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6 Weird Reasons To Wear a Menstrual Cup That Aren’t About Saving The Environment

 

 

 

By Gabrielle Moss

I’m sure that you’ve heard all the virtuous reasons that you should switch from tampons or pads to a menstrual cup — you’ll save money, you’ll help the environment, you’ll get to know your mysterious little lady flower a little better — but you might be surprised to find out there are some other, weirder reasons to make the switch. Because while all those usual reasons are valid, they also make menstrual cups sound like the kale of the period product world — something that’s good for you, but not particularly convenient or fun. This stereotype could not be more wrong, my endometrial lining-shedding friends — menstrual cups are convenient, comfortable, and ideal for the laziest and most absent-minded vagina-havers around. They are truly the ultimate in slacker period products.

If you’re rolling your eyes and/or doing the “jerk-off” motion while you’re reading this right now, know that I was once like you — I used tampons. I’d struggled with tampons since middle school — they seemed to always leak and irritate the inside of my vagina, no matter what I did — and never quite figured out how to wear pads in public after skinny jeans became a thing. But I thought a menstrual cup had to be a thousand times worse — if I was struggling with a tiny piece of cotton, how could shoving a contraption that looks like half of a turkey baster into my sexy bits be any better? I thought it was just another kooky health trend that my hippie friends were into, like avoiding refined sugar, or chiding me for eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos before 11 a.m.

But about six years ago, I worked at a store that sold Diva Cups, and saw how utterly devoted every woman who came in to buy one seemed to be. Surely they couldn’t all be deranged, right? I used my employee discount, tried it for my next period, and never looked back.

Here are the six practical reasons you should consider switching over to a menstrual cup — and none of them require you to squat over a hand mirror, I swear.

 
 

YOU DON’T NEED TO REMEMBER TO PACK AN EXTRA

 In my pre-cup life, I was the woman who was constantly wandering the halls of my office like a traveler who had lost her way, accosting any woman who crossed my path to see if she had a spare tampon. Because I was too scatterbrained to remember to pack a tampon half the time, and the office tampon machine was always broken (I have found that pretty much all tampon machines are usually broken), the first day of most of my periods were characterized by a hurried lunch hour trip to CVS, or an improvised pad made out of a quarter pound of layered office toilet paper. Neither option was a great way to start what was already the most annoying week of my month.

But with a menstrual cup, there’s much less to remember. Since you wear a menstrual cup continuously throughout your period, and remove it only to empty and clean it every few hours, there’s no chance of forgetting it when you head out somewhere where it will be hard to acquire or change a tampon (like, say, the beach, or a Van Halen concert). You only need to buy a new one once a year, so there’s no need to run out and pick up a new one at the start of every period; and since you reuse it, there’s no chance of getting your period early and being caught without anything to sop up your crimson tide.

YOU ONLY NEED TO CHANGE IT ONCE EVERY 10 HOURS


I am phenomenally lazy. Like “I am wearing stretch pants right now because I thought buttons were too much to deal with on a Monday” lazy. And cups are perfect for the lazy menstruator — on regular flow days, menstrual cups only need to be changed 2-3 times a day, and can even be left in place for 10 hours without leaking. On heavier flow days, they need to be changed a little more frequently, but they still hold one full ounce (around 28 grams of blood, which is a lot — we usually only produce two ounces of blood during an entire period). Your average tampon holds 6-9 grams of blood, which means a lot more time in the bathroom, trying to pull something bloody out of your vag.
Since I am such an outspoken evangelist for cups, I get a lot of questions about whether they’ll spill if you actually leave one in for ten hours. There are two parts to this answer: 1. you produce way less blood in any given day than you think, so the times that you actually fill your cup to the top are extremely few and far between; and 2. yes, if you get distracted and leave it in for ten hours while you’re on a very heavy flow, the cup will fill up, and you toilet will look like the elevator from The Shining when you empty your cup out. But in six years of cup usage, this misfortune has only befallen me twice, and believe me when I say I am the most distracted person alive, and way worse at paying attention to anything than you are. So while a cup brimming with blood can be a risk, it’s not a huge one.

IT WON’T DRY OUT YOUR VAGINA

 It seems totally counter-intuitive that your vagina could feel dry while liquid is pretty much continuously pouring out of it, but that’s what always happened to me with periods. The hormonal changes that occur during your menstrual cycle — primarily a drop in estrogen levels right when your periods starts — can lead to a dry-feeling vagina. Tampons can irritate a dry vagina, too — I spent many a pre-cup day wincing in my office bathroom, pulling out a tampon that seemed stuck to the walls of my vagina. Since a menstrual cup is made of silicone rather than cotton, it is less likely to feel “stuck” to the walls of your dry vagina— and since you change them less often than a tampon, it also cuts down on the irritation of taking things in and out of a dry vagina, too.

IT WON’T LEAK IN YOUR SLEEP

If you take the sheets off my mattress, it looks like someone committed a very sloppy and poorly planned murder on it. I’ve had it for about ten years, and in the first few years that I had it, nearly ever part of it got speckled with blood from tampons and pads that leaked while I slept. I’m a tosser and turner when I sleep, which meant that pads usually ended up balled into the back of my underwear, giving me a wedgie and letting blood drip through the front of my panties. And my tampons leaked through nearly every time I slept with them, even when my flow didn’t seem that heavy. It seemed like no matter what I did, I was doomed to live a life of scrubbing blood stains out of my pajama bottoms in my bathroom sink at 7 a.m.

This is where I am most devoted to my cup — it cut sleep leakage out of my life. Since a cup works by creating a seal inside your vagina, in my years of using one, I have been spared the indignity of having to explain weird mattress blood stains to gentleman callers and/or waking up most mornings of my period with bloody underpants. Ugh, I feel gross even typing that.

IT MIGHT MAKE YOU FEEL LESS SELF-CONSCIOUS WHILE HOOKING UP

 

As a tampon user, I was extremely uptight about the idea of fooling around while I had a tampon in — the idea that the guy I was with might accidentally touch my tampon string while probing my lady bits just kinda weirded me out. Someone else touching my tampon string felt too intimate, but not in the good way — it felt more like the kind of intimacy based around bodily grossness that you have with your gynecologist. I would get distracted by the idea of it, and then would begin wondering if my tampon was leaking, and before I knew it, I just wasn’t horny any more. I generally avoided a lot of sexual contact during my period for this reason, among others.

