I am a postpartum depression survivor

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My middle name is Joy.

I embodied Joy my entire life and everyone knew me as the loud comedian. I loved that about myself, it felt like no one or no thing could ever take away my joy.

Then I had postpartum depression. It was with my second born and it came out of nowhere. I had gotten my birth story I wanted and nothing wrong happened with me or my baby. Since the delivery was my biggest concern, I assumed I was in the clear of “baby blues”. My midwife would check up on me a couple of times and I just told her no, and that I was still in awe of my awesome delivery and my happy, healthy new baby girl… there were no signs of postpartum depression in my mind.

Four months went by and my mom was told she had stage four breast cancer. Our world changed and everything shifted. I knew I was sad, but I always justified my sadness as I was mourning the news of my mom’s cancer. But it was more than mourning or just a sadness. I was lonely. I was trapped.

Sleep deprived, baggy eyes, hurting breasts, crying baby, and jealous toddler adjusting to big sister life… it all came crashing down on me.

Before I knew it, I was hiding away from the girls and going into my closet to self-harm. It felt like the only thing I could do. This was a new feeling for me – I had thought about it before when I went through a hard childhood but this was different. I wasn’t doing it for attention or even an escape. I was doing it because I felt physically trapped inside my skin. It felt like my brain was going 180mph and my body was at a halt. I had to move, I had to run, I had to feel something other than despair. I did this for about a month before I told anyone. My husband had no idea and I worked very hard to keep it that way. I was ashamed, I had major mom guilt, and I was irate with myself for not enjoying my new perfect healthy baby girl. Telling someone meant I was showing them how awful of a mother I was.

Finally, in a moment of weakness that I can’t explain, I described the trapped feeling to my sister, who had yet to be a mother at the time. Of course she was immediately concerned for my well being… and I didn’t even tell her the whole truth. She told me I had postpartum depression and I needed to call my midwife immediately….

Postpartum depression…. me?? No way… I am always the happy one. Could it be depression? What else could it be?

I let that sit for a couple of days before I spoke to my husband or my midwife about it. I didn’t want to alarm anyone (… so irrational and I should have shouted it from the mountaintop). It wasn’t until my first panic attack that I had a glimpse of my reality.

I was trapped. Like I needed to escape my skin again. I couldn’t breath. My heart was beating out of my chest. I was in pain. I thought I was going to die and my biggest fear was that my dying would be an inconvenience to the strangers around me.  Wow… there it is. The moment of clarity. I’m not okay. Something is wrong. This isn’t me.

It would be another six hours before my heart felt normal again. I should have gone to a facility that night but I didn’t want to burden anyone.

The next morning I finally made the phone call, made the appointment, got the meds. I was put on a low dose of Celexa to help with the depression and anxiety… it was a whole new world for me that I had so much to learn about. I did the research, spoke to the midwife and the doctors… it saved my life.

Once I was transparent and told everyone about the anguish I was in, no one was mad at me. Crazy, right? No one was angry that I had to spend the money on the doctor or the medication. No one took my children away from me. My husband didn’t leave me. My family still loved me… I only received amazing support  from every person I told.

I stayed on my medication for two years before I was given the green light to ween myself off of them. It should also be noted that I could not have done this without the help and guidance of my therapist.

I still have anxiety and moments of slight panic… I still have a rare urgency to hide in my closest from time to time… but I am happy to report that I have found natural ways to pull myself out of those high anxiety moments. This is extremely difficult and something that took me years to learn with weekly therapy sessions… and not for everyone! But it worked (and still does) for me if I am consistent with it.

I am telling my story for you, momma. Don’t sit in this. Don’t assume you’re this huge burden on society… the stress of momming is SO REAL and lonely. Get out there and get some help. Talk to someone, anyone. Message me! I’ll understand!

I’m also telling my story for you, friend or family member. You just saw the strongest person you know give birth and own motherhood in a beautiful way… don’t assume she is okay. Check on her! Don’t just show up with a meal and leave. Talk, ask questions, get nosy! You could literally save her life and never know it.

You’re not alone, momma.

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Woman! What are you doing???

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Are you doing anything for yourself? Besides sitting on the couch scrolling thru this with your thumb on your phone while holding coffee in the other hand with the sound of fighting children or a mind numbing kid’s show on the TV in the background….

Are you actively pouring time into your goals and dreams?

Do you know what your goals and dreams are? Or have you not had enough sleep to dream?

