A Year in the Life of PPA

I’ve wanted to share this for some time now but just couldn’t quite find the words.

Life is funny. And weird. It’s so freaking weird sometimes.

Looking back at the past year I find it so unbelievable that you can have the best year of your life at the same exact time as hands down your most difficult year on this planet.

As time gets closer and closer to our daughter’s first birthday I can’t help but think back at how much has happened since she’s been born and the whirlwind of ups and downs that has followed us through the past 12 months.

I knew I wanted to be a Mom. I knew there would be ups and downs. I knew that the second I saw her my heart exploded and being her mother was the reason I was put here. I knew no one would ever love her like I do. I knew that it was going to be a big transition from a family of four (my husband and two stepsons) to a family of five.

But.

It took too long for me to figure out that what I was experiencing in the months following her birth was more than me just being nervous about being a new Mom.

It took too many declined invitations to meet up with other Moms…

Too many excuses as to why I couldn’t go somewhere, eat at a restaurant, go shopping or bring the baby to visit…

Too many “pep talks” I had to give myself before being around people, including family…

Too many days in a row of not leaving the house…

And a few instances that are unfortunately burned into my memory…

I had a really bad panic attack in the grocery store in October where I left a full cart of groceries and called my husband in full on frenzy ugly-cry mode (although I did responsibly note which aisle I left it in so he could find it easily when he went back to buy them).

There was the day we took our kids to see Santa Clause. It will forever be in my “Mom-guilt closet” because I missed everything. I put the baby on Santa’s lap, the room instantly spun, my face turned red, I couldn’t breathe and I had to get out of there. I wish I could apologize to the nice lady who was trying to take a family picture with my parents and grandparents and all of the kids. I swear I’m not a Grinch. I thought I was going to pass out by the Christmas tree.

And then in early January I was on a day date with my husband in Panera and had a panic attack that had me literally gripping the table, trying to take deep breaths, failing at that, and leaving. Quickly. I bolted out the door for fear of completely losing my mind (followed by my sweet husband who made sure to grab my sandwich on the way out. Bless him I swear)…

In the days following the Panera incident I realized that without even meaning to, I had little by little rearranged almost everything in my life to avoid anything I thought would trigger one of these episodes. I ordered my groceries online where some nice smiling person would shop for me and then bring them to my car (WalMart pick up is amazing by the way, I don’t think I’ll ever change doing this!), everything else I needed was brought to my doorstep via Amazon Prime. I even did an eye exam on 1-800-contacts.com to update my prescription so I didn’t have to go into the office. I realized I hadn’t gotten my nails or hair done, been to a girls night, or gone to a restaurant since the baby was born.

I also realized the only people who knew were my husband and my parents. Not because I was purposely trying to hide. I dont care about being imperfect or “only showing good things on social media” or having flaws. I just didn’t understand what was going on so I didn’t really know how to explain it. I am very much a homebody and always have been, but this was on a whole other level.

It took way too long to realize that Post-Partum-Anxiety was affecting my life, my personality and my relationships. I specifically say PPA and not PPD because I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t crying in my bed. I wasn’t having abnormal thoughts. I was tired as hell but still so happy and grateful for my family so I didn’t connect the dots that it could be post-partum related. My baby was happy and loved and cared for, and I was happy to be the one with her. Because of this, I thought my constant racing mind and worrying every single time I knew I’d be leaving the house was normal.

In the past few years I have experienced anxiety, but only when I was taking birth control and since I stopped taking it altogether it became almost nonexistent. Until after I had baby girl. This period of time was different. I think of it like my mind being a race car, going round and round at full speed without stopping.

I made an appointment with my OB and the day of I almost didn’t go in. I was sitting in the parking lot contemplating leaving but couldn’t stop thinking about my husband and my daughter. I walked into that appointment because of them and laid 10 months worth of anxiety, panic attacks, insecurities and tears on my doc.

