Posts filed under ‘Women’s Health’


Soooooooo guess who is getting in touch with her creative side once again seemingly out of nowhere?

Do you think Facebook Detox 2012 has anything to do with it?  I’m going to go with, ummmm YES.

I amped up (or down, depending on what you think of it) the blog template for a fresh spring change of pace, and I’m hittin’ the ground running with these darn photo books I’ve been meaning to make and gift since, eeeeeerrrr only DECEMBER.  With a minor amount of digging and searching and reading I found some ideas on how to use the online photo book printers but with my own templates.  I’m using Adobe Photoshop Elements to make my own pages, and then I’m just uploading them as images and dropping them into the program’s basic layout.   This idea is modelled after one of my most favourite blogger’s idea.   Mine is pretty basic, as I’m just learning, but that is ultimately what I aspire to.  My other aspiration?  To make one of these books annually.  For our parents, and for us.  I’m pretty sure The Cadester will thoroughly love looking through them.   I also found this super helpful little tutorial which also reviews several of the digital scrapbooking online printers, and led me to try out artscow this time around.  It received a good rating (5 stars) and is pretty much half the price of another of the leading printers.   I know you can’t beat quality, so I am going to make one, print it, and see how it turns out before I order them in bulk.

The other outlet, while not as productive maybe, is   It’s fun, fast, and I’m a fan of the privacy sharing settings.  You can find me there, my username is trista_dawn and I’m in lockdown mode, so if you wanna look, you gotta ask.

I’m pretty sure I have to tell y’all about my experience with the social worker who specializes in holistic healing/homeopathy, but that’s another story for another time.  All I can say for now is, not what I expected, but that’s good.   I feel like we skimmed the surface on a lot of things going on for me, which is fine and dandy.  It felt good to be validated and reassured.  I just received the remedies in the mail today, and they were custom-made for and by me, meaning, I had a major hand in deciding (whether subconsciously or not) what exactly these blends consist of.

One thing I do want to say is, ever since this shift in my reliance on technology (aka FACEBOOK DITCH), I have felt more at ease, calmer, and more present in the present.  It ain’t rocket science, people.  I know what’s going on.  I’m not saying it’ll happen for you, but give it a thought.  If you don’t want to completely deactivate it, even just delete the app from your phone.  Smartphones are like those nasty wolves (honestly though, I kinda like wolves and I think they’re pretty fantastic, but you know what I mean) dressed up all cutesy like sheep.  Yeesh.



April 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm 5 comments

Heal the soul, Feed the heart.

I am so sick and tired about blogging how I never blog.  I am sick of starting posts with “I’m back” or “so I took an unintentional break.”  It’s all the same junk, all the time.  I take breaks, they are unintentional.  I have mini-meltdowns, I forget about my blog, I get up on the uppity and sail through my life without so much as a thought about my main writing outlet.  How dare I ignore myself, because this blog really is just an extension of that?  I prevent myself from writing about anything substantial, aside from the fact that when I am gone that is substantial but most definitely not the most substantial moment that has occurred since the last time I wrote.  SIGH DOUBLE SIGH.

I am not sure if I have made a promise before, to myself and to my blog.  Probably?  Kinda feel like I’ve been there done that with every sort of “I VOW TO BLOG ALL THE TIME EVERY TIME” deal, but please don’t judge as I am about to make it again.

Aside from my mini-explanation two days ago, I haven’t blogged in nearly three months.  That is an eternity.  Imagine something you thoroughly enjoy, now axe it out of your life for three months and imagine the sorrow.  My heart is filled with it, and then part of my heart gets mad because I am the only one that can change that and I haven’t done that.

