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6 In mental illness/ postpartum/ postpartum anxiety/ postpartum depression/ Support

I was suffering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety and didn’t realize it

 

 

postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety

I still feel the need to defend my postpartum anxiety.  After a three day long induction process, an emergent c-section and breastfeeding issues, the first few weeks were no walk in the park. I wasn’t sleeping (but what new mom does?), there were lots of tears and constant worrying.  I dreaded when the days would turn into night because I would spend the entire night watching my son obsessively, fearing he would stop breathing in his sleep. I had no interest in holding him and I would cry every time I had to breastfeed him because I absolutely hated it but I chalked it all up to the baby blues and being new at this motherhood thing.

It was at my two week check up that I realized I was suffering from postpartum anxiety and depression.  My sister came over to watch the baby so that I could go to my appointment and I remember feeling so relieved for the break from the constant breastfeeding and pumping. I broke down in tears in the car to my husband. This was supposed to be such a joyous, happy time. After going through infertility I was over the moon when I found out I was pregnant yet here I was thinking “What have I done? I hate being a mother. I don’t have this immediate love for my baby like everyone else does, I’m not cut out for this. What is wrong with me?”  I made the difficult decision to stop breastfeeding and once I went back to work I started feeling like my old self again.

10 months postpartum and the demons crept in again, this time worse than ever. I felt like things were spiraling, I had lost control of everything and I literally wanted to escape my body. I walked around in a fog and felt so selfish for what I was feeling. “What do I have to be so depressed about? I have a beautiful, healthy family I should feel grateful.”  I felt shameful for the way I was acting but I had no control over it. I wished I could feel happiness when my son smiled at me. I remember the day I was driving to get my hair done and I felt like I was having a heart attack. My heart was beating out of my ribcage, my arms and hands were all tingling, my lips were numb and it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest.  I pulled into the urgent care that was in the same parking lot as my hairdresser, convinced I was having a cardiac event. I am a nurse after all.  I can recognize the difference between postpartum anxiety, panic attacks and a heart attack when I see it.

Well I was wrong. The thing is postpartum depression and anxiety looks different on everyone.  Depression doesn’t always look like an unkept, person who hasn’t slept or eaten in weeks.  Anxiety doesn’t always look like fear or panic attacks.  Successful, put together people can suffer in silence as we’ve recently seen in the tragic cases of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate.

I’ve learned there is nothing wrong with reaching out and asking for help from family or friends, going to talk to a counselor, or taking something to help ease your anxiety or depression.  You are not illogical in what you are feeling and you are not “burdening others with your problems.”  I wish it didn’t feel so embarrassing and shameful and I hope that one day it won’t. So until then I will keep sharing my story and I hope that I can encourage you to reach out to someone you trust and ask for help.

(For more information on ways to cope with postpartum depression and anxiety check out this article I wrote for Consumer Health Digest.)

postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety

5 In Lifestyle/ Motherhood/ Support

Millennial Mamas and how we are redefining motherhood

Millennial Mamas redefining motherhood

Millennial mamas are changing the face of motherhood as we know it.  By definition a millennial is anyone born from the early 1980s-early 2000s. We have been described as being self-involved (let me take a selfie), lazy and entitled but when it comes to motherhood we can teach the other generations a thing or two.

Here are some of the ways millennial mamas prove we are the generation that kicks ass.

1.) We are educated – According to the White House Council of Economic Advisors, more millennials have a college education compared to any other generation.  And you know what they say, knowledge is power.

2.) We are independent– Due to all that education, more and more mamas are bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan! In fact, many moms say that working gives them a sense of identity in addition to mom, but we are always mom first. And now more than ever there are more single moms raising kids by themselves, balancing that work and homelife. Our generation was taught how to take care of ourselves and we don’t do it because we have to but because we choose to.

3.) We’re technologically savvy – From the good old days of the original Oregon Trail on those big clunky computers to macbook pros, Siri, and Alexa, we have watched the face of technology change right before our very eyes. So it’s no wonder we are the most technologically sound. It has been estimated that we spend on average about 17.4 hours per week on social media.  We are connected and informed and it allows us to make educated choices. Where our parents turned to their families for advice, we have Google and mom blogs. We also have a huge support system across all of our feeds where we inspire and empower each other #communityovercompetition #werisebyliftingothers.

