Saturday, January 26, 2013

Guys & Birth & Pain

There's a video circulating (somewhat like a UK one from a couple years ago), in which men are hooked up to electrical stimulation, and put through some labor 'contractions'. And make no mistake, it is pretty darn funny, because they are not expecting what they experience, at all, and they don't take it well. But is it anything like labor? Well, other than having muscles cramping tightly at intervals, not really. They don't have the mental shift that comes during labor, it is all the wrong muscle groups tightening up, and they can call a halt at any time. The most important thing missing is all the physiological chemistry that happens when a woman goes into labor. The laboring woman's body responds to the increase in oxytocin in labor by producing endorphins- which are the body's natural pain mitigators. Endorphins give us a nice fuzzy headed buzz that helps distance us from pain. Ever had a tattoo and felt lightheaded after? Endorphins. The afterglow of orgasm? Endorphins. A laboring woman who is well supported, and has a range of coping skills to instinctively draw upon, will be less likely to react to the pain of labor with fear or stress, and that will reduce the chance of triggering the fight or flight response. In FoF, our bodies actively suppress endorphins, because you don't want to be loopy if you have to either run away or kick something's butt. It also increases blood flow to the limbs... again good for running or asskicking, not so good when you have major physical work happening in the torso. FoF makes our bodies ready to respond to crisis. Unfortunately the side effect of this in labor (even if you aren't actively feeling 'afraid' or 'scared'... your body doesn't know the difference between 'omg I'm in labor!' tension and 'omg something is about to eat me!') is tension in the limbs, increased heartrate, all the signs of being really scared, which makes the pain of labor more painful, and even threatening- which increases fear, fear causes loss of endorphins which causes more pain, and so forth.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


(wow, I didn't use this blog at all in '12)

A friend of mine is dealing with some stuff re; her ex husband; and her thoughts about it made me examine some of my own feelings about my wasband, and the feelings that surround that relationship:

Anger that he got away with abandoning his children, with having no responsibilities. Pity that all those behaviors I thought were because I was doing something wrong was because of the SMS. Sadness because he has no clue what he lost, how much pain he caused. Frustration because I'll never be able to get it across to him. Fear & revulsion when the past creeps up on me in unexpected ways.

Sometimes I still get so frustrated at having lost those 10 years of my life (and in some cases it is really lost, I have lots of memory gaps from the early years.), that I spent 10 years being treated with contempt and devalued. What happened to me that I thought that was acceptable for a relationship, let alone a marriage?

Scott and I will have been together for 15 years this summer... even with the sheer amount of whatthefuckatude that gets thrown at us on a near-daily basis, we've lasted longer than my first marriage did. When he first moved in with us, I spent a lot of time telling myself how poly people 'aren't supposed to compare their partners', and that the difference wasn't as drastic as it felt. It was my inability to recognize that Scott treated me with love & respect, that he valued me as a partner and individual and my ex...didn't, my inability to make that break, that lead to several years of drama and suffering that _didn't need to happen_.

Fear, misplaced stubornness, a deeply ingrained feeling that I wasn't doing my part, wasn't doing _enough_ (I still struggle with that constant feeling of inadequacy), that my wants and needs had little to no value, that my opinions were the product of a 'damaged perspective'. Sometimes it hits me hard just how much I was ground down.

It has been a long, hard road back up- and I'll never be all the way 'recovered'. What happened then shapes who I am now. Although sometimes I wish with all my heart I could send my past self a letter, saying who and what not to do, and who and what I should do instead. Would save a lot of people a whole lot of misery.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Outloud Myst Ponderings

Poast of mine over on the Myst Online forum, thought it should have a wider audience. Cause I'm an arrogant twit that way. :)

Natales said (in discussing bringing in new people to Uru)
Another big problem is there is not a lot of exciting news to draw people in. New ages in an old game is a bit Ho-Hum. Until we start to get new user interface features and social networking tools people expect now, getting word out is a steep uphill effort.

Some of this stems from the occasional misconception that No New Uru=Nothing To Do. In the first place, there are *always* people for whom Uru is New. Letting a BTDT jaded feeling be what newcomers experience makes for a bummer of a first impression.