I feel like I am at a very transitional point in my life, and in all honesty, I think I always will be.  As human beings, I think we always are, because we always are growing and changing, even if we feel we are pretty stagnant.   The last five months have been an incredible adjustment, and they totally still are, and I am still adapting.  I think C is too, though seriously, I feel like he is just going with the flow and is mostly loving it.  The boy loves daycare.  He loves his friends.  He loves his daycare provider.  That really just tickles me pink, it truly does.  Mainly, I am happy he is happy.   Daycare is not a choice for us but a necessity, at this point in our lives anyway.  If we had a choice, we wouldn’t be utilizing it, or at least not on a full-time basis, I already know this much is true.  I am pretty certain I would be much happier, more fulfilled and satisfied, if I was a mama who did not work out of the home or at least not on a full-time basis.  It feels awful to write such a sentiment, but it is what I believe.  The tricky part of this is, because it is not really an option right now, is navigating it so I still feel thoroughly fulfilled, and that I am providing my family and myself with the very best me possible.  That part, I haven’t yet figured out.  What I do know, is my boy is growing way fast, and I know that part of what I need to do is to let go of my hangups around what I can’t have, and focus on trying to enjoy what I do have.  It’s the quality now, not the quantity.  Wise words from some wise women.

Back in January (!!!) I talked about the growth I have been encountering, the changes I have been making, and while they are mostly the same, there’s even more to add to it, and that warms my heart deeply.  I’m still on my handmade gift only path, and we’re heading into the middle of April.  It’s so fun, so satisfying, and it really nurtures and helps to fulfill my creative soul.  I have sewn turtles and flax magic bags, made no-sew fleece blankets, made miniature taggy blankets, along with various other goodies.  I am learning skills left right and centre and I absolutely love it.  I’ve got to gather up some more tricks for my bag of crafts, because I’m needing a dose of fresh crafty ideas in my life, but for now this is good.

Another huge development in my life is that I registered for the Doula Training course that is offered here.  I am beyond thrilled for this new step in my life and I have this feeling, I just know, that this is going to be a good thing.  I questioned myself slightly before I registered, mainly because I had to drop a bit of cash in order to take the course, but I know deep, deep down that I am meant to do this.  It is my passion through and through, for various reasons.  I thought I’d get the birth high, then it would dwindle, but oh no, ohhh noo it’s still there, stronger than ever.  I am not obsessed, I am passionate.  The gig starts April 26, and is ten weeks long, one night a week.  I imagine I will branch out in the blog-world to have a doula biz site up, but that’s for another day.

As of Saturday morning, I have temporarily deactivated my Facebook account.  It was a decision that I had to do.  The clincher for me, was the struggle I actually had with clicking ‘Deactivate.’  I couldn’t do it, well I mean – I obviously did, but I hummed and ha’ed for quite some time, days, before I went ahead and did it.  That experience alone reinforced to me that I was far too addicted to it.  It had taken a hold of my life, and gripped it with all of its psychotic Facebook intensity.  SO not cool.  The whole smart phone phenomenon made it even worse.  Honestly?  Do I need to check my Facebook ALL the time? Just ‘to check’?  Highly unlikely.  But even more than that, was the psychopathic tendencies of Facebook, that is, if Facebook was a person.  Stalkerish, right?  Creepy.  And I was a part of the game.  I couldn’t let go of certain Friends on my Friends list, because the fun would end.  And by fun I mean, the ability for me to poke my head in on their virtual life at any given time.  I get that we are in the 21st century and social networking is the way of the future, but when does it become social psychopathic tendencies and not social networking anymore?  Hmm.  The privacy settings are shady at best, and I just needed a break..  It is not okay when I feel my blood pressure rise, my cheeks become rosy, at the sight of some ridiculous, attention-seeking status update by someone I really don’t even care about. That is not okay.  Sure, there are plenty of things I like about Facebook.  I like the support that some of the communities provide, the ability to see photographs of family and friends in faraway lands, but for now, for me, there are other ways to have these needs met.  And quite honestly, I’d like to spend a little bit more time talking to the people I care about instead of creeping on some jerk-face who I really don’t.

I am no longer seeing the counsellor I mentioned in my second last post.  Not because of anything more than we  really weren’t getting anywhere that significant.  It was alright, and she helped to somewhat shed light on a few issues I was struggling with, but it was not entirely what I needed.  In hindsight, I am not even sure know what I need.  We’re at that point, and I know it’s not a great point to be at, but it’s a starting point, and I know I am here, so I’ll roll with it.  And it’s nothing against psychologists, but that is not exactly what I am needing right now, I don’t believe.  So tomorrow the journey continues, and I will meet with a homeopathic doctor/social worker/counsellor in one.  She comes HIGHLY recommended and so I am quite anxious to have this experience.  I’ve got a couple of things I want to address, and I am also anticipating that she will guide the session and we will do some exploring.

