Tag Archives: new mom

Sleep Training!


I’m pretty sure I stumbled upon the trick to sleep training.  It may even be the key to parenting, period.  When I say “stumbled upon” I mean my mom told me.  And not only that, I’ve probably been told these things both by my mom and many others for a long time but never listened.  But it got to the point where I was dreading bedtime with my 18 month old and desperate times call for desperate measures (such as taking the good advice you’ve been given repeatedly).  And I’m SO glad I finally listened because this recipe has really worked for us!  

To be clear, we are not sleep training in the sense that River is being moved to his own bed, he still sleeps with me.  But I have no doubt that this method would work for moving a baby into their own bed, or just getting them to bed no matter what you guys do at your house.

Every night it would take me up to 2 hours to get River to sleep after we were already in bed.  He would settle for a little bit and just as I was tricked into thinking he was nodding off, suddenly it was party time.  He would go from laying down taking his bottle to immediately standing on the bed practicing his trust falls and the high-stepping jog in place move from Flashdance.  If I told him to lay down or actually pull him down he thought it was hysterical and this would turn into a game for him. His next move was to climb out of bed to go find my make up, which is his favorite thing to play with.  (I realize as I’m typing this there may be some signs here that one day I’ll look back on and think, hmm, we should have known all along)  Anyway bedtime was always an ordeal and I hated it. 

I would call my mom during the day and have desperate, long talks with her and finally the stuff she had been telling me all along sunk in and IT WORKS.  Not only has it made putting River to bed a breeze, but I feel like a better mom all together and now I’m going to share it with YOU.

Basically there are 3 pieces to this and they are all equally important, they are; schedule, repetition and will.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; That’s it?  That’s your amazing information? Those aren’t tricks!  I hate you!

Just believe me when I tell you doing it this way will give you the result you’re after far quicker than you think, so bare with me.  

Schedule: This refers not only to putting your child to bed at the same time each night, but creating a full regimen before bedtime.  These will be your child’s subconscious signals that not only is bedtime coming, but that it’s time to get sleepy.  These are things like baths and stories, putting on PJs, brushing teeth, etc.  For River and me it starts off with taking the dog outside and looking for the moon, which he is obsessed with.  Also about an hour before bed I start making it dimmer/calmer in the house.  My house is typically lit up like Las Vegas, so I turn off about 42 lights and just keep on 1 or 2.  I also turn down the volume on the TV if it’s on (who am I kidding?) and don’t roughhouse with River, only quiet playing or reading.  This last part is easier said than done when dad’s home, we’re still working on sleep training him.  

Repetition:  As a hypnotherapist I have a fair amount of knowledge about habits, both breaking them and creating them.  Good sleep behavior is a habit, so anyone can get there (even babies), it just takes time and effort.  They say practice makes perfect and there’s a reason for that.  

Neural pathways are the little roads that neurons (nerve cells) travel on.  These are how nerve signals travel to and from the brain.  Like real dirt roads, every time a path is traveled down, it gets deeper, wider, easier to pass through, and we know that energy will take the path of least resistance.  Therefore, doing something repeatedly makes it easier and easier to do until it just becomes “habit” or subconsciously driven.  Meaning you no longer have to “try” it’s just automatic. 

But here’s the best news of all, somehow the lucky number seems to be 7.  For some reason our brains really like this number and if we can push ourselves to do something 7 times, our subconscious seems to be more likely to accept it and absorb it after reaching this milestone. 

So couple this with your schedule and bedtime regimen and remember to stick with it and don’t take a day off.  Keep in mind that every night you don’t stick with your bedtime plan, you are actually reinforcing the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.  

Will:  This is the step that I really feel unlocked a new level for me as a mom.  All babies and kids test limits, it’s what they do.  It’s how they get to know the world around them, and it’s up to us as parents to makes sure the perception of the world we are helping them create not only works for them/us immediately, but in the long run as well.  It’s far too easy to give in and I did it all the time.  But now I realize it’s my absolute duty to follow through, if I say no, I have to keep correcting him until he listens, even if it means prying my fat ass off the couch to go stop him. (Being a mom is hard)

In some ways it’s made me choose my battles, some things I don’t love I’m just going to let fly.  But in those times I have to remember not to say no even once, because if I do, I have to follow through whether I want to or not.  