Who were you before you had kids? Were you a daughter? A student? A wife? … those things are all given to you by other people. You didn’t chose to be the daughter to your parents, you ended up with them. Sometimes that’s super shitty. And we have to grow up way too early and then we realize when we’re parenting our own little ones that we in fact were never really parented ourselves. That is a hard day. Or a student, a good one or a bad one… but you went to school for something, right? Are you doing what you had in mind while you were this young wide-eyed twenty-something with ambition? Did you marry your dream partner or are you stuck with a complete stranger? Are you taking to time to love your partner and date your partner, not just live with them like the two of you are roommates?

Who are you, really? Was your end all, be all to be a mother? Is being someone’s mother your goal? Girl… that’s a lot of pressure to put on a tiny human. How can they possibly be the entire source of your joy and completion when they don’t even know how to tie their shoes yet? Honestly, I fear that making motherhood your ultimate goal is more dangerous than living without goals. Kids grow up. They get married, they move, they have their own kids… they leave. Then what? Is your entire purpose in life gone? This is why most Empty Nester’s end up divorcing. They spent their entire adult lives focused on this one thing that leaves. When it leaves – they don’t know who they are. They don’t know who they married. It’s lonely, it’s sad… and frankly I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

So where are you, girl? What do you want? When was the last time you sat down and asked yourself what it is that you want out of your life? What are some goals?

Write a book?

Run a marathon?

Get a job outside of the home?

Go back to school?

Whatever it is – it’s going to take work. Work, time, and a commitment to yourself to just do it. It’s going to take daily work – even if it’s just five minutes to set your intentions and break old habits. It’s going to be exhausting. It might be the hardest thing you have ever done… but oh the feeling you will have once it is complete. Girl I promise you. If you take this time for yourself – think of the lessons you will be teaching your children. Do you want you children to grow up knowing their mom never reached her full potential and believe that it’s just not that big of a deal to take care of themselves or have any goals of their own? I have two girls. I want them to be taught how to set intentions, goals, create healthy habits, S O A R … who better to teach them than me? Can I be the one to give my daughters the fuel they need to become whatever it is they want to be? I tell them to chase their dreams constantly. Am I no different? How hypocritical is that?

When was the last time you got a pedicure? One hour. I’m saying one hour a week can you vanish? It can even be during nap time so that whoever is with the kid has it easy. And girl… your husband is NOT their babysitter. He does not babysit his children. You aren’t a babysitter. He isn’t a babysitter. The only thing you have to ask him is if he will be home… you are a grown ass woman. Tell your partner that you are leaving the house for one hour. Remind him where the diapers are and then G.O. Just go. If you are married to a man child who you do not trust to watch your children… then you need a whole different blog post. He is just as much of their parent as  you are and he has his part just as much as you do. He is not your babysitter.

If we are at our lowest of lows, lonely, depressed, missing what we love, lost our identity… how can we be parent our children the way they deserve? When they are old enough, they will thank you for following your dreams.

We are women. Who aren’t we? Who aren’t we to run after our dreams? Who aren’t we to have opinions that matter? It’s 2018… what do you want?? Tell us! Tell us what you want. Write it down! Put a timeline on it! GET IT. Get what you want and what you deserve, my love. You are a fierce woman who brought precious life into this world …. what can you not do?? Nothing! There is nothing you can’t do. Stop limiting yourself. Tell your family! Tell them what your plan is. Don’t ask. Tell them. This is not up for discussion. You have given up so much for the other people in your life to follow their dreams… they can do the same for you.

Get out there, girl. What are waiting for? It‘s never going to get easier. Now is the easiest moment. Now is the time to make the decision and LEAP.

Now.

Today.

Get it, girl.

How To Be Happy (Really)

There is a common misconception in the world, that if a person is sad, they have no happiness, and vice versa. If a person is happy, then they are never sad. I think for moms this misconception is even more prevalent than for most others. If a mom is struggling, having a bad day, or even if her house has one iota of dust lying around, she must be unhappy. She isn’t doing her job, she may even be -dare we utter the word- *depressed*…. Or if a mom has everything in order, her kids perfectly match, her own clothes are immaculate, and her hair and makeup are done beautifully, she is obviously the picture of what it means to be happy. The truth is most of us have our good days and our bad. Some days we are happy, and some days we are sad. Sometimes we have depression, or anxiety, or are just so exhausted we can’t even identify what we are feeling. Sometimes that exhaustion is how we know that everything we go through, everything we do, is worth it.

