Let’s get this out in the open…

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I’ve struggled with writing this post for more than half a year now. Wondering what words are right, fearing the emotions that would come with it, and being utterly ashamed of the way I felt, even if only briefly.

I struggled to get pregnant. TTC (trying to conceive, for anyone unfamiliar with the infertility world,) for 1.5 years. I had a hard pregnancy, where my OB thought my son might come early (too early.) My labor was straight from a dramatic scene you would see in Grey’s Anatomy, where my son’s heart rate was dropping low because he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. And post partum? Sheesh. My son had bad reflux– the kind where they choke on their own spit up and you’re terrified that they could do it in the middle of the night and you can’t get to them quickly enough.

My first week home was fine. No major problems. Typical insomnia, but OH so much love for that tiny human of mine. I cried happy tears, because the outcome of my labor could have been vastly different. I came home with a happy, healthy little baby. I was beyond thankful.

After a week or so I noticed my hormones tanking. I was upset all the time. I was sleep deprived to the point of psychosis. I didn’t eat. I didn’t do anything. I was paralyzed with the crippling fear of keeping my son happy and healthy. He ate all the time, slept on a crazy schedule. He spit up more than he ate. I had lost interest in everything other than taking care of my guy.

I lost my identity completely.

I went from being this strong, independent woman… to being afraid to leave the house for fear of strangers with germs, car accidents, my child throwing a fit in the store, etc etc etc. There was so much unknown.

And while I can say that I never had thoughts of harming my child, I did sit rocking him with tears flowing (often on him,) wondering what I was doing wrong. Googling all hours of the night ways to help him sleep, and feel content and not be so refluxy. Untitled.png

I didn’t want company. I didn’t want to talk, hang, let other people hold him. I didn’t want their germs, their advice, their opinions. I didn’t want it.

My mom helped often, and I went to check-ups with my OB to make sure my hormones were getting balanced out. Otherwise, I’m not sure how I would have made it through.

Dealing with the baby blues and postpartum depression absolutely does not correlate with whether or not you love your child. Anyone that knows me can tell you that my world revolves around my little boy. I love him more than I could ever put into words. I would do anything for him. I need him all the time, and I miss him when I’m away from him for even a few minutes.

But PPD takes over your mind completely. Thoughts become irrational and finite, and looking past the temporary situation is near impossible. There is an immense struggle to adapt, because it all happens so quickly.

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Post partum depression is still a taboo topic. If you have a happy, healthy baby… then you should just be happy. But the brain doesn’t understand that. It just doesn’t. And while PPD usually subsides within a few months when hormones level out, sometimes it requires medication and lasts a much longer span of time (a really amazing crusader that has spoken out about her long battle with PPD is Hayden Panettiere. Also, Brooke Shields wrote a great book on her PPD.) Not saying that it takes a celebrity to realize that this is a problem, but I’m glad that a few celebrities are using their fame to open up about their struggles.)

Realizing that there is a problem is important. Letting people know that you need a support system is the best way through it. Go to your doctor and get a check-up. Talk to other women that have had PPD and the baby blues. Get out. Seriously… don’t worry about strangers at Target when you’re waltzing through in your yoga pants, mom bun, and your child is screaming. And baby wear— baby wearing helped me SO much. I felt like I gained some independence back when I started wearing my son around everywhere. It’s great bonding, and allows you to move around freely.

If you have a spouse/significant other, make sure you explain to them how you are feeling so that they know when and where they can help. Take all the help you can get. Make parenting a bonding experience, and try to avoid frustration in times of chaos. This is a learning experience for him as much as it is for you. My husband was a wonderful support. And while he wasn’t always as quick to run to our crying baby, he helped and he really stepped up when I asked for extra support with taking care of our newborn. I am forever thankful to him for being such a wonderful dad.

And lastly… don’t be ashamed. As moms we are entirely too hard on ourselves. We created and gave life, and we’re putting another human’s needs above our own. Most of us have insane hormonal imbalances after having our little ones, so we need to give ourselves some credit. Take care of yourself! You cannot serve from an empty vessel.

I’d also like to reach out to adoptive parents here, because it’s totally possible to have PPD as an adoptive parent! There are a ton of articles out there on this, but here is one that I liked.

If you have a severe form of PPD that leads to unusual anger/rage, I encourage you to get help as soon as possible. There are all kinds of agencies that specialize in getting women with PPD the help that they need.

