Thursday, August 28, 2014

Here's to Second Chances!

I cannot believe my maternity leave is over. It has been the most precious time with my girls, friends, and neighbors. This summer I learned so much about myself, motherhood, and second chances.

When I nursed Aurelia, it was an awful experience. Because of postpartum depression the first time around, I was terrified of suffocating the baby. I had awful intrusive thoughts, and breastfeeding was extremely isolating because I was afraid to nurse in public. I hated the covers so every time someone would be over our house or I was somewhere other than my home in a private setting, I would go upstairs or another room BY MYSELF to nurse and I would be anxious the whole entire time. When I pumped, I felt like I did not produce enough. The whole experience was just hell.

This time around I enjoy mothering a baby. I cherish my time with Sophie, and even look forward to nursing her. I am not sure if it is because PPD did not hit as hard or because I'm older, a little more experienced, and had already gone through the "I am a mom" identity shift, but this time around, I'm in love. 

When Aurelia was a baby, I did not experience feelings of pure joy the way some women talked about. I felt pure sadness and hopelessness. With Sophie, I am present, I am in love, I am joyful. My heart is full and all is right with my world. 

Sometimes I feel guilt because I had PPD and maybe I made Aurelia more cranky or crabby. I feel guilty I lost these precious moments with Aurelia that I now get to experience with Sophie. I will forever hold on to that small piece of guilt with Aurelia's baby-stage but there isn't much I can do about that now. Aurelia is a happy, healthy, humorous child that I cannot imagine life without. 

With Sophie, I feel I got my second chance at getting to really experience that pure joy. This is not to say I don't have hard days like every other mother. I just feel blessed to have had the chance to finally understand what some mothers get to feel.

Today, I had photos taken of me and my girls- the precious gifts that help shape who I am today. I will forever cherish these photos. They make my heart and life fuller. They've brought their dad and I closer. They are my joy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Second Time Around

It has been a week+ since my second child arrived and life is good...for the most part.

Postpartum OCD is rearing its ugly head again, but this time around it's very different.  Within days of having Sophie, the intrusive/scary thoughts returned. They are scary scary thoughts and I fight the urge to hide sharp objects all day long. When I can cut fruit for my oldest with Sophie in a baby sling- it's a huge victory.

It's different this time because I am able to convince myself I will not hurt myself or my baby...that these are just thoughts that just come with a horrible disease...symptoms just like runny nose or high blood pressure...symptoms I can get help controlling.  It's also different because it isn't coupled with deep depression and feeling like a complete failure--thank the Lord!

I do have days when I get angry and frustrated.  I get angry because sleep deprivation control is key to making things okay for me with PPOCD.  I get angry because I wish I could plow through and just be exhausted instead of being exhausted and scared of my thoughts.  I had such high expectations of a PPD/PPOCD-free postpartum period this time around which leaves me frustrated and extremely disappointed. Additionally, I can't watch my favorite show right now... Game of's a trigger and gives my mind way too many new ideas for intrusive thoughts.  Ugh- so frustrating as this is one of my favorite things to do with my hubby... we like to analyze the show and it's always fun speculating which characters will thrive and survive.

Breastfeeding has also been emotionally confusing and frustrating . Sophie loves to cluster feed so there are times in my day when I'm stuck on a couch or my feeding char for HOURS.  It drives me nuts.  Before I had her, I was convinced that I would be just fine with formula feeding if I needed to, but the overwhelming feelings of guilt has made me decide to do both for now.  I can't let go of breastfeeding because I actually do enjoy the bonding.  I also feel incredibly guilty for formula feeding or when Jon has to take a night I am skirting my responsibilities as a mother.  The funny things is if I had a friend say to me that she felt guilty for having her husband help or any of the other feelings I am feeling.... my advice for her would be to do what works for her and not feel guilty because the baby is fine and healthy and a healthy mom is just as important as feeding the baby what people have called "liquid gold".

All of the above aside, it has been a joy to share this experience with big sis Aurelia.  She has been very very helpful (when she wants to be).  She loves her little sister so much and has a hard time staying out of Sophie's face.  Sophie has also brought Jon and I closer- something I didn't think was possible.  Seeing him be with our girls and having him as my rock and support has been so reassuring and calming.  He is always here to remind me my journey in motherhood is just right- that I am a good mamma to our girls and that no matter what, he will be around to help me get through this period.

Last night was a good night.  Sophie slept from 11p-5a and then went right back to sleep.

Heres to hoping that I continue to get good sleep and can enjoy the amazing MN summer!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Messy House

Ok, so intentional living doesn't always mean a messy house, but this weekend, I definitely let my house chores go.  I did the very basics so my house wasn't dirty, but I let go of hounding Arie on putting stuff away, let her sing and play to her heart's content...I didn't make a huge deal about putting everything in it's "home" because sometimes that is exhausting and a messy house isn't the end of the world.  

This has led to a happier me, a better relationship with Arie, and quality time with her.  She listens better when I am more patient with her.  She has also become better at communicating her feelings with me because I am better at communicating with her.  I have avoided the voice-raising, the nagging, the yelling to get her to do things.  Taking just a few extra minutes to explain why I need something done has been working really well.  I hope it's not a fluke! 

I was also able to take the time to do something I love.  I finished a quilt for Arie.  It was such a great weekend!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Art Does the Soul Good

There is something amazingly therapeutic about drawing and coloring at random.  Aurelia enjoys this very much and it has become a way for her and I to bond, focus on each other, and relax.  We take a blank piece of paper out with all of her crayons, and just start to draw and color randomly.  

Aurelia loves to play pretend with her dad, and will never let me join in, so it was a delight when I found something just she and I can share.  What a treat! 

Tonight, I brought out the oil and chalk pastels and we had a blast blending colors!  

One of my on-going goals is to really be present when I am around her.  I feel that it is especially important now with a baby on the way when special alone time with this girl will be limited.  I hope she loves being a big sister and that the transition goes well. 

A quote that really stuck with me all day today is:

"Enough is abundance for the wise"

I am enough.  

I may not be making pinterest-perfect projects with my child, but we do make art together and that time together is more than enough for me.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Play and Rest

Aurelia's imaginary play is so robust lately, and it's very entertaining and a bit inspiring.  She has different voices for her different characters etc...she loves to sing and make up's pretty awesome:

I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes in a book I recently read by Brene Brown:

"We are a nation of exhausted and overstressed adults raising overscheduled children. We use our spare time to desperately search for joy and meaning in our lives. We think accomplishments and acquisitions will bring joy and meaning, but that pursuit could be the very thing that’s keeping us so tired and afraid to slow down.
If we want to live a Wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play, and about letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth."--Brene Brown

Here's to a great start to a new year full of play and lots of rest!