Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I'm using Wordless Wednesday to celebrate Halloween (my favorite holiday) with pictures of orbs and a church cemetery in Charleston South Carolina.

Orb in the cornfield behind my house

Orb again
Orb? in a cemetary in Charleston, NC

Chess Pieces in Cemetary Charleston, SC (dead with a sense of humor)
Circle Church in Charleston,  SC

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Breastfeeding Regrets

As strange as this may sound, I have this feeling of incompleteness because I can't breastfeed my little one.  Obviously I can't breastfeed her since she is a foster baby, but every time she cries, I feel that tightness in my chest and that let-down feeling (no milk though), I just want to rip off my shirt and attach her to my breast. 
My babywearing group is filled with nursing mothers.  My twitter friends chat about nursing and wanting to nurse for at least 2 years.  Its all around me.  In 2 years that closeness my friends all share with their little ones will be a long lost memory for me.
I do seem to remember though at the 2 year mark I was feeling more like a milk cow then a mom! But I kind of missed that milk cow feeling!
I feel like I can't even support the Nestle boycott because that's the company that make's my little ones formula.
BTW, no matter what anyone tells you...bottlefeeding is 100 times harder then breastfeeding.  Once you get your breastfeeding groove on its as simple as 1, 2, 3..bottles..are more like 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 20..YUCK..and I'm always losing the caps..I have to wonder if the caps go to the same place as missing socks?  
Well I guess I'm going to have to get going because I hear my son in the bathroom with the plunger..this cloth diaper thing is going to kill me yet!
But let me leave off with this question...
What can someone do who doesn't have the option to breastfeed do to keep the closeness nursing mothers feel as long as possible?

Monday, October 25, 2010

BPD and Visit Days

Today is Monday and like I have for the last month, I've gotten my LO up, dressed and ready for a visit to see her birth mom.  I never know if the visit is going to happen.  Sometimes I find out 5 minutes before the pick up time that the visit is canceled.  Sometimes my LO goes on the visit and they call me an hour later and say they are bring the LO back.  But the flexibility of the visitation isn't what bothers me the most...

What bothers me most is the fact that my LO is being taken to someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and that person is not getting the help that she needs to manage her disease.

The mental health community isn't quite sure how to manage BPD.  People who are diagnosed with BPD are usually placed on some sort of psychiatric medicine that is used to help control the symptoms of Bi-Polar Depression like Lithium or Zoloft.  Since the problem of BPD isn't a chemical one, its an attachment issue, these drugs do nothing really to help the underline disease of BPD.
There is one therapy that seems to be effective its called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).  DBT is a therapy that teaches people with BPD how to regulate their emotions by using distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness. (A la Buddhism)  Though it doesn't "cure" the disease of Borderline Personality Disorder, it helps people who suffer from the illness to overcome the fear of loss of attachment.  (To read more about DBT you can read Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha Linehan the developer of the therapy)

DBT requires a long-term commitment from the Borderline Personality sufferer and, if still intact, the family members.  I say the family if its still intact because living with a BPD sufferer is difficult. 
Here is an example of what we have lived with...

     The BPD sufferer wants a family member to bring them something, this something could be as little as she wants a sweater, the family member who has other plans says no, the sufferer becomes dysregulated and loses control, she throws a fit, she says mean things, she may get physical.  In her mind the family member has failed to live up to their end of the attachment bargain.  The sufferer, who is in pain, feels that her world is ending.  

Because these fits of dysregulation tend to be vicious and irrational to others its is hard for the family members to remain attached.  On top of these fits of dysregulation, there are other issues, BPD sufferers are trying to stop the pain so they tend to drink or use drugs.  They tend to be promiscuous because all they want is to attach to someone.  These choices can be tough on families and any attempt at helping the BPD sufferer can be seen as a negative in the BPD sufferer's eyes.

So if the DBT therapy is helpful, you'd think that the mental health community would be all over it, right?  It's not.  Since BPD is a difficult illness to manage, most therapists avoid treating these people.  Another reason is that there aren't a lot of therapist who are trained in the DBT technique.  The technique requires the therapist to do a lot of follow-up and follow through.  It requires the therapist and the BPD sufferer to commit to a long term commitment, and finally if DBT technique fails the blame is placed on the therapist not the patient. 

