On the mental side of becoming a mom

On the mental side of becoming a mom

I want to share what my mental state and thoughts have gone through in the last 10 months (or rather, the last 19 months including pregnancy). I don’t know if these feelings are a universal thing, but I have been vulnerable to a few friends who could relate. I had never heard anyone open up about these emotional issues before baby, so I felt crazy and awful experiencing it. I want to share in case I can help anyone.

Pregnancy was physically easy. (Sorry to those who had a rough time). I felt great. No sickness at all.  Gestational diabetes wasn’t awesome, but the resulting healthy eating kept my weight gain to a minimum, which helped me feel physically great.

The mental side of things was an entirely different story. Everything was a disappointment. Not the actual pregnancy, of course. We were trying and happy that it happened so easily and things went smoothly.  But everything else. Tyler’s response to my telling him we were pregnant wasn’t grand enough. I was upset. People weren’t fawning over pregnant me, and I was upset. I just felt like everything was a bigger deal and a bigger disappointment.

I was  15 weeks pregnant in NYC on a work trip and was already feeling like I was failing my baby. I was struggling. I saw “Waitress” the musical and heard these lyrics:

“It’s not simple to say, that most days I don’t recognize me……

She’s imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won’t ask for help
She is messy, but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She’s all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine”

I cried hearing that. That’s how I felt. I was broken. I was lonely. I was gone.

Side not: What was crazy is that the character in the musical was pregnant too….it was a big parallel of that NYC trip. I saw THREE musicals with pregnant characters that trip!

I hated how it was all going. I wished for a do-over. I spent lots of time crying and upset. I know now that I was suffering from some anxiety and depression. I did reach out to my doctor at one point, but they just handed me medication over the phone (I had called to schedule an appointment and the nurse prescribed me Zoloft over the phone). There were scary things about pregnancy in the medicine brochure so I didn’t take it long (like a week, maybe?).

After baby, I did have some emotional high. But that quickly faded.  I did many things to try and help. I got outside. I walked. I did some hormone stuff.  But I always felt like everyone had the best time with my baby — holding her while she slept while I cooked dinner. And then she would have her witching hour (THANK GOODNESS it was only her first few weeks of life) and I felt like she hated me. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right for her. Everyone else seemed to have an easier time than I did (looking back, well DUH! They hadn’t actually been the one giving birth. Of course things were easier for them!)

I second guessed every decision. I felt like a bad mom. I looked forward to going back to work so I wouldn’t have to. To what? I’m not sure. But life just felt heavy. I finally asked for help. Help and understanding from my husband, from my family, from my doctor.

I did take some medication, but I also prioritized myself. I made eating healthy and working out and sleep a priority. I made sure to do some things that felt like they gave me life. Sometimes that meant fighting guilt and leaving baby to get a break.

I had lots of moments where I felt like the worst mother on the planet. I have to be honest that those days are (thankfully) fewer and far between, but they still happen. Days when I yell-cry. Days when I call my mom freaking out because I feel like my chest may cave in from the weight of it all.

But it does get better. With help. With intentionality. With work. With medication. With supplements. With sleep. With laughter. With understanding.

I guess I just share that to say, if you’re feeling like you’re gone, there’s hope. There’s hope in Jesus. He wants better for me (and you!) and he is the provider of truth – and I knew those thoughts weren’t the truth (even though they felt truthful in my heart).  Reach out. To me, if you want. I’m happy to help. But let someone in. You don’t have to be stuck there. I’m so thankful I’m not.

And if someone around you has had a baby, ask how they are. REALLY ask. I read from someone recently that a friend asked how her soul was. That’s profound. Dig until you feel like she’s telling you the truth. She may be ok, but she may need someone to say “It’s ok to not be ok.” I reached out to a couple different people who didn’t know how to respond.  Take her to lunch.  Come over and bring chocolate and wine and queso and a funny movie.  Laughter is medicine. Friendship is medicine. Funny memes texted late at night are medicine.

I’m grateful that now I feel much more joy than I do worry. Much more pride than I do shame. Much more happy than fear. Much more peace than I do anxiety. Much more love. From others, from my baby, for my baby, and for myself.

 


44 Week Highlights

44 Week Highlights

Oh sweet girl, this week was just plain fun. We’ve enjoyed every minute this week.  No meltdowns, no issues. All fun.

Even with all these new teeth!  I snagged a pic when the front tooth came through this week, but both fronts appeared this week!

She got a ponytail and a new outfit for church Sunday. And she was ALL smiles while I got ready (thanks, baby holder for being able to get ready and do my makeup!)