PPD/Baby Blues lasted roughly 3 months for me. After which point, I noticed my hormones leveling back out. I was able to resume normal life activities, and being a mother finally felt natural. I have a happy one year old son who is my everything. “This too shall pass” was my happy motto, and I’m so glad that I was right. Life has never been better.

-Katie

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Empathy.

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Empathy.

“The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” 

I’ve been struggling a lot lately to understand the nature of competitive parents. I’m sure I’ve done it, unknowingly, or maybe even knowingly. I’m not sure. If I have, I’m sorry.

I find myself really pushing to be understanding, sympathetic, and empathetic lately. But I can’t tell you how often I see parents saying things like “just wait until this…” or “we never had that problem” or “you’re doing it wrong.”

Parenting is hard, dudes. And ladies, who I also call dudes. Why do we have to make it harder by competing with each other? Why do we have to be so judge-y? What is so hard about respect and showing some kindness?

Can’t we just say “yeah, I totally get it! I hope your situation improves soon. That has to be hard”? Why do we have to put ourselves on soap boxes pretending our parenting methods are better than the parenting methods of others?

I have a friend, who shall remain anonymous. (I’m sure she might read this, so hey girl!) She hasn’t slept through the night in a year. I mean, every 2 hours she’s up. Anyone that knows us can tell you that our son has not been a good sleeper either, but usually not to that extent anymore. So, when I talk to her… yeah, I understand. Am I in the same boat? Not often these days. But can I listen, be supportive, and offer some encouragement without asking “have you done this_______?” Heck yes I can. I can say, I remember what it’s like to be that sleep deprived, and it is HARD and I hope that your little guy starts SNOOZIN LIKE A PRO STAT!

Empathy-Four-ElementsSo here’s my challenge to everyone parenting (including caretakers,) let’s get on the same level and stop belittling one another. Yeah? Just really think before you speak, or type on some forum where you can hide behind your computer screen. What would you want to hear? What would make you feel better?

We’re good parents. We have healthy babies. There are hard times, but hopefully we can mostly remember the good. We need a little understanding, and some empathy can go a long way.

Here are some smart kids talking about empathy. They get it. Let’s get it, too.

-Katie

What you Didn’t Expect, when you were Expecting

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Here’s the truth: You can read every pregnancy/labor & delivery book out there, and there will STILL be something that surprises you or catches you off-guard. Guaranteed.

Bringing a child into the world is a mix of beautiful, unbelievable, and disgusting. So, here are just a few of the things that I wish someone would have prepared me for (not necessarily all that will happen to you, but that definitely could happen!):

