Tag Archives: ppa

Nerves, guilt and a dose of anxiety – Three days til Blissdom

There are so many things going through my head.

I’m way anxious about leaving to go to Blissdom on Thursday. I haven’t started packing yet (I’m totally putting it off), but we have started prepping for me being gone. It’s the first time in Noah’s 10.5 months that I will be away from him overnight, and I am scared to death.

Bobby worries that I don’t think he’ll take good care of the kiddo, but it’s not that at all. I think they will probably have a blast.

Maybe I’m a little afraid they will have too good a time. Without me. That I’ll miss out on something big (like Noah going from occasional few-independent-stepper to full-time, bona fide walker). I’m afraid when I get back that he’ll be “over me,” as I told Bobby this morning.

But I can’t let those things stop me from doing something I’m looking forward to, something for me. And it’s oh, so tempting to do that. But I think part of doing that would be for ease and comfort; it would allow me to put off facing down fears and anxieties that have riddled me since I gave birth to Noah.

I have to do this eventually. And the sooner I do it, the sooner I get back to normal living. I hope.

I think it’s probably normal to feel some amount of guilt (specifically as a mom) when you do something like this for yourself. My blogging (and even my freelance, which is not that closely connected with my blogging, for the most part) is not supporting us. It’s mostly a hobby, something I enjoy. So going to a conference like this seems sort of frivolous.

It’s times like these, though, when I appreciate fully having such a supportive husband, who reassures me that he supports me and wants me to do things that will make me happy.

I think the challenge for me is going to be leaving the guilt and anxiety behind. I think a touch of excited nervousness is OK, and when it comes to the conference itself, that’s what I feel. I’m excited to meet new people and hear speakers on topics that I’m interested in. I’m looking forward to finding an item or two at the handmade marketplace. I’m hoping to make some connections that will benefit my blogging and freelance potential for the future.

Blissdom is definitely going to be a stretch for me, but I think it’s a stretch that needs to happen. I could let myself become a social shut-in and use Noah as an excuse for that, or I can start pushing myself. One of those will let me grow as a person and actually better myself. And I think it’ll actually help me be a better mother, because I will be maintaining my identity and showing Noah what it means to pursue your passions and dreams.

So I’m nervous and feeling a little guilty and anxious, but I’m also excited. Blissdom is going to be great.

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Do you like cute, hand-stitched/appliqued kids clothes or love to see a tutu on a little girl? Please be sure to check out my Blissdom sponsor, Eleanore’s Treasures!

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Please be sure to stop back by on Wednesday for an exciting (at least to me!) announcement regarding The Family Math!

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A moment in time (PPD update)

I stood over the garbage can, carrot in my left hand and vegetable peeler in my right. Hamburgers sizzled in the skillet, and beans rolled in boiling water on the stove.

In the nursery, Bobby was reading aloud to Noah, “Hey, come join the lot of us…” I’d heard Noah’s laughter just moments earlier and was glad they were having some time together. Noah’s been going through a clingy phase where he only wants me, and I know it’s been hard on Bobby, too.

“But not the armadillo,” Bobby reads.

And I sigh and think that this is just the way it should be. That life is good.

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Last week was a major emotional battle, the worst since I came off PPD meds.

For the first time, I seriously entertained the thought that I should just start taking the pills again.

And you know what? At the time it seemed like such a hard decision that it was paralyzing, but it would have been OK if I had needed to do that. At the same time, I’m proud of myself for sticking it out through several tough days and coming out on the other side feeling a little better.

I don’t really want to dwell on details, but I’m glad I’m past that for now. I suspect that’s not the last time I’ll feel an onslaught of negative emotions, but hopefully next time I will be better prepared for it.

I think it’s toughest on Bobby when I go through periods like that because he’s seen a glimpse of the old me shining through as I’ve come out of the haze of PPD/PPA. And I know a lot of times I take my anxiety out on him in some form (most often it’s being extremely short-tempered for no apparent reason). I’m really thankful that he’s here with me, willing to fight through it with me.

I also have to admit that I do wonder how to know if I really do need to go back on my meds. Last week I just kept telling myself I wanted to make it one more week, just to see if this funk was going to stick around. And it didn’t. But at what point do I say, “OK, this isn’t getting better on its own?”

It’s a little scary, I guess. I have a pretty sensitive husband, so I think his attentiveness will help. I just don’t want to go through the rest of my life with bouts of misery that last several days or a week followed by a few days of feeling semi-normal only to dip back down into a near-debilitating depression.