Beyond that, Mysterium and other real life gatherings happen on a regular basis, as well as the many related and tangental projects people have worked on- Wouldn't it be nice if someone breathed life into the Guild of Cartographers and got some of those Myst 5 ages mapped? What about the trickling off of the D'ni Language project RAWA was agreeable to? Wouldn't more D'ni words be snazzerific? How about a new influx of people to finally finish Ages of Ilathid?
And there is so much beautiful artwork, crafts, stories, and whatnot out there to be inspired by, there's tons people could do that aren't Uru based. Let Uru be the gateway drug Wink

Look at it this way- did Middle Earth fandom end because there were no more books, or the movies wrapped up? How many hundreds of people were wearing Star Wars costumes for years before Lucas returned to *ahem* finish the story? Just because there's no shiny new (to us) Uru to play in, doesn't mean we're stuck twiddling our thumbs. Bahro pellets to that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SpeakOut/GeekOut Day 2- Lazy Geek Is Lazy

I should be writing something Deep and Thoughtful for you all to read, but my brain is kinda mushy today- so I've been slogging through Guild Wars, instead.

There's some things I want you all to see, though:

OMG Snazzy Art & Jewelry

Did you know you can read ALL of the ElfQuest comics EVER online for FREE?? Do it, do it now!

Zakelro! Not only full of good stuff, but home to one of the most awesome mustaches in existence.

Will post more later, I swear.

Monday, September 12, 2011

SpeakOut/GeekOut Day 1- Meet the Geek

Hi, I'm Eleri. I'm 38 years old (First Annual 39th Birthday next month!), I have 3 kids, 9 cats, 7 budgies and one husband. And I'm a Geek.

I should prob'ly start with my personal definition of 'geek', so you can, vaguely, get where I am coming from:
GEEK (noun):
1. Someone with a level of knowledge/skill in a focused area, who's knowledge/skill is best shared with others having the same knowledge/skill; people without the knowledge/skill may feel left out of or confused by conversations in the topic.

Now, in general, people see geeky as covering the computer/gamer/costume/ "those weird people" categories. I think you can be GEEKY! about anything.

Do you love the subject whole-heartedly? Does participating in the subject make your world go SQUEE? Is sharing with others in-the-know one of your favoritest things ever? Does your enthusiasm show? Can people look at you when you're talking out it and think "Wow, they are really into this!", even if their eyes are glazing over because they have no idea WTF you're talking about?

Congrats, you're a Geek. Maybe you're a math geek, or am art trading card geek, or a urban chickens geek, but you've got geekdom down to a science. According to me, at least.

So, without more ado, here's my Topics of Personal Geekdom:

Best selling computer game of the 20th century. (It held on into the 21st, until the Sims came along) Myst and the follow ups; Riven, Exile, Revelations, Uru, & End of Ages hold a deep and abiding place in my heart. Just as some people can see themselves living in Middle Earth without batting an eye, the Ages of the D'ni are my second home.

My dad had the original D&D Red Box. Family Game Night was always a reality at my house. I've LARPED, I've RPGD, I've done MMOs. I love puzzle games and escape the rooms and things that make your brain go hmmmmmm. And, just within the last few years, I've started writing and creating.

Unicursal winding path, found in almost every culture out there. I've always loved the symbolism, and in the past few years they've become a serious topic of study and exploration for me.

Yes, birth. As in Women Having Babies. This is both my profession and my vocation, and prob'ly the only thing I love talking about more than Myst ;)

Other things that might come up are Storytelling, Smith-Magenis Syndrome, Arts and Crafts, Polyamory, Neo-Paganism and whatever else wanders through my brain this week.

So there's my geekitude, waving like a banner for all to see. A-frakking-men.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Speak Out With Your Geek Out

From Blogger Monica Valentinelli:

Sometime during the week of Monday, September 12th to Friday, September 16th post about what geeky hobby you love. Then, tell us why we should try it, too. Leave your fears (and edition wars) at the door. Forget about your latest rant. Tap into that well of positive energy and share in the excitement of all things geek.

Let us invite those who would stereotype us to sit at our table and share our interests. Let us combat being used as pawns for internet gaffes with the reasons why we’re awesome, why we love what we love, and why it’s good to be a geek.

Facebook Event:

Twitter Hashtag: #speakgeek


During this week I'll be talking about the things that I'm geeky-passionate about: Myst, games, books, art/crafts, birth. (Yes, you can be geeky passionate about birth.)

Stay tuned! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reality in Disabled Parenting

In which Eleri rambles long about rose-coloured glasses, and how our society has failed parents.

