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Real Life Dreamers: Chantal

Hello girls and boys!  It’s Friday, which means its time for another story from a “Real Life Dreamer”.  Our third story is from my very own SIL Chantal.  Her story is one about the meshing of motherhood and big dreams and I think she did a pretty stellar job!  If you still want to get in on guest posting about your dream, msg me for more info!  And with that I’ll turn it over to the lovely Chantal.

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As a child, I escaped my family’s chaotic life through the magical carpet ride of the printed page. It was the only place I could explore with unbridled wonder. Reading was my way of dissociating from dysfunction. The way words formed pictures, scenes, and storylines captivated my attention.

It was my dream to one day be like the skilled writers I was reading.

Creative writing was a favoured subject in school as was English Lit in high school. My book collection grew even as I entered university – to go into Psychology of all things. Sometimes, straight As have a way of influencing your career path. So, excelling in Psych courses, in my undergrad and in graduate school, I hadn’t thought about writing in a while. And reading for pleasure had been spoiled by academics. Funny how that happens.

One day, during summer session, I decided to pull out my laptop and began writing. The idea started off with big dreams of becoming a famous author, of course, with accolades and awards too. But the piece was horrid. It was a story based in a medieval setting with poorly pictured characters and implausible plot. Ask Heather, she read some of it – it was a brutish work.

Years later, I had children and started a career as a psychologist in a school division. Writing hadn’t been on my to-do list in a very long time. My life had been overrun with the demands of my family and work.

But, the truth was that I was struggling through this chapter in my life.

My oldest son had colic for the upper limit of what any child should, 6 months. We consulted with doctors, used gripe water, tried sleeping methods, and any other advice people had. We simply had to outlast as the poor child was inconsolable for so long. Now, many children have colic, up to 20% of babies in fact.

But in our case, the complication of postpartum depression resulted in regressed behaviours in our son as he got older.

We were disconnected. In fact, it wasn’t until nearly 5 years had passed that we sought attachment-based therapy, him and I. Imagine that, if you can, the humbling experience of a psychologist making a self-referral for attachment therapy with her son.

Not a very proud moment.

The past 5 years have been a time of personal growth and challenge. Heather, knows, she’s seen me in some fairly terrible moments (sorry, my dear!). They were times I would have never chosen to go through, but my son and I have grown together, closer in a way, than I could have asked for. He is my sensitive child, my orchid child. He required a more delicate composition of care, and we are seeing him bloom.

And now, my writing spark has been lit again. But, see, you have to write what you know. My story is not so unlike that of other moms – feeling overwhelmed or ill-equipped at times does not make us bad parents. It just means we need support and asking for it is half the battle. So I am writing what I know – that reparation is possible. Even for a psychologist. Even for me. For the child God made me and for the child he sees me as.

Here’s how I’m doing it.

1. Put it in the calendar

I purposefully write out my week and allot 4 evenings to writing. Granted, my children are young and are in bed by 7pm every night and my social life is limited. But it’s important for me to dedicate time. I look at it as spending time on something I want to do, rather than have to do. It’s a big difference.

2. Cut the cable

We don’t have cable TV as of the last 3 months. My husband and I in our 8 years of marriage have only had access to cable for less than 3 years of it, not having it at all in our first year of marriage. We find that it steals conversation and really just gets turned on out of habit. Change your habits and do something new. Relaxation is not synonymous with TV watching, which is passive, but not relaxing.

3. Have a private life

By this I don’t mean keeping secrets. I mean have a private worship life – find a few moments each day to spend with God. That really was not a part of my life until I found a translation of the Bible that I just can’t put down – The Message. Get inspiration from the true source of innovation.

Your dream will never be the same.

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Thanks for your insights sister-friend.  Love you.  Happy Friday friends.

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