As for my running shoes, they haven’t been laced up in way too long.  March came and went, and that is the hardest month of every year for me.  The winters are too long, and the spring lingers.  I love the first days of spring, but then let’s get this show on the road.  I am tired of cold mornings, and my cold appendages itch for warm skin.  The plan is to get out there and get running, again, because last summer when I learned that running was a total outlet for me, was one of the best summers ever, and I need that injection of wholeness, of light, and of endorphins, in my life, on a constant basis.  The issue right now is that I am feeling really unable to battle the brisk mornings, and so I’m anxiously awaiting the warm ones.  In time?

And without turning to ‘external’ sources of healing, I am mostly feeling very blessed, very privileged, to have this here family that I do.  My son provides me with an insane amount of beauty, life, and love, and I don’t even know how to say it properly.  He basically just blows my mind, over, and over, and over again.  Every little word he says, every thing he does.  He is the most beautiful soul, the most beautiful creature, the most beautiful beauty.  Yeesh.  And thee baby-daddy, well aye, I get hung up on things, on complains, on this and that, but gosh darn, I am lucky.  Who ever thought I would be living in my small-but-its-cozy house, with a 17 month old, a 3 year old poochy, and a partner?  I am not sure I ever did, but oh boy, am I sure glad I do.

Happy Monday, friends, dream sweetly & sleep tightly.

April 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm 6 comments

I’m back, I’m back, I’m back.

Soooooo, I’ve sort of been MIA.  I wish I could say I was soul searching and hugging my babies 24/7, but unfortunately it’s just because I have been downright tired and downright busy.  I am having a bit of a, err, time… if you will, with this back to work transition.  It’s taking its toll on me, and while I am happy to say that we are in a pretty good routine, it’s because we have to go.  Plain and simple.  If we weren’t, we would all be unravelling and it just would not be pretty.  So, routine it is and routine it has to be.  The bonus is that my boy is doing swimmingly well at daycare.  He’s a rockstar, he really is.  He makes me proud and me makes my heart beam EVERY SINGLE DAY.  What a little monkey.  Who ever thought humans could love other humans that much?  I mean, c’mon now, we all know that humans, most of the time, are kind of… ridiculous?  Annoying?  Idiotic?  Crappy?  You pick your choice word.  But nope.  Not this human, and not this love.  This is inTENSE.

Do you even know how many times I have said “I should blog about this” in the past month?  Too many, actually.  I’m sort of a dork like that.  I have been called dork, geek, nerd, what have you.  Out loud.  By more than one person.  So I just go with it, because really, that is what I am and I am alright with that.  In my books, when you call me that, you are calling me awesome, so thank you!

(By the way, this post is bound to be a bit of a wild card.  Roll with it.)


So in the last month that I was away, while I said that I am not doing any soul searching, that is not entirely true.  I am always soul searching, and while I have a lot less time for that now (so it seems), it is all that much more important for me to do a lot of soul searching.   You see… I had a rebirth when the boy entered our lives.  Obviously I guess, right?  I think it is sort of an unspoken right but maybe not.  Anyway, I had a major one.  Huge.  Life changing, perspective shifting, all that awesome stuff.  I sort of kind of felt like I was hitting the tip of the iceberg on that journey and then blammo, thrown back into my place of employment.  It was hard.  It still is, and it might always will be.  No jonesin’ here. SO, in terms of that, because I am not living my life in a sort of free for all sense anymore, I need to be looking inward in order to look outward.  That really truly is another post for another day, but in my soul searching I have done numerous things.  Regarding self-care, it has always been really important for me to take care of every single aspect of me.  Physical, creative/spiritual, social, emotional, mental… what have you.  So as you can see above, I have learned to knit.  Oh yes I have, and what you are seeing above is my first completed project, a super spunky rainbow dishcloth to bring some much needed light to the dismal task of scrubbing crumbed up, filthy dishes.   I am also working on a scarf for myself.  In fact, I made quite a bit of progress, and then tore it all off because it was way too wide and I was not happy with it.  So back at square one we are.



