Tag Archives: stress

#PPDChat 02.01.16: NICU & Mental Health

NICU PPD February

My second daughter spent 21 days in the NICU. 21 long days. We had no idea there was an issue prior to her birth so the complications which arose were a complete shock. To go from expectations of a typical normal birth experience to one which involved a lengthy hospital stay and separation threw me for a total curve. The emotional roller coaster was not one I anticipated.

Tonight, we will discuss the emotional upheaval which occurs within families who spend time in the NICU, how parents can care for themselves, how NICU parents often delay treatment, and the crushing guilt which crashes down upon us in addition to any mental health challenges we are facing. We’ll also discuss knowing the difference between NICU stress/fatigue and PPD. It’s nuanced, but there is absolutely a difference.

I sincerely hope you will join us tonight at 8pm ET as we open up about the difficulty of navigating the NICU as a parent. See you on Twitter!

Don’t judge me

Last night, I asked my #PPDChat Mamas to chime in with suggestions for today’s chat. To the left is a suggestion I received this morning from Amber over at Beyond Postpartum. It got my wheels turning. Judgment, to me, is such a dirty dirty word. The following post is what spilled out as I thought more and more about her suggestion. Read. Share. Comment. Love one another, mamas. And daddies. Love. Don’t hate. Don’t judge. Love. It’s why we’re here.

Why do we judge one another, mamas?

Why?

Aren’t we all in this together?

Don’t we all have the same job when it comes down to it?

Do you know why that mama is giving a bottle?

Do you know why she’s chosen not to co-sleep?

Did you ask? Did you ask if she’s doing okay? Or did you glare? Did you judge? Did you sit on your throne and think better of yourself because you nurse your toddler, have your infant strapped to you 24/7, and only shop in the organic section of the grocery store never stepping foot in the formula or diaper aisle?

Shame on you. Shame on you for judging. For not stopping to ask if this mama is okay. If everything in her world is still right side up. Shame on you for tossing guilt onto her already full pile.

We are all parents. Most of us fight the same battles every day. A child who whines when it’s time to sleep. An infant who screams for hours on end because of digestive issues. A house in which laundry and dishes get laid and multiply more often than we do. We fight through this day in and day out through a fog of exhaustion. We make lifestyle choices based on what we can handle… based on what is best for our families.

Just because my infant isn’t super-glued to my boob doesn’t mean I’m less of a mother.

Just because my toddler stopped nursing before 2 doesn’t mean I love her any less. It doesn’t mean she loves me any less.

Two of my kids have had formula. I feared judgment. But I shouldn’t have been forced to worry about that. I fed my children. They thrived. I thrived. We all thrived. The end. The in between doesn’t matter.

My kids eat non-organic bananas too, by the way. And watch TV. Yes, they LOVE chocolate. And candy. And have eaten at McDonald’s.

I’ve ordered pizza because I didn’t want to cook. Popped open Chef Boyardee for the same reason.

Thank GOD.

Because frankly?

I’m not the kind of mom who can throw myself under the bus on purpose.

No, I’m the kind of mom who’s accidentally stepped in FRONT of the bus and been run over a couple of times.

There’s no full body cast for me but my brain’s a bit loopy still so excuse me if I’m not the Stepford parent I’m supposed to be at the moment. Excuse me if I look a bit more like Roseanne instead of June Cleaver. You see, I’ve been run over by Postpartum Mood Disorders and need to take care of myself in addition to my children because if I don’t, it can get fatal. Seriously. FATAL. As in I might lose my life FATAL. So excuse me while I indulge my child in some Enfamil and pop culture in order to maintain my sanity.

It’s OKAY.

My kids know they’re loved. They’re thriving. They’re using three and four syllable words by the time they hit three.

More importantly?

They already understand mental illness. They know it’s not anyone’s fault. That it just happens. And that it’s okay. Sure, right now they think tickling is an appropriate therapy (it really was in our house, by the way). My kids don’t jump to conclusions. They show compassion. They help. They offer support when someone is sad. They are empathic. They already know the importance of self-care. Our oldest is seven.

