Posted in Day in the life of a mom, Ponderings about life

Postpartum Life

I tend to be sporadic in my blogging. Oh, so you noticed. ūüôā

Well, this time it was because life got really busy and unpredictable really quickly. We found out our Whirlpool Duet is one of those washers that repair guys get called up about a lot, and they usually can’t repair them, according to the repair guy. Can’t say I was thrilled with going to the (expensive!!)¬†laundromat with an almost-2-yr. old! But I was glad we had purchased the extended warranty on the washer, which afforded us a matching washer/dryer¬†set¬†of a different brand, top-loader but still energy efficient.

During the MONTH+ (yeah, let’s just say repairs where I live in mountain-land don’t get done quickly when contracted out from the chain home improvement store we had to work with) without a washer I had to stop cloth diapering my son. ¬†Then with the new baby shortly after that, we kept using disposables and I’m currently working up the gumption to get back into cloth diapering. My now 2 yr.-old is potty training (as in, he asks to go on the big potty seat sometimes but sometimes refuses when we try to get him to sit on it) so I’m hoping he’ll be out of diapers soon anyhow. ¬†But for our little girl, who is now 3 months old and almost 12 lbs., I would like to start cloth diapering again soon.

However, I had to come to the realization (and it happened pretty quickly…right after grandma left) that the transition from having only one kid to having two under two at once just was not an easy thing for me. When friends around me were doing so well at it, I wondered what made it so hard for me. One reason was that though my son adored his new sister, he did not adore having to share Mommy and Daddy, and really started acting out. ¬†My formerly smiley, sweet boy was now screaming for 45 minutes in the morning when he saw me carrying Sissy downstairs instead of him first, or whatever reason or non-reason he had for it. ¬†At playgroup he started hitting, pushing, pulling hair, in general being a big bully–totally uncharacteristic for him formerly. ¬†At church a nursery worker even commented that this was not the same kid he used to be. ¬†It was heartbreaking for me. ¬†I didn’t like him very much for those first few months though I love him unconditionally.¬†I think things are getting better with my son’s behavior due to a lot–and I mean a¬†lot–¬†of consistent discipline and intentional parenting. ¬†I think he’s come to see we aren’t going to forget about him and he even gets to have a lot of fun, just on a different time table than before.

Praise God Sissy has been an incredibly easy baby. ¬†However, I’ve realized another reason life after baby #2 has been difficult is that I have been struggling with postpartum depression. I am pretty sure I may’ve even struggled with it after the first one! ¬†I think I didn’t recognize it immediately because I could still see the humor in some things and didn’t feel down 100% of the time. ¬†But the other symptoms in lists I was reading about postpartum depression described what was going on with me quite accurately, such as:

  • Intense irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Overwhelming exhaustion; feeling “heavy”
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness or despair
  • Fear of being a “bad” mother, or that others will think you are
  • Fear that harm will come to the baby
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of panic

With my first baby, I didn’t get much rest not only because he was colicky, but also because I was afraid he would stop breathing in his sleep so I would constantly stop what I was doing or wake up to make sure he was alive. ¬†I even had a flashlight next to my hand at night to check on him. ¬†This time around I’m more relaxed and trusting God to take care of what I cannot control, but I do often check Sissy’s breathing during daytime naps. ¬†Force of habit. ¬†I’m afraid of walking too close to the stairwell for fear of losing balance while holding her. ¬†The other day Hubby hadn’t called to say he was on his way home and it was about an hour later than usual, the kids were being particularly difficult to manage alone, and I found myself having difficulty breathing with panic setting in.

The mood swings have by far been the most destructive thing in my life lately. ¬†I don’t like the person I’ve been recently. ¬†I’ve snapped at my toddler and been way harsher than is called for. ¬†I’ve been intensely angry at my husband for so many things and he could sense I was volatile. ¬†I’ve been an emotional, crying, ugly mess. And I thought it was just me–I was so flawed in character or something. ¬†Well, I know it’s true I’m not perfect and I have much room to grow. ¬†But when I concluded this is NOT the normal, well-rested, well-balanced Aim, life started looking less bleak.

Since reading up on postpartum depression and talking with my husband a lot about it all, we’re doing so much better. ¬†He’s understanding what’s going on in me and I feel very supported now. ¬†I used to feel like I could barely survive the day with my crazy toddler and crying baby. ¬†Ok, so I still feel like that sometimes and have to call my mom to calm down. ¬†But now I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. ¬†The me I like is returning slowly after I’ve been getting some help and working on lessening my stress, getting more exercise and eating healthier. ¬†It may take a while for the postpartum depression to disappear, but I feel like I can breathe easier now. ¬†I may cry a lot, but I have waterproof mascara, so I can look good when I do! haha.

Besides my husband and mom’s encouragement, I am so blessed to be surrounded by a group of uplifting¬†friends that happens to be my son’s playgroup mommies, among others. ¬†That is SO helpful to staying afloat when struggling. ¬†The reason I shared all this is because I bet there are many more moms out there thinking things could not be worse and feeling alone in that. ¬†You’re not. ¬†We may be struggling, but we’ll make it! ¬†You may not have a physical group in your life right now to bring you positivity, but there are other ways to get that like finding online groups. ¬†For instance, on facebook you can “like” Hearts at Home, FamilyLife, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31 Ministries, Focus on the Family, MOPS International (Mothers of PreSchoolers) and other groups¬†that will bring uplifting content for moms to see on their newsfeeds. ¬†I’m sure there are lots of other ideas out there I just haven’t discovered yet.

One last thing. ¬†This has helped me a lot. ¬†You may feel you’re doing a miserable job in life lately if you’re going through this too. ¬†But I challenge you to write several things down that you DID accomplish and choose not to¬†tally¬†the things you didn’t. ¬†For instance, I’m ignoring dirty dishes tonight to revel in the fact that I was successful in encouraging my son to clean up his toys without either of us getting upset! ¬†I changed–no kidding–SIX poopie diapers from just two kids today! ¬†My son skipped his naptime but I kept my cool and we had a good time reading truck books over and over again! ¬†Life is good. ¬†I just have to be determined to see that. ¬†And today, I succeeded.

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I love connecting with others through creativity, communication, and cooking!

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