Friday, May 29, 2015

Cause and Effect

I found myself wondering today why PPD happened to me. What did I do? Did I miss being pregnant so much that I actually became depressed when I wasn't anymore? Hmm, that's probably not it.

Was it pre-existing conditions? Perhaps. I struggled with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in high school, and in college was diagnosed with anxiety and put on Trazadone, which I weened off of and haven't touched since meeting my amazing husband just a little over five years ago.


Five years ago I met this guy in a bar. This really annoying, drunk guy in a bar that wouldn't stop texting me. But after months of his clingy and odd personality, I came to really like him. I didn't need no stinkin' meds anymore! He was my anti-drug. My anxiety literally did not exist once he was in my life.


How could Hubs have been my anti-drug for five years and then all of a sudden get hit by full blown, paralyzing depression?!

I may have moved on and accepted the cards I was dealt, but there's a part of me that just can't get over the why. Why me? What did I do? Why did I deserve this? Am I being punished? Is this some sort of sick lesson God is trying to teach me? Is this a relationship test to see if Hubs can once again magically cure me by just existing? You're right, probably not.

But seriously. What the hell. Where does PPD/PPA/PPP come from? Many women diagnosed with the disease have no previous history of depression or anxiety. Sure, you can blame the hormones, but if it wasn't a problem before pregnancy, why is it a problem after pregnancy? Sleep deprivation? Maybe. But I get plenty of sleep at night. On weekends I get undisturbed naps. I drink coffee and tea and love my vitamins and fruit. I'm healthy. I run. I am no different than you. So how come non-pregnant me was given PPD and non-pregnant you are perfectly fine?

Sometimes I find this to be a blessing in disguise. That I am somehow suppose to use what I went through, the rawness of feeling so empty you literally have no words to describe how incredibly empty and numb you actually feel, to help others. That I need to make a difference and assist others out of the darkness and show them the light that is having a family. I can do that. It seems easy. Mostly because I want to help others. I want to hug every pregnant, new and seasoned mom and tell her it's okay and not to fear the truth; I don't feel like moms get enough of the actual truth, instead they get filled with bullshit of how amazing being a mom is and that they should instantly fall in love with their baby the very second they lay eyes on them. (Psst - mama, if you don't, that's okay!).

I think I will always dwell on the WHY. On if I did something that could have possibly caused me to slip all the way to the bottom, unable to get back up. I will always wonder. I won't ever get the answer, but that doesn't mean I'll give up on wanting to know what it is. What I can do though, is take what I have learned, face the truth head on, not fear what happened or what could happen, and take the hand of that new mom in the diaper aisle at Wal Mart and tell her it's okay and no one will judge you if you have a glass of wine tonight, or fake diarrhea just to have a few minutes alone to herself (oh yes, I have done that, and I am not ashamed).

Friday, May 22, 2015


This week was hard. It was stressful. Work was demanding, people were cranky, nothing was going my way and to top it off I am completely out of wine.

Weeks, even days, such as these (minus the wine) are triggers for some. For those of you that aren't familiar with the term, a trigger is something that might upset what appears to be a perfectly 'normal' and 'happy' person. So a trigger to someone with PPD/PPA/PPP could be devastating. Catastrophic, almost. So this whole week, everyday, was a trigger. If it wasn't one thing it was another. Nothing was going my way, I felt so stressed and that everything was a mess. I was tired, I was hungry (like seriously, all the time. Carbs carbs carbs), and everything just seemed to irritate me.