The next time you jump to conclusions about another parent in public, remember your children. They are watching you. They are learning from you. Before you even inhale sharply and bite that bottom lip because some mom whips out a bottle to feed her newborn, ask yourself why you’re judging. Ask yourself if it’s your place to judge. Instead of inhaling and glaring, go say hi. Ask that mom how she’s doing. Refrain from judging. Understand we’re all struggling on the same road but need different tools for our own journey.

If we could just show a bit more compassion to each other, the world would be a much better place. Don’t you want to be a part of that world? I know I do.

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Whatever Wednesday: Top 10 Veg-out movies

When I’m sick, stressed, or just plain need to veg out, I have certain go to movies. Everyone does, right? In no particular order are my top 5 10 12 go to flicks for vegging out when my brain just can’t take any more reality:

1) Pretty Woman – C’mon. Did you really expect this to NOT be on the list? It’s Richard Gere.

2) Nothing to Lose – Martin Lawrence and Tim Robbins crack me up. My favorite scene? “There’s a spider on your head, man.” Or maybe it’s “Please don’t kill me freaky Jason. I said PLEASE don’t kill me freaky Jason!”

3) Star Trek 2009 – I’m a huge Star Trek fan. No, I don’t dress up and go to conventions. I watch the shows from the safety of my couch. Away from the Klingons and Romulans. Plus, how can you NOT love a movie that opens after the title scene with a car chase scene like this one?A Badass little kid, a vintage corvette, Sabatoge by the Beastie Boys and a tough ass RoboCop? C’mon. What’s NOT to love?

4) The Italian Job – Robbery, Mark Wahlberg, boat chases, Mark Wahlberg, gold, Mark Wahlberg, Austin Mini Coopers, Mark Wahlberg, Ed Norton, Mark Wahlberg, oh, and Charlize Theron. And Mark Wahlberg. Not to mention the kick arse opening of the movie – the opening robbery and subsequent boat race make me drool.

5) PCUIt’s Jeremy friggin Piven. Need I say more? I think not.

6) Funny Farm – Yellow Dog. Ducks. Snakes. Payphone in the house. Bones in the garden. Drunk mailman. Lamb Fries. I think we can stop at Lamb Fries.

7) Blazing Saddles – Farting Cowboys. Yes, Farting Cowboys.

8) Robin Hood Men in Tights – Cary Elwes & Dave Chappelle rock it in this flick. Plus Men in Tights + Mel Brooks? Instantly funny. Plus there’s the bonus of rapping men in tights.

9) Hitch – Quite possibly one of the best romantic comedies I’ve ever seen. I love Will Smith. I love Kevin James. His dancing cracks me up. CLASSIC. Making the Pizza. Q-tip. Moving the feet. Working it.

10) Dirty Dancing – Did you really think I’d not put this on the list? One of the BEST veg out movies of all time. ALL TIME. I miss Patrick Swayze. My favorite scene by far is when Jennifer & Patrick head to the woods & the lake to practice lifts and balance.

11) The Princess Bride – Filled with highly inconceivable ROUS’s, dedicated to the soon to come mawwiage of a Man and Wife not in the grips of “True Love” as well as to the noble profession of revenge, this movie is worth repeating as much as the name of Inigo Montoya. Beware if you killed his father. You will die. It was VERY difficult to pick a clip for this one. However, the clip I chose is one that is not often cited yet hilarious nonetheless. Anybody want a peanut?

12) Spaceballs – If you’ve not seen this movie, go watch it now. Seriously. Why the hell are you still here? Combing the desert, reading scripts on camera, spoofs on the Alien movie, Star Wars, Darth Vader, Pizza the Hut, Jamming the Radar, Going plaid, grown men playing with dolls, Joan Rivers as a virginity alerting robot, this movie has it all. It’s enough to make your head spin. When will when then be now? We’re at now now. Make your now now watching this movie.