I wasn’t too surprised when she prescribed me a anti-depressant. I probably would have given myself one too if I were in her shoes because I just had so much built up I didn’t even realize was there and the tears were flowing like freaking Niagara Falls. The more I spoke about it out loud to someone though, the better I felt. I walked out of there feeling lighter. Slightly embarrassed, but definitely lighter.

Through my chat with the doctor I also realized I hadn’t slept through the night in months, as our little angel wasn’t a big fan of sleep. I was running on fumes a lot of the time. I realized that leaving my career was harder on me than I thought it was going to be, that while I was happy being with the baby and wouldnt change the decision, the transition to a stay-at-home-Mom had been a challenge. My husband also left his job and we started a company together in which I was in charge of finances for a business in a field I knew nothing about. I had people calling me about invoices and questions while I was holding a teething baby who hadn’t slept all night. One time I even sent a check to the wrong person. Throw in everyday adulting like making sure the family eats, the bills are paid, the laundry is done, homework is complete and correct, keeping the house in somewhat working order and trying to be the Stepmom and wife I was before all of this, and here I was. I had put so much damn pressure on myself that I weighed myself down. Its not my husband’s fault, its not my kid’s fault. I hit my limit but didn’t ask for help. That’s on me.

Through this I have learned that stress does different things to people and this is how it showed up during this time in my life. Looking back now I see these panic attacks and behavior changes not only as something out of the ordinary, but as warning signs that I ignored. The mind and body are powerful things and will tell you when something is wrong. When you ignore it you feed it, and that is the worst thing you can do.

I think as strong women we like to think we can do it all, and we do regardless of the situation. We’re wired to put our heads down and keep pushing forward in the name of keeping things running because let’s be honest here – without us, things fall apart.

Once the dust had settled from starting my husband’s company, my Young Living business hitting a milestone, baseball season and all of the holidays were over, I couldn’t hide behind anything. Everything and everyone else was finally settled and ok. And so I broke down.

Luckily, my husband was there to catch me and so were my parents. I was honest with myself and with them. I also finally reached out to other Moms and my friends. It was almost a relief that what I was feeling had a name. That I wasn’t crazy or losing my mind and I wasn’t “sick”. That other people knew exactly what I was talking about. That I was still a kickass Mom. That I was OK!

In my personal situation, I chose to not take the anti-depressant and instead wanted to try changing certain aspects first. I’m far from full on “crunchy” but I do believe in natural remedies as a first option because my body has a hard time with medication in general.

A friend of mind suggested a meditation app called “Headspace” which was a big help. Download it today. Everyone needs 10 minutes of quiet and stillness.

I also started taking vitamins and a natural alternative to the anti-depressant. I began making sure I went outside daily and talked to my girfriends on a regular basis. I made sure I was going places with baby girl and also getting alone time. Also, shortly after my doctor visit the little one started sleeping through the night, which meant my sleep also got back on track. Broken sleep + stress is one awful combination. Go to bed at a decent hour.

To be honest I am not sure if I’ll ever be 100% free of anxiety. I am not saying that I will never in my life have another panic attack or that being in a super crowded area won’t make me nervous. I am fairly certain anticipation and I will never be friends. However, I can say with confidence that I have this certain situation much more under control and that the worst of it lives in the past right alongside those months of sleepless nights.

I am at a point where I am completely ok with sharing this with anyone because I understand it now. If even one person reads this and says to themselves, “This sounds like my friend”. Or sister. Or daughter. Or even themself. Then its totally worth it. This is real and raw and the worst feeling I’ve ever had. I don’t want anyone to feel like that if they don’t have too.

And finally, if you’re ever in Panera or anywhere public, and you see a woman rushing out the door followed by a man holding two sandwiches, don’t assume they’re arguing. And if you see a cart full of groceries in the store with no one in sight, leave it be. A worried spouse might be on their way to get it.

((Special shout out to my amazing grocery-getter, sandwich-grabber, Santa-picture-taker husband. Christopher you’re a damn good man and I love you ❤️))

((Good article about PPA – https://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/the-other-postpartum-problem-anxiety/ ))

“Those” Days!