  1. Nosebleeds. Most women know about the nausea, headaches, sore boobs, etc. (the more well-known side-effects of growing a human.) What people won’t tell you is that other things can also happen that are pretty out-of-the-ordinary: Nosebleeds. Floaters in your eyes. Spots and skin tags. Tailbone pain. Round-ligament pain. Tender gums (and restrictions at the dentist. Most require you to have written and signed consent from your OB before performing any procedures, including routine cleanings.)
  2. Old Wives Tales: Most aren’t true. One that is, however, is the concept of heartburn meaning your child will have hair. So, try not to take too much stock in most old-wives tales, but this one is a good one to pay attention to.
  3. You won’t have as many ultrasounds as you want. Most often, your insurance will pay for two. Unless you have an unusual circumstance around your pregnancy, you’ll likely only see your little one on the screen twice.
  4. Hunger, and Lack of Hunger: Pregnancy is often portrayed the same way, all the time. Women that have insane appetites, and binge on whatever craving they have that day. Sometimes this is true, but not always. Some women are sick for so long that the idea of food is the farthest thing from their minds. In fact, some women struggle to keep on the needed weight for pregnancy. For these women, medication is often required so that you can continue to have a healthy pregnancy.
  5. Not all testing is required. Some OBs will try to convince you that all testing is mandatory, but often this isn’t the case. Do your research and decide what is best for you. I did all the testing of my own volition, but some parents would prefer to avoid some of these tests.
  6. You may not have the same OB your entire pregnancy. I was shocked to find that most clinics have OBs on a rotation, so you may see a different doctor every time. It makes sense; doctors are busy people. But, it was important to me to have the same OB my entire pregnancy and at the birth of my child. I spent a significant amount of time trying to find a clinic that allowed this, and was thrilled when I finally did. If this is important to you, be prepared to do some digging to find the right obstetrician for you.
  7. Most doctors will not let you go past 41 weeks. Most of us want to wait for our babies to come on their own, but a great many doctors will absolutely put their foot down. Why? There are some risks, which you can read about here.
  8. When you’re ready to deliver: be prepared to be examined by 10 or more nurses, a handful of doctors, and possibly some medical students. If this isn’t what you want, make sure you talk to your hospital in advance.
  9. Labor and Delivery might not be what you expected, in a variety of ways. If you’re like me, I expected to have the cinema-style birthing experience where the actress has her water break, and baby arrives in a dramatic scene within a few hours. More often, your water will leak all day, and all through your labor, you’ll spend hours bored, in pain, eating popsicles and watching reruns of Friends.
  10. If you have an epidural, you’ll likely have a catheter at some point. Some hospitals keep them in, others just use them periodically. Most often, too much is going on for you to even care.uventet1.png
  11. Be prepared to be unprepared. You can plan for nine months how your labor is going to happen, but most often you’ll have to do what your doctor or midwife thinks is best. If this means a cesarean, episiotomy, etc., sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. And sometimes, like with my labor and delivery, things can get complicated QUICKLY. Ask your nurses and doctors to explain fully what is happening instead of tip-toeing around you. My son was both face-up, and had the umbilical cord tightly wrapped around his neck. This meant that I had a positioning specialist, internal monitors, and saline injected back into my uterus. I wish I had known more about things that can go wrong in L&D, though I think many people might want the opposite: to not know at all, and not worry about it (I’m just not that person.)
  12. enhanced-buzz-7951-1440537069-6Things like the “husband stitch” still exist. Sex after childbirth is usually fairly unpleasant the first few times for most people. This will make it worse, so ensure that you have a doctor that doesn’t practice this.
  13. Post-partum. OH post-partum. It can be a crazy ride, that’s for sure. If anything, know what to expect. Knowing now to care for yourself both physically and mentally are crucial to both your well-being and your child’s. Know the signs of post-partum depression and don’t be afraid to talk about it and ask for help. Accept help. Also, know that post-partum pain and bleeding can last a decently long time. Be prepared for it so that you aren’t trying to run to the store last-minute toting a newborn with you.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. What shocked you about your own pregnancy and labor & delivery?

-Katie

Becoming Mother: Book Review

As I sit here with my 10 month old son, who is currently whining non-stop due to a sinus infection, I think back to my days before being a mother. Did they exist? I barely remember them now. Though, that wasn’t always the case. While pregnant I just went through the motions. Once my tiny human arrived into the world I was in a total state of shock by how suddenly and immensely my life had changed. I thought about my days before being a mother frequently, and sometimes lustfully. Longing for days of quiet, missing the boredom that I used to complain of.

The parenting books that I had skimmed merely told me the motions that I was already going through. What to plan for in pregnancy and labor and delivery, how to care for my new baby, various milestones and expectations. Some of these books I could barely relate to, and quite frankly seemed like they were written by men who have obviously never been pregnant or dealt with labor and delivery or post-partum hormones.

51+8Ctf3yjL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI was thrilled when Sharon sent me her book, Becoming Mother. The title alone gave me comfort– and reassured me that being a mother is actually a process for most. I identified closely with Sharon’s journey into motherhood, including the discomforts of pregnancy and trying to stay active, to the disappointments of care in labor and delivery, and, as she puts it “Just the plain, messy truth of what it’s like for one to become two.”

Becoming Mother isn’t candy-coated. It’s the simple truth of her story of bringing her child into the world. In its rawest form, motherhood is full of decisions that can be questioned by both yourself and others. Sharon talks about various choices that she made, including natural childbirth and the empowerment that comes from it, to the necessity of formula-feeding and the judgement that she initially put upon herself (I myself formula fed, and identified so well with feeling like you have to justify your decision to others. The truth is, you don’t, and it’s not anyone else’s business.) What’s best for one mother, or baby, may not be best for another.

I admire her reflections in this book because she portrays her experience with all of the blemishes, mishaps, and frustrations that come with becoming a mother. We live in a generation where a perfect life can be contrived on Facebook through simple statuses and photos; we can eliminate the bad and only portray the good. When, in fact, motherhood is full of ups and downs. While I personally was SO in love with my new tiny human, I was exhausted, frustrated at my labor experience, and definitely suffering from some post baby blues and hormone imbalances. I was in a foreign land, from a life previously filled with only my own needs. It was hard to adjust at first, but here, nearly a year later with my son, we have found our new normal. He brings so much love an joy into our lives. It’s important for new moms to know that it gets easier.

