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chloepedley

Your Sex Life

Can Exercise Give You Better Orgasms?

We all know that we should be getting regular exercise for our health. But did you know that exercise is great for your sex life? A recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that regular vigorous exercise really helped put the boom boom back in the bedroom.

Cardi-no to Cardi-oh-oh-oh!

The study found that increased cardiovascular exercise, in men and women improved perceived sexual dysfunction. That is, it made desire, arousal, orgasms, and the recovery from sex better.( Fergus KB, et al, 2019)

So that means that problems like low libido, decreased sexual pleasure, and difficulty becoming aroused are actually improved by cardio exercise.

That’s Running, Dancing,  Skating, and having fun, right?!

Absolutely! Cardiovascular exercise is exercise that requires your body to to pump increased levels of oxygen around it. Any activity that increases your heart rate up, gets you out of breath and a bit hot and sweaty is perfect.

  • Brisk walking
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Skating
  • Playing sports
  • Swimming

The list goes on…

So How Much Do I Need?

The Australian Physical activity guidelines state that:

  • “Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.” (Australian Government Department of Health, 2019)

So basically, 30 minutes of huffy puffy activity 5 times a week can improve your sex life!

 

 

References:

Australian Government Deparment of Health, 2019 Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines. Retrieved from https://www1.health.gov.au

Journal of Sexual Health, 2019. Exercise Improves Self-Reported Sexual Function Among Physically Active Adults.  Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31155388

 

 

Education

We’re sex positive, smart, and we want pretty condoms!

Dear condom companies,

We totally get it. Condoms are marketed to men as your primary user base, and we women are just expected be along for the ride. (pun not intended)

We had an inkling that condoms might be letting us down, so we surveyed a bunch of women, smart women, intelligent women, and we found that condoms come up lacking in the marketing department.

Now for those of us who don’t use online shopping yet, we need to stand browsing the condoms between men’s hygiene products, and pregnancy tests, and I’m sorry. I’m a thirty something year old woman, I still feel the embarrassment of appearing to pick out a pregnancy test. I’ve got four kids, go figure.

And frankly, while buying condoms isn’t particularly embarrassing, the marketing on them can be. Do I buy extra large fit? What if I don’t? What am I implying about my partner… Do I go for the extra strong versions? Am I rolling the fertility dice if I don’t buy an extra strong condom? Ribbed? For his pleasure or mine… and who came up with the name “Rough Riders” jeez.

So I get that this marketing is targeted towards men, but you know what… I’d TOTALLY buy and carry condoms that were marketed towards me. A 30 something, sexually active, happily non-monogamous, condom using, woman.

And maybe the blokes won’t buy something that is marketed at women, but frankly with the rise of STIs, and things like antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea on the rise, I really do want to see more women taking control of their sexual health.

My little survey suggests that we are definitely responsible.

It suggests that we are SMART!

Half of us are responsible for purchasing condoms…

But we think the marketing could be done better…

Virtually every other product on the market has some degree of pink washing- but why not condoms? I’m not suggesting that they need to be packaged with ribbons, nor am I suggesting that they need to be pink. I’m suggesting strategic marketing campaigns targeting women.

Because women are primary users of condoms, too. For contraception and for sexual health. I suggest marketing messages that speak to women. Address the health concerns, address the pleasure concerns, and help us make smart, sexual decisions to buy and use your products.

Make condoms cool for women, and make it easy for us to buy.

Education, Relationships

Tumblr, Facebook, PayPal and the big bad ban on Sex.

I’ve been writing as a sex and body positive educator on Polkadotsi for five years now. It’s been an interesting experience finding space to share ideas, content, and spread the idea that bodies are neutral, sex is positive, and talk about all of the things that we should have been taught as children.

It seems however, that there’s a section of humanity that is hell bent on not only repressing the predatory side of human sexuality, but all of it.

That movement is seems to be gaining steam and it’s quite terrifying.

I was reading Hey Epiphora’s great piece When Will We Stop Fearing Sex, and I got to thinking. We need to do something, and our industry is smart, empowered, and incredible enough to do so.

Tumblr and the big bad sex ban

The recent Tumblr decision to remove all  adult content from their site (despite having safe search filters available, despite having really good reporting and response mechanisms in place, and despite their community reacting vocally and negatively to the decision) is the latest in a slate of oppressing, silencing, and shutting down sex related content on social media sites.