Some days they sleep when they should, you do yoga AND run AND introduce yourself to a couple hundred strangers (so nice to meet you by the way!) and get 1000 things done for work and around the house…

Aaaaaand other days they forget what naps are and you wind up driving aimlessly around town wearing sunglasses that look ridiculous on you that your husband got for free from a gas station prize wheel because they were the only ones you could find as you staggered out the door in your leggings with a screaming little …and you wind up in the parking lot at the park across the street wondering if the other cars parked in the shaded spaces are occupied with other Moms who are happy to sit there as long as their kids are asleep too…
And if they’re drinking a PSL like you…

And if they have Lavender shooting out their air vent via a cotton ball (best thing ever btw!)…


And if all of a sudden a certain smell overtakes the Lavender and you realize they went #2 while sleeping in the car…
This is the point in these kind of days when you either laugh or cry. There’s been quite a few days that I cried.
But today I laughed. Because she’s still just the cutest damn thing. And because this particular blowout took place in the onesie that says “Enjoy the little things” on the front of it. Go figure 💁🏼.
And the crazy part? Us Mommas wouldn’t give up “these days” for anything in the world 💛, amiright?! 
☕️️💧🔄

#coffeeoilrepeat

Essentially Why….

Untitled design So as you can obviously see, the name of this slice of cyberspace is named “coffee oil repeat”. I’ve had a couple of people reach out and ask me about oils, what they are and why do I use and love them enough to include them in the title of my blog. I mean, that’s pretty serious stuff.

Let me start by saying that I am no environmentalist, crunchy/granola Mom, hippie or doctor. I wish the beginning of my story was more interesting but I literally stumbled across a product in a desperate effort to try anything so that my family wouldn’t get back to school germs. I had zero clue what they were and to be honest at the time I didn’t really care. I did no research, I asked no questions, I went solely off of a friend’s Facebook post saying that an oil called Thieves was a must in her house of multiple children. Done. Made the purchase and before I knew it I had a diffuser and 11 oils at my front door. My husband didn’t really get it (heck neither did I) and called me a witch doctor for a couple of weeks.

Quick back story. I used to be a walking sinus infection. No joke. Every few months, especially when the weather changed I automatically got the funk. The headaches, green snot, scratchy throat, the whole nine yards. I was constantly in the doctors office with a revolving prescription. I can’t tell you how many times I was sick during Christmas or got sent home from work because working around a bunch of seniors when you’re sick isn’t the best idea for their sake. When the kids went back to school our home was almost immediately a house of yuck. We would just pass it along to each-other, back and forth. It was miserable. I missed baseball games, holiday fun, had to use PTO all the time at work to cover the sick days I missed instead of getting to use those hours for fun stuff. So when I saw a friend of mine post about these oils on Facebook, I was kind of willing to try anything.

When I first got my kit I started with the Thieves. I diffused it while we slept, after the kids would have friends over and after we had been to a place with a lot of people. Then I added Lavender to the mix. I started doing research on the other oils in this kit and began using them as well. Somewhere in there I stopped buying candles and air fresheners because I realized we didn’t need them since the diffuser smelled so good. Then I realized that Young Living also had other products, like an all purpose cleaner that people raved about. I spent $22, bought it, fell completely in love and one by one replaced the other cleaners in the house with it (Windex, Lysol, Pine sol, etc). All the while I started noticing that months were going by and I wasn’t getting sick. When Christmas rolled around and I still wasn’t sick, I really started paying attention. Then I made it through the entire flu season without going to the doctor. As of today we have replaced our cleaning products, sunscreen, insect repellent, makeup and baby items with Young Living, and continue to use the oils for so many things.

I got my kit of oils in August of 2015 and I have not been to the doctor for a sinus infection since.