Then Thursday came. I broke. I couldn't take it anymore. Everything was piling up and I was sick of dealing with it. Catastrophe in

But it never happened. I waited. I really thought it would. I prepared. But nothing happened. Instead, I logged off my computer at work, grabbed my purse and drove to daycare. P was crying when I walked in, but stopped as soon as she saw me. And this girl was a mess. Her face was red and sweating from crying (no, she was fine, she just needed a diaper change), she was covered in oatmeal and boogers and was definitely well overdue for a nap. After her diaper was changed, I picked her up and went and sat down in a rocking chair with her. She wiped her boogers and oatmeal all over my sweater. I didn't care. Okay I lie, I did care a little bit. Sorry, but boogers and food spit up are gross, your child or not your child, nobody wants that rubbed all over them. But she was my gross, tired, cranky little mess of a peanut. I held her. I tickled her. I watched her smile. I kissed her cheeks. Then she started crying because she was really tired, my queue to leave, but I didn't want to. As I left the classroom and walked back through the building to my car I started crying. I didn't want to leave her. Could I call work and tell them I can't come back? No. I have way too much on my plate. So I got back in my car and bawled the entire drive back to work.


I do NOT cry (yeah, yeah, anymore!). And I certainly do not miss my baby. I mean, the longest I've ever been away from her is just while I've been at work, but I've never been away from her long enough to physically miss her. I've never cried because I needed to be with her so bad. By the time I got back to work, I had recovered, fixed my make up, and went about my day as though nothing had happened.

My mind was blown. I thought I would have a full blown melt down this week, cry and cry and hug Hubs and need him to tell me that everything was okay and he was there for me like he always does (he's great, isn't he?), but it never happened. I was fine. All these things in my life that before had been a trigger, meant nothing. In fact, the cure to my triggers was the one thing that used to be the source of my trigger.

Will I never have a trigger again? Maybe. But probably not. From time to time I will feel down. I will need Hubs to hold me and just tell me he loves me and that we can get through everything together, but I can't expect it. I can't fear the triggers. Clearly they change over time. But whatever my next trigger is, whatever makes me temporarily sink to the bottom of my feelings, I know I won't need to fear it. I have P. And through her tears and boogers and oatmeal covered face, she is the most beautiful thing in my life and nothing can ever change that.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Five Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

There are these brief moments that come from time to time. They feel like a wave....gradually building, intensifying, then slowly drifting away, and depending on the tide that day it might return, or it will stay at bay and won't come again for quite some time.

Today a wave came. I don't know why. It was an overall stressful day though, so maybe it was a trigger. But there I was, sitting on the floor, playing with P and making her laugh and it was the most beautiful laugh I had ever heard. I kept smiling and staring at her and laughing with her. Then the wave came. It hit me so hard I almost physically fell over. I was suddenly filled with anxiety, fear and regret all over again. I was back at the beginning. I felt lost. I didn't know what to do and I just sat there staring at P wondering what the hell I was doing and what was happening to me. She stopped smiling too and just stared at me. It's like she could sense something was wrong.

Something was wrong.

We sat there for a few seconds as I contemplated what seemed like every decision I had made in motherhood and my fight or flight kicked in, but I couldn't move. Trust me, I wanted to flight. And then, just as quickly as it came, it drifted away. Relief came back and I started kissing P's little toes again, making her giggle. But it bothered me. Why did that happen? I have been making immense progress, I am in such a great place, why did I get this feeling? Was it because I had an abnormally stressful day at work? Was I just feeling overwhelmed? Oh my God...are my meds not strong enough anymore?

Yes. That thought crossed my mind. That maybe I need to call my doctor and up the mg of my prescription. But that thought scares me even more than the occasional wave of anxiety. I refuse to accept that I am getting worse. But why, in the midst of recovery, when I thought I could almost be ready to ween off medication for good, did I regress? Why today?

As much as I fear that I am not making the progress I thought I was making, I'm angry that I'm not doing better than that. Don't get me wrong, I still consider myself recovered. I am still happy in my every day life. I love little P like no other and want to experience new things with her, but I feel like perhaps I am not as recovered as I would like to think.

But I think about the steps I have taken and the steps I am beginning to take. I need to learn to expect that when I do take five steps forward that I will take two steps back, because progress and recovery do not come easy. I can't be so hard on myself and expect to be perfect every time. I will have set backs. I won't feel happy and care free all the time. I will still get stressed and fall back into old thoughts, but just like a wave, it will wash away. It will come quickly, stay briefly, and leave swiftly. I do not need to be afraid. The thoughts will never stay. I am progressing, one step at a time.

