Things Never To Say To A Woman With Postpartum Depression

 

My friend recently sent me a popular article from Huffington Post on this very topic.  She asked me what I thought about it and really, it was right on.  I wanted to share my commentary on two points as to why I think you should NEVER say these things.  All of this from someone who lived it.  With no further adieu, these are the top two things not to ever say to someone with postpartum depression.

 

Go for A Walk And Other “Remedies”

This is perhaps the mother of all things not to say to someone with postpartum.  It’s number one by a long shot.  Any remedy someone offers whether it be an activity or hobby they should try or pick up again as a cure for postpartum is a nice thought from someone who, to be fair, doesn’t understand.  HOWEVER, saying that someone should just get a book and read it under the tree to set them on the right path back to their “normal” is saying that the affected person’s condition isn’t really a condition at all.  It implies it’s a “bad day” sort of sadness we all have where an ice cream cone might cheer us up.  Ideas like this are an all out denial that PPD is a medical and physiological condition.  Think of it this way:  You wouldn’t tell your best friend to go for a jog to treat strep throat.  Why?  Because strep is an illness that needs medical attention.  You can’t run off strep and you can’t read/shop/relax PPD away.  If those things healed conditions solely, we would rarely need insurance.

Not only is this statement entirely unhelpful AND uneffective in the ultimate answer for PPD, it also makes someone suffering feel very alone.  You already feel helpless and alone and hearing from loved ones and friends advice like this makes you panic and realize, “I really am alone.  No one really understands. No one can help me.”  Typically, this makes a person worse in the end.  I remember those feelings well.

DON’T SAY THIS TO ANYONE!

 

You don’t need medicine.

Of all the things NOT to say, this is probably the most dangerous thing loved ones say to their friends/family. Not only does someone often end up taking medication, it can be dangerous to the mother’s well being and sometimes the child’s well being that the mother not be treated with medicine.  No one should be crippled in a bad state because medicine is frowned upon.

I think most people who love someone with PPD feel uncomfortable with medicine and feel that their loved one will/should/can pull themselves up by their bootstraps or that it will pass.  One of the distinctions of PPD and baby blues is that it requires attention and won’t just pass.  Although some women struggle unimaginable amounts of time without treatment and eventually come back to themselves, that is typically not how it happens for the average PPD sufferer.

The best thing you can do as a person outside of the situation is to SUPPORT whatever measures the sufferer feels is what they need to do.  They want to quit breastfeeding?  “Great.  I’m proud of you for doing the best thing for you and your baby to BOTH be happy and comfortable.”  They want to take more time off work?  “I think that is a good idea and that you need to take care of yourself  first as a priority.”  They want to get medicine? “You are smart to take care of this and get control of it so it can’t control you.  I think you are doing the right thing.”

Remember, a doctor is going to sign off on this decision based on their expertise so leave the prescribing to the doctor and all the support you can give to the individual’s and doctor’s choice, the better.  A woman with PPD feels very hopeless and unsure, help be her confidence.  You cannot support her enough.  Spur her on to take measures to get well.

 

When I had postpartum I/This  person I know went through the same thing and…

Now this can be good or bad.  In a way, it’s great having someone to relate to.  I talked to someone I had never met before who lived in another state just to be helped through by someone who went before me in postpartum.  This can be priceless and extremely helpful BUT whether you have had postpartum depression yourself or you are just sharing stories of others, choose with caution the details you share.

For me personally, I had compulsive anxious thoughts that tormented me.  To a mom struggling with the anxious facet of PPD, the last thing we/they need are any more ideas or dysfunctional stories to flood their spinning minds with.  Be careful on what you share with someone who is struggling with depression/anxiety.  It’s easy for someone in this position to latch on to thoughts or troubling details and they just won’t be able to shake them.

Truly, in any conversation with anyone on any day, we should patrol the details and stories we share of tragic local events, news stories, etc.  We are a society that loves shock value but disturbing, perpetually sad news or tragedies aren’t ever things we need in our minds all the time.  This is especially true for the person who is already very anxious or troubled with PPD.  Don’t give them more negative things to fill their mind with because it will be hard for them to forget.  I am very cautious when I talk to someone with PPD not to over share specific thoughts I had during that time for this very reason.

