I make promises all the time.
I’ll read the 10 books on my year of reading resolution list.
I’ll write poetry everyday, or at least spend 10 minutes a day writing.
I’ll buy chapbooks for poets I’ve never heard of.
I’ll parent without frustration.
My kids won’t watch too much tv.
I promise I’ll clean according to this schedule I’ve made.
Make something of this life I know in my heart was meant to include words. This gift I first felt as a little girl, a hot little burning of promise and potential and the need, need, need to let it expand and find it’s way onto paper and into words and the world.
It’s so easy as a parent and adult to let go of little promises we’ve made. I’ll do it tomorrow, right?
Future is so fragile, but somehow, another promise we count on stubbornly and foolishly.
So it’s not much, but this is a single blog that’s my dedication to the promises I’ve made, pulled out and thrown here, without as much thought or ceremony as I’d maybe like.
In an effort to be the most honest and candid I can be, this blog will be very personal. There are somethings that I won’t share, because I don’t want to trigger others. As long as I think I have a voice that can be useful, I’m willing to share my experiences and stories with you.
I’ve said I knew soon after having Lucas that something was wrong. But I thought it was just the baby blues. This summer was hard- my mother was in the hospital for five weeks and I was distracted. I noticed, during that time, that I didn’t miss being with Lucas the way I missed Parker at that age. Being away from Parker for a few hours felt like torture. When I didn’t feel that for Luke, I thought it was exhaustion and stress and the fact that my focus was on my mother, who was so very ill.
After things settled down, I needed time to decompress and really start processing what had happened and how scary it had all been. I know that I started to have frightening thoughts around this time, and heightened anxiety, but I was ignoring them, explaining them away.
Pretty soon a day couldn’t go by without having thoughts of hurting myself. But I ignored them or told myself I was exaggerating the situation.
Meanwhile, inside our house, life was slowly unraveling. I could barely get myself to get up to do laundry, cook, play with the kids. After a while, most of my day was spent on the couch, just trying to distract myself from how miserable and empty and overwhelmed I was.
And then one day, I’d had enough. I got the name of a highly recommended therapist. I thought, well, maybe I’m a little depressed. I am excellent at hiding how I really feel, so Dan was understandably a little confused. I sat on that therapists phone number for over a month before I finally decided to call.
Things snowballed pretty quickly after that. I was put on Prozac for major depression (even I had no idea how depressed I was. Seeing yourself check of one yes after another is quiet the wakeup call). I was seeing a therapist and a phsychiatrist. There was some question of whether or not I had a mood disorder.
Going on the Prozac made things horrifically worse. I was agitated and frightened. I wanted to hurt myself all the time. I would swing from crushing depression to periods of mania. One time I stayed away for 3 days straight cleaning my house. I felt amazing and on top of the world.
So I was diagnosed as Rapid Cycling Bipolar. They added Abilify to my meds. Every few weeks my Prozac would get increased because my depression was just getting worse and worse. Then I’d have more swings and manic behavior and they’d increase the Abilify.
Over time, the depression became such a problem that Dan was spending more time at home than at work. My sister and friends, my mother in law were all constantly checking in, offering help. Help I didn’t know how to ask for. Because the biggest cause of anxiety and depression were my children. There were days I could cry because I could not even look at them. When the thought of having to spend the day alone, in charge of their care, seemed overwhelming and impossible. I didn’t even feel like I could take care of myself.
It was at this time that thoughts of hurting myself peaked, which was really very frightening. So I talked to my therapist and my psychiatrist, who recommended I go in for inpatient treatment at the hospital. Which is an experience that deserves a blog of it’s own.
Needless to say, at the hospital I received another diagnosis: Clinical Depression. Here and there for months people had been throwing around the idea that I also had Postpardum depression as well. I’m still not sure how that works. I’ve been depressed before I had kids, so maybe that part is the Clinical Depression and right now it’s a postpardum thing? I’m still learning. At any rate, I was taken off of the Prozac and Abilify and put onto Celexa.
Which is neither here nor there. Because Monday I started Outpatient treatment. 6 hours a day of therapy which is intense and exhausting.
Today I met with a Psychiatrist/Psychologist who works with the practice. He thinks I have Postpardum Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. For the third time since this started, I have different meds; Zoloft and Lamictal, in case you were wondering.
