Moving On

Moving On

Sitting by the window, she allowed her mind to wander. She found her thoughts filled with nostalgic memories, and the dreary look of the early winter garden did nothing to cheer her mood. She loved the crisp winter days, but this bleak, still, grey weather made her miserable.  She remembered the day over 23 years ago, when she had brought him home from the hospital – a beautiful, big, blonde baby boy. How the years have flown, she mused. No longer so blonde and the baby fat all gone, he had become a good looking young man with light brown hair. A fledgling who had left the nest to try spreading his wings. She was the last person to think of clipping those wings. She had encouraged the move, knowing the importance to their relationship of letting go. Possessive mother was not part of her makeup.

She loved him dearly, but the past few months had been fraught with frustrations on her side. She had begun to feel used, and somewhat abused by his apparent selfishness. Passing his open door and viewing the mess within had made her fight to control her anger. She knew this was all a part of the cycle – outgrowing the family home and no longer having any regard for family rules. Shouting didn’t help matters. It just caused her to feel exhausted and nothing was gained. Finally, he mentioned his hopes of getting a flat of his own to rent.  All of a sudden there seemed to be a bright light at the end of the tunnel! Could it be possible that, before those men in white coats came to take her away, her sanity would be saved?

He had been an easy child with a good sense of humour. The teenage years had often proved to be challenging, as any confrontation seemed to end with the slamming of doors and the threat of running away. She blamed this behaviour on his father’s genes! She took the credit for his love of socialising and his sharp wit. Funny how easy it is to pass the buck for one’s children’s shortcomings! She was proud of his accomplishments. He had worked hard for the past five years and was beginning to find his feet. Soon he would be able to consider making a down payment of a home of his own.  No doubt marriage would be the next big step. The cycle would start all over again with the birth of his first child, just as it had the day he was born.

She had to force herself not to feel depressed. After all, this was the beginning of his true independence, so why was she feeling sorry for herself? For the first time in years, she had a room to pursue her arts and crafts and how she had yearned for that moment! It must be the weather that was making her feel down. Exercise would do the trick. She dragged herself from her thoughts and started changing into a tracksuit. Running the dogs always managed to cheer her up.

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Adoption

In many ways, my mother has carried certain emotional scars with her throughout her life which are most certainly linked to her adoption at the age of 3 after her own mother died of toxaemia several days after giving birth to her second child, a baby boy. Due to financial difficulties my mother’s father asked his brother and his wife, who had no children of their own, to adopt my mother. The new baby was in turn adopted by his late wife’s family who never forgave themselves for not having adopted both children, but this was during the depression years in England and money was extremely scarce. For a little girl of 3 years old who was expecting her mummy to return from hospital with a new baby to suddenly never see her mother again, and having to go to live with an uncle and aunt, would more than likely necessitate the intervention of a child psychologist in today’s world.

Both her real and her adopted fathers died when my mother was 9 and 13 years old respectively. Her younger brother was more like a cousin than a sibling, and although they saw one another fairly regularly, they never lived together. In many ways over the years I have come to realise that my mother still carries the sadness and loss of not having her own mother around while she was growing up. She was made to feel that she had been given away like an unwanted possession, probably the words of an unthinking relative at the time.  The difference between this situation and other adoptions was that there was always contact with her extended family whilst she was growing up so she wasn’t left wondering who she was.

Having read many case studies, watched a lot of documentaries regarding adoption and knowing people who are adopted or who have adopted children, there appear to be some factors which are a common denominator in cases of adoption. Feelings of being unworthy and unwanted, as well as needing to know who one’s birth mother was seem to be the golden thread linking many adoption stories. It is a basic human need to know where we come from, and who we are and, if a child has been adopted and only finds out by chance that the people they know as their parents are in fact their adopted parents, the results can be devastating.

