KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! (And it’s also very comforting)

(This picture was taken at the beginning of October 2010, just one month before I was hospitalized for Postpartum OCD and bi-polar depression.  “Sometimes the people that look like they have it all together are the ones the least put together inside”-Glennon Melton Doyle)

 

When I started this blog nearly four years ago (holy smokes time flies!), my main purpose was to share my story, my experiences mainly with depression.  All of it.  At my lowest point, the thing I craved most was not to read what doctors had written or to talk to a therapist.  I was desperate to find a voice, a blog, talk to somebody, a REAL mom that knew what I was going through.  Not how to fix it, just that she understood.  How incredibly healing!  That is why I offered and still do offer my voice.  As a means of comforting those that feel like they are the “only one”.

Since then,thankfully,  I have found some pretty incredible voices.  Last year my therapist recommended that I look up Postpartum Progress, IT IS A GOLD MINE!  How I wish I would have found it sooner!  It has helped me IMMENSELY since.

Check out:  http://postpartumprogress.org/meet-the-warrior-moms-2/-and read more stories of Mom’s that are dealing or have dealt with Postpartum perinatal or postnatal mood disorders.

Learn About PPD & More:  (CLICK ON THIS LINK TO BE TAKEN DIRECTLY TO THE PAGE: http://postpartumprogress.org/learn-about-ppd-more/ )

Postpartum depression, or PPD, is just one in a group of illnesses than can affect women either during pregnancy or after birth. Together these illnesses are called perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. That’s a big phrase to swallow, but what it means is that your brain isn’t working the way it normally does, and it’s probably making you miserable.

If you are thinking that you just don’t feel like yourself anymore, or that you never should have gotten pregnant or had a baby, or that you are a terrible mother, or that something feels seriously wrong, you are not alone. One in every seven women gets a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder like PPD. You have done nothing wrong. You are not weak, or selfish, or a bad mom. You just have an illness that many women get, and you can get better with help from a healthcare professional.

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders can show up any time during pregnancy or in the first 12 months after birth.  And if you don’t get treated, the symptoms can last even longer. If someone tells you that you can only get postpartum depression in the first few weeks or months after birth, he or she is wrong. Also, you can get these illnesses with any child — it doesn’t matter if it’s your first baby or your fifth or somewhere in between.

If you are surprised that you’ve never even heard of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, don’t feel bad. Most women haven’t, which is why Postpartum Progress is working so hard to raise awareness. Here is a list of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders we think everyone should know about:

Postpartum Depression – If you have had a baby in the last year and are having eating or sleeping problems, a hard time concentrating or making decisions, problems bonding with your baby or enjoying motherhood, periods of anger or rage, sadness and crying, the constant feeling of being overwhelmed, or possible thoughts of harming yourself or running away and escaping, you might have postpartum depression. You don’t have to have all of these symptoms to have PPD, by the way. To learn more, click here.

Pregnancy Depression – If you have symptoms like the ones listed above for PPD but you are pregnant, you could have antenatal depression, also called pregnancy depression. This is just as common as PPD. Please know that you can be treated for depression during pregnancy, so don’t avoid calling your doctor out of fear that he or she can’t do anything to help you.

Postpartum Anxiety – Maybe you’re not feeling depressed, but instead very anxious. Postpartum anxiety symptoms include constant worries and fears. Maybe you can’t sleep or eat. Maybe you are worried all the time that something terrible is going to happen to you or someone you love. You could have postpartum anxiety. To learn more about these symptoms, click here.

Postpartum OCD – Postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder, or postpartum OCD, is a form of postpartum anxiety that has a symptom that is pretty hard to ignore: intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are scary “what if” thoughts that come into your head. You don’t want to have them, but they keep coming anyway. They may involve you harming someone you love, including your baby. You might also have compulsions, which means you feel the need to do things like clean, organize, check and recheck, or count. If you have postpartum OCD, you are not a danger to your child. This is a common illness, and you can get help for it. To learn more about these symptoms, click here.

Postpartum Panic Disorder – This is another form of postpartum anxiety that involves having panic attacks, which can include shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations and numbness or tingling in your arms or legs.  Some women having panic attacks often worry that they are having a heart attack or have come down with a serious disease.

Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — Moms with postpartum PTSD have often had a traumatic pregnancy or childbirth experience. Maybe you had hyperemesis or were put on bedrest. Perhaps you had an emergency c-section, or your baby had problems after birth or went to the NICU. These are all risk factors for postpartum PTSD. Symptoms can include nightmares and flashbacks.

Postpartum Psychosis – Women with postpartum psychosis, the most serious of all perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, may have delusions, hallucinations, paranoia or mania. What does that mean? You might be hearing or seeing things that no one else can see. You might be afraid that everyone is out to harm you or get rid of you. You might also have a much greater amount of energy than normal and feel like you don’t need sleep and can take on the world. These are just some of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis — to learn more, click here. It’s very important that you get help right away if you have these symptoms. You can call 911, visit your nearest emergency room, or arrange to see your doctor immediately. Here’s why: postpartum psychosis can lead you to do things, including dangerous or reckless things, that you would never do otherwise. It is important for you to start treatment right away to help you get stable and prevent you or your loved ones from harm.

No matter which of these illnesses or symptoms you might be having, they are temporary and treatable with professional help. You do not have to live this way. You might not believe it, but you can and will get back to the old you with help. The most important thing is to get that help now. Don’t wait hoping that some day these symptoms will just go away on their own. The longer you wait, your symptoms may become more severe, and it may take you longer to recover. It can also affect the health of your family, so the greatest gift you can give to them all is to get the help you need and deserve. We’re here to help.

To find answers to the most commonly asked questions about these illnesses, please click here.

 

…………….

NOW, what to do with all of this information?  Where to start?  Which doctor to go see first?  As always, I am more than happy to share my experiences.  Please e-mail or Facebook me specific questions if you’d like, I’m an open book!  Please take good care of yourself!

Sarahzshaw@gmail.com

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My Beautiful Messy: Postpartum depression, take two

 

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Back in December, I wrote about a neat experience I had while getting a haircut.  I really connected with the hairdresser.  We connected when the topic of postpartum depression was brought up.  I was so excited to tell her that it can be so different.  I was so excited to tell her that I’d gone to therapy throughout my pregnancy and also the first couple months after my baby was born.  That I’d been open to taking medication from the beginning, I’d started it a week before my second child was born. That I’d read a lot.  I was prepared and that’s what had kept me pretty much immune from postpartum this time around.  How I’ve triumphed over it.  I’d conquered it by following a series of steps, including therapy, taking medication, eating healthy, and exercising.  I was managing postpartum depression in an almost exemplary way.

I’ve been ashamed to get on here and admit that in the past month it has started to become a real struggle for me again. Darn it!   I didn’t want to face that I hadn’t overcome it completely, let alone admit it to everyone else.   I wanted it to be fixed because this time around because I was doing things differently.  I wanted to say that because I was open to medication and am willingly taking it, that I’m not depressed.   How I start my every single day with a green smoothie, and it’s a huge help.  How I go to the gym to train regularly for the triathlons I’m signed up for this summer.   I wanted to be an example of a success stories to give people hope that depression can be overcome, fought and conquered.  Like cancer.

However, lately more and more storm clouds are appearing.   The irritability has started to become a little more prevalent.  My thoughts race with fears of bad things happening.  I want to sleep, sometimes a lot.  Like this morning I napped even though I’d already slept nine hours last night. Sometimes I feel annoyed at everything my husband and kids say and do.  Some days I don’t want to do anything and so I don’t, and I zone out.   Sometimes I don’t feel anything, not happy, not sad, just a straight line, a hummmmm, empty.  There are times when I feel as I’m like a black hole sucking all good emotion without even uttering a word, it’s as if my very presence is a drain.  Every time I breathe in and out it’s as if I’m taking all the positive emotion in the room with me.  Last night, after the kids were in bed, I kept asking myself, have I failed?  Am I failing?  Is my story still worth sharing if it’s not quite the triumphant one I was hoping to share?  That I know people are hoping to hear?  I don’t know.  But as I opened my blog to attempt to write, I stared at the title.  “I Can Relate”.  My whole purpose for sharing is to relate, to show up every time, in any state that I am and be real. Whether it’s during a good few months or a tough couple months, I’m going to just be me.