When putting River to bed, it was always a battle of wills because somewhere down the line he learned he could break me.  I was so annoyed and tired that I’d say f*ck it and just let him get out of bed and go play in his “salon” so that I’d get a break from fighting him.

In order to break this habit, I had to show him that my will is always stronger than his.  If I lay him down and he stands up, I lay him down again.  If he stands up 184 times, I have to correct him 187 times, because if I stop at 186, I’m only reinforcing that he can always get his way if only he keeps trying.  This builds up HIS will and next time he’ll be prepared to stand up 200 times if that’s what it takes.  

So I’m going to tell you now, the first night of this new “sleep training” is going to suck.  If you’re trying to get your baby to lay in their crib, or a child in their own bed, it’s the same thing.  You have to keep correcting them until they finally lay down and stay there and you can’t give up.  Ever. 

I told this to myself the first night, I knew it was going to suck so I mentally prepared to be up until 3 that night.  Fortunately it took way less time than I thought, about 45 minutes until he finally gave up and just laid there.  I sat there next to him kind of in disbelief as he just stared up at the ceiling, and then his blinks got heavier and heavier and he fell asleep about 20 minutes later.  That was HUGE for us.  I’ve literally never seen him do that. 

The second night also sucked, but just a liiiiittle bit less than the first.  I had to lay him back down over and over for about a half hour this time, and then same thing, he laid there for about 20 minutes, blinking, until he fell asleep.  

I should also mention that will is not just about laying him down.  I also don’t engage him at all.  I don’t speak to him, not even to say “no” or “lay down.”  I don’t cuddle him or kiss him or sing to him or pat him on the butt.  Once the lights are out, that’s it.  This is also really not easy to do, but it’s important. 

So every night got a little bit easier.  I was worried when we had a family emergency about 5 days into this and we needed to travel, but I stuck with my 3 rules as much as possible while we were away and it didn’t seem to set him back too much.

Now I honestly can’t believe how great bedtime is!  I lay him down with his bottle (we’re still working on getting rid of that, at this point it’s mostly water but I’d like to get rid of it as a crutch) and he drinks the whole thing quietly and without trying to get up.  When he’s finished he literally hands it to me (which makes me laugh, idk why), then rolls over on his tummy and makes a few little baby babbles and lays there until he falls asleep!  I would not believe it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes!  Actually, the past 4 nights in a row he has finished his bottle, handed it to me, then found my lips in the dark to give me a kiss, then rolled over for bed like we are a married couple.  It’s the funniest thing ever.

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Not My Problem


Ok I take it back.  I realized I still totally have days where the depression/anxiety come back, but it’s only for a little and way, WAY better than it was before.  I was tempted to keep this to myself because I don’t want to take hope away from those of you still in the thick of it.  Seriously, life is gooOOOooOOOood.  But the malfunction going on in my brain is still there in some small capacity.  It really is manageable, and I’m a woman so I’m used to dealing with major swings in my emotions, but I wanted to mention it so anyone still dealing with it wondering what’s wrong that theirs isn’t completely gone can see that they’re not alone. Nope!  Still nuts over here. 

But I did find another thing that helps emensly and I know this won’t fit into everyone’s life but I’m going to share it anyway in case it can help someone.  I got a gym membership!  I know, first week of the year, how cleesh.  I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to do this, it helps on like 9 different levels.  First, exercise is KEY to a healthy mood, at least for me.  Taking River out for our walks just wasn’t enough.  I’m a runner and I need to sweat and get my heart pumping, it’s the most therapeutic thing to me.  

I went and looked at about 5 different local gyms that I knew had child care.  Truthfully I barely even looked at the gym portion of any of them, I just looked at the day care areas because that was the most important to me.  I wanted to make sure that not only was it safe and clean, but that it looked fun for River!  I couldn’t just dump him off somewhere and feel ok about that, I needed to make sure he would look forward to this time every day as much as I do.  I was actually shocked at a couple upscale gyms that had really depressing day care areas.  Some were tucked back in an area with no windows.  I wasn’t cool with that.  Some had zero kids in them even though the gym was busy.  So I wanted to find one that had a lot of moms with kids who frequented the gym and day care.  River loves other kids and that was going to be part of the fun of this, so busy day cares we’re a must.  