Thank you to Sharon for an accurate portrayal of what it’s really like to become a mother. Your candid writing gave me comfort in knowing that there are others with stories just like mine. I highly recommend this read to any new mother or soon to be mother.

-Katie

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

 

One and Done

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It is not okay to guilt people into having children ever. Under no circumstance is it acceptable to make a person feel like a lesser person for having no children, a lot of children, a few children, or in my case… one child.

One, single child.

One amazing, beautiful child.

He is not “just one.” He is not EVER to have the describing characteristic of being one of those only children.

He is our one and only. Our entire world, in one tiny human.

Making the decision to have children is very personal. Perhaps the most personal decision you will ever make as a couple. To anyone that elects to have no children, I commend you on fully knowing what you want in life.

My husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby a few years back. I hoped that I would have a few months to ease into the idea of possibly being a mother, but was in no way prepared for the year and a half it took us to actually get pregnant. It wasn’t easy. (You can read more about my infertility struggle here.) I was in denial that we might not have children. I didn’t want to see doctors, and flat out didn’t want to deal with the fact that we might need some intervention (thankfully, though we waited some time, we ended up pregnant on Vitex.)

Those that knew we had been trying to get pregnant were few. The pressure to have a child when people know you are trying to get pregnant only increases the stress (at least it did for me.) Month after month of saying “no, not yet” really wears on you. And the people that say things like “just relax and it’ll happen” or “it’ll happen when it’s supposed to”… not helpful. Actually really frustrating. Just remember, you don’t know who is fighting a silent battle– who is trying to get pregnant, who is unable to get pregnant, who has lost angel babies. You don’t know.

So, assuming to understand an individual’s reproductive abilities or personal choices is something that has to stop. It has to. I’m guilty– and as much as we struggled, I’ve definitely asked friends if they think children are in their future. I try hard not to now, because I know how painful the question can be.

So there’s a high probability that my husband and I are one and done. Both by choice, and by reproductive ability. Why? 

  1. We know that we can financially provide for our one child. The rising cost of health care, education, housing, food, etc. is sometimes difficult to stomach. I want to leave him better off– not just financially, but with more opportunity. I don’t plan on having a spoiled single child, but I do fully plan on giving him every opportunity I  can.
  2. We had a hard time having one child. I’m content with one. More than content, I’m beaming that we have a healthy child. So, I’d prefer not to think we might be able to have a second to only be disappointed and unable.
  3. I’m not worried about my son’s social ability as a single child. He has cousins close in age,  and we fully plan on giving him plenty of social opportunities.
  4. We had a very difficult labor and delivery. My son had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, and we are lucky he is here. You can read about that story here. My postpartum weeks were also marked with some post partum blues (those hormones… whoosh!)

Things that people with single children don’t want to hear?

  1. Aren’t you afraid of him being alone when you and your husband pass away some day? Answer: No. Having siblings doesn’t mean you will be close with your siblings. Financially? I hope to plan for any financial situation so that he isn’t left with all kinds of loose ends to tie up. I know that he’ll have other family, friends, and hopefully a family of his own someday.
  2. Won’t he be spoiled? Answer: I plan on teaching him the value of a dollar and how to work hard for what he wants. That being said, money can buy opportunity, and if I can help him here and there with things such as schooling, I will.
  3. THE WORST: What if your child passes away? Then you have no children. Answer: This question is ridiculous, so please don’t ever ask it. Having other children doesn’t mean you won’t miss your child that has passed away just as much. It doesn’t. You don’t have children to be “backup children” in case something happens. I treasure each day with my son, and that will never change.

So here’s the thing: treat everyone as if you don’t know what their story is. Just simply not asking unless the person on the receiving end brings it up or wants to talk about it. Listen to them. Try to be understanding. Step into their shoes. Children are a beautiful, amazing gift. Children aren’t for everyone. And, children aren’t always easy to have. Simple understanding can bring us a long way.

-Katie

I FEEL ALIVE

37285-Take-Care-Of-YourselfI feel alive! Says no new mom ever after having a baby.

I was so used to a standard of living, that revolved around ME. Coffee was optional, eyeliner mandatory, and anything short of a 15 minute shower was a sin especially if it didn’t include some great smelling exfoliate and my Clarisonic.)

Once that tiny human entered into the world? Game. Over. I seriously looked like I’d lived on the streets of Chicago for the past 5 years. No sleep. No time. Endless worrying. And the visitors. Ohhhhh the visitors.

