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Life with Endometriosis: What you need to know

Endometriosis, a condition not well known, but a condition that affects 1 in 10 women, most of which are unaware of the chaos that is happening in their own bodies. After almost 15 years of pain, I can finally say that I am an Endo sister. I have finally been diagnosed. I sit here now with 4 holes in my stomach after having keyhole surgery to remove a cyst the size of a grapefruit and to clean up the endometriosis that left my insides mangled together and my fertility in question. And I feel a sense of relief! Sore, but relieved that I have been taken seriously and that I am finally getting treatment for something that I have struggled with for most of my life. Relieved that my future as a mummy is still in tact.

But what is Endometriosis? It is when the lining of your womb which makes up your period, grows elsewhere in the body. When it is time for your period, this lining sheds blood like it would do in the womb except the blood gets trapped in your body which can then turn into a sticky glue that sticks your organs etc together causing pain and reducing fertility.

For me heavy periods was a normal part of life. I had started my first period at 8 years old and from then on they were a constant pain every month. As I got older, the heavier and more painful they became, until one day when I was 15 years old the pain had gotten the better of me.

I woke in the morning with a horrible cramp in my stomach. “Great”, I had thought, I have my period. But as the morning progressed the pain didn’t subside and I found myself doubled over unable to walk. My parents, not sure what to do, tried everything to ease my pain. They thought I had just contracted a stomach bug, but when I threw up everything they tried to give me and then passed out from the pain, they knew something was up. A trip to the ER and I was sent home and told that I had a low pain tolerance, told to suck it up, period pain is a normal part of being a woman.

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From then on, I would fear the time of month. It was always a lucky dip. Was it going to be a normal period this month or was I going to suffer? I never knew when it would come and what was worse was that no one would take me seriously. Countless times to the nurse at school or to the ER and each time told it is a normal part of being a woman. I came to the point where I used to hide it, try and sit in the corner until it passed because I was scared that people would think I was a drama queen, that I was an attention seeker. Trying to hide it was difficult, when you are in so much pain that you are throwing up and passing out it is hard for people not to notice.

I was on my way to the cinema with my mum and I could feel it coming.  I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness. As I walked in to the cinema room trying hard to keep up appearances, my body finally had had enough and I fell to the floor. I saw the panic on my mums face as she tried to lift me up and call the paramedics. Surely they would believe me this time? I am not faking it! I was at the movies, I was having a good time! But to my disappointment the paramedics scoffed and told me the same thing all the others had. It wasn’t until the manager of the cinema took my mum aside and said this isn’t normal. Get her checked for endometriosis.

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Endometriosis? I had never heard of it before but to my dismay my doctors didn’t seem to know much about it either. Their approach was to put me on the pill and hope for the best, if that didn’t work well then I just had to learn to accept it. At times, it was just plain embarrassing. When you pass out and throw up while you were in the toilet in the middle of a work day and are escorted out with your knickers in full view it is hard not to be embarrassed!

But with each episode, I found a new person who was struggling with something very similar and came to understand that it was a condition that was slowly getting recognised and that was a lot more common than I was lead to believe. Heavy periods, ovarian cysts, excruciating pain each month, symptoms of IBS and problems falling pregnant are all symptoms of endometriosis and if you suspect that you may have it I am here to give you hope and encourage you to get the treatment you deserve. Do not let anyone tell you that it is part of being a woman or to just suck it up!  It is NOT normal to pass out from pain every month! It is NOT just part of being a woman and NO you do NOT just have a low pain threshold!

It’s estimated that Endometriosis affects more than 2 million women in the UK and there are still a lot of women out there who are unaware of this condition. I feel like I am lucky, even though I suffered for a long time I am by far the worst. A lot of my fellow Endosisters suffer daily, with their quality of life greatly diminished and their chances of becoming mothers taken away from them. My heart and my respects goes out to all of them and I think it is our responsibility to create awareness of this common yet virtually unknown disease. Awareness of endometriosis has come a long way in the last 10 years but it still has a long way to go, if you would like to help or wish to learn more then take a look at   http://www.endomarch.org. Any little bit helps.

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Stop Slut Shaming: Empower women instead of slut shaming!

During a catch up with old friends and family, I noticed a mentality that disturbed me somewhat. A way of thinking that I had not seen since my teenage years, and that in my opinion has no place in this day and age amongst adults.

While casually chatting with some of the girls about life, the topic of conversation turned to relationships. Asking one of my single friends if she was seeing anyone, she went on to say that she had just split from someone. She then proceeds to tell me how many men she has slept with, and how difficult it is to find a nice guy with the amount of ‘sluts’ around. Taken aback a bit, I carried on with my night slightly disturbed at her comments as I watched her commenting and judging other women based on their make up and dress sense throughout the night.

“I watched her commenting and judging other women”

As the night went on, I could see there was hostility from the group towards one girl in particular who to me, seemed like a generally nice girl. During dinner the next night a male friend of mine turned to me and said ‘I cannot stand that girl. I don’t like her hanging out with my girlfriend because she is a hoe!’.

When I tried to get an explanation as to why she was a ‘hoe’, What I got disturbed me. Apparently the only reason this girl was not welcome into their group of friends was because she had, on occasion, intimate relations with men she was not in a serious relationship with.

