Thanksgiving - Reconnecting with family

Thanksgiving is coming up soon, and I have a lot to be thankful for this year.
I had a healthy pregnancy and gave birth naturally to my beautiful daughter Chinami. 
I was able to come back to Hawaii and reconnect with a lot of friends and make many new ones as well. 
And most of all, I feel thankful that I have a loving family who cares about me. 
No, not them. 
When I was with my "parents" for last Thanksgiving, I also saw the other part of my family, whom I hadn't seen in over 10 years. It was the part of the family that wasn't related to my "mother"; my paternal grandparents, my aunt, uncle, and three cousins.
Since we lived abroad when I was a child I almost never got to see them, and when we moved back to America I saw them from time to time, as they lived in the same small town as we did.

My grandmother would take me to high school football games, along with my aunt and cousin who was just a baby then. I was in middle school at the time and would be going to that high school in the following years, and it was the same high school my "father" and his siblings went to, and the same school my oldest cousin is going to now. She enjoyed sharing this legacy and history with me. She would also take me to the museum, carnivals, the mall, church (not to force me, but because I enjoyed playing with the other children and singing in Sunday School) and I would stay over her house sometimes. 

My grandfather was one of the original computer nerds, and taught me a lot about computers (in those days, we still used 5-inch floppy disks and Windows 3.1, and MS-DOS) He had also served in the military and was stationed in Japan, and gave me some of his old mementos when I started to become interested in Japanese culture.

Years later, my aunt found me on Facebook and I saw that I now had 2 more cousins, and my oldest cousin was starting high school. My aunt and uncle would message me, and I was unsure how to handle it after all those years. 

The reason I was unsure was because of all the things my "mother" would tell me about them. She accused them of using her for her money, she ridiculed them and called them horrible, degrading names in front of me (things I will not write here as I do not want to hurt their feelings,) and basically convinced me that they were some kind of malignant, abnormal people. When I told them I wanted to go visit my family, I was warned not to. I'm glad I followed my heart, and did the right thing.

After my "parents" left to spend Christmas and New Year's in the Caribbean and left us to house-sit (despite the fact that it was the first holidays we could spend together in over five years) Yasushi and I went over to have lunch with my family. I made some cupcakes and brought them over, and they had cold-cut trays and lots of yummy desserts, and spent the day asking us questions, talking with us, and making us feel welcome. We played games with my cousins, I helped my aunt with her computer, and we all had a great time. My husband commented that they seemed like a normal, Christian family, and were very kind-hearted, and I agreed.

Now that I have looked into my past, I can now fully appreciate how normal they are. No one launched into loud, rambling stories and demanded that you listen to them no matter how long they kept talking, no one lectured us on how our choices, hobbies, and lifestyle were wrong and tried to force us into something else, no one called us degrading names, and they would listen to us. The three children seemed comfortable and happy, no one was screamed at, insulted, or invalidated.

I can remember now that my grandparents were the only ones who validated my feelings when I was in middle school. They always listened to me, remembered things about me, showed me they cared about who I was, and never tried to force me to do something I didn't want to do, or be someone I wasn't. That was the thing I needed most at that fragile point in my development, and something I was not getting at home.

And even now, the way they treat me and Yasushi really shows how much they care. When they found out I was pregnant, they asked me how I was, and that they wanted to send me something for the baby. When I told them I didn't need much, and would appreciate if they would just send me any used items or hand-me-downs, they sent me precious family heirlooms that were used by my grandparents, their children's baby blankets, hand-sewn items that were passed down in the family, and a used breast pump, because they knew I was breastfeeding. Most importantly, there was no Facebook announcement about how THEY were becoming great-grandparents/aunts/uncles, no posts with pictures of the things they bought for THEIR grand-baby, there was no waving money around in a big fanfare that was still centered around themselves. It was just pure sentiments and love.

I am very glad I reconnected with all of them, and my husband was able to meet them before we moved to Hawaii. But also, I am very sad at all the years lost between us, and how far apart we are now. But as long as they are in Pennsylvania, I can say that I may think of going back to see my family some day.













Another email...more drama...

The tweet:

The email from "Father":
I would never wish you and your family anything but extreme happiness, health and success, never!  I am shocked and extremely hurt that you would publicly wish harm or death on us. I do not believe that Yasushi would share your wish of death on us. I will never forget this, it is inexcusable. I have certainly failed as a father to have his daughter wish for his demise. I have been sick since one of your friends brought this tweet to our attention. Make sure to let beautiful Chinami know that her grandparents love her and want to be a part of her life. Do the things that grandparents do, give her unconditional love and support but her mother would rather not have her know her family. Your choice not ours.

My response:
Stop being overdramatic. I never wished death on anyone. Just hoping that karma gets you back, which it will. I don't remember you ever volunteering anything to help the victims of Luis, Katrina, the Japan tsunami, the Haiti earthquake, etc. Just taking videos, worrying about yourself, and offering opinions on how it could have been avoided.
Yasushi felt that the tweet was a bit too much, but he feels the same way as I do in terms of wishing we could have a normal family, with grandparents for our children, but that cannot happen until you come to terms with what you've done and take steps to correct it.
Wait, you wished me extreme happiness, health and success, and gave me unconditional love and support?
More like: you had a daughter with real problems like depression, outward signs of being abused, yet you handled it by calling her names, and invalidating her feelings, hopes, and dreams.
10 years later when she finally stands up for herself, you both deny everything happened and call her a liar, and then contradict yourself by trying to justify your actions as well-deserved discipline, as if children actually deserve to be abused! You even go on to say that her depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts were her own fault, expressing no empathy whatsoever!
And let's not forget that just recently "Mother" threatened to sue me and my family for "every last dime" knowing full well that we both worked full time 6 days a week in Japan to save up for a house someday, and are now living paycheck to paycheck on a single income with a newborn.  She also stated she is happy we are far away and she will never see us or any offspring we might have ever. I will let Chinami know about that when she is old enough, thank you.
You and "Mother" are the ones who have made the choice not to act like loving family and acknowledge the deep effect your verbal abuse has had on me, apologize, and seek therapy so you do not do the same thing to your grandchildren. "Mother" has made the choice to write me off as "sick and twisted"  when she is the one who is emotionally unstable and needs to seek help if she wants to be part of my family. She also needs to worry about her own daughter's feelings and well-being instead of worrying about what her "friends" on Facebook might think.
Yasushi and I made the choice for Chinami's safety and well-being. Judging by the way you attempt to lie and gaslight in this email, we have made the right choice.


Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Superstorms?!?

Superstorm Sandy has wreaked havoc on the East Coast and the images I've seen are devastating. For me, Sandy is yet another natural disaster hitting one of the places I have called "home."


When I was 9, a category 4 hurricane hit the island I lived on at the time. The house we were in was strong and we were very lucky to escape the total devastation that spread across the rest of the island. We also had plenty of water and food to take us through the weeks without power. My parents and their friends drove around the day after the storm and took video. My "mother" and I returned to the US soon after until conditions got better there. 


Then last year, on March 11th, I experienced the Kanto-Tohoku earthquake that generated a tsunami big enough to wipe out entire towns, change coastlines, and cripple a nuclear plant. My parents called me every day trying to convince me to leave, but my husband and I could not fathom leaving our home in a time of crisis. We stayed and donated money, did fundraising, and when fall came, we donated our warm winter clothes and electric blankets to the temporary residences. 


And here in Oahu, I have experienced both an earthquake that resulted in over 12 hours without electricity on most of the island, and just last Saturday, a tsunami warning that was serious enough to shut down most of Waikiki and send people in my neighborhood to higher ground. 


In all these situations, one thing I have learned is not to think that it "won't happen to me," and to always have enough supplies for an emergency. 


In America it's not as much of an issue because many people buy in bulk to save money, and canned goods are a normal thing to have in one's pantry. (However, sometimes people forget to periodically check their cabinets and use things before the expiration date and replace them, so a bit of maintenance is required for this) People usually have some kind of grill for their summer barbecues that come in handy during a power outage too. 


In Japan, space is limited so many people do not store extra toilet paper, canned/dried food, bottled water, etc. in their house, which led to the panic buying situation in spring of 2011. With Tokyo residents already experiencing one crisis in the past year, and scientists constantly saying how Tokyo is overdue for their big earthquake, it is more important than ever to be prepared.


In your house, you should have at least 2-3 days worth of basic supplies, such as canned/dried food and water, toilet paper and wet wipes, and other essentials such as some extra blankets, a portable gas stove or a grill, and a battery/manual powered flashlight and radio. 
It's also good to prepare an emergency bag in case you have to evacuate. In one bag, you should put (for 1 person)
2 liters of water
a bag of biscuits, a bag of hard candy, and some canned or instant food
2 packs of wet wipes
1 blanket
1 battery/manual powered flashlight and radio
1 pocket knife
 1 or 2 changes of clothes
a small amount of cash and photocopies of ID and other important documents. 
Having a bag already set up will make any evacuation easier and give you more time to gather precious items and your every day items with less panic.



Also, as if there weren't enough good reasons to breastfeed, when we evacuated because of the tsunami warning, I didn't have to worry about bottles or formula or anything, I just put a pack of diapers and wipes in the car. In America, there are many mothers who don't breastfeed because of some social stigma, because formula companies tell them things like it's more convenient, and hospitals push formula on newborns. Even in Japan, more and more mothers are supplementing with formula and decreasing their own supply. 
It would be so much better if more mothers breastfed and wet-nursed in times of crisis instead of turning to formula (which is actually more dangerous than wet-nursing because of lack of clean water and facilities to properly sanitize bottles in times of disaster.)


With it getting colder I hope everyone in the areas ravaged by Sandy are keeping warm by bundling up and drinking warm drinks whenever possible. When I was in Japan, we only had a small gas heater in the living room, and I wore thick padded room jackets inside and usually had some hot water in the kitchen for tea (and a thermos for when I went outside). When my parents came to visit me in Japan my "mother" relentlessly complained about how cold our apartment was, so I wonder how they are dealing with their power and heat being off for over 3 days now.


Anyway, my thoughts are with all the victims. I will do what I can to help from here in Hawaii. 


An absolutely brilliant NC letter from a fellow DONM

I saw this on one of the support groups for people like me. By people like me, I mean other people who were raised by mothers who were self-absorbed and abusive. Reading it, I felt like someone had reached into my brain and arranged my thoughts neatly and concisely. 

