Tag Archives: Nablopomo

Brooke Shields Had Me At Postpartum Depression

While visiting to library to pay $40+ in damaged library book fines, I picked up Brooke Shields’s book, “Down Came the Rain.”  Some of the chapters were interesting, a few I found a bit dull (no offense, Brooke), but the chapters where she went into deep detail about her Postpartum depression glued me.

She describes her ambivalence toward her infant, feelings of wanting to disappear, and crazy thoughts of wanting to hurt her child or herself.  It was an intense read.  Her experience was something I could painfully relate to.

When Emily was born, I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel close to her.  I tried; however, the only time I felt anything was when she breastfed–and that wasn’t a positive experience.

It is heartbreaking to read all these wonderful experiences of having a baby and not feeling them.  It makes you question your very identity and whether you should have become a mother.

I still have many of these feelings, especially when my hormones increase and I must adjust my medication (under a doctor’s guidance, of course).  Thankfully, I feel very comfortable that I may pop pills until the day I die.

It is refreshing to read another mother’s account and realize that your experience was not unique, but something many women experience.  It also empowers me to continue in sharing my story.

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Oh to Be An Astronomer

One of my favorite courses I took in my undergrad was Astronomy.  The physics, chemistry, and biology behind the formations of stars and planets fascinates me.  I’ve always wondered what would have happened had I tried to major in Physics rather than the major I chose; on the other hand, I am very passionate about the subject matter I studied.

Yet when I look at the night sky, I feel a fire burning within, encouraging me to delve deeper into the mysteries of the Universe.  To wrap my mind around the complicated Physics equations the Professor hinted at in the course I took.

Do you ever wonder what would have happened had you chose a different path?

*Image by nuttakit

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And Then He Washed the Dishes

Gender roles in our house are non-existent.

At least in theory.

In my head, I feel it is my responsibility to handle the day-to-day tasks and household duties.  These include big things like, making and keeping appointments, changing banks, finding the best health care for our family, and small things like, keeping up on dishes and laundry, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathrooms, etc.

Recently, after something happened in our family that I actually will not talk about on here (I know, the full disclosure queen, and I am not sharing everything), the dynamics in our family shifted.

For starters, I came home one evening to a clean house, clean clothes, a hot meal, and an empty sink next to a full dishwasher.

This has been the typical routine around here, I go to work, Ben does his thing, he comes home and cleans the house, picks the kids up, picks me up, and we all enter into a delightfully organized home.

I am adjusting to this new reality–a reality that includes sharing responsibility–and feeling pretty lucky with this arrangement.

Surprise, surprise, I also do not feel guilt with leaving things for Ben to complete.  It’s refreshing.  I think we are becoming a team.  And it’s really nice.

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My Snuggle Buddies

Last night, a little before picking me up, Emily told Ben that she did NOT want me to hold her.  When I got into the car, she gave me the look of death and ultimately rejected any of my attempts to speak to her.

Hello 3-turning-16-year-old.

After we got home, she opened up and let me hold her.  In fact, she didn’t want me to stop holding her.  She refused to sleep until one or both of us were next to her, rubbing her face and hair.

Emily wasn’t alone in this new practice, her brother also refused to sleep until I went in there and rubbed his back.

I remember how frustrating practices like these once were for me.  Ridiculous thoughts like, “they are doing this on purpose! Don’t they know I need a break from them?” would pop into my head throughout the entire process.

I still have moments of mounting annoyance by certain aspects of the kids’ bedtime routines–like when Emily empties out the dressers because I have locked the toys away–but, overall, I am happy when I get to spend a few more minutes with my kiddos.

These emotions increase when they climb into bed with us.  Snuggling with my two kids is my favorite time of night.  So, even though my kids technically don’t sleep through the night, or stay in their own beds, I gladly welcome them into our room and bed so we can all enjoy a good snuggle session underneath the warm covers.  It reminds me that Emily does love me, even when she feels frustrated by my new status as a working mom. It also tells me that she just needs more love.

Don’t we all?

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A Pregnant Sky

I watch as the clouds turn from a pleasant grey to a dark, heavy, and threatening charcoal grey.

Winter is peering over the hills, casting a long shadow over our small town. Daylight Savings Time has fooled us; no longer does the sky stay bright as the time clock ticks, nearing Closing Time.

The clouds, the darkness, and the expectations weigh heavily in the air as I wait for my family to pick me up.  Looming above me is the potential for a powerful storm.  I hold my breath, hoping it waits.

*****

Inside, the clouds of a different storm wait.  They twist and turn, growing heavier and darker by the day, consuming my mind with different thoughts.  I am not sure when this storm will hit–or, if it will blessedly pass me over.  Hope, excitement, and other positive emotions are squeezed out by nervousness, pain, and fear. Disappointment dots my landscape.  I push through, though, certain I can work the bad thoughts away.

*****

I am home with the kids and husband, lying in bed when the clouds release a torrential outpouring of rain.  It isn’t the gentle pitter patter I had wanted; instead, the water slaps my windows, walls, and roof over and over again, jerking me awake as I listen to the sounds and hope our walls and windows keep us warm and safe.

*****

The storm inside is more complicated, silently waiting until I have relaxed to fully engage my mind, releasing a torrential outpouring of happy and sad, exhaustion and elation.  My insides shake as I am slapped consistently by a barrage of these competing emotions, attempting to decide which ones to focus on.

*****

I hide under my covers as the storms outside and inside converge, metaphorically, in a thunderous roar above my head.  The walls shake and I cower even further under the protection of warm blankets.  I tremble, not wanting to know the truth.  Or worse, to confront my fears.