Now my friend is far from innocent when it comes to the opposite sex. He is known for being a player. He is one of those men that would sleep with any girl who would allow it and then turn around and call them all sluts for being too easy. What disturbed me the most is that during this conversation another one of the girls at the table instantly agrees with my friends view on this poor girl. Then proceeds to tell us that she has only slept with 2 men her whole life! By which, she is praised by the others at the table for having such a ‘low’number!. I could not believe my ears! Were we still in high school? Was this really a conversation I was having with adults??

“Were we still in high school? Was this really a conversation I was having with adults?”

As I thought about the events that had taken place that night, I was infuriated. What did those girls think they achieved by telling everyone how many men they had slept with? Did they think that that made them better than anyone else? That by having a low number meant they were more worthy, more deserving of love? More girlfriend material?

Was it was ok for that girl, who chose to enjoy her sexuality, to be immediately branded a slut and treated as instant trash because of it. And the men? Most of them notorious for being players themselves. Constantly ogling anything in a skirt, flashing their double standards in front of everyone as if it were completely normal! They can ogle, cheat and sleep around all they want but if a women is comfortable with her sexuality then she is an instant slut and is thrown to the wolves as soon as they’re done!

“If a women is comfortable with her sexuality then she is an instant slut”

The sad thing is that I used to be one of those girls. Growing up in a family with an asian background and strong religious beliefs, the subject of sex is a huge taboo. Sex is a sin and is an act carried out between man and wife. A wife’s duty to her husband. Sexual desires or urges as a woman were never discussed and was usually frowned upon. This was taught down from the older generations, from our grandparents day and age.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that morals and self respect are very important and that children should be taught this from a young age. However I also believe that they should be taught to respect and empower each other. For young minded individuals it is important to be cautious. It is important to understand and practise self respect when it comes to the opposite sex, especially for young girls. But there is a fine line between teaching self respect and teaching girls that it is shameful to be confident in their bodies.

“Why is it that we have such a slut shaming culture?”

Why is it that we have such a slut shaming culture? How do we live in a so called ‘modern’ society, yet still have views about women that belong in the middle ages? I think  religion has a lot to do with this attitude. In the days of ancient civilisations and paganism, women were rejoiced, seen as goddesses. If she chose you, then it was a damn honour to be chosen. Roll on a couple of centuries and women were seen as inferior, temptresses. If a man was overcome with lust it was the woman’s fault not the mans.

Even though we have come along way from those times. This general attitude still seems prevalent. What strikes me the most is that this attitude is not only enforced by men but by women too.

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“What strikes me the most is that this attitude is not only enforced by men but by women too”

This needs to stop! We need to empower one another. The reason I have this blog is to help empower and inspire people to be happy with themselves. I am NOT a feminist, I am a humanist. I believe EVERYBODY no matter what gender, religion, ethnic background or whatever, deserves to be happy and live a fulfilled life.

So lets stop these negative attitudes! Sex is a natural act that when performed amongst consenting adults can be a beautiful act of love. Monkeys, apes and dolphins are known to enjoy sex with one another for reasons other than reproducing and I honestly do not see them slut shaming their females for it afterwards!!! Being comfortable and confident in one’s body should be praised not ridiculed!

“Let Stop Slut Shaming”

So if you see a girl who is wearing a tight, short dress, admire her confidence instead of shaming or judging her. Let her confidence inspire you. And if you are lucky enough to meet a woman that lets you close to her in anyway then you should be GOD DAMN proud that SHE chose YOU instead of putting her down for it!

Shaming her after such an honour reflects more your issues than hers. And that goes for men too, men and women deserve to be respected and not judged based on their past choices, how they dress or what they choose to do in the privacy of their own homes. As long as they are not harming anyone else then it is none of your business.

So lets empower each other instead of putting each other down. The world is a better place when it is full of happy people!

xxx

 

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Why you need to have a Baby Shower!

 

Baby showers. This new social event that seems to have made its way to the UK, is increasingly popular amongst new mums to be. The first time I had ever heard of one was when I was watching some american movie. There was a beach ball sized, radiant pregnant woman bouncing around with excitement. Must be an american thing, I thought while changing the channel.

However as I have approached the baby making stage in life. I have seen more and more friends and family adopt this concept. I always looked at it as a good excuse to get presents and have a girly afternoon together. However it wasn’t until I experienced my own surprise baby shower last week that I realised it is so much more.

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As a new mum to be, it is easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and fears about this new stage of life. You can easily feel overwhelmed and isolate yourself. Especially someone like me. Being independent is generally a good thing but there are times when this characteristic tends to take over me, and reaching out to others for advice is somewhat alien.

We are programmed to think that motherhood is instinctual and that we should just know what we are doing. As they say, millions of women are doing this everyday right? But do we really know what we are doing?

As the concept is still quite new in Europe, I know a lot of people who still do not understand  the meaning behind it. They see it as an american excuse to have a party and receive presents. It may be for some, but for me it was deeper than that.  It is the concept of having women from both sides of the family, different generations, sisters and sister in laws. Friends who are already mothers and friends who have yet to experience it come together to support you during this life changing moment. To share their experiences and advice, and to remind you that you are not alone.

Why you need to have a Baby Shower

You may have the most supportive husband in the world, but sadly in the end no man can ever understand or appreciate completely the changes your body and emotions go through like another women can. It is natures way of connecting us and bringing us all together, so if you have a wife, friend, sister, cousin or anyone who is expecting. Please know that no matter how strong and independent they may be, whether it is their first, second or third child. We all need that support from our fellow sisters, and a baby shower is a fantastic way to make the expecting mum feel supported.

xxx

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