Friday, January 19, 2018

The Grace Unit

I don't know what happened. I really don't. Everything was fine until suddenly it wasn't. And just as suddenly as it did before, it hit me like a ton of bricks; postpartum depression. Except this time, it waited 6 weeks before moving in and was much, much worse. I knew what was happening, I could feel it. First, it was the overall feeling of hopelessness, regret and general stress. Then came the anxiety and fear of being alone with her filled with self doubt, and then finally the intrusive thoughts.

I once again was paralyzed on my living room floor in hysterics when my husband found me, just like before. I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't control it. Hours earlier I had told him I felt I really was going to go crazy this time and he told me to just lie down for a little bit, but I couldn't. So there I was, a crying mess, physically unable to pick myself up off the floor. My husband came rushing home from work after a string of text messages I had sent him about him and the girls deserving better than whatever I was, that I was going to leave them to live a life without me. He told me we needed to figure this out and began rushing around the house getting the girls' things together; he was taking me to the ER. I cried harder. Why was this happening to me again? I don't want to feel this way!

I ended up driving myself to the ER. I could barely get the words out when they asked me what I needed to be seen for: "I just had a baby. No one trusts me to be around my kids and I have postpartum depression." I felt defeated in saying those words out loud. I had already beat this once before, but now I need to do it again?! They asked me if I trusted myself with my kids, and as much as I was in denial of it, I told them yes anyways. It was the honest truth.

I was taken to a special triage room with locked doors and absolutely nothing else in it but a bed. I was required to strip down to just my underwear in front of two nurses who took all of my belongings away from me, except my cell phone. A behavioral specialist called my husband and talked to him before coming into the room and telling me that they wanted me to be admitted for help. I was reluctant at first, but after a friend tracked me down in the ER and convinced me I needed to do this, I agreed. I hadn't slept in 4 days, had lost 6 pounds in 6 days and my symptoms had manifested themselves into physical symptoms that were so distressing on my heart and abdomen it literally felt like I had always just finished an intense ab workout, but without the great results...I just couldn't let myself keep feeling this way. I sat in that tiny room for 9 hours before being taken by ambulance to another hospital where I was officially admitted to the mental health unit. I remember the drive there. It seemed so fast, yet so long at the same time. I felt so normal strapped to that gurney and asked myself if I was faking it, because this just couldn't happen to me. Nevertheless, it was, and we had arrived at the Grace Unit at 11PM on January 3.

After being required to strip my clothes yet again in front of two more nurses, this time including underwear, I was taken to my room. Again, nothing was in it but a single bed. The walls were empty, the window was huge and bare and I felt so, so small. I stood there, staring at the blank, tan walls and said out loud, "How did I get here? How could I have let this happen?" I felt like I had failed everyone. My husband, my kids, my parents, my brother, my friends, and all the women I had helped over the last few years with their own postpartum depression. I was embarrassed I let this happen, and I was angry that it happened to me again.

Since it was so late, I got a quick tour of the small unit and was given a sleeping pill after they found out I hadn't slept in days. I barely slept that night still, but it was more than I had slept in the previous four days combined. The next day I had breakfast with the other five patients. I didn't want to talk. I didn't want to do anything. I felt so stupid and silly and paralyzed with anxiety, but I forced myself to go to every group therapy session everyday anyways. The first two days I had minimal participation, and decided to call my husband at home. I was told my stay could be anywhere from 2-7 days, and I wanted to check in and see how I felt. Unfortunately, I had to end the call early as a full panic attack started creeping up on me and sent me running for my room crying. I couldn't go home.

It got better from there when I started participating. I shared every morning how I felt and set daily goals. I made sure to always meet those goals, and accepted where I was and what had happened that got me there. I knew it wasn't my fault, but still struggled with anyone finding out where I was. I still do. But while there, I met two beautiful souls that I bonded with. As crazy as it sounds, I found peace in being around people who knew how it felt to feel the feelings that I was going through. It was so easy to look at them and say how my anxiety was attacking me right now, and for the response to be that that sucks, but that they would walk the unit with me or watch a funny movie to help distract me. I heard stories from the other patients and learned what it really meant to be grateful, and I talked with the nurses about their own struggles with depression. I knew I wasn't alone, but man, everyday it still feels like I am.