So this morning I decided to show up on here as I am. In my messy and beautiful state. My state that is actually still much better than it ever was the first time around and that’s hopeful in of itself.   I’m showing up admitting that I am going through a bout of depression and I’m not failing because of that.  Depression, just like any other disease can show up anytime, even when I’m doing all the right things to prevent it from coming. I guess  that conquering depression maybe isn’t the way I’ve set it up to be.  Maybe I’m closer to conquering it than I realize.  Maybe conquering it is really enjoying the ups and being prepared for the downs.  Accepting and learning about symptoms and treatment and following through with it, again and again, as many times as it comes back.  Even being open to new medications.  It’s a thing that has to constantly be managed. And I’m in the management phase again and I guess that’s ok, well I’m trying to be ok with that.  Just sent a text to my therapist to set up an appointment.   Staying on top of it and willing to continue to face it again and again is a form of triumph, it takes a lot of patience that’s for sure.

MBW-403

Why I gave myself a second chance

It’s a little bit daunting to pick up writing after a, well over a YEAR hiatus!  I just looked at the date of my last post.   Sheesh!

Little did I know that getting my hair cut today would be the motivation I needed to get back on here.

“Let’s wash it and then you can tell me what kind of cut you’re wanting”, she said.  Normal small talk at first.  And then, as she was conditioning my hair, I was telling her not to look too closely at my thinning hair, which then sparked the “oh man, after you have a baby you lose all your hair I said, and oh it comes out by the handfuls she said, and oh my teeth got really bad I said, and oh my acne got really bad she said and I agreed, and oh I had really bad post partum depression she said…

Instant connection.

She talked about her three year old.  I talked about my 3, well almost 4 year old.  She talked about what it was like for her in the beginning.  The insomnia, yes I get it!  The days and days of waking up and just feeling nothing yes, I understand that too!  The obsessive thoughts yes!   It’s so real!  And finally she said, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do it again.  Yes, sister, I have definitely been there.    Our conversation flowed and we opened up.  I realized talking to her that man, I need to keep sharing my story, not just with her but with everyone!  Things have gotten so much better, I mean like WAY better.   I mean like I actually got up the courage to have another baby.  As I shared with her what I did differently, what helped me feel more prepared to have another baby I realized it truly is miraculous that things have gone the way they have this time around.  It’s been a process.  It’s taken work and talking and reading and thinking through things.  And I want to and feel like I need to share it.   What I did to be prepared for post-partum the second time around.  What I read, what I ate, what proactive preventative measures I took.  What I did differently during my pregnancy and after.  Bottom line:  That there is HOPE!  So much hope!  There’s so much more out there to help you and me than I ever knew was available the first time around.   Things have gotten so much better for me!   I am enjoying motherhood. That’s dream come true for me.  To enjoy it.  Oh, I still have bad days.  Bad mom days and bad depression days.  But I know now what to do and I understand so much more.

As I left the salon, my new friend and stylist said, “I’m so so thankful you’re willing to talk about this!  I literally have not talked to anyone that is my age that is willing to open up about it!”.

Excited to be back.  Here’s to hope.

You can do hard things



Less than two weeks ago I accomplished a goal that I’ve had for 10 years!  The first triathlon I competed in was when I was 18 years old.  My aunt signed up for the Spudman in Burley Idaho and needed someone to do the biking portion of the race.  She asked me and I said I’d think about it.  26 miles.  It seemed SO hard and SO long.  I didn’t own a bike.  I was really into running at the time.  I rounded up a bike and started riding.  I wore my little brothers cracked helmet, stretchy pants I bought from Wal-mart.  I called up my aunt and said I’d do it.  The more I started biking, the more I realized how amazing it was!  You see so much when you bike!  It was easy on my joints and yet I was burning a ton of calories.  (I could expound on this forever.  I am always trying to convert people to biking.  It’s amazing!  Start out like me, round up an old bike, a cracked helmet and just TRY it.  You’ll thank me later)

The race was amazing.  I couldn’t contain the excitement I felt seeing all the participants stretching and setting up at the transition zones.  I want to be part of this!  I was probably the dorkiest and amateur biker there,  but I didn’t care one bit.  Just being part of something where everyone is pushing their body to the maximum capacity.  Where people are sweating and tears are streaming down their faces.  It was exhilarating. These people were REALLY living.  They were using the healthy bodies they’d been given their maximum capacity.  Incredible.  Afterwards I set a goal to do an olympic distance tri, all by myself.

