Monthly Archives: May 2011

PPD – update, Part 3

I figured it was time to write a little update about how my Post-Partum Depression was going. It’s been about 6 months now since I first made the call for help. I’ve had ups and downs, improvement and decline, but the one constant has been the unwavering support of my family and friends. Without surrounding myself with love and continuing to be open about it, I don’t think I would have been able to get through the worst.

I can now say that my anti-depressant medication is stable (and thankfully working). It took several changes in dose, and switching to a different prescription, before I could finally see a light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel. And it was a very gloomy path.

I kept wondering what was going on with me, and why wasn’t I feeling better? The big problem was I didn’t know how I was supposed to be feeling. I didn’t know what “normal” was, but I knew that something still didn’t feel right. I still felt like I was in a cloud and nothing was clear. Every thought I had was foggy and I couldn’t concentrate.

I had a teaser of a couple weeks when I actually started to notice a positive change, but that quickly turned around and I began to severely plummet again. After a couple more months of feeling desperate and hopeless – would I ever get out of this downward spiral? – and after the insurance declined my prescription refill saying it was too soon (the problem when you double up on your dose – as recommended by and under the care of my doctor), I tearfully made another plea for help and scheduled a follow up appointment.

Long story short, I am now on a path of recovery. I don’t know how long it will take, and I don’t know how long I will have to be on my medication. All I know is that despite all the negative circumstances surrounding me, I am truly happy again.

During my most discouraging months, my best friend told me “This isn’t you. You aren’t a depressed person.” She was right! It wasn’t me. I am a happy person, and it feels good to finally be headed in that direction again.

I will continue to be open about my journey – both the struggles and the accomplishments. I will continue to stay positive – especially if and when things start to become challenging. I will continue to love and support everyone around me – it’s the least I can do for what they have given me. I will continue to be at peace with my internal circumstances – understanding and acknowledging that I did not do this to myself; it is not my fault, I had no control.

Lastly, I will continue to heal myself…

Snugglebugs

Meet Little Snugglebug and Big Snugglebug (Brayden and Zackery respectfully).

Little Snugglebug was still sleeping in his crib at the foot of my bed. I was awake but definitely not ready to open my eyes, let alone even get up out of bed, and in barges Big Snugglebug – wide awake and ready to take on the day.

Daddy had already left for work, so I was on Mommy duty 100%. I coaxed Big Snugglebug to crawl into bed with me and snuggle under the covers. I love that! We shared my pillow and whispered quietly to avoid waking Little Snugglebug, but it seems that Little Snugglebug has some sort of advanced radar detection system that immediately knows when his brother is present.

Being the great big brother that he is, Big Snugglebug got up and peeked into Little Snugglebug’s crib, only to initiate a giant, happy, good morning squeal. Okay, I was up now, but still relishing in the warmth and comfort of my cozy bed and completely reluctant to relinquish myself from under the covers. Daily dilemma: Could I lay there just a few more moments with my eyes closed while Big Snugglebug entertained Little Snugglebug in the safety of his crib? Or had my day begun?

As most often occurs, my day had begun. Little Snugglebug needed a diaper change and probably a bottle. Big Snugglebug was ready to eat breakfast and watch a show. So, now I was up-and-at-‘em. If anything can get me out of bed, it is definitely my boys. I can’t get enough of them; I could love them to pieces (my prerogative as their Mother! – smile – ).

I change Little Snugglebug and get Big Snugglebug all set up for his morning routine – juice, cereal, vitamins and the remote. Never thought I would have taught my 3-yr old how to use the TV remote, but it saves me from having to fast forward through the commercials for him!

And then back to Little Snugglebug, who is proudly learning to crawl all over. I fix his bottle and scoop him up into my arms. Positively one of my most favorite moments – looking into his eyes, holding his little hand and watching him rhythmically drink his bottle, until he lets me know he’s all done with a giant burp and another big smile.

I quickly turn my appreciation not from laying in a cozy bed, but to my two wonderful little boys; the two amazing beings I brought into this life, inherently enhancing my world. I know my life (and theirs) will be filled with an abundance of precious moments. After all, with names like Little Snugglebug and Big Snugglebug, how could I not foresee endless hours of cuddling, loving and of course, snuggling?!

