Nothing Could Have Prepared Me For How I Feel in the First Trimester

Nothing could have prepared me for the first trimester of my first pregnancy. My husband and I were ready to have a baby, but didn’t know whether I was pregnant or just had the flu until my 5th week. I took a pregnancy test to confirm my suspicion and then immediately searched for information about what to expect in my first trimester.

After searching for a description that accurately reflects most of what I am experiencing I found a blog post written by Celeste Erlach on the blog site Pregnant Chicken. Her article, Symptoms of Pregnancy No One Wants to Talk About – 1st Trimester Edition resonates with me and entertainingly describes her experience of morning sickness, fatigue, constipation, bloating, and self-doubt. Check it out!

Friends and family had told me that all pregnancies are different and women will experience the symptoms differently. I learned very quickly that I would be one of those pregnant women experiencing all of the symptoms. It actually feels like the embryo is sucking the life out of you and as I near the end of the first trimester I am less hopeful the symptoms will subside. Sure, I am a bit grumpy about it. I didn’t realize how hard it would be on my body or my emotions, and my husband can hardly believe the mood swings and exhaustion. So far, pregnancy has been a frustrating experience because I am:

  • hungry, but have no interest in food;
  • unable to get as much done in a day;
  • disinterested in most things except for watching Netflix;
  • unfocused and forgetful;
  • utterly exhausted after doing what seems like nothing compared to pre-pregnancy;
  • uncomfortably able to fit into my clothes;
  • upset by unsolicited advice, mostly when it is from strangers;
  • uncertain and not feeling like myself;
  • temperamental; and feel like a baby in need of frequent naps, bathroom breaks, and consoling.

Every time I feel a bit frustrated by my current state I read in my What to Expect When You Are Expecting book, by Heidi E. Murkoff, about what parts of the embryo are developing and re-connect with the miracle of creating another human. At week 5 the heart and circulatory system begin to take shape and in just two weeks the embryo has developed a heartbeat, kidneys, liver, and lungs, lips, nose, eyelids, jaws, cheeks, chin, ear canals, mouth and tongue, arm and leg buds.

Photo: credit via Ed Uthman

Amazing! This humbling experience teaches me to be patient with myself and hope that my husband, family, and friends will be too.

Concerns for Education in the Digital Age

Image via Ron Mader Flickr

During our EC&I 831 class last week I learned that there has been an entire Open Educational Resources (OER) movement that has existed for more than 15 years! My mind was kind of blown. I can’t say for sure, but I feel like if I had known that there are free opportunities to educate myself online I would have at least looked at some of the options available to me much earlier in my academic or professional career. If you know of other open education resources please share them in the comment box.

Creating opportunities for education by increasing accessibility through OER and unique collaboration in online spaces is a hopeful way to look at the future of education in the twenty-first century. However, I have concerns with teaching and learning in the digital age because learning online does not address the unequal access to education or the internet, allowing people to connect digitally. Specifically, in the article Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0 written by John Brown and Richard Adler  describe the world as becoming more equal, despite the fact that certain places have more access to the digital world and therefore have the ability to be globally competitive. This allows some people in certain places to learn about online spaces and develop the skills needed, before others do and if they do at all. My concern is that a significant number of people in the world suffer from inequalities which both restrict them and are restricted by their lack of access to open education and social learning. The CyberOne Classroom in Second Life is an example of social learning addressing my concern that open education still creates inequality of education when it is accessible to some and not all. The software actively engages students in discussion and is “designed to improve education for students in schools in rural areas and urban slums in India.” It is clear that there is plenty to be excited about when education is provided to people in rural areas who may not have had either access to education or access to technology before, however, I hesitate to jump on the band wagon without learning more about the effectiveness of programs like the CyberOne Classroom.

My concern for the future of education in general, but also open education involves further privatization of the sector and intensification of the work of teachers. If in the future all education was done online is it still a public good? What happens to teachers jobs? Do we make decisions on our education system by individual provinces or is it not controlled by the public in any way? If not, would it be controlled by software companies who can charge you for the software and programs? This could make education more profitable and competitive by offering certain courses or certain levels of difficulty at various prices. Who would control education if it was all sourced online?

My concern for teachers is mostly around how they are valued, but also how they are supported in such a pedagogical shift from learning about subject matter where knowledge is transferred to social learning where students participate in “productive inquiry”. Teachers are challenged to think differently about the purpose of teaching and how we learn while learning and keeping up with changing social media platforms and open education tools to be able to teach effectively. The ability of current teachers to adapt to new ways of incorporating social media tools into their classrooms on a regular basis requires significant amounts of work and support.

Another concern of mine for society generally is described as cultural inversion by Michael Wesch in An anthropological introduction to YouTube

He describes the phenomenon of YouTube and other social media tools as allowing people to become more expressive as individuals and independent with increasing commercialization which results in a longing for community, relationships, and authenticity. Wesch identifies a YouTube video that went viral of a guy who exemplified the longing for connection and it was documented in this video.

For me, this clip highlights the community-building capacity of YouTube and social media in creating connection. Without ever having made a YouTube video, I can understand and respect the medium as a method of reflection for individuals, as well as, social commentary which can help to understand ourselves and culture better.

Despite these concerns I agree that there is a moral imperative to educate children to succeed in a changing world. With my concern about education in general, and more specifically open education being accessible, there are larger areas of concern around global poverty and neoliberalism that are factors in addressing technological and communications accessibility in remote and impoverished communities. I am not sure at this point how this concern could be balanced since a basic education isn’t provided to many communities and young people around the world.

I am curious how many educators in the EC&I course who teach in the formal sector, a regular classroom, feel like their efforts in learning social media tools for classroom engagement is supported and valued by their colleagues, administration, or school divisions.