 

What Should You Say To Someone With Postpartum

The blog I mentioned above followed up what not to say with what to say to someone with postpartum depression.  I’m going to diverge here from the points she made and say something specific that I think encourages anyone with PPD.  No matter what types of struggle a woman is having while postpartum, one thing that is pretty universal is guilt.  We all have mother’s guilt even on normal days, right?  Imagine bringing home a new baby and while everyone is drooling over your new precious baby, you can’t find much joy.  Not only can you not find joy, you feel down right hopeless and at the end of those thoughts, you feel guilty for every off beat feeling you have.  You feel worthless and like a failure.  You aren’t able to do anything, get anything done, and your life is consumed by the one thing that is the source of your depression:  the changes of a new baby.

The best thing someone told me who just so happened to have walked in PPD shoes was this:

“You may not feel like you are doing anything special and that you are failing your baby but you are doing an excellent job.  You are doing everything your baby needs.  She/he needs to be feed, changed, and held and if that’s all you get done in a day, you are doing absolutely everything that baby needs.  You ARE doing it.  You are giving your baby the care he/she needs.”

That may not seem powerful to you but I assure you it is.  It takes the sense of mother’s guilt you have and flips it on its head.  Emotionally you feel like a failure but with that statement, you realize that what you feel in emotion is not the same as what you carrying out in practice.  Inspite of your feelings, if you are doing the most basic things for your baby: holding, feeding, changing, etc.  You have done exactly what is needed and you are successful.  You are a good mom.  You are taking care of your baby and not only that, you are doing it in the face of a great obstacle which makes it more impressive than someone who isn’t struggling at all.

Anything you can do to point to real life examples of the care and success they are providing their child, even if they have to seek someone else to do the majority of the caring, show them that they are making sure that they are doing what it takes and remind them of the value of that.

Send a pizza to their house.  Leave a gift on their doorstep or a frozen meal with a note and send them a message or text to check their front step.  Tell them that there is no need to respond or send a thank you…not even a thank you text.  Give them the freedom to have one less thing to worry about or feel like they need to do in this extremely overwhelming time.  Offer to come sit with them IF that makes them feel less anxious.  For me I needed to be around people but sometimes, the thought of even someone I loved visiting made me anxious so really feel them and their spouse out for what is best there.

Take their other children for a while if they have more kids.  Let them catch a nap.

My best advice is to be supportive and practical.  Support the steps they need to take to get better.  Show your love by acts of service that are helpful in their case and remind them that this will pass and sit with them in whatever ways you can through the muddy waters.  Tell them they are a good mother and how you can see that in them.

Hope this is helpful to someone :0)

 

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Photo Credit:  Geekphilospher.com Free stock photos for personal and commercial use.

PPD update

The million dollar question:  Do I have/am I getting postpartum depression this time?  Before having Salem, I got a lot of questions about how I felt going in to having number 2.  Some would call me brave, others would ask what are the odds I’ll have it again, and some would just ask me if I was scared or worried.  How would I do this time?  I was as interested in that answer as everyone else.  My first blog I posted talking about my PPD was one of my most read posts ever so I know some of you are wondering.

Well…..

Salem is 7 days old today so things could always change, however, I was already on a speedy downward spiral with Eden at this point.  So far, I’m doing worlds apart from last time.  I’m eating, sleeping, no panic attacks, no crying spells…

I have had some hours where I felt in degrees of how I did before.  The first time I had a wave of old feelings was actually in the hospital day 2.  I hit a wall of extreme exhaustion and sleep deprivation and that coupled with hormones is the death of me, my emotions, and logical thinking.  I started having that same sort of anxiety I felt with Eden and it turned into the second night in a row of insomnia due to that fact.  That was scary because just like when I had Eden, people would say, “You just need to sleep.”  I agree.  That’s true but if you are struggling with anxiety, you can’t sleep no matter how bad or desperately you try. I started my antidepressant after delivery and when I told my ob about my one bad night in the hospital, she added the Xanax which I haven’t taken…yet.

I’ve had one or two nights where I couldn’t sleep at home as well due to the exhaustion that breeds overwhelmed feelings.  However, I’ve been able to sleep wonderfully the past 3 nights with no drugs or anything needed, just good old fashioned sleep.