I recieved this text from my NM (Narcissistic Mom)
“As usual you are wrong in your self indulgent rant but I see now we spoiled you. Your unhappiness can be treated but your resentment is misguided – biting the hand etc, you are hard work and I quit – stay away and don’t communicate with me”
I wonder was the reference to my “unhappiness” being “treated” a suggestion that I suffer from some sort of mental illness and need medication? (That was something I grew up hearing whenever I disagreed with you.) I resent the implication and find it a very low blow. I was constantly compared with *** as a teenager whenever I behaved differently to how you expected. The threat of mental illness was a damaging one, and one you casually used, instilling fear into me as a vulnerable youngster. I wonder, were you aware of how your words ever affected me?
In the intervening weeks I initially felt shock, anger and a sense of loss. I had phoned you asking for more emotional support, and you retaliated by cutting me out of your life completely. I’m not going to continue describing how I felt and still feel about that, as I think you will dismiss it as “oversentimentality” or my “oversensitive” nature which you have often blamed for my reactions to stressful situations.
Then yesterday I received the following text from you:
“Hi *** lets forget the past and look to the future and move on – life’s too short – I want to be friends and send my love to you x mum”
I was struck by the complete denial of the issues I raised on the phone, and wonder how you think we can have any kind of relationship where one person hurts another and expects the injured party to “move on” with no apology or acknowledgement of the hurt caused? You want me to forget about your treatment of me, to forget that my own mother cut me out of her life, and not deal with it? This is not a normal human interaction. I would not take this kind of treatment from a friend, and certainly didn’t expect it from a family member. Possibly you are able to compartmentalise things like this, but I feel things deeply and am unable to “move on” unless I have dealt with a situation until it is no longer affecting me.
I am not ready to speak to you in person, as I fear you will invalidate and dismiss my feelings, as you always have done. If you wish to communicate with me you may email me or post me a letter.
I am busy caring for and raising my family, and I don’t wish to be to-ing and fro-ing in and out of your affections as you see fit. I would like us to be part of each other’s lives, but until you can see how your behaviour is hurtful and wrong towards me, and acknowledge it and try to improve it, I don’t want to have anything to do with you. I am worth more than that, and I will not put myself and my children in your way for you to hurt, criticise and judge us as you have done in the past.
Before you write me off as “spoilt” and “ungrateful”, please take some time to wonder have you had anything to do with this situation. If you still conclude that I am for some reason making it all up, consider why would I invite this drama upon myself? I don’t enjoy it, I don’t welcome it, and I want an end to it, one way or another.

(claps hands) 
Bravo, anonymous DONM. I feel like this is a mirror image of what I've been through. 

Called "spoilt" and "ungrateful" when I start to tell the truth. 
Growing up with mental illness being used as a form of degradation and threatening. 
Being constantly compared to someone else
Being cut off when I needed emotional support
Getting a casual "Hi, how are you," weeks later after an unresolved confrontation as if nothing happened (and expecting me to forget about everything they've done!)
Giving up speaking with them because they will just invalidate my feelings.
Not wanting my children to be subjected to the same treatment I was. 
Being accused of making it all up, for what reason?

The thought of so many other people out there going through the same thing is really sad. I hope everyone finds strength and happiness ♥


Morning Musume モーニング娘。

In Hawaii, there are many annual events I try to take part in if I can. The Ohana Festival at New Year's, the Honolulu Festival, Bon Dance, and then, there is the Morning Musume Hawaii Fan Club Tour.
In 2004, I saw Morning Musume by waiting outside of the Hello! Project Museum/Shop in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center (that was closed a few years later) Kaori was the leader at that time. I couldn't say anything to them, I was so happy. I just bowed over and over again. Ishikawa Rika smiled at me (a beautiful smile!) Niigaki Risa gave me a shaka, and Tanaka Reina waved at me.
In 2007, I listened/watched their concert by sitting outside of the Waikiki Shell, which is an outdoor venue. There were a few of us outside there, and we climbed up on a utility box to get a slightly better view, albeit very far away. We waited outside after the concert was over to get a glimpse of them as they came out. At this time, Fujimoto Miki was set to be the next leader after Yossi's graduation. I sent a letter to her radio show, then when I went to Japan, I saw her at one of the "Okitegami" events, entered her karaoke contest, and she told me she saw my Youtube video when I saw her at UpFront's charity event in 2011. In 2011 I also went to Morning Musume's event for "Only You" and got waved at by Reina again when I waited around for them to leave the venue.
And now, in 2012, I am back in Hawaii, and this time, I had someone to come with me...my daughter! On August 29th, I remembered they were coming soon and started to look for any inside information. I checked the dates on the Hello! Project website, and found that they would be doing "optional tours" this year, in three "groups". One group was Sayumi, Haruna, Masaki, Kanon, and Mizuki. The other "group" was Erina. And the other group was Reina, Riho, Ayumi, and Haruka. And all of their tours were headed to Moanalua Gardens at some time between 3 and 6:30. I packed a bunch of vegetable sticks, fruit, and other snacks, a bottle of water and a can of V-8, and a plastic mat, and a 20 minute bus ride and 30 minute walk over the highway later, I was there. 5-10 minutes after I arrived, Sayumi's group came. They arrived before the fans to take some video for the DVD. I walked up to them with Chinami, and they saw her and came over. Haruna asked in English if she could take a picture with her, and Sayumi was going on and on about how cute the baby was. I told her in Japanese her name is Chinami, and she asked if her dad was Japanese, I said yes, and Masaki cut in saying "I knew, I told you!" The cameraman took a group picture of us, and I commented how I want to see it, and then Sayumi asked if she could put it on her blog, and I said yes. I then said "So....I have to check Sayumi's blog later then, right?" and all of them looked surprised and they start asking "You know us??" and I said "Yes...and I'm actually shaking right now..."
The cameraman took out what looked like Sayumi's smartphone, all pink and sparkly, to take another group picture. I gave Chinami to Sayumi to hold for the picture. Then we all said thank you and they went on their way to film more stuff and I sat in the grass marveling at what just happened.
After a little while, the two buses full of fans arrived, and a little later, Erina and her fans arrived and Erina reunited with her fellow members briefly before everyone left. Then I waited about 2 hours, and the sun started to set when Reina's group finally arrived at 6:15. They took pictures with the fans, and they hurried the fans back onto the bus. Ayumi was on crutches with her foot bandaged up, and Haruka had a knee brace. They met Chinami, and then they played with a little boy and took pictures. Reina kept hugging him until the staff told her to hurry and get on the bus! Before they left, I told Ayumi to hurry and make her leg better so she can dance in the concerts again. She said "concert...you watch our concerts?" and I said "Yea, when I was in Japan." Ayumi seemed impressed by that.
And then on Friday, I had no idea where their event was going to be. Saturday, my husband has mornings off. When he left for work, I checked some hashtags on Twitter and found that some Morning Musume fans were posting that they had arrived at UH, just a few minutes ago. I put Chinami in her wrap and headed off (UH is about a 20 minute walk from where I live) and arrived in plenty of time to find a spot outside the ampitheater where I could see the concert pretty well. I watched most of it from that spot until another person on a bicycle came, and the security guards saw him and asked us both to leave. So I changed spots. It's not illegal to stand outside of an ampitheater during a concert (as far as I know) I walked around and found a spot where I could see the concert from behind the stage. Then after it was over I found another fan who was doing the same thing.....the same guy who had watched the concert from outside the Shell in 2007! He had been watching the various Hello! Project Hawaii concerts at the UH ampitheater for the past few years and had a general idea of how things were done. The vans were parked across a small grassy area by a school building, so after their handshake event and any video recordings were over the vans would have to either go to the entrance of the ampitheater or they would have to walk across. With how casually they were hanging out in Waikiki and with the fans during this tour, we predicted the latter, and we waited in a seating area close to the vans (but far enough away from them to not irritate the security) We saw them come out and start to walk across, and the other two fans with me were like "OMG what do we do" and I just beelined it for them, but stopped about 2 feet away and waved. I shouted "Otsukareina!" (If they didn't know I was a huge fan of theirs yet, they knew now!) and Sayumi looked at me and the obvious Sayumi fan with me and was like "OMG" and I said "I'm watching Sayumi's blog!" and she was like "OK I'll post the pic soon!" and Haruka walked across and was really happy to see us and I was like "I hope your knee gets better soon!!" and then Haruna saw me and Chinami and gasped and went "It's Chinami!!" and I was like "OMG they remembered your name!!"
So 8 years after my first encounter with Morning Musume, my fandom and drive are still going strong. It was difficult to keep up especially after Takahashi Ai graduated, and now the group is mostly 9th and 10th generation members who I hardly knew, but I have been watching their Youtube channel and became a fan of Haruna after her whole "chocolate" thing and the way she says really borderline inappropriate things about her attraction to Sayumi. I also am very impressed by Riho and Ayumi's dancing, and Haruka is kind of tomboyish and funny. Kanon's cheerfulness and love of food is cute. Masaki however got on my nerves, honestly. She ran around and shouted and was really over-the-top at Moanalua gardens, and for me, I would find her really annoying to be around.
Anyway, I am looking forward to their next Hawaii tour and wish them the best of luck with everything in Japan and abroad until then. Otsukareina!!