Moms have so much going on. Other people, even other moms, may not understand what you, specifically, are going through. You have hormones, and lord knows every kid is different, not to mention differences in circumstances, and husbands, and personalities, and even the way you yourself were parented. I need you to know that you are not alone. There are other moms out there, who although they may not be going through exactly the same thing as you, they do understand. Somewhere out there, someone understands. And really, chances are, somewhere out there, someone really has been there too.

Now being happy, and I mean really, truly happy, is a hard thing. It is difficult to even know exactly what “happy” is, or what it feels like. Personally, I think happiness is different for everyone. There are so many versions of happiness. You have to figure out which one is your real, true happiness, and then figure out how to keep making it happen. Is your happiness a euphoric feeling, is it pure joy, or maybe bliss? Is it the feeling you get when you look at a beautiful sunset, or when you drink a glass of your favorite wine? Or maybe it is that feeling of holding your baby for the very first time?

Whatever it is, find it, remember it, and hold on. For me happiness is a little of all of those things. It’s nostalgia, and remembering how things used to be. It’s letting the sadness in just enough. It is also remembering to put away my selfishness (because I am a very selfish person, who likes things my way), and remember how good it feels to just be nice to other people. It is looking in my husband’s eyes and knowing how much he loves me, or spending the day wrapped in the embraces of my kids. It’s even letting go of my frustration, and letting my kids get away with something that would normally make me mad, just because (like them playing soccer with our Christmas ornaments, don’t worry, they are plastic).

I have to give a little nod to the Disney Pixar movie Inside Out. They really hit the nail on the head with that one. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly encourage you to make it a family night. It is well worth it. The thing is, all of our emotions are important, and the only way to be really, truly happy, is to find the balance. Let your anger out and feel the sad with the happy. One of my favorite, and completely hormonally controlled, feelings, is when I nurse my son. I don’t feel a rush of euphoria, like some people. I also don’t experience a deep sadness like some others. I am filled with an overwhelming love for my son and that makes me laugh and cry all at the same time. Yes, my husband looks at me like I’m crazy… however, it is one of the happiest times of my day. I get the same feeling every time one of my older boys tells me “I love you mom”, or when my husband looks at me and tells me even after giving birth 3 times, and even weighing drastically more than when we got married, he still thinks I’m beautiful.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that to be happy, and again I mean really, truly happy, you have to take it all. Find your balance. Figure out the calm inside the storm. To paraphrase one Charles Xavier in X-Men First Class, true focus lies between rage and serenity (yes, I’m a nerd, I know). I believe true happiness lies somewhere in there also. It is a fine balance, but without the sadness and the anger and the gloppity gloop of hormones and other emotions, true happiness wouldn’t be attainable. You may suffer from depression, or anger, or anxiety, or maybe even something like chronic joy. Just remember that real, true happiness is out there, and it may look a little different than you expected.

-Written for you by Okay Mom Brittany Rice

Momming is lonely AF

IMG_9067Hi. I am a stay at home mom and I am lonely.

 

I also live with anxiety. Momming with anxiety is more than just hearing phantom cries while you’re trying to get in your weekly shower. It’s hearing the phantom cries and in a matter of seconds going through the entire process from running out and finding your baby pinned between the crib and the mattress and it’s too late just because you wanted to selfishly wash your hair for the first time this month while she was napping… all in your head. Before you even have the chance to make a decision if you want to jump out of the shower and check or not.

It’s more than just worry. It’s more than just concerns. It’s crippling and consuming.

A quick escape form these daily anxieties and worries is my phone. My phone is just a thumb print away from anyone and everything outside of my home filled with kids. Two minutes sitting down with the kids quickly turns into an hour of mind-numbing scrolling. It feels like a connection to the busy world around me. It feels like everyone is here to listen to my update and crack up at my wittiness. It feels like my world might not be so lonely after all. But in reality, I was addicted and it was making me even more alienated, and never present.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been experimenting with different lifestyle changes that I can make to possibly ease the anxiety and pressure I put on myself.

I’ve tried certain diets, drinking more water, exercising more, waking up earlier… but you want to know what has been the most freeing? Unplugging.

I made my “Hey I’m leaving social media so you should worship me…” post and I haven’t looked back. It’s been only a week now but man do I feel an instant change in my daily life.