Tumblr’s decision seems to be a commercial decision after the app stores pulled their app for implications in child pornography.

But the consequences of silencing and removing adult content are a public health issue. How can we possibly have great conversations about human sexuality, if the places we explore our desires, our proclivities, and what makes us tick are consistently being removed?

How can we have positive conversations about our bodies and their quirks when we are told that anything related to sex is a negative, or shameful thing.

Tumblr’s position on adult content came with the statement “We’ve given serious thought to who we want to be to our community moving forward”

Who is that exactly?

While I understand that there are most definitely individuals who live asexual and non-sexual lifestyles – and that is obviously totally okay; the vast majority of human adults are sexual creatures.

Facebook and Sexual Solicitation, including, wait for it “Sexual Preference”

Arguably there ARE spaces on the internet where sexual content is acceptable and common; however the creeping scope of silencing normal human sexual behaviour on social media sites is distressing.

Take Facebook’s new community guidelines, that state that sexual preference is unacceptable content.

The broad and  vague nature of Facebook’s new community standards give space for basically anything to be deemed sexual and therefore unacceptable by their rules, but where does this leave activists in the LGBTQIA community?

How do we have conversations with the broader, general public about their sexual health and the issues around human sexuality.

Sex isn’t just pornography and titillation, it’s a huge part of public health and as such the suppression of information, and the censoring of issues pertaining to vulnerable communities is utterly unacceptable.

And is this a war on sex? Or is it a war on the LGBTIQIA community and women??

Financial service providers like Square and PayPal are denying and shutting down accounts of female and queer entrepreneurs working in the sex industry including sex workers, film makers, erotic writers, and performers, citing excuses from credit card companies and banks not approving on NSFW content, to violations of terms of service.

But the buck doesn’t seem to stop with anyone, and business owners don’t seem to have a place to repeal the shutdowns, bans, and seizing of funds.

What is behind the push to suppress sexual conversation?

I question if this is due to political or religious pressure.

In my opinion conservative voices are losing their space in the political sphere, as the world is slowly electing more liberal and left leaning political leaders, so when lobbyists cannot lobby politicians, they need to hit businesses where it hurts them; their bottom lines.

Pressure to comply or face financial loss is a big deal. And while it’s disappointing, frustrating, and frankly, terrifying it’s almost expected.

So here’s my hopeful conclusion

The sex industry is a blooming, growth industry. 

Which obviously comes with both positives and negatives – as the industry grows, great conversations grow with it, and while I’ve been working at Polkadotsi, I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of reading and speaking with some of those incredible people having those conversations.

If we keep pushing foward and making sex work, sex creativity, and human sexuality a mainstream thing – I firmly believe it diminishes the spaces where crime and exploitation can occur. Knowledge is power, and knowledgeable consumers are empowered to make better choices.

It’s up to those of us working in this industry to create those spaces, have those conversations, and shine light on the wonderful things our colleagues are doing.

We can and do change the social standards around sex and sexuality, and we NEED to keep pushing forward.

How can you help?

  • Share the work of the amazing people in our industry.
  • Buy from our affiliate links.
  • Support us and subscribe to us.
  • Pay for your darned porn!

 

 

 

Education, Relationships

I Lost My Virginity to Rape

I lost my virginity** to non-consensual sex. It’s taken nearly 15 years to  call it rape.

It was summer, I was a teenager and I thought I was in love. He was charming, sweet, as sexually inexperienced as I was – and looking back; equally stupid. We had dated for a few hormone driven wonderful months and had at length teasingly discussed sex.

He had delightful, charming, disarming brown eyes and was forever telling me to be more self assured.

One February afternoon in the summer holidays we were making out and things were getting intense. As we fooled around and explored each other he rolled on top of me. At that point, I said no.

I told him I wasn’t ready. I was three months shy of my 16th birthday, and I actually wanted to wait until the age of consent. We had spoken about this at length, in several conversations, and he had verbally supported and encouraged my wishes.

He rolled off and we went back to making out, for a little bit. The next thing I knew, he was on top of me and penetrating me. I remember it hurting, and I remember wriggling away, putting a quick end to our steamy interlude.

He didn’t hold me down.

He didn’t mean to hurt me.

But he did rape me.

When Rape Isn’t Violent It’s Still Rape

After the fact he recognised what he did was wrong. He wrote a long and detailed letter explaining that he should have listened to me, that he should have respected me, and that he should have stopped when I said stop.

