Monday, May 29, 2017

Healing from PMADs

First off I have to thank everyone who read my previous post about my journey out of darkness. It has been read many times and I genuinely hope that I have encouraged or helped someone. The kind words that I have received and the sharing of stories has encouraged me. So thank you dear readers. 

I have been thinking about a new blog post for a while now. Its harder than I thought it would be. Do I write about my life as a stay at home mother? Or do I just write about something menial that may very well bore you to death? To be honest I really don't know what to write about but I'll try not to bore you all.

I've had to adjust to being a stay at home mom and honestly I'm still adjusting. I went very quickly from being a stay at home mom to a deeply depressed and anxious person. I left my job in December of 2014 and was pregnant by the end of February (I just didn't know it). There are many days I miss my job at the mental health hospital but at the same time I am very thankful that I am home every day with my girls.

I have come to realize that the further I get from Addy's birth the stronger I feel. I think part of that is because I have met some pretty awesome women. Women who have helped me to get out of my comfort zone. I find myself cancelling plans less and instead I'm trying new things. Because of them, I am becoming more outgoing. I am still not quite to the point where I will come up and introduce myself but I feel like I am getting to there. I think it is incredibly important for anyone that is going through a PMAD (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder) to find a local support group or a local exercise group. Both of these groups have helped me so very much.

I am also taking steps towards being a healthier me. I have stopped drinking sodas, I'm limiting my sugar intake, and I am eating better. I realized the other day I haven't had a frappe in like 3 weeks. I use to have like 3 frappes a week (I know eeek). Looking back I think food esp. frappes were my way of dealing with my anxiety. And you know what I really don't miss them. I haven't given up sugar completely but I am trying. I joined our local Fit4Mom stroller strides group and I am loving it.

I also went to a counselor. Through my sessions I began to learn more about myself. I learned about my obsessions and compulsions. I learned about my anxiety and how its been a part of my life since I was a young girl. I am beginning to develop coping skills and ways to combat my OCD. It is hard and the compulsions pull at me everyday. I am becoming more confident as a mother and as a person. I find that counseling has benefited me in a way I never thought possible. If you've ever even considered it, give it a go.

I look back and I am able to see how far I have come this year. I have gone from someone who froze whenever I had to go to the grocery store with both girls in tow to someone who is beginning to enjoy getting out and doing things with the girls. This journey has made me stronger and a better mother. There were many times I wondered why God gave us Addy when he did; but I can look now and see that God knew what he was doing. Though the experience of what I went through wasn't pleasant it has taught me some important lessons and has awaken a passion in me.

Thank you again for all your support.
I'm a social worker, a mom, but most of all I'm a Christian.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Year Ago

A year ago I attempted to start writing again. A year ago I failed. Maybe it's because life was still a little crazy. Maybe it's because a year ago I fell into darkness. Or maybe it's because a year ago I realized I needed help. If you're confused, that is okay. Let me start from the very beginning.

On March 11, 2015, after suffering some strange sensations for a few days (possibly weeks), I decided to take a pregnancy test. Well as you might remember from one of my previous post (or if you know me personally) I did turn out to be pregnant with our second beautiful daughter. It was not our plan but it was God's plan.

The excitement of having a new baby lasted about a week to a week and a half (I was about 6 weeks pregnant when I found out). I do not remember a lot of my pregnancy with our youngest but I do remember bits and pieces of it. What I am about to share with you has only been shared with a few and only within the last few weeks. Please understand that I am okay now. In fact, the reason I am finally able to share this is that I am in a much better place than I was a year ago. I apologize this is a little long but I feel like its important that you see the whole picture. I hope you stay with me until the end.

Although I don't remember much of my pregnancy one emotion I do remember feeling was hate. I hated being pregnant with our second daughter. I hated everything about the first few months of pregnancy. There was nothing about being pregnant that I enjoyed. And on top of all that I hated feeling that way because I realize how lucky I was to be pregnant.

So from about 8 weeks pregnant until about 16/17 weeks pregnant all I wanted was to not be pregnant. And I don't mean that in the I don't like being sick way, I mean in the I don't want this baby at all way. For 8 weeks, I spent a lot of hours on our living room couch. I don't really remember if I cooked, cleaned, showered, did laundry, or got out much. All I remember was feeling sad, hopeless, worthless, guilty, anxious, and incredibly exhausted. But just when I felt like I had had enough I would have a good day. Like the day that I got to see baby at about 12 weeks. Or the day that I got to see my best friend try on her wedding dress. It was those little moments that kept me from really losing it. I am very thankful for those days.

