The beauty and utility of co-regulation

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“Hand me, my son.”

The tone of my voice conveys to the nurse that she can either do as I say, or else I — at approximately 20 minutes post-op from an emergency cesarean after nearly four days of labor — would be standing up on my own to get my son.

The uncomfortable nurse turns to look at my husband. He looks at her helplessly. No words, but his eyes say it all: Look lady, either you can hand her the baby, or I can.

She shrugs, defeated. I know I am weak, but I also know with everything…

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I am sixteen and heartbroken. I feel as though my whole life has fallen apart. There is nothing more that I’d like than to fall asleep and not wake up ever again. But I do. Every time, I wake up and here I am…in this meaningless life in this meaningless town.

I put on my shoes and walk. I don’t know where I’m going. I just feel the need to move my feet. I let them move until I feel myself jogging. I’m not dressed right. Sure, I’ve got tennis shoes, but with jean shorts and a tank top.


First of a series of 60-second lessons from Courtney K, LSW.

“I want a life that is filled with meaning. A life full of moments of reflection, stillness, and staring out the window.” — Courtney K.

As I child, I remember staring out the window for hours.

I would sit in the window's corner with my forehead pressed against the plane of glass, peering out at the world on the other side. I watched as storms rolled in, snow flurried, as autumn breezes carried leaves along the rolling hillside.

I remember the coolness of the glass in the autumn and winter months, and the sensation of the window screen pressed against my skin in the warm months when we left the windows open. My mother would scold to be careful next to the window, but I…

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I wake up moments before my two young children after sleeping a solid 12 hours the night of Thanksgiving. I’m exhausted from battling what I instinctively know to be COVID, and we had socially distanced ourselves purposefully the day before.

Half-awake and half-clothed on the toilet in the early morning hours, I grumble as I realize we are out of toilet paper. As a society, we are back to toilet paper hoarding. I missed the memo until it was too late and the shelves were cleared. Begrudged, I waddle my way into my kitchen and grab a fist full of…

For me, writer’s block is a sensation in my body.

It’s a lump in my throat that I can’t swallow. No matter what I drink, no matter how I stretch my neck, the feeling persists. Unmoving, unyielding, it sits in my throat, blocking my voice.

That’s not the only place it lives. It sits in my bones and tenses my spine. I feel the lump on my back grow as my fingers cease to produce the words they so desperately want to pen.

I have nothing to give.

It’s simple and honest. A statement I have to say out loud…

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You stare at the television in disbelief. You can hardly understand what is happening. You feel completely blindsided. A part of you doesn’t honestly believe it’s true. The question lingers in the air: “How could this have happened?”

I remember that feeling too well. Late in 2015, myself along with millions of other voters experienced the same enormous loss. Four years later, I empathize with you all.

Today, I have a message for you. I cannot speak on behalf of all opposing voters, but I know that I am not alone in the way that I am approaching this moment…

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Once again, we are knee-deep in election season. Cue the uncomfortable conversations, dreaded family disagreements, and annoying Facebook posts. People we never imagined holding certain beliefs now suddenly differ from our own way of thinking, often loudly and incessantly.

The majority of the time, having conversations about hot button topic items such as healthcare, abortion, and gun control can end with both parties feeling exhausted, with little to no actual change in anyone’s way of thinking.

But what if there were a better way to approach these conversations? …

It never mattered how I felt; it only mattered how I looked. — Courtney K.

For a long time, I was defined almost exclusively by my body. It never mattered how I felt; it only mattered how I looked.

Being thin and “attractive” was basically all that mattered to me. Who cares if I feel like hell and my life is a mess? I’ve got a 25 inch waist.

I strove to fit the mold, but somehow I felt like a dud who could never be enough no matter how hard I tried. I so desperately wanted to fit in, and yet I always felt like I could never really be one of the “pretty…

The dreaded scale. It’s a source of anxiety for many, and for good reason. Society has taught us all kinds of things about what the number on that scale means about us as individuals.

Consciously, we know it’s bullshit. We know our value and our worth extend far beyond the number on that scale. That number means jack about how amazing we are as people. Duh.

But the thing is -society’s message about what our weight stretches far beyond what we are conscious of. Yes, we know that a number couldn’t possibly reflect who we are as individuals. …

Don’t look away. Don’t you see me here? You pretend that you don’t, but I feel your glare. I was born in this world, just like you. And believe it or not, I deserve a life too. Dont look away. Don’t you see I bleed too? Are you afraid that I might be just like you? Do you see a bit of me inside of you too? I see you. You with your eyes that dart the other way. You with your lips without a kind word to say. Not to someone like me. I know that you want to…

Courtney K, LSW

Courtney K is a licensed medical social worker, transformational healing coach, and advocate. Courtney lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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