And he should have.

He wrote a long and detailed letter explaining that he should have listened to me, that he should have respected me, and that he should have stopped when I said stop.

And he should have.

As with most teenage romances, we broke up shortly after and both went on to see other people. I stashed the letter in a box with other letters from him, and hid it in the back of my wardrobe.

Slut Shaming and Naughty Boys

My mother “stumbled across” the letter (read, hunted it out and found it when she was rifling through my private things!) and proceeded to tell me that if I was going to have sex I shouldn’t lead boys along, that boys were driven by hormones and that essentially it was my fault that I was raped.

Because I wasn’t hurt, because I wasn’t beaten, or left bleeding and injured, it couldn’t possibly be rape – and I must have been a wiling participant in the entire sex act.

But I was hurt. A boy I put my trust in with my most intimate experiences exploited them and I learned as a naïve 15 year old that boys have all the power in a relationship.

I’ve spent the better part of 20 years taking that power back.

I’ve spent the better part of 20 years taking that power back.

From Bad to Worse

My next relationship re-enforced those learnings, and I was violently held down, my arms wrenched behind me, breath restricted and raped by my “boyfriend”.

Again, he was charming, and verbally respected my boundaries. He said all the right things. He was charming to my parents and friends.

Several times throughout our “relationship” I turned him down for sex, and he ignored my no’s and went ahead and fucked me anyway. On some occasions, I lay, passively waiting for him to do his thing. On others, I was forcibly engaged in the act.

Several times throughout our “relationship” I turned him down for sex, and he ignored my no’s and went ahead and fucked me anyway. On some occasions, I lay, passively waiting for him to do his thing. On others, I was forcibly engaged in the act.

Even today, nearly 20 years later I can’t talk about it without feeling scared,  triggered, and sick to the stomach.

He moved on with his life, unaffected by his actions, not accountable for them – and I’ve had to live with the trauma and damage for each day since.

Just because rape doesn’t leave a woman (or man) injured visibly does not make it less damaging. Rape is rape, and rape is wrong.

Rape Apologists and Social Pressure

One of my abusers was a naïve 16 year old boy, who had self entitlement issues, and meant no real harm in his actions. He was remorseful, and deeply apologetic – but he raped me, and society essentially permitted him to do it.

I sought help from my school psychologist, and police officer, and my situation was largely dismissed.

According to them, he was just a naughty boy who was overcome by his teenage hormones.

To which I say fuck that shit.

The only type of sex that is OK is enthusiastically consensual sex. *

The type of sex where both partners are enthusiastically into it and participating actively.

If you’re not sure – it isn’t enthusiastic.

 

*I wrote this article when I was beginning my career as a sex educator. My position on consent is a little more pragmatic and inclusive these days – largely to recognise that some sexual situations aren’t necessarily viewed as enthusiastically consensual (as in the case of sex work, or consensual-non-consent) but still require consent, respect, and safety.

Consent can be withdrawn, boundaries re-negotiated, and must always be respected, and purchasing the services of a sex worker does not give you the right their body. 

**I genuinely do not believe that virginity is anything of value, and I don’t believe you can lose it/misplace it/ or that it’s any indicator of my worth as a woman.

 

when sex isn't rainbows and unicorns
Education, Relationships, Sex Ed

When Sex Isn’t Rainbows and Unicorns.

Most of us have been sold a lie. Movies, romantic books, and even the social expectations of love and relationships mislead us greatly.

Boy meets girl, girl and boy fall in love, lots of orgasms, happily ever after, right?!

Apart from being particularly hetero-normative (sorry) and simplistic, it’s a pretty common story for what a lot of us are told is the love, sex, relationship model.

A generation of slut shaming, kink shaming, and the repression of healthy sexual education has left us ashamed, afraid, and unable to accept the darker side of our sexual proclivities and desires. Much less realise that love and sex are two different concepts that don’t necessarily co-exist in the same bedroom.

It’s left us unable to communicate our needs, and accept that sex is a normal part of human behaviour and our desires and pleasures come in a mixed bag.

And that mixed bag can look like hookups, relationships, casual dating, poly-amorous adventures, and any number or variations of the above.

So why is this romantic view so bad?

The challenge with a repressed and idealistic  view of sex and love is that so many of our desires and fantasies extend far beyond procuring marriage and producing offspring. Thank you very much, Jane Austen.

