I’m not like most people that can exclaim, “time is flying by!” since my baby was born. Mostly for one reason that I will get to a little later on in this post. BUT. Just last night as I put on my little dude’s Easter outfit on I was floored. I stared at him and could not get over how OLD he looked! I finally got what most Mom’s said — he is growing up too fast.
How did he go from this….
|he seriously looks like he is 5 years old.
As I put him to sleep last night I was so grateful to be his Momma. I love him with all of my heart and know that he is a huge blessing in my life. We have his 6 month appointment in a couple hours (boo shots) and I’m so excited to see what his stats are. I don’t know why, but I love seeing how much he has grown. Our doctor’s office gives us little print out of his stats every check-up and I have them hanging on our fridge haha.
I’ve done confession sessions on my blog before. I explained where they came from in THIS
post; from that post I wrote this paragraph…
“I have spent a lot of time in my own mind lately (lots of miles and a classroom with not too many students yet) and as much as I try to solve the worlds problems on my own, I never truly get a grasp on what all my thoughts are until I actually say them out loud. Try as I might, I cannot figure things out until I talk them out (or, I guess, in this case, type them out). I was thinking about this on my run this morning. I realized that I feel empty and lost without having ‘confession sessions.’ It is almost embarrassing to admit I am that needy of a person 🙂 I just feel so much more alive when I have meaningful conversations with others. I thrive on them. I always have SO much on my mind that it all gets jumbled together; but when there is someone that is kind and loving enough to listen, I figure it all out.”
As true as it was 2 years ago, it is still true today – I NEED meaningful conversations. It truly does help me get all of these thoughts that are in my mind sorted out. I have really wanted to write a ‘confession session’ blog post for some time now…but I haven’t been brave enough. Until now. So, without further adieu, here is my most personal ‘confession session’ yet.
To put everything simply…
I am going through the hardest time in my life.
Now, not so simply…
I mentioned before in THIS
post that pretty quickly after Ames was born I went through some postpartum depression/anxiety (PPD/A). It was as real as it was unexpected. However, as I mentioned in THIS
post, things seemed to get better pretty quickly. I was able to be around my family and Nate for almost a whole month over Christmas break and I felt much stronger and like I was pretty much ‘normalized.’
During Christmas break I made the super hard decision to quit my job and be a stay-at-home Mom. I knew that it was the best thing for Ames and when I made the decision to stay home I was filled with lots of peace. So, mid-January as I started out my ‘new’ life I felt confident that I would transition easily – especially since I had felt so prompted to quit my job. I tried so hard to stay busy and do all the ‘mom-tivities’ but I quickly went downhill into a state where I don’t like to talk about. I got hit hard by postpartum depression/anxiety again. Talking about it is super hard for me. It’s probably why most people wouldn’t even guess I was having a hard time – for the better or worse, I’m really good at ‘dealing’ with my emotions and not letting others see the hardships in my life; I don’t like to burden others on my behalf. And I REALLY don’t want to be one of those people that only talk about how rough their lives are. With that being said it might seem somewhat hypocritical for writing a public blog post about my ‘rough life.’ But, for whatever reason, I just need to do this.
So, what exactly have I been going through?…that’s a hard question to answer. Most of the time I can’t find the proper words to express what I feel. I just feel totally not like myself. For all of my life being a happy, optimistic, full-of-purpose person came without much thought. I mean, I always had times that were ‘seemingly’ hard, but those times, compared to how I currently feel, were a breeze. But right now, being happy, optimistic, and finding meaning to my life takes SO much energy and focus. Why? Because I am constantly battling PPD/A. At my worst, I didn’t know how I would make it through the day. I had moments where I seriously felt sooo hopeless – talking about future events was hard for me to do because I felt no hope for the future. I had lots of irrational fears and thoughts. These thoughts/fears usually stemmed from hearing something on the news…hearing about the Mom’s who committed suicide or harmed their children really got my brain spinning. I’ve always wondered how people could do such terrible things…but being a new mom and feeling SO not like myself, it made me super anxious that I was on the road to become one of the ‘crazy’ people who does a terrible thing. I’m sure most of you who know me know that this is something you would never dream of me doing, and it is something I never dreamed of me doing either! Logically, I knew that I would never do something like that. But my logical side and emotional side don’t match up like they used to right now. Emotionally I felt like a crazy person…full of so many doubts, spinning thoughts, hopelessness, and despair. As silly as it is, I couldn’t even watch the movie “Ender’s Game” without getting so anxious. I went from being pretty emotionally stable to feeling sooo unstable and ‘out of whack.’ I also had/have times where I just feel numb to everything…which is almost just as bad. It is nice to be ‘numb’ to the negative things, but being numb to all the good/postive emotions is super hard too. I would be in tears as I held my baby and felt like I didn’t have enough love for him. I would go running or be outside on a beautiful day and not feel the joy that it once brought me.
This whole ’emotional struggle’ truly is the most FRUSTRATING and CONFUSING thing I have ever dealt with. I know exactly how I should be feeling and how I want to feel – logically my life is AMAZING. I have a loving and supportive husband, a super happy and healthy baby boy, awesome families, great friends, the opportunity to be home with my sweet boy, healthy body, etc, etc. But it’s been sooo hard for my emotions to line up with my logic. Yes, I cry because I feel so emotionally yucky, but many of the tears I’ve shed are because I’m just so frustrated and confused.
