If you had met me five years ago, you would have met a very different individual than who you see today.
Five years ago I was expecting my second baby and I was struggling with some very serious symptoms of post-traumatic stress that were a result of my first child’s NICU stay. My first child was born with a congenital abnormality that resulted in surgery to save his life when he wasn’t even three days old and a lengthy stay in the NICU.
Every day I waged a war with the emotions and fears that were tearing me apart from the inside. I tried to hide it. I acted as if everything were perfectly normal and I struggled to keep the smile on my face every time I walked out the door. Putting on the pretense of normality was more for others; for those who were uncomfortable with my sadness.
After my second baby was born I knew that I couldn’t continue living in the fog of anxiety that clouded my judgment and was becoming more and more of a struggle with each passing day. I had to admit that I was not coping well and had to find a way out.
Writing was my way out.
I started a blog. A small, not very well known blog.
With every post I wrote the weight lifted. My passion for writing was re-ignited and the words just poured out of me.
I began to immerse myself in the blogging world and soon I learned about BlissDom.
When I first heard about BlissDom, I immediately thought “I have to go” but I felt like a bit of an imposter.
I was an HR professional who dabbled in the blogging world. BlissDom wasn’t meant for people like me, or so I thought.
Buying a ticket was a last minute decision, in fact, it was the discount that was offered for YMC members that really pushed me.
It was the best decision I could have made.
It was the first time I ever referred to myself as a writer and over the course of the weekend I realized that I wanted to make something of this writing thing.
I met so many supportive people who were willing to offer me guidance and advice on how to pursue my dream of writing.
I met so many bloggers, writers, editors, social media experts and friends who listened to my story, offered me support and more importantly believed in me.
I had been wrong. BlissDom was made for people like me.
BlissDom is made for people who are looking for support in finding who they are and following their path.
I learned methods to improve my writing, expand my reach and build a better blog.
Before I knew it my blog was reaching people all over the world. Mothers who were struggling with their own NICU experience. Mothers who were reaching out to me to thank me for putting to words what they had been trying to explain to others. I was making a difference.
Now, just two years after my very first BlissDom experience I am writing for YummyMummyClub. I have been published on Huffington Post. I am sending my pitches to magazines. I am working on my dream of writing a book. All things I would never have imagined possible.
Five years ago I was having night terrors and panic attacks and wasn’t able to even talk about my son’s NICU stay without crying.
BlissDom gave me the courage to write my way out of depression and to share my experiences with others.
BlissDom was a way to help me find where I was supposed to be and give me the positive encouragement to realize my dreams.
Not sure BlissDom is the place for you? Push yourself out of your comfort zone. You might find out BlissDom is exactly where you are supposed to be.
When I was a kid I loved going back to school. I couldn’t wait to see my friends, I adored getting new school supplies and back to school shopping was my favourite kind of shopping spree. I put a lot of thought into my first day of school outfit.
Yes, school was kind of my thing.
Then I grew up and the first September after my last year of school I felt lost. It was almost like my internal clock was telling me that I was supposed to be somewhere but there wasn’t anywhere for me to go; except on the subway to my office job just as I had been doing every day since I graduated. Just as I would be doing every day for the foreseeable future.
Every September for the next 10 years it was like I was missing the fun and excitement. I bought myself new fall clothes even though I had nowhere new to wear them. I smiled at every school bus that drove by.
Then I had kids and the back to school excitement was reignited!
Sending the kids back to class is my favourite time of year and not for the reasons you think.
September is almost like my New Year’s. It’s when everything resets. New teachers, new classes, new routines.
I’m a person who needs routines.
Yes it’s true, it can be fun to go on bike rides when we are usually starting baths. It’s nice to throw something on the BBQ for dinner and not have to worry about bedtimes.
You know what’s even better than that?
Early bedtimes. Knowing that Mondays are for swimming lessons and Friday’s are for dance. Clearing the dinner table quickly so that you can set up to do homework. Letting soup simmer on the stovetop while you do laundry on a Sunday afternoon.
