Posts tagged depression
Today has been one of Those Days for me. Well, actually, it started last night when out of the clear blue, my back started hurting. Again. My husband and I were just hanging out, minding our own business, when WHAM! My back picked up where it left off the last time it tried to kill me.
And I just realized that I never finished telling you guys what I found out was wrong. Remember how I went to a chiropractor then got cold feet? Well, the pain steadily worsened to the point that it felt like someone was stabbing me in the lower back with a red hot poker. It was agony to stand, sit, walk, lay down. Hell, it hurt to just exist. So I went to my family practitioner who said I was developing arthritis and possibly a degenerating disc.
Arthritis? Seriously? I’m only 29. But having a baby is really hard on a woman’s body… and lifting and carrying that baby around doesn’t help either.
So I amped up my yoga workouts to 5 or 6 times a week and worked on having better posture, and the back pain has become more bearable over the past few weeks. Until last night. So I took some Ibuprofen, which normally helps a little, but it didn’t touch the pain. I tossed and turned, swore and cried. I got about three hours of sleep last night and was exhausted all day today. Then, to make matters worse, I’ve been nauseated all day long, which was a bit depressing. And Nathan was grumpy today, which I’m sure is because he was picking up that something was off with Mommy’s mood.
My back is still hurting somewhat, but thankfully nowhere near the level it was last night. Hopefully it will be even better tomorrow, and I can get back to my old self soon. So I’m going to call it a night earlier than normal. Because sleep is almost like a cure-all for me, and I am optimistic that if I can catch up on my sleep, my mood will lift, the pain will continue to subside, and I’ll feel better.
Thanks for listening to me whine. Any feel-good vibes sent my way will be MUCH appreciated!
Babies are great. They are so precious and sweet, and not to mention, hilarious. Not only because they cause mini-catastrophes such as mega poops and fountains of pee, and not even just because they have hilarious facial expressions when they taste new foods, but also because they will find humor in the slightest things.
Last night was one such night. I was getting Nathan ready for bed, following his nightly routine of a bedtime story and a song. I was singing “You Are My Sunshine,” and every time I said the word happy, he would start laughing. Especially when I said the word happy with a long, breathy “H.”
So I couldn’t help myself. I sat him down in the glider and started saying the word happy, just to hear him laugh.
As I watched him smiling and laughing, I felt simultaneously euphoric and sad at the same time. Euphoric because my son is such a happy, carefree child. But sad because he is growing so fast and is turning into a little boy right in front of my eyes.
I can’t believe he’s nine months old already!
It seems like just yesterday Paul and I brought our screaming bundle of joy home from the hospital. The hospital we went to and the experience they provided me, however, was horrible (click here to read about it.) It doesn’t seem like nine months ago, I thought I was on the brink of losing my sanity due to sheer exhaustion.
Sometimes the colic seemed like it would never end.
But, eventually, it did end. The sun came out. Butterflies started dancing again. That ominous black cloud hanging over my head dissipated.
Now? Now, Nathan hardly ever just cries for no reason. Now, it’s usually because his diaper is dirty, he’s hungry, uncomfortable, tired, not feeling well, etc. It’s become a process of elimination, which is SO MUCH more manageable than having no idea why your infant is screaming as if he’s in the worst pain of his life.
I’ll take days like last night ANY DAY. I love those laughs and smiles. I enjoy interacting with him, teaching him new things, and watching him learn and grow. Even if he is growing up so quickly.
I remember seeing a commercial a long time ago that said Having a baby changes everything. They weren’t kidding. My life now has virtually no semblance to life before becoming a mommy. It’s only been eight months, and I am changed for forever.
My hips are wider. My belly is rounder, much rounder. And soft. I have stretch marks everywhere. My boobs grew. And the worst part is the weight gain. Pre-baby, I was about a size 7. I don’t know if I will ever be that size again. I’ll jump up and down with pure, radiating joy if I can just get down to a 9, and even then, it’s going to take some determined will power. My hair grew really thick, luxurious, and shiny when I was pregnant. Now, so much of my hair is falling out that I leave little trails of hair wherever I go. I’ll never have to worry about getting lost… just follow my trails of hair and you will find me. Oh, and we can’t forget the circles under the eyes from lack of sleep or the telltale bloodshot eyes and swollen eyelids from endless nights of staying up crying with a colicky newborn.
