postpartum depression

All posts tagged postpartum depression

Return of Saturn

Published June 9, 2017 by Lunapo

I am just now getting to a point where I am whole after my Return of Saturn.

Wait…what?

Return of Saturn is when the planet Saturn completes its solar orbit compared to the point where it was at the time of one’s birth. It takes 29 years for Saturn to complete one solar orbit so people typically experience two Saturn returns: late 20s (quarter life crisis) and late 50s (midlife crisis). The implications of a Saturn return can be felt a year or two before to a year or two after the actual return. Most folks feel it from 27-32 and 57-62. Apparently, it is a time when one is either riding high and feeling great with everything that could be wanted from life or it seems as though the whole universe is against you and you’ll never get there.

i am just now coming out of my Saturn return and, looking back upon that time frame, I was put through some tests.

At 26, I was told I would never have kids- the only thing in life I ever really wanted. I went through surgery and infertility treatment through my 27 to bring Witchlette shortly after my 28th birthday. At 29, I learned Witchling was on the way and he arrived a bit after my 30th. I dealt with postpartum issues, including suicidal images but not actual ideations, through my 31st and am now in year 32.

Life is good.

Hubby and I share the household load with him taking day to day chores- dishes, breakfast, lunch- and me taking “woman’s work”- kids’ stuff and housekeeping tasks.

since moving to North Carolina, I have struggled to establish a social group with folks who I share commonalities outside of vocational location. There have been folks I was close with, but due to life circumstances, time has caused a drift. As I got more involved in CotE, I have established friendships with folks who I want to go out of my way to see because of the joy of their company. I still feel pangs and triggers of PPD, and I do a lot of balancing to keep the, at bay. I have a great group of friends who understand social time beginning after bedtime or my kids coming along. Luckily, they like my little Witches.

Life is good.

I was doing some soul searching: what has driven my Gus far to the point where I am now?

in high school, I was one of the leaders of our school’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Atheltes. I was always driven my by spirituality and I have been a leader, so it makes sense that I am one of the Board members for CotE and a leader in my spiritual community presently.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I always wanted to use sign language to make a difference in the lives of students who are Deaf. This year marks the end of my 9th year in education. The first 7 years we spent with Deaf students. The last two years have bee in an administrative role with all special needs students. Being an administrator is not something I ever saw myself doing. I am really good at the administrator aspects, but I was a really great teacher too. I miss the hustle and bustle of the classroom. I miss the lesson planning and the student engagement. I miss being a “teacher”. I thought the classroom was done with me, and I went into the administrative role. I was wrong. I put in a transfer back to my previous role as a Teacher of the Deaf.

My first return of Saturn complete. I personally have everything I ever wanted. It was an uphill to get here, but I made it. Hubby and my Things; I love them with all that I am. I professionally had everything I ever wanted, but I didn’t know it at the time. I see it now.

 

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Tonight’s TV

Published January 5, 2017 by Lunapo

I know a lot of folks don’t like Big Bang Theory for a number of reasons. 

But tonight they did something so right. 

Tonight’s episode was a recap of all the characters’ holiday. Bernadette recently had a baby and they went over how she adjusted to being a new mom. As a comedy, they tried to make light of a tough situation and I think they did a pretty good job. Unlike a lot of other shows that I’ve seen, it wasn’t an immediate walk in the park (though it can be and was with Witchlette) and it was shown to continue over a number of days with seemingly no end in sight until suddenly…it ended. She figured out how to soothe and calm her baby…in an unrealistic comedic way, but that’s to be expected from a silly sitcom. 

The point is, they showed that there is a learning curve and there can be a stumbling block. That many new moms struggle with this huge life change that, much as it is a blessing, could also be a trial. Sheldon even quoted the 80% statistic for baby blues. 

Thank you, BBT, for helping to break the stigma. 

Clarity

Published December 7, 2016 by Lunapo

I wasn’t a great mommy today. 

This morning, Witchlette came into our room around 5:30 asking for hugs. I gave her a big hug and carried her to the potty then back to bed. I rubbed her back as she settled back under the covers and when she was nestled in, gave her one more hug before retreating to my covers for another few minutes. 