4.) We value family – Maybe it’s because we are busier more than ever and we don’t all work a traditional 9-5 job, but we look forward to family dinners and spending time together on the weekends. In fact it has been found that millennial parents are spending more time with their children than parents did in the 50’s and 60’s. And what’s even more, millennial moms enjoy motherhood.

5.) We are health conscious and care about a company’s values – Our kids eat organic pureed kale, we love our essential oils and we shop local. The reality is, there are more and more chronic comorbidities and we want our families to be healthy and they deserve the best quality.  And we know it’s important to teach our children about recycling, sustainable living and taking care of our bodies.

6.) We are real – Think of Pink’s selfie where she was breastfeeding her son while getting her makeup done before doing a concert (All the praise hands!) We are raw. And we embrace imperfecton. We know it’s ok if we can’t shower every day, the kids have too much screen time so we can clean the house, or we’re walking around with spit up on our sweater. We’re all human and we’ve all been there.

So there ya have it. Millennial mamas – we are smart, multitasking, powerful women who embrace #momlife and can truly have it all. So instead of cringing, I couldn’t be more proud to be lumped into the category of “milennial” right about now. 

So go ahead and share this post with your mom tribe!

millennial mama

10 In Motherhood/ pregnancy/ Support

30 Things your Labor & Delivery Nurse wants you to know

 

It has been absolutely balls to the walls at work the past few weeks (thanks to Valentine’s Day and the release of 50 Shades Darker 9 months ago – hello job security!)  By the end of the day I’m starving, haven’t peed, my feet ache, I’m cranky to my husband and I’ve been away from my son for over 12 hours, but I still go back to work wanting more. Why? Because I have the best job in the world.  Don’t get me wrong, when it’s a bad day, it’s a horrible, unimaginable bad day. But I feel so privileged to be a part of so many women’s lives, through the highs and the lows.  

Here are 30 things your labor and delivery nurse wants you to know:

1.) Whether your baby comes out the vagina or you had a c-section – it doesn’t make you any more or less of a mother.
2.) Same goes for whether you went all natural or had an epidural – it doesn’t make your baby any different.
3.) But if it’s your goal to go all natural we will bust our butts to help get you there.
4.) We’ve seen all sorts of vaginas and they’re all different, And we won’t remember what yours looked like. 
5.) Being upright is your best friend – walk, get on the birth ball, dance. Whatever you do don’t just lay in bed.
6.) Babies don’t come with handles, we can’t just yank them out.
7.) Breast or formula, it’s up to you, fed is best!
8.) Nipples – they come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
9.) We may tell you you’re 8-9 cms, there’s a good bet your fully dilated, but we know its best for you and your baby if we let you labor down.
10.) There’s alot of swelling that goes on down there so don’t be surprised if yours looks like a ciabatta roll the next day. We can make you a magical diaper pack with ice, witch hazel and dermoplast
11.) We have no problem kicking all your family and friends out of the room so you can rest, have some private time with your partner or if they’re simply driving you crazy!
12.) When you came through our doors and there was no heartbeat, please know as soon as we walked out to our car we burst into tears and cried the whole way home.
13.) And when we got home we didn’t say a word to our families that night we just hugged our babies tight.
14.) We still pray for you and think of you. 
15.) If you come in with a birth plan, we’ll start prepping for your c-section because nothing ever goes to plan.
16.) If you’re a redhead, we will have every anti-hemmorrhage medication in the room and the hemorrhage cart outside the door because there’s a good chance you are going to bleed out on us and we want to ward off any bad juju.
17.) There is no evidence based research as to the benefits of consuming your placenta – just because the Kardashians did it doesn’t make it right.
18.) We don’t care that you lost your mucus plug and no we don’t want to see.
19.) Just because you’re 1-2 cms dilated or one day past your due date doesn’t mean your in labor – go home and labor in the comfort of your own home where you can eat and drink.
20) Also you’re not in active labor until you’re 5-6 cms dilated so don’t listen to those people that tell you they were in labor for 72 hours.
21.) Also being pregnant does not entitle you to be excused from work so don’t ask for a work note – We work 12 hour days on our feet holding heavy epiduralized legs pushing with our patients for 4 hours without eating or drinking and often times work right up until we deliver.
22.) We probably haven’t peed since before we left our house for work that day.
23.) And there’s a good chance we haven’t eaten either unless a family brings us food.
24.) Our families sacrifice alot – were gone most weekends and holidays and at work from sun up until sun down so please don’t be rude. 
25.) Make sure your partner or support person stays hydrated and fed – we don’t have time to pick them up off the floor. 
26.) Laboring in the shower, tub or on the toilet can do wonders.
27.) We may contort you into a bunch of crazy different positions that we know have successfully worked to get someone to deliver.
28.) Being in labor and something about new babies brings out the crazy in some people and their families. We’ve seen it all and nothing surprises us anymore.
29.) You have a right to ask questions and refuse anything. And we will advocate for you.
30.)  We still think birth is magical and we have the best jobs in the world. 