I’m not a big class taker or weight lifter.  I run on the treadmill and use the elliptical from time to time if I’m feeling exotic, and that’s pretty much it.  But I ended up joining a gym with a shit ton of amenities just because of the kid’s club.  

For SAHMs I think this kind of thing is imperative.  At least if you’re like me and your husband is gone most of the time and you have no family near by.  We have the BEST part time nanny, but I’m not going to have her come all the way over just for 2 hours every day.  But to get out of the house and away from River for an hour or 2 on most days makes such a huge difference. 

Obviously being a working mom is hard in it’s own way, but there are studies that prove working mothers actually heal faster from PPD and PPA because they actually do get away.  Of course whenever we’re away we miss them terribly and they are always on our minds so it doesn’t really feel like we’re “away,” but there is something chemical that happens when we are not in the same vicinity as our children.  I’ve even told a few girls I chat with to leave the baby with their dad and go sit in the car for an hour.  You may sit there and bawl and hate each second of it, but you are actually healing yourself.  

River was really excited the first couple times I dropped him off, but the 3rd time he was not having me leave him.  He instantly started crying and it gutted me to leave him in this tiny Disneyland.  The girl working there promised me that they do much better if you just go rather than hang out and wait for them to feel better.  So of course I stood just outside the door for the first 15 minutes peaking in to make sure he was alright, even though he had quit crying within the first minute.  

He was happy as a clam the next time I dropped him off so I was glad to see he had not been traumatized by the last experience.  But the time after that he had a full on tantrum meltdown.  Again I just walked out and peeked in on him and he was fine again as soon as he couldn’t see me and walked straight over to jump up and down to cheer on a bigger kid playing ski ball.  I instantly went from having a broken heart for him to thinking “faker!”  Well fine, if it’s going to be like that I’ll go sit in the steam room, he’s someone else’s problem now. 

Here are some things to look into if you’re thinking about joining a gym with day care (DO IT)

  • What is the check in/out process? You want one that is lengthy and involved to the point of being meticulous and annoying.  It just  means they’re safer.  Mine requires a finger print, etc. 
  • Are there windows?  This might not matter as much to you, but I just think daylight is so important that it was one of my requirements. 
  • Are all the doors locked?  Seriously this seems like a no-brainer but some had unlocked doors!  One of the kids club gyms backed up to a courtyard where a bunch of men on their breaks stood and smoked and it was nothing but window back there with a door that “must remain unlocked during business hours.”  I’m sure it was locked from the outside, but I still didn’t like how all the kids were basically on display there.
  • Check their policies on food and diaper changes.  Most places don’t change diapers, which I actually prefer.  So they just text you when your kid poops if they’re still in diapers so you can come change them quickly. 
  • Make sure everyone who works there has had a background check and is at least CPR certified.
  • Ask about their cleaning system, find out how often the toys are washed.  The place we go to disinfects the toys twice a shift if that helps you gage what you should expect. 
  • Most places don’t allow for snacks which makes total sense, so just be sure to drop your child off with a full tummy.  
  • Check their hours, most gym child care closes for a major chunk of the day, from about noon-5 or something and has very short hours on the weekends.  Make sure they are open enough in the times you can go to make it worth your while. 
  • Ask them when they are at their busiest and how many employees they will have per child per their policy.  
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Postpartum Update; 18 Months

I remember feeling totally defeated in my ppd support group looking around the room at moms whose babies were 1 year+ and mine was only a few weeks.  I could not imagine feeling the way I was feeling for another week, let alone a year. I really didn’t think it was possible to survive that.  And when other women reach out to me with their own ppd struggle I want so badly to be able to say to them “oh your baby is 6 months?!  Great, this will all be over in a week and a half!”

I know that every person is different and there’s no time stamp on these awful feelings that will tell you how long they’ll last.  I don’t even have a great gage on my own ppd time table because I had that bonus ectopic pregnancy in May, so my hormones took even longer to regulate.  Lucky me.  

But even with that pregnancy and loss, things did just get easier and easier every month.  Babies are shape shifters that become new beings every few weeks and they get more fun and a little easier each time.  

I can say that since around 16 months pp I’ve really felt like myself again!  Granted I’m still on antidepressants, but truthfully I probably should have been on them before I even had my baby.  I know for a fact for myself I couldn’t have made it without the meds.  They quite literally saved me.  A lot of the women I talk to have a hard time I think with the stigma of antidepressants.  I get a lot of “I’m really trying to do this without meds” and I always have to ask, why?