I found myself scrambling to get my house clean and look presentable before people came over (and honestly, this hasn’t changed. Sure, my 9 month old is more independent now, but not so much that I really have “me” time. Showers are still 5 minutes long, and getting ready includes some quick makeup and taking a curling iron to my usually still-wet hair (don’t yell at me hair stylist friends! I know, this is bad.)

So, I figured I’d compile a list of items that made me feel ready for the day as a new mom.

  1. Dry Shampoo: I’m the type of person that showers daily. I just have naturally oily skin and need to shower to feel clean all the time. But, I swear by dry shampoo (again, as a person with oily skin.) My favorite? Dove.
  2. 300Yoga Pants: Not just any yoga pants, the good kind that sucks in the post-baby pouch.
  3. Facial Wipes: I paired Burt’s Bee’s with some Garnier moisture rescue. k2-_c5c724b7-2a9d-4f21-b5d1-8993f714444f.v2
  4. Coffee. Coffee coffee coffee. Just have it. A lot of it. Always. 
  5. A few cute, comfortable shirts that are larger than what you’d normally wear. I paired a ton of baggy shirts with yoga pants until I felt comfortable in my jeans again. And if you’ve had a c-section, you’ll really be thanking yourself for buying some comfy clothing.
  6. 14414958Elf Eyeliner, and Estee Lauder lipstick. Not everyone loves makeup, but I do. I worked for Dior for a while, and my family is basically composed of various makeup-artist types. So, I needed a few things that would last through the day. Elf cream eyeliner, and an Estee Lauder lipstick always survived the chaos.
  7. As always, take care of yourself. Vitamins, healthy eating, small workouts, and napping if you get the chance. All of this is easier said than done, but it makes a difference. (And to anyone dealing with some post-partum baby blues or depression, exercise and keeping yourself healthy will only aid you in getting back to your normal mentality.)

-Katie

If you see me out…

Congratulations. You’ve had a baby. The hospital has sent you home VERY quickly with your new, needy, adorable infant. You’re lucky if you’ve had a shower by this point, and your hair is probably already up in the “mom bun” that will become its new home for the next 6 months or more (you know what I’m talking about, ladies.) You take your car ride home, and once you get there… you think “what now?!”

article-2221909-1589FD09000005DC-659_634x728Parents are exhausted for a long time after having a baby. When I say a long time… I mean, I don’t even know when the end is in sight yet (my LO is just now 8 months, and I’m still pulling some pretty intense all-nighters.) Do I ever get to sleep in again? Will I ever have time to do cat-eye liner again? Take a shower longer than 5 minutes? Read a book for a WHOLE entire chapter?

So let me just tell you– those 8 weeks of maternity leave I looked liked I’d just survived a few weeks of zombie apocalypse. Yoga pants. Dry shampoo. No makeup. And yeah, I totally forgot to brush my teeth and eat a meal more than once. Infants require 24/7 attention, and if I looked crazy, it’s because my postpartum hormones and lack of sleep had totally taken over. Don’t get me wrong, I put everything I had into nurturing my tiny, amazing human, but WOW did I look rough.

So my first trip leaving the house: I went to Target (the mecca of all for meccas for moms.) While standing in the card aisle I witnessed another new mom with her toddler and also new-ish baby waltz by. But let me tell you– she was not me. This woman looked like a celebrity. Skinny. Hair done. Makeup done. Babies calm. I had a total meltdown, right there in the card aisle of Target. I justified her glamour by saying she must be their aunt, or have a night nanny, or have her mother living with her. Or maybe it was a total mirage and I was hallucinating from the lack of sleep.

Who knows.

Now I wonder sometimes if I’m that mom, because when I go out these days I feel like I really have it together. I can shower, do makeup, curl my hair, make some coffee easily in 20 minutes. I take my LO out of his drool-covered onesie and throw some cute clothes on him. He’s almost always content on trips, and spends most of his time flirting with the ladies. I’ve built up some serious arm muscle and can handle carrying both my LO, and an infinite amount of groceries (seriously, I’d rather dislocate both of my arms than take more than one trip out to the car to unload.)

So, I feel like I’ve got it together.