Since being home I’ve had two short lived waves of feelings that, like I said, last about an hour before I return to normal.  I’m not crying on the floor during those times.  I just tell Lance, “Ugh, I’m feeling depressed/anxious…”  and in time it will pass.  That NEVER happened before.  It was intense and  constantly getting worse and worse.  Still, many times a day I feel those feelings lurking in the background.  It’s very much a part of my make-up and always will be.  The feelings stay at bay and daily I monitor how I’m doing to keep them in check.  If I didn’t make different choices this time, I could have still gone down that road again to some extent.

I attribute my doing better this time to 4 factors:

1- I started antidepressants within hours of giving birth.

2- Salem is a very easy baby.  She cries very little and sleeps really well.  Major infant score!  Praise the Lord!

3- I’ve already gone through the life change of sleeplessness and shock of becoming a mom so this time, I knew what to do and what I didn’t want to do again.  Example:  waking a baby every 2-3 hours to eat.  I let her sleep and tell me when she is hungry and naturally, she establishes her own schedule.  All in all, I’m more in my skin and relaxed having done it before.

4- Not breastfeeding….exclusively.

Gasp, yes, contrary to my previous decision to only nurse day hours in the hospital and then quit when I got home, I have been nursing a little.  I’ve been doing a morning, early afternoon, and evening.  That means if she eats 8-10 times in 24 hours, I’m basically doing 3-4 of those feedings.  How and why in my right mind did I decide to change my mind?  Well, Salem latched on the first few minutes in the hospital and is a dream nurser.  There are no complicating factors with nursing this time because she does it with ease and it’s relatively pain free.  This is totally opposite of the experience I had before so I’m actually enjoying a basically effortless, easy breastfeeding experience.  I decided since it was going so smoothly that I felt comfortable to do some feedings.  I don’t nurse at night and only the few during day hours and SO FAR it’s going good.

There is one major component that I’m aware of in this equation:  the hormones required to produce milk.  No matter how smooth the breastfeeding is going, hormones of nursing can kill a PPD person.  With that said, when some people who were nervous for me to make this choice asked me how long I will nurse, this is my answer…

I don’t know.  I’m putting no pressure on myself with any expectation this entire postpartum time period.  Day by day I’ll see how I’m doing and if at point I start to waver or have longer or extended times of anxiety and depression, I will stop.  I am so thankful I’ve had/am having the chance to have a normal experience with this one but I will not put myself at risk for any choice.  That’s for sure.

One day at a time with everything is how I’m approaching this go round.  All in all I am doing a million times better but respect what it is and that it can change and if it does, I’ll change my choices to remain enjoying this time like I am now.

I welcome and, in fact, LOVE questions.  Feel free to ask me anything regarding any issue with this whole PPD thing.  No holds bar.  And if you are a Facebook reader, please post your comments here if you don’t mind, me ladies.   It makes my blog look so sad and lonely when people comment elsewhere.  Don’t give my blog postpartum.  It can’t take antidepressants ;0)

Depression for us all

Yesterday, I spoke to group of women about PPD.  You know, the group I talked about in an earlier post.  I meant to take a picture with them for this post but, alas, I’m still Rebecca and can’t remember anything anymore.  I did remember to show up to the group though so I was pretty impressed.

I didn’t know what to expect at all and when I walked in, there where round tables with flowers and dominoes scattered around.  They are doing game themes for each meeting and this one was dominoes because the topic was depression and dominoes = falling down.  It was a cute theme, but I belly laughed to myself in my head when I realized the connection.

“The first time I speak anywhere is about your life falling apart.”  That’s hilarious in a “just laugh about life” sort of way.  I am a life falling downer.  No pun intended on downer….or pun, if you prefer.  Next time I’m going to have to shoot for their hot air balloon theme.  Except that could be linked to anxiety and my fear of flying out of control in a basket in the air.  Dang.  I’ll settle for something different then like sunshine.  Everyone is proud to discuss sunshines.

Anyways…..

I didn’t have to stand on a stage with a mic.  Whew.

I actually got to sit my almost third trimester butt on a banquet table and address them from there.  Score for me.  Score for my feet.