Unless you have a medical reason that you can’t take them, GET THE DRUGS.  You may have to play around for a little to get the right one and the correct dosage for you, but when you find it, it can help you in a way that no positive mental attitude, nap, cry session or any of that can.  Sorry to be the drug pusher in your blog feed, but if you’re dealing with ppd and have the option to go on antidepressants, then BABY, GET LIFTED, ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT!

I feel like the anxiety that comes with ppd lies to us and tells us we’re doing everything wrong and at the same time tells us we have to be perfect and the declining of meds is the spawn of that.  It’s hard to accept help of any kind without feeling like a loser.  Ain’t that just the fucker of it all?  Postpartum Depression is a cunning liar on top of everything else. 

But now that the fog has lifted, the intense love I feel for River is blissful instead of terrifying like it once was.  I kept wondering what was wrong with me that I wasn’t on cloud 9 like every other mother?  I just needed time, and that’s just who I am I guess.  I’ve never been a “love at first sight” swept up, lose myself individual.  I’ve always needed time to get to know someone and really explore my feelings and take my time with each precious step, and having a baby didn’t change that about me.  

I’m glad I didn’t skip over any of the shitty feelings because the contrast makes my happiness that much sweeter. The pain is what grounded me and getting over it makes me feel more prepared for the ups and downs motherhood will throw at me.  You’ll get there, too. 

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Friday Favs!

1.  These candles are EVERYTHING, including a mess, but I love them still.  I got Kisa the cat as a gift but now see that they make BUNNIES so I’m about to level up on my Pyropet game!  When you burn these sweet, waxy little effers, it reveals their metal skeletons.  Oh my goth. ūüíÄ

2.  I’m a fan of felt ball garlands, but also root for team string lights.  This Christmas I tried wrapping both around the top of River’s teepee in the spirit of festivity, but it was a little much. Bright Lab Lights offer the best of both worlds.  My favorite thing about these is that you can customize your color scheme from their vast assortment of gorgeous colors, or you can choose from their genius preset color combos if you’re color dumb, as I tend to be with too many choices. 

3.  When I first found these glasses I thought “cute, not for me.”  Then I couldn’t stop thinking about them.  I finally caved and bought some in magenta and they really are SO cool on, I ended up buying the black as well.  Now I’m thinking I may need every color.  I got mine from shop-demure.com but see they now have them shopzerouv.com for CHEAPER.  They look similar if not the same to me!  They’re also great for color therapy and to help enhance your mood. 

4.  At first I wasn’t sure if my little boy was going to like dolls or soft toys but he really does!  He likes to squish and hug them and they really do seem to comfort him.  It’s such a better alternative when putting him to sleep than the fist fills of my hair he typically likes to snuggle with.  These gorgeous dolls from Cuddle + Kind are definitely a win win!  Every doll purchased provides 10 meals to children in need!

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finally the force is with us!


Yesterday was my 2 week post op check up and it was full of good news!  It was another great lesson from the universe that I need to stop assuming I know the outcome of things that haven’t happened yet.  I was so sure that on top of being a wretched thing to go through and the loss of the baby, this whole ordeal pretty much sealed my fate for ever getting pregnant again on my own.  I’ve been stewing in that for 2 weeks feeling sorry for myself and yesterday I got the positive smack upside the head I needed.

First off, the “bunches of cysts” on both ovaries that the ultrasound technician saw weren’t cysts at all!  They were blood clots from the initial slow bleed of the ectopic.  So my ovaries are great!  I guess my blood was clotting like crazy as they were trying to suction it out of my body, which is usually good, you want blood to clot, but it kept getting stuck in the suction machine.  So she ended up leaving a fair amount of blood in me, which actually was good I guess because it gets reabsorbed, so my numbers and iron looked great.  And it should, there was a fuck of a lot of it pumped in there.  In total I had 6 units of blood plus platelets and other plasma products.  Thank God for people who donate!  From now on I will be donating blood regularly. 

The doctor also said my other tube is “beautiful,” clear, and in perfect shape!  And my endometriosis is currently nonexistent!  

My incisions are healing really well and I got the green light to pick up River!!  I’m so freaking excited about this.  I still have to take it easy but just to hold his fat body for a few minutes makes me happy. 