At this point, I am just along for the ride, I figure. I am starting to slowly research what all these labels mean, what they mean for me, and what I can do. Writing about these things is good. For me. To admit to feelings I normally would ignore or repress or wish away. Writing has always been so therapeutic for me. You guys, unfortunately, are just along for the ride.
So it’s another day and another diagnosis. I’m slowling learning that this isn’t something I can control. It’s not my fault. All I can do is hold on until it gets better. Which I am promised it will.
You might have noticed that I’ve been absent for a while. It started with my pregnancy; morning sickness wrecks havoc on the best laid plans, always. Then I had my son and was understandably tired.
But it’s more than that.
When my first son was born, I felt the most incredible rush of emotions. It’s hard to describe, the sense that suddenly everything is right. That you are exactly where you need to be. To understand finally, the depth and width of capacity for love that a human can experience. The moment I heard Parker cry for the first time was the most profound experience of my life.
I worried constantly through my second pregnancy. How would I be able to love another person the way I loved Parker? Was I capable? I wondered if it would feel like dividing my love and grieved the idea that I might have to give up even an ounce of love I felt for Parker. But I was reassured by other mothers. My best friend described it by explaining that it wasn’t about dividing your heart. Instead, she said, it felt like you grew a whole new heart for each child.
That sounded amazing. I was signed up, I bought into it, I’d drunk the Kool-Aid.
Instead, the moment I heard Lucas crying I thought, I’m tired.
I tried to breast feed and felt nothing but crippling anxiety.
Our first day home from the hospital I stood, petrified in our family room, crying. Trying to assure my very worried husband that I was okay, but something was wrong. I was wrong. Everything felt off.
Where was that rush of love, that incredible feeling? That instant bond and the knowledge that this was what I was meant to do, who I was meant to be. Having Parker felt like finally finding my calling, motherhood fitting over me like a second skin. Only with Lucas it was like the skin was torn and shrunken, it’s warped weave making me vulnerable. And empty.
It’s been 9 months since I’ve had Lucas and for the first time, this week I was able to say, I have Postpardum Depression.
So I hope you don’t mind, because that is what this blog is going to be about for the time being. Because we hear about it, we know about it. Moms say they’ve had it, but the reality of this kind of depression is like a dirty little secret. And no one wants to be the woman to admit, I feel nothing for my children. I know I love them, deep inside, somewhere I can’t feel it. What kind of mother feels that way?
Hey, I’ve been nominated for a blogging award! I feel so pretty (ignore that spit up stain on my shoulder and unwashed hair). My wonderful writer friend (whose book I promised to read and still haven’t…sorry I swear I will! I got distracted by being super pregnant and then having a baby) has nominated me. The only conditions that follow are that I must share seven random facts about myself with you, and then nominate five others for blog awards. Sweet. Ahhhh the sweet smell of success. Or that might actually be the smell of that oatmeal raisin cookie I just ate. Whatevs man, life is good.
Ok, seven facts
1) I have a completely irrational fear of boats, from row boats to cruise ships. I am a swimmer and am not afraid of the ocean. I grew up in a boating family. It’s gotten to the point that Dan can’t even get me into a paddle boat at the cottage.
2) I have another completely irrational fear of water slides. It just seems too likely that you will either a) loose a finger, toe, or bathing suit in one of the seams between tubes or b) go flying over the top and splatter to your death on the concrete below.
3) The disney cruise ship commercial that has a water slide that goes over the ocean makes me want to vomit. See above. It is like someone reached into my brain for a way to scare the pee out of me then decided to advertise it as good old fashioned family fun.
4)I love the Little House on the Prairie books so much, they fell apart from reading too much and I had to borrow them from Maura because I went into withdrawal.
5) My best friend used to baby sit my OBGYN’s kids when she was a teenager. We discovered this random fact when I was pregnant with Parker and she saw a letter from his practice on my board. It’s just creepy to hear stories about your OB on the beach with his kids. I prefer not to think of the “Lady Doctor” as a regular guy who wears a bathing suit.
6)I never had allergies until I had kids. I blame Dan. I don’t know why.
7) I do not want to own a dog and have never been a dog person, but I am obsessed with the tv show The Dog Whisperer. I want to be calm and assertive. Instead I am petrified of boats for no reason. It is sad.