My switch to menstrual cups has totally turned things around for me. Not having to worry about my boyfriend accidentally yanking on my tampon string — or getting his hand covered in tampon leakage — has loosened me up significantly on the “third base while you’re on your period” front. I do still take my menstrual cup out to have actual intercourse — although there is a line of menstrual cups that you can wear while having sex — but just knowing that I can jump into fooling around without having to worry about some weird hand-string contact (or take it out too soon and accidentally bleed into my underpants while we’re making out) has been a relief.

IT DOESN’T GET PUSHED OUT WHEN YOU POOP

Okay, I should specify that this is just based on my own personal experience, not any kind of formal research — I’ve seen a number of women online say just the opposite, that pooping seems to squeeze their cup out of place. So this is just one vagina’s tale. But, personally, using a cup has been a pooping-related game changer.

I used to constantly push my tampons out when I pooped — not all the way out, but into that awkward halfway-out position, where the end of the tampon is irritating your vaginal opening, and the top of the tampon is poking something sensitive, and everything is awful. That would lead to me then pulling out a half-dry tampon — which is also a special kind of ladybit torture — and then inserting a new tampon into my now irritated vag, making the entire situation a triple crown of vaginal unpleasantness. Since using a cup, I’ve had the rare occasion where I didn’t insert it correctly beforehand, and pooping squeezes it into an uncomfortable position — but when it’s inserted properly, I can’t feel it, it doesn’t move, and I can finally focus on the important things while pooping (i.e. reading a three month old issue of Us Weekly).

 
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Winter Darkness, Season Depression

Winter depression is still a mystery to scientists who study it. But researchers agree that people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder are particularly sensitive to light, or the lack of it.

 

A wistful feeling comes over us in late autumn, as the last remaining leaves drop, morning frosts cover the ground, and the sun sets earlier each day. Hot cider and the warmth of a favorite old coat may be all you need to face the coming winter with good cheer, but for many people, fall melancholy deepens to winter depression.

Winter depression is still a mystery to scientists who study it. Many things, including brain chemicals, ions in the air, and genetics seem to be involved. But researchers agree that people who suffer from winter depression — also known as “seasonal affective disorder,” a term that produces the cute acronym SAD — have one thing in common. They’re particularly sensitive to light, or the lack of it.

Many studies have shown that people with seasonal affective disorder feel better after exposure to bright light. It seems simple enough: In higher latitudes, winter days are shorter, so you get less exposure to sunlight. Replace lost sunlight with bright artificial light, and your mood improves. But it’s actually far more complex. Alfred Lewy, MD, a seasonal affective disorder researcher at the Oregon Health & Science University, says it’s not only a matter of getting light, but also getting it at the right time. “The most important time to get light is in the morning,” he says.

He thinks seasonal affective disorder is due to a “phase-shift” of the circadian rhythm. The wall clock may tell you it’s time to get up and at ’em, but your body’s internal clock says you should be resting. Bright light in the morning resets your circadian clock.

This is relevant to the “fall back” time change, which happens in places that observe Daylight Saving Time. You might think that setting back the clock one hour would make seasonal affective disorder symptoms worse, because the sun sets one hour earlier. “Actually, I think it’s the opposite,” Lewy says. “The problem is waking up before dawn.”

Lewy says he suspects that “true winter depressives,” the people whose problem is biological and not related to other factors, might feel better after the time change. But the improvement would only be temporary, as days continue to shorten.

Arctic Winters

In Fairbanks, Alaska, in the dead of winter, less than four hours separate sunrise and sunset. With so little sunlight, it seems like no one could escape winter depression; but in fact, many Alaskans fare just fine. One study found that about 9% of Fairbanks residents had seasonal affective disorder. That’s about the same percentage another study found in New Hampshire.

Mark D., who lives near Fairbanks, says he doesn’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder, even though he rarely sees the sun. He pulls 12-hour shifts working in a power plant.

He stays active in winter, so “cabin fever” isn’t a problem for him, either. “If you sit around the house and do nothing all day I suppose it could eat at you,” he says. “But there is always something for me to do — snow-machine, cut firewood … or just going into town and have a cup of coffee with friends at the cafe.

There are people, though, that will have a ten-yard stare in a five-yard room,” he says. Some seek comfort from a bottle, too. “In lots of the smaller villages, that does happen. Drinking is a big problem.”

Seasonal affective disorder researcher Michael Terman, PhD, at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, offers some possible explanations for why seasonal affective disorder isn’t more common in the arctic. For one, people with seasonal affective disorder may be genetically predisposed to clinical depression and light sensitivity. Most people, in any place, wouldn’t have both genetic traits. “Another way to look at it is that those are the people who are still in Alaska,” he says. People who can’t cope might not stay.

But not everyone affected by seasonal changes has full-blown seasonal affective disorder, so estimates of how many people do have it may be low. “Winter depression is a spectrum of severity,” Lewy says. You may have trouble getting up, have bouts of fatigue during the day, or feel compelled to overeat, without feeling depressed.

These symptoms can be treated with the same therapy given to seasonal affective disorder patients. Bright light — generated by a special light box that’s much brighter than a normal lamp — is the first option. It’s proven to work, but not for everyone. Also, the right time for it differs from person to person, Terman says. For a night owl, taking light therapy too early could make seasonal affective disorder worse.

New Ideas

om Wehr, researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, has proposed a new explanation for seasonal affective disorder: It may stem from too much melatonin. When the brain‘s pineal gland starts pumping out melatonin, we get sleepy. During winter, animals secrete melatonin for longer periods than they do at other times of the year. Wehr discovered that people do, too — but only those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

Light therapy would still work if melatonin were the main culprit, because light controls melatonin levels. Researchers are also testing a drug called propranalol, which they hope will improve seasonal affective disorder symptoms by curtailing melatonin flow in the morning hours. Lewy is studying the effects of small melatonin doses given in the afternoon, hoping that they will adjust circadian rhythms.

Raymond Lam, MD, researcher at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and others are studying the role of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. “We know there are interactions between the serotonin system and the circadian system,” Lam says.

Some antidepressants like Paxil and Prozac work for some seasonal affective disorder sufferers. But Lewy says he prefers light therapy to antidepressants, which he says “are probably more of a Band-Aid,” because they’re not specific to winter depression.

Terman has been testing yet another new way to treat seasonal affective disorder. This therapy involves aiming a stream of negatively charged ions at a person sleeping on a special conductive bed sheet. The discovery that high-density negative ions (not the same ions produced by home air filters) helped people with seasonal affective disorder came accidentally from a previous study. A second study, which will end later this year, has also found a beneficial effect.