With changing attitudes nowadays, at least in Western societies, it is common to let a child know, as soon as they are old enough to understand, that they were “chosen” and therefore “special” and it was because the birth mother was not able to care for the baby herself that she had to make the extremely difficult decision to give the baby up for adoption.  Where a mother died in childbirth, and a father was unable to care for the baby, the emotions felt by the adoptee may be more feelings of sadness and loss and less of abandonment.  Sometimes it seems that this need to begin the search for the real parents raises its head, either during late adolescence or once the adoptees themselves become parents. It would appear that the desire to search for one’s birth mother is far more common than a need to know who one’s father is. Obviously this is a generalisation, but does seem very often to be the case.

The laws in many countries have been relaxed regarding adoption, and nowadays it seems to be quite common for adopted children to gain access to the names of their birth mother through the adoption agency in order to try to contact her. Many times the birth mother has had some contact with the adoptive parents, and has even received photos of the child she had to give up.  Years ago this was totally taboo and, in the case of single mothers, babies were literally wrenched out of their arms at around 6 weeks of age and handed over to the new parents. The heartbreak felt by the girl/woman having to give up her baby to strangers would seem to be a pain which often never heals. The memory of that day would be likely to stay with her for the rest of her life.

The adopted parents must go through really tough times when their child decides to investigate and find their blood relatives. It takes a very strong relationship to be able to face the fact that you may be losing your child to strangers who just happen to be linked by DNA. Counselling seems to be the way to go when an adopted child decides to contact a biological parent, as often there is a degree of disappointment, anger and distress once the meeting takes place.  Depending on the circumstances surrounding the adoption it may result in the biological mother refusing to meet her child. This could be due to the pregnancy having been the result of rape, or just the disgrace of an illegitimate birth and possibly never having revealed the fact to her current husband and other children.

I find adoption to be a very emotional and intense issue which cannot be taken lightly. For parents adopting a child of another culture, or ethnic group the issues are even more complicated.  There needs to be a lot of support all round and honesty and family discussions would appear to be a critical factor. Care and love are the basis of a happy childhood but we humans remain creatures who have a need to know who we are, where we came from and what characteristics and potential health issues we may have inherited from our parents.   When a baby or child is adopted by family or friends of the biological mother, there is likely to be adequate information available regarding her which could be a source of comfort as the child grows up and becomes curious about the family background.

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How Full is YOUR Glass?

Do you ever get the impression that somehow your moods are being determined for you and that there’s not much you can do to change how you feel?  I am constantly in touch with people of all cultures, creeds and financial situations and everyone seems to have one thing in common – an on-going battle to see the glass half full, when life is throwing curved balls their way. Somehow these challenging moments often coincide with the end of the calendar year and the Christmas season. This is a time when families are often separated and loneliness itself can be debilitating. How can one cope when you are feeling sad and abandoned and spending the holidays alone?

Glass 285x201 458985955Depending on where in the world you find yourself, it shouldn’t be too difficult to identify others whose circumstances are far worse, or at least comparable, to your own. Just reaching out to give them some encouragement often helps to alleviate your own feelings of sadness or despair. If you are able to cheer up another person  and maybe even get them laughing, it’s amazing how much it impacts on your own mood. I am not talking about major depression here, that is a different situation entirely, and medical intervention is critical to prevent potential self-harm, especially at Christmastime.

Missing someone who has recently died and handling the grief process makes it virtually impossible to see the glass half full. Something which I found helped me tremendously after losing a best friend through cancer, was to sit down and write her a long, chatty letter, telling her all my latest news. Having spoken  to her son and his family, I was able to tell her about her young grandson whom she had never met. It was very emotional to write this letter, but once I had finished it, re-read it and then disposed of it, it felt just the same as when we used to have our regular conversations before her illness. A cathartic way of channelling sadness which may be of help to others.

A totally different way to try to lift the cloud of negativity is, and I know this is a cliché, to do some form of exercise which will produce the endorphins in the brain which in turn will assist in a more positive frame of mind. All of you personal trainers out there will most likely be endorsing this advice.  It can be so tough to actually force oneself to get up and at it and do that dreaded exercise. However, it is amazing how much better you often feel after a good workout, whether it is running on a treadmill, going for a long walk, riding a bicycle, bashing a punchbag with great gusto or having a swim. The results are much the same, although the amount of stiffness the next day depends on the activity chosen!