On January 10, I came home. I am not recovered. I am in a full blown relapse and I fight with it everyday. I am struggling. I have fears and doubts. My heart still flutters and my abdomen tenses for sometimes an entire day, no matter what coping skill I try. But I'm sleeping and eating again. I can go an entire day without crying. My symptoms are still there, I still feel and think them, I am just able to better live with them. I thought about hiding this experience from everyone out of sheer fear of judgement, but I know I can't let myself give in to the stigma of mental illness either. I want everyone to know that mental illness does not affect just individuals, but entire families. My children and my husband were without me for an entire week. My husband missed work, neighbors brought him meals, friends babysat so he could work his business....mental illness is not just my illness, it's my families', and as long as I have them, I know I can keep fighting this. And if you're struggling, or someone you love is, know that you can fight this too. Don't ever go down without a fight, no matter how embarrassed or silly you might feel doing it. Fight. Because it's all we have left after depression steals everything else from us. <3

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Two Lines

When I first found I was pregnant I was excited, happy, shocked and only a little nervous. It hasn't been so long that I've forgotten how it goes, so I was pretty surprised that my doctor insisted that I take an OB education class. I was reluctant, but made the appointment anyways.

So the day came and I sat there in the room with the Physicians Assistant and I thought maybe she'll tell me something has changed in the last three years (it hasn't) or that I can finally have deli meat (you can't) and as I told her how amazing my last pregnancy was, it seemed pointless to be there again. She explained exercise was fine (duh) and drink plenty of water (of course) and handed me my giant book all about how amazing being a mom was. The book was different than last time. Smaller. Interesting.

I briefly thumbed through it in front of her and took note of the stack of hand outs and pamphlets shoved inside the pocket about breastfeeding, carseat safety, vaccines, genetic testing and hospital registration information.

'Something is missing,' I told her.
'Oh? What's that?'
'There isn't anything in here about mental health.'
She stared at me for a brief moment before stumbling through her words, 'You mean, like, postpartum depression?'
'Well yeah. There's nothing in here about it.' Isn't that just as important as making sure my baby is vaccinated and protected against harmful diseases that can kill it?
'There's something in the book about it,' she explained.

Guys. It wasn't until I got home I decided to look it up in the book. Amongst the pages upon pages of how to care for all the lovely after birth physical symptoms and how a boob works, I found it: Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.

And it was a paragraph!

Dozens of pages on vaccinations and medications you can and cannot take and breastfeeding support and labor pains and everything else under the sun, but mood disorders got one paragraph. And here is what it said:
"Symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after giving birth. It does not matter how old you are, how much money you make, what your race is or culture you come from, any woman can develop these disorders."

The list of symptoms possible after that went on to list: trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, exhaustion, hopelessness, crying, trouble concentrating, feelings of being a bad mothers, lack of interest in sex and the baby, and thoughts of harming yourself or the baby.

This paragraph was then followed by two whole pages of helpful hints for dads and how to resume having sex again. 

What this doesn't explain is that there is more than crying and feeling sad and lack of interest in your doesn't explain obsessive thoughts, extreme mood swings, psychosis and hallucinations, intrusive thoughts or pure fear of literally almost anything. We are missing women here. 15-20% of women will develop postpartum depression or anxiety, and that's not including postpartum OCD, psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder, or the fact that some men develop these conditions postpartum too. It is even estimated that 25% of Americans (arguably 50% by some) will experience a mental illness of some type at some point in their life.

I am sad. I am sad that this is what the women in my community are given when they first become pregnant, when you already don't have a clue of what's going on and are afraid of every symptom you get regardless of what it is. This is how we are preparing women and their families. 20% may not seem significant to some of you, but can we talk about these stats for a minute?