Another update

3 weeks gone, 3 weeks to go until I am officially not post-partum anymore! I'm trying to take it easy, which is boring. So I have been doing laundry, cleaning, and occasionally taking Chinami out in the stroller, or the sling (I love babywearing!)
I want to get to 6 weeks so I can go on walks and do bon-odori and stuff again!
I miss being active. I think when I get more active, the last 10 lbs will come off more easily. I gained about 30lbs during my pregnancy, and when I weighed myself today I had already lost 20lbs.
Chinami, on the other hand, has gained about 2 lbs, and that is all me, no supplements! I am a milk machine!! My lovely aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandparents, (family members my "mother" discouraged me from having contact with) sent me an electric breast pump because they knew I was breastfeeding. How thoughtful! I tried it out and got 3 oz on the first try!
Maybe if I can pump and build up a supply, I could start working again. I do want to be with Chinami as much as possible, though. Even if I spend most of the day trying to get her happy and asleep, then worry if she is sleeping too much.













Guess who this mail is from?

Well, my friends all told me to ignore your rantings, and stop reading your blog, but I didn't listen and there I went. I will say one more thing: that is the last time I do it. Your rotten whining, lying, and insulting words do not sting as much as they did, they just make me glad that you live 6000 miles away and that I never have to see you again Your blog will not be read by me ever again.
I do not need to get "help"...actually I did that years ago with more success than you are having coping with your issues in life. How dare you preach to me that way....like somehow you have all the answers. You have none of the answers. You never learned how to keep a nice home, to clean and take care of a home and be a real lady-instead you are a low class pig.  You are a sanctimonious jerk who has it all wrong-and you are the one who needs psychiatric help and very badly. But I'm sure the lies you tell any therapist will color your treatment and prevent any real truth from being said or dealt with.
At this point I am finally very comfortable saying goodbye to you and any offspring you may ever have. Stay away from me and I will never have anything to do with you. I am even going to rewrite my will and cut you out completely.
At the moment, your father and I have an appointment with an attorney for a cease and desist order to stop the continuous slander and filth you have put on the internet. We definitely have a case as your words are not proof of anything and you cannot say whatever you want in a public forum as you have been doing for months. We plan to sue you for every dime you have if you do not stop, and remove the filth you have already put out there. I am not kidding and strongly suggest that you remove all references to us and abuse and soon. I am finished with you and have lost any tolerance I still had for your warped, sick obsession with blaming me for your problems.
You had social and interactive problems all along as a child and teen, they were not caused by abuse, and you can write that they were in 1000 blogs and that will not make it so.
Go ahead, quote this in your blog for your readers. I have spoken to every one of my friends who has read your blog-guess what? They don't buy your lies-they all to a person feel sorry for you and think that you are sick and need treatment. You have no credibility with anyone who knows me and they are not on your side.
The strangers who don't know any better and believe your bullshit will let you play out your fantasy as a poor mistreated victim. So go ahead-enjoy yourself.
And guess what? FUCK YOU TOO.

First, I will state again, my blog is for me to share my experiences to help others and become stronger myself. What I have written here is an account of my life, including what my parents did and said to me growing up. They have verified that the words I quoted from them were in fact theirs, by trying to justify them and saying that my attitude and behavior as a child and teenager warranted such "discipline".