The point? I want new moms to know that the zombie-apocalypse phase doesn’t necessarily go away, but you get good at it. I’m talking Michonne from the Walking Dead good. Those first few weeks home with a newborn you are in total survival mode: feed the baby, change the baby, Google all the things you don’t know how to do with the baby, cry in the bathroom, maybe remember deodorant. But soon after, those parenting-instincts kick in and you acclimate to the situation. You develop routines, learn how to best take advantage of naps and play times, memorize the peak Target rush hours so you can avoid crowds, and continue to take pointers from other moms who have recently survived the battlefield. So if you see me out, I wasn’t always able to feel “put together” for the day. And if you need more time in your yoga pants, I won’t judge you.comparison-is-the-thief-of-

Here are some of the tips that helped me:

  1. Start establishing a routine as soon as possible. It may take weeks to work, but eventually it will.
  2. Take care of yourself. Sometimes this means taking help from others. Get a shower, and make a cup of tea for yourself. You can’t be healthy to take care of your baby if you aren’t taking care of your mental and physical needs for yourself.
  3. If you have a partner helping you with the baby, be straight-forward. Letting him/her know your needs will help both of you to avoid frustration when those 2AM crying wake-up calls come.
  4. Don’t stay up late. I know we all just want some time to ourselves after our LO falls asleep, but if your LO is a poor sleeper, try to go to bed around the time that they do. (I was never a person that could sleep when the baby did during the day, but when I put my LO down at 8:00 every night, I promptly hopped into bed.)
  5. Find ways to simplify your routines. Set clothes out the night before, set your coffee to brew, find simple hairstyles and makeup tips to make yourself feel human.
  6. Stick to the routine. I can’t say it enough– when we started sleep-training our LO, everyone invited us to come over to their houses for late parties. As much as you might want to keep your LO up so that you can go have fun, don’t. Routines are hard to establish, and easy to break. If you want to go out, hire a babysitter that is comfortable with putting your LO to bed.
  7. Take a shower without the baby monitor (or the baby,) in the room. When my LO was super tiny and wouldn’t sleep, he sat in his rock n’ play while I showered. But, nothing is as relaxing as a shower alone while someone else watches the baby for a few minutes.
  8. Have as many things shipped to you as possible. SAMS club ships baby items free, and my Amazon Prime membership has been thoroughly used. Quick trips to the store are no longer quick… and sometimes it’s just easier to order what you need online, and then push all of the boxes quickly in through your front door before your neighbor sees them when they’re delivered.
  9. Don’t set yourself up for failure. You won’t be able to do everything you could before. Want to watch an entire season of Parks and Recreation in one sitting? HA. Forget about it. Stick to a half an hour episode, and count yourself lucky if you only have to pause it twice.
  10. Don’t compare. Every mom handles having a baby differently. Every mom has struggles (whether they’re external or not.)

Just remember that each phase of infancy is just that, a phase. Soon your tiny baby will be a grown adult that doesn’t need your constant care;treasure the moments while they’re still little.

-Katie

The Stigmas of SAHMs: A Day of Nothing

We all know the look. The look we get when we tell acquaintances, friends, even family members, that we’re choosing to become a stay at home mom. It’s a look of confusion, surprise, pity, jealousy and “judgyness”. This segment is about overcoming the stigmas of being at SAHM. Whether placed on us by loved ones, SOs, friends, strangers, MSM, or even ourselves, stigmas are the mantras we tell ourselves over and over that slowly break us mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We can overcome these debilitating scripts. We can become the all-star parents we saw ourselves being from the minute that pink line smiled back at us.

Let’s do this together. Let’s learn everything we can and become fulfilled as women and mothers in this role we were created to thrive in.

“Well it’s not like you do anything all day..”

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I am not a Stepford wife. But some days, I find myself trying to live up to irrational standards that I put on myself. Maybe I constantly smell of pledge and downy because of the stellar example set by my mother. Or maybe even because I’ve seen a lot of examples of how I don’t want my home to be run. I’ve been known to be folding laundry and unloading the dishwater seconds before my head hits the pillow. But many days I take a step back, exhale, and tell myself that the crumbs in the rug and the frozen pizza in the oven will not kill anybody. I take a look at my beautiful crazy family and I thank God for every minute I get with them.

You’ve read all the cute little stories titled “this husband can’t afford his wife.” Laundry? $50 a load. Cooking? $100 a day. My DH is active duty military. I won’t go into detail, but his job is up and down, coming and going, and so much unpredictability I could scream (sometimes I do). He doesn’t expect me to do all the things that I do, but I do them anyway. I live by the motto that a home should be a place we want to go. I want to come home to peace, a decent level of cleanliness and less stress on the inside than out. I clean my home and prepare 3 meals a day and try to keep my toddler alive from 6 am til 7 pm (even those sleeping hours still stress me some nights). I’m starting grad school (again) and writing for this incredible blog. I am no super mom or wife. But I do work. All day long.

