Mental Health Monday | Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

It’s not Monday, but man-oh-man, does it feel like it!

Hi, I’m Alaina and I deal with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. Well, let’s face it, I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety long before babies and will have to deal with it long after my babies have grown. Sounds fun, huh?!

About a year ago, I shared a post all about this while pregnant. My days of “riding the wave” are LONG gone. Right now, treading water is the most I can do and I am realizing that it might be good enough…

I’m learning that I need to really take time for myself and practice being present. Wanting and taking time for myself doesn’t diminish my feelings for this family we’ve created, or so I’m learning.

For those, especially, who’ve had to deal with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, this is hard, complicated, and maybe a bit embarrassing to admit…

All that brain dump to say, we aren’t dealing with this alone. I’m the first one standing up to say, I love my kids, but this shit is hard!

alaina

Postpartum | 6 Months

Ok, so let me start by saying anyone’s hard is HARD. It doesn’t matter what it is.

Holy shit, postpartum is unbelievably hard!

Postpartum after Michael wasn’t…terrible. I had anxiety and a few little issues pop up, but in the grand scheme of things, that first postpartum period was manageable. Granted, I was pregnant five and a half months after giving birth, so my postpartum phase was extremely limited. Really, with Michael’s pregnancy, the prenatal anxiety was worse than the postpartum experience as a whole.

After having Jack, I had severe anxiety, depression, and large hormone imbalances. Not to mention, Jack went back into the hospital at 6 weeks with a bronchiolitis. Two weeks after coming home, COVID-19 hit and it seemed as though the world stopped. Being trapped inside our home for months, with a one-and-a-half year old and infant, was tough.

Depression hit an all time high, I was TERRIFIED and desperate to leave the house, and beyond exhausted. Postpartum this time has been traumatic. It’s as simple and scary as that.

While I’m not out of the dense, overwhelming fog that is PPD/PPA, I do feel like I’m ready to talk about it. To let you know that you’re not alone. Having not had PPD before, I had NO IDEA what to look for. Even my OBGYN, who is trained to recognize the symptoms, had a hard time giving me the PPD/PPA diagnosis.

  • Insomnia
  • Severe hair loss
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Blurry vision
  • No energy/falling asleep during the day
  • Zero motivation throughout the day
  • Hot flashes
  • Inability to remember
  • Episodes of crying
  • Irritability
  • Appetite Irregularities
  • Body image inconsistencies

I feel so guilty and incredibly inadequate.

So, you’re probably wondering what the point of all this is. Well, I want to start a monthly discussion here and on Instagram where we can talk all things postpartum. To create a community where we feel safe enough to talk about it. One thing I’ve learned is that PPD/PPA is very lonely, isolating (mostly self-inflicted), and taboo. Let’s change it, because I’m done feeling like I’m completely alone (and I think you might be, too).

Want more postpartum discussion? Every post related to postpartum is here!

alaina

9 Month Postpartum Announcement

Well, there is no nine month postpartum update! The announcement I have been waiting to give, fingers crossed, hoping to share is finally here!

Not only have I battled mono and the flu, in the last 3-ish months, but I have been dealing with a new pregnancy!

Yep! We are pregnant!

This baby and M3 will be about 15 months apart. Baby #2 will be joining ys some time in mid-January. Thankfully, and hopefully, giving us a chance to get through the holiday craziness. Wish us luck!

Being pregnant, again, has presented quite a few challenges. At this point, I LOOK much farther along than I am. Today (7/17/19), I am 13 weeks. I’m super sick and truly exhausted! My body hurts already and the carpal tunnel is flaring up. I’m so grateful!

Come back this Saturday, for the First Trimester Recap! In the meantime, I am taking advantage of nap time and taking a nap myself!

If you want to compare the pregnancies, here is the First Trimester Recap of M3!

Leave any tips and tricks for having 2 under 2 in the comments below!

Want more postpartum discussion? Every post related to postpartum is here!

sign off!

Postpartum Update | Six Months

Wow, it’s hard to believe that tomorrow I will be 6 months postpartum already! These 6 months have FLOWN by and have been JAM-PACKED.

I was planning on sticking to the same layout as my 3 month postpartum update, but life happened and there is really only 1 thing to discuss.