There’s been a lot happen in that time.  I continued biking and staying pretty active for most of that time.  In shape to do an olympic tri?  No.  Not until now.  This summer had to be it.

I’ve been extremely blessed this past year to have a body that has remained in balance.  Thyroid, depression both seemed to stay in check.  Routine blood work, a few doctors visits and a few bumps in the road but overall God has been so kind to me and I feel gave me the energy and stamina of this past year as a gift, a tender mercy to let me accomplish my goal.  I recognize that there are many people with their various struggles don’t every get to realize their goals.  If you would have asked me two years ago when I was in the deepest depression I’ve ever experienced and couldn’t even leave my house to go on a walk or get out of bed I would have told you, “NO WAY!”.

The race was incredible.  I had to pinch myself to know that I was actually realizing my dream. Was I really going to be able to swim one mile?  Bike 26 miles?  Run 6 miles?  How did I get here?  This is amazing.  I felt to thank my Heavenly Father for helping me get to where I was.  The race was a very spiritual experience for me.  At one point during the biking portion, I passed a small pond surrounded by trees and birds and I felt as if God was saying, “All of these things are to remind you  how much I love you, and that I will always take care of you.  You can do hard things.  Your lungs are burning, your muscles are surging and you are pushing through it.”  I can do hard things.  I liked that little inspiration.

I can do hard things.

I repeated this one line the rest of the race.  The running portion was extremely difficult.  It wasn’t until 10:30am that I started running so it was HOT 100 degrees.  I can do hard things, I’m meant for this.  I continued to push through the pain.  I nearly collapsed over the finish line.  I just smiled and cried even though I was seeing stars.  I just did something very hard, I did it.

Here’s the validation.  The physical pain I felt during the race pales in comparison to the mental pain I’ve experienced with depression.

If you have had any sort of mental or emotional illness, let me tell you, you can do hard things.  I know this first hand.

I would rather do an Ironman (2 mile swim, 26 mile run and 106 mile bike ride) and push my body to physical extremes than experience the mental extremes of depression.

I just started tapering off some medication two weeks ago and it has been rough.  The depression didn’t come on slowly, it came on fast and hard.  I feel kind of embarrassed to say that yes I can do a full triathlon but throw in a strong dose of emotional ups and downs and I’m pretty much handicapped.  I do feel an amount of graditude for the reminder of what it’s like, as crazy as that sounds.  But, honestly I was beginning to forget.  I looked up the side effects of tapering off some of the medications.  Irritability, incessant crying, hopelessness, fatigue, dizziness, nausea.  Ok, I thought.  I know what to expect so when I start feeling that way I will just tell myself that it’s part of going off the meds and that I will be ok.  It’s just not that simple.

The best way to describe it is that when the emotions hit it was like my body and mind don’t know the difference between real and not real.  I KNOW that I’m not burying my child, I know that Ryan and I aren’t getting divorced and I know that my parents didn’t die in a tragic car accident BUT the sorrow, despair and intensity of the emotions feels as heavy as is all of those things were actually happening.  It’s completely debilitating.  It literally makes me physically ill and unable to even move at times.  That is how real it is. Depression is real!  If you find yourself in a bout of depression or any other state that is considered to be “just in your head” know that you are amazing!  You are accomplishing so much just by pushing through it!  I knew what to expect and I still know that hopefully “this to shall pass”.  It blows my mind how something IN mind mind can control my reality and completely fog my perspective.  Even when I knew to expect it.  I’m holding on to that little moment I had on my bike.  I know even though I don’t feel well and all seems wrong right now I know that little revelation is still true  “All of these things are to remind you  how much I love you, and that I will always take care of you.  You can do hard things.  Your lungs are burning, your muscles are surging and you are pushing through it.”

Today, I just want to relate and talk.  Not dish out advice.  I know the thing I could use most right now would be just somebody telling me, “Yeah, me too!  I’ve felt that way! I’ve had those same thoughts!”.  In general, that usually is more healing than a page-full of advice.  So hopefully, to those of you out there battling the same demons of depression will find solace in the fact that you’re not crazy!