We humans are pleasure seeking creatures, and the denial and repression of our basal instincts can lead to shame, pain, and fear.

So let’s take a look at some of those Cinderella stories we got told, bust them wide open, and move forward to accept, and celebrate sex for what it is. Perfectly normal, occasionally mundane, and hopefully lots and lots of fun.

Busting some good sex bad sex myths

Sex and Love Go Hand in Hand

When I first started dating as a teen, I “saved” myself for a boy I fell in love with.  I was pretty devastated when that six month relationship came to an ugly and nasty close.  I’d had so closely related sex with my feelings of love and companionship, and while I’m not suggesting for a second that teens can’t experience love – I was really naive and had no idea how to make a longer term relationship work.

If I’d had the perspective of experiencing sex and relationships in the moment, and let myself be completely in the present, I probably would have had healthier expectations about how my partners behaved, felt, and responded to me.

As an adult in a poly relationship now, love and sex can still be pretty tightly coupled, but I also recognise you can have fantastic, amazing, earth shattering sex without love being involved.

If you think of sex and love as a Venn Diagram, you can see how sex and love are pretty loosely coupled. You can have sex without love. You can have love without sex, you can have sex and love.

There is no hard and fast rule on how how sex and love are coupled, and how that forms a relationship. All are valid definitions.

You can have sex and love that last for the term of the sexual encounter – you can have loving sexual relationships that last a lifetime. You can have loveless sexual relationships that last a lifetime. And sexless loving relationships that endure as well.

In terms of HAVING great sex, choosing to respect yourself and making choices that fill your needs, and respect your partner’s needs seems to be a healthy reasonable approach.

You don’t have to love your partners, and sex isn’t a transaction for love.

You don’t have to love your partners, and sex isn’t a transaction for love.

Sex should be sensual, soft, and kind. Kinks are bad mmkay?

As a young adult, I discovered that the bedroom can be a really interesting place to work out “stuff” It started with experimentation with a particularly enthusiastic partner who loved rougher sex, and was very, very into when I struggled and pushed back.

As someone who’d been raped, and someone who’d had really negative experiences with sex up until that point, it was really bizarre realising that I LIKED being restrained. I ENJOYED the hurt so good, painful experiences that consenting non-consent brought for me, and I really got off with rough sex.

It messed with my head. But it turns out that it’s pretty normal, and there are LOADS of people who engage in kinky sex.

Do you get off by getting hurt? Love that hurts so bad it’s good feeling?

Desire the feeling of power and control as you inflict pain on your partner?

Leather rings your bell and floats your boat?

Something else? Don’t worry. Your desires are pretty normal. The great thing about the internet these days, compared to what our parents had available to them is that if there’s a kink, there’s a forum/ sub-reddit/or facebook support group for it.

You and your kinks probably aren’t alone in the big wide world, and there are probably others out there who get off on the same interesting stuff you do.

Spend the time educating yourself on safe ways to indulge your desires – and always practise safe, sane, consensual sex.

Sex is always pleasurable…

Ahhhhhh if only sex WAS always pleasurable. The thing about human relationships no matter how long or short, they’re often fraught with imperfection.

And there is such a thing as unpleasurable sex.

That doesn’t mean that the relationship is bad, or that either or the people within it have failed in any way – it just is what it is sometimes.

Unpleasurable sex becomes more of an issue when the partners involved don’t talk about it, for reasons of shame, fear, embarrassment, not wanting to hurt the other person’s feelings or just not being aware of what they want or need.

Don’t fake orgasms. No-one benefits from that!

Don’t fake orgasms. No-one benefits from that!

I’m a huge advocate of knowing your own body, it’s turn ons, it’s turn offs and what gets you off REALLY well. And practising being able to communicate your desires, and show your partner how to get you off.

If you don’t communicate, nothing ever changes, and resentment, failed expectations, and anger can fester under the surface. Communicating your desires and feelings without your partner feeling inadequate can be a tricky territory – speak kindly, focus on the positives, and use “I” statements.  For example “I feel” “I love” etc.

Talk about it in the moment, address it as a debrief, and keep talking. You’ve got everything to gain here.

Good sex results in orgasm

Orgasms are amazing! I love orgasms, and I think we should all be having more orgasms! But sex doesn’t have to culminate in orgasm for it to be incredible.