The air is full of negative ions in springtime, and not in the winter. But that doesn’t explain how ion therapy works. “We don’t yet have an answer to that question,” Terman says; nevertheless, “We’re now convinced that it’s real.”

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29 Tips and Tricks for Traveling the World with Kids

 

 

Pulling off a great family vacation requires a lot of planning, patience and effort. You get better at all this the more you do it. You stay more focused on what’s important — and less on what’s not. I’ve traveled a lot with my kids — and learned a lot of lessons — these are my top tips for having a great time while traveling with children.

Planning Your Trip

1. Check the validity of your passports. Be sure they’re good for 3 months after the day of your arrival home. Many people make the mistake of thinking that as long as they’re back home before their passports expire they’ll be fine. (It seems like common sense doesn’t it?) But not so. Authorities will often demand that your passport be good for several weeks — even several months for some countries — past the day of your arrival home. Some airlines will not let you board the plane if there is not enough extra time on your passport.

2. Scan your passports and email them to yourself, along with any other important documents — e.g. green card, birth certificate, the visa pages of your passport. If you ever lose your passports abroad, this will save you a ton of time and hassle when you have to replace them.

3. Notify your credit card companies before you leave. Banks are very careful about fraud nowadays — and run algorithms on your billing history to spot any irregularities. A charge from a country or city that you’ve never previously had a charge from could easily get your credit card frozen. And unfreezing your account from a foreign city in a different time zone, will be a lot harder than just calling your bank before departure.

4. Take more than one credit or debit card. Cards work differently in foreign countries, some will work at bank ATM but not at a corner store ATM, others will work in restaurants but not at an ATM. There are a number of complex rules and reasons but if you don’t work in the banking industry you’ll never know all of them. The best remedy is to take multiple cards.

5. Make an Out-The-Door list. Leaving for the airport — as your holiday starts — is one of the most stressful times of any trip. Have a list of things you need to grab as you’re leaving your home. I don’t mean a list of things you need to take (i.e. 2 pairs of pants, 3 t-shirts ). I mean a list of things you’ll need to physically grab. It should be a last minute checklist of all the little (and big) things you’ll need as you are going out the door. There will be the bags of course, the money belt, some water in the fridge for the airport, some snacks on the counter and sweaters for the plane. Plus all the indispensables you’ll want to double-check one last time before heading to the airport: passports, credit cards, cash. There’s a lot to remember — so have a list for it!

6. Put enough in your carry-on bags for the first day or 2 of your trip. This is good advice for anyone but especially when traveling with kids. If your bags are lost you don’t want to be hunting for diapers or a pair of shorts immediately after your arrival in a new city or country.

7. Count your suitcases, backpacks, handbags and keep the number in your head. This is simple and maybe painfully obvious, but it sure helps. You hop in a taxi, “bag count — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  — yep they’re all here”. Easy. (Bigger families may want to conduct a kid count as well.)

8.Use a small digital camera. The fantastic shots you think you’ll get of the Grand Canyon, or Taj Mahal or Great Wall of China will be left and forgotten. The really great photos that you’ll love and savor for years to come will be the up-close and intimate shots of your kids and your family. And the key to getting great family photos is to take a lot of them. A ton of them! And the way you do that is to take a small camera, have it with you all the time and take pictures as quickly and discreetly as possible. You might insist, I’ll do all that, but with a bigger better camera. But you probably won’t.

9. Book a hotel for your first nights of your trip — but then stay flexible. My advice for traveling singles (or couples) is always to book a hotel for their first night after arrival, then get your bearings, figure out where you want to go and just find hotels as you need them. I’ve upgraded this for traveling families — reserve the first 2 or 3 nights. I realize this advice won’t work for everyone. Some people need certainty and plans and dates. And having all your hotels reserved for the duration of your trip can make things easier. But you’ll also lose some flexibility. If something’s working — if you’ve found a great little beach resort or a really fun hotel with a friendly staff — you’ll have to say goodbye because you’ve already booked a room in the next town. On the other hand having the freedom to leave a place that isn’t living up to expectations is a great bonus and can make the difference between an average vacation and an unforgettable one.

Practicalities of Travel

10. Welcome — don’t fear — airport security. Security checkpoints force parents to be lean and efficient with their packing. Take what you need but don’t take what is unnecessary. Security can also be a good reason not to take stuff on the plane that you don’t want your kid to have (i.e. your kid’s new water gun). And insisting that you keep all your little bottles and creams in a Ziploc bag — what a great idea!

11. Don’t line up early for trains and airplanes or anything where you have a reserved seat. If you’re one of those people who like to maximize their time on the airplane, by all means, board early, get that seat warm, burn through all your snacks before anyone else has even boarded. How great!  You’ll have enough time on the plane without artificially extending it. As my son said on our return trip from Tokyo, “We have to go when they say final call right Papa?” Right!

12. One parent in charge. Don’t share the burden of any one duty while traveling. Packing for example. One person packs and knows where everything is. Two people pack and no one really knows where anything is. Same with hotels. One person plans them, arranges them, and books them. Do you have that confirmation email or do I? Na-Uh!

13. Get online storage for photos. Besides losing the kids, my photos are what I’m most concerned with losing. Forget your bag on the train platform and there goes your camera — and your photos. You can get free online storage at Adrive (50GB) or SkyDrive (25GB). (You will need a laptop, of course, to upload your photos.) Upload your pictures every night or two and then when you take your camera out on that fishing trip you’re not worried about dropping your camera and losing the last 2 weeks of photos.

14. Hire a car and driver. If you’re traveling in an inexpensive or developing country consider getting a driver instead of driving yourself. Prices are usually reasonable and they’ll know the ways and customs of the road better than you will. (Tip: have the address of your destination for longer distance trips. When you start your trip the driver will inevitably say, “Oh yes, I know where that is”, which translates to “I’ll ask for directions when we get there”. An address, instead of just a name, will help speed the process.)

Being There

15. Beat jet lag: stay up late the first night. Get outside and do something active. Long walks are good. Parks and playgrounds are great. Kids are usually so excited by their new environment you can get away with doing a lot that at home might not work. One caveat: most people forget — or don’t realize — that meal times can be way off as well in a new time zone. If your child usually eats a big breakfast and lunch but a small dinner at home. This can translate into no appetite at breakfast or lunch and then ravenous hunger at 7pm and midnight. Have a good array of healthful snacks in your hotel room on the first night.