I can do hard things.  Just gotta keep saying it until I believe it.

Cheers to Kale

Kale, this one’s for you.

I love you, Kale.

Don’t worry Ry, this isn’t a confession of my love for your co-worker, Kale.  It’s about my love affair with a vegetable.

Kale is considered to be a super food.  You’re getting the most bang for your buck with this guy. In just one cup of chopped you’ll get more than 100% of vitamin C, A and K for the day.  It contains a high amount of manganese, a powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant.  It has shown to improve mental function and boost metabolism (one of my biggest reasons for eating it and for dedicating this post to it).

Have you ever tried Kale plain?  Go ahead, try it.  Go and buy a big bunch of it, chop it up and pour some dressing on it, You’ll LOVE it!

Umm, on second thought, don’t do that.  You’ll throw up.  I almost did.  The first time I tried it…
Kale is a lonely vegetable.  You’ll find him in the produce section.  There’s usually a huge stack of him since he tastes kind of bitter.  He doesn’t really fit in with the popular crowd, spinach, lettuce, broccoli.  He’s NOT good in a salad.  He’s good in soups, but eating him raw is the way to go if you want to benefit the most from him.  But if not in a salad you ask, then how?

GREEN SMOOTHIES!

You might remember the post I wrote on green smoothies shortly after I started drinking them regularly.

The first time I tried a green smoothie was in March of 2011.   A green smoothie was a great place to start for me at that time.  I felt slugglish all of the time.  It had only been a few months since I had had a nervous breakdown and I was still REALLY struggling with my depression and my hormones were out of wack.  I felt like I ate alright.  But a handful of baby carrots and a salad just wasn’t cutting it.  I remember thinking that if I were to change up my diet somehow I would probably feel a lot better.  Yet, I was so easily overwhelmed that thinking of how to improve my diet just made me more depressed and less motivated.  Then I was introduced to the Green Smoothie Girl.  How simple!  Throw a bunch of greens and berries into a blender (you don’t need a fancy one, I have an Oster, 40 bucks Amazon) and bam, you’re done!  After a couple weeks of drinking one daily I started to feel better and I started craving healthier foods.  Slowly my grocery list changed.  I started having energy to exercise more and in August of 2011 I was able to reach my goal of a triathlon.

It’s been over a year now and I’ve seen a significant improvement in my weight, depression and overall health.  It was a great jumpstart for me into healthy eating.  I’ve had people comment on how I look, and ask me what I’m doing.  Figuring out my hormones and getting on anti-depressants had a lot to do with that.  However, I didn’t see a real improvement in my thyroid levels, metabolism and depression until I started green smoothies.  I started on thyroid medications in August of 2010 and it wasn’t until March of 2011 when I started drinking a green smoothie daily that I started losing weight, had a lot more energy, I stopped getting sick and was able to start managing my depression.  Am I 100% cured?  YES! well…

No.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, it has changed my life so much for the better.

There’s actually a lot more to my smoothie than just the Kale.  Kale is the main ingredient in my smoothies but I also include spinach, frozen berries, a frozen banana, water and rice milk. I also add a bit of Chia Seed, Flax seed, Wheat germ, Maca Powder.  All are super foods and make a killer nutrient dense drink.  Perfect way to start out your day.

Go easy on yourself though.  Start with one cup Spinach and one cup of Kale, a cup of frozen berries, a banana, some water, and apple juice.  We are trained to crave SUGAR.  Almost all of our food contains sugar.  The goal of a GREEN smoothie is to level your blood sugar, not spike it.  Over time I went from including sweetened yogurt, apple juice and a lot of fruit to making the majority of my smoothies just plain greens.  My recipe as of now?  Stuff as much greens as I can into my blender, add some water and blend.  Then, stuff more greens in and blend.  I try to put in at least 6 cups of kale and spinach in each smoothie.

Recipe for a first timer:

1 cup of Kale

1 cup of Spinach

1 cup of water

1/2 cup of milk (almond or rice is best)

yogurt of your choice (work your way up to PLAIN greek yogurt.  It has TWENTY grams of protein in just one cup!)

1/2 cup of apple juice Start here.  Just try it.  If it’s too bitter for you, add more juice.  You will get so your body craves it!

Cheers!

