Thursday, June 30, 2011

I love a new wrap!

This one is a gorgeous orange Dupioni silk DIY number....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

On Fathers' Day.

It's one of those difficult holidays. Every holiday is hard, to be honest, after you lose a parent. But seeing all the cards, balloons, commercials, etc. aimed at helping you to 'don't forget Dad!' makes it a bit tougher. Brett is an awesome, amazing, wonderful, the-girls-are-so-lucky-to-have-him Dad- but I have to be honest and say that when I hear "father" I still think of my dad.

Love you, Daddy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Days like today....

...make me feel like I'm going to beat this thing yet.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm finally ready.

I've written and re-written this post a thousand times in my mind. That's the main reason why I've been so substandard in my posting lately- I've wanted to address the issue at hand, but couldn't find the time/didn't feel up to facing it directly. So instead I've been tiptoeing around my feelings, putting off this post and instead writing about more upbeat activities like yogurt making. I guess that's part of the facade.

I contemplated over and over whether to actually write this down- seeing it on "paper" makes it seem more real. Acknowledging it, I feared, would give it more power.

But here's the thing- I'm not alone. Other women have experienced- other women will experience- what I am going through. The fact that so few of us talk about it- especially to anyone besides our spouses and perhaps best friends- makes us feel even more isolated.

So I'm going to share in the hope that this helps at least one other person- and because I need the kind of catharsis I think writing will provide. Deep breath, here goes:

I have postpartum depression (PPD).

I have been experiencing symptoms for approximately three months. My PPD struck right when my doula training said it would- at about three months postpartum.

That's right- I'm trained in identifying PPD. More broadly, I have training in identifying PPMD, or Postpartum Mood Disorders, which, besides PPD, also includes anxiety, psychosis, and a handful of other postpartum issues. Mind you, my experience is in identification and referral only- treatment is for the experts.

So why was I in denial for several weeks? Simple.

My PPD didn't manifest itself in the manner we often read about and see in the media. It didn't come on suddenly, and I wasn't acting irrationally. My moods weren't directed at my children, and I didn't feel like an inadequate mother. I felt good when I was with my kids. I had an amazing birth experience with Junie, she was breastfeeding well, hell- she was even sleeping through the night! What did I have to be depressed about?

Still, I felt like a cloud was hanging over my head, following me everywhere I went. I might have two, three good days- days where I felt like I had kicked this thing- but then ol' Mr. Raincloud would show up again. I felt anxious. I was distracted at work. I couldn't focus, I felt sleepy all the time, and I wasn't interested in things that I normally loved to do. I felt like I was in a haze. Small setbacks that would have seemed like minor issues before suddenly grew to mountain-size.

I don't know why I'm talking in the past-tense- I still feel this way frequently.

One time-tested approach to dealing with PPD is peer counseling- talking with others who share your experiences. So that's what I've been doing, and it is helping.

I've come close to asking for a low dose of Zoloft (one of the only drugs used for treating PPD that is considered "safe" while breastfeeding), but there are no long-term studies regarding its use by breastfeeding moms. Also, taking the drug would prohibit me from donating my extra breastmilk, which is one of the big motivators I have to keep pumping. Donating gives me a big emotional boost, and I don't want to give that up.

So I'm hobbling along, trying to take life a day at a time. I've come up with strategies to help me through the day, and I schedule in fun activities with the kids, as well as time to myself, to provide me with little things to look forward to. I find that simply getting more sleep (I only average 5-6 hours a night currently) and making exercise a priority are helpful as well.

And I refuse to be ashamed of my PPD. I've been through a lot over the past two years- losing my Dad (while I was 6 months pregnant, no less), a job change, a relocation and new home, back-to-back pregnancies...I certainly have had a lot to process emotionally.

I'm eagerly awaiting the day when I feel like myself again- when I'm not feeling so overwhelmed and emotional and frustrated. Not feeling like yourself is a terrible feeling.


Additional confession: See the picture above? The one of me smiling and holding my two beautiful girls? That was taken about one hour after I had a complete meltdown because I couldn't fit into the dress I was planning on wearing for Easter. I won't go into details, but it was bad. My point is that many of us hide our feelings very well, and it is often impossible to identify how a person is feeling from their outward appearance.