The summer of 2015 was a little better. We replaced our air conditioner which significantly cooled our house down as well as my hatred towards pregnancy. But the summer also brought a new although less intense emotion. It brought fear.

At 20 weeks, we got to do the full body scan. It was the first time I remember feeling truly excited about the pregnancy. But when our doctor told us that our daughter had a choroid plexus cyst on her brain and that I had partial placental previa, I was afraid. Looking back these were the very reasons why I went from hating my daughter to loving her. Choroid plexus cyst (CPCs) have a very weak association with fetal chromosomal anomalies and are usually gone by 32 weeks. My partial placental previa also was likely to resolve by 28 weeks. However, at 20 weeks pregnant when my doctor shared all this information with us, I was scared because I didn't know the outcome. So for the next 8 weeks I was terrified for my unborn child. I went from wanting her gone to wanting her to be alright. Thankfully at my 28 week check up the ultrasound showed all things to have cleared. I remember feeling so elated.

The remainder of my pregnancy was a roller coaster of emotions. Some days I was so excited about being pregnant; and some days I was anything but happy. I was still having moments where I just wanted her gone. And other days I was calling my mother crying because I felt such guilt over being pregnant during my daughter's second year of life. I definitely had whiplash during those last few months. In the end, my pregnancy with our youngest daughter was one of the hardest things I have ever experience. The second hardest was what followed closely after her birth.

I had a lot of anxiety after the birth of our youngest daughter. I was very afraid to get out and about with both girls in tow. I was especially anxious at night. Our new baby spent the first 6 months of her life in our room because I was terrified she would stop breathing or that someone would steal her away. I also had a lot of anxiety over cleaning and chores. If I did the housecleaning, I would get so lost in what I was doing that I would ignore the girls. Other times I would freeze up because of the mountain of things that needed to be done.

During all of this, I denied that I was experiencing any form of postpartum depression, anxiety or OCD. I mean this should not happen to me. I should be able to cope through all of this because I'm a social worker who has worked in a mental health facility. This couldn't happen to me. I denied that there was something wrong. But I was also embarrassed.

But that changed when I found myself one day, during naptime, throwing my daughters books into her crib with her in it. It is one of those moments that I will never forget. After I put all the books back on her shelf, made sure she was safe, and closed the door, I remember collapsing on our kitchen floor in tears. I immediately called David and asked him to come home. I then immediately called my primary care physician and asked if she could see me. Within the week, I was seeing my primary, a therapist, and talking to my mom to let her know what had been going on.

I went to therapy over the summer of 2016 and learned a lot about myself. I grew as a person and as a mother. I finished the BBM challenge and then joined our local Stroller Strides club a few months later. I've actually broken out of my shell a little and gotten to know some pretty fantastic people. My tribe has helped me out so much these last few months. I can finally talk about the last two years. I don't feel as afraid as I once did. I am beginning to enjoy being a mother again. And I am very thankful to my amazing husband for sticking by me through everything. He has been my rock.

So a year ago I fell into darkness. But now I've climbed out of that darkness. I decided to put this all down on "paper" because I wanted to share my story. Maybe my story will help someone just like a friends essay on depression helped me even if she doesn't know it (Thank you). And in June I am going to take a walk with some pretty awesome women to celebrate our Climb out of Darkness.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Parents are Not Perfect

So it has been a few weeks since I last blogged and a lot has happened. I could talk about the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge but I've got something else on my mind. So here we go...

Parents are not perfect!

We are not omniscient, we are not omnipresent, we are not omnipotent. Those traits belong to God not to man.

In the past few weeks, two separate and unrelated incidents involving children made major media headlines. One child survived and the other is now singing with the Angels. In both situations, comments on social media have placed the blame on the parents. I've read some pretty disgusting and disturbing comments. Honestly, when society places the life of an animal over the life of a child there is something wrong with the priorities of society.

In the end, they forget the most important thing. There is a family who lost a child. A family who is grieving. A family who went home empty handed. A family who is holding tightly to the son they could have lost.

Instead of grieving with the family or counting their blessings, society passes judgement upon those parents.

What happened to the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," Matthew 7:12?

Instead of passing judgement or providing insults (because lets face it those opinions were insults), we should provide support. We should provide our prayers for comfort.

Just something to think about the next time a tragedy befalls a parent.
I'm a social worker, a mom, but most of all I'm a Christian

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 1 Complete!