But as far as exaggerating and depicting my mother as a "horrible monster", I have done nothing of the sort. I did state that she could not control her emotions, and needed help if we were going to move on as a family. However I have not used hurtful, insulting terms to describe her as she has repeatedly done to me. And in this mail (which she even gave me permission to publish), she has made her true feelings very obvious to anyone who reads it.

I wonder, what kind of mother would watch their child struggle with "social problems" and instead of trying to help them and connect with them, call them names like "wacko" "mental patient" and tell them they have "no personality"?
And what kind of mother would call her child a "jerk" and an "asshole" and watch them cry, or watch them have a panic attack and offer no empathy whatsoever, even if they had been through the exact same thing themselves?
And what kind of mother, knowing full well that their child had a newborn baby and had a household income that qualified her for Medicare and WIC, would threaten to essentially put them on the streets?

When I look at Chinami, I feel nothing but all the love in the world for her. At this point I can't really make promises about what kind of mother I'll be, but I can promise what kind of mother I will not be.


I got a mail from my "mother" about my blog post. She claims that she apologized for the "few times she lost her temper and was mean to me". It was more than a few, and a lot more serious than just being "mean". Being mean is laughing at someone when they trip and fall. Why doesn't she use the real word "abuse" here? 

She claims I characterized her as vain, selfish and phony, and in the same email goes on about how I "humiliated her in front of her friends", "dramatically exaggerate" and "blame my issues on them". She tells me my blog is "one-sided" and "mean spirited" and "full of untruths", and I characterized her as "horrible" and a "monster." 

Everything I wrote in my blog is true, to my own recollection. The words my parents said to me that I recorded in my diaries as a teenager were true. My battle with anxiety and depression and my suicide attempt(s) are also true, there are several people that witnessed the pain I was in. 

Even in this most recent email, my own mother describes me during my teenage years as "sullen," "nasty," and "a total ass". But in all my diaries and blogs, I never resorted to using such insulting and degrading words to describe them. I am just telling the truth about what they said and did to me. My mother (and father) use the excuse "You were hostile to us, therefore you were not afraid of us, therefore we did not abuse you."

Since everything I write is a lie and hyperbole, I decided to do some research.

Emotional abuse -TeenHelp

The main types of emotional abuse include:
  • Verbal assault. Your parent/s verbally assault you in every way possible. They may blow your flaws out of proportion, make fun of you, call you names, berate you, scream at you, threaten you or criticize you. They may blame you for everything or humiliate you with sarcasm and endless insults. Over time, this type of abuse can completely destroy a person's feelings of self worth and self esteem.
  • Emotional neglect. Your parent may supply you with all of your physical and material needs, but completely neglect your emotional ones. They may show no love oraffection, continually ignore you, or refuse to support you during times of emotional need.
  • Invalidation. Closely linked and overlapped with emotional neglect, invalidation occurs when the victim's feelings and needs are completely invalidated, usually with harmful intent. A good example is when the victim tries to confront the parent/s about the abuse; the child may be told “I never do that”, “You think too much”, “You shouldn’t be upset about that”, or “You are exaggerating.” The abuser usually controls the victim’s emotions by telling the victim that those feelings and opinionsare wrong, by continually ignoring and rejecting emotional needs, and making the victim feel as though there is something wrong with him/her. Invalidation can also be done passively, for example, when a victim tries to confide in a parent about a problem and is told that the problem is not really an issue, or that the child should simply get over it. Invalidation is particularly damaging, as it leads the victim to think that s/he is wrong, stupid to feel this way, undeserving of any feelings at all.

How to spot emotional abuse
1 - overly shy, obedient, and submissive to others
3 - lacks confidence and has low self-esteem
8 - exhibits self-destructing behavior  - bites, pinches or cuts self
9 - finds it difficult to make friends, is overly clingy to people he is close to
15 - low self-esteem, constantly thinks bad or low about oneself
16 - Exhibits abasement behavior by blaming oneself about any negative events of his life
17 - Shows excessive depression to any type of rejection and lacks motivation in trying to correct that failure.
18 - Feels desperate and hopeless about life and neglects his personal looks and hygiene.
19 - Demonstrates sadness by isolating oneself, constantly crying, and getting into arts like music and poetry containing negative themes (such as death and hatred)
20 - Displays bitterness and lacks connection among others, whether it be friends or family
21 - Overly secretive and has difficulty in expressing ones feelings, believing that nobody ever listens to him.

How to talk to your moody teen
I found this interesting...
4 - Offer your support and be available for him when he needs to talk. Find time each day to talk and listen to what he has to share. Do not judge or jump on lecturing him.  
My parents judged and lectured on things like my taste in music and TV shows!
6 - Show respect to him and his friends. He will feel more comfortable confiding and talking to you. 
My friends were described as fat, ugly, talentless losers (like me) most of the time. Not exactly respect. 

How to help your depressed teen
In many cases, parents or other adults fail to acknowledge the fact that teenagers can, and do, get depressed. They tend to write off the moody, sullen teenager as acting out or one who is simply unhappy about something.

With teenagers, certain symptoms are likely to be present that are not normally found in depressed adults:
  • Excessive sensitivity to criticism. Depressed teens tend to have strong feelings of worthlessness, which makes them highly sensitive to criticism, failure and rejection.
  • Angry or irritable mood. Instead of being sad like most adults with depression, teens tend to be irritable, grumpy, hostile and frustrated.
  • Withdrawing from some people. Adults are more prone to isolate themselves from everyone when they are depressed, but teenagers tend to withdraw more selectively. With teenagers, they may start hanging out with different types of people, pulling away from their parents or socialize less frequently than they normally do.
My mother says she hopes to meet Chinami one day. Maybe if she seeks help and resolves her own issues like I did, she can. 