12%: Adults diagnosed with heart disease
3%: People diagnosed with celiac disease
12%: Women diagnosed with breast cancer
9%: Amount of current population diagnosed with diabetes
1.5%: Number of women that will experience bulimia
1%: Number of children identified on the Autism spectrum

My point here isn't to negate any of these illnesses or diseases; they are all important. My point here is that awareness for these conditions is widely spread and accepted in society. There are countless resources, screenings and support groups available for those that need it. Then there are new moms and babies and families that feel ashamed, confused and lost about what is happening in their own bodies. Most don't know where to turn. Many don't even know how to begin to ask for help, even though they have identified that something is wrong. And too many doctors are missing the signs in their own patients and letting them leave their office feeling hopeless over and over. When does it stop? When do we learn that mental health needs to be a priority?

Now that I am expecting again, I have been asked about how I feel about postpartum depression again. I know I'm at risk. I know I'm also at a higher risk of developing a more severe perinatal mood disorder. I won't lie, it is a little scary. The thought of having to experience that yet again not only terrifies me, but angers me. Once was enough! 

My doctor is also fully aware of my history and has already flagged my file at my own request to consistently screen me at every appointment while pregnant and and post-birth before I get the chance to leave the hospital. I hope I am strong enough to advocate for myself when I feel something is wrong, and I hope that I don't slip into denial if these symptoms do arise, but I can't say that for sure I will. With P, I walked away from my doctor five times without a diagnosis before that breakdown in her office begging for help. Five times. And she had no idea. 

I hope I have been transparent enough in my journey that my family and friends aren't afraid to ask me or question me if they sense something isn't right. In fact, even when things seem perfect, I hope you ask. I hope you ask the new mom in your life, whoever she may be, whether she smiles or not, laughs or joins you for dinner., ask her how she's really doing. Moms are warriors, and they are damn good at hiding their feelings when they need to. Don't be afraid.

Help be the change. Don't wait for it to be too late.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Missing Baby

You can't miss your boat. It's yours. It stays docked till you're ready. The only boat you can miss is someone else's. Let them have theirs while you wait for yours. -Glennon Doyle Melton

When I first read that quote I thought okay sure, that makes sense, that's true. I can live by these words. But what I didn't prepare myself for was for how bitter I actually was waiting for my own damn boat. I write a lot about postpartum depression and I am in no way ashamed of my story or what my family went through, but do my readers, do my friends, do my family, really understand how that experience felt?

I struggle to put into words the exact story for two reasons: some of those feelings have since drifted so far from my memory I honestly can't remember certain parts, and because even now, two plus years later, I am still trying to figure it out.

I want to bring you back to a post I wrote called The Pampers Moment in which I describe finally feeling peace with P; holding her, rocking her quietly at night with a light breeze through the living room where we sat as she peacefully slept. That was the moment I fell in love with her. Not mama love, but like that deep, passionate, I-cant-live-without-you, I-will-literally-fight-a-bear-for-you kind of love. That was the exact moment in time I knew I could do this, that she was mine and I was hers, and that this was meant to be. But guys, P was almost 8 months old when I wrote that. So what happened in those first 8 months?

I was not sad. Sadness, fear, hopelessness, anxiety and regret only fully consumed the first 2 months of P's life. So we're still missing 6 months. Are you following me? In those 6 months I felt happiness. I felt complete and fulfillment in everyday duties again, like grocery shopping or going to work and out with friends. I slept well, ate reasonably and exercised. I went through the motions. Deep inside I still struggled with bitterness. I hated watching women on TV or in movies have babies because they were so happy....and don't even get me started on Facebook. Oh Facebook friends, I really was happy for you. I was so happy to see you start a family and be happy yourself, but below that happiness for you was my bitterness.

How is this fair? How was I chosen while everyone else seemed to get off so easy? Why did everyone else get these amazing experiences and I got cheated! So cheated. And it made me so angry and that anger welled inside me and eventually turned into rage. One year ago today I wrote my post on rage: When You Lose the Battle. I had failed my recovery and I had failed my family and myself, and I had let whatever this is win. I am grateful that with time and proper support, that anger finally resolved, but the bitterness was still left. And the bitterness was mostly consumed by the unknown. Because folks, I honestly have no idea. What is it like to hold your newborn baby? Because I could barely hold mine. What is this love you feel for your baby? Because I looked at mine and felt nothing. What do you mean not sleeping at night is all worth it for that bundle of joy? Because I got mad at her when she woke me up. You went places? I didn't leave my house for 2 months unless it was to a doctor or my parents. Oh, you have silly pictures of your adorable new baby and your sleep-deprived self? With the exception of half my face in a hospital photographer's picture the day after she was born, there are approximately zero pictures of myself holding my daughter the first month of her life. 