Happy Being Me

The other day I found a chance to relax (I know, right?) and watch one of my Tivo-ed episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her guest was Bob Greene, talking about his new book and lifestyle program 20 Years Younger. Bob says his program is “a practical, science-based plan for looking and feeling your best as you age. The cutting-edge program details easy and effective steps we can all take to rebuild the foundation of youth and enjoy better health, improved energy, and a positive outlook on life.” He continues by saying “you can look and feel younger by revamping four areas of your life: exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep.”

It was interesting (and inspiring) to see 20 of Oprah’s Ultimate Viewer’s take on the 2 month challenge. Armed with Bob Greene himself, and a team of experts to help educate, guide and support them, these 20 women learned about the 4 pillars mentioned above: exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep.

Watching with an open mind from the comfort of my own home, I too learned the basics of a healthy lifestyle based on those 4 areas. Now I mean no disrespect at all, and I applaud anyone and everyone who has followed or even tried the 20 Years Younger program. I remember Bob Greene saying that if you aren’t at a place in your life where you can fully commit to all 4 areas, then you should wait to start the program, which is exactly where I’m at right now! I can’t compare myself to someone who’s ready to take it on.

Acknowledging myself for being aware of my circumstances, and tapping into my sense of humor, I decided to take a closer look at my life in the areas of exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep.

Yes, I exercise, if you consider chasing around a pre-schooler while carrying a 25 lb baby. And let’s not forget the constant up, down, up, down…

Yes, I eat, in between fixing a plate of broccoli, dinosaur chicken bites and pasta wheels (Zack eats pretty well – and probably healthier than me!) and feeding Brayden a gourmet selection of whatever I have pureed in the freezer. Who knew that a grown woman would need her food cut up into bite sized pieces? I must say I’m getting pretty good at feeding myself with my left hand while I’m feeding Brayden with my right.

Yes, I do use soap when I get to take a shower every now and then.

Yes, I know what sleep is, but I think it’s been about 4 years since I’ve gotten a full night’s sleep without interruption. WOW!

All in all, I can’t complain. So I don’t run 5 miles and lift weights for 30 min every day. So I eat a little feverishly and don’t always make the best food choices. So I don’t exfoliate and apply a nightly rejuvenation mask every evening. So I still get up several times a night to take care of my boys. I am the luckiest woman in the world to be the Mother of Zackery and Brayden and the wife of Will Zimmer.

Someday, I will be ready to take on the Bob Greene ’20 Years Younger’ challenge with full gusto. But for now, I’m “just” Mom and I’m happy being me.

It Takes Strength

Today was a pretty good day. Although I got up earlier than I ever really like to (the dilemma of having two young ones in the house and a husband who goes to work – thankfully), I did get to take a nap while Brayden (my younger son) napped. Zackery (my older son) was again at “school” today.

My morning was quite pleasant and calm after Will and Zack left, and Brayden and I sat on the floor playing with soft blocks, a mirror, books, and left-over plastic eggs from Easter. He laughed, I laughed, he smiled, I smiled. It was exactly why I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom – to be fully present and in the moment.

After our nap, and after I eventually got Brayden to eat his lunch (he’s teething and isn’t eating that well – and who could blame him? I wouldn’t want to eat if my mouth hurt all the time!), I finally got to eat something and get dressed myself. I love staying in my jammies all day, but given the beautiful sunshine and nice warm weather, I convinced myself I should put on some “going out in public” clothes and take Brayden for a walk. Sunscreen applied, we went down into the garage and I buckled him into the stroller – which he loves! It was a short walk, but none-the-less I got outside today!

Afternoon nap went pretty normal – 1 hour 10 min. I can’t complain. Zackery used to only nap for 20 min at a time! Anything over an hour and it’s a huge success for Brayden (and me). While he slept, I did my usual catching up on emails, washing bottles, and putting my feet up for a split second in whatever spare time I have left.

Usually on Thursdays Brayden and I go to the new ‘Just Toddlers’ class through our local Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District. But today, I had a very important opportunity and commitment. I got to connect with several of my fellow Get Your Woman On authors (book launch will be this June… stay tuned!) on a call hosted by Kimber Marie Lim. Brayden was up, so I had the phone on mute while I listened in and again sat on the floor with my little guy. Thank goodness I am a woman proficient in multi-tasking!