I also learned something super duper interesting about female anatomy. I always thought that your ovaries were both affixed at the end of either Fallopian tube, so the loss of a tube would really be equal to the loss of an ovary.  But that is WRONG!  Apparently Fallopian tubes are all loosey goosey in there, and sweep around searching for the egg that’s being released.  They can even sweep to the opposite ovary!  I had a hard time picturing this so last night in bed I searched Dr. World Wide Web for a video so I could wrap my little pea brain around it, and I found this.  

So even though I only have one tube, the left side can take over the work of my missing tube and deliver my released eggs from BOTH ovaries.  This is wonderful news because I was obviously concerned this surgery had cut my chances of getting pregnant again naturally in half. 

I’m so, so happy that I get to share all this positive stuff!  And now that I’m on this side of it I think I can actually admit how scary and awful this whole thing was.  Obviously I wanted to let people know what was going on, and I preferred to post about it rather than have Jordan and I both need to message the people in our lives that would want to know and tell this story/relive it over and over.  That was just too much.  I wanted to be careful not to dramatize the situation when I posted it and make people worry about me because that’s shitty.  But now that I’m ok I can say this was hands down the scariest and most painful thing I’ve ever lived through.  I honestly thought I was going to die.  My doctor said she did, too.  The first thing she did when she came in was hug me and tell me how happy she is that I’m here, because I almost wasn’t.  She said the other 2 surgeons were panicking and telling her to cut me open immediately and perform a hysterectomy to just get me to stop bleeding.  But my doctor was calm and collected and made the decision to do it laparoscopically and just take the tube and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for her!  I love my doctor.  The nurses were all coming out one by one to hug me and tell me how scared I had them.  The last time they saw me I was strapped to a gurney being wheeled out by the Chippendale EMTs. 

I don’t know what the future holds but I am alive and happy and HOPEFUL in the very least.  I just again want to thank each person who sent flowers, care packages, messages, daimoku, etc.  I really felt the love and it helped me through this in a big way.  And I am doing great now so you can scratch me off your list of people to be concerned about.  

‚̧ԳŹūüėä‚̧ԳŹ

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reach out

This week is River’s first birthday party!!  I can’t believe it.  We now have my mom and my in-laws here helping out with everything.  I still can’t pick up River and it’s a very frustrating feeling.  But I’m so thankful for how much my husband steps up happily and without a single complaint ever. I’m also so grateful to my mom and in laws for being here for us, we really do need their support right now.  Not just in caring for the baby, but also to help lift our spirits.  It’s nice having them around.

Jordan came with me to my blood test today.  They’re just checking my beta hcg to make sure it’s going down.  I guess with the “pseudo sack” in my uterus they need to be sure I’m not still pregnant.  Anyway the 2 of us ran a couple errands and went to lunch and I think it was the first time since all of this went down we’ve really had time to chat just us. 

Somehow we got on the subject of all the people that had reached out to us to let us know they are thinking about us in this time.  There were a few people of course that waited a little because they didn’t want to “bother” us while we were still dealing with stuff.

Jordan and I both talked about how often we have both had this same line of reasoning when other people we loved were going through something hard; the loss of a loved one, sickness, a bad breakup, whatever.  “Oh, they don’t want to hear from me right now, they’re probably dealing with so much as it is.”  It’s really kind of bonkers logic when you think about it.  And if you’ve ever been the one on the other side, it really becomes clear to you that the plan of “not bothering” someone when they’re going through something is pretty dumb.

There’s also the element of being uncomfortable and not knowing what to say that holds people back.  They don’t want to say the wrong thing and make you feel WORSE.  This is so true when it comes to matters of infertility or miscarriage. It’s such an uncomfortable conversation for most people as it is.  It’s hard when there are seemingly no silver linings.  It’s not like the loss of a dear friend or relative who got to live a life where you can reminisce about them or talk about the good parts.  So what do you say?

The answer is ANYTHING.  “How are you?” is perfect.  So is “I just want you to know I’m thinking of you.”  Really anything you say to show you care is excellent.  Remember when you are thinking “I better not bother them” about 90% of the people in their lives are probably thinking the same thing.  The person may not be ready to answer you but that’s ok, the message will be received in a huge way.  