Also in terms of the creative spiritual stuff, I whipped up a bath of a post-partum herbal bath (first photo) for some dear friends who are bringing life to Earth within the next couple of days to the next couple of months.  I borrowed the recipe from this post about ‘Mother Roasting’ and it smells absolutely glorious.  I am going to package it up all prettily and give with grace.  Alongside that, I also made Mother’s Milk Tea, using a recipe from the Passionate Homemaking blog.   The benefits of the herbs in the tea are listed on the site.  I haven’t tasted it yet but I figure I probably should before I’m gifting it to others.

These projects are the beginning of one of my goals, or should I just say intentions, of 2012, which is to give homemade gifts… only.  It sounds doable but it also does sound very laborious.  It is fulfilling for me to give gifts in the first place, but it does a little something special for my heart and for my soul to give a gift that I created, so let’s hope this bandwagon keeps on chuggin’.

In terms of physical care, I have been really focusing and working on going to the gym in the mornings before work.  It does mean that I have to get up at around 5:15am to be there for 5:30, but it feels oh so very good once I am there, and even better once I am leaving there, sweaty brow and all.  6:30am and my workout is done for the day?  Day-um.  It’s hard, it really is, but not as hard as I thought it would be.  I am pretty sure I got some indirect messages that I wouldn’t be able to do it, so a slight part of the awesomeness is pride and being able to say, oh shit yeah I’m doing it.  Keeping active has always been really important to me, and so I could not jeopardize that aspect upon going back to work.  And there is no way that once I get home, bundled up, cozied up with my fam-jam, that I would be heading out to the gym to get some sweating in.  Nope.  Not happening.

Also somewhat in line with the spiritual piece, but moreso with the mental/emotional piece, is that I have sought out some counselling for myself.  Finally.  I have met with her three times so far, and it’s been alright.  She has helped me to gain some perspective on certain aspects of my life and relationships with people, and my different roles that I have taken on.  What really prompted this was going back to work and how difficult it really was and is.  I knew that I had to do something else to take care of myself, and so I reached out in this regard.  I am not sure how long I will see her or where it will go, but I only know that it is a start.  I yearn for a connection, and the age old ‘when the student is ready the teacher will come’ I guess kind of stands, and does relate.  It feels really good to lay it all out there, because I have spent the majority of my life being the one that people dump their stuff onto.  And that’s okay!  But it’s really hard not to get caught up in that.  And it’s even harder to sort of forget about yourself in that process.  Losing myself is not where I want to be.

Socially, I think sort of speaks for itself.  In this little rebirth thingy I’ve got going on, I have come to recognize the people that I genuinely need to have close by, within reach.  I need my solid supports like anybody else, but I have never felt such a strong pull towards people that I consider close to me.  You really get to know people on a different level at certain times of your life, and I truly feel blessed to have the people in my life that I do.  I think they’re all there for some reason or another, whether it’s cosmic or whether it is simply a good ol’ friendly relationship with somebody that means the world to me.  But there are people that we cross paths with in school, or in jobs, or wherever.  A lot of them come and go, but there’s those special ones.  Those special ones, who years later, are there more than they have ever been.  Those special ones shine.  Those special ones really make me wonder how after only working together sporadically for a couple months, eight years later, she’s still there.   Hold them close, people.  They’re few and far between.

Also related to pretty much every aspect of myself (and I’ve likely blogged about this too many times) is the fact that I want to and need to continue doing this regularly.  I feel good when I write.  I feel good when I share with others and engage in dialogue, and so I need to, need to, need to keep this up.  It is an outlet for me, and while I do feel censored (I hate that I do, but bottomline, I don’t tell everyone everything, and while there are things I would love to write about and have some of you read, honestly, I am not so sure how I feel about all of the world reading it.  No harsh feelings, just how it is) I do feel excited by the idea of sharing things and connecting.

So with that, I am going to more efficiently glue myself to this here couch, and zone out for a couple hours before bed.  Netflix, anyone?

January 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm 7 comments

I am woman.