Oh, and she didn't throw away the baby book for some reason. She threw away everything else because "I didn't want it". Slightly different story from " I am so over and done with her that I can hardly see her any more in my rear view mirror. Tossed out any and everything I find of hers-wiping her out of my life and not looking back." (quoted from Facebook, one of the comments she conveniently erased)


Life with Chinami: the first week 智七海と最初の一週間

postpartum tummy!

Today Chinami is one week old! And I have been a mommy for one week! Everything has been going great, maybe even too great!
Between eating well, taking the placenta pills, and taking small naps with Chinami, my recovery has been great! It's only been a week but I am ready to put her in a sling and walk here and there! But my midwife and doula warned me to take it easy, because it is possible to get worse after getting better, and I have someone to look after now.

Breastfeeding has been as easy and textbook as my pregnancy. Latch her on after birth, latch her on whenever she shows signs of being hungry (not just crying) and then my milk came in on the 3rd day and she is always satisfied after a nursing session, and I can even hand express a little bit! I think my placenta capsules, brewer's yeast powder, and mother's milk tea help things along as well.

At night, I can nurse her while laying down in my bed, because she sleeps with us! This was a no-brainer because in Japan cosleeping is perfectly normal, and doesn't kill babies like certain American media might try and tell you. Breastfeeding and cosleeping together actually dramatically reduce the chance of SIDS.

And if Chinami cries or is a little bit fussy after feeding and changing her nappy, Yasushi or I simply hold her close, give her kisses and tell her we love her and she falls asleep with a smile on her face.

Every time I look at Chinami, I'm reminded of all my love for her, and everything I have done and will do for her.

I've already started to compile a little photo album, with ultrasound pics, first footprint, umbilical cord, etc. And I'm reminded of how my own mother said she had thrown everything of mine away, and was glad to. When I went home, I took my own baby book out of storage and looked at it. It was in the guest room when we left. To think that she can throw it out and be happy with herself disgusts me to no end. And I question the character of anyone who can still remain friends with someone who would say in one breath that her daughter has a mental illness, and in the next brag about discarding her. And my father still believes that I am in the wrong, that she is the real victim, poor her, being abused by her mother, trying her best to raise me but accidentally abusing me, suffering from depression, and having me "publicly humiliate her" maliciously. He took part in destroying my self-confidence by constantly telling me how horrible and stupid I and my friends were and how I had no talent, and my dreams of being a teacher so I could inspire children were just great because those who can't do, teach.

In all the emails, he never hinted that they might have been wrong. He never apologized. Just tried to put all the blame on me, while saying I "have a right to feel how I do" but implying that he was not wrong.
And then a few days ago I got an email from him. As if everything had magically disappeared, it was just a dream, they were perfect parents all along and I never cried myself to sleep at night wondering why they hated me so much.....
The mail simply read "How are you? The baby must be coming at any moment. Please let me know."
Fuck you. 









Chinami's birth 智七海の出産 (warning: graphic) (注意:少しグロい)

At around 2 am on July 11th, I woke up feeling a trickling sensation between my legs. I bunched up my pillow (I had been sleeping with a pillow between my legs to widen the hip area to prepare for birth) and shuffled over to the bathroom, and sure enough, there was a gush. I was half shocked, half excited. I cleaned up and shakily went into the computer room where Yasushi was and shakily went "I think my water broke". And he started to freak out a little bit going "What should we do? Call the midwife!" I called my midwife and doula and let them know what was going on, they both said get some sleep. Yasushi and I tried, but we were so excited it was hard to get to sleep. I was starting to have weak contractions about 7 minutes apart but managed to sleep between them somehow.
The next day I just stayed at home, going out a couple of times to walk and run last-minute errands. My contractions were still coming at 5-7 minutes, but nothing too intense. My midwife came over briefly in the evening to check baby's heartbeat and my blood pressure, and advised me to get as much sleep as possible that night, and if possible to go hiking in the morning. I tried to sleep as I did the previous night, but my contractions were getting stronger and I was awake more than I slept. I called my doula in the morning and asked her to come over for support as Yasushi had to leave for work. We ate breakfast, took a short walk in Waikiki, then a nap, then we went hiking at Manoa Falls. This really amped up my contractions and after we went home and I took a shower, they were still coming without slowing. They went to about 3-5 minutes apart and I started to need to use breathing and vocalization to cope with them. At one point, I went to the toilet, and the action of sitting on the toilet brought on a contraction so intense I literally jumped off and ran as soon as I was finished. My doula made me go back and ride out a few ones, as strong contractions would make me dilate faster. At around 6 pm, my doula informed me that I was in active labor. I still used coping techniques and my big white ball to combat the pain. At around 8:30, my doula asked the midwife to come over. and called Yasushi to let him know to try and come straight home at 9. Yasushi rushed home immediately.
Over the next few hours, the contractions got more and more intense and constant, I had almost no breaks between them at one point and was living on Emergen-C drinks and V-8 given to me through a straw by my doula and Yasushi. I went to the toilet periodically, but I mostly sweat out all the liquids before that. My doula urged me to eat, and I tried to oblige some frozen fruit, but every time a contraction hit my appetite was completely gone. They prepared the pool, which felt lovely but I felt like I wasn't progressing. My calm breathing and vocalizing through contractions turned into whining. I started having urges to push, which were worse than contractions because they didn't really do anything and were painful. They suggested a hot shower with Yasushi, which would usually get plenty of love hormones going, but I was having none of it. I was in a cycle of contracting, pushing, and whining about it. I was tired and cranky and wanted to do the whole push, pop out a human, and then revel in the happy afterglow. I laid down on the bed and tried to sleep! But of course who would be able to sleep in an active labor, 9 cm dilated to boot! So of course sleeping turned into a little cuddle with Yasushi, and then hoisting my leg up and giving a screaming push, tiring myself out, laying back down going "why isn't this working why won't she come out??" I would come "so close" and then run out of energy to push. I honestly doubted I could do this, and a few times I asked "do we have to go to the hospital?" My midwife used several techniques to get me to open up and stretch. 
I was in that "place" that every woman goes to when birthing. The "I can't do this, but if I don't this baby won't come out" phase....I wanted an easy way out so badly, if this were a hospital I would have been drugged and the baby pulled out a while ago. I felt so pathetic as I sat there and buried my head into Yasushi and asked my midwife and doula to help, and get her out of me already. They replied that she was almost out, and I was doing great work. Laying on the bed was not the most ideal position, but I was so tired out it was all I wanted to do. My midwife and doula tried a variety of other positions, birthing stool, etc, but I kept going back to the bed and hoisting up my leg and pushing. Her head had gone over my pubic bone, she was almost there. Finally, they suggested getting into a squat, with my doula sitting in a chair holding my arms and supporting my weight, and we tried that, and gravity seemed to help things along, but I still didn't have the strength to do it. 