P.S. ok so it’s now 11:30pm.  I just got back from the grocery store an hour ago.  Random time to shop I know, but I’m sure it doesn’t seem random to any other mom out there.  When I get to go to the grocery store kid free I feel like I’m going to disneyland and there aren’t any lines for any of the rides!  It’s just fun and refreshing!

I just wanted to throw in a little blurb about some of the other “green brothers” that I neglected to mention in this post.  SWISS CHARD and COLLARD GREENS!  How could I forget them.  Also super nutrient dense!  And actually my love affair doesn’t have to be your love affair.  Not everyone finds Brad Pitt attractive.  Weird if that’s the case.  I do, he’s my ‘kale’.  Maybe you’re a Johnny Depp fan (blech!).  Maybe collard greens and spinach will be what you like best in your smoothie.  The whole point of this post was to promote eating LOTS of greens and do it by drinking smoothies.  I have a whole lot of other nutrition information that I’ve learned that has helped me improve my hormone function and depression.  The green smoothie was just the ‘spring-board’ for me to get started on eating healthier and then craving healthier foods and incorporating them into my diet.  Enough said!  Time for bed.  I could use any advice and motivating tips on how to improve my sleeping habits.  Definitely a weak part of my health… good night!

Twelve characteristics of TOUGH-MINDED optimists


“Well, just try to be positive.”  To anybody who has ever dealt with depression, you know how awful this advice can sometimes make you feel.  How can I force my mind to be positive when it’s my brain that isn’t functioning properly?  When the chemicals in my brain are so sluggish that I am not capable of producing positive feelings, literally. When the actual problem with depression is your actual perception of the world.  There’s a dark cloud that hangs over you and there is no light.   By very definition chemical depression is marked with feelings of hopelessness, fatigue and apathy.  Sometimes I feel like despite all the self-will and motivation I have, it seems impossible to conjure up positive feelings because my brain just feels broken!

The phrase ‘be positive’makes me feel like I’m just covering up what’s really going on.  Instead of facing an issue I tell myself to just be positive and somehow by doing so the problem will just go away.  It’s a close friend asking me how I’m doing and me saying “great” and ending the conversation right there.

I like the word optimism better.  I guess you could say that the two words are synonymous.  HOWEVER, a friend gave me this list and since then I’ve decided I like OPTIMISM DEFINED.

12 CHARACTERISTICS OF TOUGH-MINDED OPTIMISTS:

1.  Optimists are seldom surprised by trouble:  They know it’s part of exisiting

2. Optimists look for partial solutions: One step or task at a time

3. Optimists believe they have control over their future: They set goals within their limits

4. Optimists allow for regular renewal: exercise, laughter, sleep

5. Optimists interrupt their negative trains of thought: they change the channel in their brain

6. Optimists heighten their power of appreciation: list it daily, in your head or on paper

7. Optimists use their imaginations to rehearse success: imagine the best outcome

8. Optimists are cheerful even when they can’t be happy.

9. Optimists believe they have an almost unlimited capacity for stretching and growing.

10. Optimists build lots of love into their lives: reach out to others.

11. Optimists like the swap good news.

12.  Optimists accept what cannot be changed: other people or the past.  They know that the only thing they can change is themselves.

I LOVE THIS!

It’s not vague, it’s not covering up the problem.  It’s helped me in restructuring my thought process by giving me specifics.  I like the title, ‘TOUGH-MINDED’ optimists.  I may not have control of how I feel when I hit a low, but I am tough.  I know that no matter how cloudy my perspective gets, no matter how dark the depression may be I can utilize optimism defined to get me through it.  Not being surprised by trouble:  accepting the ups and downs of depression and not freaking out or complaining when I hit a low.  Expanding my power of appreciation: I’ve written down lists, dedicated a prayer to appreciation.  Even though a lot of the time when I’m super depressed I don’t FEEL grateful or even FEEL much of anything about anything I can KNOW that I can stil be optimistic.  I can.  I’ve tried it and I can and so can you!  I still continue to fight through the ups and downs of depression but trying to develop the characteristics/coping skills of a tough-minded optimist is really helping me.

I hope this can help you like it has helped me.