Again, this is an attachment issue.  Somewhere along the way the BPD sufferer either didn't attach to their caregiver properly or that attachment was broken.  This is why it is so important that we as parents work hard to ensure our infants attach to us properly and that we learn how to work through our own attachment issues.  There are a lot of us who were raised during the time of Dr. Spock and our parents were told to allow us to CIO.  A good book to read about attachment focused parenting is Attachment-Focused Parenting: Effective Strategies to Care for Children  by Daniel Hughes.  It is kind of technical but it has several chapters on how to deal with your own attachment issues. 

So where does this leave us?  I have asked if there is the possibility of enrolling the birth mom in DBT, but the closest therapist is 2 hours away and there is a waiting list.  So, my LO's birth mother is being treated with prescriptions that don't really work and is left unable to deal with her fear of lose of attachment unaided.  This causes a variety of issues...There are false accusations about the care I give my LO.  There are fits, yelling and the threat of physical aggression.
And there is a LO that is dropped off at my house who is dysregulated and confused.  It takes hours for me to get her regulated again so she realizes that we are still attached.  Visit days require lots of babywearing!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Attachment Parenting

16 years ago I took steps to become an attachment parent.
I was raising my ex-husband's 4 year old daughter at the time and I was struggling.  Every thing I did was wrong for her.  She lied, she stole food, she argued about everything.  I was at my wits end.
My precious step-daughter was suffering from an attachment issue.
It took awhile, but I finally got pregnant.  I knew I was going to breastfeed so I started attending LLL.  That's where I got my first issue of Mothering Magazine and came across an article that discussed Jean Liedoff's book The Continuum Concept: In Search Of Happiness Lost (Classics in Human Development).  I couldn't find the book but I did find Jean and called her to see if she could give me help with my step-daughter.  I couldn't afford her consultation fee but she sent me a copy of her book, which then put me on the path of becoming an attached parent.
Armed with The Continuum Concept, Dr. Sears The Baby Book and numerous issues of Mothering Magazine I set out on my quest to make sure my son and I became attached.  I was known in the neighborhood as the crazy mom.  I breastfed until my son was 2 even though my ex-husband objected, I used cloth diapers, I defied the doctors and co-slept with my son. 
The biggest thing I did that turned everyone's head was I wore my son.  I think I was the only mom on Mountain Home Air Force Base that wore her baby.  You could find me walking down the aisle of the commissary with my son in his ring sling.
I was CRUNCHY back before it was called crunchy!
Fast forward to now...My son is shy but he is a caring, kind young man with good manners.  He gets good grades, he's a cautious driver, he is rarely contentious.  He's a good kid, and I'm proud of him and the adult he is becoming.  
When I explained to him that we would be bringing a little baby girl into our lives he commented that we didn't have very good luck with girls.  He has two "sisters" and they haven't turned out so well.
My response to him was that I didn't get a chance to raise his sisters from birth, that they came into our lives already slightly damaged.  He shook his head and went back to reading his book.
I have brought a newborn into his life and he has stepped up to the plate.  He starts the dishwasher if its full, he mows the lawn without me asking, he told me that if I need help he's here to help me-all I have to do is ask.
Is this all because of attachment parenting?  I don't know but I'd like to think so!
I do know this, the little girl that's laying beside me sleeping is going to get the same chance that my son did 16 years ago.  I can't breastfeed, but I can wear my LO everyday and make sure that she learns how to properly bond with her caregiver.
I can give her the one thing that will affect her life forever whether she spends it with me or is placed back with her birth mother.  I can give her the gift of ATTACHMENT and it seems to me that is the most important thing a baby can be given.

Thursday, October 21, 2010's Thursday

Someone on my twitter feed asked if I had a blog.  The answer was yes but I never blog, though I feel like I have so many useless things to say.
After the last big change in my life, a la bringing a newborn in to my home, I fully intended to connect with others using my words, but heck if I can find the time.
So I thought..oh I could start off easy with pictures cause its "Wordless Wednesday". 

My son Jake, dog Max and Me!
Myself and Baby

Imagine my surprise when I sat down that it was no longer Wednesday but somewhere I had moved on to Thursday and I'm now pushing Friday..Where did the time go?  Why does time speed up the older you get? 
Well, I have a baby on my lap, my Chai tea is cold and if I'm going to get any sleep tonight I'd better get my face washed.  Tomorrow is another day!