I saw the sun start to come up outside....my doula and I had been up for almost 24 hours. I was ready to give up about 6 hours ago. It felt like torture. I kept pushing, putting every last ounce of my strength in it, but it wasn't enough. I looked pathetically at my midwife after pushing and shook my head. She smiled at me, and I remember thinking "why are you smiling at a time like this?" and I looked down, and the head was out. This was it. I screamed like some kind of animal and pushed through my exhaustion, pushed through the pain, I didn't care, she was coming out, NOW. And my midwife stepped in to help Yasushi catch her, and hand her to me, but my body was dead to the world. My doula helped me hold her low on my chest, still squatting because her umbilical cord was very short. Chinami had a fabulous conehead from all of the pushing, and I saw her thick black hair, and her pale little hands. She looked around quietly, letting out a few cries every now and then. The midwife and her assistant went to work quickly, rubbing her vigorously to make sure she coughed up all the fluid and making sure she was breathing. I looked in her eyes and knew she was absolutely fine and healthy. I put my finger in her little hand and she gripped it tightly. I looked in her eyes and could tell that she knew who I was and who Yasushi was. 

 My doula, Yasushi and everyone worked together to get me at least laying down on the bed with Chinami. I was still absolutely pathetic. I kept asking would delivering the placenta hurt, and were there any drugs I could take now, and could they numb me down there quickly, etc. The midwife and her assistant kept reassuring me that it would not hurt to deliver the placenta, and that they would numb me and give me a few different kinds of natural things to help the pain. I delivered the placenta, which they were right, it was uncomfortable but not painful. Then I got numbed and a few little stitches, while Chinami got her cord clamped and cut (by Yasushi again) and started to breastfeed. 

My midwife showed me the placenta and sac that raised Chinami for 9 months. She found something interesting that she had "never seen". The umbilical cord was not attached to the center of the placenta, it was attached to blood vessels that flowed to the placenta. I think this is called Velamentous cord insertion. If I had been in hospital care as opposed to midwife care, then the chances of it being made into a problem with all the inductions and threatened c-sections would have been very high.

My doula took the placenta to encapsulate it, but not before putting a chunk in a yummy berry-spirulina smoothie for me to have right away! This was not just to be adventurous, but because there are many benefits to ingesting placenta. The main benefits are reducing post-partum bleeding and increasing iron levels in the blood, and reducing the risk of post-partum depression, which with my history of never being able to donate blood due to low iron or low blood pressure, and depression and anxiety, this seemed like the right thing to do. 

The ladies cleaned up the place and gave me another check to see how I was recovering, I was bleeding quite a bit but nothing serious, my blood pressure was stable and so my midwife gave me a shot of pitocin to help my uterus contract before going home.

Chinami soon fell asleep, as did we. I was happy, but absolutely exhausted and in pain and wanted to recover quickly so I could focus on her as much as possible.

My recovery over the past few days has been great. I have been able to rest in my own bed with Chinami, and do everything at my own pace without nurses telling me when and where to do what. And since my mother wasn't around, I didn't have to deal with any loud and belligerent monologues about how my house is not good enough, I should have rented that place in Waikiki that was way over my budget, I should get a clothes dryer instead of hanging my laundry like I'm in Calcutta, how could I possibly not have a TV set, why don't I use an air conditioner, it's too hot, why do I put my mattress on the floor, why don't I have a crib for Chinami, I should n't have bought everything secondhand, etc, etc, etc....

And now a little reflection...
Birthing is hard. I didn't have a magical orgasmic water birth or a surprise birth in the kitchen, I was in the pushing stage for about 5 hours. If I had birthed at a hospital, I probably would have gladly accepted any intervention they gave after I reached my point of no return, and it might have been faster and even easier, but would it have been the best way? When Chinami came out, she was calm and happy, and she wasn't bathed, injected, or taken anywhere except straight to me and her daddy. Choosing a homebirth wasn't just about my comfort or health, it was for her as well. Taking that into consideration, I would definitely choose a homebirth again. 

Chinami "Tina" Born Friday, July 13th at home ♥7lbs 13 oz    22 inches










Why I chose a homebirth. 私はどうして家庭出産を選んだか。

If you watch any mainstream American TV show, whether it be a sitcom, drama, or reality show, most likely any birth scene will be a terrifying, painful event to watch with women being rushed down halls on wheelchairs or stretchers, screaming in pain while laying on their backs and being told to push. 

Also, birthing in a hospital with doctors in attendance and all sorts of chemicals to make labor more timely and less painful is considered "normal" here. C-sections, necessary or elective, are rising. This is a fact. It's also a fact that the infant mortality rate in the US is higher than most other developed countries as well. 

