Monthly Archives: November 2011
I don’t know why I am, or even why I should have a reason to be, but I am… terrified.
I am terrified of slipping back, being right back where I was 13 months ago. 13 months ago is when I was at my lowest low, the deepest, darkest place I have ever been (as an adult). 13 months ago I was terrified of what was happening all around me and to me. 13 months ago I also took hold of my courage and got help for what I now know was (is) postpartum depression.
I feel like I’ve been on this journey for a long time now, and I still believe it happened for a reason – that reason being to become a voice for those who haven’t found the strength in themselves to talk about postpartum depression. I also feel like I have been on anti-depressant medication for a long time, although my doctor assures me not to feel like a year is uncommon. She has told me that many people take several years before they are at a point where they can become medication-free.
But I am still terrified.
I went to my doctor a couple weeks ago to talk to her about weaning myself (sounds a lot like breastfeeding – ha! – but oh so different!). I know that I can’t just stop taking my meds cold turkey. That would for sure send me into a backwards, downwards tailspin. I was afraid to even schedule the appointment, but my prescription had run out so I had no choice but to schedule something.
Things are going a lot better now with “normal” household life and the boys being a little older (they’ll still always be my little snugglebug babies) and getting a little easier. External circumstances are still what they are, but I’m able to deal with them on a more rational level and I’m able to focus, concentrate and get things done. All things that 13 months ago I couldn’t even think about, let alone talk about. I know that I’m better.
But I am still terrified.
I’ve had debates in my head about why it’s so important for me to get off my meds. And really I can never come up with a clear winning reason. I am one of the lucky rare ones (hey, that just means I’m unique, right?) who suffers from adverse symptoms of taking my medication: constant ringing in my ears – both ears, 24/7 (fun, NOT); frequent headaches; and fatigue. My doctor is hoping that these symptoms will all go away once I am off my meds. If not, well then we have a whole other set of problems to explore. For now, though, we discussed weaning off my meds just to see if those symptoms disappear.
On the opposite side of the debate, we are heading back into winter and if it’s anything like it was last year (so much snow I couldn’t see out my windows or my sliding glass door – not so much fun with a newborn and a 3-yr old). I for sure wasn’t the only one who was depressed! I am geared up with all kinds of support this winter – and again just the shear fact that the boys are getting older and a little easier to tote around – but I just don’t know if it’s “smart” of me to try weaning in the throws of winter.
So here I am, confused, overwhelmed and genuinely happy (something I’ve been practicing, regardless of circumstances – another post, another day…), but still terrified.
What am I terrified of, you ask? I am terrified of falling back into a depression, the kind I was in 13 months ago before I started taking medication. I am terrified of talking to my husband about this (why? who knows! He is the most supportive, loving, caring man I know). I am terrified of what if I’m not ready? What if I have to be on this medication forever? What if I become addicted? What if I get worse? What if I get better? – Yes, that’s a big one, huh?
What if I get better? That would be great, wouldn’t it? Am I afraid to be okay, to not have anything to fall back on as an excuse; To have to own up to everything and take full responsibility for all my actions (well, don’t I do try to do this already?). I’ve heard of people having fear of success. Could this be similar? I don’t know…
Maybe all of this fear is a sign to me that I’m not ready to go off my meds? I don’t know that either…
What I do know… I am terrified.
Zackery came home from pre-school last week with a little zip loc bag. Inside was a pretty, green stone, and a note saying:
This is my thankful stone. It helps me to remember what I am thankful for.
Today he got it out and showed it to me again. I asked him what he was thankful for, and these are all the things he said (straight from the mouth of a precious little four-year-old):
I am thankful for my Daddy.
I am thankful for my matchbox cars and trailer.
I am thankful for my brother.
I am thankful for my cape and mask. (We went to a very cool superhero birthday party yesterday)
I am thankful for my Nana and Grandpa Paul and Grandpa Fred.
I am thankful for my whole house.
He didn’t specifically say he is thankful for his Mommy, but I know he is and I didn’t need to hear him say it [today]. I am so thankful that I have such an appreciative little boy who is learning the meaning of thanks.
Blessings to All this week.
This week, however, was a particularly stressful week for me. My husband had to go out of town for work again, and of course, whenever I’m here by myself, life can’t just be “normal.”
I am thankful I was able to stop the overflowing (*poopy* – YUCK!) toilet before it reached the hallway carpet. I am thankful that the bathroom is now sparkling clean. I am thankful for Clorox!
I am thankful the tree that fell down in our yard during the storm didn’t hit the house (like the one that fell last time and made a giant hole in our roof). I am thankful both boys slept right through it.
