12.22.2011

16 weeks!


I think it's safe to say I kind of exploded sometime over the past month.  I think it all happened this week because last week I looked in the mirror and swore my belly was no bigger than at 12 weeks.  Coincidentally I also woke up yesterday feeling suddenly pregnant.



Not that I haven't felt pregnant thus far, but all of a sudden it was like, BAM, pregnant.  Aches and pains, getting out of breath easily, feeling lots of movement, losing the ability to sleep on my stomach and suddenly outgrowing all my small maternity tops overnight.



I'm only up 8 pounds which is about where I was with Addie at this point.  I'd gained 10 earlier but lost a few pounds and haven't gained them back.  I only gained 25 lbs with Addie which was my goal, so I'd like to be happy about only having gained 8 lbs, but I look so, so much bigger than I did with her at this point that I really think this will be a Ben kind of pregnancy.  I'm just going to look like a swollen balloon at the end of this journey.  It's inevitable.



The morning sickness is completely gone now, thank God!  That was a rough patch.  Still absolutely exhausted at all times and still totally weepy and going through the ups & downs of prenatal depression, but so happy to be feeling him/her.



We'll have our big u/s soon, but not to determine gender, just to check out the little squirt and make sure everything looks good.  Not much else to report!

12.16.2011

Using your voice.

Do I feel its my duty to patrol the interwebs and make sure no one ever says a bad word about anyone else?



Nope.



So why do I get involved?



I had to ask myself that this morning, after I opened my mouth on the STFU, Parents fb page post I referred to yesterday.  I had a nice little talk with my hubby about it this morning.



Appalled at what I read yesterday, I decided to add my opinion in a sea of other opinions.  I tried to be as graceful as I was able to be.  I certainly didn't want to start a fight, but I was obviously prepared to have some hate directed my way.  I mean, some of these people were wishing for Michelle's death.  Of course they would attack anyone who shared a different opinion.



I felt the need to say something because, like I said yesterday, when did we become so complacent and desensitized that we could read things like what I posted yesterday and not say a word?  To not say a word, to not try to make just one person stop and think and reconsider their position made me feel like part of the problem.  If I watched it all unfold on a page I was a fan of and I didn't try to respectfully share my opinion, I was just another reason that people feel they can get away with such hateful bashing online, behind the safety of a screen name.



So I said this:





And I stand behind it and I'd say it again because it's what I believe.  NO ONE deserves that sort of hate.  Whether or not the Duggars expect it and are prepared for it and have thick skin doesn't matter or make them less worthy of defense.  The point is, we've now become so desensitized to this sort of hate online that most people don't say a word.  Because I guess we feel we can't have an impact as "just one person."  I understand that mentality because I share it.  I constantly second-guess speaking up because, well, what's the point?  Whose mind am I going to change and in the end, I'm just going to have my feelings hurt.



Now I think there's a difference between tactfully standing up for a belief and just being nasty or judgmental in return.  The latter doesn't solve a thing, and I've been guilty of it so many times that it's shameful.  I've learned a lot over the years.  I used to be incredibly judgmental, and it took a few comments from others to convince me of how mean I was being, how hurtful my words were.  So I guess, deep inside, I feel that if I have an opportunity to share my opinions with others and the potential to change only one mind, that's totally worth it.



It was really sad to read what most people had to say in response to my comment because it's just indicative of our current state of morals and human decency.  Someone even stalked my facebook page to find my blog and comment here.  Interestingly, and ironically I guess, that was the person calling me a troll repeatedly.



I'm not saying it's everyone's duty to speak up when they see something evil happening, but I think we're too complacent.  I think we see something going down and we say, why get involved?  What's the point?  I won't change anyone's mind.



But I think you definitely can.  It's all in the way you deliver your message.  Answering hate with hate won't solve a thing and won't help your cause.



If I saw someone being bullied on a playground or in a park, I would do my part to help.  If I see someone being bullied online, I try to do my part to help, too, even if it means most people think I'm crazy or spew hate in my direction.  Internet bullying is becoming a very real problem.  I think most people would try to come to the defense of someone being bullied (or perhaps I'm being naive), but for some reason coming to the defense of someone being bullied online seems so much more taboo.






I don't seek out things to argue about or people whose minds I could potentially change, but if I see something going down like that, on a very public page with 17,000 readers, I'd speak up again.

Finally, this whole issue taught me a really valuable lesson.  I've grown in my faith tremendously over the past two years, and I've changed for the better in so many ways thanks all to God and his grace, but I still find myself faltering all the time.  I deemed the Duggars worthy of defending but laughed right along with the late night shows picking on Charlie Sheen.  I've read tabloid articles about movie stars I don't like and I've been to TMZ to get my latest dose of gossip more times than I'd like to admit.  That makes me pretty lame and hypocritical.  I know God was using this experience to teach me that no one person is less worthy of hate than another.