One of my first sentences had the word nipple in it so I think they knew from the beginning that I was going to be colorfully direct about my experience with postpartum and how it lead to Celexa and Xanax, not being able to breastfeed, and so on.  We all laughed and half of us cried.  I, of course, was part of the crying group.  I sort of facilitated the crying by crying myself and being so honest.  Come on, I couldn’t leave a group talk on depression until at least a few people were crying.  If one woman left depressed, then I think I did my job.

I actually had two mini choke-ups and went for a short spurt of ugly cry face at the end when I talked about how PPD brought healing to my marriage.  It was ugly enough that I had to cover my mouth temporarily.  That’s when other women cried and you know what, I love myself some women!  I love that we sympathize with other women and that we are such a deep feeling, compassionate breed.  We may be the weaker vessel but I must say, women are pretty awesome.  If we weren’t so compassionate and tender then all of our kids would be raised by drill sergeants.  Imagine a world full of homes decorated by children raised by drill sergeants….I’m choking on the camouflage just typing it.

At the end of my speech, I opened the floor to questions.  I prefaced the open discussion by telling them that I always wanted to be on Oprah and asked questions by her and now that Oprah was gone, I would need them to be my dream fulfiller.  I told them they should just make up things to ask me like what was my middle name.  Anything really.  It’s hard recreating an Oprah experience.  There was a prize giveaway though so it was sort of like her Favorite Things Show minus about 10,000 dollars worth of products and screaming.  I was going to say minus crying and screaming but we had the crying part.  Actually, the nursery had the screaming so okay, it was just like the Favorite Things Show.

When it was all said and done, women came up to me and told me they were touched by my story and I was so thankful I had the chance to talk to them.  See what happens when you put on your big girl pants and just put yourself out there?  You get to be on Oprah.  Remember that guys.  Big girl pants=Oprah=dreams come true=a funny/crying/ laughing depressing time had by all.

Winning.

Later that night, I came home to the little girl that the story revolved around and was thankful for her and the husband that helped me through it.

Before I put her in bed she said, “Mommy, I’m so proud of you.”

I said, “Thank you for making me a momma,”  and I put her in her crib.”

And more tears commenced.  This time, not the ugly cry face kind.  And for that, I was like, “I’ve already grown so much from an hour ago!”  And then, again, I was like, “Winning.”

Obviously.

 

 

You again? Medela Comes To My Door

I went to my 17 week appointment last week and my ob told me something that shocked me.  She said I could try breast feeding again if I wanted to.

Hold the pump!

What?!!  I thought she had told me that I could never do it again because of my ppd and what nursing does to a person hormonally.  She clarified and said that last time it wasn’t an option for me but that if I wanted to, I could try it again.  This time I will be on medication right away and I will be “monitored” so to speak because she will be aware of my past problem and she said this time could be different.

I told her that I had resolved and come to terms with the fact that I would never do it again.  I mean, I mourned that fact.  I cried over not being able to nurse another child on several occasions. It took me until Eden was a good 10 months old to be able to let it go and hold up my lactose free Similac proudly.  Finally, I came to terms with it and even wrote the declaration of my acceptance in the post “Here I Give To You My Dreams In This Fashionable Medela Bag”.

When I told my ob that I had resolved never to nurse again she said, “Then I wouldn’t.  It’s a big commitment and you have to be committed to doing it.”  She is so stinkin’ right.

I talked to Lance about the prospect of me nursing again and it makes him really nervous.  He is worried for me.  He said that he didn’t care if it was hard for him if I were to have a bad time but that he doesn’t want that to happen to me again.  He also said he would support me either way.

Drat!  Drat this prospect and drat this support!  Sort of =0)

Honestly, I just don’t know if I can even if I want to.   I think part of my “want” is to just be normal.  Just to do it like you thought you would pre-baby. Nobody plans on a c-section with their first.  No one thinks they will have ppd when they set up their nursery.  No one thinks breastfeeding will kill them when they buy their new shiny breast pump but in life, these things happen.

Those first three weeks were hell for me and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t nurse! I couldn’t keep up with the every 2-3 hour schedule round the clock.  It was painful.  It was consuming and it was hormonal.  It kicked my butt so hard.  SO hard.  It was never easy.  I still look in awe when someone walks in our church nursery with an 8 ounce bottle of pumped milk.  How did you do that?  How was it easy to get?  Do you moo?  You are so a breastfeeding winner.

