Is your nest full? Mine sure is.

  ‘How do you know when you’re done having kids?’, is a common question asked by mothers, even a question I USED to ask.  I read copious articles, said many prayers, asked many wise women, but never really found an answer.  When I had number 4, I was 90% sure I was done, but there was always a part of me that felt heartbroken at the thought of being done. I wondered if this feeling would always remain.  Would I always have this feeling of incompleteness?  

I’m relieved to be able to share that I feel done, I feel complete.  Before I fell pregnant with #5, I was 98% sure I was done, but still grieved the thought. How can a woman simply and peacefully say, ‘I’m done’, without any regret or any uncertainty as many of my friends have been able to do? How can the woman or man make such a permanent choice by undergoing surgery to stop pregnancy from happening? With the phone number for the Urologist on hand ready to go for the snip, I fell pregnant with number 5.  I was in shock. Unlike with the previous pregnancies, it took several months for me to get used to the idea.  Whilst I will always see pregnancy as a blessing, even now with a 3mth old, I have less patience than I used to with things like sleep training.  I also find myself getting excited about further study and job opportunities.  Now when people announce their pregnancies to me, I’m thankful it’s them, not me.  I can so peacefully say now, ‘I’m done’, without any uncertainty or any chance of regret.  I’m so proud to be mother duck of my tribe.  I’m so blessed to be their mother, what a gift, but I also feel a sense of completeness.  I feel excited about the next part of our journey together.  So for me, the answer to, ‘how do you know you’re done?’, is ‘oh, you will know’.  I write this with much peace, no regret, and a whole lot of thankfulness for this peace and my beautiful family.

Diving in: Regaining balance and reclaiming my life

 

The Biomed world is one I’ve jumped into. It began slowly, but now I feel quite deep in it.  With my Biomed doc easily contactable via email or Skype, and a cupboard filled with a silly amount of supplements, you’d have to say I’m in it deep.

We’ve just had some new supplements arrive to try since having our DNA results analysed, to try and treat my son’s aggression, irritability and impulsivity.  Seeing I have many issues that my son has (Pyrroles, ADHD…the list goes on), but just on a milder level, I’ve started treatment too. For a while now, I’ve been feeling edgy, irritable, lacking joy and motivation. I thought, surely there has got to be a way out of this rut.  I turned to our Biomed doctor for help. 

Over the last few days of beginning treatment, I’ve been able to handle more histamines in my diet.  I know it’s not placebo or all in my head (which I question often), because my baby has stopped projectile vomiting when I eat high histamine foods too. This is exciting. On an even better note, I’ve found my new best friend. Normally I expect it to take several days for supplements to kick in, not this time people.  I started R5P, a B2 supplement, and oh my goodness.  Within a few hours, I started feeling the best I’ve felt in a long time (years). It’s like being on an antidepressant without the numbing feeling.  My mind is clear, happy, excited and just one happy calm island. Wow, I hope this continues.  Most importantly, I will be giving this to my son when he gets home today before I even say hello. I’m praying hard that his calm island will return for him today too. 

Next stop on the road to healing: Genesville

  
Things are never dull in our house.  This week we’ve launched into an entirely new realm, something I know very little about. It’s genetics. On recommendation from our doctor, we had our son do a saliva DNA test.  The reason was because the supplements we were giving were causing more adverse reactions rather than improving things.  When we already walk on eggshells because of my son’s aggression and abuse, having this get worse not better, is frightening.

The results of the test have blown us away.  It’s confirmed his diagnosis and also our suspicions of histamine and Oxalates intolerance.  I’m so impressed with the test. It’s painted a clearer picture of why the aggression is happening too.  Those unhelpful people who believe ODD and ADHD are result of bad parenting can really just go and stick it. This test has revealed otherwise. Hopefully knowing this, seeing the results for myself, will help calm my farm on days when I feel like a failure as a parent. This defiance is because of his wiring, not all because of me. Phew!

What’s next?  These results have shown the doctor what genes are muted. She now knows which Enzymes he needs and which supplements will better support his body. Can you fix muted genes? Many of them are treatable, some will remain weaknesses but with supplements they’ll be barely noticeable.  This gives me hope.

