This week I am dedicating to myself. It’s all about me, me, me. Sounds a bit selfish I know, right? Wrong! I am a true believer that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of others. I dole out this advice quite often, but it’s a lot harder to follow it.
As I was relaxing during my massage today, I was thinking of all the things I have planned and scheduled to do for myself this week. I’m actually quite proud… and pampered. 🙂
Yesterday, in prep for today, I ate a good dinner, passed on the wine, and avoided the remaining scraps of sweets tempting me from the kitchen. This all after a pretty fun day hanging out with Brayden while Zack was back to school.
Today is day 1 of a 3 day juice cleanse. I’ve never done one, but have been wanting to try one for quite some time. I did some research, decided that after the holidays was a good time to start (hey, I wanted to enjoy my Christmas feast and New Years champagne), and found the best option for me. So far, the juices are pretty tasty!
Tomorrow I will continue on my juice cleanse.
Thursday is my final day, and also a day of volunteering in Zack’s classroom. I missed doing that over the past two weeks while he had winter break.
Friday is date night and Will and I are going to see Les Miserables. I can’t wait! It has always been my favorite musical, and I am excited to see it as a movie.
Saturday I have an all-day retreat with my Cranio Sacral Therapist (have I mentioned how much I LOVE going to see her, and how much she is helping me?).
Sunday is family day with no concrete plans – just the way I like it.
I’m feeling pretty good (partially due to the massage, and the facial that followed) that I am doing something good for myself every day this week. A daily special, if you will. It feels nice to put myself first, without feeling selfish.
I challenge you, what will you do today, tomorrow, the next day… to take care of YOU?
I’ve been reading, researching and reflecting a lot on postpartum depression lately. Not because I’m feeling back in that dark place, but because I’m finally at a point in my life where I can start to see my dream of my Love & Mommy Hugs business come to light.
My mission behind L&MH is to support women with, or at risk of, postpartum depression. I want to share with other Mothers (and even the husbands, fathers, boyfriends, partners, children, etc.) that there is hope. I want to share that the first step is acknowleding that you need help, and that it is NOT your fault! I know that PPD sucks. BUT, I also know that the reason I had to experience it was to support others. If I can even help one woman get through her PPD, then my experience was worth it. Anyway, I am just so excited that I actually get to work on a business for ME – and especially on something that is really not talked about enough.
As far as an update on how I’m doing, I’ve been on half-doses of my antidepressant medication for almost 2 months now, and I am not noticing any regression, so I’m sticking with it. I have some other health-related issues I’m working out, but I honestly feel like my PPD is under control and I feel good about that. I don’t know that I will ever feel “back to normal,” since my life is compeltely different than it ever was pre-kids anyway. What was once my normal will never be again. Kids change everything – and I opt to make that a positive thing. I know there are people out there that try to resist their lives changing (I won’t go there today…). Not me. I embrace it. My life is fuller and happier with kids.
So, someday (sooner than later I hope) I will be launching Love & Mommy Hugs. In the meantime, take my virtual hug!
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.
And finally, thank you to those of you who will give yourself the greatest gift and ask for help. I can help. I can help you…
I’ve come to adopt this tagline: “Love & Mommy Hugs.” It’s a simple way for me to express who I am and what I’m about – spreading my love with an open heart; being the stay-at-home mom that I love to be; encircling everyone with my warmth, support and caring.
It seems to put a smile on my face whenever I say or write it, and that smile seems to radiate out to those who get to experience it.
It embodies my essence (‘All Heart’), my personality, my individuality, my spirit, my soul.
It’s fun, it’s real, it’s something I can visualize, it’s something I can feel, it’s something I can share.
I feel blessed that I am able to stay home with my two boys, but it doesn’t change the fact that I still have the drive to be successful. I don’t ever see myself going back to the corporate world and those 40-50 hrs/week. What I do see is working from home, doing something that supports my passion for my family; doing something that ultimately supports me.
I can’t explain where my drive comes from, but I know it is strong, and it is always present – even if just a tingling in the back of my head every so often. I am truly in love with being home, don’t get me wrong, but I am also truly in love with the idea that I can share my experiences and help others.
I just returned from a fantastic trip to Dallas where I got to attend the eWomen Network Conference (WOW!) and finally meet face-to-face all my wonderful co-authors in the new #1 best-selling book ‘Get Your Woman On! – Embracing Beauty, Grace, and The Power of Women.’ Can I say, double WOW WOW!! These women are amazing (check us out! – GYWO).