In February, I finally was given an answer to why I was in so much constant pain since giving birth. Because my labor and delivery were so long and difficult, I developed 2 inguinal hernias.

Fun, right?!

WRONG!

Incorrect. Not at all. No. I could continue, but I won’t.

No amount of physical therapy, kegels, or ibuprofen would take care of this problem, so off to the surgeon I went. A week later, I was in the hospital ready for surgery.

I was told that recovery for me would be a long and slow process. Very little exercise (read: walking), limited daily activity (stair climbing, cleaning, cooking), and no lifting anything over a gallon of milk.

You read that right–a gallon of milk.

If your first thought was like mine, again, you are right–no holding (read: carrying, lifting, etc.) M3.

FOR FOUR TO SIX WEEKS!

The doctor was serious, like far too serious.

I was physically prepared for what that meant, but it did a number on me mentally. I was NOT ready for that part and couldn’t have prepared myself. For the most part, I have listened to the doctor. The exception being when we flew to the East Coast and I needed to hold him, lift him, etc. during our flights. Prior to and since then, I’ve followed directions.

The first 2 weeks were brutal. I was on medication. I was exhausted. I was in pain. I couldn’t wear anything, but oversized sweatpants that went above my bellybutton, oversized t-shirts, nightgowns, and robes. Almost five weeks later and I can only wear high-waisted jeans, for a short window.

While I know I needed this surgery, especially before getting pregnant again, I wish I could have waited until M3 was in school or have completed this when he was still very small and new. That way I could have lifted him after just a couple of weeks. That’s realistic, right?

Needless to say, my postpartum figure is less than what I was hoping for. No lifting and lugging? We can forget working out. That has killed me. I haven’t been able to exercise since BEFORE getting pregnant and still can’t do anything truly active, so the weight hasn’t disappeared. I very much look like I did 1 month postpartum.

Yay! Can you feel the sarcasm dripping from that yay?

Next week, March 27, I head back to physical therapy and will hopefully be cleared to walk more than 15 minutes/day, 3 times per week.

Head over to Instagram Stories, if you want to talk weight (loss, gain, plateaus). You name it, I’ll discuss!

I’m curious for those who have been fortunate enough to be postpartum what did your first 6 months look like? How did you deal with and overcome the issues you faced? I feel like (read desperately hoping that) the six month mark actually marks the crest of the hill and things drastically change. But I have no idea, so tell me if I’m crazy…or not!

Want more postpartum discussion? Every post related to postpartum is here!

alaina

What Are We Doing?! Where Have I Been?!

Wow, what a…ride? Journey? Blur? Yes, blur is better, these last 2 weeks have been.
Three weeks ago, I went to a surgeon to see what was going on. For context, I haven’t been able to climb stairs, squat, go from sitting to standing with ease, or walk long distances without pain. After 5 months postpartum and 2 months of physical therapy, I demanded to see someone else.
Hello, surgeon!
I found out I had 2 inguinal hernias that I must have received from the long, drawn out labor and delivery. Surgery was a requirement before I could even THINK about carrying another baby. The doctor scheduled the surgical appointment for a week later and told me to line up help for the NEXT SIX WEEKS because I wouldn’t be able to pickup or comfortably hold Mr. Baby (or anything heavier than a gallon of milk) during that time.
The first 4-5 days of recovery I spent drugged up and in bed. I slept A BUNCH. The last week or so I’ve gone from moving with a walker to walking on my own again and playing with Mr. Baby. Needless to say, it’s been a LONG couple of weeks and we still have a mont left of recovery. Insert sarcastic “yay!” here.
Also, needless to say, I haven’t written and didn’t have time to prep any content prior to this surgery. I’m hoping that we can start March (mid March) fresh and get back on the writing train!
There we are, you are officially all caught up! Surgery went well, I’m slowly feeling better and better, and this blog has unfortunately been neglected!
Fingers crossed I can write this weekend and continue with the content creation!
Want more postpartum discussion? Every post related to postpartum is here!

Let’s Talk…

Postpartum…can I hide until this time is over?

This time is almost as hard and complicated as pregnancy. WHY doesn’t anyone discuss this?!

Why is pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum time such a taboo subject? Why are we as women so ill informed?!

Anyway, I’m tired of dealing with all of these things in the dark…or at least dealing with that feeling.