So there are my random facts. I would have come up with better ones, but I haven’t gotten much sleep recently. I know I know, you are thinking “Geesh how long can she use the whole I just had a baby excuse?” Well I am here to tell you, until the baby sleeps for more than 3 hours at a time, that’s how long. In your face.
Yes. I’ve lost my mind.
Alrighty, it is time to nominate some stylish bloggers. Now, most of my blog roll friends are actual friends, so I ask that no one’s feelings get hurt. I can only nominate five of you. These are the five blogs I check all the time, whose entries I look forward to and anticipate most.
So to those of you nominated, to accept your blog award you must right-click on that picture up there and click Save As. Then create your own blog post sharing seven random facts about yourself and listing your own blog award nominees. That’s it!
Thanks for stopping by!
Seems like everyone I know is having a baby right now. Dan’s cousin and my good friend who both blog had their daughters last Tuesday and already they are blogging. Granted, they blogged their whole pregnancies….and I did not. But I still felt compelled to blog just so that I would not feel lazy.
First the great news, which is that on Wednesday April 27th, Lucas Xavier made his debut at 10:07 in the morning! He weighed in at a tiny 6 lbs 9 oz, and is absolutely perfect! Although I was and still am disapointed that I had to have another c section, this time the experience was much better. A very nice nurse held up a mirror so I actually got to see when he came out, and it was a lot less scary! I was also not as worn out and had a better reaction to the spinal- no shaking! Getting the spinal in was another story (according to the anesthesiologist, I have a very athletic back…since I’ve never been accused of having an athletic anything, I’ll take it!), but overall it was as positive an experience as I could hope for!
I think it was really good for Dan too. He remarked that it was a much more emotional experience than Parker’s birth, mostly because he was so scared and everything was such a whirlwind with the decision to do a c-section with him. Without that fear, he and I were able to focus more on the actual reality and experience of Lucas’ birth (ok, help me out here, I should know this but how do I do that in a grammatically correct way?)
We’ve been home for almost a week now, and so far things are fantastic. Lucas is so far an angel baby, very mellow and easy to please. He is fussy at night, but as long as he is with me he is pretty easy to calm down. Easy enough that I don’t mind being up at night with him. And and added plus is that he occasionally will latch on, so I am able to combo breast feed and bottle feed, which I didn’t think I’d be able to do, since Parker would not latch at all.
Parker has been a wonderful big brother so far. He likes the baby and he is interested, but not too jealous. He is very attached to Daddy right now, which is good but hard for me to see. I am used to him being my little guy. Dan says that Parker knows I am hurt and that I need time to heal. It is nice having Dan home for the next few weeks, but I am anxious about what is to come when he goes back to work! Anxiety has been the watch word in this postpartum time for me. I am also struggling with feeling lazy when I know that realistically I need time to heal and to rest, but it is hard to depend on Dan for everything and not to be up and about doing things!!
Right now, I am feeling pressure to get organized and have a plan for when Dan goes home. I’d like to research making baby food for Lucas this time around. I also would like to form some sort of plan to get Parker to eat more than one meal a day! Organization has never been my strength, so we will see how this goes!
The other day, a good friend of mine wrote just about the kindest words I’ve ever had written about me. Not only did they move me, but they made me feel proud of myself…for about four seconds, before I started to feel guilty and conceited. And then I stopped to think, why? Why is it so hard for me to accept that others might see good, even great things in me, or to think that I might even see them? Be proud of them?
Every time a friend compliments me; whether it be my hair or something I’ve done, my first response is to deflect the compliment. In my head, accepting gracefully is tantamount to saying I agree which therefore means I think I am full of myself and entitled to compliments. Which is weird, because when I compliment someone else, I would rather they take the compliment than deflect, because I if I say it, I mean it and I want them to feel good.
So for the sake of posterity, here is what was said about me-
“I have never met anyone with so much ability to adapt and love unconditionally as you… and those are two gifts that always seem to return to the giver with twice the impact.”
And you know what? I am honored that Emily sees me this way, and more, honored because in these words I can see a leagacy that means far more to me personally than others might ever realize.
My father was an amazing man, and what he is often remembered for by others is the generosity of his love, the depth of his ability to forgive and love those he cared about. It was a quality I never really saw or understood until I was older. When he passed, it became clear to me just how much he touched others, just how loving and selfless he was in life, and how much I admired that about him.