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The moral of the two frogs

The story of the two frogs who fell into a tub of cream is another example of seeing the glass either half full or half empty and acting accordingly.

The first frog looked at his situation and, knowing he couldn’t swim in the cream, just gave up and sank to the bottom of the tub and died. His brother on the other hand realised that if he kept on kicking his little legs he could stay afloat in the tub of cream. He kicked and kicked and carried on kicking. Suddenly the cream began to turn into butter, and guess what? The little frog was able to hop out of the tub of cream and life carried on for him.

So, the moral of the story is that things are not always as bleak as they may first appear. Sometimes one has to try to look outside the box to find the answer to life’s problems. When all seems to be lost just carry on kicking your way to the top.

When the glass still seems half full, the following poem might help to keep you focused on the fact that everything changes, and when you are really down, the only way is up!

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DON’T QUIT

When things go wrong,
As they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging
Seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and
The debts are high,

And you want to smile
But you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest, if you must…but don’t you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.

And you never can tell
How close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar.

So stick to the fight
When you’re hardest hit…

It’s when things go wrong
That you MUST NOT QUIT!

Anon.

Accepting the Inevitable…..or Not???

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I read an article once, written by a celebrity who said that, whilst walking down a high street, she glanced at her reflection in the shop window and was shocked to see her mother! The reality hit home that she had aged and now had to face the fact that youth had passed her by! The way in which we choose to handle this inevitable fact of life is  often dictated by one’s financial status.

This article is not meant to be sexist in any way, as it can apply to male readers as well as female.  So, all you men out there, whether hetero, homo, or for that matter, bi or trans, one hopes you too will find it informative.

Most people know of someone who has decided to fight the ageing process by undergoing some form of cosmetic surgery. Many of these people never discuss what they have had done to improve their looks, but often the results speak for themselves – and not always in a positive way either! The cost of cosmetic surgery, or enhancement techniques, can often be extremely prohibitive and for the average person it’s often just a pipe dream. However, if one feels that there is a way to get help to lift the droopy breasts, firm the butt, remove sagging eye lids etc. it is critical that research is done regarding the professional one is going to trust to do the job.

Any kind of surgery carries a certain amount of risk but, by choosing a qualified practitioner who comes recommended by satisfied, bona fide patients, one is reducing the risk of disappointment as well as disfiguration. It has become apparent that, due to the high cost of many procedures, people search the internet for cheaper options. In order to save money, many people have opted to have treatments done in countries other than their own, and the results in some instances have been less than perfect.  Standards of hygiene and the skills of those performing the techniques in foreign countries can be questionable.

It is a known fact that many foreigners come here to South Africa for cosmetic surgery, which, when one is paying in dollars or pounds, is much more affordable than in their own country. Plus, the standards for such procedures is known to be high. If you are thinking of having a procedure done purely for cosmetic reasons, then the advice is to check the credentials of the person in whose hands you are putting your trust. It is probably acceptable to ask for contact details of past, satisfied, patients, and also to see the qualifications of the professional you wish to have operate on you. Just having a sexy hunk of a man willing to improve your breasts, or lift that sagging bum may sway you into trusting him. Don’t let yourself be coerced by sales talk either. You are the person footing the bill. You need to know all the risks involved in the relevant procedure, and what the potential outcome will be for you. Like most things in life today – you get what you pay for.  Cheaper often becomes costlier in the long run. However, more than that, you are entitled to get as much information regarding the procedure as you can.

Information is power! Take your time, ask the questions, and if you feel that you will be happier after the surgery and you trust your practitioner – go for it and never fear that looking glass again!!

Feeling Good About Yourself?

Very few people are totally content with their physical appearance. Although most learn to accept slight imperfections, sometimes these flaws can lead to bullying in childhood and low self-esteem.  With professional help much can often be done to alleviate the problem.

A child who has prominent ears may be laughed at and called Mickey Mouse or Dumbo. Pinning back the ears by a plastic surgeon is apparently a fairly common and not an overly complicated procedure. It is probably somewhat easier for a girl to disguise her ears with a particular hair style than for a boy, but that is not always possible.

