is the tattoo I'm getting today. The flowers represent the months that my children were born in. Poinsettia(December), Calandula(October) Chrysanthemum(November). All of them in the order that they were born. I can't wait to post the finished tattoo!

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Bringing Breastfeeding Back To "The Street"

    Well, it seems to be a success, as author of Boobie Time blog, Lani Michelle is the center of production. She plays a vital and proactive role in RE-normalizing nursing in public and nursing on television. The daunting question seems to be "what the heck happened between 1988 and the 1990's to make Sesame Street stop airing their beautiful breastfeeding shots and segments? My LOGIC on the subject brings me to this conclusion.

    As decades passed, as a culture, we became less modest, and more of a sexualized people, in that, we showed less clothing in everyday attire and made it a point to eccentuate our bosoms by wearing pushup bras. All of this, while wearing short shorts and a pear of pump heels. Who wouldn't want to grab THOSE boobies?

    After we became desensitized to the fact that, yes, boobies are sextoys, once we saw a woman feeding her baby with her breast, we gasped, out of fear, out of anger and confusion.... But breasts are for... for SEX! How DARE you! We're trying to eat, and I have to look over at your sexy breast in your child's mouth?

    No, people. Breasts are for nourishing a child, not to shove in guys' faces. The truth is, a nursing mother doesn't even WANT to be noticed if she's feeding in public. That's the point of it. It's an everyday, all day occurence and it happens to be a part of life for mom and baby. Not some display. We're trying to show people that it's not a bad thing.

    We want equality! We want to be considered people, not pedifiles or criminals, arrested for indecent exposure or sexual deviants, who just want to show our breasts. A majority of nursing mothers don't show enough to even be able to tell she's feeding her baby.

    The only reason I can come up with, that people are "grossed out" or offended and outraged is, because they were brought up differently, taught that breasts are sexual, or had trouble breastfeeding in the past and are angry. Having trouble breastfeeding doesn't apply to everybody that has a problem with NIP, it's just an observation of what I've seen in the past.(just saying)

    Thing is, we just need to agree to disagree on this and move on. If you don't like it, look away and move on. I haven't heard of many gay couples being stopped from kissing in a public place because the person believes it was wrong, and that's supposedly(according to people of faith) against the bible. So don't bother us from feeding and nourishing our babies in the best way possible that we see fit.

    Sesame Street is a gateway to normalizing breastfeeding, instead of having stigma against it because people have sexual hangups. Let's do this, ladies!