I am thankful for friends who offered their house as a temporary home when the power was out in mine. I am thankful for my friend who kept an eye on the kids while I laid down after Brayden woke up at 4:30am and wouldn’t go back to sleep. I am thankful for the delicious pancakes and coffee they had ready for me in the morning.
I am thankful for the birthday parties we get invited to where the boys can run around safely and have so much fun. I am thankful we all have so many wonderful friends in our life.
I am thankful we got back home safely, the power is back on, the garage door works and our house is warm.
I am thankful my husband got to come home a little early yesterday and have dinner with us. I am thankful he was home to help me put the boys to bed. I am thankful we got to snuggle on the couch together and watch a show. I am thankful I went to bed 8:30pm last night and didn’t get up until 9:00am this morning!
I am thankful I have this quiet time to write in peace…
Okay, so I really had good intentions of posting pictures of our Let’s Get Out of the House adventure on Tuesday, but well, as usual, life got in the way… Any way, the boys had a lot of fun, learning, laughing and discovering. See for yourselves. 🙂
Well, the boys are happily off to Neverland, and Will and I are watching DWTS. I have to admit, I never used to be a fan (too much jabbering and not enough dancing – ironic since it’s a dancing show!), but for some reason it’s become one of “our shows” to watch together. It’s a good ending to a great day.
I took the boys to the Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno again today. It was Brayden’s first visit, but Zackery’s second. He was soooo excited he could barely keep himself in his seat (thank goodness for 5-point harness car seats!) on the way there. At every turn, lane change and stoplight, he asked “Is this it? Are we here?!” It was genuinely adorable, and luckily not too annoying either.
We spent a solid 2-1/2 hours there, and could have spent all day if I were bold enough to forgo a little mister’s (Brayden’s) nap – which I was not willing to attempt. Will was able to meet us for lunch in the “picnic” room, which was a wonderful extra bonus surprise for the boys. They rarely get to see Daddy during the day, and they are also usually in bed before he gets home from work, so to have some fun time with Daddy was great for all of us.
I had a message from another Mommy friend when we got home, wanting to know what my afternoon plans were. Since Brayden only napped 40 min in the car until Zackery woke him up (that’s a whole other story on some other day…), my original plans became null and void. We ended up having them over for a little playdate and dinner.
I’m not exactly sure how we did it, but amongst the 3 of them running around the house, dumping every single toy out on the floor, and screaming (mostly in joy), my friend and I actually managed to have a series of
uninterrupted conversations. We talked about feeding our kids (and what they will or will not eat); we talked about our husbands (mostly good, but honestly, you have to expect that when two married women get together there will be some venting); and we talked about weekly schedules (as much as we can realistically try to stick to one).
When it comes to my weekly schedule, the one thing that’s constant is that I have both boys all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays (Zackery’s in preschool M/W/F). I know myself, and I know that if I’m going to do anything “crazy” for the week (and by “crazy” I mean taking them both to a place of pure kid imagination, pandemonium and adventure – a.k.a. The Discovery Museum – all by myself), I better do it on a Tuesday. By Thursday I’m so exhausted that even thinking about anything “crazy” would make me want to reconsider.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys, and generally I love taking them places, but it’s a lot of work all by myself. The 2 hours of prep work (which without kids running underfoot would take any normal person 15 min) – making lunches, filling water and milk bottles, making sure there’s enough diapers, wipes, change of clothes (even for Zackery, just in case he has “too much fun” and forgets to “take a [potty] break”), and then having adequate (and not too messy) snacks for the car (long gone are the days when I was “one of those Moms” who never let their kids eat in the car), oh, and maybe even shoving some resemblance of breakfast in my mouth as I’m zipping up jackets, buckling shoes, remembering to put my shoes on, and the list goes on and on and on… – okay, where was I going with this one?
I know that as the boys continue to get older, it will get easier and I’ll need less “stuff” to prepare and take with us on our adventures. For now, as they are still a little young (and I am enjoying both their ages very much) I will be prepared to prepare. I will also be realistic (is this allowed?), not expect too much of myself and stick to planning one “crazy” thing a week.
So, I hereby officially declare (at least in our little house) that Tuesdays are now “Let’s Get Out of the House Day.” Where will we see you?
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1. Copy and paste the award on our blog.
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So, by accepting this award, I am not only honored and humbled, but I’d like to share the love by giving my top 5 picks…
I tucked Zack into bed, gave him a couple more (there’s always more than just one) hugs and kisses, told him I loved him and to have sweet dreams. He told me he loved me too and wished me sweet dreams. I turned out the light and went into the living room to grab Brayden. He was waddling around carrying a “choo-choo” book (Thomas the Tank Engine) and his little bunny, wearing the coziest blanket over his green, white and yellow fleece polka-dot jammies. I just wanted to snuggle him right up and never let go!