Another thing that really helps me on a daily basis is this…

Today he was “helping” me plant my flowers.  He came up to me and said “Look Mom, I’m a pot-head”.  Awesome.  Definitely made me feel optimistic.

Logan’s second…

Logan’s second birthday, kale and Harry Potter.  There.  I had to write out each of my ideas before I forgot about how I got to this point of wanting to post.  First, Logan’s birthday.

It startled me how emotional I was this morning.  Today was Logan’s second birthday.  We celebrated it yesterday with family, lots of yummy food, balloons and warm weather.

I got so busy entertaining everyone that near the end of the party it hit me, this is Logan’s second birthday!  I hadn’t even really been making sure HE was having a good time!  Oh dear, guilt!  I looked to find him at the top of his little kiddy slide.  He was blabbering about the jets flying overhead and laughing.  It really stole my heart, it was so cute!  He was having a great time.  Those are such precious moments!  Moments that seem almost heaven like.

My mom and mother-in-law were chatting in the kitchen and as I joined the conversation they asked me if I was sad.  Sad?  Why?  He’s growing up and I love it.  I do not miss those little baby days at all.  They were really hard for me!  All he did was cry!  Colic was the WORST.  It was huge contributor to the post-partum depression I went through.  Why in the world would I miss those days?  So no, I’m not sad.  Not one bit.  And yesterday I wasn’t!

This morning (his real birthday) we got him up and sang to him and played with his new toys.  Suddenly, it just came out of nowhere, I cried!  What?  I wasn’t sad, I was nostalgic.  Ok, maybe a bit sad.  It hit me that it is going fast, I mean REAL fast.  Yet, still I could say with assurance in my mind that there’s no way I would ever want to relive that first year.  But as of right now, I would love to freeze time.  I swear he just barely turned one!  How could he already be two!  I had to admit that this past year went REALLY fast.  That’s what brought on the tears.  I laid down and let my tears stream out the sides of my eyes onto my hair.  Ryan thought I looked funny trying to cry so “carefully” so as to not smudge my mascara.  I really dislike putting on mascara so I wasn’t going to smudge it.

I guess what this comes down to.  For any moms struggling with a colicky baby, it is going to get better.  MUCH better.  You will actually come to a point where you want to freeze time.  It’s hard to believe, but I promise it will come.  I have decided that I don’t need to beat myself up for wanting that first year of his life to just go fast.  Nor should you if you have a tough baby.  Realizing at the same that it has gotten so much better and that I need to step out of the mindset of hurrying things along.  Things gotten progressively better and more enjoyable.  Yet, I haven’t stepped out of the “ok, hurry grow up” mindset.  I’ve been thinking that way since the day he was born.  In talking to other moms, we’re all a little guilty of this.  I wonder if most mom’s cry on their kids birthdays?

I love my Logan.  I don’t know how say all that I feel without it sounding too cliche.  It is amazing having a child.  It’s incredible how they come so perfect.  How they learn so rapidly.  How they forgive so quickly.  Logan is an angel.  He really is.  Tantrums and happy moods, he’s an angel.  I am incredibly blessed to have him and to have come so far in learning to love all the stages of motherhood.  Thanks to those who are helping me realize to slow down and soak up the everyday moments.

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Next time, kale and Harry Potter….

Come on ride on the Magic School Bus!

Lots of good advice from you.  And I loved every word of it.  Thanks friends.

I’ve decided as a Mom an essential moto to live by is a line from one of my all time favorite shows, The Magic School Bus!  I loved that show!  PBS at it’s finest.

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy and ask questions!”  (I added in the questions part, but it fits in perfect I think.)

  In regards to this post I like the ask questions part.

Thank you for answering mine!

My perspective has changed, I feel more optimistic and understood.  I want to share what others have taught me.