Breastfeeding defeated me. There is a part of me that just wants to be able to do it.  Nobody likes to be defeated.

I know it’s not worth the risk but I’m haunted not only by the defeat of something I wanted to do so badly but by the reality that maybe I could successfully do it.  If I’m on meds, what if I would have been fine?  What if it nursing would be easier with baby number 2 like it is for so many women?  What if?

Ultimately, I guess the “what if” has to be worth chance if my “what if” turns into “it wasn’t”.  In light of what I went through, I’m not sure there exists such a potent and nutritious breast milk that outweighs the benefits and  importance of a happy, healthy mom.

Thinking about all of this, I wrote a friend who helped me when I had my ppd who is also a 3 time ppd haver herself.  I laid out my concerns and my hang ups and she told me that the best advice is to do whatever will allow you to be the best mom, whatever that may be.  She also told me that she breastfed all three times and had to stop all three times because of emotional/hormonal reasons and that every time she got better afterwards.

She even shared with me about one of her friends who is one of my blog readers who just had her first baby maybe a month ago who has had a terrible experience.  Once this girl quit breastfeeding and went back on her anxiety medications, she got not only good but great.  I even say myself that my first piece of advice to ANY woman in throws of ppd would be to stop breastfeeding.  There is a science to why it exacerbates the problems when it arises for mothers.

I don’t know a person who had a good ole’ case of ppd who didn’t stop nursing.  It’s not only the havoc it brings on your hormones, but also the demand on the mom who is feels like they are losing it, or anxious, or depressed.  Even one of my best friends who didn’t have ppd but had a difficult start to motherhood said she cried inexplicably for the first year and only realized how much better she felt after she had quit nursing.  I know the reality is that nursing is not kind to the depressed mother or the mother who has had a history of emotional or anxious issues.

It seems so obvious.  I know I’ve given some reasons why I’m flip flopping a little bit in my mind but I just can’t fully explain to myself why I’m wavering back and forth at all.  I guess I just wonder, “What if I never did it again and I really would’ve been okay?”  Then again, what if i did it, had a hard time, and ended up never knowing what it is like to bring home a baby and not cry and have panic attacks and feel depressed.  I feel like that’s almost the greater loss.

I know for fact that I will do the first latch after birth and maybe some in the hospital just so she can get some colostrum and so I can at least have that small experience with her.  My milk is coming in regardless so at least then, I’ll have some of the experience and she will get the first nutrition.  I could stop then when I go home and it gets real all up in that piece.

It’s so easy to just give a bottle that doing some hospital nursing will either make me sad to stop OR remind me that anyone can feed my baby a bottle at 4 am and last I checked, it causes no pain or energy to shake a bottle around. =0)

Who am I kidding?  Formula is great!  Haha.

Sigh.  I’m such a schizo.  I don’t even have to re-read this to know that I’m more scattered than cats in a room full of rocking chairs.

I think what we may be experiencing here is the re-entering of the dream and the exiting phase which is marked by huge denial.  What?  Who said that?

Everything baby has been so different for me than I ever imagined it would be 3 years ago.  But then again, Eden is more wonderful than I ever conceived possible for a child of mine to be.  God has a way of trading our picketed fences in life.  Either way, you still end up happy looking through the planks.

 

Milkman by photographer Imgorthan

http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/108329479/Vetta

The Complications of Conception

Reproduction has never been easy for me. Not pre or post production. I had almost forgotten the stress of it all until we started talking about having our second child.

About 2 weeks ago, my emotions were stirred when the woman who helped me with my post partum depression relasped, shall we say. Her baby is a few months older than Eden and it’s her 3rd. She quit her medicine several months ago and now finds herself in a bad spot again.

When Lance told me that, it made my heart race. I’m not sure why really but maybe it’s because I saw her as a success story, so to speak. She had really bad ppd with her first, none with her second, and then now with her third a little older than one year old, it’s back.

I guess I’ve always thought that there is no way I would go back to that dark place. Seeing that she did, even if it wasn’t to the full degree, sort of slaps me in the face with reality.