That probably sounds more hopeless than I feel, but like I said, last week was tough. I’m glad to have my head above the water again, though, and praying that I’ve passed the worst of it. Moments of contentment like the one I shared above give me hope that maybe I have.

Thankful Series: It’s more than just an attitude

Thankful series

This is the last post of the Thankful series, so today I’m talking about my feelings on thankfulness. I’ve really enjoyed reading all the different perspectives in the past weeks.

It’s interesting how much my perspective on gratitude has changed this year. So much has happened, and the most important thing I think I’ve realized is that gratitude is so much more than just an attitude.

It’s a necessity for survival.

The Family MathThis year I’ve had to learn to find something good in the worst circumstances.

  • My dad’s illness meant he had to go to the hospital in Birmingham, but that meant I was able to see him when I was too pregnant to travel more than an hour away from home.
  • Noah was in the NICU for a week after he was born, but I was grateful we were able to feed him and touch him, even while he was in a warming unit.
  • My dad never got to meet Noah, but thanks to technology, he did get to see a picture, and I was able to talk with him on the phone before he passed away.
  • A tornado destroyed a huge part of the town where I leave just weeks after Noah was born, but it missed our house, and we had friends who were willing to take us in until our electricity came back on.
  • I have battled postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, but I have a husband who has shown how much he loves and supports me through it all.
  • I got mono, but it forced me to get much-needed rest.

I could continue, but I’m sure you get the point. The amount of bad stuff that’s happened this year has been pretty tremendous, but finding a little good in everything — a little something to be thankful for — has kept me going.

Here’s to 2012 being a better year with even more to be thankful for.

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Missed a post in the Thankful Series? You can catch up on them here.

Struggle

Butterfly and cocoon

Photo from starampglobal.com.au.

I’ve heard a story before about how it’s important for a butterfly to struggle to get out of its cocoon in order to be strong and able to fly once it’s in the real world.

So I guess I should be thankful.

Coming off antidepressants has not been a walk in the park. The first couple of days were a breeze, but then I think my system realized something was up, and the hormones that had been held in check for months decided to have a little party in my brain.

It’s not as bad as it could be, but I have felt a lot of pressure, stress, anxiety in the past week. I’ve found myself being increasingly short with Bobby. We’ve fought more this week than probably any other single week since I started on the meds. I’ve done my share of crying. And with Christmas looming, I’ve been thinking about my dad even more than usual, which doesn’t help.

But I’m not breaking. Bobby has been so supportive and has let me know (gently) that it’s OK if I need to start taking the meds again. And I was able to talk to him about where I am — to tell him that I know, that I will if I need to but that I’m not going to take an easy out. I knew coming off them would be difficult, and I’m making it OK so far. Not easy, but OK.

I do think it will get easier. My body will slowly get all its chemicals more straightened out, and I’ll be able to go through my days without the near-constant tension that comes from anxiety and depression.

In the meantime, I am reminding myself to take deep breaths and enjoy the happy moments. It does my heart good to have weekends like this past one, where Noah was about as sweet as I could imagine, where he wanted Mama to put him down for his naps and didn’t mind when I cuddled him a few extra minutes each time.

Life is good, even if it’s hard. And I think it’s getting better every day. One day at a time, and I’ll take a few steps back if I need it.

It’s time. I’m ready.

sleeping baby

Thank goodness the kid slept on the way home from Nashville! Cute, isn't he?

Today is my last day of taking antidepressants.

I think I’m ready.

I got a little bit of a reality check last weekend when we went to Nashville. We were visiting a home church community there, and we took Noah with us. And he cried. And cried. And cried. For basically the second half of the car ride. He also puked at lunch because I let him have a Chick-Fil-A fry, and he crammed the whole thing in his mouth.

Then came Opryland. Great idea in theory, but not so much with a cranky 8-month-old and a million people there looking at the Christmas lights. Bobby and I fought a bit because he wanted to sit down (he didn’t tell me until later that his gout was acting up), and I set off with Noah and the rest of the group without him.

I was barely holding it in at that point. Bad thought after bad thought after bad thought until I was at the point of tears.

The worst thought? “I can’t do this. I’m not ready to come off meds, and I’m never going to be. I just can’t handle motherhood.”

*Sigh*

Thankfully my friend Natalie asked if I wanted to just take Noah and grab something to drink instead of walking around. Almost the whole Tuscaloosa group ended up catching back up with Bobby and sitting for a while. I think that saved me from a full-blown panic attack in the middle of the Opryland Hotel.