We’ve talked before in this blog about PPD. I myself went through a mild dose of the baby blues that took me a while to overcome. I was lucky. My symptoms were very typical, mainly fatigue, lack of energy, lack of motivation and little interest in things that I usually enjoyed. With prayer, incredible friends and a supportive family, I overcame my symptoms.

But during this time specifically, I felt others attempt to use my SAHM status for their own benefit. People asked me to babysit for two weeks straight or drive 45 minutes with a newborn to meet for coffee, or got offended when I didn’t answer their calls every. single. day to talk about their latest coworker drama. And maybe I’m being insensitive, but I honestly did not care. Most days I was praying nap time came faster and maybe for a shower that day. I did not want to watch their children or load up my car to survive an afternoon out with a nursing infant. I didn’t even want to listen to their coworker’s latest fashion crime. And that is ok. Because that time finally passed and I was able to enjoy the little things again and get some frickin sleep! But that still didn’t make me a doormat.

For these, and ten thousand other reasons, I can literally physically feel my blood pressure rising and my hair getting a little more red when someone dares to say to me “Well, it’s not like you’re doing anything so….(insert annoying favor)” Excuse me. Do you see a living human hanging off my leg? Well apparently I’m at least feeding and cleaning that little person. It’s funny how remarks like that come from individuals who have never cared for a child or spent longer than a child-induced chaotic weekend at home. It doesn’t matter. There is no excuse for diminishing the role of a mother. Any mother. But especially one that is home all day kissing boo boos, singing ABCs, wiping mashed peas off the ceiling and somehow manages to keep the home together enough to live in.

Do not ever let someone make you feel as though you are lazy or wasting your days away by spending them with your child. These developmental years, (and childhood and teenage years) matter. Being a constant positive presence for you child fulfills so many needs their little hearts and brains don’t even know they need. And those days when that toddler is a little hellion and you just want to scream and put them to bed at 2 in the afternoon, still know, you simply being there is everything that child needs.

Let your house be knee deep in toys, a Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven and still be wearing yesterday’s sweats from time to time. You are there for your child. You are working so hard every minute of the day to learn patience, teach, provide for, and deepen a bond that your child will not soon forget. Don’t let someone make you feel inferior because you do the most important job on earth (it’s corny I know, but oh so true). We’ve got this. We work HARD every day. We are no one’s doormat and it is ok to say no to those “favors” other people think we have all the time for. You’re doing an amazing job, stay at home mom.

-Chelsea

Read more of our SAHM Stigmas series here:

SAHM Stigmas: Finances “We can’t afford this”

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/14/the-stigmas-of-sahms/

SAHM Stigmas: Careers

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/18/the-stigmas-of-sahms-careers

The Salmon Made Me Do It!

burnt-salmon

Salmon was for dinner. Baby K#2 was sleeping and BabyK#1 was playing with daddy.  I should have been able to make dinner peacefully and calmly. Except for the fact that BabyK#1 wanted nothing to do with daddy; she wanted mommy, and all of mommy. So, I attempted to cook dinner and play on the kitchen floor with some shape blocks at the same time. Bad idea. I didn’t have time to cook fish and play. The fish started falling apart, and so started the rage fit for the hour. My blood was boiling and I felt like I could punch a wall. I felt like I could punch a wall over some stupid fish falling apart. Right about this time BabyK#1 stepped on a block and was completely losing it! So, I scooped her up and took her in the living room and convinced her to play with daddy. The salmon! The salmon was burnt to a crisp. At this point I literally threw the pan into the sink and screamed “forget it no one is eating today”.  There began the tears for the evening. I wept…. I’m not talking a little bit of crying. I’m talking soaked your shirt, cant breath, and you probably should crawl to the bathroom in case you puke kind of tears.  My DH  just held me and let me cry, but he shouldn’t have had to do that. THAT woman was NOT the person he married. THAT woman was far from the person that I am. I was unrecognizable even to myself.

I am not the mother who lays on the couch for hours at a time.

I am not the mother who is scared she might throw the book that her toddler threw back at the toddler.

I am not the mother who holds her newborn and weeps…and weeps…and weeps, because why? Who knows?

I am not the mother who hears both babies crying and rolls over in bed.

I am not the mother who is furious that her one month old wants held, and won’t sleep for more than two hours at night.

I am not the wife who questions every move her husband makes.

I am not the wife who doesn’t trust her husband. With anything.