The only reason I have even been to see a doctor since starting to use the oils was during my pregnancy. I contracted a respiratory infection during my 2nd trimester but being pregnant I was limited to what I could take anyway. But that’s it. In over two years. I wish I had some fancy math equation that I could show what percentage my doctor’s visits, sinus infections and money spent on medications decreased by BUT I’m on limited time here since baby is napping so I’ll just put it into perspective. A LOT!
The more and more research I have done and more importantly, the more I use them in my and my family’s everyday life I find absolutely nothing but benefits. It’s crazy what is actually in a lot of the products we are using every day and don’t even realize just how bad they are. I can’t even tell you how many candles I burned, how many air freshener plug-ins I had in my outlets and slathered on the cheapest bug spray I could find before learning about oils.

I am in no way anti-medicine. I have no problem using it when it is necessary. I had a C-section and was nervous to be completely numb from the stomach down but you betcha I was grateful for it! I chose to not take any narcotics afterward but I did allow the other meds that took the edge off. I also would never ever withhold medicine from my child if they were writing in pain or sick and it could be helped with medicine.

All I know is that this kit of oils was an absolute game changer for me and my family. I am definitely healthier which not only benefits me but also my kids and my husband. When I am healthier I am a better wife and Mom.

I am also not much of a science person. I don’t really care how the clock works I just want to know what time it is, know what I mean? I have sciencey (is that even a word?) friends for that and I am glad that I do. But, I do find the process in which the oils on the Young Living farms are made to be pretty fascinating. For example, each plant is literally hand-weeded and there are no pesticides or chemicals used on any of their farms.When they harvest Lavender, they check it every hour around the clock to make sure they are pulling it at its absolute peak, distill it and use zero solvents during this process even though it is more expensive. It takes 220 pounds of lavender to make 7 pounds of lavender oil (*). That’s enough to entertain my non-sciencey brain and makes me feel good that the oils I am using on myself and children are really 100% pure ((quick rule of thumb – any oil that you buy in the stores that says either “do not ingest” or has an expiration date, super red flags! Oils that actually are 100% pure do not have an expiration date)).

If you’re curious, I can help. If you have questions I am happy to answer them! I am all about passing on the word about these oils and sharing the love because they have done so much for us! And Lord knows we need all the help we can get around here! I know I can! Or, if you’re ready to take the plunge you can go here! or feel free to message me!

Plus, if it weren’t for the oils then this blog would just be called “coffee repeat” and that has absolutely zero ring to it ❤
________________________________________________
Sources:

(*) – Information from this paragraph was influenced by the book “Gameplan” written by Sarah Harnisch

http://www.seedtoseal.com 

I Made it 6 Months….

They said it would happen.

They said this day would come.

But they told me this when I was still pregnant. And they told me when she was first born. And like all other new Moms who leave their full time careers to stay home I guess I thought it might happen at some point?! But when you look at your baby’s sweet week-old face you can’t but help to think to yourself, “How can I ever get tired of staying home with this angel?”.

We’ve been pretty smooth sailing over here as far as the baby goes. There’s been ups and downs and some struggles here and there but I really can’t complain! She’s almost 6 months to the day and I know people say this all of the time but I really can’t believe it’s going by so fast.

I left my full time job in a field that I absolutely loved to stay at home with her. It was definitely the right decision and one that I am so happy we made. Every day except today. Today kicked my ass. 

I made it almost 6 months to the day before I said the words all those people said I would say…and I said them to my husband on the phone over a crying child. Way to stay calm, I know I know…

It went something like this. Not really sentences, but some kind of cohesive thoughts crammed together in a statement:

“I think maybe I should go back to work. Maybe this was a bad idea! Maybe I can make it a year and then go back?! I’m not good at this! Not today anyway. No, you don’t need to come home. I’m fine. It’s fine. I have to pee I can’t hold it anymore I’ll call you back”

Writing this now I know I didn’t mean it. I know how much I actually really enjoy staying home with her.