I never set out to be like my father, and I’ve never worked at loving someone unconditionally because of any external praise or reward I might feel I “deserve”. I’ve always just tried to follow my instincts and give to others what I hope they might give to me. Support, friendship, and forgiveness. But to see that someone has seen in me something that I so much admired about my father- it is a wonderful gift. And when I think about it, dismissing it, or worse, convincing myself that it is wrong to feel good about it would be counterproductive.
I’ve always tried to live my life by learning from others and from my own mistakes. By evaluating the things I have done that I am not proud of, and by trying to be the best version of myself that I can be, at that moment. And at this moment, I think it is ok to say, if I can learn from my mistakes, I’d better learn from my sucesses.
So many things to talk about. Life has been an absolute whirlwind of random stuff. First, Parker started “school”. Really, he is at a preschool/daycare. He only goes for about 6 hours a week, just on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The decision to send him kind of came to me all at once. Dan and I had already talked about sending Parker to preschool in the fall, the 3 year group. He’s a bright kid, and I think that the social interaction will be good for him, as well as some independence from Mommy, as he has been super attached. Once I realized that we wanted to send him to school, I had to think about the fact that we have a new baby coming. I was concerned that if we sent Parker after the baby comes, he’ll feel like we’ve banished him, or somehow link the two events together.
And so the search was on! Really it was the worlds shortest search, as we ended up putting him in a daycare that my two best friends had used. Once we’d picked the place, there was no reason not to go ahead with it, and so in three short days, I was dropping Parker off for his first day. I struggled with feelings of guilt, and worry. I felt guilty for sending him away, even though I knew I was doing it for all the right reasons- for him. Because I believe that it is important for kids to socialize and to become independent. Although he cried when we dropped him off, he stopped almost right away. Yes, I called to check, and was gratified and proud to hear that he was fitting right in and enjoying himself. By his second day, he didn’t want to leave when I came to pick him up.
Now that Parker is in school, Dan and I decided it was time to potty train. I know, we must be gluttons for punishment! Before we took him to school, I had asked Parker if he wanted to go, and he’d gotten very excited and said yes. So I told him that if he went to big boy school, he’d have to learn to go on the potty like a big boy. Ms. Rose (his teacher), said that it would be a good time as well, since he adjusted well to school and he is around lots of other kids who are learning to go potty as well. So starting Friday morning, potty bootcamp started.
From the get go, it was rough. I had a lot of doubts about whether or not we were doing the right thing, and the right way. Parker got a new duck potty that sings when he makes it into the potty. The first day of boot camp he was put into big boy undies right away and we had a duck alarm sounding ever 15 minutes, and when it went off he’d have to sit on the potty. There was a lot of resistance, tears, and assorted meltdowns that first day. Sometimes being a parent is so rough, you never know if you are doing the right thing for your kid, or if you are just scarring them for life! But the second day went better, and twice he asked to go when he needed to. The big breakthrough was during dinner when he asked to go cause he had to go #2, and he did it! Any parent out there who has been through potty training knows that that is a huge success! Dan and I were so proud of him, and he got a cool prize which he loves, a dollar store fishing pole with magnetic fishies to catch. It is his favourite toy right now!
And of course, last but not least, I threw my back into spasm again last night. I am so tired of this, I cannot wait to be done with pregnancy. I’ve been in bed all day, listening to Parker and Dan downstairs feeling lonely, useless, and completely lame. I hate depending on Dan to do everything for me, I hate not being a part of Parker’s day and all of his successes with the potty, and I really hate not knowing when I am going to feel better and not have to depend on others to help me with Parker and everyday stuff.
With all this stuff going on, I’ve not been finding time to work on editing the book. We recently refinanced our house, have been shopping for new insurance, and I’ve been very busy trying to find new teams for Relay for Life, drum up sponsorship, and somehow, find time to fund raise for my own team. I am hoping that things will settle down a bit in the next week, and that before the baby comes I’ll get some solid work done on the novel. Here’s hoping right?
On a slightly more creative note, while I haven’t had a chance to write, I have been reading 100 years of Solitude, which I am really enjoying this time around. This is my second try reading it and it is going much better. My biggest issue is that the book features a huge cast of characters who all have the same name or a slightly different names. Oy. I also recently read Water for Elephants, which was AMAZING. I recommend it highly. Highly.