So week 1 of BBMC5 was completed on Saturday since Sunday was a rest day. I couldn't believe that I actually exercised on a Saturday. I felt so empowered that day! Honestly I never thought I would get past day 2. I'm just not a consistent exerciser but I guess that is changing ;)

What cooldown?!
Today started week 2 and it took me a while to get going this morning. Today was a strength workout, and I found myself doing surprisingly well (except on the v-sit crunches. Evil little exercise). While completing today's workout, I found that my legs felt stronger than ever. There is this exercise called Goblet squats where you squat all the way down where your elbows hit your knees while holding a weight. I thought they were going to be awful but actually they were one of my favorite exercises. Now the v-sit crunches, those did not go well. I may have done several but I felt like my core was on fire. Of course that makes sense for my core to be the weakest area of my body since I've had two kids in 3 years. I hope that as I continue to exercise my core tones and tightens.

In conjunction with exercising, I'm also attempting to eat healthier. Lots of protein, vegetables, and fruits. Very little sugars, processed foods, dairy and gluten. That being how does one eat healthy when it is so expensive; and for those of you who are gluten free, I don't know how you do it (you must share your secrets). I'll spare you the horror story that was my shopping trip last night; but in the end, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on healthy foods (almost $60 on produce alone). I went home feeling discouraged and annoyed. But this morning, I woke up with a more positive attitude. I'm going to do the very best I can to eat healthier. I'm going to stop snacking on junk food and snack on healthy foods. I'm going to say no to sodas and yes to water. I'm not just doing this for myself but for my girls as well.

The support I've received from friends and family has been awesome. You guys are the ones that keep me going. That keep me wanting to exercise. In fact, I've discovered that I actually like exercising (cue the dramatic gasp) and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Until next time!
I'm a social worker, a mom, but most of all I'm a Christian.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Here I go again!

Here I go again! Attempting to blog about my life and what it is like with 2 under 2.5. That's right I have a second child. All of my facebook friends know this but if you follow me outside of facebook God blessed me with a second child November of last year.

Baby grump as we lovingly call her is 6 months old. She can crawl, occasionally pull up, and has 1 tooth. She sleeps through the night and loves to eat. Her big sister loves her even if she doesn't always show it. My toddler has turned into the biggest little helper since her little sister was born.

So now I have two beautiful daughters that I'm very proud of. And because I want to be the very best mommy I can be, I've decided its time to get in shape. So for the next 90 days I'm going to attempt to follow Briana through her BBMC5 or Bikini Body Mommy Challenge 5.0.

I've never been one to stick to exercise routines especially if I don't have an accountability partner. Well this time I do and that has created this excitement about exercising that I've not had in a long time. So for the first time since my toddler was born, I want to exercise again. Yeah!

So I'm hoping to I'll stick to blogging this time because truthfully I use to love to write. I remember being in elementary and middle school and writing all sorts of stories. I've even started writing a book. I may bore you with my post on exercising and eating healthy but I also plan to write about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

So now that I've reintroduced myself (lol). I hope you will once again follow me as I attempt to rekindle my love for writing.

So before I sign off today I just wanted to share a little something that I find absolutely adorable. While I was completing Day 2 of the BBMC 5 my toddler was "helping" me exercise. Sometimes she would lean on me, sometimes she would stand right where I needed to be, and sometimes she was cheering me on. While I was completing one of the exercises, she lovingly told me to slow down. I just can't get over the cuteness of a toddler.

Until next time!
I'm a social worker, a mom, but most of all I'm a Christian.

Monday, February 23, 2015

2 Years Later...

So I can't believe I posted my last blog post almost two years ago...TWO years ago. It is official...I can't blog. But you know what, that is okay because in those two years something wonderful happened. I got pregnant and gave birth to this beauty. For the purpose of privacy, I will refer to her as "cutie" or "lamb". Here is a little update into my life.
 For 13 months, before I started this blog, my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant with no luck. I'd missed a lot of periods and was feeling very discouraged. That April I decided that we needed to take a break. I found myself a new doctor and set up an appointment for June 19th, 2013 to look into "helping" the process along. Late May, my husband and I went on a trip to visit his family in Missouri. During the trip, I was exhausted and very congested. I was pretty cranky/hormonal too. The day after we got home we were up early in order to get ready for a wedding. Aunt flow was supposed to greet me that day so like I'd been doing before every period I took a test. Can you guess what it said? If you guessed positive than you are correct.

I was finally pregnant. My husband was excited and I was glowing. But we had already decided that we would wait until after the first ultrasound to tell family. So for the next 8 weeks (really 7.5) my husband and I kept our mouths closed. We live nearby our families so we actually see them weekly. It was hard and by 7 weeks I was starting to feel pretty sick. It became almost impossible to keep the secret. Finally, our first ultrasound rolled around and we got to see our little cutie for the first time. It was so amazing seeing her little heartbeat. 