But after her nap got cut short caused by me stubbing my toe on the dishwasher (yea, this really was all my fault!) followed by HOURS of fussiness, not allowing me out of her sight without crying (new thing!), bottle(s), trying some puréed bananas (fail!), crying if I sat down with her but not if I stood up & was in motion, 27 episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, not getting anything done, walking outside a few times, failed swing attempts x 2, realizing I hadn’t thawed anything out for dinner (still haven’t!), wanting so so badly to sit down and get some work done & packages put together and having to pee so bad for what felt like days, I hit the wall and called my husband and said the words. 

You know, if she would have just told me she wanted to sit on my lap in the garage and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” 18 times I would have tried that first instead of last. 😜⚾️️

So now here I sit, in the garage in a fold up chair with an adorable sleeping baby on me, wishing I had brought my water out here. Or my Stress Away. I still haven’t gotten anything done and I still haven’t put packages together or done anything I needed and wanted to get done by this point in the day (besides pee! Oh thank goodness!). I’m also feeling the Mom guilt from the things I said an hour ago when I called my husband, because I know I wouldn’t give this up. Not yet. Maybe one day. Maybe after the first steps and the first “Mama” and “Dada”. But not now.

And as far as dinner goes, MY amazing Momma always said to keep a frozen pizza, hotdogs, PB&J and/or grilled cheese and cans of soup always on hand for days like today. Always listen to your Momma because we are covered and I am relieved!

My point is, new Mamas of the world out there, if you have a day like this, it’s ok! I’m telling myself it happens all of the time to other people so you should tell yourself that too 😀. 

And then tell yourself you are a good Mom! Because you are!😘

You’re Not the Only One……..

If your week and/or weekend can be summed up by this photo, please know you’re not the only one!

Know you’re not the only one who answers the most random questions all day long……..

“What would you do if the neighbors across the street moved in and were really zombies?”

“How did the different seasons come about and who came up with their names?”

“Why doesn’t Duke have balls?”

Know you’re not the only one who warms up her coffee and then forgets that its in the microwave……..

The only one who struggles between cleaning, working or napping when you actually have a few minutes to yourself……..

Or the only one who hasn’t left the house in a couple of weeks (partly because of a messed up car and a hurricane) and got excited about going to baseball practice because you knew it was during baby’s nap time, the other kids would be busy playing baseball and you could sip a Starbucks coffee & scroll through Facebook uninterrupted……..

Know that there’s other parents out there who have a secret candy/chocolate/wine stash that they hide and don’t share with other people……..

Please please know that you’re not the only person who has ever fallen over while doing yoga in your living room, or felt uncomfortable months after giving birth because you’re not back to “normal” yet……..

There are most definitely other parents who throw away stupid toys and trinkets their kids save for God knows why when you finally get fed up with the state of their room and clean it yourself……..

Oh and guess what? You’re a good parent even if you cringe when you hear the children wake up in the morning before you’ve finished your coffee……..

You’re not the only one who gets frustrated, cries, loses your temper & then feels bad about it, takes longer than normal showers while your husband is watching the kids, questions yourself daily, laughs at totally inappropriate times, forgets to walk the dog in the midst of the daily tasks, are too tired to do anything fun or interesting on a Friday night even when you have the chance, don’t put on makeup for days, absolutely hate when you hear the ice cream truck driving in your neighborhood, feed your kids ramen noodles for lunch…

And cuss when your almost six month old pulls your hair and laughs about it……..

You’re not the only one. And yes yes yes, you’re a good parent, you’re normal and what you do is enough. 

Just coffee, oil up and repeat until everyone falls asleep and you can dive into your secret stash! 

Have a great rest of your weekend and week ahead! You’ve got this!

img_8179

coffee. oil. repeat.