That was kind of the main take away from our conversation today.  We were both so surprised at how much those small texts and messages meant, they really touched us.  And a lot of them from people we’d never expect to hear from, even getting care packages, letters, and meals sent from people we’ve never met face to face.   To know that even the people you don’t see or hear from regularly care about you when the chips are down is impactful.  All of this really did make a difference for us in this hard time.  No, no one can take fix what happened, but their love and support reminded us that there is still a lot we have to be grateful for, namely the wonderful people in our lives. 

So basically this was a very long way of saying reach out to the people you’re thinking of whether you feel they need to hear it or not.  They do. 

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friday favorites!


1.  If I have a motto about dressing babies it’s that comfort is king!  I love babies and kids that look comfortable, cute, and never fussy.  That’s what’s cool to me.  Childhoods Clothing gets it.  So far River only has 2 rompers and a pair of their shorty shorts, but I want everything they have in every size and color.  I love that they come in all types of layers, even short sleeved hoodies.  Which works great in California where even in the summer it always cools down at night juuuust enough for another layer.  

2. Aren’t these pillows just the neatest?  I want a whole mountain range for River’s bed.  I imagine the dreams he would have about being a great adventurer with these surrounding him.  They’re made by Three Bad Seeds and even their tree and animal pillows are just as stylish and cool as hell.  What’s better than awesome looking bedding that works double duty for play time, too?

3.  I couldn’t decide which style of these awesome night lights from Goodnight Light I wanted to feature.  I fell in love with their kitschy baby doll night lights, stayed for the pink pineapple, but am now in a committed relationship with their new cactus lights!  Unique and fun and sophisticated enough to feature in any room of your house, not just a kid’s room.  Think about how chill this would look on literally any flat surface of your house.  (River is lucky his helmet treatment corrected that or he’d be wearing one of these on his head)

4.  I’ve spent WAY too much time indoors this week due to my surgery and I am about ready to kick down the door and flee, meanwhile I can’t even lift up my leg in the tub high enough for the razor to reach it.  But all I can think about is taking River to the beach.  I’m on the hunt for a really good beach umbrella (if you find one let me know), but also on the list was a towel big enough for the both of us.  I’ve had my eye on these round towels from The Beach People for quite awhile just because they’re so cool.  I’ve seen a lot of knock offs since, but the thing I like about these is that they are thick and soft.  A lot of other round “beach blankets” are made of thin cotton, like a flat bed sheet.   That’s uh no good at the beach.  Give me something soft and absorbent and thick enough to be warm if I need to use it as a blanket when the wind kicks up while my moon doggy is still hangin 10.  I can’t wait to park our behinds on this baby as soon as I find the right umbrella and my husband shaves my legs. 

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Sacks To Be You

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I found a new thing! ¬†These nifty wifty paper sacks! ¬†They’re made out of treated paper that is durable and WASHABLE. ¬†I use them for baby blankets (we have about 6 thousand) and toys. ¬†They would also be great used as hampers, or to store really anything that isn’t wet or living (ew).

I bought these little cuties on Etsy from a shop called¬†Tellkiddo. ¬†They’re pretty inexpensive for something so useful and adorable. ¬†The downside is that the shop is in Stockholm, Sweden, so shipping sucks. ¬†I didn’t mind too much because they just couldn’t be cooler. ¬†I looked high and low for someone that sold these in the states, but had no luck. ¬†UNTIL NOW! ¬†Lucky for you, I found super similar ones on aliexpress.com¬†for cheap and with free shipping! ¬†YW. ¬†I guess it does not sack to be you after all.

I’ve also been on the hunt for an all black one. ¬†I think it would look great in my living room with a fig tree in it! ¬†If you ever come across one, please let me know! ¬†I will cyber-kiss your face.

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8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting PPD

 

Maybe Postpartum Depression can’t be avoided, if you’re gonna get it, you’re gonna get it.  I really don’t know.  But here are 8 things I swear contributed to my PPD that I wish I had been better prepared for.

 

1.  Your baby and your body don’t give a good shit about your “birth plan” and that’s OK.  You start thinking about the immanent birth of your baby from the day you find out you’re pregnant.  Maybe even long before that.  People are so opinionated these days about certain methods and practices and it will get in your head despite your better judgement.  You start feeling like however your child is born is paramount because it will somehow set the tone for the rest of his or her life, and other bull honkey like that.