The hardest part about sharing this experience with others is the pity. We Warrior Moms are not looking for pity. No, we are looking for someone to look at us and acknowledge that wow, that shit did suck, and I promise to fight with you so no one else has to feel that. We do not need your validation anymore; we have already climbed the mountain, but won't you join us at the top and help others up? And on the days when our foot slips and it feels as if we're going to tumble back down to the ground, won't you reach out and keep us from falling?

So the bitterness lurks, fueled by the unknown and the shame that P had to wait 8 months for a mommy that would fight wildlife to save her. I know, she won't remember. But there are not enough months left in my lifetime for me to forget and how much I miss my baby.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How My Medication Saved Your Life

Whenever I start helping a new mom, the first thing she tells me is that she doesn't know how to ask for help. She's afraid to ask for help. Her partner doesn't understand and a doctor probably won't either. So she stays quiet. She thinks those thoughts and feelings are shameful and should be kept to herself and she needs to accept this as her new life. She can never go back to the person she was.

I am calling bullshit.

If you were once a happy person, enjoyed life, found pleasures in the simple things, or were able to leave your house, you can be that person again. It is not impossible. And shame on anyone in your life that would make you think you can't be that person again. Shame on anyone that makes you think nothing is wrong. Shame on them for not being there for you when you needed them the most.

After I hear this heartbreaking new reality for these new moms, the next thing I tell them is this: admitting something is wrong is the hardest part of getting better.

Admitting to myself was the worst. I cried every day. I dreaded Hubs leaving me home alone, even if it was only for a few minutes. I knew something was wrong, but I wasn't going to have postpartum anything; I was fine. But around week 5 I knew this wasn't going to pass and was in fact, only going to get worse. Thankfully, my postpartum check up was right around the corner. (PS - if you think you are suffering, you DO NOT need to wait for this appointment. If you are one week postpartum, you can call. If you are 2 days postpartum, call and make the appointment). I feel so lucky that I only suffered for 6 weeks before finding the strength to ask for help. And my help wasn't even gifted to me through asking, but by my lack of ability to hold my shit together when my doctor cheerfully asked me how I was doing at my postpartum checkup and bursting into uncontrollable tears so horrible a nurse had to come take my daughter from the room because I couldn't hold her.

So I awkwardly laid there at my postpartum checkup while my doctor examined how I was healing as she explained she knew exactly how I was feeling and knew what I needed to feel better. She was going to write me a prescription for Prozac. Ya'll, I have never filled a prescription for something so fast in my life. I needed those pills. I had reached a point of desperation and anguish that I needed it to go away and go away NOW! I knew it would take almost a whole month to build up in my system to fulling start working, but after just a few days I started only crying once a day instead of all day, so I knew they were working. But then a mysterious rash started on my back and abdomen and was diagnosed with hives. I was allergic to fucking Prozac! My doctor then prescribed me Wellbutrin. The pharmacy told me it would take four days to get the medication in. I couldn't handle it. I was unmedicated, allergic to the one thing that gave me relief in almost 2 months and now I can't even get Option B. I called my nurse crying. My nurse, whose name was Jackie and I will never forget how absolutely amazing this woman was, called the pharmacy and miraculously they were able to fill it for me same day. (There is a special place in heaven for Jackie). After a week of the new medication, I didn't feel any better. In fact, I felt worse. I went back yet again to my doctor. I was miserable. She admitted she had been thinking about me since my last appointment and didn't think I was allergic to Prozac. Well hallelujah. Apparently my rash was something that most often occurred in postpartum women, but typically right after birth and not almost 2 months later. Go figure. So I was back on the Prozac. Things started to get better.