Weight Gain

Whoever told me that weight loss would be effortless, simply put, you lied.

My weight journey before this pregnancy was a little rocky. I have IBS and have had a hard time maintaining any number. Then the miscarriages, hormone therapy, and so on happened. Keeping the weight off became something to deal with and was HARD!

Now, here we are. Almost 5 months postpartum and I’ve lost about 25 pounds. That’s good, yes…and yet…

Those 25 pounds I lost within the first 2 weeks. Then I lost a little more. Then I had to stop breastfeeding and BOOM! Hello, weight gain!

My face got a bit fuller again, my boobs continued to grow (I’m not kidding, they are HUGE!), and I still look 5 months pregnant.

Now, here I sit, the heaviest I’ve ever been, trying my hardest to lose the weight and already feeling defeated.

Now, I know I’m not alone with this, and yet here I am telling you that I feel very alone.

Exercise

This was the area that I KNEW would be easy for me. I KNEW I’d workout and get that workout high once I was cleared at the 6 week mark.

I knew. I knew. I knew.

I knew it would be slow going, but I was so looking forward to it. The 6 week mark hit, I was cleared, and started slow. I went back to the doctor less than a week and a half later because something didn’t feel right and was sent to physical therapy.

It was there that I learned exercise would not be happening anytime soon. I was diagnosed with severe pelvic floor dysfunction, a uterine prolapse, and severe diastastis recti.

So no exercise, lifting, blah, blah, blah. That makes losing weight incredibly hard. Those goals I set for myself have been tossed aside (read: tossed in the trash) for who knows how long.

I’ll continue with physical therapy until mid spring. At that point they will re-evaluate my progress and decide if surgery would be beneficial.

Guess what, though? You can’t do any of the surgeries until you are completely done having kids.

I know this next bit is dramatic, but I don’t care.

It’s like the universe and Mr. Baby are conspiring to insure that he is our only child. “Here, have a difficult conception journey. Have a high risk and difficult pregnancy and labor and delivery. Now enjoy your baby, but know that this postpartum time isn’t going to be any easier. In fact, in some ways it’ll be much harder.”

Breastfeeding

I can’t tell you how many times I was told breastfeeding was great.

I’d love it.

It’d be so natural.

It’d get easier.

It’d be better for me and baby.

It’d be cheaper.

Guess what…yeah, that wasn’t the case for me.

It’ll be great? It was miserable. Mr. Baby was in the NICU and dropped too much weight too quickly in his first 2 weeks, so we had to triple feed. That means he’d breastfeed, I’d then offer him pumped milk, and then we’d top him off with either donated milk or formula. Then we had to work with allergies, sensitivities, and GERD. Oh, Jesus!

I’d love it? I hated it. It’s painful, like REALLY painful. It’s time consuming (he’d eat for an hour, sleep for 45 minutes, and then wake again, starved). We also learned (at his FOUR MONTH appointment) that he had a tongue tie, too, that we needed to deal with. This tie, that doctors brushed off as first time mom worry, prevented proper latching to ANYTHING. Boobs. Bottles. Binkies. All the B words!

It’s natural? Not for me. It was so painful, so hard, and so overwhelming. I had SO much anxiety around this that I never wanted to leave the house with him.

It’d get easier? Not for us. As time went on, it got harder. That is all.

It’d be better for me and the baby? Sure, maybe. Until you factor in that I was sleeping in 30 minute increments, if that. Trying to feed a baby that couldn’t and/or didn’t want to feed. Was so anxious I could barely sleep or go out. I could go on, but I’ll spare both you and me!

Lastly, and the one that makes me laugh the hardest…It’ll be cheaper? Sure if everything worked out perfectly, it would be.

In my case, though, I bought every nipple shield and balm out there, breast pump aid, nursing aid, lactation food, specialty foods for issue ridden babies of breastfeeding mamas.

Hell, I’d have bought a purple 2 headed dog that could fly, if someone told me it’d work.


All that said, I will gladly do this again and again to get the baby we have and the siblings we want to give him.

This is hard. The whole thing. That’s ok and it’s ok (or even better in my opinion) to talk about it to those you are comfortable talking to.

Want more postpartum discussion? Every post related to postpartum is here!