That evening we told our families and they were super excited for us. I shared the news with my parents by giving my mom some bibs. I told my oldest brother and wife over pizza and my middle brother and his wife over the phone (they live out of state). We used our nephew to share the news with my husband's family (during family dinner night). My husband and I secreted our nephew into a cute shirt that said he was going to be a big cousin. It took them a moment but once they realized everyone was congratulating us.

So for the next 7 months we waited for the day we would finally meet our little cutie. Then on February 4 of last year, our little lamb came into our life. She was 7lbs 8 oz 19.5 inches. She was perfect.

I felt blessed. I felt complete. But I also felt scared. All the sudden I was responsible for the this little lamb that God had blessed me with. I didn't know what to do. The first few weeks were hard. Little sleep and post pregnancy emotions took over. I think I cried every day for about the first month. I cried at everything. It was very exhausting. Slowly I regained control of my emotions and cutie began to sleep longer stretches. Life got a little easier. But then I had to go back to work and that was hard.

The first day I went back to work, I only worked half a day. I think I might have called my mom twice to check on cutie. It was hard leaving her. After that first HALF day I developed a whole new appreciation for moms who work full time. I don't know how ya'll do it. On the days I worked, it was a miracle if dinner got cooked. I was exhausted. Thankfully our little lamb was still small and napped a lot. But as that stopped and she stayed awake longer, work began to feel like a chore.

So in December of last year, I handed in my notice at work. That is right this Christian Social Worker is no longer working but you know what? That doesn't change who I am. I'm still a social worker. I'm still a Christian. But now I'm something else. I'm a mom.

For me, I don't miss working but I do miss the people I worked with. My coworkers are some of the best people I have ever know or worked with. I also miss my patient's especially those that I worked with on the geropsych unit. I miss the lessons that they taught me. I learned more for my elderly patient's than I learned in school. I hope one day to return to work but for now I'm content to raise my daughter.

This year has been wonderful so far. I've enjoyed staying home full time with my little lamb. There are so many fun things we get to do around town. I've joined a mommy friendly exercising group that offers classes for moms to bring their babies too. I babywear. I cloth diaper. I play with my daughter. I read to her from God's word and teach her about the things that God has made. I love my life and for the first time I feel at peace and stress free.

So there you have it world. That is why I haven't blogged in two years. I can't promise anything but I hope to start blogging again. I've got some ideas about what I want to blog about. I've eluded to some in this post. Until next time.

A Christian Social Worker MOM

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tucker, our Booger Fish

First off, thanks to all my readers for what I consider a successful first post. I was touched by the interest in my blog. I was not expecting it. I hope you all continue this journey with me.

I've decided that in order to know me a little better, you should all meet my booger-fish. My husband and I adopted a dog named Tucker one week and one day after our marriage. Tucker is anything but boring. He's the epitome of the word  bonkers. As he is my baby, he will most likely show up in many of my posts. 

According to his records, he is a Shih Tzu Poodle (Shih-Poo) mix with a large black spot on his back. My husband and I feel he is more like a Havanese since he portrays traits and characteristics associated with that breed. We termed him booger-fish shortly after he came to live with us. I don't remember the particulars as to how we came up with that name, but I'm sure it had to do with his mischievous ways.

Tucker loves his kong cozy's (an awesome toy if you own a big chewer). They have a squeaker in them which he thinks its fun to squeak until one of us steals it and throws it down the hallway. He also enjoys playing outside, especially when he gets to chase rabbits (though he isn't always good at spotting them). He enjoys sitting upon the highest point in the house whether its atop our bed or atop the back of the couch. But his favorite past time would be licking our feet, therefore, we warn all guest that unless they want a foot bath they should wear either A) socks or B) shoes.

On the random occasion that I give Tucker a bath, he begins to race around the couches bounding from couch to couch to fireplace in a fast pace race. He does this in attempts to avoid the terrible evil brush. Another strange quirk that belongs to our booger fish is the way he gets our attention. He does this in one of two ways: 1) He barks at us and pushes his back paws behind him or 2) He jumps on top of us from the top of the couch. I think he waits until I'm perfectly comfortable laying on the couch before bounding on top of my stomach. We love Tucker and wouldn't trade him for anything.

Through my experiences at work one of the things that our patient's talk about the most are their pets. I love to hear their stories about what kind of animals they own, their names, and how special the animals are to them. I remember one patient talk about how her dogs were what got her through the toughest times of her mental illness. There is something special about animal companionship. Tucker has gotten me through a lot of tough times, and I don't know what I would do without him.

If you own a pet, I hope you take a minute and give it a big hug and show how special it is to you. Until next time!