30 things your labor nurse wants you to know



9 In Baby/ Motherhood/ Support

Lessons learned the first year of motherhood

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breastfeeding, csection, epidural, what i learned my first year postpartum

I did it! I survived the first year (almost) of motherhood. I kept this tiny human alive for just about 365 days (he turns one next weekend). There were many tears, laughs, sleepless nights, large quantities of coffee consumed.  But here’s what I learned:

1.) Throw your plans and schedule to the wind, just go with the flow. 

2.) I never knew a turkey sub could taste so good!

3.) That first bowel movement after a c-section can make you feel like your insides are going to fall out. 

4.) I can function on very little to no sleep. 

5.) Breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks. 

6.) Speaking of breastfeeding, it doesn’t matter how you feed your baby.  

7.) Flexibility is key. 

8.) No one tells you that being a new mom can be depressing and somewhat isolating at first.

9.) But it does get better.

10.) “Sleep when the baby sleeps” is the biggest piece of BS advice. 

11.) But the laundry, dishes, cleaning and everything else can wait. 

12.) Just when you think you have something figured out, your baby will switch it up on you.

13.) Take lots and lots of photos and videos. Babies grow and change at an alarmingly fast speed.

14.) But don’t spend too much time with your face behind a screen. Be in the moment. 

15.) My body is amazing. 

16.) My husband is even more amazing! Not that I didn’t appreciate him before, but after being up at all hours of the night together and seeing him with my son, it’s a whole ‘nother kind of love.

17.) There’s nothing wrong with co-sleeping. Seriously when you just need sleep you’ll do whatever you have to do and I don’t regret a single snooze Maxwell has had on my chest, not a single one.

18.) Don’t sweat the small stuff- sh** literally happens, so does spit up for that matter. 

19.) You realize what’s really important. And everyone has their own priorities and that’s fine, I have my own too. 

20.) I’m more comfortable speaking up for myself and my family. 

21.) Everyone’s going to have something to say but you know what’s best for you and your baby.

22.) Whoever said daytime tv sucks was horribly wrong. I could watch Dateline for hours and hours. 

23.) But sitting at home for 24 hours a day gives me anxiety.

24.) I’m not meant to be a stay at home mom. I need a little adult interaction.

25.) A nice warm shower and brisk walk sometimes are the best medicine.  

26.) And when that fails, there’s nothing a solo trip to Target can’t fix.

27.) Speaking of solo trips to Target, I need my “me-time” and have learned to try to do one thing for myself each day because you can’t give from an empty cup.

28.) Whoever invented yoga pants is seriously the smartest person ever. #momuniform

29.) Sometimes you still just need your mom. 

30.) Leaving your child with someone else eventually does get easier.

31.) Your relationship with your partner will change, try to make time for each other even if it’s just a little date night at home.

32.) Your sex drive will change. Thanks hormones and exhaustion.

33.) It’s ok to cry.

34.) It’s also ok to ask for help.

35.) Find a good group of mom friends. 

36.) Every kid is different.

37.) There’s no “right way” to be a good parent.

38.) Comparison is a thief.

39.) If you feel like your sucking, you’re probably a good parent.

40.) Don’t buy so many toys. Babies can entertain themselves with boxes and containers for hours on end. 

41.) But do buy lots and lots of books.

42.) Baby smiles and belly laughs are better than any antidepressant.

43.) There is nothing quite like seeing your parents become grandparents.

44.) You can never be fully prepared to be a parent, you figure it out as you go.

45.) I can live with the shirt on my back and pasta every night as long as my kid is healthy and happy.

46.) There is no greater joy than watching your baby experience something new for the first time.

47.) But it is also bittersweet because you realize they are getting older.

48.) Mama bear syndrome is real – I’m getting better I think 😉

49.) I always felt bad for moms of boys but being a boy mom is pretty cool.

50.) Just when you think you can’t love your child anymore and your heart may explode, you love them even more.

motherhood has made me tired and happy quote