16. Have a plan for the day. It doesn’t need to be cast in stone – stay flexible and easy going — but you should walk out the hotel door in the morning with a plan of where you’re going, what subway or bus you’re taking, what attractions do you have planned for the day? Perhaps obvious and natural to some but for me it wasn’t and once I took the time to plan the day on the night before, everything became a lot easier.

16. Check the website of the attraction just before your visit. It’s amazing how often museums will have closed for renovations, changed their schedule, or have a visiting show in place of its usual exhibits. Sometimes these changes can be nothing more than a nuisance. Other times they can ruin your plans for the day. Checking the website in the days before your visit eliminates most of this uncertainty.

17. Ask your hotel concierge for suggestions. Another obvious one that you nonetheless might skip because it sounds so touristy and lame. But they often know little tips and tricks for getting around the city and visiting attractions that can make your life a lot easier. Depending on the style of hotel asking at the front desk will often get you the owner or management who might have a monetary interest in directing you towards a certain establishment or tour group. A concierge usually has no connections at all and just give good advice.

18. Don’t do too much BUT don’t do too little either. I think the biggest mistake parents traveling with kids make is doing too little not too much. Get out there. Enjoy. Experience. Wear the kids out and get them tired.

Things to Pack

This could be a long list. I’ve picked 6 essentials.

19. A swim shirt. These make applying sun lotion so much easier. The back, shoulders and face burn the easiest and this takes 2 of those 3 out of play. But they’re not useful just on hot sunny days. If you’re swimming slightly out of the summer season — or even at a temperate swimming pool — they help keep some heat in and delay those chattering teeth for a little longer.

20. A great baby carrier or backpack. These are life savers in airports, train stations, cobblestone streets and hotels without elevators. Strollers are something to consider but if you have a little baby with you, a good carrier is close to a necessity.

21. A fabric high chair. These wrap around pretty much any type or size of chair and hold the baby in place so they can sit at the table. (There are many on the market but Totseat is a good one if you’re looking for names.)

22. A flashlight and a nightlight. Street lighting might not be as consistent as in your hometown and you’ll probably have a few nights returning to your hotel down a quiet road or path. A torch or flashlight can come in very handy. And a nightlight for the bathroom: Hotel rooms are unfamiliar and finding a bathroom in the middle of the night can be tricky. If your child — or even you — have to turn on a light it makes it much more likely they’ll have trouble getting back to sleep. A stumble over an unfamiliar ledge in a dark bathroom could make for a midnight visit to the hospital — or at least a lot of tears. A nightlight (with plug adapter if necessary) can solve these problems.

23. First Aid Tape— aka surgical tape. This stuff is great. Adhesive tape that is so much easier to apply than a band aid and actually sticks to fingers, toes, and the places kids really get cuts.

Staying Safe

Most things you do won’t make any difference. The top 5 that might:

24. Know the fire escapes. A good practice at any time but especially in foreign countries where the exits and escape routes might not be as well marked.

25. Drill your kids on swimming pool safety. When staying in a hotel with a swimming pool remind your young kids that they don’t go in the pool without telling mom or dad. Make it the first thing you do after you put down your bags in the room.

26. Get the necessary vaccines and get them early. Check with the CDC or NHS and get the relevant vaccines and anti-malarial medicines well before departure — some vaccines can require multiple visits and can take a few months to get the entire series of shots. Many adults haven’t had their booster shots, so get those as well. There’s nothing worse than getting a deep cut in place far from a hospital and then having to worry about whether your Tetanus booster is up to date.

27. Fly longer distances and avoid the highways. Flying is the safest mode of transport. There can be many reasons to drive instead of fly but don’t ever not fly and choose car or bus for safety reasons alone. The attacks on 9/11 killed almost 3000 people. Unknown to many, it also resulted in the death of another 2100 in the months that followed because people stopped flying and chose the road instead — a much more dangerous mode of transport. And that’s in the U.S. — if you’re traveling in a developing country the disparity in road and flight safety rates will be even higher.

28. Play act out unusual or worrisome scenarios. If you’re concerned about your child being lost in a busy market, then act out the scene and what they should do. If you tell a kid what to do when they’re lost, they’ll probably forget it. If you act out what they should do they’re much more likely to remember it. (There’s a reason employers do fire evacuation drills — they work!)

Last Word

29. Stay Positive! Be Happy! This can mean many things. For starters, you need a keen eye for what’s important and what’s not. With the typical boundaries and rules turned up side down, it’s very easy to become a “No, No, No, No” parent. Focus on the important stuff. Things that make your day easier and keep everyone safe. Try to hear yourself talking — you should be saying far more positive things than negative things.

Like at home, praise effort not results. Praise the process not the outcome. Comment on how hard they worked or how patient they were, not how well they did a task or how good they are at something.

And finally it means, living in the moment and taking everything in that you can. Live it! Experience it! Try new things and get out of your comfort zone. Become a kid again — explore, investigate, ask questions — and your children will come right along with you.

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Vindictive people – It is all mums fault

What makes people so vindictive and so willing to hurt others, especially those that have a connection with one another such as children? Do you get a thrill of knowing you know how to push just the right buttons to cause emotional pain to that person?

You have situations such as couples having a child together, all the family members and friends get along to some degree and things are going great. Then *bam* everything starts to fall apart and the couple is no longer a couple. Uh oh, what happens now?

Well, it’s definitely not the parents sit down as adults and work out how to raise their child and who does what when and how. No no, the father of the child has to bring up something that happened years ago that the mother did and clearly never forgave her for and starts to tell everyone how unfit she is to raise the child. The father then starts trying to take steps to cut the mother out of the child’s life, but also telling the mother of the child that he would do everything possible to make sure she gets to spend time with their child even though they aren’t together. Mixed signals much? Lets make matters even worse and now throw in the family members of the father of the child. Since the couple is no longer a couple then *hey* who cares about the mother of the child. You’re no longer with our son so we’ll just help try and keep our grandchild away from you.

Seriously are these people not thinking of the child? Is all that goes through their mind is how best to hurt the mother?

What about married couples that have children and things fall apart?

Sadly you get the same thing and sometimes even worse! Mothers that use their children as weapons to hurt the father by turning the child against their dad. They’ll tell them things like your dad doesn’t love us or want you and that’s why he left or you’re dad’s a bum and we don’t need him.

There’s cases where you see joint custody with the parents and the grandparents for whatever reasons, best interest of the parties involved at the time of the family dynamics falling apart that also can turn ugly. Life moves on, the parents mature and grow in their new situations and it’s time to explore outside of everyone’s comfort zone. *whoops* the grandparents don’t like this idea very much and start making up lies and twisting facts to try and prevent this from occurring.