So then we end up with the whole group (there were probably at least 40 of us) at Cracker Barrel. Which is also excessively crowded. And noisy. And I have a hungry, cranky baby who hasn’t slept very much all day, and it’s already past his bedtime.

And then we end up at a table with six. other. kids.

Now this is not to complain about the kids, because they were actually all pretty well-behaved. But it was total A.D.D. time for Noah, which was not helpful while I was trying to feed him. Baby food EVERYWHERE. And I just kept getting more and more frazzled as I tried to keep him from grabbing silverware off the table or flinging pureed carrots into my hair by yanking the spoon I was feeding him with out of my hand.

And, of course, in the midst of all this, he has a poopy diaper and completely freaks out in the bathroom when I go to change him. (I don’t know what scares him so badly about public restrooms, but he screams and shakes like I’ve never seen.)

Poor Bobby wanted to help, but we were so packed in there that it was impossible to swap seats.

The pressure and the strain and the bad feelings just kept on building until I was really at the verge of a panic attack. Bobby saw it and kept reassuring me that it’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK. We ended up setting Noah on the table to finish feeding him, then I gave him bits and pieces off my plate, and he was completely content. No more fit-pitching. Grumpy baby, gone.

Bobby was right: It really was OK.

I approached the edge, and I didn’t go over it (with a little helpful tug back toward reality from Bobby). I didn’t have a panic attack in Cracker Barrel in front of a bunch of people I just met. Noah eventually got to bed that night and woke up the next day in a significantly better mood.

I woke up with a new perspective on me. Those fears from the night before about not being able to handle it? I. proved. them. wrong.

Motherhood isn’t ever going to be easy. And just because I’m coming off antidepressants doesn’t mean I’m completely over PPD and PPA. It just means I’m at a point where I can handle it.

I’m gaining back control of my life, and it’s a relief. It feels good. I’ll take that last little half-pill tonight, and I will close that particular chapter of my life.

Here’s to happy, med-free, messy, full-of-struggle-but-not-overwhelming days ahead.

Edited to add: I have been in the process of weaning off these meds for four weeks after having discussed it with my doctor. I followed her instructions for doing so. I definitely don’t recommend quitting antidepressants cold turkey! If you’re thinking of getting off your meds, make sure to talk to your doctor FIRST!

Of random anxiety attacks (and facing them down)

I was driving today to drop off shoes I collected for Soles4Souls to help out All Things Fadra. I thought I was going to have to drive three hours to Wadley, Ala., which is in the middle of BFN, but thankfully it turned out that I was able to drop them in Birmingham, which is a little less than an hour from our house.

For some reason I felt a ton of anxiety about going. Maybe it was because I was venturing out by myself for this long (thankfully it turned out to be not-so-long) trip, something I really haven’t done since I traveled alone with Noah after my dad passed away. Regardless of the reason, anxiety hit big time.

I was driving along on the interstate when I started thinking about what would happen if I got into an accident. Those thoughts quickly led to thinking about dying and not being able to see Noah grow up.

But here’s what was different today from the past seven months or so: I saw what was happening, and I literally said, “NO. I am not going to do this.”

And I didn’t. It was a big victory, and I’m proud of myself.

Breast feeding thoughts #2

First, thanks to all who read and provided feedback and stories and encouragement related to breast feeding. It’s been a tough couple of weeks, and this has been weighing heavily on me.

After weighing everything as best I could and talking it over with Bobby, I’ve decided to suspend breast feeding and pumping for the time being. I have been incredibly stressed since Noah was born — to the point that it’s been making me physically ill. I battled the flu-like infection the week he was in NICU and the following week, and I’ve been dealing with some massive stress and anxiety since he’s been born. It’s been a combo of being a new mom, having a baby in NICU, being sick, the situation with my dad, Noah’s digestive issues and not really having enough sleep. But it’s literally made me unable to eat, and when I do, my stomach hurts constantly.

We also found out this afternoon that Noah’s sodium is still low, which means he is on a special formula at least until they can get it balanced out.

This was not an easy decision, but I need to be able to function and be happy and actually enjoy Noah. I made the decision this morning, and it’s at least helped some today. If I am able to pick it back up once I am physically and emotionally feeling healthier, I likely will, but for now I am, as Bobby put it, making the best decision I can for Noah and me.