But deep inside, as the storm rages on, I feel the shield of strength.  An umbrella emerging to protect my face and arms from the worst of the barrage as I confront my issues.  I take deep breaths and run through the storm, reaching my destination.  First one place, then the other, quickly making my rounds.   I finish, exhausted, but feeling Full.

The darkness and desperation have fled.  Yes, they might come back; but, this time I will be ready.  Fist clenched tightly around my medications: my relief and hope from the dangerous storm of mental illness.

*****I am linking up with Heather today, for her wonderful Just Write series.

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10 Inevitable Truths of Parenthood

1. When your kid or kiddos are sick, you will think they need rest.  They will think they need to avoid it.  On goes the Sleep To Get Better battle, worse than the Take Your Medicine battle.

2. As soon as you clear your schedule for some valuable time with your kids, they will destroy the house 10 minutes before, leaving a disgruntled, irritated, mama who wants to sleep and/or drink instead of spend that time with them.

3. Once you decide to wake up early to exercise, read, and/or write before your children wake up, they will decide to wake up earlier to join you. And there you will be, awake at 4 am, staring each other down.

4. The mess of your house will force you to think of some sanity-saving idea to make certain areas forbidden.  The kids will figure out your locks, avoid the booby-traps, and pull all the important papers you have stored, pour water on them, and throw them in the trash, laundry bin, and under your bed.

5. After a major temper tantrum, you will sit your toddler down to explain why things happen the way they do.  They will turn to you, give you the most tender expression, and smack your face.

6. Once you nicely fold your clothes and put them away–a task you do once a year–you will wake the next morning to all those clothes in your kids’ room strewn across their floors and bunched up in places you didn’t think they could reach.

7. You will make the most delicious meal, complete with four courses, sit your family down and endure as your oldest child says things like “I don’t like that,” or “I WANT CEREAL!” And, after your 2-year-old finishes, he will pour everything he didn’t want on the floor, which your landlord has kept carpeted for insanity purposes.

8. While watching your children playing so nicely, you will remark to your husband/friend/associate “my kids are the best of friends,” only to have one running to you, blood streaming down their face, the next minute screaming “he/she hit me!”

9. Instead of watching the show they demanded to watch while you wash dishes, or complete some other household chore, your children will be busy making artwork on the walls, the carpet, and the couch with your lipstick, pens, eyeliner, or whatever media source they can find in your purse.

10. Your spouse/partner and you will sit down after a long day to read bedtime stories to your kids.  After you finish, they will tackle you with hugs and kisses, shouting, “I love you!”  Then you will remember that it really is worth it in the end.  Especially once they shut their eyes and leave you with peaceful, slumbering noises–a sure sign you can finally relax.

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There's No Place Like The Office While Listening to Amy Winehouse

For much of my life, I discover things either before or after a popularity surge.  Take my new interest: The Office.  With the big amounts of blech in my life, I veer toward sophisticated humor for help in bringing laughter into the house.  I realize that The Office has taken a big hit in recent seasons, especially as Michael Scott, aka Steve Carrell, left.  However, I have found this season to be highly entertaining in it’s accurate and humorous portrayal of insecurities people, including me, struggle with.  Laughter is my preferred choice of medicine.

The Office is a show that I usually watch twice, the first to bask in the genius of the writers with their craftily placed jokes and amazing character portrayals of the average worker; the second time to laugh.  It is just that amazing.

As a side note, other shows I regularly watch include, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and Modern Family.  Each with just enough truth and exceptional art mashed in between hilarious scripts to entrance and entertain my fragile and emotional mind; otherwise I am forced to watch things like the nightly news that never fails to depress and anger me, more because the outright ignorance and blatant prejudice news shows report–even when they claim to be “liberal.” Yeah, I see how much they care about the poor, a cause all true liberals rally around.

Right.  Back to The Office.  More accurately, an artist I have started listening to far after her rise–and death–in fame: Amy Winehouse.  As a lover of music, I am surprised that I didn’t listen to Amy before.  The primary reason I avoided her songs is because she was in the spotlight so much that I felt listening to her would have been allowing the news media to win in their incessant and horrifying pestering of popular artists.  I felt sickened by her public alcoholism and other substance abuse, ultimately leading to her downfall, especially with the condemning attitude taken by reporters.  Yes she was sick.  Yes she had a problem.  But why?  Was fame too much for her to handle?  Most likely.  So when she died, I began researching her life as my husband was a big fan of her music and, to mourn her death, began listening to her songs non-stop.  In a short time frame, I was hooked by her voice and clear musical talent.  I also physically connected with the pain in her music and, through my research, clearly saw she needed help.  I suppose it is stories like these that lead me to work in the place I do now, where I can help people who need it.

Now what do The Office and Amy Winehouse have in common?  They are relatively recent media I enjoy.  As I have engrossed myself in the deeper meaning of both these sources–the clear satire in The Office and the musical genius of Amy’s unique style–I realize balance has been displaced in my life.  With Ben’s busy schedule and me working, it seemed that I needed to take on all these household, financial, and, well, ALL responsibilities, without any discussion with Ben, to the neglect of anything I enjoyed.  I have taken steps over the last two weeks to change this–waking up at 5 to workout and write–but clearly need to take even bigger leaps into a different direction.

Immersing myself in music and hilarious comedies have brought release into a very cluttered and tightly wound life.  And isn’t this what life is about?  Constantly changing, adjusting, learning, as you enter a new phase?  I believe it is.  I’m not always quick to realize this; but when I do, I allow flexibility into our home to create a more calming and structured atmosphere.

Cheers to The Office and Amy Winehouse–may she rest in peace.

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