My call ending just in time, I buckled Brayden in his car seat and drove the short 5 min to go pick up Zack. He happily ran over to me, giving me a big hug while saying “Mommy!” I love that. It gives me extra energy and strength to pummel through the evening hours before bedtime.

Zack did great at dinner – ate pretty much everything I gave him – and I didn’t have to threaten with any timeouts or taking anything away. Brayden, on the other hand, was filling up my frustration meter. I know he’s teething, and hasn’t really wanted to eat much, but after 45 min and all I got him to eat was 4 little bites that I had to force feed him… I gave up. I got him cleaned up from attempted dinner, set him down once again on the floor, and I frantically prepared his (our) room for bed time (fill up the humidifier, lay out his jammies, turn the night-light on, etc). He really did not like being left there, and Zack was busy playing trains in the other room, so the tears started. Officially upset, and probably hungry and tired, he proceeded to make sure I knew all about his current situation.

With Brayden in his jammies, I asked Zack if he wanted to keep playing trains or to watch a little show while I put his brother to bed. After several minutes of Zack’s typical response of no response (he is a typical 3-1/2 year old), and Brayden continuing to tell me, by the look on his face and the tears in his eyes, that he was tired and just wanted to have his bottle and go to sleep, my frustration meter was now severely overflowing. I sat Zack down on the couch with a Thomas the Tank Engine show and told him I would be out in just a few minutes, after I put Brayden down. Brayden still tearful, I closed the door, sat down with him in the rocking chair, and gave him his bottle. My mind still racing with thoughts of frustration, I glanced down and noticed that Brayden was no longer crying, he was no longer upset – he was looking up at me with his big, beautiful blue eyes, as if to say “thank you, Mommy.”

I have never been one to switch from frustration or anger to joy or happiness just like that – except for tonight. In that one moment, I took a long, deep breath, and just like that I reciprocated Brayden’s loving gaze. I let go of all the prior events of the evening, and just loved him up – snuggling him in my arms and telling him how much I love him. It was a moment of strength for me to be able to change my perspective so quickly. I realized that for my boys, my babies, I would do anything to keep them safe, happy and healthy. No matter how frustrated I get, and no matter what the cause, at the end of the day all that matters is that I open my heart and love my family as much as I can.

Taking Time For Me

Donner LakeSitting at Donner Lake with my cup of coffee from Wild Cherries Coffee House. I did the same thing last Wednesday morning, except didn’t bring anything else with me. Last week was purely a “clear my head” morning. With everything going on in my life, I chose to give myself a break and not “work.” Something I don’t nearly do often enough.

Despite having tons to do and a billion things I could write about, I got my cup of coffee to go and found a nice, quiet pier to sit on. With the brisk, chilly morning air breezing across my flip-flop adorned toes, I basked in the mountain sun reflecting off the bright blue lake. I wasn’t there long – just long enough to enjoy the warmth of my coffee, but it was just as long as I needed.

Today, I sit here, at the same public pier #37, once again enjoying my Wild Cherries coffee, this time with pen and paper in hand. Yes, I have my laptop with me, but it is a bit difficult to plug it in (as a revolt to my dying battery). So, I am being “old-fashioned” today – writing as the thoughts flow from my head, down through my heart, transforming into words as my fingers grasp my pen and the ink appears on my paper. (Okay, yes, I know that as you’re reading this I have actually gone back to the future and am typing this up… but hey, I had a nostalgic moment there).

I happen to glance up at the mountain side, and I see a train chugging along through the tunnels above the lake. I block out the sounds of the cars driving by along Donner Pass Road, and I inhale a deep breath of fresh mountain air. A fishing boat moves slowly across the rippling water in front of me. The leaves are dancing gently and the sun warms my face and my soul. What a perfect morning that I am gifting myself!

I know it’s important to take care of myself, but it is not often that I actually get to follow my own advice. I know that if I don’t take time for me, how can I possibly take care of anyone else? Not to sound selfish, but everyone needs a little self honoring every now and then, especially mothers. I hope that today YOU get to treat yourself to a moment of refreshment and peace.

And now, back to reality….

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