Hey, Rebecca when are you going to stop talking about post partum?

I don’t know it was just so hard and traumatic.

I like your hair.

Are you trying to change the subject?

No, are you?

(long pause)

I like your bangs…..

That was weird.  Anyways, I’ve just always thought, “Next time won’t be bad because my life has already gone through the shocking change, they are gonna medicate me at the hospital before I go home, and I won’t be breastfeeding. Of course, I’ll be better!”

But will I?

With all these questions and fear swirling inside of me, I did what every wise person does. I googled it.

I ended up on medical sites that were about post partum in women with subsequent births. Recurrence Rate? 50-100 percent. Ew. I don’t like those odds. Not exactly something I want to flip a coin on.  I don’t even like a 50 percent chance of rain.

The material said that references to post partum depression are made all the way back to the 4th century B.C. so it’s official. I would’ve been crazy walking in Bethlehem and crazy walking in Kentucky. At least there’s not a ‘better case scenario’ that has to haunt my mind. Apparently my grass isn’t greener on the other side…just a plain simple crazy green all around.

I read on to read the symptoms of post partum depression. That’s kind of like a lion reading about how a lion hunts. The lion already knows how to hunt because he’s a lion but he wants to freak himself out by reading about all the perils that are before him.

I read the line, “…intense irrational feelings of fear….”

I kid you not, my heart was pounding so hard just reading that–that it felt like my shirt was rattling. I never quite let myself go back to that horror in my mind but even dancing around it is unsettling. I remember those feelings well.

What’s scarier than reading about it is the thought of re-living it and, as crazy as it sounds, I almost feel like I can’t imagine what it would be like to relive. I know it seems like I should be able to considering I lived it, but it was so traumatic, it’s like I’ve blocked it out.  It was so horrid that I can’t even wrap my mind around what it would be like to do over because it’s just too much. 

When I was going through it, I couldn’t fathem being able to have another child. Now I anxiously question myself, “Back then you didn’t think you could have another child when you were in the midst of it. Have I just forgotten? Am I being foolish?”

Honestly, I don’t think I am but in the moment, I would sure feel foolish.

I question, “Am I like that woman? Am I really not better and it’s just the medication so I’m fooled into thinking I’m better?”

What most people don’t know is that ppd can happen anytime within the first year so it’s not unlikely to still be having problems long after the birth or for the problem to start for the first time when your child is pushing a year old.  Another interesting thing that I just heard from my friend’s doctor is that it takes a woman’s brain 18 months to go back to it’s pre-pregnancy state. That’s whether you have ppd or not.  Pregnancy alters the brain.  That’s a much more serious issue if you’ve had ppd.

So what if I’m not normal yet? What if I wait till Eden is 18 months to start trying and then I still end up with ppd again anyways? What if I tried to be wise and wait to have a child but then my infertility came back during that time? What if….what if….what if…..

I feel like something that’s wise in one area is unwise in another area. This is all just….a lot.

I know ultimately I’m just scared and that I have no control over any of it. Doctors can’t even tell you if your endometriosis will grow back or if your ppd will definetly reoccur.

My sister told me that likely I will have it again because she had it with all 3 kids, BUT that I’ve already had the worst case I could ever have given the different way I’ll be dealing with it next time. I think she’s right but I thought I was much more confident in the future until we actually started considering having a second.

I guess anyone who went through what I went through would be scared. I’ll just have to just go with what Lance and I decide because we have no control over when we will conceive or what will happen after we do.

Last night we were laying in bed talking about all of these things. We’ve been so busy lately that we just now had the chance to talk about it even though I’ve been mulling it over in my head for about a week.

He rubbed my hair and asked me questions about how I felt and told me what his take was on the whole situation.

He brushed my hair back and said, “I think we should just go ahead with what we planned on.”

“Yeah, me too. I’m just scared because I don’t want to end up in that place again to any degree.”

There was a long pause and he brushed my hair back once more and in a tender, sincere voice said, “I can’t believe Florida State won.”

Annnnnnndddddd, end scene!

Good night, Lance.