12.15.2011

The Duggars, our fading morals and a giant rant.

What has happened to our society?



When did it become tolerable - no, acceptable - no, the mainstream view, to bash a family going through something as horrendous as losing a baby at almost 20 weeks?



I'll admit that I used to think the Duggars were nuts.  This was long before I was saved and long before I got sucked into an episode.  All I heard were the tabloid headlines and other people's summaries of the show.  And, yeah, 18 kids?  19?  20?  Crazy.  For ME.  But why in the world does that matter?  Because I've chosen to have three children, that makes me superior to them?  No, it just makes me a different person with different desires.



But then I was saved.  And now I wrestle with the idea of birth control all the time.  I pray about it.  I talk to other Christians.  But ultimately, I've made the decision to take my procreation into my own hands and decide that I don't want anymore children after this third one.  Because I'm too weak to trust God's plan.  I'm too weak to think that He could know better than me.



So I have to admire the Duggars.  And respect them.  They can do something I'm not capable of.  They have the ultimate faith.



But because they're famous, society says that makes them fair game for hate and ignorance and bashing.  Upon news of their latest pregnancy, a lot of people had a lot of things to say.  At first, I didn't have a clue what to think.  Then I realized it wasn't really my business.  And then, ultimately, I realized that I admired their faith.  And I admire the way they raise their children and I admire that they are able to support them all.  So what if that's via a TV show on TLC?  They also shop only second hand and make a MUCH greater effort to leave a small carbon footprint than I ever have.



Really, whose business is it?  Theirs and God.  That's what I think.



People's opinions on the matter frustrated me a little bit, but I certainly understood as I walked in those same shoes just a few years ago.  I was right there, judging them along with everyone else.



But then, when they recently announced their loss and the truly EVIL comments started to surface, I wanted to throw up.  I also might have wanted to punch a few people in the face because I'm not the perfect Christian, but I could at least show a little restraint.



The comments made that the Duggars deserved this tragedy, and that it's God's way of telling them to stop, were some of the lowest blows I've ever seen Americans make toward other fellow Americans.  To take someone's horrendous tragedy (this wasn't an early miscarriage, this was as close to stillbirth as you can get without being called a stillbirth) and use it to gloat or make yourself feel better is so sad there are just no words.



When TMZ shamefully leaked pictures of the Duggars baby that were passed out at the memorial service, the reaction was how dare the Duggars!  



How dare the Duggars?  How about how dare TMZ?  How dare whoever shared this with TMZ?  That someone could blame a family who has lost a baby for sharing a picture of their baby's hands and feet with their fellow loved ones is just beyond me.  Some of the comments that I saw on the STFU, Parents FB page post (who I will never read or support again):



Original post from STFU, Parents:





Comments:





I would have to argue that it's not a family who has lost a baby and wants to remember and share that baby, to know that baby had a purpose in the world who is sick.  But, psh, what do I know?







Yeah, how dare the Duggars want to remember their lost baby girl and share her with their loved ones!  Gah!  Sick!  Tasteless!  Totally trivializes their loss!





Oh, right!  Let's get the government involved and forcefully remove her uterus!  What a great idea!  She's had 19 kids and 2 miscarriages.  I'd say the odds are pretty in their favor considering 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage.  And furthermore, the idea that having a miscarriage and/or a stillborn baby means you shouldn't be allowed to have more children makes no sense.  We don't tell women in this country who can't get pregnant on their own that this means God is trying to tell them not to have children.  No, we assist them with medical miracles, and I think it's wonderful.  We don't tell women who've had four miscarriages in a row that they would be irresponsible to keep trying.  No, we hug them and wipe their tears away and encourage them and remind them that God is in control, and not one of those miscarried babies didn't have a purpose.  God has a purpose for ALL life he creates, miscarried, stillborn or otherwise.



Just because someone's belief system is different, if it does not actively affect YOU (i.e., were they taking government assistance, you might be able to have a say in her procreation), I just don't believe people have the right to voice such nastiness in the direction of a family who is just trying to put their faith in God while responsibly caring for their children and this earth.