The rest of the morning was a typical morning. The kids are a small breakfast at home while hubby and I prepped and packed. Then I brought the kids to school. My drop off is 30-40 minutes long as I am able to stay with the kids since my work schedule changed from 7:15 to 8:30 start times. Witchlette and I spent our usual 15 minutes in the baby room with Witchling before moving to the big kid room to say our goodbyes. This morning she clung to me in a way she hasn’t since she was about a year old. I calmed her and got her to a point where she was comfortable and confident enough to let go and for me to walk away. 

I went to work and the day seemed as though it would be a normal day. I got a lot accomplished work wise. I had some chexmix around noon and the remnants of the staff luncheon at 2:30. My 1:00 meeting ran late so I didn’t get to the pickings til they were all picked. I also didn’t bring my own lunch to supplement because I knew the menu and knew I wanted some. 

Slim pickings of a late lunch then four more meetings. Got the kids, got home, started dinner. While it was cooking, read some books in Witchlette’s room. Went back down to check on dinner only to find out the potatoes were still raw so we needed a backup plan. Hubby began prepping leftovers from other nights. Witchling was beside himself with hangry. I was dizzy and had a headache by this point. Witchling’s food was done first and I sat him down to feed him and he wouldn’t take any of it. He started screaming and I put down his fork and walked away. Hubby was able to get him calmed and starting to eat, made Witchlette’s food, then called me back down when my plate was on the table. The rest of the evening, the headache persisted and my fuse remained short towards both kids. I happily sent Witchling to bed- because I needed a break as much as because he needed to go to sleep. 

Not my best performance. But now, I am vegging out to BtVS S7E20 “Touched” and relishing in the “unattainable” speech. Tonight I will get some sleep and tomorrow will be another day. 

A few short months ago, I wouldn’t be able to day that. A few short weeks ago, because I recognized that I am only human and need to satisfy my basic needs before I can be the optimal mama, I would have dragged myself through the mud. But now that I am on the other side, I can see things for what they really are: hungry and tired parent who needs to call today done and try again tomorrow. Because tomorrow is another day. 

Last Friday was a highly emotional day. It was the first day of my first cycle after the end of nursing. Hormones were raging between menstruation and the end of breastfeeding. I had a very high-stress meeting with a very high-stress parent who made very nasty untrue statements to and about me in the meeting. I stepped away to allow for an emotional release and collect myself (while my colleagues who remained, I have been told by all of them, came to my defense and refuted what the parent said). The meeting continued and finished with my best foot forward inspite of what transpired. That would not have happened a mere few weeks ago. 

It’s wonderful when it comes as a reward

Monday was a good day at work. I connected with a parent and assisted her in getting things straight for her child. She hugged me and left with happy tears. She also mentioned that someone from “downtown” stated that I would be “a breath of fresh air” to work with and she said she felt they were right. Today, I was told by the principal that he knows I know my stuff and likes knowing he can see me for a complete answer. He also stated I am “very sharp”. Today I also connected with a guardian to help her get legality issues straight for a child she has custody over in another county. Again, the guardian left informed and empowered and grateful. 
I say all this because I would not be able to when I was still unwell. I say all this because I have gone into remission, as my doctor stated it. I say all this because despite my lowest night when I saw a clear vision of how to make it so I would no longer be on the mortal plane, I am still here and I am a great mama. 

Except for tonight. 

And that’s ok. 

But I wouldn’t have known that a few months ago. 

A parable

Published September 14, 2016 by Lunapo

On my darkest of darkest days, after weeks of no real consecutive sleep and a constantly hungry baby, wondering what kind of mother raises her voice and tells her brand new baby to shut up…because he’s tired, fussy, wants to be held and coddled and loved…but his sister is ill and just vomited and needs to rest and his crying may disturb that rest and he needs to stop. Rocking didn’t stop it. Pacifier didn’t stop it. Nursing didn’t stop it (at first). New diaper made it worse. Then Mama reacted and made it even worse. Mama thought, for a split second, if nothing else works…Mama understood why some parents shake their babies who won’t stop crying.

And Mama cried.

I rocked him more with a more steady rhythm, close to my chest and moving my whole body to compensate for my own wrenching sobs. When he calmed some, we moved to my nursing chair where I nursed him to sleep.