Sometimes I try to pinpoint why my emotions are so out of whack. Obviously, I had a baby. It has been the BIGGEST life change ever. But, having babies is such a natural part of life and something I have looked forward to my entire life. So why has this transition been so hard? There isn’t one single thing I can pinpoint, but I have narrowed it down to some things that made me realize why it has been so hard…
-Hormones. Duh. Obviously your hormones get thrown all over the place when you have a baby. Yes, there are situational things that make PPD/A worse, but the main culprit, in my opinion, is very physical….it’s those dang hormones.
-Nate having to travel so soon, and so often after Ames was born. Even before Ames was born I didn’t handle being home by myself super well. Ames was unfortunately born in the middle of Cross Country season…so Nate had to travel when Ames was only 2 weeks old. And then starting in January he was gone at least 3 days a week every week. When Nate was gone was always when I was the worst. I eventually just realized that I needed to not be home alone so I would leave and go stay with my family when Nate would leave. But I still had to go to bed alone and it was just hard for me.
-Becoming less active…physically & mentally. I still to this day wish I was a lazy person. I think if I was a lazy person, being home all day long would be a welcomed change. But, I’m not. My last 2 years leading up to having a baby were the busiest years of my life. The years were filled with taking 20 credit semesters, running collegiate xc and track, becoming a new high school teacher where I was teaching 5 different classes, traveling a bunch, putting on a road race, just busy busy busy life! I ALWAYS was using my brain and learning new things. And then I became a stay-at-home Mom and all I did everyday was take care of my baby, clean, and (sometimes) cook. Don’t get me wrong, taking care of my babe is the most important thing I can be doing right now, and I definitely realize that. However, I went from CONSTANTLY being super busy, learning and using my brain…to changing a bunch of diapers and making weird cooing sounds all day…definitely not the most brain-challenging tasks. In retrospect I KNOW that not continuing learning hit me hard. I just have never had a time in my life where I had to take the initiative to learn or keep my brain active.
-The lack of social life. Just like becoming less physically & mentally active…I became socially less active. I went from always having my team, my workmates, and my classmates around to talk to, vent to, laugh with…to only talking to my baby and Nate most days.
-Not giving my dramatic life change its gravity. I will admit, I expected the transition to be an easy one. It kinda made me worry when it wasn’t easy for me! But I’ve come to realize that having a baby and becoming a mom is the BIGGEST thing in my life. Even if it is a really, really good thing, it still is a HUGE change. And I need to give it its gravity and realize it’s going to take time to get used to. And there is no timeline. Some people it takes one day, some a week, some a year, 2 years…everyone is different. I learned that I can’t put a timeline on when I should be ‘better’. It’ll come when it’s suppose to come.
On a much happier note, I really am doing much better these past few weeks! Things seem to be getting easier and easier. I still have days where I feel super down, but I’m hardly hopeless. I realize that I can get through the hard days and that a hard day is just a hard day. I still have negative emotions/thoughts, but I’ve learned to physically relax when I have them. Those of you that have seen me race probably know that when I get tense, my I bring my shoulders up really high. I’ve noticed that when I am feeling down or am having negative thoughts, my shoulders are super tense. So I’ve learned to relax my shoulders, take a big deep breath and just tell myself that I’ll get through it and that things will all work out. I also have been so blessed to be able to be the SUU Track Team stalker. Baby Ames and I walk to the track and watch their hot bods run around the track at least a couple times a week. And we have been able to tag along to a few of their meets. Little do they know, but being able to just be outside and watch them workout has really helped me. It just distracts me from my woes. It definitely helps that they all love Baby Ames too 🙂
The 2 biggest things that have helped me though, are prayer & having a husband named Nathan Anthony. I have never in my life felt the urge to pray like I do these days. When times are super rough and I don’t know how I will go on, I pray. And some how, I always keep going on. I know that our Heavenly Father and Savior are the only ones who truly ‘get it’. They are the only ones who know exactly how I feel. And because of that, I pray, and pray, and pray. I know that my prayers are heard and every day are answered in one way or another. And Nate. I don’t even like to think about where I would be if I didn’t have him. He’s the one that I tell everything to. The one that makes me cry and let it out even when I don’t want to because “crying means there is something wrong.” He’s the one that reassures me everyday that things will all workout. He’s the one that constantly reminds me that he loves me and to just think about how he loves me when I feel like my world is falling a part.
And of course, I have my baby, Ames Anthony. He is seriously the happiest baby in the world. Whenever we go out places that’s all I hear…”Wow! He is just so happy!” It’s really hard for me to be super down when I have a baby boy who just smiles all day long at me and randomly grabs my head and pulls me in for big slobbery kisses. I am amazed everyday how a 6 month old baby realizes the things I need and helps me so much.
So, there you have it.
The hardest time of my life.
I really am proud to say that things truly are improving and it gives me hope. But, unfortunately, I’m not completely out of the woods. Even though I have moments where I feel like everything is collapsing and I don’t know how I will go on, deep down, I know I’ll be okay.
I will be okay.
P.S. Again, this is super hard for me to write/admit. I really don’t want attention or much sympathy. It simply feels good writing everything down and ‘getting it out’.