A Final Farewell to Postpartum Depression

Today I took off my last bandages from my surgery and breathed both a sigh of relief and of saddness. This decision took me a few months to finalize and knowing that I am forever done holding a newborn of my own was not an easy pill to swallow. I have heard so many opinions over the years as to why this decision should not be made or taken lightly, but the alternative was far more frightening to me.

Postpartum depression is something I never thought I would struggle with (having never dealt with depression prior to my childbearing years). The thoughts that consumed my mind bring me to tears and the possibility of ever going through it again was too hard to bear for me. 

I am a year away from my thirties and have had three healthy pregnancies and babies. From a medical prespective I am an ideal candidate to give birth to healthy babies due to never having any complications. And as much as this makes me happy, I also feel guilty that unlike myself I have so many friends struggling with infertility, loss of an infant, or miscarriages. My hope is that although my season of childbearing is over I can now have the time, energy, and emotional capacity to better come alongside my friends (old and new) to love on them and pray for them in ways I was unable to before. 

I know at this point what some of you may be thinking: Why didn't your husband just get a vasechtomy? We tried. He wasn't a candidate. End of story. 

In fact my husband came home from going on a walk with our youngest the other day and told me how he was getting teary-eyed thinking about the fact that this is our last biological child together. It was a reminder to soak up the good and the bad, the sleepless nights and the endless teething, becuase one day our kids will be out and about on a skateboard rather than begging to be sitting on our laps. 

This decision was really a decision to put an end to my postpartum depression. I have been off meds for a few months now and besides the emotional changes I go through when the seasons change, (See post Here) I've been feeling great. I am not going to be naive and say depression cannot ever effect me again in the future, but I am more hopeful. In the years to come I hope that we can bring the joy of life into our house again in the form of adoption or foster care, but for now I am thankful for the three little boys God has entrusted us with. My three tiny marks are now a reminder on my body of the remarkable gift of life and how each child brought me down a road that brought me to where I am today and has helped shape me into who I am today. 

If you are struggling with any form of depression and anxiety know you don't have to get your tubes removed like I did. I am not saying this is for everyone, it was a decision for me. But know that you do not have to go through your journey alone.

Ask for help. Find a friend who can listen to you. Go outside. Practice self-care. What you are going through is harder to overcome when you are alone. Message me if you want to talk.

Thanks for letting me open up and be vulnerbable with this decision I made. It may or may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but for me it marked a closing of one door and an opening of many others. 

Farewell Postpartum depression, you sucked!

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Instead of a “push present” I got a “sterilization present.” 

Instead of a “push present” I got a “sterilization present.” 

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working out for the mom who has little time.

After giving birth there is a lot of pressure to fit back into your pre-pregnancy pants. I gave myself about 3 months after each baby to get back into the groove of being active and healthy. I have tried going to the gym, attending group classes, and even setting goals for myself but always ended up defeated. During the early months and years of my kids growing up I like to be available for them and that leaves virtually no time for a scheduled work out. 

Even though I am busy I realized that it was not an excuse for not being fit. So I came up with a very loose and manageable way to fit in a little workout each day. Basically, I do what I can given what I am doing with the boys. It also helps that my mom uniform is workout clothes so I can be ready to get a quick workout in any time of the day. 

If we are at the park I will do air squats, lounges, and box jumps.

If we are playing on the floor I will do leg circles, some other leg pilates moves and focus on abs.

If I want to watch a show during nap time I will do air squats.

If we are in the backyard I will jump rope (best work out ever).

If we finish dinner early we go on a family walk with our Double Bob Stroller. Our neighborhood has some pretty steep hills and it averages to be a 2.5 mile walk.

If we have a breezy day Nick and I will take the boys to go play soccer at the fields.

I have never been an athletic person but I do want to be healthy for my family. These little workouts throughout the day have helped me get to my pre-pregnancy weight. I give myself a lot of grace and without any added pressure I find myself looking forward to these exercises instead of dreading them. 

So if you are anything like me and have a hard time fitting a workout in throughout the day try something small. It is better to do a little bit than to do nothing at all. I also keep in mind that one day I will have a lot more time to focus on a full workout (cycling is my jam) but for now this will do.