I’ve recently been working my way through a wonderful Youtube presentation by Dr Russell Barkley (here). He believes in a few years time, when someone enters the doctors office with suspected ADHD, the doctors first step will be to do DNA testing.  If this test comes back positive for ADHD, the doctor will be able to better choose medication that targets the particular gene that needs supporting. I just find this idea fascinating and AMAZING. 

If you’ve been sick for a long time and not sure why, or your current treatments aren’t effective, see a Biomed doctor (so they can help you interpret it) and get your DNA test.  If you’re nervous about having your information out there, you can give them false names etc. I guess we will have to see if the supplements and treatment work, but for now this has given me a clearer picture of my son and his needs, and most importantly, the hope that I need right now.

Grace: A perfect and free gift

Amazing diversity.  Love this place!

I did have a laugh the other day when I was talking to my husband about this blog.  I’ve blogged so much about my child’s struggles with ADHD.  You only need to cruise around my blog posts to see there may be some adult ADHD happening.  I think I know exactly who he got it from. About one year ago, a sweet lady nominated me for a ‘Verstile Blog’ award.  Really I just think, ‘Adult ADHD blog’ award.  I don’t think I could focus on one topic even if I tried. My friend suggested I go into special education consultancy work.  She said I should create a blog specifically for special ed.  That’s just so funny.  There’s no way I could stay focussed on the one topic.  That’s how scattered and busy my brain is.  Before I’ve  finished thinking about one thing, I’m already considering something different. Versatile indeed! We will go with that for now.  Now onto my post, something entirely different to what I was just writing about.  Stay with me.

I wanted to write about something very important to me, grace. You can receive grace, greet people with grace, be saved by grace, be strengthened by grace, filled with grace, share grace, parent with grace, be gracious. The list goes on.  But it suddenly dawned on me, what actually is grace? We hear this term used often.  Christian or not, it’s used often.  It is used over 150 times in the New Testament of the Bible alone.  Some people call the Gospel in the Bible,  the Gospel of Grace.  We assume we know what it is, using the term, but do you actually know what it means? 

I’ve enjoyed exploring the Bible, articles, podcasts etc in trying to find out what grace means.  My favourite example of grace was in a podcast sermon about grace.  Imagine you were speeding and a policeman pulled you over.  Grace would be to not only let you off with warning (that would be mercy), but for the officer to then give you money to fix your broken headlights.  In light of this example, the meaning of grace is a free, unmerited gift.  The grace of God is the free gift of salvation to the undeserving because of our sin. You can then understand how the Gospel can be called the Gospel of Grace.  It’s the story of God’s free gift to everyone. It has nothing to do with people’s good works, it is free undeserved goodness.  Now that I’ve got this understanding of grace under my belt, I’ve now got to work out how to parent with grace. Oh my, watch this space. That’s if I can stay focussed on this topic long enough.

Climb aboard the food allergy train

   

Part of my day to day navigating life business, I navigate a silly amount of food allergies. Some for me, some for the kids and our baby.  As part of finding gratitude in all things, I have to say I’m thankful that none of these are life threatening.  However, if I slip up and give one particular child foods he shouldn’t have, my own life is threatened. He loses all control and turns into an aggressive, mean beast, and threatens to kill me. Nice!

The most difficult part of dealing with food allergies and kids, is actually breastfeeding a baby with suspected allergies.  The early days are the trickiest when you aren’t sure exactly what is upsetting their system.  You cut out the usual suspects of chocolate, dairy and soy (most of this family can’t handle those foods). The reflux and unsettled behaviour improves, but you can tell something is still upsetting them. They have a particularly bad day and you blame yourself, desperately trying to analyse everything you’ve eaten in the last few days.  This is a rather difficult task when you are so sleep deprived. You are already doing silly things like accidentally reaching for a nappy to put on yourself instead of underwear.  Trying to remember what you ate yesterday is a hard task, as is remembering to write down everything you eat to help you track it. Anyway, I’m over having to analyse what I eat and trying to cut out suspect foods.  I’ve been doing this for 8yrs and it doesn’t get any easier. So far, we are dairy, soy, chocolate, banana and gluten free.  That’s all the good things.  But, oh the guilt you experience when your baby has a flare up and is chocking because they can’t breathe because of their reflux response to whatever you’ve eaten, helps you stick to this silly diet. I’m trying so hard. It’s just hard to see milk that should nourish this little guy’s body, cause pain and discomfort. It’s not fair.  Even if I decided to give him formula, the hypoallergenic one he’d need is about $40 a can. That is just not an option.