The emotions you experience after you have your baby is like the being on the bumpiest roller-coaster of your life with a poor restraint system that leaves you feeling like could be ejected from your ride at any given moment. When I gave birth, I experienced the purest form of elation as I held my newborn son tightly in my shaking hands. I looked into his precious eyes as he squinted under the bright lights and thought about how this was the one moment I had been waiting for my entire life; holding my child. Then, that feeling of elation gave way to sadness and anxiety, the worst of which lasted just shy of two weeks. Although the intensity of the those feelings gradually waned, they still lingered for months afterwards. The entire experience was so new, so exhilarating, yet so daunting that it sent my mind into a tailspin. It felt like a dream. Those early days melted into one another like butter melting into warm bread. It’s all a blur… all the sleepless nights, residual pain of childbirth, and the intense pain of the first few weeks of breastfeeding made it hard to really enjoy everything.
Now, my emotions have evened out for the most part, and I think that finally being able to get a decent night’s sleep rejuvenates the soul like no other. Granted, Nathan still does not sleep through the night, but I am still able to get a good chunk of 5 or 6 hours of sleep in before he wakes up to eat. When you are rested, you are able to attack the day and can handle problems that arise with strength and certainty rather than dejected tears and doubtfulness.
Money is tighter. Babies are pretty expensive… there are diapers, formula, clothing, baby furniture, and toys to pay for, and that’s just naming a few. We go through diapers like crazy. Nathan has so many diaper changes per day that I could change his diaper in my sleep (ok, well so I’ve already done that on more than one occasion, resulting in said diaper being put on WRONG). He’s like an ETERNAL FOUNTAIN OF PEE. I wonder how many diapers he’ll go through by the time he’s potty trained… Hundreds? Thousands? MILLIONS? I bet it really is millions, isn’t it?
Our free-time has changed. Actually, Paul and I have NONEXISTANT free time, meaning it all gets eaten up by our little guy. Before we had Nathan, we would go out every weekend, sometimes grabbing a bite to eat but other times just enjoying each other’s presence, going on hikes together, or taking drives and enjoying the scenery. Now? Now, I spend all of Nathan’s awake time keeping him happy and making sure his needs are being met. His nap times are spent cleaning up the house and taking care of things that I can’t get done when he’s awake. We still don’t get much free time after Nathan goes to bed at night because that’s the time we have to cook and eat dinner and for me to take a shower.
I can no longer leave the house with just my purse, keys, and cell phone. Now, I have to have extra milk pumped, remember changes of clothes for Nathan, diapers, wipes, toys, teethers, blankets…
Sleeping in does not happen anymore. When Nathan wakes up, he lets us know that he’s awake and ready to be entertained. Recently, he’s started fake coughing to get our attention when he’s ready to get up. If you have kids, you probably know what I’m talking about… the coughs that are so superficial that they sound almost dainty. And he does them multiple times in a row, sounding like a broken record of dainty coughing. Yeah, no more sleeping in.
Leg hair grows. Yep, those days when you could take long, relaxing showers have been temporarily wiped off the face of the planet. Gone are the days of enjoying the steam and shaving my legs on a daily basis. Now, I consider myself lucky when I get the chance to shave once a week. Twice a week and I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.
And don’t even get me started on sex… We ALL know how your sex life will never, ever be the same as it was before you had children. Spontaneity is gone. Time is no longer on your side. However, once your children are big enough, there are always sleepovers. With friends. At THEIR houses. You gotta grab that alone time while you can!
Becoming a mom changed me in the most wonderful ways imaginable. I know what it feels like to love a child so deeply, so devoutly, and so unwaveringly that you would do anything on this Earth for them. There is no other feeling in the world like being a mother. It’s awe-inspiring, amazing, indescribable, and terrifying all at the same time. I wouldn’t change anything about it.
For years, before I met my husband, I struggled off and on with depression. I think a chemical imbalance was partly to blame and life’s circumstances were other contributing factors. When I became pregnant with Nathan, I went into panic mode. I would have to stop taking my anti-depressant, which I had been on for quite a while. I was scared depression would rear its ugly head while I was vulnerable and unmedicated, sending me into a tailspin. Then my husband said something that has helped me tremendously.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it.
That’s when I realized that a lot of my depression was brought about by how I dealt with the cards life handed me. You can’t change what has already happened in the past… you can only pick up the pieces and move forward. Your life is what you make of it.
I thought as soon as I had Nathan that I would have to start taking my medication again. I’ve come very close. I’m quite sure I had an uncomfortably close brush with Postpartum Depression (PPD) that lasted a dark and anxiety-filled thirteen days after his birth. After that, feelings of sadness, anxiety, and irritability lingered for months… but each day was better than the day before. I took life one day at a time, and now Nathan is seven months old and I am feeling better, little by little. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it. I keep repeating that to myself whenever I start to feel like I’m sinking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying depression can be staved off by sheer willpower alone, but forcing myself to keep on going despite the urge to give up is what helps me prevent the illness from taking over.