Self-Care is the most important care of all!

I know I’ve been slacking on the blog. Not posting as much as usual.

This is because I have been practicing what I preach.

I have been taking care of myself and my family – all other projects have been put on the shelf and are only worked on as I can get to them.

We’re all still a smidge under the weather and to top things off, we’ve now joined the ranks of millions of Americans in the unemployment realm. We understand cut-backs needed to be made. We’re not angry. In fact, we see this as a door opening rather than closing. Both of us have a wonderful sense of peace surrounding the entire situation.

That being said, my family and myself will always come first. So if you’re a regular and I don’t post for a few days, send a prayer or two our way and know that I will be back when I get a chance – haven’t forgotten about you – merely walkin’ the walk!

Confessions from a black hole

Last Saturday night I had a panic attack.

Alli had gone home with the in-laws to spend the night after her recital and I ended up having to take some pull-ups and church clothes over for her.

After I left, I headed over to Zaxby’s to grab some dinner for Chris and I.

The anxiety started gaining momentum as I left their neighborhood and continued to build the closer I got to Zaxby’s. You see, the intersection where Zaxby’s is located is where I had my accident on March 29th. At 10pm. On a Saturday night. (It was approaching 10p the closer I got to Zaxby’s.)

I pulled up to the speaker to place my order and the employee wouldn’t be quiet long enough for me to think. And that’s when it hit me.Black Hole Milkyway

My chest got tight, my throat started to close and I couldn’t breathe fast enough or get any sounds to come out. I wanted to yell at the employee, tell her to shut up so I could think!

I pulled away from the speaker and parked. I could hear her saying “ma’am? Ma’am” over the speaker over and over again but I didn’t care.

My mind was racing – I have to stop this, I have got to STOP this I have to – what if I can’t. What if I just drive into the car in front of me – what if I can’t stop this and I get stuck here. I can’t face Chris’ parents like this. Breathe dammit just Breathe. C’mon. Breathe. Open your throat and friggin breathe. And yeah, like that. Oh just shut up! (reached down to turn the radio off. C’mon. You KNOW what to do. You’ve got to break the cycle, interrupt the pace, slow things down. Don’t freak out. You CANNOT FREAK OUT. YOU CAN’T! GET A GRIP. Breathe. deeeeeeep slow breaths. There you go. Breathe. In through your nose, pull in your abs, out through your mouth, exhale into your ribs. Close your eyes. Relax. Let everything go loose. Don’t think about the drive through. Don’t think about the fear, stop. Stop and Breathe. Pray. Breathe. Pray. BREATHE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally calming myself down enough to think somewhat straight and feeling strong enough, I pulled back up to the speaker to order again.

After placing the order, I called Chris to let him know why I was running so late. Nevermind that, I had ordered the wrong thing he told me. And at that time it didn’t matter that I had just had a panic attack. I didn’t sound panicked he would later tell me so he didn’t know if I was being over dramatic or not. (Note: We did discuss this a few days later when we were both calm and in a sane state of mind. He apologized as did I. I also had the order fixed at the window prior to returning home)

The rest of the evening a total wash, I collapsed into bed shortly after returning home, completely drained after having all that adrenaline running free throughout my body.

The next morning at church I started down the road to Panicville once again but this time I cut it off before the left turn got started.

I’ll never know the real trigger. I’m sure though it had something to do with the accident and knowing that court was just around the corner.

I’m writing this because I need to get it out, I need to deal.

Tonight I wanted a cheeseburger. I didn’t decide this until 930p. The closest cheeseburger place is up near the intersection where my accident occurred. Again it is a Saturday night. Close to 10p. And yes, I was afraid to drive. I know for sure I’ll be discussing this with my therapist this week. I did discuss last week’s panic attack with her already but hadn’t felt up to writing about it until tonight.

Gotta take the good with the bad right?

Just turns out last Saturday night was a bad night. Gonna let it be.

Movin’ forward.

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