What kind of garbage piece of shit mother says that to her baby. Weeks old. Needing, communicating the needs. Being a baby. And his piece of shit mother doesn’t deserve to live. He could, would, will do so much better without her. I visioned how it would be possible. Where I would go, what I would do. Then, in the next instant, I thought of all I would miss. And how much I wanted to be around for it. And how much of a blow it would be to my husband and daughter, to be in the house where I did it, to keep her away, to have to clean up and go on with my stupid selfish …

I put Witchling to bed, sound asleep, and shared everyone with Hubby.

That was then, darkest moment.

This is now.

A few days of very interrupted sleep. Witchling was up for most of the night, Refusing his pacifier, refusing my breast, refusing to take comfort in anything. Water cup, bottle of pumped milk meant for Monday at work. Nothing. He would rest on my shoulder, upright, and I stood for as long as I could. But it was 4:30 a, and he had been crying since 2:30 and I couldn’t stand, so he could lay on me except when I went into a non-vertical position, he cried again. Hubby finally got him back to sleep at 5:30. Witchlette, who slept through the whole thing was ready to go at 7:30, but played nicely in her room until 8:30. I brought Witchling in for a doctor’s appointment at 9:30 because, with him being up all night, there had to be something wrong.

Ears clear, gums not inflamed, chest clear. He has a diaper rash, highly sensitive skin plus overnight poops lead to contact recurring rashes that easily become infected. He was likely uncomfortable. We never thought to check his diaper.

And down I went.

What a piece of shit mother.

I knew I was short on sleep. I know why he keeps getting rashes and I know how to prevent them but I also know they will cease sooner than later, when he is potty trained. One year of diapers down, one to go. He’s fine.

But the lingering feeling remained.

Monday, mid mornings the director of the preschool called to let me know that the diaper rash looks awful. The judgement was dripping in her voice. What a piece of shit mother you are to let it get this bad. He had nothing Saturday night and awoke inflamed Sunday morning. It came on so quickly, there was no avoiding it. I explained I knew how bad it was and had taken him to the pediatrician the day before. Oh well, no one knew he was already seen by a doctor (because that morning neither director was on site when I was there to drop off the kids- there was no one to tell).

Piece of shit lingered all day. I’m hurting him. He knows it. He can feel how unloved he is. He knows it.

I called Hubby and cried. He laughed that I was crying over diaper rash.

I sobbed all the way home. I had a thought, for a moment, of how Witching would be better without me. How he would be better without his piece of shit diaper rash causing mother hurting him. I though about how, since I was alone in the car, I could just drive into a tree. Single car wreck, no one hurt but me.

But then, logic hit.

You’re fine, you’re just tried.

Even more logic.

Suicide is like Schrödinger’s cat. You won’t know if your presence, or lack thereof, will be better for the people around you until you are no longer there. And then it’s too late. The box is open. The cat is dead.

I went into Witchling’s classroom and his teacher, who was Witchlette’s teacher first, immediately know something was wrong. Witchling, did not. He saw me, crawled over with lightning speed and gave me his biggest “mommy smile”.  I held him and cried. And I told his teacher what had happened. What I imagined his rash looked like, based on the phone call, pussing and bloody, was not. “He was worse last time. He adores you. You’re good.” When I said everything out loud to her, the ridiculous of it all set in.

When I went into Witchling’s room this morning, I got that “mommy smile” again. And again when I got to my mom’s house to pick up the kids. And again when I unbuckled him from his car seat after dinner.  Those smiles are my drug of choice. They are one of my main joys in life, and I am living to see them…to see the joy in my children. That’s what I live for.

About a month ago, I read an article on one of my support groups discussed the concept of surviving postpartum depression. Many women who have a glimpse of those thoughts, follow through with them. Maybe not at first, but eventually. I did not. I also did not have the hounding ideation a day in and day out. I’ve had them twice. But twice I have immediately switched gears to fighting to turn away from that dark place. Twice I have decided to not approach the box. I don’t like the idea of me being a “survivor” since my battles were few and short. Twice it could have gone the other way, but I’m still here.

All for that “mommy smile.”

Cyclical struggle

Published September 3, 2016 by Lunapo

This is at least the third time I have written about sacred symbols and my struggle to compartmentalize this huge part of myself while remaining “professional”. 