My baby was late.  42 weeks is a looooong time to be adding details to my fantasy of gracefully plucking him out of me, ala Kortney Kardashian, and placing him on my own chest while the nurse blots the drop of sweat from my brow so we can take our first mother/son selfie.

Apparently the universe did not get the memo.  My contractions were so severe they were stopping River’s heart.  Not once, but twice, with machines going off all around me I got swarmed by entire staffs of nurses and doctors, frantically making me get on all fours to try to get his heart beating again.  It was so terrifying that when my doctor said she was calling it, it was time for an emergency c section, I was actually relieved.

The c section itself wasn’t too bad, recovering from it sucked.  Mostly because I was very out of it for next 2 days and, even though I was there nursing him and holding him, I felt so numb it was like missing it altogether.

I was seriously in mourning over our imperfect start.  I felt like my body let both of us down.  But honestly, one of the best things about babies it that they’re stupid little dummies!  He didn’t know his ass from his elbow, quite literally.  As long as he was getting everything he needed, he was happy as a clam.  He didn’t know what orifice he emerged from, he didn’t know mom was stoned AF or that she was a-cah-ray-zay.  He just knew he was fed and dry and loving being rocked and bounced as I sobbed my face off.

HOW they come into this world is not a huge deal.  Once they’re here, they’re here!  It’s one day (hopefully, maybe a little longer) out of both of your lives and there will be many, many more.

2.  Angels don’t sing the first time you look at this band new, wet alien.  Fireworks don’t go off, the clouds don’t part, and birds do not come to the window to sing a love song when you first lay eyes on your baby.  I had such anticipation for this moment!  I thought the instant I saw my him I would feel a shift in the universe and I would be a new person.  False.

Maybe it was the many, MANY drugs, or the 3 epidurals, or the fact that I was completely out of it and exhausted, but I’ve felt more for random puppies on the street than I did for this sweet babe at first sight.  Again, it was another thing that initially I felt I had to mourn because in my mind it was this crucial experience I had missed out on.  I blame it 100% on the expectations I had about what that moment would feel like.  Maybe that shit DOES happen for some moms, my guess is that these are the same women who love to announce “Oh my God, I forgot to eat today!  HAHA!” and they have my permission to go kick all the rocks.  They’re the reason the rest of us feel like there’s something wrong with US that a disco ball doesn’t drop from the ceiling and “Celebrate Good Times” doesn’t play as Ryan Seacrest introduces us to our new little one.

Love takes time, dammit, Mariah was right.  And “love at first sight” is subjective.  Yes I LOVED my baby and had an instant desire to care for him and put his needs before mine.  But I didn’t feel suddenly and instantly complete and happy and all the wonderful things he now makes me feel every day.  It took some time for me to get to know him, and him to know me, to really experience that intense feeling of love that only a parent can know.

Now since knowing this I always listen very closely to my new mom friends that go overboard on how “in love” they are, and I stay mindful that they may still need a supportive ear, even if their mouths are saying things are great.

If you feel less excited when you meet your offspring than you would if you met the worlds worst band The Offspring, don’t beat yourself up over it.  It will come.

3. Sleep.  Eat.  Easier said than done, I know.  But both these things are vital to your mental health and ability to cope under stress.  And being a new mom is STRESSFUL.  Your body needs rest and nourishment.  I was so depressed I couldn’t eat.  My mom had to force Ensure down my sobby gullet.  (IMO the Butter Pecan flavor tasted the best mixed with snot and tears.)  If you have a partner, take shifts as much as possible so you can both get some rest.  If the baby is napping, nap.  Put off the stuff that isn’t important until later, it can wait.  If you have any money at all, a night nurse is worth her weight in gold.  Trust me, this is something that is WORTH dipping into your savings for, you won’t regret it.  It doesn’t have to be a regular thing, maybe just 1 or 2 nights of good solid sleep might be enough to get your strength back.

4.  Sometimes PPD comes disguised as guilt.  You feel guilty for everything.  You think you’re doing a terrible job taking care of your baby, but you feel guilty asking anyone for help.  Then you feel guilty about feeling guilty.  Just cut that shit out.  You’re doing a great job and people are happy to help.

5.  Give it a week.  If this week is hard, next week will be better.  Every week they are new life forms, I swear.  They change so much day to day that you might even see the transformation faster than that.  But honestly, if they won’t sleep, eat, are just fussy for no reason, and you feel like you’re at your wit’s end, just remember you just have to give it a week.  You can make it a week.  I promise.