The worst ones, the ones that made me stop and actually cry, were these:









Though I found it tasteless for STFU, Parents, to have started a thread picking on this family, what I found much more tasteless was the writer's shock when people came to the defense of the Duggars, and then the anger that followed.  I only hope that the writer of STFU, Parents, and all the nasty commenters never have to experience a tragedy like the Duggars.  Like it or not, we're all putting ourselves out there.  Everyone with a public facebook page, everyone with a blog, everyone with a TV show.  To say that I would deserve being made fun of while going through a tragedy because I put my life out there on my blog is a true testament to how far the morals in our society have sunk.  NO ONE deserves being viciously attacked during a period of extreme grief.  Not even a murderer.  The internet has allowed cruel people a stage to spread hate without suffering real life consequences, and it's time we demand that it stop.





What she was really trying to say is: if I ever go through a tragedy, I'm fair game!  If I lose my baby, you have every right to violate my privacy and tell me I deserved it because I run this blog for profit!  I am ACTIVELY seeking attention!



The Duggars may profit from their TV show.  So?  The Duggars may have made themselves famous.  So?  As if that somehow negates their right to privacy, to respect in times of grief, to common courtesy that is afforded to anyone else who isn't famous.



Whether you're a Christian or not, hate, in any form, is counterproductive and detrimental.  Even if you don't like someone, whether they're a blog writer or a facebook friend or a movie star, try to remember that we're all human and we all have feelings and saying such incredibly hurtful things to another has the potential to cut in deeper ways than you could ever imagine.  It has the potential to destroy another life.  DESTROY.  Let that sink in.

12.14.2011

A revelation of massive proportions.

I'm really struggling.  That's not some big secret.  Adalyn has been a high-needs baby mostly since birth, and 11 months of it has worn me thin.

I've spent a lot of time whining and complaining and, honestly, feeling really sorry for myself.  Making myself a martyr is kind of lame, right?  I'm not the first mom to experience a fussy baby who has problems sleeping.  And I'm not the first mom to experience that with a toddler who also doesn't sleep.  In fact, in comparison to LOTS of other mothers' lives, I still have it easy.

But I'm dense and sometimes selfish and I don't see that sort of stuff until it slams into my face going 100 miles an hour.

This morning I was feeling particularly crummy and sorry for myself.  Adalyn now sleeps through the night but no longer naps and wakes up really early.  This morning it was 5:00 a.m.  And that's after never napping yesterday, which has pretty much become her new norm.  So I thought surely she would nap today, but she won't.  And I have a horrendous cold and I feel like an 18 wheeler ran over my head and then backed up a couple of times.

So I consulted Dr. Sears to see if he had any literature on his website regarding high-needs babies.  Turns out, he does.  A lot of it.  And it all said mostly the same thing: quit yer whining.

I was feeling all defensive about it, yelling out things in my head like, "Hey now!  I'm sleep deprived and pregnant and have a baby who cries all day!  I get to be upset and sad about that!" and almost quit reading all together until I came across this:

"Instead of feeling sorry for yourself that you didn't get enough sleep, just don't expect as much from yourself that day." 

Well, duh.  I suppose I could do that, too.  I have a wicked case of The Guilts and I am always feeling guilty for something.  If it's not my children's picky eating then it's that they don't sleep and that's my fault and that Adalyn cries and that's my fault and that the house is ALWAYS a mess and what a terrible housewife I am and so on and so forth.  I don't ever nap when Adalyn naps (er, when she used to nap) because there are things to be done, dangit!  What kind of wife am I if Tim has to come home to a messy house and no food on the table?!

Which, er, happens more than I'd like to admit.

But that little sentence hit me.  Instead of using my high-needs baby as a tool to allow myself to whine and feel sorry for myself all the time, I can use it as a tool to do what I need to do anyway: lose the guilt.

Yep, my baby cries a lot, still.  She sleeps like crap.  She is very needy and wants mommy or daddy almost all the time.  So it's okay if I take advantage of a nap time for myself and let the laundry slide.  It's okay if I make breakfast for dinner for the 3rd time in a week because it's easy and I'm wiped out.  It doesn't make me a bad mom or a bad wife.  Whining and feeling sorry for myself all the time?  That does.

I'm going to cut myself some slack, accept that this is our life right now, but realize that because this is our life, I can make adjustments to my work schedule and feel totally okay about that.  That's how I'll be the best mommy I can be.  By cutting myself some slack and kicking my feet up sometimes.  Not by crying in my coffee.

12.13.2011

A random smattering of stuff.

Mostly I just wanted to use the word smattering.






I love my sweet girl (I always feel like I have to preface things like this...) but she is, er, high needs.  Always has been.  So Ben, the little trooper he is, has happily handed over his spot as the baby of the family to allow us to focus our energy on Addie.