Friday, May 15, 2015

5 Things Never to Say to Someone With PPD

1. The baby won't remember. I HATE this! Maybe she won't remember, but I am an adult, I WILL ALWAYS remember the times I missed out on, the experiences I didn't have with her and the opportunities I passed on. If I want to take my four month old to a petting zoo, let me. I don't care she won't remember if I took her or not, or that I should wait until she's older so she'll remember. I'll know I didn't and I want to. So does it really matter that much to you?
2. I were here, I wish you felt better, I wish there was something I could do for you, I wish you could come out with us, I wish, I wish, I wish. Just. Stop it. Throughout my recovery I have come to the realization that PPD is caused by one thing: grief. You are grieving the life you had and trying to adjust to the life you now have. It may come easy to some, but for others it is a task. These others, develop PPD/PPA. Of course, there can be other pre-determining factors (complicated pregnancy, unsupportive partner, pre-existing conditions, etc), but for the most part, it is grief. So when you approach someone who is recovering from PPD and tell them how much you wish for something they could be or do, you are magnifying the problem and reminding a person in the middle of the grieving process exactly what they have lost. This does not mean they regret their baby. This means you are interrupting their grieving process and bringing them back a step. So please stop it.
3. Get over it. Well. Why didn't I think of that? All I need to do is get over it. Sorry to break it to you, but it's not that easy. If you can find someone who chooses to suffer from depression, please send them my way as I have many questions for them, but for the most part, this is not a choice. This is a condition. It is a disease for which there is no vaccination, for which there is no known cause or pinpoint method of successful treatment. Telling someone who is suffering or sad to get over it, is just plain old fashioned assholery. So please stop that too. Asshole.
4. Every new mom suffers from this to some degree. Oh really? Then how come none of you jerks warned me about this? How come I felt like there was no one to talk to? And why is this such a taboo topic? Maybe this is statement is true, I don't know, but keep your mouth shut about it. If you're not telling me how much you regretted your baby and how you stopped eating and cried uncontrollably for hours on end over nothing every day for months after your baby was born, I don't need to hear it. I need someone I can relate to, someone who may have experienced something somewhat similar to the dreadful, horrible, unimaginable feelings and thoughts I had after my child was born. Hearing that some people, some where out there, once upon a time, probably felt this way too, is not comforting.
5. You don't need medication. Yes.I.Do. Bravo to those of you who may have overcome your depression or anxieties with natural or alternative medicines, or with therapy alone, but these methods are not for everyone. These methods do not work for everyone, that's why there's more than ONE WAY to do things. Then there is the complete opposite of 'Have you taken your pill today?' Although I have not personally experienced this, I have worked with many women who have. In whose world is an anti-depressant some magical pill that works instantly the first time you take it and within minutes? Pretty sure the whole U.S. population would have a prescription for these if that was the case. A magical pill that makes you instantly happy, and is legal, and covered by insurance? WHOOHOO! This is not how it works, folks. Anti-depressants take time. They need to build up in the system. Although some can feel its affects within days or a week or two, the majority take up to one month, yes, 30 days, to fully take hold of your system and relieve symptoms. In short, don't question a persons method to their recovery. It's theirs. Not yours. Let them be.

I'm sure there are one million other things you should never say to someone with PPD, or depression, but it amazes me how the ones on this short list here seem to creep up into my life on at least a weekly basis. If you're a seasoned parent, let the newbies be. You didn't like people crawling down your throat, so why do you think it's okay for you to do it? If you know a new parent, you might not know if they're fine or not. You don't need to. They will probably cover it up anyways and they will probably do a damn good job of it. So leave them alone. Just bring them lasagna and Starbucks and get the hell out of their way.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Epidural vs. Natural Birth

'Scuse me ladies, but when did we decide that those that could withstand and succeed in a natural birth were better than those that opted for pain medication? When did we decide that natural makes you better? When? Because I don't remember voting.