I can’t count how many times I have asked somebody, or somebody has asked me “Women ovulate on day 14 right?”  I can’t count how many times I said “yup, I think so. around there.”  Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.  There is a learning curve to life, of course, that’s nothing new or shocking.  We’re always on it, and I feel like with each experience we endeavour on, that curve just keeps getting curvier and curvier.  It’s sorta like the beauty of life, as frustrating as it is sometimes.  Human beings are know it alls, we want to grasp information, take a hold of it by its reigns, and run with it.  We like the tangible, and the intangible, we question and ponder and philosophize over.  We love the intangible, as crazy as it can make us.

So questionable ovulation the desire to further the connection to my body and my soul, and this guest post over at The Feminist Breeder inspired me to give my own readership a dose of Fertility Awareness Method.  An emotional crash course, if you will.   And then I stumbled across these amazing once in a lifetime (probably) photographs of ovulation actually TAKING PLACE.  Unbelievable.   A sign from somewhere, somebody, something, that this long overdue post had to be written.

After our lovely boy was born and I had healed well enough, physically and spiritually, to even begin thinking about the process of birth control and all it entails, I knew I didn’t want to go the hormone route.  I was done da-done-done with that one, but as for my other options, I was clear on them, but not certain at all which would be right for us.   I had done the birth control pill thing, and was not at all satisfied with it, despite being on it for about three years.  A social work course regarding human sexuality, and an incredibly inspiring and empowering instructor to boot, motivated me to look at other options.  I wanted to run far away from hormones, but I wasn’t quite sure to what else.  I did a lot of Google’ing about IUD’s, because it seemed like an appropriate option for us.  After a couple freak-outs about the process of having it “installed” (I use that term satirically, now) and reading about all the backlash against it, Kyle and I decided together that that would be a good choice for us.  Ha.  But really, I read a lot of good too, but I mostly just chose to hyperfocus on the bad.  I had that sucker chillin’ out in my uterus for about two and a half years… until it decided to gently fall out of my uterus, which resulted in unknown zero protection, which resulted in our beautiful son.  Yup, I was one of those who got preggers while having an IUD in.  So fast forward throughout the pregnancy, and the post-partum period until it became a reality that we aren’t necessarily into abstinence and we aren’t necessarily into hormonal or mechanical birth control.  There had to be another option.

Hence where FAM (we’ll shorten it up) comes into the picture.  Some might say I don’t have a filter, and some might say I’m just really open about things that some people aren’t comfortable talking about, but obviously birth control is a huge topic of discussion among most of my friends and myself, especially given that a lot of my friends were in the same boat – not feeling satisfied with their chosen method of birth control.  A couple of my friends had read Toni Weschler’s book, or just practiced something similar in the past, and so of course I had to check it out.  Another option?  You’re kidding me, I’m sold.  I borrowed the book from a close friend, and off reading I went.  I was fascinated from page one, and a sarcastic comic suggesting that the only form of birth control you need is to wear Birkenstocks?  SOLD.

There’s SO much to the FAM but I obviously am not going to get into it all, mostly because I can’t do Toni justice, and because you really just need to read it.  First and foremost, this book should be required reading for everybody, and especially every female.   It’s important, critical information that we need to know.  The title of the book can be misleading to some, but that’s only because when we think of fertility, too often we think of it in such a narrow scope, when really, the essence of our cycle is generally based on some sense of fertility, whether we think of it like that or not.  But it’s so much more than that.