I’m playing with my kids more, I have more energy, I’m actually reaching out to people I haven’t talked to in a while because I have to intentionally text them to see how they’re doing instead of “liking” their latest update… it’s amazing. I had no idea how much I was missing out on by staying plugged in. Facebook was a complete escape for me – somewhere to receive false validation from old friends and complete strangers. The higher the numbers on my Instagram the more empowered I feel. The absolute definition of a band-aid for my loneliness. 

Since unplugging – suddenly I’m not bombarded with news articles about kids being abused by their meth-head parents, or how the country is falling to shit. I don’t care that my family occasionally posts racists articles… because I don’t see em! It’s riveting!

Are you addicted? As a mom it’s so easy. Staying at home with small children is the loneliest thing I have ever experienced. I am an extrovert to the MAX and people fuel me. Missing out makes me feel unwanted, unloved, and invisible – which is all the kiss of death for an extrovert like me. I lived on my phone. Scrolling through people’s posts feeling like I was a part of some big conversation that was happening outside my tiny world consumed with diapers and Cheerios. But in reality, it was only filling me with anxiety, FOMO ((fear of missing out)), and whenever my kids needed me, I felt interrupted from my much deserved “me time” on my phone with my freakin thumbs. Even in my marriage – my husband and I were the couple laying down next to each other with our glowing screens. Sometimes we would show each other the funny cat video but was that really where our relationship had resorted too? We’re funny people! We don’t need cat videos – we need each other!

I had prioritized my Mom Group over my friends, my Instagram likes over living in the moment, my shares over my self love, and my screen friendships over my relationship with my husband and kids.

Would you try something with me?

Maybe you’re not ready to go rogue like I did but what if you deleted the app from your phone and only checked Facebook when you’re sitting in front of a computer? Just for a while. My plan is to go to the end of this year. Maybe I’ll reinstall the apps after the New Year but it will mostly be for my mom group that I run and keeping up with this lovely page. Just see what happens. Watch your mood, watch your sleep patterns… I think it’ll surprise you.

Either way… momming is stressful and lonely AF. Making little decisions like spending less time on social media or taking daily walks can make it easier – which ends up being healing.

Let me know how it’s going for you if you take this on. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

I’m not good enough

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Stay at home momming is the hardest thing I have ever done. I’m not sure if I’m cut out for it.

My whole life I assumed  that I would be a stay at home mom and raise all the perfect babies and have the perfectly clean house. Why in hell did I think that? Who told me that? That certainly wasn’t how I grew up.

They make it look so easy. Commercials, billboards, mommy bloggers with all the know hows, beautiful friends with their beautiful babies posed beautifully on their couch not covered in cheerios with their 5 month sticker on their onsie…

I don’t do that. I have two kids, 5 and almost 2. I’m lucky if I survive a whole week.

There is no secret formula. There is no one answer.

If only I get up every morning at 6:00

If only I make the bed first thing

If only I make this chore chart 

If only I work out everyday

It’s just not that simple or easy. It’s lonely, it’shard, it’s exhausting.

Making sure the five-year-old can spell her name and knows her birthday, following the two-year-old around the house while she messes up literally EVERYTHING you just cleaned… it never ends.

I’m not good enough. I never will be. I can’t do it all. Not today. I can’t make everyone happy and still have time for myself.

So what? What is the answer?

Knowing that it won’t ever be good enough… by your own standards.

My kids have no idea. They just know that they’re fed and happy. They have no idea that I am up at 6:00 just so I can write uninterrupted. They have no idea that I feel like I have failed them. They’re just content. They know they are loved. They are so loved. So loved that everyday I get up and do it over and over again. So loved that I hide my insecurities from them and read them that extra bed time story even though I am so tired I can’t see straight. So loved that I will spend my last penny on whatever they need and make sure they don’t see my struggle. They have a great life. Not just one, but two parents who love them unconditionally… which unfortunately isn’t the  case for so many children.

Sometimes I even let her pass out on my bed in her ballet outfit and let her ruin the sheets while she’s working on her “science book”. That’s what she knows. That’s what she will remember.IMG_8162

You are good enough, momma. Stop comparing yourself to the friend with the perfect instagram filter… she doesn’t have her shit together, either. I promise you. There is no one answer, believe me if I knew it I would do it and tell you over and over again. Just be okay with being okay. Forgive yourself everyday and just continue to love the mess out of those crazy life-draining babies. They’re worth it. And so are you.