I can't tell you how many women have shared their personal birth stories, which I love hearing by the way, with me. I also must say that it's pretty even out there with natural births, c-sections and mama's that chose an epidural, either from the beginning or half way through. I'm here to tell you that no matter which method your little bae came into this world, it was the right way.

In talking to some of these women, I found that some (not all) stuck their noses up a bit when saying that they did a completely natural birth. Well hoorah for you. I tried. I really did. But 5 hours in, are you freaking kidding me? Get me the drugs!! And they were amazing. I didn't feel anything. I could talk, I could smile, I could text my friends and let them know what's going on...I'm glad I didn't lay there in agony for 17 hours waiting for P to get here. And in case you were wondering, P is in no way damaged from my labor-drug-loving-self.

But then you have those natural women who are sitting up on their thrones who think because they were able to withstand the pain to bring their child into the world that they are in some way better than those who didn't, or couldn't. If you were able to proceed with your natural birth, I'm proud of you, I really am. Natural birth, medicated-free labor, cannot be an easy task. I can only imagine that it is difficult and takes an extreme amount of focus. BUT, an epidural does not make you less of a warrior. An epidural does not mean you failed and weren't as strong or don't have a high pain means you didn't want to suffer. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we all bring babies into the world? Didn't we all go through pregnancy and labor and give birth and have to figure out what to do with this little newborn? So why are we judging eachother and making a difficult process that much harder?

So I ask you ladies, can't we just all get along????