Again I ask do the vindictive ones not stop and think of what harm they are causing? Do they really not care? Is it really all about them?

Battling Stereotypes of the Jewish Mother

The Jewish Mother. A stereotype so familiar that the words conjure up a universal caricature: a middle-aged woman with a nasal New York accent and ample bosom, who either sweats over a steaming pot of matzah balls while screaming at her kids from across the house. Or, in an updated version, she sits poolside in Florida, jangling her diamonds and guilt-tripping her grown children into calling her more often. The Jewish mother wants her daughter to marry a Jewish doctor and her son to love her best of all. She is sacrificing yet demanding, manipulative and tyrannical, devoted and ever-present. She loves her children fiercely, but man, does she nag.

Where did this Jewish mother come from, and how did she become such a cultural fixture, shorthand for all that is excessive and smothering in familial love? Her predecessor, the Yiddishe Mama, carried little of the negative cultural weight of the Jewish mother and was celebrated in the shtetls of Eastern Europe and the American immigrant neighborhoods at the turn of the 20th century. The Yiddishe Mama was a balabusta, a sentimentalized figure, a good mother and homemaker, known for her strength and creativity, entrepreneurialism and hard work, domestic miracles and moral force. If the Yiddishe Mama was anxious, this was to be expected—after all, who could blame her? Centuries of anti-Semitism plus the challenges of immigrant life justified her intense mothering style and lionized her willful ways. The Yiddishe Mama reminded Jews of the Old World and was synonymous with nostalgia and longing.

But while the Yiddishe Mama and her selfless child-rearing contributed to the success and upward mobility of the American Jewish family, the Jewish mother stereotype didn’t fare so well in this cultural shift. As she rose into the middle class, the Jewish mother’s anxiety level seemed excessive and out of sync with the new suburban reality. Adopting middle class domestic norms, she gave up her own work outside of the home and increasingly, even desperately, sought status and fulfillment through her children. With some modicum of newfound wealth, she was now represented as entitled and overbearing, showy and loud. She became the scapegoat for Jewish ambivalence and anxiety about assimilation, simultaneously representing those Jewish traits that seemed to resist acculturation and held responsible for the materialism that came with success. By mid-century, the Jewish mother was primarily identified by negative characteristics, tinged with Jewish self-hatred and misogyny.

Though it’s been generations since she first appeared on the scene, the Jewish mother stereotype still finds its way into popular culture year after year, ranging from the viral YouTube series, “Sh*t Jewish Mothers Say,” to Caren Chesler’s June 2013 New York Times column about Jewish motherhood via IVF. And there’s more. Barbra Streisand played the intrusive, nagging New Jersey Jewish mother character Joyce Brewster in the 2012 Seth Rogen comedy Guilt Trip, and we all suffered while watching the coiffed and coutured real-life Jewish moms on Bravo’s reality program, The Princesses of Long Island. And let’s not forget Mrs. Wolowitz, Howard’s Jewish mother on the hit CBS show The Big Bang Theory. Though she never appears on screen, her obnoxious and demanding voice makes her presence clear. Literature, film, television, comedy—the Jewish Mother is there. She even has her own Wikipedia entry.

Although the details may differ, the stereotype, in all of its various fashions, is not pretty. What’s clearest about the Jewish mother is that she’s way over-determined and not someone most of us set out to emulate. And yet… there she is, whether we like it or not. Like Woody Allen’s hovering Jewish mother in the sky in the short film Oedipus Wrecks, the stereotype is annoyingly ubiquitous, elbowing her way into conversation—or our own psyches—just when we least expect it.

Maybe that’s because every mother, Jewish or not, can relate to aspects of that mother. We’ve all loved our children to the point of smothering them, been overly anxious, and wrapped ourselves in the mantle of martyrdom from time to time. And so it follows that over the course of the 20th century, the Jewish mother has come to stand in for all mothers, combining the worst of both Jews and women into a toxic mix. Today, “we are all Jewish mothers,” as Joyce Antler put it in You Never Call! You Never Write!: A History of the Jewish Mother—which means we are all guilty of the kind of over-involvement and hysteria once attributed to Jewish mothers in particular.

The latest headlines, sound bites, and cultural trends seem to suggest that motherhood is in a state of crisis. We’re either “leaning in” and abandoning our kids to nannies, or we’re “opting out” to stay at home and steam sweet potatoes. We’re obsessing over whether we can have it all (we can’t), whether breast is best (depends), and whether dads matter (they do). We’re “Helicopter Moms,” “Tiger Moms,” “Attachment Moms,” and “Lazy Moms.” We have inspected, dissected, discussed, and critiqued these various forms of mothering. And yet, the stereotype of the “Jewish Mother” sits, untouched, unexamined, unquestioned. To date, no one has turned their critical focus to the enduring caricature and how its lingering presence impacts actual Jewish mothers today.

This oversight means that scores of Jewish mothers find themselves with no recognizable public role model, no realistic figure with whom to identify. The borscht belt Bubbe who appears on TV may be familiar, but she doesn’t describe or speak to our modern realities. The distance between that character and our own lives is vast—and our impulse may be to emphasize that distance, rather than try to bridge it.

And yet, there is a need to identify, to honor that which we love, to feel pride in our heritage, and to be articulate about its strengths. So what’s a modern Jewish mother to do? How can we define ourselves in a way that is authentic, empowering, and relevant? How can we hold fast to this privileged title, but reinterpret it in a way that’s inclusive, updated, realistic, and meaningful?

Jewish mothers in the 21st century are embracing traditional practices and rituals, walking away from those that don’t make sense to us, and creating new ones along the way. We are always seeking and questioning the best way to parent, trying to balance our life decisions with shifting social norms, sometimes bucking conventions, sometimes adhering to them, always trying to do what is right for our children and for ourselves. Through it all, we are struggling with what it means to be a contemporary mother AND to be a Jewish mother today—complicating an already complex dynamic by examining the very notion of what it means to be Jewish, in all of the 21st century permutations.

Yet we remain Jewish mothers, in ways explicit or unarticulated, confident or ambivalent. We hang in there because we find great meaning in our shared history, in a tradition that has sustained individuals and families through centuries of persecution and survival. We find joy in welcoming our children and celebrating holidays, comfort in enjoying the foods and music of our childhoods and communities, and healing in our times of grief. Or maybe we just stick with it because our mothers did—or because they didn’t. Whatever the reason, our journeys through motherhood and Judaism can be exciting and empowering; connecting to our past and our values (even if sometimes we find more questions than answers) can help ground us in an age of seemingly endless possibilities for shaping a life and raising children.