On a usual day, I avoid articles about disabled kids, because they tend to irritate the heck outta me. Why? Because 79% (not a scientific measure) of them follow the same format:
LOOK! Parents of disabled kids! That must SUCK! See how they have perfectly structured their lives! See how they are always upbeat and positive! See how they are Fantastic Parents, event though their job is SO MUCH harder than yours! OMG THEY ARE SO AMAZING!!!

Yeah, frak that. Even the stuff that parents of the disabled pass around can be so sugar coated it causes insulin shock. Ever seen that bit "Welcome to Holland"? Evidently having a disabled kid means you have to be OK with not going to Italy, you've ended up in Holland instead, and aren't the tulips beautiful? Uh, no. How about thought I was going to land in Rome, and ended up in the Gaza Strip instead?

So seeing this article in a mag while I was watching Blade get his hair hacked off, I was planning on passing it up, and for some reason I didn't. It ended up being the first time in mainstream media that I saw any glimmer of realism- the parents stress. The mom admits to yelling not nice things at her kids. It touches on the fact that society does crap for these families. Outside family members admit to not wanting to deal with it. It hints at the lack of social interaction, the isolation, the sheer weight of it all.

Is it a deep, dark expose? Nope, but people don't want to read that sort of thing. They want positive, upbeat stories. And you know what? Parenting a kid with disabilities DOES HAVE positive, upbeat, heart swelling-joy making-Lifetime Original Movie-Hallmark Card moments.

But it also doesn't. And that gets shoved under the rug until you hear of some crazy person who beheads their disabled son.

Even books that are meant for disabled families, that are collections of personal stories, the writers are quick to qualify any feelings of despair, any moment they failed to be a loving, joyful parent. The main message is "it doesn't matter, you have to focus on the good stuff."

You know what? Focusing on the good stuff is a Damn Good Idea. It isn't all gloom and doom out there in Disabled Kidland. But it is a draining job- emotionally, physically, spiritually.

By drumming the 'Must Be Positive!" message, by saying things like "God never gives you more than you can handle", we are invalidating half of the experience of being the parent of a disabled child. We don't give parents an outlet for "what if I'm not handling it?" We don't give them permission to honestly say "I really just wanted to put a pillow over their face", and have it be met with empathy and support, rather than horror and disgust.

When someone says "I don't know how you do it!" or "I could never handle it!" We're supposed to nod, look demure, even self-depreciate "Oh, you just do what you have to". Sometimes the answer to "I don't know how you do it!" is "I'm not. I spend every night crying. I haven't had a real shower in a week. My body is literally breaking down from the constant stress. I have to work to feel love for my child." People don't want to hear that. They don't want to know that someone they know is suffering, especially when there's nothing they can (or will) do to help.

We, as a society, don't give these families the right to stumble, fall, break. There's no place we can go and say "Please, I just need someone else to be in charge." There's few options for respite, little to no in home support, no resources for picking up slack anywhere. There's no "Parent Protective Services" anywhere for if your kid beats up on you, or has worn you down to less than nothing.

Every book on parenting a disabled child out there says it, ask any doctor, psych, therapist etc- and they'll say it:
The ONE thing that every special needs parent out there NEEDS to have is regular respite. They need a break.

It boggles my mind just how a simple thing like providing trained respite care, just giving the parents a break they know they can count on, can plan for will make life better and easier. And it doesn't exist.

Go Google respite, and you'll find 101 articles on the need for respite for caregivers of the elderly, the risks of caregiver burnout. Hundreds of links for agencies and companies galore that have tapped into the concept 'taking care of another human being with high needs is hard work' and made it an industry- but only if that person with high needs is elderly (or, sometimes, a disabled adult).

Parents are left out of that equation. It's our job to be the primary caregivers, not like someone who's caring for an elder parent out of the goodness of their heart. We're obligated as parents to keep going, and going and going like the Energizer Bunny- and it does not matter if it kills you, because that's what a parent does, right? Suggest needing a time out, and people will invariably say "but you're the parent!

Something has to change. It needs parents to stop sugar-coating their lives. Stop always wearing the mask of "hanging in there", and tell your stories about the valleys, as well as the mountains. Start making a loud noise about how much money is being spent every year on stress-related illnesses. Talk about how the deaths of disabled kids at the hands of caregivers could be prevented by lifting the burden every so often. Talk about how even the best, the most loving parent in the world, can (and will) break under the constant strain.

Maybe, when we aren't so worn. When we all aren't trying to be superhuman parents. Maybe then we'll be able to grab the bullhorn and start advocating. Or maybe, just maybe, other people will perk up, and be our voices.