Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Witch in a Tea-Cup

I think it’s time I accepted it. The drugs aren’t working.  By drugs I mean my Super Evening Primrose and vitamin B6.  I have been taking both for the last 5 months now in an effort to combat brutal PMS. “That time” has rolled round again and I am still like a witch in a teacup, so I am going to invest my twenty plus euro in something else.  Maybe chocolate, a girly read or stick it in a tin can and save it up for a rainy day.  Although I did read something that was of great interest to me the other day. Apparently PMS is a Western phenomenon.   The feature wasn’t making light of those who suffer or saying that the experience does not exist.  Rather making the point that the reasons behind [the phenomenon] should be examined. Another theory on the subject fascinated me; we can blame artificial man made light for interfering with our natural cycle when once upon a time, everything was governed by the moon.   I have to admit that, today, I am all at sea when it comes to reading my body.  See, I was “chemically controlled” for over a decade and this made everything so nice and easy for me.  When we started our family, we opted to keep going with gaps of just 18 to 22 months between our four boys.  Breastfeeding is Mother Nature’s idea of natural family planning and it can delay your cycle until the baby is weaned entirely, sometimes up to three years even if it is just a morning and/or evening feed.  I breastfed the older three for 16 months and was 6 months pregnant on two occasions when they fully weaned.    Our youngest is almost 13 months and this year alone, it has come as a shock to find myself being held ransom to powerful hormones, sugar cravings, tiredness, impatience, bloating and the odd snot crying bout.   I have no recollection of these manifestations being so strong before I had children.  I realise my body has and still is changing.  PMS (Permanent Mental Stress!) might be a Western phenomenon but it’s proving to be a regular curiosity in my world!     I am very familiar with and a big believer in the expression that it takes a year to make a baby and a year for your body to “return” after your baby.  That old pregnancy buddy relaxin, the dote that makes everything all stretchy and relaxed in order for you to actually give birth to your baby, is still alive and well in your system up to 5 months later. You will be much more prone to injuries during this time.  I went over on my ankle a couple of weeks after my last birth so I know all about that.  Prolactin, an appetite stimulant, is still my frenemy.  Oxytocin and the gorgeous happy hormone, endorphin are still let loose in my body several times a day because I am nursing.  I love these.  No problems with my body thus far.   Even the sleep issue is not so much of an issue any more.  No, I am still not getting that other phenomenon, a full night yet, but close enough to.  Enough, at least, to have the presence of mind to slap a little bit of tinted stuff on my face in the morning and remember to drag a brush through my hair.  Sometimes I even remember to brush my teeth.  Yes, it’s an improvement.  I am healthier, having taken up running.  I have lost a little over two stone in 10 months.  I still have not reached that elusive two and a half stone which makes me fear that dropping another full stone is totally unobtainable.  If only I could stop eating chocolate I suspect I could reach it a lot quicker.  And therein lies the problem I think.  Chocolate.  Sugar in disguise.   Unfortunately it is just not disguised well enough.  I think we are all aware of the wham-bam-thank-you-mam rush that sugar gives.  Up, up, up we go and then crashing back down to earth seconds later. Instead we are advised to snack (Snack? Who snacks when they’re nursing?) on slow release foods like oats, whole grains, beans, pulses and other yokes that need chocolate poured on them to taste good.  In a nutshell, when it’s your witch in a tea-cup time, the body craves sugar to increase energy levels. This is the beginning of the vicious cycle.  (All about cycles, isn’t it?)  The more sugar that is consumed, the further sugar levels drop.  This plunge is what causes fatigue, bloating and mood swings.  I’m sick reading up on this.  Tired of doing research.  At this stage in the game, I know what causes it but I am helpless to do anything.  Or should I say, not strong enough.  I do not possess the will power that is required to say no to chocolate.  There are days where I would go through glass to get at a piece of the stuff.  I believe salt can help fight off a sugar craving but I’d have to pour the whole container on top of my food in order to prevent me from eating it.  What you’re really supposed to do is drink a quarter of a teaspoon of salt in warm water.  It knocks that sugar craving right on the head, so it does.  I don’t doubt it.  If I wanted a mouthful of warm, salty water I’d take the kids to the beach.  See how contrary and irritable I can be?  Witch in a tea-cup.  I just witch, I mean, wish I could cast a spell and make it all go away. 

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