 

Hello, I am the world’s okayest mom

Being okay is completely underrated. Why are we always trying to achieve perfection? Perfection is impossible and even if you do eventually achieve it, it’s a huge disappointment.

Guess what.

My house is almost always messy. I take care of the basics, like the kitchen, the yuckyness… but laundry?? Oh man… laundry is always around. There are piles of dirty clothes in every room and piles of clean clothes in the living room. Piles of folded clothes on the coffee table and on top of dressers, piles of laid out shirts draped over the couch waiting for the closet… forget about it. My poor husband. Our mornings usually go as follows:

Him – hey babe… wake up. I can’t find any clothes.

Her – huh? whaaaat?

Him – where can I find pants?

Her – folded on the coffee table… or wait… the dryer. Yea, the dryer.

….five minutes pass…

Him – babe, where are socks?

Her – ummmm….. yea good luck with that.

Being a mom of two little ones takes up all my time. I am homeschooling the five year old and I’ll be lucky if she is counting to 15 by the end of this school year. My 18 month old is a baby genius which sounds like a good thing but ends up biting me in the ass more often than not. She is constantly testing things, like me… it’s exhausting and stressful as hell.

I live for nap time and the use of the Kindle Fire for the five year old. I look longingly forward to bed time when I can finally pop open that bottle of wine…. ok box… box of wine… and turn on a show with adults and cuss words.

Can you imagine what our mothers did before smart phones?? Thank God I have access to all my friends on a tiny device I can hold in my hands. And those mom’s who judge us for being on our phones too much…. we get it… you’re so much better than us. But if I don’t stay in contact with the people outside of my townhome filled with piles of laundry, my antidepressants will only go so far.

Can we just be okay with being okay? Can we stop striving for perfection? Our Instagram filtered pictures are killing other moms. Let’s just be OKAY for once. Just be okay with the fact that your child will eat that bug or that pile of mud… it’s good for their immune system!! Just be okay with the fact that one day our children are going to tell us they need therapy. Dip into that college savings fund and put it towards something that will actually help them.

Give yourself some grace, momma. It’s going to be okay. Being okay is okay! Take a nap! Throw some cheerios on the floor and let your kids fight for them gladiator style. Drink that glass of wine. Get on facebook and vent about it. Send me a message! I’ll level with you.

It’s going to be okay.

winemom

live love

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This is an ongoing theme on my blog.

Life is hard y’all.

People are on medication so that they won’t have urges to kill themselves. Family members have stage four cancer. Friends are addicted to drugs. Neighbors have lost their homes. Children are being neglected and not loved.

We have got to be the good in the world. We have got to love every single one of these people. Even if they’re voting for Trump of even Hillary… Even if they have been “helped” so many times before, or they have been “warned” to not live the life they are living anymore. Everyone has their struggles. No one knows where that person has been. We are just supposed to love them. Jesus loved so well. Why is this the hardest lesson for us?

I have some dear friends going through some heavy, life changing events that were the direct cause of their reckless behavior. So many people in their lives are quick to judge and shake their heads in disapproval. I get it. It’s so hard watching the ones we love knowingly make the wrong decision every day. But it just does’t matter. It doesn’t matter why they are doing it or what has happened in their past to make them believe they need to do it. We are directly placed in their lives to love. Love when no one else will. Love when they are at the edge of their lives and feel like there is no reason to go on. Invite them over for a cheap meal and conversation, without an agenda to intervene. It is not my job to determine their fate or what they need.

The truth is… I am no better. We are no better. We may think we are better because we haven’t tried that drug, we only get drunk every once in a while, we haven’t slit our wrists before….. these are the most irrelevant excuses I have ever thought of. I am no better…

I suck. You suck. She sucks. He sucks.

You know what makes us great? Admitting that we suck. Getting on their level and telling them that you are no better.

Love

Love

Love

Love

It really is that simple.

There is literally no point to this post except to let the ones in my life know that I love them. Unconditionally. No matter what.

Do something today. Buy the starbucks for the stranger in front of you at the drive thru. Text a family member three simple words that are said far too infrequently. Knock on a neighbors’ door and invite them over for a cheap meal sometime.

Do something! And no, there is no hashtag. There is no instagram filter you need to use. Do it because no one is looking. Just love someone. For no likes, no reposts, no shares…. just do it.

It really is that easy.

http://www.loveinmotion.info