I’m so excited to meet new teachers. I can’t wait to learn about what field trips the kids will be going on. That first scholastic order form is waiting for me!
School performances, parent teacher nights, library books! I love it all. I feel like I should have been a teacher, except I hate teaching! I just LOVE school!
I want to pass my love of school on to my kids. I want them to enjoy it as much as I did.
My kids seem to be excited about going back to school. My son is looking forward to his new classroom and new teacher. My daughter can’t wait to put the senior in senior kindergarten. That can only mean that I am succeeding in passing on my pro-school attitude.
The start of the school year is back to being the most exciting time of year. I’m reliving my passion through my kids, I know, but I don’t care. I get to go back to school shopping again! New backpacks, pencil cases and that eraser smell…I can’t get enough of that eraser smell!
By the time May rolls around I might be longing for the carefree days of summer again. I could be counting down the days until I no longer have to pack school lunches or suffer through practicing our spelling tests. For now, I happily pack their new gear into their new bags and label it all with their personalized labels.
When my son was born, his health issues prevented us from breastfeeding.
The doctors recommended that I pump so that they could fill his feeding tube with breast milk, so that’s what I did. Every three hours, like clockwork, I locked myself away in a pumping room that was available in the NICU, and I pumped until I got tired of sitting there. I so desperately wanted to be beside my son instead of in that tiny room all by myself, but I kept it up because this was the only way I could help him. I had no control over anything else he was experiencing, but I could make sure he was fed breast milk. This I could control.
When my daughter was born, I was all about the breastfeeding. She took to my breast right away. It felt so natural. I attended the breastfeeding class they held in the maternity ward adamant that this was going to go well. I smiled, with just the slightest amount of smugness, as the nurse used me as the example.
I had no idea what was to come.
The moment my milk came in, chaos ensued.
The pain… oh the pain! From the dry, cracked, and bleeding nipples to the blocked milk ducts, to the shoulder pain that required physio because of the constant hunching over a baby, I was always in pain.
I never ever got a break. Ever. If I had to do anything out of the house, she had to come with me, or else I had to time it to be back by next feed because this was the one place no one else could step in. No one to take a midnight shift so that I could get a little extra sleep, no one to take over an early morning hunger cry so that I could cuddle a little longer with the toddler who was missing his mummy.
I am not a graceful person at all, and breastfeeding was no exception. I admired my mummy friends who made nursing their babes look so elegant and so peaceful. That was not me. I rarely left a nursing session without a little sweat on my brow.
The nursing cover I received as a gift did make it easier, as I found it very difficult to nurse without exposing the entire top half of my body. Though I never once had anyone make me feel uncomfortable for breastfeeding my baby, I felt the need to go off and find somewhere quiet to feed her. This was partly due to my own self-consciousness, but also because my baby was very easily distracted and any noise would have her popping her little head out of the nursing cover to see what was up.
I didn’t love it, and it made me feel incredibly guilty. I could breastfeed. I didn’t have to pump and tube feed. This is what I wanted, so why didn’t I love it?
The answer, I think, was that I couldn’t control it. She dictated when I fed her, where I fed her and how long I fed her. I had no say in the matter, and I found that difficult.
I realized over time that this ideal breastfeeding relationship I had in my mind wasn’t real. As soon as I let go of the image of what it should be and accepted it for what it was, it grew on me. I never really fell madly and deeply in love with nursing, but I grew to appreciate the quiet moments when it was just the two of us.
Instead of focusing on what I was missing while I was hiding away, I reminded myself how lucky I was that I was able to experience it at all. I inhaled her smell and stroked her soft little head. I counted my blessings when she woke at night and I could just lay her down beside me and feed her with my eyes closed. I relished in the good parts of it and accepted the parts that I didn’t enjoy.
When I was at the height of my breastfeeding frustration, a friend told me that I would miss it when it was gone, and I thought her crazy. Here I am, over three years out, and I miss it. I miss that thing that I didn’t love so much.