6.  Believe it or not, formula is not made out of toxic waste!  Who knew??  Some women have trouble with their breast milk supply.  Some women can’t breast feed at all due to all kids of medical issues.  It can be a great source for stress and depression (and sometimes even self hatred) during this time.  Some people will tell those women with supply issues to get up every 2 hours to pump even while the baby is sleeping.  It’s really such a shame because that kind of pressure can be detrimental to the mother’s health, and although breast milk does have some benefits, they are certainly not so crucial that it’s worth sacrificing your own mental health. I was formula fed and I’m healthy as shit!  I’m a fuckin tank.  Whether you are a formula mom or a bm mom or a mixure of both, feel good about yourself that you’re feeding your baby.  Let it be something that brings you joy instead of stress.  Pay attention to the opinions of NO ONE during this time.  If you are scared about formula, just do a little research and find the best one out there for your LO!  Sometimes it takes a little trial and error, but you’ll get it right.  I researched a ton when I started to supplement and learned so much it was actually kind of fun!  I’ll probably make a post dedicated to formula on here soon.

7.  Don’t wait to get help.  If you start feeling completely overwhelmed, talk to people and get some support set up for yourself.  PPD is a vicious beast that needs to be attacked from every angle with every weapon you’ve got.  This is why we have friends and family.  Because Lord knows that most of the time they’re pains in our ass, this is their time to shine!  If someone offers to come over and help, LET THEM.  Ask them to make dinner or help with some of the house stuff, or just hold the baby while you SLEEP.

Some hospitals offer free postpartum support groups, I went to these several times at the hospital I gave birth at and I’m thankful I did.  It was good to hear other women explaining things that I felt myself to know I wasn’t alone.

There are hotlines you can call that will link you with a mom who has been through PPD and who can offer great support and advice.  Google “postpartum depression help” and you’ll find a bunch of these.  Here’s one that I used.  1.800.944.4773

Talk to your doctor, this is also what they’re there for.  They should be giving you a quiz and asking you about how you are coping postpartum, but if they don’t, bring it up.  They see this stuff all the time and it’s their job to help you through it.  They make the big bucks, help them earn it.  ūüėČ

8.  Say yes to drugs.  Seriously.  If your doctor recommends that you go on antidepressants, that’s ok!  Even if you’re nursing, Zoloft has a great deal of research backing it as safe for both pregnant and nursing mothers.  Your baby will be fine and honestly so much better off having a mom that is able to cope.  Postpartum Depression is not something you can just walk off or rub some dirt in or whatever.  It’s chemical and it’s an illness that is effecting your brain.  Part of why it’s so malicious is that it LIES to you and tells you that there is no solution to anything, even medication.  I know for me, I could not have gotten better without the medication.

 

This list will probably grow as more things come to me!  If you’ve gone through PPD and have something to add, please by all means leave it as a comment and I’ll add it!  It’s important that we are all in this together.

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I’m back! And I’m a MOM!!

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Well, my sweet little rice traveler stuck! ¬†His name is River Blues and he is the sweetest, happiest baby in the whole world. ¬†He’s now 8 months old (I can’t believe it!) ¬†It’s been the most important year of my life since my last post, and I decided to come back to blogging for a couple reasons.

Since posting and being open about our struggle with infertility and having to do IVF, I’ve had SO many people reach out to me about going through the same. ¬†Both total strangers and people I know well who I had no clue were dealing with infertility have opened up to me about this very personal and difficult experience. ¬†It’s important to me to help whoever I can get through this. ¬†I hope our story can be inspirational. ¬†I also feel like I’ve learned SO much through our experience and hearing so many others’ stories.

I also had really bad postpartum depression after River was born. ¬†Since posting about it on Instagram, the same thing happened with people coming out of the woodwork to tell me about how they were experiencing the same thing! ¬†I know they say 1 in 7 women experience ppd, but I swear it seams like that number is actually much higher. ¬†I’ve become so passionate about spreading awareness about this issue because I had zero knowledge about it, and when it hit me that made it so much more terrifying.

I’m determined to keep putting these things out there to help as many people as possible. If you found this post and need someone to talk to about infertility, IVF or postpartum depression, please feel free to dm me on Instagram! ¬†@kateordie

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