First idea I loved: Mommy Moments (Thanks Sherese 🙂

“One thing that has helped me is that I have tried, at the end of the day to write in my journal a few “little moments” that I had that day. The times when I just love being a mom, the funny things my little boy did, the “eternity glimpses” that I get every now and then. This helps me a lot.” Sherese Israelson Major

Ok, so I’ve only been doing this for two days but I swear it’s working.  Go ahead, try it.  I guarantee it will work.  BUT you must take time to really acknowledge it.  Take the time to write it down, e-mail it to yourself (I actually do that, I’ll share that on another post).  Simple suggestion with powerful results!  I mean it’s only been TWO days and I’ve lost like 10 pounds! No really though, I have.  Recognizing the happy Mom moments have already helped me lose weight.  Ok not literally, but my “heavy” attitude has definitely lost 10 pounds, ha ha…

One of today’s “Mommy Moments” was this morning as I was getting Logan ready.  He found a sheet of alphabet stickers and proceeded to stick each of them in his hair.  I walk in, “Oh Logan, look the alphabet, you’re so smart!’ he looks up “Yes mom, I so fart!”

I laughed and so did he.  See, I told you “Mommy Moments” work.

Life in “Elmo’s World!”

“La la la la, la la la la, Elmo’s world!  Doo do do, la la la la la la la la Elmo’s world!  Elmo loves his Goldfish, his crayons too! That’s Elmo’s world!”

Life in Elmo’s world.  It’s interesting isn’t it?  Maybe for some of you it’s “Dora world” or “Sponge-Bob world” or “Thomas the train world”, the list goes on and on…

I’ve been thinking a lot which is usually when I pull out this dusty old blog and decide to write!  How do I know I’m doing a good job as a Mom? How do I know I’m teaching my son all the things he needs to know? Should I be doing something else along with being a Mom? Maybe a part-time job? Would I feel better about myself then? How do I accomplish my personal goals for 2012?  For example, getting up early to exercise and get ready for the day before my son does when I’ve been up a couple times during the night with my son so instead I can barely get up when he does at 9am? How do I remember to just be grateful that I was able to bear a child of my own while juggling emotions of disappointment that I’m not accomplishing much these days but keeping my house and a little bottom clean?

I’ve searched through talks and forums and talked with a few close friends, including my own Mom about some of my insecurities, worries and wanting to find more happiness and contentment in just being a Mom. A couple of things stuck with me: have faith that I’m making a difference. That I chose this and that I should love my choice. Nobody forced me into this.  That’s true.  And really?  I want to LOVE it!  I really do!  I’ve always wanted to stay at home and be the one to raise my own children.  I didn’t feel in any way forced into this.

I remember one Mother’s day as a youngster sitting in church next to my Mom and of course she was crying, it was Mother’s Day! I assumed that it was because she was touched by all the wonderful things people were saying about their own mothers. That she was feeling appreciated and loved and enjoying “her” day in the limelight. Afterwards as we were driving home I asked her if those talks made her feel appreciated. “No, I actually really dislike Mother’s day, it always reminds me of all the things I didn’t do or still don’t do well as a Mother.” WHAT! That thought had never even crossed my mind before, it actually pretty much made my mind explode with sadness! “Mom, that’s terrible! You’re a great Mom!” And indeed she was and still is! I loved her and I loved the way she did things. Kids just don’t think things like, “Man, I wish my mom had done elaborate home-made stockings and gingerbread houses every Christmas! Or I wish that she had worked harder at teaching me a foreign language”. No way! So why is it that I put those strange expectations on myself! Why? I don’t really know. I’ve thought it over and over and just can’t come to a conclusion.

Tonight while I was talking with my Mom I asked her again, why can’t I just feel content with what I’m doing? With what I’m trying to do well? I feel like I’m being completely honest with myself in trying to new goals so I don’t just get stuck in the routine. I try to squeeze in time to read a bit of a book here and there (audio-books rock! I totally recommend them!) to keep my mind active and semi-educated. Otherwise, I would be stuck singing “Elmo’s World” all day in my head! For those of you that watch Elmo’s World, don’t you think it’s pretty funny when he plays the tune jingle bells on the piano and repeats the lesson of the day over and over again? “Birthday’s birthday’s birthday’s birthday’s bir-ir-irth-days!” Somehow it makes Logan smarter, but me so much dumber. I feel like kind of an idiot when Ryan comes home and starts talking about real world issues and I’m like drrrr….

I would love some advice on how YOU embrace your role as a Mom. What you enjoy about it and what you still haven’t figured out. How do you manage your time? What’s your day to day schedule like?  How do you break your day up?  Any quotes that motivate you?  How have you developed your confidence as a stay at home Mom?  I want to be more confident about my choice and love it, I would appreciate any love and advice you can give me!

Sar