But why couldn't you just go to therapy?

I will tell you why. I was not just depressed. I had postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. I wasn't 'just sad.' I feared things I had never feared before and in irrational volumes. I thought things I knew I shouldn't be thinking, and that made me fear doing much of anything. If I was driving the car with my daughter in the backseat, I would wonder what would happen if I just didn't stop at a stoplight, or didn't turn the wheel when the road turned.....I would be holding P and vividly see myself dropping her, or leaving her outside strapped in her carseat on the back step (in negative temperatures). I didn't think I would actually do these things, but how could I possibly know that? I never hurt P or myself, but those thoughts were scary and I was afraid for the one day I wasn't able to control them. I honestly believe that help came just in time.

Medication saved my life and it saved my babies life. I don't know what this disease could have done to me if I hadn't been able to admit, seek and begin treatment. I could have hurt others. I would have hurt others. I'm sure of it. My treatment was not easy. It can't always be a walk in the park. It's really hard. There are bumps in the road that are sometimes so huge you don't even want to attempt to get over them. But eventually it levels out and you get to live your life again.

Just when I thought I was better, I fell low again and needed medication to bring me back up. This time, I did need therapy too, which helped immensely, but I needed something to help control the emotions and irrational actions. We're trying this again, Hubs and I, and hoping for a full recovery. There are only a few pills left in the bottle I haven't touched in almost a month now. I hope I never need them again, but I can't be ashamed to admit when I'm wrong and when I need help. Admitting will always the hardest, but the outcome is so incredibly worth it. How could you possibly know how great your life can really be if you don't give yourself a chance? You're worth being the best you for you. Don't forget that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


I've rewritten this blog post about 400 times this week, but since I have a great bout of insomnia going, I figure I would give it one last shot before posting it for the world to see.

Make that 402. I just wrote this post, twice, and deleted it, twice. I want to write to you about burdens and mental illness, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to put that into words. So maybe the key is to just write without thinking because if I don't get it out I fear I will never sleep again. So here goes.

I feel like my mental illness is a burden on others. Mostly, on Hubs and P. Is that true? I don't know for sure. What I do know is that they get the brunt of my illness. They have to deal with my emotions and my actions more than anyone else. There are days when I know what I'm doing is wrong and that I'm burdening them with my own issues, and on those days I feel like a super horrible mom. I'm such a bad mom. I still don't really know how to do this whole mom thing and I try to figure it out, but clearly some of you got the manual and I didn't because there are so many reminders on what I'm doing wrong. And I'm a bad wife. I don't remember my vows word for word anymore, but I'm sure I'm not living up to the expectations I set for our marriage on that day. And depression and anxiety are not my illness, but my families'; I may suffer from it, but they are carry the burden. My family lives with this everyday, and I bet there are days they get really sick of it. Me too. I am tired, ya'll (emotionally, not physically, because that would just be too good to be true).

I read an excerpt the other day about light and shadows and no matter how much we try to move, the light continues to cast a shadow behind us. The darkness, the shadow, is behind us. We cannot be in our own shadow; it's a mere reflection. It got more complicated after that, and I think it was actually a comparison to Heaven (not really sure), but as I read it I could only compare it to mental illness. This illness is a reflection of darkness, but there is light around it too.

So basically what this means is I have this thing that won't go away no matter how hard I try and there are good days and there are bad days and light and darkness and it all comes together to symbolically remind us that everything will be okay, but at the end of the day there is still a burden. (Yeah, it was really unhelpful when I read it, too).

I love my family. I don't want to burden them or make them feel bad or think they are in any way to blame for why things are the way they are and I just want everything to be better. To be okay. To be how it used to be. And then I try to remember what life felt like before we all became burdened and I really don't even know because it doesn't seem so bad now as it did before, but it's still not the same. And I don't know what any of this means, really, but what I do know is that there is a weight, a really heavy weight, and it's on my shoulders all the time. The weight cannot be lifted through selfcare (which I am a very fluent practitioner of), or rest or hugs or prayer (trust me). The weight, much like physical weight, will dissipate with time and hard work.