Heck sex doesn’t even have to involved intercourse – but more on that in a second.

Great sex is about connection and pleasure with your partner (s) (or yourself) slow burning, sensual, loving touch, or rough, limit, pushing masochism don’t always peak with the big O.

That doesn’t mean it’s bad sex.
If you’re both fulfilled, feeling good, and happy with the outcome, that’s totally okay.

Communicate with your partner and find the things that are important to you.

A sexless relationship is a poor quality relationship

Relationships go in ebbs and flows. That early burning, euphoric, sex on tap part of any new relationship eventually runs it’s course, and it can be anything from 3 months to three years depending on you and your partner.

The trouble is that people expect that to be THE relationship.

Oh if only…

After the euphoria, there’s work. There are domestic duties, there are bills, there are illnesses, there are daggy underpants, and sweat pants that you would never parade around in a lover you’re trying to woo.

But there’s also intimacy, connection, friendship, and solidarity that builds as the bright flash subsides. Relationships take work, and sometimes sex is on the back burner.

As life happens, sex drives peak and flow. Children, stress, work, and medications can all impact on our sex drives-  and every individual is different.

Avoiding resentment with communication and really understanding what each other’s needs are is key to helping keep things moving on.

Of course there are other relationship models that you can consider like polyamory  and consensual non-monogamy

But intimacy is a myriad thing, and it doesn’t necessarily come from sex alone.

Cuddles, time spent together, touch, massage, and other acts of intimacy are valid and normal ways to keep connection with your partner.

Here’s to normal sex

Hopefully you’ll see what I did there, in that I think most sex is pretty normal. Obviously we want more of the good stuff and less of the bad.

By accepting reality and facing the fact that sex can be terribly mundane, delightfully pleasurable AND painful if we like it like that we can move past the myths and fables told to us in the movies.

Let’s talk about sex, let’s talk about the good and the bad, (I’m not singing I swear) and let’s talk about how we want it, how we don’t.

This is how we grow, this is how we feel better about our desires, and kinks, and the things that get us off.

Birth Stories, Education

Birth Stories: Welcome Earthside James Tiberius

James Tiberius from Fiona Rogerson on Vimeo.

JT’s pregnancy was straightforward and healthy – it was a bit of a journey for me, just in the basis that I’m used to connecting spiritually to my babies very early in pregnancy, yet little James and I never felt that connection while he was within me.

I spent the 9 months consciously acknowledging him, chatting with him, and connecting to him in every physical way I could – with the hopes that we might find some sort of spiritual connection – it never happened until tranisition 🙂

This pregnancy was another step for me to claim my power as a birthing woman. I had never gone into labour without some sort of assistance – my first son was induced – a hospital d-elivery – about as far from a birth as I could travel.

My second, home water birthed babe was gently encouraged with a stretch and sweep.

I knew I wasn’t broken, and was determined to prove it. Thursday evening, of the 19th of August, I had an overwhelming urge go go for a run. So, pregnant belly in hand, at about midnight, in all of my enormous glory I ran around our block. Then had a shower, and snuggled up in bed with my beautiful family.

I was awoken Friday morning at around about six with some familiar sensations – nice, strong, rushes. I turned over, trying to sleep, but was so excited that perhaps, just perhaps I HAD gone into labour all by myself.

Half an hour or so later, I snuck out of bed, hopped in the shower, and texted my three best friends to let them know today was the day, and to light their candles. I also called my gorgeous photographer friend Fee, so she could organise care for her little one.

The boys woke up, and life went on as usual in our house, with me plodding around in the loungeroom and leaning over my fitball when I needed it.

Then time for me stopped – I have no real idea of how long things took – Fee arrived, and bless her heart started playing with the boys and entertaining them. I had a shower, or two… insisted the pool got filled, and called my midwife.

Labour for the next however long was a little scary for me- it felt different to my previous labour, and I found I Couldn’t just settle into it. I knew if I went to the loo it would get bigger, but was so terrified of the sensations, I put it off for as long as I could.

Finally something twigged, I found my courage, went to the loo (yes it got bigger) and my waters broke, allowing James to finally move down.

Off the loo, into the loungeroom, the most powerful sensations I’ve ever felt. There was fear again, fear of the pain, then the realisation that holy cow, I needed to push. With the support of my gorgeous husband, and my beautiful midwife I clambered into the pool.

