What I Want You To Know About Postpartum Psychosis

 

Five years ago today my little man was born.

As for any first-time mom, the excitement and energy of the rush to the hospital to meet him is a bit of a blur, especially given the five years that have flooded my memory since then. Sure, we had the same fears and concerns as any new parents: is he sleeping and eating enough? Are we using the right baby products? When will his umbilical cord heal? Are we doing enough tummy time? But for us, the beginning of our story is quite different than that of most new families starting out.

Because right after he turned four weeks old, I had to be hospitalized for postpartum psychosis.

I knew I was experiencing hypomania from the time that he was placed in my arms around four a.m. the morning after he was born. He tried nursing for the first time and the physical exhaustion and emotional release of having just given birth started to set in. We sent him to the nursery so that I could try to catch up on sleep, but with the nurses checking my vitals every hour due to the C-section, sleep was nearly impossible.

Some people may wonder why I hid my symptoms from the people who could help me. The doctors and nurses who saw me [Read more…]

Happy Birthday, G! {Wordless/Wordful Wednesday}

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Back when “Don’t Carpe Diem” went viral via Glennon Doyle Melton’s blog Momastery and the Huffington Post, I spent the next week staying up late every night, reading the archives of her blog and I’m so glad I did.

She is one hell of a writer who I had the pleasure of meeting randomly last year at our local swim school. After helping my son pull on his goggles and ushering him off to his swim coach, I went to sit down in the parent’s viewing room with my 2-yr old daughter and looked to my left as a pretty mom was about to sit down in the empty seat next to us.

In a surprised (and almost giddy) voice I said, “Are you Glennon?” knowing the answer before she even had a chance to reply.

“Why yes, yes I am!” she replied with a warm smile.

“I’ve read your blog!” I said cautiously, not sure whether or not I should admit to how much of a huge fan I was of her writing. “I love it.” Realizing later I could have said, “I’ve read your life,” that is how incredibly honest she is.

We talked for the next twenty-five minutes while our kids swam (hers crying through the lesson mostly.) And she hugged me when we said goodbye.

I called one of my best friends, Stephanie, on the way home because I couldn’t contain my shock and excitement.

 

Happy 37th Birthday, G. You are inspiring, uplifting, brave, brutally honest, and hands-down, one of my favorite writers. Carry On, Warrior!

 

+ The Paper MamaLive and Love Out Loud & Baby Baby Lemon

My insecurities & a birthday wish for my daughter

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I’m struggling lately folks. And since it’s on my mind, I feel the need to write about it here. My place to type things out, to figure things out, to vent things out. I hope you don’t mind that it won’t be all neat and pretty. Just probably my rambling and not making much sense, but I have a feeling I’ll feel a whole lot better once I get it all off my chest. A blogger I follow calls it the root of blogging: uninterrupted narcissistic rambling.

So here goes. Bear with me.

My daughter turned two yesterday. Two whole years old. My precious baby girl who just recently spent eight days in the hospital fighting pneumonia and Kawasaki disease, celebrated her second birthday with a play-date party at our house where six little friends – all boys! – and her brother, spoiled her and showered affection all over her cute little blond pigtail head. (Literally. One of the little guys just couldn’t get enough of her – by the end of the morning she was practically in tears when he came near her to give kisses – it was hilarious and I have the pictures for when they’re older.)

I had gingerbread sleighs for the kids to decorate with icing and candy, and wooden snowmen ornaments that they colored with crayons and markers. For lunch I made them peanut butter and fluff sandwiches, cut in a triangle to make a reindeer face (my friend’s idea – I’m not that creative), complete with pretzel antlers and maraschino cherries for noses. I had hastily cut up fresh veggies that morning, which I served with Ranch dip, and I had leftover fruit salad from a brunch we had been to the day before.

Leftovers. This is where it started.

I had intended to order a pizza for us moms – the four of us could have easily polished off a medium pizza. But with all the craziness of 8 kids running around, I just didn’t have the energy to deal with it. And since my husband the amateur chef had baked up to gourmet-like pizzas from scratch the night before when his parents came over to celebrate baby girl’s birthday, I offered that as an alternative, not even thinking how terrible it made me look as a hostess. The salad my mother-in-law had brought over to go with the pizza had gone untouched, and so I had that to go with the pizza I served heated up from the toaster oven.

We supervised the kids eating first, then we adults took our turn. After everyone had lunch, we sang Happy Birthday to the birthday princess, and the kids ate strawberry cake that I had actually thrown in the oven an hour before when I realized I had almost forgotten to bake her cake. For us moms, there were the cupcakes my in-laws had brought over the evening before – a dozen in all – so we had six remaining and I had the moms pick one of those as dessert.

