unmasked moment: tears of guilt and fear

unmaskedmoment1

I had a moment last night when I couldn’t control the tears. And they fell in the worst moment. It started out sweet. My husband was being extra kind and loving – just comforting. Somehow the suggestion of an accidental (or not accidental) baby #2 came up and I spun out of control. In seconds I went from feeling so warm and loving to very, very cold.

I started thinking things like we can’t afford it (we had just been talking about our current income and what we hoped for the future – EXCUSE), we don’t have room (we live in a two bedroom home – EXCUSE), and that I would have to quit my job or risk losing my mind and ending our relationship – FEAR. Yep. That’s how this cookie crumbled. Utter defeat.

And then the guilt set in. The guilt of my son not having a sibling. The guilt that I am the one choosing that for him. I’m carrying that weight. Sure, my husband and I haven’t totally closed the door on not having another, but at this moment I know I cannot do it. I’m not confident that I will come out stronger in the end.

I. AM. SO. AFRAID.

  • Afraid of having another c-section.
  • Afraid of potential complications because I’ve had a c-section.
  • Afraid of falling into depression again, and having to manage 2 children.
  • Afraid of destroying my relationship with my husband because of said depression.
  • Afraid of ruining the wonderful relationship with my son (and whatever child may come) as a result of said depression.
  • Afraid of more/new food allergies.
  • Afraid of possible developmental issues with potential baby 2 (since I am reaching the dreadful 35 when all the risks increase).
  • Afraid of the stress and what that might also do to me mentally.
  • Afraid of the anxiety I had.
  • Afraid of the exhaustion that overwhelmed me.
  • Afraid of being overwhelmed.
  • Afraid I won’t smile again.

All of these fears and I’m not even pregnant! This is why I’m not ready. I don’t know if I ever will be, but I sure would like to be okay with the decision and not feel overwhelmed every time I’m asked, “When are you having another?”

I don’t think postpartum depression ever completely goes away. It just tucks itself into a little ball ready to unravel in different moments – but instead of looking like depression, it’s fear.

postpartum anxiety & depression – part 2

If you read my last blog, Part 1 of this topic, you’ve already learned that I had Postpartum Anxiety and when I got that under control, the depression set in. Sometimes it’s difficult to even describe what I went through. I hesitate to type anything because I cannot put the exact words to describe it. I cried, a lot.

I remember one therapy session just looking at the therapist and saying, “In my head I know things in my life are good, but in my heart I feel like they aren’t. I’m just not happy. And I don’t know how to fix that.” So we started talking about possible hormonal imbalances and/or vitamin deficiencies. I saw the doctor and had my blood drawn. Hormones were normal. Vitamin D was a little low – which can contribute to mood issues. I increased my Vitamin D for a few weeks, no change. In fact, things were getting emotionally worse for me.

I started to not care about things that I normally cared about. The only person I took care of (or made sure was taken care of) wasn’t even me, it was my son. I went through the motions of any daily things I needed to do to get by. I ate because I was breastfeeding and knew I needed nutrition to feed my son. I worked because we needed the income, but I sure did want to stay home and in bed most days. I turned down most, if not all, activities outside of the house that my son wouldn’t be going to, e.g. hanging out with friends, movies, drinks, etc. I stayed home and my husband went out. 

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postpartum anxiety & depression – part 1

So postpartum anxiety is a thing – who knew? Not me, me who has a MA in Counseling. I had no idea. Now, I’m not sure if it is defined in the DSM-V (if you don’t know what that is – it’s not important here) but that doesn’t make a difference if you’re experiencing it.

The best way to get in to this topic is to give you a hint of how my story began (I’m sure I’ll share details of each of this bullet points eventually). The quick synopsis:

  • I planned for a vaginal birth (over-planned) and had an emergency c-section (that felt traumatic).
  • 3 weeks postpartum I was back in the hospital for abdominal pain/infection (diagnosed as diverticulitis) and while in the hospital I got mastitis in one breast (a small lump but enough to have to deal with it).
  • 7-8 weeks postpartum I had to leave my baby boy for a weekend (to attend a family wedding 4 hours away that my husband and I were in). New mommy. 1st baby. BIG deal!
  • 9 weeks postpartum I went back to work part-time (we financially couldn’t wait until 12 weeks) and pumped wherever I could find a place (my work didn’t provide a spot and I refused to use the 3-stall bathroom). Breastfeeding moms – I’m sure you know the importance of a good spot to pump.
  • Also around the 9 week mark blood specks/streaks started showing up in my son’s stool and I had to cut milk and soy out of my diet.
  • 11 weeks postpartum we moved.
  • Somewhere soon after that I cut out major allergens from my diet because the blood was still appearing in my son’s stool. (A restricted diet while breastfeeding is extremely difficult and anxiety producing, but also something I could control – maybe the first real sign of my anxiety.)

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where do I begin?

Let’s be real. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not perfect. This blog will not be perfect. I’ll have spelling errors, typos, and I might even share a little too much (let’s hope not). But in the end it will be mine. My story that I’m sharing with you.

I’ve had this url for several months now because I wanted to share my story. And I know what you’re thinking – it’s another person in this world talking about their self. Well, you’re right! I’ll admit it. I want to talk about myself – because I feel like I need to share my story. Not only for my health and sanity but maybe, just maybe, it will help someone else, in some way. No one wants to feel alone, and sometimes I do – even when I’m surrounded by loads of people. My husband doesn’t understand this feeling, but maybe you do. So, here’s a general outline of the parts of my story I plan on sharing (for now):

  • Pregnancy
  • Child birth – Specifically my c-section story
  • Breastfeeding
  • Food allergies
  • Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety (Didn’t know it was a thing? Neither did I!)
  • Food allergies
  • The first year
  • Raising a toddler
  • Marital discord when a baby enters the picture
  • Food allergies
  • Adjusting to motherhood
  • Did I mention food allergies?

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