I am not the wife who avoids physical contact.

I am not the friend who dodges phone calls and texts.

I am not the friend who doesn’t show up to hang out.

I am not her.

I feel physically ill when I think about how I acted and what could have happened. It was the most terrifying feeling I had ever experienced. I decided that evening to talk to my midwife and do something about how I was feeling. Deciding to push past the stigma, fear, and pride; suck it up, and do what the doctor said would help me two weeks ago when I went in, because I knew something was off and it was worrying me. The evening of the salmon (yeah that’s what it is being called) was not worrisome. It was terrifying.

I always thought that being depressed meant that you were sad all the time and didn’t wash your hair or leave your house. I’m sure that’s probably a good description of depression for some people, but it’s also a pretty good description of being a mom, minus the sad part. But I found in reading articles and talking to a few friends that irritability and anger are also symptoms of depression. Uh, two humungous check marks right there!

So, what is PPD, and what is the difference between PPD and your good ol’ baby blues???

***You should always consult with a physician about any symptoms. These are just my findings***

Baby Blues “begin in the first few days following delivery and are typically gone by about two weeks postpartum. Symptoms tend to be mild.” The usual weepiness/crying for no apparent reason, impatience, irritability, restlessness, anxiety, sadness, mood changes, and poor concentration are all symptoms of baby blues.

All of this was pretty manageable for me with BabyK#1. I cried some, I got annoyed some but that was it, and it only lasted about a week.

PPD is a “serious mental health problem characterized by the prolonged period of emotional disturbance occurring at the time of major life change and increased responsibilities in the care of a newborn infant. PPD can have significant consequences for both the new mother and family.”

There are so many symptoms but the ones that I have read about are : Loss of appetite, insomnia, intense irritability and anger, overwhelming fatigue, loss of interest in sex, lack of joy in life, feelings of shame guilt or inadequacy, severe mood swings, withdrawal from family friends, difficulty bonding with your baby, and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.

About two weeks after BabyK#2 was born the symptoms just kept on coming and kept getting worse. I talked to my husband, and my mom trying to convince myself that I wasn’t completely losing it. I kept putting on a happy face and shoving all the feelings/lack of feelings down. I felt like a horrible mother and a horrible wife. I doubted if I was supposed to be a mother and a wife. Mostly, I doubted my decision to become a mother. Not just a good mother, but a mother in general. Me! The person who has wanted children since I was a little girl! Me! The person who only ever wanted to be a mother. My “dream job” growing up was to be mom. I was living it and I didn’t know if I still wanted it. I doubted whether I should have ever had kids. I knew that I COULD do it, but I wondered why on earth I had WANTED to do it. When I had a bad day I just wanted to run away. I knew I would come back, I just wanted to stand up grab my keys and walk out the door and have an hour to just relax and not feel needed. And that feeling was so strange. It was almost like my body was willing itself to do this. It was an internal power struggle. Half of me was trying to get up and walk out, while the other half, the more rational side was preventing this from happening. So very strange. None of that was me. In any shape or form.

After living like this for about 7 weeks a friend came over to visit. She has 4 children and they are all very close in age like mine. I asked her if she had gone through any of this, if she took the medication prescribed, and if she went to therapy, or how she made out on the other side. She began telling me her story of how she was completely numb, couldn’t connect to her kids, she wouldn’t eat and how it lasted for years without her saying a word. WOW! Years? I feel like I’m going crazy after a few weeks. I couldn’t imagine not having anyone to talk to, and not having a resolution for this for years! Needless to say hearing from her and the night of the salmon gave me the guts do what needed done. No matter how cruddy I felt.

Being a mom means doing hard things. And sometimes the hardest thing is asking for the help you need. And the rage is still there. It’s the most difficult part to manage and from my experience, the least-talked about symptom of depression. I’m typing this now in tears, because it’s all so fresh and real, and still so present. I have only felt “normal” for about a week now. And by “normal” I mean not about to fly off the handle. I am in no way completely healed. Yes, I’m still fighting the depression, sadness, and rage. But now, finally … finally I feel like I’m winning.

That’s why I’m writing this post. I want all you moms out there to know that if you deal with PPD, depression, and especially the rage that can accompany it, you are not alone. You are not a bad mom. It can and will get better—if you get help. But now I understand that depression happens to regular people. These scary feelings do not make me a bad mother. And with medication, therapy, lots of prayer, and healthier life choices, I feel more like me again.

~Amanda

Sources :

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/definition/con-20029130