The girls all brought gifts for the birthday girl, even though I had said “please no gifts” on our casual email invitation. They are my two old roommates from college and my best friend from college who is like a sister to me. I love how our boys are such good friends and my daughter loves running around with them too. Watching our kids play brings us all such joy, I know this because we always talk about it.

I am sure that all the kids had a fantastic time and I’m sure the moms probably did too. I had a fun too. But after everyone left, and I had dropped my son off at preschool, tucked my daughter in for her nap and cleaned up after the little party, I kept thinking about my crummy hostessing skills and how I wished I had put more effort into the Mommy side of the play-date menu.

I wish I would have done a better job of de-cluttering and cleaning up in general before our guests arrived. I wish I would have made some sort of special sandwich or salad for my friends who drove a half hour or more to get to our house for the party. I wish I would have made little goodie bags for the kids. I wish I wouldn’t have forgotten to offer the girls drinks during lunch.

I wish, I wish, I wish. I find myself saying those words a lot lately.

I could barely sleep last night. I know it probably sounds so ridiculous. After tossing and turning for nearly two hours I finally caved in to my sleep meds and took an Ambien so that I could get some shut-eye.

I woke up today still upset about it. Embarrassed, even. I called my mom on the drive home from dropping the kids off at daycare. I was quickly in tears and she was very sympathetic. Apparently, she said, this is something she and I both suffer from. We say or do something, or forget to do something all together that we regret very soon after, and then subsequently beat ourselves up about it for several days.

“It’s a hormone thing honey,” my mom explained.

Definitely a trait I wish I would not have inherited.

It’s not just this incident though. Lately I’ve been feeling so torn. Reminded me of this post I wrote back in September about balance. I’ve been wondering how other moms do it all. How do they do ALL THE THINGS? And they do them SO DAMN GOOD TOO.

I just feel so inadequate sometimes.

I should be writing a post about how unreal it feels to have such a smart, beautiful, funny, independent, social, happy little girl who adores her big brother and has a passion for learning and all things art. How her perfect blond curls make me smile at the sight, especially when they’re tied into those cute pigtails that fit her personality so well. She has a fierce determination to do things her way most all of the time, and does the back arching thing if you’re holding her and she wants to get her way so much so that you have to put her down for fear of dropping her on her head. Her eyes are an perfect blend of blue and the lightest green. They sparkle with mischief pretty much every hour of the day. She loves bedtime the most and will never protest when we say it’s time to go upstairs for bath. Strangers find it incredibly adorable that she still signs – Thank You most often, but also Milk and Please a lot – even though she is talking more and more these days. The pacifier is still one of her best buds and the dentist said it is perfectly acceptable for her to continue using it until her remaining four molars come through, since it is such a comfort to her. You hardly ever see her without her pink giraffe lovie blankie held tightly in her fist, corner knots usually being poked into her baby ears as her own soothing mechanism.

I love that I keep this bipolar blog, and also my private family one with photos and videos, as an everlasting journal of my life, my family, and my journey living with mental illness. Because I hope one day my kids will grow up and learn that their mom is trying the best she can. And even though she may compare herself to others, and she may wish she could be the perfect mom who has it all together all the time, all she’ll ever be is theirs.

This will never change. Just the same as how my love for them will always be as strong as our hearts beating life through our bodies.

Except unlike hearts which will eventually stop one day, my love for them will go on forever.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Baby Girl. Mommy loves you with all her heart.

And more.

xoxo

4 years ago he changed my life forever

I’ll never forget the moment I became a mom. 

Even though I was manic beyond belief by the time I finally got to hold him for the first time and for the entire four weeks following his birth, I still somehow knew how incredibly different my life was going to be now that he had arrived.

He made me want to be a better person. He gave my life purpose. He made us a family. He made my heart explode with love every time I held him to my chest.

Little Man, your Mama loves you more than anything in the whole world.

Over these past four years you have become such an inquisitive fire-cracker of a preschooler who challenges me to the core each and every day.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Your laugh makes me smile and within seconds I am laughing right along with you.

Your energy keeps me motivated to run along with you.

Your eyelashes make me so incredibly jealous.

I love the way you protect and love on your baby sister.

I get goosebumps when I see how happy you are when you’re in the water. You are such a fish.

You are so passionate about fire trucks and fire fighters that I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you become one someday.

Having you in my life is one of the most magical miracles I have ever experienced.

Singing you Twinkle, Twinkle every night these past four years is my favorite way to end the day.

In one hour you turn four.

Happy 4th Birthday, Little Man. I love you to the moon and back.

Love,

Mommy

xoxo