Having Babies & Harnessing Anxiety

As I sit down to write this, the sky has gone quite a scary shade of black, and there's a tornado warning in effect. If you never see me again, I've likely been crushed by a falling house. Please don't steal my magic shoes. 

I send an email once a month or so to a group of friends updating them on my life. Recently, a lot of them commented that my life seems wonderful, and in many ways, it is. I was grateful for the reminder to stop and appreciate what I have. 

Sometimes, when you have depression/anxiety, it's hard to be aware of your blessings. I couple weeks ago, I went through a very low point, and coming out of it, I had a lot of anxiety/manic energy.

I think a lot about how to harness that energy in a positive way. It's this kind of very unproductive energy, when you're buzzing around but totally unable to focus on anything for more than a few minutes. Not terribly conducive to writing or studying. 

It's also the kind of energy that's tinged with this crushing fear that I'm not doing anything with my life. Or that I have to accomplish every single goal I've ever set for myself RIGHT NOW. 

I've found it helpful to just throw myself into creative projects that don't require too much thinking. Needle crafts are great--in the course of a couple weeks, I made two skirts, a baby dress, a knitted pullover, and a quilt. 

I made this skirt out of some silk that's been sitting in our basement since the early 2000s. 

I made this skirt out of some silk that's been sitting in our basement since the early 2000s. 

Making things can be stressful, too, in that making things often ends up costing money (anxiety also tends to make me online shop a lot, eugh). But luckily I used to do a lot of quilting in high school, and my mom is an avid knitter with a hoarder-like yarn stash, so everything I made came from "foraged" materials. 

It's harvest time for a lot of the herbs in our garden. Also a great way to harness that energy and make it useful. 

Herbs drying on the line. 

Herbs drying on the line. 

In terms of writing, it's a slow process, as usual. I have two poems forthcoming in the next couple months. One in The Dalhousie Review and one in The Malahat Review. So that's exciting!

I'm going to be teaching a couple writing courses to teens/pre-teens in September which is one of my all time favourite things to do. 

I had a wonderful experience on August 20th, when I got to attend my first birth as a doula-in-training. I believe a mama's birth story is her own, so I won't go into too much detail. But it was very life-affirming and awesome. 

The surprising thing was that I got sympathy contractions! I never would have thought that was a thing, but the two nurses who attended the birth told me that it's quite common, and they both experienced it as well in their early days in obstetrics. 

Of course, it's nothing like the pain of actually being in labour. It's just like really intense period cramps, or after-pains. And the really crazy thing was, I kept experiencing them all day the following day! Bodies are amazing things. 

I have a special kind of love and bond with the mama in question so I'm sure that contributed to my body's feelings of empathy, too. 

My thinking when I started this whole doula journey was that when I eventually became an "official" business, I would just go by my name, and not do anything fancy. But now I'm starting to think I should come up with a name? 

I was thinking that "Devil's Nettle Doula" had a good ring to it. Devil's nettle is one of the many nicknames for yarrow, which is my favourite herb (and what I'm holding in that cute illustration at the top of the page!). Not many people know that, though, so I'm thinking potential clients will just think I'm somehow involved with Satan. I don't know. 

It's way too early to be worrying about that, anyway. 

Precious new soul. 

Precious new soul.