Grace at my Door

I layed in our bed surrounded by a pack-and-play, diapers, and breastfeeding paraphernalia of the night before.  Even though I hadn’t slept but a few hours, I couldn’t sleep with the anxiety that raged in my entire being.  I watched the clock and waited for the phone to ring for you to tell me you were coming. 

Bright and early at 6 am I get the text, “My kids are up and ready to go for the day so you just let me know when I can come and get Eden.”

I looked over at my 2 week old baby and the words “…my kids are up and ready…” followed by the time the text was sent at the break of dawn, confirmed that my life was doomed to continue on the path it was on that very moment.  How could so much change in 14 days?  Who was I?  What happened to my life?  Everything about me had become unrecognizable.

With shaky breath I layed in bed and waited for the door bell to ring.  I needed that break from my baby because I was sinking in the face of motherhood.  Fast.

When the doorbell rang, I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and stared at myself briefly.  Crackheads looked better.  Crackheads that lived in dumpsters who poured discarded litter boxes on their heads looked better.

My face was pail.  No make-up.  I was extremely sleep deprived and hadn’t eaten a full meal in a few days because the anxiety had wrecked my stomach.  I knew I should have been embarrassed to answer the door but I wasn’t.  I was too far gone and too desperate for help to be concerned with social graces.

I walked to the door and literally ran into the foyer wall because I was so exhausted that I staggered like a drunk.  When I opened the door, you were there bright-eyed holding two toddlers, one under each arm.  You made it look so easy.  I couldn’t in my best of days see how I would ever get to the place where I could be both bright-eyed and actually out of the house with one kid, muchless two.

You ran to your car to grab something and in the meantime, I broke down crying.  I sat over my little girl and felt an immense amount of guilt.

“I should be able to do this.  She is only 2 weeks old and I’m already needing for someone to take her.  Why can other people do this and I can’t?”

I felt like a failure.  Ashamed.  Like a bad mother.

Even still, in the middle of all of the sadness, I had this maternal pull to still want my baby with me even though I knew I needed to catch my breath.

When you came back and found me crying, you held me on your shoulder with one arm and your baby in the other and encouraged me.  It was like you had a maternal instinct and motherly understanding and compassion for how I felt in that moment.  I suppose once you become a mother, it’s like you start to look at everyone maternally.

Before you left, you gave me a bag full of Vitamin waters and a big jar of applesauce.  Those would be some of the only items I would consume over the next few days.

You nestled my tiny baby into your car seat and took 3 kids away with you for the day.

During the next 6 hours of silence you blessed me with, I layed in bed awake.  I faught panic attacks and tried to sleep.  I tried to find “me” somewhere in the madness.  The still of the house and it just being Lance and I again was reminder of the life that I had a few weeks prior and how shocking it was that it seemed years ago that it was just the two of us.  It was so disorienting.

Thankfully, it’s now been 10 months since I stared at the ceiling in fear of what my life as a mother would bring and whether or not I could handle it.  When I reflect on that time, there isn’t a memory recalled that isn’t follwed by the picture of you smiling and walking Eden out the door. 

I want you to know that you coming to take my baby that day was the kindest thing that anyone has ever done for me.  I know to you it wasn’t that much more than having another baby around for a few hours but from my perspective, my pain, it was grace to me that you will never know.  I probably hadn’t seen you in 5 years until you showed up on my doorstep that day.  As simple a gesture as you may think it was, it rescued me for a few desperate hours.

Later that afternoon, you brought Eden back to my door with a cute outfit and bow in her hair that Annabelle insisted she would wear.  You handed me a list of how much she ate and when she ate it and you were my temporary Super Nanny.

Long ago when my sister met you as a kid, you were her best friend.  You played with me when I was just Christina’s kid sister.  You gave me my first bra hidden in an envelope on my bed in elementary school.  You dressed me up in an outfit and put make-up on me so I could meet a little boy you wanted to be my boyfriend.  You were always a joy to be around and many of my childhood memories are seasoned with Marissa. 

I know that God brought you into Christina’s life to bless her as a friend but 2 decades later, I believe that he also put you there to love me then so that in my worst hour, you could love me again.

I’m thankful for the giver of bras who turned in to a wonderful mother who became my saving grace on my doorstep one mid-April morning. 

You make me proud to be a mother.

Here. I Give To You My Dreams In This Fashionable Medela Shoulder Bag.