So, as I starve because I’m out of food ideas to eat, and plough through the food detective game filled with guilt and sadness to see a little one in pai, I will continue to work on being thankful for our little guy and foods that we can actually eat without pain. Just praying that all milk he drinks will be a blessing to his little body. Who would’ve thought breastmilk would need this kind of prayer?

The vaccination debate…in my head!

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There comes a time when you’ve read WAY too much in life. 8yrs ago when we had our first child, giving vaccinations was something we felt needed barely any consideration. Of course you give them, why on earth wouldn’t you?!

8yrs down the track, all of a sudden on vaccination day, I’m questioning, feeling guilty and relief all in one.  Many parents have testified that vaccinations changed their child. It gave them Autism. Parents know their kids so well that I can believe that statement. For some, genetically Autism was already there, but maybe hadn’t become apparent yet, so perhaps a coincidence. For some, maybe not. For some, the vaccinations absolutely caused their child to change. Vaccinations are full of heavy metals etc that can do that. Now through extensive treatment with a Biomed doctor, some are slowly getting their child back, some are not.  All these testimonies and arguments, I can believe for sure. I have a child on the spectrum, I understand the grief, stress, and sadness these parents can experience.

On the other hand, vaccinations save lives. That’s the reason they were made. Simple. My world came crashing down in 2015 when my 7 week old got Whooping Cough. It was a devastating time seeing my little person struggle so much.  Thankfully she had a milder case, so didn’t need hospitalization.  Turns out part of the reason it was milder was probably because I had been vaccinated prior to the pregnancy, so I was passing antibodies through my breast milk.  THANK GOODNESS!

Can you see why I sit on the fence and feel guilty and relief at the same time on vaccination day? Do I choose Autism, particularly when severe, can rob someone of their life? Or, do I choose to vaccinate and prevent life threatening illnesses? Whooping Cough or Autism? Whooping Cough or Autism. It’s not an easy choice, especially when you’ve experienced both!

Play parties: When large families have friends over

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Oh the chaos. Oh the noise.  This mumma duck is still getting used to the size of her family.

We had a play date today.  Can you call it a play date when you already have so many kids? I think not. I’m officially renaming play dates in our family, Play Parties! Seriously, you add an extra child or two to my five kids and there is so much extra noise, chaos, and fun, it feels like a kids party.  When the friends left this afternoon, I needed a nap.

I’m having fun wading through the big family waters, although I know especially in the Middle East, 5 kids isn’t really that big.  As a teacher, 5 kids is manageable, but for me, it’s the noise that kills me.  Some days, I wonder whether I’m the one with Sensory Processing Disorder, and not my child. The excessive amounts of noise coming from kids with shocking volume control makes me stressed! It makes me want to hide in a corner with my hands over my ears and rock.  Yes, yes, it does.  This is one of the big skills I am still to learn as a mum of lots of kids, how do I stop the noise from causing stress? It’s not fair on the kids that I get stressed and grumpy with them.  They didn’t choose to have a big family so it’s no way fair to get cross with them.  As part of my new year (as mentioned in my previous post), I’m trying really hard to have a heart of gratitude. I want to find more joy this year and to do this I’m working hard in having gratitude in every moment. Having thankfulness in all situations, is changing my attitude and renewing my joy every day.  I guess this is why I’m feeling so proud of my big tribe.  I’ve been working through the things that are stressing me out, and finding joy in those moments.  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds (James 1:2). I love the book of James, but I was finding it way too challenging to find joy in tough situations that would arise.  By focussing on gratitude and looking for the positive in challenging moments, I’m having way more success. For instance, rather than getting down and frustrated at the noise, I try to smile and thank God for my awesome tribe of mini Thorpes, or the particular clown causing the chaos.  I find I smile more and frown less throughout my days. Nobody is perfect, so there will be days that I forget to try and find gratitude, and end up in a stressed, frazzled mess.  For those days, I think I need ear plugs!

Does the noise of your large family cause you stress or is it just me?