 

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Are 36 questions enough to find the love of your life?

Give or take a month either side, I’ve been single for three years. One thousand and ninety five days of doing whatever I damn well please and shaving only when common decency demands it. If my relationship status were a child, it would be wearing big boy pants by now.
It’s not for want of trying. There have been Tinder dates – many, many Tinder dates – some good, some bad, some as interminable as double maths on a Friday afternoon. There have been colleagues. Friends of friends. Holiday romances. The guy I met at a house party. The guy I met at a bar. The guy I met at a bus stop. As it turns out, how you meet is really neither here nor there; they all ghost you in the end.
So when an email dropped into my inbox, inviting me to participate in a “social experiment” that promised true love in return for divulging some highly personal information to a complete stranger before gazing into his eyes for the duration of your average pop song, I thought: What do I have to lose?
The experiment would be based on a study conducted by Arthur Aron, a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, which explored whether intimacy could be established between two people over a period of 90 minutes during which they ask each other a series of increasingly probing questions, then wash it all down with a pint of 100% proof eye contact. The study is some 20 years old but came to prominence in 2015 via an essay written by Mandy Len Catron for The New York Times’ Modern Love column, entitled “To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This”. In the essay, Catron recounts how she and a loose acquaintance spent an evening asking one another those same questions – and subsequently fell in love.
Despite Catron’s endorsement, I’m sceptical. Perhaps it’s that very British fear of discussing anything of any consequence with someone you’ve known inside of five minutes but I find it difficult to believe that enforced (over)sharing can be a substitute for those first tentative weeks of a relationship, where you delicately brush away each other’s layers of self-preservation like archaeologists on a dig. Nor can I silence the inner voice that whispers, What if they pair you with someone awful? At most, I hope to come away from the evening with a hilarious anecdote and my dignity intact.
The day of the experiment rolls around and after checking in (“Just like at the airport!” trills the host, somewhat unromantically) I grab a large glass of wine and hover awkwardly in a corner, awaiting kickoff. A half-hour wait stretches into an hour, by which point the bar is littered with single people staring at their phones while simultaneously scanning the room out of the corners of their eyes.
It’s time to begin. We line up and everyone is given a number – mine is 42 – and instructed to find the table with the corresponding number, where their partner will be waiting. (I should mention here that the only information I provided on signing up was my age, sexual orientation, and what I was looking for romantically – a casual fling, dating, a long-term relationship.) Bracing myself, I stride confidently into the room. The man sitting at my table is – thank you Jesus – really rather handsome. We shake hands, introduce ourselves and get down to business.
There are 36 questions, divided into three sets, each set designed to be more probing than the last. The questions are available online but I resist the temptation to look them up in advance.
Question one: Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? I hate this question. I want to say my friends but I’m pretty sure that’s not allowed so I find myself embarking on a tortuous (and, frankly, unoriginal) argument that you should never meet your heroes so the wise choice would be to invite someone you detest and before I know it, Katie Hopkins is coming round for Sunday lunch. My partner (let’s call him Mr X) looks confused. This has not started well.
Question three: Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? “Yes, all the time, because I’m deeply socially awkward and find silence over the phone even more excruciating than silence IRL.” Question seven: Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die? “Sleep paralysis. Or a sinkhole.” Question 11: Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
In her aforementioned essay, Catron makes this remark: “We all have a narrative of ourselves that we offer up to strangers and acquaintances, but Dr. Aron’s questions make it impossible to rely on that narrative.” I beg to differ. Mr X answers this question first and, when it reaches my turn, I follow his lead and talk about my upbringing, school, my parents’ divorce, university, travelling and work. I leave out anything to do with previous relationships. For the first time in the evening, I am editing my response, revising and redacting before I speak. This is where Mr X and I discover we have a surprising amount in common: we went to the same university, we both spent a year in France, we have a similar family dynamic. But I can’t help feeling that I haven’t been entirely honest. Then again, Mr X didn’t mention his romantic history either.
We’re into the second set now and it’s getting rocky. A precedent has been set and from this point on my answers veer from astonishingly frank to not-telling-the-whole-story. Question 18: What is your most terrible memory?
By the time we turn the corner into the final 12 questions, I’ve had three glasses of wine and am feeling chuffed with how this whole social experiment is going. For question 30, we have to share when we last cried in front of another person. I answer honestly that it was at the cinema with a close friend, although, again, I can’t help feeling that a truer answer would have been, “In front of a guy I met on Tinder last year; I was a little bit in love with him but all he wanted from me was sex.”
And so we come to the four minutes of eye contact. I’m ashamed to say that Mr X and I agree we don’t want to do it, which technically means we don’t complete the experiment. By this point, though, Mr X has moved his chair to sit beside me and we’ve swapped numbers.
Fall In Love With A Stranger took place at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen.

20 signs why he is your twin flame

 

 

The moment you meet your twin flame is the moment the earth beneath your feet begins to shift and although I feel immense gratitude for the gift of connecting with my twin flame, I am happy to say that this blessing is open to everyone; however such a gift is not always received openly or even recognized by us on a conscious level. Sometimes we’re at a point in our lives where we are simply not receptive to both ourselves and our twin flame’s presence due to stress, over-work, lifestyle habits and negative thought patterns that lead to low self-esteem.

For this reason I believe that it’s important to identify some of the major twin flame signs that you might experience, or have already experienced, in your lifetime. In the end, the appearance of our mirror soul is always a mystery and can rarely be predicted. So pay attention.

What is a Twin Flame?

Your twin flame, or twin soul, is a person who you are destined to feel connected to on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level. Your twin flame represents your friend, lover and teacher in this life. He or she is the catalyst of your spiritual growth and the mirror of your deepest desires, needs, and fears. Your twin flame will reflect back to you all of your inner shadows, but also your deepest beauty and greatest strengths. In this way, your twin flame helps you to access tremendous emotional, psychological, and spiritual growth.

Who is Your Mirror Soul?

I like to refer to our twin flames as mirror souls because they essentially reflect the deepest needs, desires, dreams and shadow elements of our souls. We will explore this a bit more later on.

However, before that, I just want to say that our twin flames are not always romantic, and they are not – as is so popularly suggested – necessarily heterosexual connections. In fact, our twin flames may be romantic partners of the same sex (or no sex), and they can often be platonic friends or even family members who we have known for a long time.