Say it.

Say you are formula feeding your baby.

FOREVER.

For the past 9 months, that has been the hardest thing for me to say.  I’ve actually even cried over my food at the kitchen table about it.  I’m trying to be expressive for a change.

I breastfed so I know it’s inconvient, painful at times, demanding, all consuming, let’s see what else?  So because I know that, it may seem  crazy to be so sad about it to others who are not enjoying their milkier times or didn’t enjoy them when they were the real Dairy Queen.  BUT something about knowing I can’t makes me remember all the sweet and precious moments of being your baby’s only source of nutrition and survival.  It’s like the external version of the umbilical cord and you just love caring for them that way.

However, I am severing my dream of breastfeeding my baby officialy with the  ceremonial selling of my breastpump.  I have picked it up and thought, “Well, you never know….someday….maybe….right?”  For real, I am just now exiting my denial phase. Throughout these past 9 months I have come up with a million different twists of how I can tweak breastfeeding so it works for me but  I know that the only way for me to try breastfeeding again is by taking the chance of not being medicated and going down that dark postpartum road again and if I was in that position again, speaking for that person, I’d tell you it’s not worth it.  Seems like everyone in my life, including my doctor, has told me its not worth it and I guess I’m getting to that point of seeing that clearly myself.

Coming to this realization, I actually feel a little bit of the excitement I felt when the doctor told me to stop when Eden was a few weeks old.  The feeling was something like screaming FREEDOM  butt-naked from the top of cliff in the rainforest while nature beasts gather around me like Snow White beckoning the birds with her vocals.

Breastfeeding is a huge responsibility and now I can have anyone help me at anytime, anywhere, when my baby is any age. I can appreciate that convience.  That’s huge.  Sure, I wish I could give my baby the best nutrition but I can’t give her excellent nutrition and a garabage can mom. 

I will be sad when, Lord willing, we have another baby and I don’t get those first sweet nursing moments and days in the hospital BUT I think I’m becoming okay with being a bottle slinger. 

Mommy is growing up sniff, sniff.  I get big so fast.

Here. I Give To You My Dreams In This Fashionable Medela Shoulder Bag.

Say it.

Say you are formula feeding your baby.

FOREVER.

For the past 9 months, that has been the hardest thing for me to say.  I’ve actually even cried over my food at the kitchen table about it.  I’m trying to be expressive for a change.

I breastfed so I know it’s inconvenient, painful at times, demanding, all consuming, let’s see what else?  So because I know that, it may seem  crazy to be so sad about it to others who are not enjoying their milkier times or didn’t enjoy them when they were the real Dairy Queen, BUT something about knowing I can’t makes me remember all the sweet and precious moments of being your baby’s only source of nutrition and survival.  It’s like the external version of the umbilical cord and you just love caring for them that way.

However, I am severing my dream of breastfeeding my baby officially with the  ceremonial selling of my breast pump.  I have picked it up and thought, “Well, you never know….someday….maybe….right?”  For real, I am just now exiting my denial phase. Throughout these past 9 months I have come up with a million different twists of how I can tweak breastfeeding so it works for me but I know that the only way for me to try breastfeeding again is by taking the chance of not being medicated and going down that dark postpartum road again and if I was in that position again, speaking for that person, I’d tell you it’s not worth it.  Seems like everyone in my life, including my doctor, has told me its not worth it and I guess I’m getting to that point of seeing that clearly myself.

Coming to this realization, I actually feel a little bit of the excitement I felt when the doctor told me to stop when Eden was a few weeks old.  The feeling was something like screaming FREEDOM  butt-naked from the top of cliff in the rainforest while nature beasts gather around me like Snow White beckoning the birds with her vocals.

Breastfeeding is a huge responsibility and now I can have anyone help me at anytime, anywhere, when my baby is any age. I can appreciate that convenience.  That’s huge.  Sure, I wish I could give my baby the best nutrition but I can’t give her excellent nutrition and a garbage can mom.

I will be sad when, Lord willing, we have another baby and I don’t get those first sweet nursing moments and days in the hospital BUT I think I’m becoming okay with being a bottle slinger.

Mommy is growing up sniff, sniff.  I get big so fast.

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