I lived in Japan for a while, and natural birth is still favored by most, but "painless" American-style birth and unnecessary induction to fit around your doctor's golf schedule (or to prevent the baby from becoming "too big") is becoming more and more common there as well. 

I used to think that the medicalized and "modern" American way was the best way, and that natural birth was outdated and old-fashioned. However as I grew older I found more and more reasons to doubt the American medical industry, and the Japanese one as well. 

And when I got pregnant, of course I did get all the available tests to make sure I had a healthy baby. But after the tests results came back, something dawned on me. The baby and I were perfectly healthy. I had no known risk factors for disease or complications, genetic or otherwise. I practiced yoga for stress relief and exercise, and ate a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and whole-grains, low in processed high-fat or high-sugar foods. Why in the world would I need to go to a hospital? 

I started to do some research about hospital births and all of the medical interventions in births today. I watched videos of homebirths, and watched the documentary "The Business of Being Born." The women in those videos weren't screaming in fear and agony, or being told to push. Rather, they were relaxed, prepared, and supported, and trusted their bodies to tell them when to push. When the baby was born, there were no bright lights, no screaming, the baby was relaxed and brought into the world surrounded by love. 

When I moved to Hawaii, I searched for a midwife and a doula. I found a wonderful doula who is bilingual in Japanese and English, perfect for supporting my husband and I through all stages of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. My midwife is a naturopathic doctor, and between the two of them they have experienced hundreds of births. 

In the beginning I admit that I was a little apprehensive. I mean, I felt fine, but was everything really OK? I had grown up hearing so many people moan and groan and tell "horror stories" about pregnancy and birth. So many people have had this problem or that problem or this complication. I had a little nausea and fatigue during my first trimester which cleared up when I hit the second trimester, and absolutely none of the common "issues" that people talk about. My midwife and doula said that I was perfectly healthy and this is normal, like over 90% of women.

That's right, over 90% of pregnant women are capable of having a natural birth with no interventions, for one simple reason: Childbirth is something that is controlled by your body. Your body knows its limits, so unless it's a very rare case, you cannot make a baby too big to be birthed by your body, and your body will not cause more pain than you are capable of handling (also, the body produces natural endorphins and painkillers during labor.) A hospital is not a place for normal, healthy women and children to go. 

A hospital is very rarely a calm, quiet, peaceful environment. The lights are bright, the rooms are sterile, and you have loads of people rushing up and down the halls, in and out of rooms, and lots of shouting and stressful situations around you. Stress, fear, and uncertainty can make any experience unpleasant and scary. Fear and anxiety has also been proven to make labor longer. Also, those interventions that make labor less painful and faster, actually have the opposite effect when compared to a natural birth. Pitocin intensifies contractions, which intensifies the pain as well to the point where the body cannot naturally cope with it anymore, leading to an epidural. The epidural then numbs the whole area, which is why women have to be told when to push; they cannot feel the natural urge. Also, having shots to the spine and IVs hooked up to her force a woman to be on her back and immobile, instead of assuming more natural positions that make it easier for the baby to come out. And C-sections are very rarely necessary when things are allowed to progress naturally. C-sections are often used as a copout when labor is too long and doctor wants to finish for the day, or if the doctor finds a tiny complication that he doesn't have the experience to deal with And if they do a C-section, then they did "all they could" and it's a good way to avoid a lawsuit. 

After the baby is born, there is a slew of hospital procedures that are simply not good for mother and baby. Many hospitals clamp the cord almost immediately, stopping the flow of the precious blood to the baby. Recently mothers are encouraged to save the cord blood and bank it because of the minute possibility that it might help them or others fight a disease at some point later in life, but the baby needs the cord blood in their body. The lack of the cord blood leads to a chance of vitamin K deficiency, which means baby needs an injection. They also put drops in the baby's eyes, and bathe the baby to wash off the vernix and make him or her more "presentable" to mommy. However, simply leaving the vernix on the skin as long as possible nourishes and protects baby's skin against bacteria. Also, the baby finds mother's breasts by sense of smell--the amniotic fluid left on their body has the same scent as the breasts. In a homebirth, baby is simply placed on the mother's chest for as long as possible after being born. That is the most natural and best way for the baby to adjust to the outside world, by smelling and hearing the environment they were raised for 9 months in. But in a hospital, bonding time is short as the baby is soon moved to a separate room to cry for a few hours. 

I am not choosing a homebirth to go against the grain, to show everyone how "brave" I am, or because it is how people birthed for thousands of years and the old way is the best way. I also do not believe hospital births are all bad, depending on the woman's situation a hospital birth might be a better choice for her. There are situations where medical intervention is necessary. But a home birth is a very safe option for many women, who unfortunately are never told that. 

Maybe if people were able to choose between a homebirth or a hospital birth, and people took into consideration what other countries with lower infant mortality rates are doing, I wouldn't feel like I have to explain or justify my choice. But until homebirth becomes a normal, healthy option for normal, healthy pregnancies, there will have to be groups advocating it. 

For more information, beautiful stories and pictures visit BirthWithoutFear.com and BringBirthHome.com. An interesting note, a lot of people seem to choose homebirth after a hospital birth for 2nd and 3rd children, but not many people choose a hospital birth after a homebirth. Something to think about. 






そして私はいろいろ病院や出産について調べました。家庭出産のビデオもみたり、The Business of Being Bornというドキューメンタリーも見ました。そのビデオで見た女性達は出産の時怖そう痛そうに狂って叫んだり、出してと言われたりしなかった。赤ちゃんが出てきたら眩しい電気、叫ぶ声などなく、赤ちゃんがリラックスしてて愛に包まれて世に出てきました。









edit: 9/12/12

The Business of Being Born link is dead. However you can watch this other documentary "Pregnant in America"