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

11 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Having A Baby

1. Fear the sneeze. Oh yes people, mom bladder is a real thing. I wanted to believe I was one of the lucky few who would never be affected by this, but time and time again my sneezes and coughing fits from winter colds have proven me wrong. It doesn't matter if you just went or if you haven't had a drop to drink in hours, you better cross your legs tight and hope for the best when you feel that sneeze coming on, and dear God help you if you birthed twins.
2. Forget about those cute little outfits. At least while they're a newborn. Who.Really.Cares. You won't, trust me. You will be changing that baby too often and will find yourself loathing the outfit in the first place because it is just too damn difficult and time consuming to be taking on and off, so you'll settle for a sleeper instead. And that super, super cute outfit you've been waiting months to dress that little cutie in? As soon as you get it on they will spit up or poop on it. So just forget the cutesie little outfits for a few months and leave that kid in their pajamas all day. No one will blame you.
3. Middle of the night cuddle sessions are not magical. You know those diaper commercials where the mom is standing in the moon light of her baby nursery, swaying slowly with her little one while smiling down at their adorable little face? So peaceful. So beautiful. So full of crap. You are going to be exhausted and you will plop down in your recliner and pray and pray that baby falls back asleep quickly, and deeply, so you can get back to your own restful slumber. Don't get me wrong, it has the potential to be a great bonding moment between mommy and baby, but for the most part, you would just rather save it for morning when you've both had a full night sleep. But then.....
4. You will never really sleep again. But not because your baby is doing anything to keep you awake. Your ears are constantly listening, and your eyes will stare at that baby monitor looking for movements or straining to hear a breath. When you wake up at 2 a.m. to go to the bathroom (and you will, see #1), you will peek in on that little one, feel their warm little hand in yours and stand there for approximately 20 minutes before realizing you're wasting precious sleeping minutes.
5. You don't mind waking up early. I don't know about you, but P is happiest first thing in the morning. She is smiling and cooing and giggling and will sit still on my lap and cuddle for about 15-20 minutes before she gets squirmy and wants to play. I don't get those moments at any other time of the day with her, unless she's unconcious. So morning time is the best time.
6. You can look normal again. I was instilled with the fear that I will continue to look pregnant for the next 5-6 months after giving birth, but I will tell you that two weeks after having P I looked pretty similar to what I did before getting pregnant. However, I must also add I was not a skinny minnie before getting pregnant either, so don't think I have some super flat stomach chiseled out with a six pack. But I am just as doughy looking after as I was before, and I honestly don't mind that. I am actually down 7 pounds from my pre-preggo weight already. Which brings me to my next point....
7. There is no excuse not to eat healthy and exercise. This is my biggest pet peeve with new moms. They claim they have no time to eat a healthy meal or exercise. On top of that, people almost encourage new moms to be lazy. Um, no. Eat an apple, strap that baby into the stroller and walk around the block a few times. If you are still in your first six weeks I will give you a free pass, but if your child is 3 and you are still telling people you are carrying baby weight while shoving your face full of Big Mac's, that's on you. Don't blame your baby for your unhealthy lifestyle. My favorite is involving P in my workouts. I will lay her on the ground and do planks or push ups over her, or hold her in the air while I do sit ups. She thinks it's a great game I'm playing, we're bonding, and I'm building muscle. Win-win-win. And when your kids are older? Run around the yard with them. Go on walks. Go on bike rides. Please don't make excuses. There are none.
8. When your baby starts talking at you, it's the most beautiful sound in the world. I used to think kids were annoying. Most of them still are. But when P started cooing and making sounds at me, I swear my heart melts. Every time. It's the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. No one ever told me that the sounds I find completely headache-worthy from other kids I wouldn't be able to get enough of out of my own. It's adorable.
9. Life isn't that much harder. When P was two days old we had to bring her back to the doctor. My doctor warned us how hard it is to get out of the house with a newborn, so to make sure we're up early and plan lots of time to get to the clinic.....we were there 20 minutes early. So boring. Pack a bottle, some diapers and an extra onesie. Deal with everything else once at said destination. Leaving the house takes just as much time and is really not much more inconvenient than before, with the exception of lugging around that awkward car seat. It does not take us hours to get ready and I don't stress about it. In fact, I itch to get out of the house with P on weekends. I love taking her places!
10. You will want your baby to grow up, yet stay small forever, all at the same time. When I was first diagnosed with PPD, I just wanted P to be 15 and self-sufficient. Now, I want her to be 3 weeks old again so I can cuddle her and hold her any way I want while she sleeps in my arms, but I also want her to be 3 years old so I can take her places like the zoo and have her understand what they are. I want to teach her things, but want her to stay small and shield her from the world at the same time. I want her to experience and have joyous moments, but I want her to rely on me and cling to my shoulder. It's a vicious cycle.
11. You are capable of having conversations NOT about your baby. All my friends warned me that once I had a baby that's all I would talk about. Not so much. I hold plenty of conversations about other things on a daily basis. I don't show off baby pictures everywhere I go. I don't brag to everyone about how cute and amazing she is. Just meet her, you'll see, you won't need me to tell you. Of course she comes up in conversation, but I don't revolve an entire hang out session on diapers and formula and sleeping and baby milestones....I'm an adult. I have other things going on. I don't need to burden my friends. That's what Hubs and my family are for.

So there you have it, the 11 things I have learned after having a baby that I wish someone had told me before. As crazy as it sounds, I worried about these things when I was pregnant. Everyone FREAKED ME OUT! But everyone was wrong. And my list might be different from yours, maybe 100% different from yours, but rest assured that everyone (even me, but probably not) are wrong about what your life will be like after that first baby. Worry, don't worry, everything will be fine. Eventually. And if not, that's what wine is for.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Let Me Clarify

Let's get something straight. Not every day is a good day. I have recovered from PPD and am trying my hardest to make up for the time I lost with my daughter, but do not confuse this with me thinking that every moment with her is sunshine and roses. Let me tell you how untrue that is....

When my daughter pukes down my bra, do you really think I'm smiling? When her poop gets on my thumb, I am not beaming with pride. And when she wakes up at 3 a.m. and refuses to go back to sleep until 5 a.m., just to wake back up again for the day at 6 a.m., leaving me completely exhausted, I am so miserable. I struggle. I still love her, but I definitely am not her biggest fan on those days.