In the mean time, we suffer. And I somehow have to keep moving forward on days when I don't want to, and I still need to get out of bed even if sometimes I really need to convince myself that I can do it. And my family does too. They will keep tolerating me through my outbursts and keep loving me even when they don't like who I am in that moment and together we'll keep trying to lift this weight and push it off, into the shadows behind us, forever.

This is probably the only blog post that truly upset me because there was no solution at the end. I don't know what the answers are. I want to, does that count? I wish this story had a happy ending with a successful plan of action that you could put into place in your own life to feel less burdensome, but I don't have that today. And that's what this blog is for. I promised in my first post that this would be real and raw. So here it is.

22 months later. No cure yet. Will check again tomorrow.

Edit to add: If you read this entire post, thank you. I needed to get this out, which meant I didn't spell check or re-read anything. This was the result of that. I accept full responsibility of any spelling or grammatical errors.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Boxes and Bitterness

 After our recent move I decided it was time to organize all of the random baby items and clothes throughout the past year that were literally shoved into a box as we stopped using them. What this really should have been called was "after our recent move I decided to surround myself with triggers." Remember triggers? We talked about them before, it's a situation/thing/person/anything that triggers your mental illness. I am somehow in denial that I have triggers, yet I continuously throw them in my own face.

Anyways, I started organizing. And I was doing great; boxes were getting emptied, items were getting organized and grouped by size and age group and I was making great time! And then, as I started folding the teeny, tiny baby clothes up and packing them into boxes with size labels it hit me....

I am mad. I am still mad. And I am so, so bitter.

I think it's hard for people who haven't experienced a perinatal mood disorder to truly understand how I could STILL be so mad for something. I think it's hard for those people to accept that I still get sad about it. Well screw those people, because it's real and it sucks. As I folded those tiny clothes I realized I didn't miss having a baby, I missed having my baby. Do I want another baby one day? You betcha! But I will never, ever, ever, get to hold my tiny, newborn P and smile and love her and wanna be with her and cuddle. I will never get to experience first time mommyhood laying around on the couch with my newborn and walking lazily around the mall on a Tuesday afternoon. Nope. Because when I had a newborn, I couldn't leave my couch (ask hubs - I legit never left the couch). And I wasn't rooted to my couch with my little bundle of joy, I was paralyzed with sadness, fear and regret while P slept in her swing next to the couch. I could not physically hold her or emotionally enjoy her.

And that's kind of about when I lost it. I realized I will never get to hold my newborn again. This is what makes me bitter. And it makes me mad I feel this way because so many women wanted to hold their newborns and actually couldn't due to tragedy or otherwise, and yet I was able to hold mine, but was too sick to pick her up, and that's where the guilt comes in. The guilt that makes me want to apologize to all women that I'm sorry this happened to them and that I couldn't make it better, and the guilt that I'm sad over a period lost with my child, while others are sad over missing out on the entire lifetime of their children. How do you cure guilt? How do you cure sadness and anger and bitterness? Is there a cure?

So there I sat, in the middle of my living room surrounded by boxes of clothes and bottles that P will never need again, and I felt so small. I had failed my child at a time in her life when she needed me the most, and I know she won't remember those first couple months, but I will, and I'll be spending forever trying to make up for it to her. I will spend every day kissing her too much and hugging her too tight (sorry P) and splurging on her every chance I get (sorry Hubs) and doing everything I can to try to justify the bad mom I was to her in the beginning.

Damn those boxes.

I stacked those boxes up in a closet and there they will sit until I can use them again. And I promise that the next time I need them it will be different. I will revel in self care and selfishness to keep the guilt at bay and happiness on the forefront. I will enjoy the moments I have with my new little family when we decide to add to it, and I will learn from the past and fight to make sure it never happens again. PPD won that last one, but I am determined to win the next one. The fight never ends, but there is progress. There are days I see glimpses of my PPD peeking it's head around the corner to say hello, and although I cannot ignore it, I can acknowledge it, validate it, and learn from it.

Not everything can be packed away in a box, and that's okay.