Time stood still, I gently birthed James‘ head- lent back, and his shoulders and body slid into his daddy’s waiting arms.

I did it… I went into labour alone.
I birthed my baby and caught him.

I spent a few days post birth being annoyed at myself for the fear I felt – but now in perspective, it’s all been part of my journey with James, and a new step in motherhood for me.

So this proud mama welcomes her delicious new son to the world (Yes he’s named after Kirk 😛 Yes, I could have chosen a better captain, but James stuck as we welcomed him earthside)

 

Fertility, Pregnancy & Birth

My Story: Post Partum Depression

If you’ve read Finn’s birth story, you might think that it was the perfect start to a new human’s life. A blissed out mother, a perfect baby, and the beginning of a new chapter in an unrolling story.

This is my story. It’s pretty dark. But it’s real, and it’s me. I’m one of the lucky ones, and my story has a happy ending.

When we blog or share content on social media, we quite often only share the highlight reel. The polished, sanitised parts of the story that present our best angles.

I would have loved nothing more than to have you all believe that I was the perfect, attached parent, home birthing hippy mama,  with free range, happy home educated children, fermenting goods in her kitchen, organic produce in her yard and a flock of chickens with names like “Mariposa” and “Eva”.

I had all of those things, it’s true. There was  even a pear tree. No partridge though.

I also struggled daily with post partum depression.

With hindsight, I can see all of the signs. I can see in my post partum midwife visits, the beginnings of the creeping darkness that would soon drag me under. I could see the vague cries for help, that if ONLY I had made clearer, more succinct, I would have had accessed mental health care earlier.

I can see the ridiculously high expectations I  had set for myself, and the slow cracks that began to appear in my personal relationships eroded, expanded, and grew.

If I’m really honest, those cracks had appeared much earlier on, and had widened into deep, black, echoing chasms by the time Finn had arrived. But like many mothers struggling with post partum depression, I didn’t want to admit that my perfect babies, my perfect life, my perfect happily forever after was anything but happy.

 

I didn’t want to admit that my perfect babies, my perfect life, my perfect happily forever after was anything but happy.

The recovery from Finn’s birth was challenging. I had pain, so much pain, and because I was struggling so much, I was isolated from my family and most of my original support network.

I felt that I was a burden to the people closest to me, and hated asking for help  -but then found myself in such dire straits that my requests for help came in screaming gasps. I reached out sporadically to friends to help me with the symptoms, not the cause. Please help me clean my house, repair my washing line, fold my clothes.. practical help, but not what I needed.

Descending into the chasm

My depression manifested with anxiety and panic attacks, meltdowns and violent episodes. I occasionally heard voices, and panicked that people were coming to take my babies away.

On a few occasions, I reached out for help then quickly withdrew my request. I wish with all my heart that the people who loved me had seen the reality, and insisted I was hospitalised – but sadly. like many mothers, I could put on a reasonably convincing “I’ll be okay” face.

There are a few times that stand out for me that I really should have accepted help:

The time I banged my head against the wall until the blood ran thick down my face…

The time I ripped handfuls of hair from my scalp until it bled, and never grew back…

The time my husband had to stop me from hanging myself…

The time I found out I was pregnant again, with a tiny infant baby and already drowning in the fog of new motherhood, and chose to terminate the pregnancy choosing my life over theirs. (I’m sorry. I’m so sorry tiny life. I don’t regret my decision, but I never forget you)

(I’m sorry. I’m so sorry tiny life. I don’t regret my decision, but I never forget you)

Failing at motherhood

There’s a stigma around post partum depression and we don’t fucking talk about it. I wanted the Johnson and Johnson life. The smiling, cuddling, clean babies with gorgeous clothes (ironed, thank you) and planned activities. No-one ever presents a remotely realistic picture of motherhood, and it’s hard when you fail so spectacularly to be the ideal mother.

I achieved ANYTHING but the Johnson & Johnson’s image.

I wasn’t smiling, or cuddly (I think I cuddled the boys, I hope with all of my heart that I gave them enough cuddles)

There weren’t angelic cherubs or peaceful cups of  tea sat in sunlight streamed windows.

There was a darkness that encompassed everything.  A cliff edge that I tried to negotiate daily, hoping desperately not to fall down.

I wasn’t smiling, or cuddly (I think I cuddled the boys, I hope with all of my heart that I gave them enough cuddles)

There weren’t angelic cherubs or peaceful cups of  tea sat in sunlight streamed windows.

