National Cord Blood Awareness Month

The month of July is national Cord blood awareness month. If you are like me, I have seen lots of commercials about cord blood, I know it is something to consider after the birth of your child but that is about all I knew. Since it is awareness month I decided to educate myself and share that with my readers. 

What is cord blood? 

Cord blood is the blood left in the umbilical cord after a baby is born. This blood can be used in medicine and medical research. This blood contains stem cells (https://blog.cordblood.com/2019/06/cord-blood-awareness-month-help-spread-the-word/). 

What is a Stem Cell? 

Stem cells are a type of cell that has the potential to turn into other kinds of cells. I like to think of stem cells like Eevee from Pokémon, Eevee is able to transform into umbreon, espeon, flareon, jolteon, vaporeon, leafeon, glaceon, or sylveon. Like Eevee. stem cells depend on what they are exposed to to change. Stemcells  have a lot of potential (https://medlineplus.gov/stemcells.html). 

The types of ways cord blood can be banked

  1. Allogeneic- A person receives cord blood from a public bank to treat an illness 
  2. Autologous – A person receives their own cord blood from a family bank to treat an illness (https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/diseases

Be aware of your options when you have a baby, do your research, and most importantly make the choice that is best for you and your family. 

For more information see- 

https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/diseases

https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/diseases

blog.cordblood.com/2019/06/cord-blood-awareness-month-help-spread-the-word/

After Covid

The top three things I would like to do after CoVID is over- 

  1. Go out with friends- maybe to the mall, a picnic, I don’t really care where but I want to spend some person to person time with my friends. Skype has been lovely and I am thankful we have this technology but it is not the same as face to face contact. 
  2. Go out on a date- I want to go out on a dinner date with my partner. Maybe we could go to the movies after. I would even love to go to an arcade or bowling but I want out of the house. 
  3. Go to a Magic the Gathering Pre-Release- This was a staple of my self-care plan in Graduate school.  I would go to pre-release, have some food from Wawa and have fun with a bunch of random people. Even though I often lost it was about the experience and not about victory for me. 

UPDATE- I have been moved back to the front lines of the epidemic therefore my posts will be coming less often. I am leaning towards two- three times a week instead of every other day.

What is TERF and why is it a problem

TERF stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”. This is a problem because the community that is already giving more privilege to white cis gendered men is excluding a vulnerable group- Trans women. I will point this out now, trans women are women. 

Starting in the 1970’s TERF feminists threatened trans women with violence for being part of lesbian and women spaces. We have now seen the ridiculous bathroom laws come of the seeds that were sewn back then (https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/9/5/20840101/terfs-radical-feminists-gender-critical

). 

Just to be clear femaleness and femininity are NOT linked to what is between your legs. It is linked to social expressions of gender divisions such as makeup and clothing. 

As someone who identifies as female for the sense of ease on paperwork, in my work space and acceptance and as gender fluid to those who are very close to me I am shocked and frustrated by this movement.

 I myself sometimes present as masculine and sometimes am extremely feminine depending on my head space, the spaces I occupy, and the openness of those who I am around. I shop in the men’s and women’s sections, not only because I am plus size but because I feel comfortable expressing both masculinity and femininity. I can go from wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a button up to wearing a dress the next day. Some may say that this is me just adding another label to myself and that because I bleed once a month I am a female. I say that it all depends on perspective. Mine is that gender is a social construct I choose to adhere to as I feel comfortable. I would never get surgery done to change my gender but that does not mean I don’t look at chest binders and corsets sometimes. To all those out there you can continue to call me she/her or they/them. My favorite however is just to be simply human. 

Resources: 

https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/9/5/20840101/terfs-radical-feminists-gender-critical

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/9-things-people-get-wrong-about-being-non-binary

What did I think I’d be when I grew up? *TRIGGER WARNING: Mentions of abuse*

For a very long time, from the age of 2 to 20, I thought I was going to become a doctor. For most of that time I specifically thought I would become a neonatologist. That is a doctor who specializes in newborns who are sick. They are the people who take care of premature babies, what I was when I was born. For many years I thought I would give back to the community by helping our smallest patients in need.

 It was not until college when I realized a few things- 

  1. College is really hard when the head of your department is retiring and the department is being reworked 
  2. College is difficult when the chemistry professor wants to flunk anyone in the pre-med track 
  3. College is very difficult when you are bouncing between two abusive “relationships” 

I use quotes because I never truly dated either man for long but they were both in my orbit for about two to three years and everytime they got too close I ended up hurt

  1. My high school was just another place that failed me along the way. I was not prepared to go to college but I had to go to leave an abusive home. 

What all this means is that I had to leave my dream but I feel like I am in a better place now. Social work has a bit of biology, research, psychology, and sociology all the fields I am interested in and I get to help everyone from the smallest to those saying goodbye to this plane of existence. 

Am I still a little sad about not becoming a doctor? A little but I think I am happier overall in my role more than I would be as a doctor. My environment much like everyone else’s environment shaped me.

What is my happy place?

This is a question I should hear more often than I do. I am not one of your manifest positivity type social workers but I do think that some positivity can help develop your brain into more positive pathways. So today I will “go to my happy place” with you. 

My indoor happy place is a nice 69 degree room with a blanket, freshly vacuumed carpet, my cats, a good book, and some soft PJ’s on. I am all about the comfort when I am not at work. Soft yoga pants, shorts and a tank top are great. Layers make me happy because I can adjust as the temperature changes in a room. 

As I have said before I love reading, but reading is even better when I have a Venti iced mocha or caramel macchiato from starbucks. MHM! I love getting all my senses involved, the touch of a soft carpet, taste of coffee and sugar, the smell of peppermint oil permeating the room. I have music playing on Pandora and my lovely animals hanging out with me. 

I know everyone’s happy place is different. For example my partner prefers 73 degrees or hotter, but for me self care is remembering what my happy place is and bringing that back to me in some way.

Social Work in the movies Part 2- Case 39

www.gstatic.com/tv/thumb/v22vodart/172491/p1724...

Case 39 is another movie featuring a social worker. Rene Zellwiger is another DSS social worker who is showing signs of burnout. She crosses some boundaries and adopts what seems like an at risk child. 

I have a lot less hold ups about this movie that I do about some others that depict social work. I will say that it is likely because this is a horror movie and I tend to watch those when I need to take myself out of reality for a while. However, Case 39 does depict yet another DSS social worker as if that is all we as social workers can do, we all know by now social workers can do so much more! 

I also think this movie can teach us about boundaries in social work and how they can be so important. While children are not demons, it is our job to hold boundaries especially for those clients who cannot. We also aim as a profession to not re-traumatize our clients, in this case the children with whom we work.  

I also think the movie portrays burn out well, the need for space from your work and not taking your work home. It depicts the need to know your own history and how to best keep that from influencing your work negatively. 

Go ahead watch Case 39 but remember to keep the lights on!

Sick Emotional Support Animal

The past few weeks have been particularly stressful: trying to make sure my business launch is ready, starting a new position at work, my readathon, and realizing my emotional support animal might be sick. 

Sometimes being at home I still need to use my social work skills, advocacy, professional writing, and remaining calm during a potential crisis. My crisis came when poor Severus stopped eating his breakfast and I saw what looked like plaque on his teeth. After many dental chews some tooth brushing later I realized this job was for a professional. I had to transfer vet records and advocate for an appointment. My vet has been surprisingly full as of late. A panicked cat who hates car rides, panting, panicking, and upsetting mewing, and one socially distanced vet visit later.  All to find out my cat is superbly healthy, has a mole on his head, and he is a picky eater. Those marks on his teeth are just his gums.