When I started spiraling, I backed away from COTE, which may or may not have been the right decision, but it’s what I did. In an effort to deal with being a working mom of a young baby, a baby who didn’t sleep well away from home and therefore slept all evening with us before dinner and went to be very early after dinner, a baby who I felt compelled to hold every moment of every day…well, I went to the mom side of things. If he couldn’t go, be it temperature or not fussy baby friendly environment, unless I had to go (work), I didn’t go. I fractured myself into Mama and Me. Over the summer, after a few weeks of being a SAHM, I soaked up the glory in that and started trying to put the pieces back together. Be the me who is a mama instead of the mama who is me. 

I sought out pagan mom groups…and came up empty. I knew this would happen as I researched this while trying to get Family Programs at COTE going. 

But then I realized I was doing the same thing as before- fracturing myself. Focusing only on pagan me. 

Scrapbooking again helped because, while they are family memory books, it is something I’ve done for years before kids and will continue to do after babies. And it had nothing to do with paganism. It was just me. 

One of the efforts I undertook in my healing process was the reconnect with the Divine. I felt like I had lost that connection, letting much of my practice slip away in favor of sleep. And yes, there was definitely avoidance and a pity party here and there as well. By re-establishing my connection, I was able to start to put the fractured prices I was continuing to make back together. No more compartmentalizing. 

The first step to this was expanding my wonderfully overloaded double Mjolnir to include my Pentacle, the first one I bought at the beginning of my journey and the one that I always find my way back to. 

I wore this conglomeration for the majority of the summer, and, despite being a state employee at a public school and previously holding myself to a standard of keeping my personal beliefs outside of work, I wore them back to school. Trial was the group of teacher work days. One colleague took note and commented that the Mjolnir sje first noticed had grown and how much she liked it. Since then, I have gotten other positive comments but no questions and no stares. I’ve worn the bunch to a meeting with the principal as we discussed a sensitive student, with an assistant principal as we discussed room assignments, and with a few parents. 

Another decision I made to help with the repiecing myself is to not have “work clothes” and “play clothes”. At least for tops. I will not wear dress trousers outside of work. The tops though, if they’re not comfortable enough to wear outside of work and can’t be dresses up enough to wear to work, then they’re no longer acceptable. I have to stop compartmentalizing everything in order to get back to my whole self. 

Two work weeks of this plan have thus far went over well. The first weekend is proving to be a success as well. I am finding comfort in this new outlook. And that’s all that matters. 

When? Never…No, Now

Published August 15, 2016 by Lunapo


Words escape me to explain the most recent leg of my journey from this weekend. Lessons learned are slow paced mindfulness will help lessen cognitive load and the constant need to retrace steps to remember small details and I am statements said aloud in the mirror are believable and a great way to start a fresh day. 

In all that I do, I have the extra layer of being the role model. Do I want them to see that mistakes are worth self loathing? Or do I want them to know mistakes happen, but nothing is the end, and to always move forward. With love and light. 

If I want my little witches to know it, I have to live it. I have to show it. I used to be this. I will find my way back. 

Accomplishment

Published July 28, 2016 by Lunapo

This week, I said screw it all, I am scrapbooking. I haven’t worked on Witchling’s baby book in months…since before he was born…and I left off at 27 weeks pregnant. I didn’t have it in me, or I didn’t want to take everything out only to leave a mess/put it all away after a short session. 

Well, screw all that. 

Today only, while Witchling napped and Witchlette sat across the room playing playdough, I scrapbooked Witchling’s baby book from 28 weeks through his blessing (at 2 months). 

I have everything lined up to be done through 10 months- rollover days, holidays, first swim, first beach trip. 

I have similar plans for the big family book. The last page done there is Witchling’s gender announcement. But, again, I have everything lined up to go in. 

Additionally, I have to add to Witchlette’s baby book with her 2nd and 3rd birthday pictures. I plan to keep doing a favorites board and taking pictures to add to the book until they turn 18… including notes for years when they won’t humor me 😀📸

Seeing less of the trees, and more of the forest. Seeing less of the darkness and more of the light. 

I can’t say I’m back to my old self. I don’t think I’ll ever be her again. I’ve evolved. I am both rougher and more tender. I am both stronger and more fragile. I am protector, teacher, guide, mentor, and role model. I love being a mother to both of my kids. I always have. 

I have picked my two. Something had to give, so I gave it up. 

Now, to return to scrapbooking!

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