I was debating for awhile on how to start this whole thing off. I went back and forth and started writing things and ended up deleting all of them because nothing seemed to fit for that first “Here I am and here is my blog” post.
Then last night happened.
First of all, I am 30 years old and have been happily married for almost two years. I have two stepsons, ages 7 and 11, a 5-month-old baby girl and then there’s Duke the family dog. The levels of crazy in our house vary anywhere from “laugh it off” all the way up to “want to gauge your eyes out with a spoon and chug wine straight from the bottle”. It really just depends on the day. I’m sure you can relate.
I heard all of the horror stories about babies while I was pregnant (thanks, world!) so I was pretty terrified when the hospital said “Ok, you can go home. Bye! Good luck!”. I was confident in the fact that my husband had done this twice before so I just kept telling myself he would know what to do. So far, baby girl has been fairly “easy” as I guess some would call it. She slept through the night pretty early on, cries when hungry, over-tired and/or gassy and eats like a champ. For a first time Mom who was scared to death, I am beyond grateful for all of these things.
I’m usually the one who gets up during the night if need be. I’m a light sleeper, a morning person and my husband works long hours so I don’t mind.
For some reason last night I just couldn’t hang.
Maybe it was because it was a string of a few rough nights, perhaps the weather is to blame, maybe I had things on my mind, maybe it’s that time of the month or I was just really overtired. I don’t know for sure but “Positive Polly” that my friends jokingly call me was not in the house last night.
It was just bad. If you’ve had a kid for 10 minutes you know how it can feel being up for the duration of the night. Some nights you feel like a total rock star and then on others you feel like your head is going to explode. Some nights they rock right back to sleep and others they suddenly become night crawlers that just will not go back to sleep no matter what you do. I waited until the point where BOTH baby and myself were about to have the tears flowing before I cracked and got my hubby involved. That sounds too nice, let me rephrase because I can’t make this sound like I went in quietly to gently wake up my husband. I walked into our bedroom at 3:45 am complete with crazy-mom-bun hair and hands on my head and pretty much yelled, “She’s driving me crazy!!!!”. Bless this man, he got up, probably figuring it was bad since that’s not a normal move on my part. He told me to go to sleep but in my crazy state of mind I was too wound up and thought for some reason I should fill him in on EVERY detail of the past 2 hours. I mean, its SUPER important he knows exactly how much she’s eaten and that her diaper is clean and she fell asleep when I rocked her in the chair but not on the couch and that I didn’t have a chance to wash the bottle yet and it’s still sitting on the counter and will smell horrible in the morning if we don’t clean it…….
Yea. I was in total mombie-psycho mode.
It was definitely the worst night I have had probably ever, even when you throw in the time my stepsons threw up all night like clockwork every 30 minutes or the first night we had Duke (definitely a future post). But, like all nights do, it ended, the sun came up and the coffee pot went off at 5:00 a.m. as usual (Thank you sweet Jesus for that!). I found my hubby had gotten himself back to the bed and my little girl was sound asleep on her blanket-covered boppy looking like a little angel.
Here’s the main point for all of this….
Before my husband left for work he asked me if I was ok and immediately the tears started coming and I blurted out a question that I am positive has crossed every mother’s mind at some point…
“Am I a good Mom?”
Now I don’t know many things for sure because I’ve learned in my 30 years so far that absolutely nothing ever goes as planned or turns out like you think it will. But, I can say one thing and one thing only for certain; I married the right man.
“What do you mean ‘Are you a good Mom?’. Of course you’re a good Mom. You’re the best Mom”.
“But”…((sobs))…”I got so frustrated and it’s not her fault she’s just a baby and I can usually handle it and I’m sorry I woke you up I think I’m just getting my period but its been a long few nights, but seriously who gets frustrated when it’s just a little baby….”
“Umm, try every single parent in the world! But the thing is, if you care about whether or not you’re a good parent, then guess what, you are.”
I love him. And the coffee he poured me after that. And the snuggles I got all morning from little.
Ladies. Being a Mom is hard. Being a Stepmom is hard. I hear you, I AM you!
So pour the coffee, stock up on the lavender and let’s do this Mom thing.
It’s basically how I get through life at this point;
coffee. oil. repeat.
And I want to share the crazy with you 🙂