I carried him into the boys’ room, closed the door so only a crack of light seeped through, and sat down in the chair with him on my lap. I could faintly hear the lullabies playing in the living room over the sound of the humidifier and white noise machine. I took the “choo-choo” book from Brayden’s hand (much to his disliking), and right as his protest reached a peak, with stiff, arching body and wide, open-mouthed crying (it was a good thing Zack wasn’t quite asleep yet), I gently finessed the bottle of warm milk onto his lips, at which point he immediately ceased and calmed.
I could feel his body relaxing in my arms, as his head began to lean into me. I put my cheek to his forehead – so soft, so precious. I snuggled him as only I do, kissing him gently, holding the bottle as he rhythmically drank. We both drifted off to peacefulness, I, still awake but aware; Brayden becoming limp but also still awake. We were like one. One heartbeat, one soul, one being.
I began reminiscing about how tiny he was when he was first born, and how he used to hold my thumb as I nursed him. Just then, his hand slid onto mine, as if he knew my thoughts, and he reached to pull my fingers up to his heart. At that moment, I just wanted to hold him forever.
He finished his bottle (what he was going to drink of it) and gently pushed it away. I turned to set it on the table next to me, and then turned back to look at Brayden. He was getting so big, but he was still just a baby. I thought the same of Zack, how he was getting so big, but still so little and innocent, all tucked into bed with his footsie jammies and snowflake blankie.
I usually put Brayden right into his crib after he finishes his bottle, but tonight was different. I couldn’t let him go. I just wanted to hold my baby. I wanted to feel the soft skin of his cheek once more against mine. I wanted to hear the sound, smell the sweetness and feel the blow of his breath. I wanted to hold him until he slept. I wanted to hold him until I slept.
My conscience told me to “put him in his crib and let him put himself to sleep, like always.” And then my heart spoke back, “hold him as long as you want. You are his Mother, he is your baby. Love him, hold him, be one with him.” And so, I held Brayden as he rested his tired head on my shoulder and my arms cradled him off to sleep.
I sat there holding him for a while, until I knew he was dreaming of puppy dogs and horses and, of course, choo-choo trains. I don’t know exactly how long it was, and it didn’t matter. I knew I had poured my love into him tonight, and had filled my heart up at the same time. I did what I needed to do – I held my baby.
The smile of a happy child is one of the most powerful images in the world…
Well, I have been sitting here trying to figure out what of the million things I want to write about, I should. Should I write another post about the things I’m grateful for? That would be quick and easy for me. Should I write about what we did today? That would be fun and happy – it was a great day (aside from the snow we got last night. I’m so not ready for winter yet again… especially if it’s anything like last year!).
Should I write another article about postpartum depression? I always have pages to write in this category. It turns out, that is probably exactly what I should be writing about. However, this is going to be slightly different than any of my past posts about PPD.
I checked my Facebook page this evening (Stories of a Mom) to find a wonderful post from Julie Zebley of The Blog Hospital. She awarded me her personal Blog of the Month award! WOW, I was truly touched, honored, surprised and grateful. To read her award, click here. Thank you again, Julie!
I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that I had to experience postpartum depression so that I would be able to share it with others, and be the voice for those who don’t have the strength yet in themselves. It took me a while to understand this, and then a while longer to figure out what I was going to do with it. It has become my passion (along with my family, of course) to be the voice, the support, the inspiration, the hope for women all over who are suffering from or who are at risk for PPD.
It might sound odd to some people, but I can honestly say that I am glad I experienced PPD (and to an extent I am still fighting it). Without that experience, I would not know what so many Mothers experience every day, too often by themselves, without any support for or even knowledge of their condition. I was (am) lucky. I have a wonderful support system and people who love me and care enough to help me through it. I want to be that for others.
I want to be hope, I want to be support,
I want to help them heal.
I am grateful that I am in a place in my life where I can pursue this. I am grateful that I see my experience with PPD as a blessing in disguise. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish upon anyone the depression, the anxiety, the fatigue and all the other deep, dark symptoms that pulled me down into the depths of pain. It was by far a pleasant time in my life, even with such a beautiful, innocent newborn. It was hard – for everyone – and sometimes the symptoms still rear their ugly heads, although, thankfully not as strong and persistant, but I am now in control of my PPD. I feel great! I feel happy! I feel the love that surrounds my heart and radiates out to everyone open to receive it.
Once again, thank you to The Blog Hospital for awarding me The Blog of The Month Award!
Thank you to those of you who support me and encourage me to follow my heart and pursue my passions.
Thank you to those of you who are reading this and will help spread the word about postpartum depression.