These women (along with my incredibly supportive husband and my wonderful friend Kathy – who stayed with my boys so I could be fully present in Dallas) held a sacred, safe place for me to be while I was away from my family. It was the first time I had been apart from Brayden, and the longest I had been away from Zackery. These women became my family, and gave me the love I needed to stay strong and be okay with putting myself first. I cannot thank them enough, and I am so proud to be a part of this extraordinarily inspiring community. xoxo
Now that I am back home, I feel renewed and refreshed (although still completely sleep deprived – that’s for another conversation…). I am ready to start taking action on something for ME. I will always consider my family my priority, but now it’s time to take my own advice and do something to take care of me. I know that if I’m not at my best, I can’t possibly help my family (or anyone else, for that matter) become their best. I know I am a great Mother. I know I am a great Wife. I know I am a great Friend, Sister, Daughter. And I KNOW, I am a great ME.
It was exactly one year ago today that I worked my very last day “at the office.” I can’t believe it’s already June 1st!
I remember the anxiety I was feeling about telling my business partner that I had picked my last day of work. I had shared the June 1st date with my family & friends, but was nervous to tell the one person that would be most impacted by my decision. He knew it was coming, but still… it was difficult.
I look back on that time in my life and it seems so long ago – so far away from the person I am now.
I am grateful to everyone in my life that supported me in my decision to become a stay-at-home. I am grateful to myself for having the courage to listen to my heart and follow my dreams. I am enjoying being present with my children. I am finding peace and happiness within myself.
I know that life often changes direction, and I encourage everyone to grab each day with passion. I have a saying:
Dream, Believe, Be…
Dream towards the stars with an open heart.
Believe you can do anything you put your mind to.
Be the person you want to be.
I did, and now I am living my purpose and sharing my story with whomever wants to listen.
With Love & Mommy Hugs
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…
The more I talk about post partum depression (PPD), the more I feel better, and the more I realize how common it is. I feel genuinely touched to know how much support I have gotten – from friends and family, and from other mothers alike. It’s humbling to know I am not alone in my battle.
I finally feel like the meds are starting to kick in. I feel a little happier and not so down all the time. And although I am still very tired, I don’t feel that complete exhaustion and fatigue all the time anymore either. It has been a little easier to get out of bed in the morning.
The hardest and scariest part for me, is not really knowing how I’m supposed to feel. I don’t know what my normal is anymore. I’ve been depressed for so long that it was my normal, so now I am unsure if I actually feel better or if it’s just my mind and my thoughts being powerful – which they are! The one thing I am sure of, however, is that I still just take things one moment at a time. I will be overwhelmed, I will be tired, I will be sad and scared… but I will and am loved – and that is all that matters in this tiny moment.
Post Partum Depression is real. I have it.
I had it before with my first son (I didn’t know it at the time), but this time it has decided to show itself much later, and I believe with more symptoms. It’s something I have been aware of (because I had it before) and have tried very hard to keep myself from spiraling down into a depression, but I now know it’s not something I can control by myself.
What’s hard about believing I have PPD is that at various times throughout the day I feel just fine. What I know, however, is that part of PPD is mood swings – and those I have. I also have many other symptoms – irritability, extreme fatigue, sleeplessness (despite pure exhaustion), crying, lack of desire to do anything (including getting dressed or even brushing my teeth), feeling numb or empty inside. And then there’s even the physical symptoms – those I never had the last time. I thought I was having a heart attack the other night when my chest starting hurting as I was nursing my son for the 3rd time in the middle of the night. After much research, I read that chest pain can be a symptom of depression. I was relieved, sort of, that I didn’t need to call 911 or go to the hospital for an EKG. But what that made me realize is that I need to get help for my PPD.
Where do I start? Who do I talk to? What do I say? I haven’t even told my husband.
I know I shouldn’t feel ashamed. But I can’t help feeling that I should be able to take control of it and just be happy! I feel guilty for having this, as I don’t want to burden my family with something else – as if there’s not already enough stress in my life to deal with. I guess this is where I have to be the strong woman I know I am deep down inside. I know I’m not alone. I know I need to pick up the phone and call someone. I just have to keep telling myself that.
And now my son is awake, and I must dive back into caring for him. I love him dearly. He is the most precious little angel on earth…