Regardless of this, twin flames are most commonly romantic in nature and tend to manifest themselves as people who we can passionately connect with on all levels.

Top 20 Twin Flame Signs

We are not always receptive to the appearance of our twin flames in life. We might be heart-broken, wracked with grief, maritally over-burdened, or just plain tired and disillusioned when they suddenly appear out of the blue. In fact, we might have already met our twin flames or mirror souls, but we might have overlooked them, belittled them or taken them for granted in some way.

Whatever emotional or psychological stage you’re at in life, it is always beneficial to be conscious of the people you live with and meet. These following twin flame signs might help you to open new pathways and opportunities for union:

  1. You feel a strange, inexplicable sense of “recognition” when you meet the person. This might manifest itself as déjà vu, or an unshakable feeling that you’ve known this person before, or are somehow “meant to be together.”
  2. You have a feeling that they are going to play a very important role in your own development, without knowing when, why or how.
  3. You’ve established an immediate, intense connection with them that is invigorating and shocking at the same time.
  4. You feel as though you’ve finally found a “home” or safe place with the other person.
  5. You are able to be your authentic self – warts and all – without the fear of rejection, persecution or judgment with them.
  6. You both embody the yin and yang, in other words, your dark side is balanced by their light side, and their dark side is balanced by your light side.
  7. You feel a sense of expansion with them, as though you are larger than your limited identity.
  8. They make you a better person, and you make them a better person.
  9. When together you are both bonded but free, attached but unattached. In other words, you still maintain your freedom even though you might be in a relationship with them.
  10. You are finely tuned to their energy, and they are finely tuned to yours. This means that you are both very conscious of the present play of energy (whether happy or sad, angry or forgiving, open or withholding) present in the connection. You’re both therefore highly empathic with each other.
  11. You feel as though you have been waiting for this person your entire life.
  12. You both connect deeply and mirror each other’s values and aspirations for life beyond surface similarities.
  13. You twin flame is a mirror of what you fear and simultaneously desire the most for your own inner healing. For example, if you are a highly-strung person, your twin flame will most likely be relaxed and messy. If you like to play the victim, your twin flame will be a strong character who refuses to give you pity or sympathy to perpetuate your complex. If you are creatively repressed, your twin flame will be a flourishing artist. In this way, our twin flames challenge and infuriate us but also teach us important lessons about our fears, core wounds and repressions.
  14. No matter how many times you avoid or leave your twin flame, you’re always magnetically attracted back to them. (Don’t confuse this with abusive relationship complexes.)
  15. One of you is more soulfully mature than the other, and often serves as the teacher, counselor or confidant within the relationship.
  16. You are taught important life lessons such as forgiveness, gratitude, empathy and open-mindedness by them and with them.
  17. Your connection is multi-faceted. In other words, your twin flame is likely your best friend, lover, teacher, nurturer and muse all at once.
  18. Your twin flame doesn’t try to change you. They accept you for who you are and what stage you’re at, and encourage you to do the same for yourself (and vice versa).
  19. You can be truthful with each other about anything.
  20. Together, you both feel driven towards a higher purpose, whether spiritually, socially or ecologically.

Learning how to Bounce! Resiliency : What is it? Why it matters.

 

 

 

Michael H Ballard Canada

Resiliency is starting to gather more attention. Personal resilience helps us stay healthier, do better in school, have happier relationships, experience more joy  and do better in our jobs. Family resilience also offers that and makes for better neighbours and safer communities. Resilience in the workplace helps with staff engagement and retention. The benefits of creating, having and nurturing a personal, family, organizational and community culture of resilience is very valuable.

But, what is it? Resilience is our ability to “bounce back” from adversity. Life’s BIGStuff events that we all have happen to us eventually. Death in the family, loss of a job, divorce, poor performance at work or school, chronic illness, having your house burn down you get the picture.

Resiliency is a set of key factors we can all use to assist us stay safer and move forward and often create more successful outcomes.  There are two major parts to Resiliency. Inner and outer resilience. Inner resilience includes the beliefs you hold to be true,  your problem solving skills, and the goals you’ve set for yourself. Outer resilience includes the values of the community you live in, teams you’ve built around yourself, the education you have, the support you have from family to name just  a few.

So how do we get more? Well to further develop and deepen our inner resiliency a key place to start includes: –  Our self control. Moderation is a very powerful factor in being resilient. Our resistance to temptation, our restraint to over doing things is a great place to start. Key skills to help us manage our inner world include: Diaphragm Breathing and Meditative Walking.  More on this in a future column.

To further develop our outer resiliency developing and deepening trusting relationships with people who treat us with respect, sharing time with others that have high expectations of us and them of us are powerful places to help us deepen and widen our ability to thrive. Setting boundaries and expectations with others politely and clearly make a difference.

Resiliency is a life long process. A key to me is that we have to set boundaries and  expectations of our self and with others.  Being resilient offers up life as a life long adventure.  It helps us stretch into life’s BIGStuff moments and issues keeping us safer and happier and often offering us much better outcomes.

So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.

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Marilyn Monroe’s Menorah to be auctioned

Even before her 1956 conversion, Marilyn Monroe, was attached to Judaism.

One of the most famous photos of the screen legend, with her white skirt fluttering in a jet of subway exhaust, was snapped by Garry Winogrand. The picture was promotion for Billy Wilder’s “The Seven Year Itch” (1955). A year after the film’s debut, she married playwright Arthur Miller and became a Member of the Tribe. The union didn’t last long enough for the aforementioned itch to creep up on either spouse, but Monroe’s relationship with Judaism endured for the rest of her life.

Last year a siddur owned and annotated by Monroe sold at auction for $21,000. Now, another piece of Monroe’s spiritual life will be on the block: Her menorah, gifted to her by Miller’s parents, and among her belongings at the time of her death in 1962.

Kestenbaum & Company, a New York auction house specializing in Judaica linked to historical figures — including such unlikely subjects as Henry VIII to Mother Theresa — will take bids for the item on November 7.

The menorah, which is being sold by a private collector who snagged it at Christie’s 20 years ago, has been on view before, included as part of the Jewish Museum’s exhibit “Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn;” as well as an exhibit at the Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

As far as menorahs go (and it’s technically a hanukkiah), Monroe’s is a pretty standard metal affair — not at all glamorous. Her personal rabbi, Robert E. Goldburg opined that Monroe was attracted to “the rationalism of Judaism.”

“Marilyn Monroe’s spellbinding magnetism knows no bounds,” the auction house company director, Daniel Kestenbaum, noted. “The market for memorabilia from the Golden Age of Hollywood goes from strength to strength, as does Fine Judaica, and as such this extraordinary item has remarkable provenance.”

This Hanukkah, you can pay tribute to the woman who, per Elton John, lived her life like a “Candle in the Wind,” by lighting her hanukkiah. But you’ll have to pay up first. Kestenbaum & Company have listed a guide price of $100,000 – 150,000 for the Marilyn menorah. With that price tag, you may not have money left over for presents.



Surgical Menopause – getting into your Menopause too early

 

Four months ago I had my ovaries removed. It was a shock. One minute I was fine, the next I was doubled up in pain, certain that my appendix was rupturing. A quick trip to hospital and an ultrasound showed a large tumour on my ovary. I asked if it was cancerous. The Emergency Department Consultant could not tell me. The only specialist who was not on holiday could not see me for 10 days. Why do all specialists go on holiday at the same time? It was the same when my sons needed grommets. They were all away. Shouldn’t doctors have to stagger their holidays like any other professional?

My initial meeting with the specialist was not positive and I thought about seeing someone else, but I was not keen on a 3 month wait. I was frightened that I had cancer, so I went with the first person available.

The appointment started badly when she asked why I was there. I told her that I have a tumour on my ovary and was promptly told that “we don’t call it a “tumour”, it is a “mass””. I knew at that point that it was going to be a rough road. Every other doctor from the ED Consultant through to my GP called it a tumour. There was even an arrow pointing to it on the ultrasound scan which is marked “tumour”. However, I was told firmly that I was not to call it that. I don’t know if this was supposed to make me feel better, or happier or reassured. Either way it achieved nothing and I spent the following week looking up ovarian cancer websites and trying to prepare myself for the worst. The specialist said she could operate a week later so I filled in all the admission paperwork and then hit the chocolate. It did nothing for my waistline but it made me feel brighter. Where there is chocolate there is hope.

I arrived at hospital the following week, petrified and with a bag full of chocolate to get me through the recovery in hospital. Green and Blacks I love you. I will buy shares. It was only your milk chocolate that got me through the following weeks. If you noticed a profits spike in April and May, that was down to me.

After waiting in reception for 2 hours I was taken to a ward full of people waiting to have gynaecological surgery. I was apparently third on the list. Why I had to be there at 6.30am when they did not intend to operate before 11am, beats me.

Once I was in a gown and tucked up in bed, the nurse looking after us all decided we all needed to have an enema. I think she was bored. I was expecting a tube up my bottom so was quite relieved when it just turned out to be a tablet. A modern enema involves a tablet being stuck up your bottom and being told to hold it as long as you can before you race to the toilet. There were 8 of us waiting for surgery. The nurse gave us all an enema within minutes of each other. There was one toilet on the ward. The outcome was predictable to everyone except the nurse administering the tablet. I learned a lot of new yoga positions as I was standing in queue outside the one toilet, trying desperately to hold on. There was no commode available. As I was wheeled off for surgery, I hoped the nurse with the smart idea was the one to have to clean up.

I woke up in my own room after the surgery. I was hungry but the nurse told me that I had to be on clear fluids until my bowel had moved. That proved to be a long time. Why did they give me an enema in the first place? Chicken consommé does not help you have a movement. If it goes in liquid, it comes out liquid. I decided that they were just malicious. Three days of chicken consommé and lime jelly later, I was ready to strangle someone, so I lied. I told the doctor I had been to the toilet. The food ban was lifted. I ate chocolate. It was good, really good. In fact it tasted like manna from heaven. My 6 year old saw it on offer at the local supermarket. My husband and son emptied the shelves. My cupboard overflowed…There is no painkiller as effective as a large bar of Green and Blacks Organic Milk Chocolate. Just liquefy it and hook me up to a drip!

I knew that having my ovaries removed would send me into surgical menopause. What I did not know was how quickly it would happen. The various websites were quite vague about it. I knew that I would need to go on to HRT until the age that I would naturally go into the menopause (generally assumed to be around the age of 51) to replace the oestrogen that was no longer being provided.

I thought that I would be given HRT immediately. Apparently not. The specialist decided it would be good for me to experience what menopause was like before allowing me to have the oestrogen patches. The hot flushes kicked in 2 days post-surgery. I endured 5 days of hot flushes and night sweats before discharging myself against doctor’s orders. Only then did she agree to give me the patches. She told me that women should be able to deal with menopause when it happens, whether or not that is down to surgery. I beg to differ.

I did wonder why I, as her patient, had to suffer because of her beliefs about HRT. It made me wonder how much else of her advice was her opinion, versus official recommendations. I went to see my GP five days later and she was brilliant. When I told her I was still suffering hot flushes and night sweats, she upped my dosage of HRT, saying that nobody needed to suffer unnecessarily. The hot flushes and night sweats stopped within 24 hours. My doctor is the best!

It was a long five weeks until I found out I did not have Ovarian Cancer. The specialist forgot to email my GP with the results, so she found out from me that I was in the clear.

The HRT patches work well. I have had to put an alarm in my phone to remind me to change them twice a week, but apart from that it is all fine. My tummy is squidgier than it was and it was a few weeks before my sons were able to bounce on my lap again. However, I have recovered well and am now back to exercising and back on motherly duties again. All credit to my in-laws who moved in and looked after the children for me while I recovered. All credit to my eldest son who reminded my husband to keep resupplying the chocolate.

While this has been a long story I think the main points I wanted to make are that if you are told that there is something wrong that may be very serious, read around. Don’t just read around the subject, read online reviews of the hospital and the specialist you are seeing. I wish that I had, as the same comments I have made above, had previously been made by others having similar surgery at the same hospital, with the same consultant.

Be willing to look further afield for a consultant and a hospital to have the surgery done at, if this is an option where you live. I looked within a 10 mile radius of my home, at 3 possible hospitals and I based my choice purely on opening hours, not on online reviews. If I had gone as far as 30 miles, I may have had a different experience. Finally, read up on the after effects of the surgery, any follow up medication you may need and the pros and cons of it. Use reputable websites, such as those of national or international charities specialising in your condition. Go into your doctor armed to the teeth with information, don’t just take the specialist’s word for it. Knowledge is power and power is confidence. If you are confident of your information when you face your specialist, you may have a lot better experience than if you accept without question, the information that specialist gives you. Finally, take to the hospital whatever it is that will make you feel good afterwards, as a quick boost every now and again, can only be a good thing for your recovery.



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