Some days I feel like he really got the short end of the stick.  We were all, "Oh, there's a baby in mommy's tummy!" and he was all, "What?" and then we brought him to the hospital and we were like, "Surprise!  The baby!" and from then on, life became, "Don't touch the baby like that," "Stop it, you're making her cry," "No, she can take your toys but you can't take hers.  I know it makes no sense but it's the world you now live in," and "You must no longer make noise during the hours of 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m." and other such unfairness.

So every once in awhile, I want to spoil him.  To death.  I want to lavish him with gifts and cookies and McNuggets and kisses.  So sometimes I do.  But it doesn't happen very often.  I'm honestly not even sure why.  OH...right...because I had a baby attached to my body for the last 11 months.  How quickly I forget once she's weaned.

Anyway.

This weekend, I decided we both needed to shake things up.  Let's have some FUN!  So we went to Subway and Hobby Lobby Saturday night.  Let that sink in a minute.

For fun...on a Saturday night...I took my just-about-three-year-old to Hobby Lobby and Subway.  And honestly?  Better than any bar or fancy restaurant of days gone by.

Because that wasn't enough, Sunday I took him on his first movie theater excursion.  MUPPETS!  Dude.  Awesome cheesy movie.  I had way more fun than Ben, which is saying a lot because he was totally mesmerized.  And I just have to say this because I haven't been in a movie theater in probably 5 years but WHAT THE WHAT?!  Hello, my lovely!  When did theaters lose their creaky old chairs in lieu of Grand Poobah recliners and full dining service?  I mean, you have a waiter.  Inside of a movie theater.

A few dates with my little guy was just what the doctor ordered.  I blew through some sewing, too, which is always good for stress relief.  And pricked fingers.

This week has been alright so far.  Kind of a repeat of last week.  Not good, not horrible.  Tolerable in the sometimes-I-lose-my-mind-a-little-but-I'm-hanging-in-there kind of way.  I heard baby's heartbeat today at an appointment with my midwife, so that's always great for the ole spirit.

I'm sick again.  That'd be the third time in 2.5 weeks for anyone who is counting.  Tim's sick.  Also again.  Adalyn's sick.  Also again.  Ben seems to be the only one with an immune system around here.  He had a cough for a day but now seems to be just peachy.  Go figure, the child who got as much formula as breastmilk in his first year is the one with the immune system of steel.

I have my first therapy appointment Friday.  Yay?

12.09.2011

Journey to Me

Someone suggested I go back to Dooce's archives and read about her postpartum depression.  She blogged it all while she was going through it, even when she checked herself into the hospital.  So last night, I stayed up really late doing just that.  It was amazing and beautiful how honest she was.  But what I found striking was that on several occasions, she said people were thanking her for her honesty and she's like, what?  Why?  It's a disease like any other disease, I don't get why it's a big deal?



Well I, for one, have to thank her, because just reading someone else's chronicles through a deep, dark depression made me feel so much more normal.



I'm holding onto hope that being open and honest here could possibly help one other person.



I need hope now.



I called the therapist this morning.  Still waiting to hear back.  It's tough to watch the day tick away, get no phone call back and know I may not have any relief until Monday at the earliest, but it'll get better at some point and that's what you focus on, right?  At some point, I'm going to be the normal me again.

12.08.2011

The scariest blog post I'll probably ever write: prenatal (antenatal) depression.

Someone recently wrote me an email to thank me for being so raw and honest here (thank you, again!).  I sat back for a few minutes and thought about this, because it isn't really the truth.


You see, just a few weeks ago I wrote a very raw and honest post about my struggle with a rather debilitating fear of vomit.  Yuck, right?  Not like anyone enjoys vomit, but it consumes my thoughts a lot.  Probably 30 minutes after I wrote it, I deleted it.  It was scary.  It felt way too vulnerable.  I have no idea who wound up reading it in that time.  I hope not a lot of you.


So that thank you email made me feel a little guilty because there's a lot I hold back.  A ton, in fact.  Being totally open and vulnerable is terrifying to me.  The thing that holds me back more than anything else in life is probably my fear of being disliked or judged.


Thus, I try to only share the things that are PC or acceptable enough that no one will quit liking me.  No one will decide they can't be friends with me.


I know I'm not alone here.  I know it's totally human nature and that's why most of us keep our skeletons in the closet.


But what I'm going through is a continuation of something I went through when I was 22, and I'm struggling with it a lot more than I probably need to because I'm too scared to share it with friends and family.  Because when I went through it at 22, one of my very best friends at the time ditched me, told me I was f*ing crazy and we never spoke again.  That...left a deep scar.  And changed my behavior.  And taught me that depression is still not accepted.  It is still looked down upon.  People still treat those suffering with depression differently than those suffering with other illnesses.