Nowadays the wearing of glasses is a fashion statement so it doesn’t appear to be as much of a problem as years ago when a short or far sighted chid was called “four eyes” and made fun of.  It would appear that more children are being prescribed spectacles than in previous decades, possibly due to computer usage or an excess of television viewing.   However, with the advent of contact lenses, the wearing of glasses may become a matter of choice.  In adulthood there may be the option of surgery to correct the short sightedness, by a qualified ophthalmic surgeon.

Anything which makes a child stand out as different can have long lasting psychological effects. A big problem these days is obesity. Even though there are more and more fat children, they still are often a target for teasing. Often the reason for the obesity is psychological. An unhappy home life, sexual abuse, and generally a poor self esteem can culminate in a child finding comfort in food – and the wrong kind of food.  The rolls of fat may offer the child a barrier to the world of misery in which he finds himself. The bigger he becomes, the safer he may feel. However, it is a catch 22, as the bullying and verbal abuse from other children may continue unabated.

Sadly, the damage to a person’s self esteem during the childhood years may not disappear once one is an adult, even though the person may be seen to have succeeded in their chosen field.  However, it is possible to get help in correcting the problem, which in turn can give back confidence and a feeling of self-worth. If a problem is allowed to continue, depression and even suicidal thoughts may result.

So much can be done nowadays to help people gain confidence and to feel good about themselves, but it is imperative that the professional one chooses to help alleviate the problem comes well recommended. Attending seminars hosted by motivational speakers can point a person in the right direction as far as building up a positive self-image and therefore self-esteem.

Areas which seem to cause adults misery can be ugly teeth which were not corrected in childhood, unhappiness with the size of one’s breasts, a perceived unattractive backside and more commonly nowadays, sagging skin from having been morbidly obese and then losing a huge amount of weight.

Worldwide there are top class professionals in all the medical fields who could be approached to help rectify the problem but, unfortunately, it is usually up to the patient to foot the bill, as anything deemed to be cosmetic is generally not covered by normal medical insurance options. If the condition needing to be rectified can be proved to be causing serious psychological problems, it may be that certain types of medical insurance options might be more amenable to covering some of the costs of the procedure.  Obviously, there would have to be psychological assessments done to prove that this is in fact the case. If there are seriously deep-rooted psychological problems, then cosmetic surgery to increase or reduce the size of one’s boobs or to gain a Kardashian-type butt may just prove to be a total waste of hard-earned cash which does not alleviate the negative self-image. Seeking psychological help may have been a better option than enduring the painful surgery!

About

Now that I am starting to blog, the question comes up as to how to describe oneself?

My name is Judith Angela Nemeth (nee Binns), but as my first and last names when used together sound as though there is some sort of speech impediment, I tend to be called Judy or Jude and I live in South Africa!

I am definitely a people person, so all my interests do involve other people to some extent. I am passionate about psychological matters (have an Honours degree in Clinical Psychology) especially areas such as twin studies and the effect of early childhood experiences on later life. Making people laugh and feel better about their situation is something I thrive on. I am also fully qualified in reflexology and aromatherapy!

I have been in sales for many years, have lectured, taught an African language to school children, been a Lifeline counsellor (at a time when Aids had just reared its ugly head) and hired and trained staff in the hospitality industry during the 5 years I was a co-owner of a pub and restaurant where I was also a hands-on manager. My hope is to be able to share past experiences, current ideas as well as to have something truly worthwhile to contribute through my blog which is definitely not going to be all about me!

I was born in England and was fortunate enough to have travelled quite extensively in Europe during my younger years and have many memories and interesting facts related to this which I would love to share at some stage.

My aim is to have a blog which is sometimes interesting, sometimes informative, sometimes controversial and anything in between.  Hopefully it will be fun to read – there is so much negativity in the world around us that some tongue in cheek humour often helps to lighten the load of day to day living. To appeal to all age groups and different cultural backgrounds would mean that my blogging is successful!

Choosing my blog name “Hey Jude” was easy as I am called Jude by many special people in my life, and the Beatles hit of the same name brings with it a lot of personal memories.