There was a darkness that encompassed everything.  A cliff edge that I tried to negotiate daily, hoping desperately not to fall down.

And I kept falling. Over and over, day by day, I’d set out with the intentions of coping and then I’d tumble into shouting, screaming, hurting myself meltdowns, wishing that I could just close my eyes, and never have them open because it was just all too much.

The thing about post partum depression is that there IS hope and help available. But it’s hard admitting that you’re failing (interesting word, failing) and not okay. Mothers are held to such high account in our society. We cannot ever appear to fail.

I admitted to my midwife that I thought I had post natal depression – I even asked for forms to go to the mother and baby unit.

What I didn’t tell her was the suicide attempts, the self harm, the raging, painful meltdowns.. I told her that I didn’t think I was okay.

I did the same with my doctor. I told her I was struggling, but all mothers do, right?!  (There was no Edinburgh form filled out, they took me at face value)

My community nurse was more interested in my ability to breastfeed, than whether or not I was coping. (Fourth baby, thank you. I’ve got this down, now get out of my house so I can nap)

My friends tried and cared, but eventually I managed to push them away too.

I broke.

Spectacularly. Horrifyingly. Entirely.

The beginning of healing

My story is one with a happier ending. And it happened mostly by chance. One day, the fog felt less, and I began to access care.

I sought counselling. I began the process of seeking medication (in my misguided view, the best option for me was a naturopath… but it was SOMETHING, I wish I’d sought real medical care, and expedited my healing.) and I started to realise that I could get through the day one minute at a time.

I started to take the kids to the park.

I started to run.

And my life began to feel lighter, day by day.

My marriage began to heal. My relationship with friends and family began to heal. I reinvented myself, changed my name, moved interstate and began a dramatic new life with a huge focus on my own healing and well being.

I sought a mental health care plan and began learning more about post partum mental illness.  I exercised more, I took care of my body and brain, I ate nutritious food, regularly.

I connected with new friends and began building a network, drawing people back into my life and letting them back into my world.

And now I feel whole again. I still dance along the cliff, but I’m less scared of tumbling into the chasm. It’s always there like a faithful companion, dark, sometimes alluring, but ever present.  But if I look ahead, there are trees, adventures and blue skies.

And now I feel whole again. I still dance along the cliff, but I’m less scared of tumbling into the chasm. It’s always there like a faithful companion, dark, sometimes alluring, but ever present.  But if I look ahead, there are trees, adventures and blue skies.

 

Resources:

If you think you’re sinking and not swimming, or just want some resources to help you cope – check out  www.cope.org.au

Lifeline has counsellors available around the clock on 13 11 14 https://www.lifeline.org.au/

You are important, you are worth it, you are loved.

Podcasts

Podcast Episode 23 Post Partum Fitness & Body Positivity

Post Partum Fitness is BIG business. In this episode we chat about returning to exercise after birth, what a diastasis is, prolapse, incontinence and the good, the bad and the ugly of post partum body image.

We chat about how important it is for women to get back into the sports and exercises that they enjoy, and the benefits of movement for mental health.

Subscribe to Polkadotsi’s Podcast on your favourite burner here

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Podcasts

Podcast Episode 22: What I Wish I Learned in Sex Ed

Was your sex education in high school sadly lacking? Mine was.

We weren’t taught about consent, we weren’t taught about sex positivity, or pleasure.

We spent a great deal of time inflating condoms and watching hideous slides of STIs.

In this episode I chat about all of the things I WISH I was taught in sex education.

Wouldn’t it be great if we raised a generation of young adults who understood safety, respect and consent? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people understood that sex was meant to be pleasurable?!

 

Subscribe to Polkadotsi’s Podcast on your favourite burner here

Subscribe to Polkadotsi on iTunes

Podcasts

Podcast Episode 21: Women in the Weight Room

 

In this episode, I chat about how we’ve relegated women to the cardio section of the gym and encouraged them to use tiny weights, with the promise it will make them look like fitness models.

This is SUCH a bug bear of mine, women DESERVE to be strong, we DESERVE to feel amazing and independent, and we’re simply not going to manage that with 2kg dumbbells.

You’re welcome in the weight room! And you will BENEFIT from being there.

Subscribe to Polkadotsi’s Podcast on your favourite burner here

Subscribe to Polkadotsi on iTunes