As long as I keep silent about what I'm going through, or only choose to share it with my friends who've also gone through it, I am a part of the problem.  Staying silent about depression continues the stereotype.  If everyone could be open and honest about it, I think we'd see that most of us have a mental disorder - whether mild or severe - and we could encourage each other and help each other through it rather than hide and handle it all alone.


You see, at 22, I went through a debilitating, life-changing depression.  I have very few memories from the whole time period and most of them are cloudy at best.  But every time I think back on it, all I feel is darkness, all I see is pitch black.  I try never to think about it because it was so horrific and so terrifying.  I spent weeks researching the best ways to commit suicide and I wanted to.  I had no desire for life.  I wound up in the hospital for issues stemming from the depression.  Poor Tim, my new boyfriend of only a month, was my sole support during this time.  He witnessed things no one should have to witness.  And when he tried to bring it up later, I would freak out and refuse to talk about it.  It was so incredibly humiliating and I swore I would never tell a soul about it.  Once the clouds lifted and I was my old self again, the knowledge that Tim was a witness to it all was too much to take and I very deliberately pushed him away until we broke up.


Luckily, time healed that wound and we got back together.  The rest is rather obviously history.


I've thought about that dark time off and on, but luckily have not experienced it again.  I chalked it up to situational depression as everything in my life was falling apart simultaneously.


Each pregnancy has been rather rocky emotionally.  It wasn't unexpected, though.  Growing up, I experienced depression and extreme irritability/anger for a few days each month, corresponding with "that time."  I'm pretty sure I have PMDD, but I've never sought help for it because a few days a month seems so manageable.  So the idea that the hormonal changes experienced during a pregnancy could also affect my mood in the same way they do during my cycle isn't a far-fetched theory at all.


The past two pregnancies have been survived.  I say that with a little fear, because I don't like admitting that I hate pregnancy, but I do, and my midwife is trying to get me to see that it's okay to admit that.  I mean, we puke, we swell, we cry, we get fat, we hurt and then we have to go through horrendous pain.  It's all more than worth it in the end, but I'm learning it's okay to admit that the experience is less than desirable.


 This pregnancy has been different from the other two since early on.  While I experienced the blues with my other pregnancies, this time it's the kind of sadness that keeps me from getting out of bed in the morning.  It's the kind of sadness that has kept me from wanting go to church.  The kind of sadness that has made me a bad mom and a bad wife and a bad friend.  The kind of sadness that scares me, because I'm not really me at all.  I don't recognize the person I see in the mirror anymore.  I spend my days coping, praying (begging!) for relief, crying and then crying some more.  For those who don't know me well, I'm not someone who cries a lot.  Not in front of anyone, certainly.


I don't know what I'm sad about.  I don't know why I can't stop crying.  I don't know why I've lost every ounce of motivation I once had.  I can't clean my house, I can't even cook food.  I can lay here.  I am a pro at laying here.


I don't return phone calls or emails.  I cancel almost everything I have planned.  I don't enjoy anything - even the things I loved so much just a few months ago.  I'm finding it difficult just to muster up the energy to pray, which is something I need more than anything right now.  I feel like a shadow of my former self.


My world is slowly closing in, just like it did back in 2005.  It sounds cliche to say that when you're depressed, your life is dark, but that really is exactly how I describe my depression.  Dark.  One day you wake up and your world is grey and every day it gets a little grey-er until one day it's pitch black and you can't see because you're suffocating in sadness.


I've started having panic attacks.  They are definitely one of the scariest things I've ever experienced and make me never want to leave the house again for fear of having another one while driving.


 I'm doing something about it.  I've sought help and I'm working on getting in to see someone who specializes in prenatal depression.  Did you know that prenatal depression is more common than postpartum?  Yet all you hear about is PPD because people with postpartum depression spoke up.


So I'm laying it all out there, being more vulnerable than I've ever been able to in my life, in hopes that I can encourage one other person to speak up who can encourage one other person to speak up and so on and so forth until prenatal depression is something most everyone knows about, just like PPD is today.


It's hard to admit that pregnancy, what's supposed to be one of the single most joyous events in life, is something that brings with it the kind of grief that makes it hard to breathe, much less function in any kind of capacity.  It's embarrassing.  But also a little therapeutic.  And the idea that I will no longer be the girl who hides what I went through and, now, what I'm going through, is a tiny sliver of happiness so desperately needed in my life at this moment.


I am not looking for sympathy.  Sympathy often perpetuates depression for me because I feel guilty, which compounds the feelings of depression.  My only agenda here is awareness.  Prenatal (antenatal) depression resources: