Mommy Monday: Real life story
Blair works part-time from home and is the mother of one.
This is her real life story. She is also the owner of http://www.blairadise.com/
Growing up my mom always told us that you can feel as good as you want to feel. To this day, I still believe that. During the last year and a half, I wanted to feel sad. I liked feeling sorry for myself. I enjoyed hiding in dark closets crying my eyes out with tissues all around. It felt good. It felt good to be angry with God. I liked shouting at him, and blaming him for my pain and depression. And didn’t I have a lot to be depressed about? Wasn’t my pain justified? Wasn’t it all His fault?
I lost the first baby, when I was 5 months pregnant. Almost half way there. I lost the second one 8 months later, on Mother’s Day weekend. Wasn’t I a good enough mother for a second baby? I lost the third one, right before Christmas this past year. An operation before Christmas? Really, God? Why even give me the baby if you are going to take it away? At least let me enjoy Christmas!
New year, new me, isn’t that how the saying goes? Well, the new me, in the new year decided to change my outlook on life and get over myself. I owed it to Johan and Ava to not waste another year sad or angry. If that meant getting on birth control to avoid any disappointments, then that’s what I’d do. We decided to look at booking a holiday with some friends to Thailand and just use 2014 to relax and enjoy life.
The first thing I had to do was to stop fighting God. I had to accept the past and begin trusting in his plans for me, for us. I needed to get back to reading His word and listening to Him. To thanking Him for all that we do have. Back to focusing on love and laughter. Isn’t that what life is all about?
As I started working on my happiness, I noticed my health was beginning to deteriorate. Since the operation in December, I just didn’t feel right. Like my body wasn’t going back to normal. I was gaining weight faster than I had ever before. I was tired, agitated and overall uncomfortable.
On the 31st of January, I went to see my doctor. She starts every appointment by asking me, “how are you” with this sad face. I’ve been going to her since I fell pregnant with Ava, so she knows all my ups and downs. I told her about our plans to take a year off of trying for another baby and that we were actually coming to terms with the thought of only having one child. We talked about our trip to Thailand and just trying to make 2014 a happier year. She agreed that if that’s what I wanted, then we should go for it.
As I began to explain my ailments, a smile slowly crossed her face. “You’re pregnant”, she said. Impossible, I thought. My cycle hadn’t even gotten back on track since my miscarriage in December, so how could I possibly be pregnant? She insisted we do an ultrasound to check.
When the cold gel hit my tummy, visions of my last visit soared through my head. Back to that day when Johan grabbed my arm, pointed to the ultrasound screen and said, “oh good, there’s the baby”. Then the doctor’s shoulders shrank and she grabbed my other arm and said, “I’m sorry, but no, we’ve lost it”.
Back to the 31st, as the black and white ultrasound screen flickered, and then settled into focus, there on the screen was a baby. A big baby. A 15 week old baby. A bomb could have gone off around us and my doctor and I wouldn’t have noticed. We sat in silence for a few minutes. Looked at each other. Laughed. Looked back at the screen and basically stared in shock.
I had a D&C after my miscarriage in December, in case you don’t know, it’s where they scrap out the lining of uterus. How this baby survived, we don’t know. I have seen my doctor again, got a second opinion from another doctor and even went for a 4D scan. Not one of them can tell me how this happen, but I know. I know it was God. Only he can perform miracles and this little baby is our miracle. He survived a D&C. He’s a fighter.
Johan and I are still in shock. It’s weird to go in for a checkup and come out almost 4 months pregnant, but we couldn’t be happier.
What I’ve learned so far this year, is that when I finally gave up on how I thought my life should be and gave into trusting in God’s plans, He answered all my prayers and more. He’s given me hope. He’s given me strength.
** This article is written by ANNE McEVOY.**
What is OT?
Occupational therapists use physical exercise and games to develop the neurological system of children to enable them reach their full potential and learn in the classroom. Occupational therapy will improve fine co-ordination, eye-hand co-ordination, pencil control and cutting.It will improve gross co-ordination, balance, eye-foot co-ordination and ball skills as well as reducing clumsiness.It will improve concentration, socializing and behaviour problems that are related to sensory issues.
OT also improves self esteem as when a child feels that he can manage he is not afraid to try new tasks.
More and more children need OT as a result of our life style. Everyone is busy and parents get home late from work, they are tired and so are the children, so it is easiest to sit the children on front of the TV, give them electronic games to play or the computer. Children do not play outside, riding bikes and climbing tree, the way we did when we were young, they are much more passive and as a result they do not develop to their full potential.
What can we do about this?
We need to be more active, go for walks or ride bikes with the family regularly, encourage the children to play outside and kick a ball around the garden with them.
Play messy games like finger paints, baking and making collages, Believe it or not this will improve their concentration.
Be aware of any difficulties your child has eg. getting tired easily or lolling around instead of sitting up, lying on the couch when watching TV. Having difficulty or resisting putting pencil to paper and colouring in. Frequently getting hurt, being clumsy, rushing into things without considering the consequences, inability to focus on 1 activity for any length of time.
Areas That OT’s work with:
1) Low muscle tone.
2) Midline crossing and bilateral integration.
3) Motor planning.
4) Sensory modulation and discrimination.
5) Visual perceptual skills and memory.
1) Low muscle tone:
What is low muscle tone?
Muscle tone is the state of readiness of the muscle for action, it has nothing to do with how strong or weak you are. It has to do with the balance process in the middle ear, the vestibular process, and we treat it with fast acceleration and deceleration of movement in the 3 planes of movement, the horizontal, vertical and diagonal planes.
Muscle tone is also affected by the proprioceptive system which includes receptors in the muscles, joints and skin. Inputs from these receptors are interpreted in the midbrain and then postural adjustments and righting reactions are made to the body accordingly. This enables us to know sub-consciously where our body parts are in relation to the environment.
When sitting and working our posture deteriorates, so the proprioceptive system corrects our posture, it informs us about how tightly we are holding things, how hard to put our foot down on the ground when walking and how hard to press on our pencil when writing.
Children with low muscle tone get tired easy, they find it difficult to sit upright and rather lie on the desk, flop on the couch or loll on the floor. They often find it difficult to sit still and wriggle around in an attempt improve their muscle tone.
These children are frequently clumsy and hurt themselves.
Low muscle tone also affects concentration as they are using so much energy to hold their body up, they have instability in their shoulders and still have to hold the pencil and produce the work. It therefore affects their fine and gross co-ordination.
Children with low muscle tone are frequently gravitationally insecure, this is the child that does not know where his body parts are when he cannot see them and as a result he will show an emotional or fear reaction that is out of proportion to the actual threat or danger of the position of the body in space. These children will avoid balance activities because they are scary.
2) Midline crossing and bilateral integration.
This is the inability or difficulty in crossing the imaginary line down the middle of the body as a result of the lack of communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. This results in reversals in writing, difficulty putting pencil to paper and difficulty copying off the board.
These children are usually disorganized on paper.
These children usually shift the body weight to one side when drawing and writing, or they may turn the paper to avoid crossing the middle of the page. They have great difficulty drawing crosses and frequently draw from the middle to each side and from right to left. As young children they may swop hands, holding the pencil in the right hand when drawing on the right side of the paper and in the left hand when drawing on the left side of the paper. They frequently call themselves ambidextrous. They may not have an established dominance at 2 or 3 years.
To treat midline crossing difficulties we take the child through a bilateral integration program, doing large movements repeatedly with both hands, then feet, then alternate hand, alternate legs and so forth, progressing to more complicated movements. By using both sides of the body repeatedly we are building up tracts of communication between the 2 hemispheres of the brain. We also improve rotation around the body axis.
3) Motor Planning.
This is the ability of the brain to conceive of, organize and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions.
A child with motor planning difficulties find it much more difficult to learn new tasks, their movements do not flow naturally and can be jerky, they are disorganized, always leave their clothes and work at school or forget to bring stuff to school. They are clumsy kids, their desks are a mess and so are their books.
This is treated with a lot of deep proprioception (deep pressure), throwing objects at a target and copying sequences of movement.
4) Sensory modulation and discrimination.
Children with sensory issues frequently have concentration and behaviour difficulties.
Due to sensory hypersensitivity they get too much input from the environment which makes them hyperactive, in this state it is impossible to concentrate. They cannot focus on one thing, their mind jumps from one thing to another, this is frequently seen when they jump from 1 activity to another.
Sensory Hypersensitivity also leads to aggressive behaviour and not having friends. They find it difficult to tolerate other children in their body space and push them away especially when standing in line, sharing a desk or playing on the playground.
Hypersensitive children are frequently fussy eaters as they cannot handle certain texture in their mouth. Some dislike mushy foods like porridge, avo or mashed potato, others dislike chewy foods like meat and others dislike crunchy foods like carrots and apples.
Tactile defensive children are fussy about the texture of clothing they wear, they like soft tracksuits but dislike jeans and are fussy about what textures they wear. Mom frequently has to cut labels out of their clothes.
Some children are not aware of temperature, they do not take their jackets off when it is hot and come home from school in the middle of the day, with all their warm clothes on or the run around in shorts and a T-shirt when it is cold.
Auditory defensive children cannot handle loud noise and are irritated by noise. They seem to hear every possible sound. The classroom can be a very noisy place!
Visual and auditory sensitivity result in children becoming very hyperactive in shopping malls and games alleys.
The hyposensitive child is not getting enough input from his environment so he becomes very quiet and gets lost in the classroom, this is the daydreamer.
He can also become sensory seeking, jumping on things, throwing himself on the floor or pushing and pulling heavy objects, including other children, this is an attempt to get the input he needs to modulate himself.
5) Visual perceptual skills and memory.
This is the ability to perceive or understand what we see spatially, discriminated subtle differences, see similar shapes as belonging together, seeing things as a whole, visual memory, remembering things one sees and visual sequential memory, remembering them in the correct order.
This is treated using perceptual games, work sheets and movement in space.
To sum things up:
Occupational Therapy can do an enormous amount to improve fine and gross co-ordination, writing, copying off the board, neatness and organizational skill, sensory modulation, behaviour, self esteem and concentration.
It is so important that therapy is started at a young age as most of these difficulties can be sorted out before the child starts formal education and before the child develops a negative attitude towards school and learning.
When a child is feeling inadequate, not good enough, always being picked on, he develops a low self esteem and feels incapable and will not try things that he thinks may be too difficult because of his fear of failure. This blocks the learning process.
The teachers really know and understand your children, they observe them for a long time before recommending therapy so please hear them when they are concerned about a child and take your child for therapy to prevent more problems later on.
It is also important for young children to go to bed early and be well rested as it is so much easier to learn when you are not tired. Going to bed at a regular time, between 7 and 8 pm is also a good way to bring structure and discipline into your home.
A good well balanced diet is so important for growing children and it also enables them to concentrate. They need a lot of proteins to grow and develop, protein also helps maintain a constant blood sugar level which improves concentration.
Most children eat far too many carbohydrates, starches and sugars, which give them a blood sugar high but half an hour later their blood sugar is low and they are tires and cannot concentrate. Protein and low GI bread which
are absorbed more slowly help maintain blood sugar levels. Most cereals, which kids love, are carbohydrates so rather give them oats or other low GI grains or cereals. This can make such a difference to their ability to concentrate.
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