There are times when P fights sleep and becomes overly tired and extremely difficult. She cries the whole 15 minutes home from day care and she likes to poop as soon as I get a clean diaper on her. She never spits up on herself, unless it's one of my favorite outfits I've been waiting forever to dress her in.

I do get tired. I get exhausted. Sometimes I want a break. Sometimes I wish she would nap for an hour on the weekends so I can lay on the couch and catch up on my shows. I want to watch a movie, not late at night after she goes to bed. I want to read my magazine and actually read the articles, not just swiftly flip through the pages and see if a picture catches my eye.

But those days are few and far between. The other days are great. And I always enjoy our time together. I enjoy the times she stares at me and giggles and the times she squeezes my finger. I love watching her face light up when I pick her up from day care and the excitement in her eyes when we go for walks after dinner. She's amazing. But we're still getting to know eachother. We're both learning who the other one is, likes and dislikes, love will take time. But in that time I will love her, I will enjoy watching her grow and experiencing new things with her, and in those rare moments where we aren't seeing eye to eye, I will be miserable and exhausted. I will get frustrated. But I will never take our time together for granted.

Just in case you were wondering.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


Guilt (n):a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc, whether real or imagined.

To someone who has suffered PPD/PPA, and recovered, guilt plays a huge role. Please do not be confused with guilt and PPD itself, as I feel no guilt in having the disease. My guilt stems from what PPD did to me. PPD made me neglect my daughter. It made me not care for her. It made me ignore her. It made me regret her. It stole time I had from her.

I don't care that she won't remember this time. I don't care that she won't know if I held her every minute I could the first month of her life or not unless I tell her so. What I do care about it, what I do feel guilty about, is robbing myself of the time, the moments, the feelings that I wish I'd had with my first newborn. I will never get a first born again. I blew it. PPD blew it for me.

People find it silly that it means so much to me to be overly involved with my four month old, but what they couldn't possibly understand is the valuable moments I lost with her in the beginning. I know it was only a small sliver of time, six weeks, and it won't make a difference to P, but it makes a difference to me. I can't get that time back with her, but I can certainly make the time I have with her from here on out count. I need these experiences for myself, not just for my daughter.

Tonight we went on a family walk and I talked with Hubs about how great these women from my mom group were and how they weren't like other moms. They were....the cool moms. Not just the cool moms, they were the REAL moms. They didn't sugar coat anything or smile and tell you how wonderful parenthood was, when what they really wanted to do was take a four hour nap, soak in a tub and have a couple shots of tequila. Hubs made a comment that maybe I liked them so much because they didn't let a baby change who they were, like me. I still swear and drink beer and get my nails done and listen to music a little too loud sometimes, but I alter all of these habits when P is around. I explained to Hubs that having a baby shouldn't change you, but it should shift you into a better person, and I think that is exactly what happened. I haven't changed at all, but I do want to do more as a family, with my family, for my family. I want to buy books and educational toys that light up and play songs....I want to make my own baby food so P can be healthy and only use the best laundry detergent because she only deserves the best.

So even though I am a better person and strive to do everything better for P, I still feel guilty. I need to do more with her. I need to read more to her, play more with her, give her more kisses than she probably wants....I need to take her on walks every day and go to the park and bring her shopping with me because we're official gal pals now....I need to ask for her opinion before buying a shirt or toy because what if she doesn't like it? (Yes, I realize she can't speak right now, but trust me, her looks speak enough).

These things are important to me. I need this. Maybe P can't go down the slide at the park or pet the animals at the zoo yet, and she sure as hell doesn't know the difference between me reading her Goodnight Moon or Cosmo, but I do. So let me make up for that small portion of time with my daughter I will never get back. Let me revel in my guilt so that I can shift into the better person I was meant to. Let me have my moments of happiness with her because dear God, I never went to experience those unhappy moments with her again. Just let me feel guilty and do everything irrational to try to make up for it. Let me heal. Let me recover.