Monday, August 15, 2016

What Really Changes When You Have A Baby

Lately, things have been a whirlwind for us. Between work, bills, traveling, summer plans, moving, managing two homes and everything else that's been thrown our way, it's been hard to take a breather and it's really got me thinking. What happened????

Let's put aside all the stereotypical stuff that can change after you have a baby, like appetite, your boobs, sex drive, exhaustion, packing up the entire house just to run to the ATM, etc etc....can we talk about the REAL stuff that changes?

Time. Seriously, where does it go? Not the cutesy time of watching our babies grow up and missing every stage after it's over even though we totally dreaded it while it was happening, but the actual minutes in a day. You have no more minutes. I don't know where they went, but they're gone. It seems like every day it never fails that as soon as I get home from work I'm already going to bed and someone has magically made dinner, unloaded the dishwasher and put the baby to bed, but no one has any actual recollection of who did any of that stuff. Want to do something out of the ordinary that day? Who the hell has the time! Go to the grocery store? Need new pants for work? You're now taking PTO just so you can go do it. Alone. Sure, you can take the kids with. Have fun.

Decisions. Lawdy, lawdy. Who would have thunk that every thing you did was an actual life decision? Well. It is now. Do I get gas now, or tomorrow? I could do it now, but the baby is with me and she's crying and I know she's hungry, maybe I'll wait until tomorrow. Welp. Tomorrow came and went and now it's twelve days later and you're coasting into that gas station with your crying, hungry baby anyways. Want to have a date with your husband? You are now running background checks on every person you've ever met in your life and every person they've ever met in their life just trying to find someone you trust to sit home with your sleeping kid for 2 hours before you decide to just stay home anyways, order a pizza and watch re-runs of Shark Week (great date!). Literally every thought you have will be followed by 40 more pros and cons. Remember when you didn't have kids and you just went and did stuff? Nope, me either.

Emotions. Everything is sentimental to you now. Every damn thing. That little newborn onesie at Target? Swoon and cry a little on the inside as you miss holding that tiny little babe sleeping on your chest. Charmin commercials? Don't even get me started. How much that little bear loves his mama bear and needs her help? Ugh, hand me a tissue please; I can't even. Kid tells you 'I love you'? Hey waterworks, missed you.

Food. You can now eat an entire meal that is steaming hot in approximately 35 seconds and not even get burnt. I don't know how, but I'm pretty sure it's a super power given to all mamas upon receipt of their firstborn. You will also notice you have this crazy talent to throw together a gourmet meal made entirely of cheese and crackers.

Sight. Your sight will significantly improve. You will be able to spot a piece of scotch tape on the ground from 200 yards away and think of all the horrible things that can happen if your child gets a hold of that. Brake lights 6 miles a head? Yep, you'll know about it. That guy sitting across the street from the park in his car? You don't even have to look - you know every time he picks his nose and changes the radio stations. Mama senses.

DGAF. For those of you not familiar, you will most certainly not give any fucks. Forget to put make up on? Whatever. Wore two different shoes to work? It's a new trend. Splattered milk on the backseat? It'll dry and crust off on it's own. Person glaring at you at the super market? That's cool. Baby pooped and no changing table in sight? Turns out the floor in the middle of this restaurant works just as well. And just when you think you might start to give a fuck, you will quickly realize that you most definitely, in no way shape or form, do not.

Bad-assery. This one is mostly for Hubs. You will find yourself becoming a complete and total bad ass as soon as you reach the DGAF status of parenthood. You will have no problem shoving children away from your child as you foresee danger approaching, you will yell at other children you have deemed rude or out of control that are within the vicinity of your child, and you will do whatever the hell you want with your kids, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Thought you were a bad ass before? No, you will reach an entirely new level of bad assery once you become a parent; your kid might not think so, but trust me, you are.

It can sound pretty overwhelming to experience all these new changes at once, but don't worry, they happen with time. Biology wants you to get used to the changes in your appetite, sex drive, sleep schedule and new body before it throws everything else at you, but over time you'll find that you are acquiring these new skills with little to no effort and that no matter how many times you forget to bring diapers with you or let your baby roll off the couch, you're still an awesome parent.