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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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.**

 

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