What do you do to stay active? Are you apart of a gym, Crossfit, or any other type of group fitness group? How do you stay motivated?

 

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Jump roping while the boys play in their make shift fort  

Jump roping while the boys play in their make shift fort  

This is the best view for a work out

This is the best view for a work out

i am a worrier.

The moment you find out you are pregnant, your mind becomes clouded with many mixed emotions. For some, one of the many is worry. A baby is now inside of your tummy, growing, and you are completely unable to help him or her. We can eat all the right things, exercise, drink lots of water, and pray. but the feeling of helplessness--of not knowing how your baby is doing each day can cause overwhelming anxiety and fear. 

My own personal grocery shopping/ fire fighter is here to protect the museum.

My own personal grocery shopping/ fire fighter is here to protect the museum.

I thought that once my kids were born and I had seen their faces that worry would go away, because I could at least tangibly touch them and and protect them. But as they have grown my worry and fear has only grown in different ways and I know it is not healthy. I don't sit on my couch all day worrying about their every move, but I have come to realize that I'm always examining everything to the smallest degree in order to eliminate any threat from coming their way (naive, unrealistic, I know). 

In some ways I blame social media and how it keeps mom's nerves up by posting the newest cancer-causing this, don't do that, do this, and if you do or don't it's all over anyways. As a parent you are faced with so many decisions and it is difficult to navigate what the best decision to make is for the well-being of your child.

Being a worrisome person can be exhausting and one can drive themselves crazy over the "what- ifs."  Of course I want to give my kids the best life I can give them in safety and health, but ultimately it is God alone who has their future in his hands. Every day there is something new to worry about and given my natural tendency to worry anyways I have had to choose my battles carefully. After talking to many mom friends and doing some research, here are a few things I think are worth worrying about and paying close attention to:

  • car seat safety: Even if we try to be the best driver in the world, the truth is there are plenty of dangerous people on the road who cause accidents. I can control my driving but I am realizing how many people on the road are texting, intoxicated, high or just plain distracted. Thanks to some great Facebook car seat safety groups, I have learned so much about how to best protect my kids in the car in case something was ever to happen. I will never throw out a manual again and never knew the importance of strapping my kids in correctly until after hearing some very sad stories.
  • nutrition: What we put into our bodies can either help us or hurt us. By giving the boys healthy food choices I can help them have a balanced palate that will only give them more delicious options in the future (I realize Calvin is a toddler and he will never say no to ice cream or treats, but by eliminating unnecessary foods on a daily basis like soda, juice (at least undiluted), chips, etc, I not only get rid of more unhealthy choices but am also saving us some money).
  • sleep: No brainer here. Non-negotiable. Sleeping is healthy. We are creatures, not the Creator, and since we have limitations we need rest. Sleep keeps us sane. I will always try to protect nap-time and bedtime for the sake of everyone in my household. 
  • hand washing and baths: Both my boys constantly have their hands in their mouths (all the time, no matter how many times we correct this bad, germ spreading and absorbing habit!) . They love rolling in dirt and just acting like boys. We try to wash their hands regularly and we do daily baths. My OCD has me washing my hands all the time because I always think of weird scenarios. I will wash my hands after touching salt and pepper shakers at a restaurant because of how many dirty hands have touched it before me. 
Bath time. 

Bath time. 

God is sovereign over all things. No amount of worrying or protection of my own can ever over rule God's hand in their lives. I find this both comforting and unsettling, but I am reminded by the Scriptures and by my pastors that I don't have to live in fear because the same God who spoke the world into existence and has saved me from the tyranny of the devil is the same God who created and sustains my kids lives--and my own. Our days are numbered. I can choose to embrace each day with my family or I can live in fear over what might happen next. At the end of the day, I pray that God would keep them safe and that I will get another day to love them and teach them about who Jesus Christ is and what he has done to save us from our sins.

Today I have my two boys and my husband. We are sick with colds but still generally healthy. We have joy.  We have hope. We have peace with God through Jesus Christ. I will not take for granted these wonderful gifts. 

Do you ever worry about your kids? Their future? Their health? What are some ways you try to protect them?

For those who are older and wiser, do you ever stop worrying about your children?