So I present to you The Nutshell FAM and How it Changed My Life

  • FAM relies on charting your fertility signs – the primary ones being basal body (waking) temperature, cervical mucus and the variations throughout your cycle, and cervical position (which is optional).
  • Don’t let the charting thing overwhelm you!   It takes a bit of figuring out, but not long, and it’s so fascinating and empowering that you don’t think of it as work.  After a short time, it just becomes routine.  And if you get the Fertility Friend app for iPhone or Android, it’s that much easier and it does the “analyzing” for you, for the most part.  The electronic stuff anyway, and then you assess on your own and go from there.
  • It is NOT the Rhythm Method!
  • My basic routine is: wake up, take my temperature with a digital basal body thermometer before I get out of bed (I keep it on my night stand so I always have it handy), and throughout the day I keep mental tabs on my cervical fluid as well as other feelings within my body, including but not limited to my moods, energy levels, irritability, fatigue, any sort of cramping or other pains.
  • To check your cervical fluid, you can either do it with your fingers or with toilet paper.  Egg-white cervical fluid is the noteworthy stuff, for the most part.  If you’re charting to avoid, this is when you want to be REALLY careful (use protection or avoid intercourse all together), and if you’re charting to achieve, well, go at ‘er!  Sperm needs an “agent” to stick to and travel to meet its bestie, the egg, and so this particular consistency of cervical fluid creates the perfect little journey-carrier.
  • You can use this method as a way to avoid pregnancy, achieve pregnancy, to include your partner in your fertility and overall health, and to gain an empowering level of control over your gynecological and sexual health.
  • It is incredible, amazing and (I keep using this word) empowering to be so on top of and connected with your body, to know what is happening nearly at any given time, and to be able to share this information with all of your loved ones, so they too can realize the benefits in charting their own fertility.
  • I have charted, every cycle for the past 5-6 cycles,  a very unique twinge of pain that happens at approximately the same time every month.  Prior to charting, I never even noticed this, let alone knew what it was.  But now that I’ve been writing it down every single month, I can go back and realize that yep, this happened last month too.  Mittelschmerz?  Potentially, actually… likely.
  • I have NEVER felt SO connected to my body as I have within the last year.  Bringing my son into this world, and recognizing the absolute intense need for me to be a strong, spiritual and healthy mother for this tiny little precious being motivated me to do anything I could to create that bond within myself, so that I could share it with him.  FAM has helped me to do that significantly.  And while this is another post for another day – I have had a tumultuous relationship with my body.  Ups and downs like ca-razy and certainly not always healthy, in mind, body or spirit.  But we are on a new path now.  We’ve got a lot of work to do, but gosh damn, we’re doing it.  I can’t believe I am charting my body and my cycle.  It seems so primitive and natural.  So common-place.  But it’s not.  I feel overjoyed, excited, and blessed by the notion that I can go with what my body needs, put my trust in it, and for now, avoid ‘external’ birth control methods.  They’re just not for us, and if they are for you, that’s okay too.  My whole motive is doing what works, but even more complicated than that, branching out – learning – putting trust in your womanhood, in your body, and in your brain.  We’re more powerful than we give ourselves credit for.  Women are in-friggin-credible, for reals.
  • Kyle is 100% into this too, as much as he can be without actually charting.  He’ll remind me to take my temperature if I am about to forget, we’ll talk about my fertility signs and what they mean, and we’ll, err, accommodate if need be.
  • To reduce the pregnancy risk to below 1% per year (if trying to avoid pregnancy),  a couple must abstain from intercourse during a potential 13 day fertile period, which could be a disadvantage to some.  If that is not desirable, then a barrier method must be used during the fertile window (which is determined after charting a few cycles and recognizing your typical patterns), at which point the effectiveness of the method would essentially be as effective as your barrier method of choice.
  • I know I’ve said it before, but this is what we should be teaching our young girls rather than some of the other garbage that is mainstream.  Now hold on a second, I’m not saying it’s all garbage, but this stuff is important.  If we ever have a girl, she will be getting gifted this book very early on, and we will be going through it together.  Toni Weschler also wrote a book for younger girls that is just more health/cycle-focused rather than pregnancy achievement/avoidance focused, called “Cycle Savvy.”  I’ve yet to read it, but it’s definitely on my list.
  • The book has a LOT of great information in it.  I have merely skimmed the surface.  There is information on using the method while breastfeeding, while on the Pill, for couples with fertility issues (she talks about how so often there isn’t an issue, but merely, the misconceived notion that ovulation is on day 14 doesn’t happen for a lot of people and this results in a medical “problem”), and women who have PCOS issues.
  • I would love to talk FAM with anyone that is curious.  I’m still learning, but would love to help others learn as well It is phenomenal and a really powerful way to learn more about our bodies, and become more intimate with a very important person – ourselves.

December 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm 3 comments

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