At our friend’s house, she played with their piano and loved making music!

She also loved the guitar. I mostly did the strumming, but she tried patting the strings.

She also loved all the new people and toys at their house!

She’s found the camera in her room.  I know she doesn’t know what it is other than something attached to the crib rail, but it’s funny to see her reach for it in the mornings.

One morning right after I dropped her off at school, I got a text from one of her teachers. I panicked for a minute because I thought something was wrong. Nope. Just a picture. ha!  In the early morning, they are all in one room and apparently, she ended up with some older girls (who LOVE Remi!) having girl talk. She doesn’t know she’s little!

Teething sure takes it out of her! She falls asleep easily while teething- and passed out with a bottle in my arms. I held her for a while soaking up her sweetness.

One night we finished dinner early, so we headed to the lake for a little family swim. Sweet girl LOVES the water. We just played for like 30-40 minutes and then came home for a quick bath and bedtime. Love this time with my people.

Thursday night she and dada (and Gigi) had a date night. Me and my mom went out for dinner and a show at the local live theater….and I got this picture right before bedtime. You can tell she was zoning out. Bless. She loves her sleep and is so dependent on that nighttime routine and regular bedtime.

We are ready for even more fun together this weekend!


10 Months Old

10 Months Old

First off, taking photos of a squirmy 10 month old took 3 people and we worked up a sweat. But this photo is THE EPITOME of Remi right now- wiggly, loves her feet and smiley.

Parenting isn’t picture perfect, so neither are these update pics. But it’s my girl being her. Love it.

Wow! We can surely tell she’s been in a developmental leap lately (if you parents of littles don’t have the Wonder Weeks book and app, I highly recommend them!) because she has been learning SO MUCH lately.

Remington weighs around 18.5 lbs (at our last doctor’s appointment a couple weeks ago) and is 27 inches long (home measurements, but she isn’t getting much taller).  She is wearing anything from 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and 12 month clothing depending on the brand and item.  She can FINALLY solidly wear her 0-6 and size 2 baby shoes, even though her feet look almost the same size of her newborn footprints, they are fattening up, making shoes a possibility.  She’s wearing size 3 diapers, but once we finish these couple boxes we may move up (we’ve had some poop blowouts, TMI).

She’s still eating 5, 5 oz. bottles and 3 meals and a snack.  She’s eating great still.  She is working on spoon feeding herself (which is super messy, btw) but she prefers finger foods. I quit tracking “new foods” at the end of 9 months, but she’s continuing new textures and tastes all the time! Her favorites are still berries and avocado, but she loves most everything. She’s been doing more meat (ground meat, shredded meat, soft meats) and also loving soft cheeses. She also LOVES drinking water from straws or cups.

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She’s still loving school. Big smiles when it’s time to go and when we get there. Still (thankfully) no separation anxiety, no tears at drop-offs anywhere. They all say she’s the smiliest kid at church and at daycare.

She had a big bad ear infection this month, but thankfully, it went away. Even in the sickness, she’s a pretty content kiddo. Doctor did say another ear infection could send us to tubes, but we’ll see.

She’s still a great sleeper and napper (barring her not feeling great, of course). But she goes down easily for bedtime and naps and puts herself to sleep most of the time. She sleeps an average of 11 hours at night with a good 2 hour nap during the day (and sometimes another 30-45 minute catnap in the afternoon/early evening).

She’s crawling all over and pulling up on things. VERY proud of herself when she pulls up. She’s great at sitting back down too, doing a very cute squat.

She’s clapping now, which is super adorable. And she just started giving high fives which is fun. 

She still happily goes in the baby carrier, and we did our first back carry this month.

She says mama, baba, and LOTS of happy squealing. I also think she’s said “Up” a few times when standing or wanting up.

Her hair is getting longer and thicker- in fact, she had her first little ponytail this month.  She looks like Pebbles from The Flintstones! ha!

She enjoys playing with balls and opening the doors on her toys. She also LOVES her dolly. 

She still laughs during tooth brushing time and squirms during diaper changes. 

She has broken FOUR teeth this month for a total of SIX.  Her two lateral incisors and her right central incisor appeared two days ago and the left today.  Aside from some stuffiness (and like two night wake ups) teething has been a breeze. We use coconut oil andfrankincense  oil on her gums and it totally helps. 

She’s getting very personable. When we are out and about, she’s so curious and a people watcher.  She will smile at strangers and offers her toothy grin very willingly when anyone pays her attention.

She has very little “jealousy” with mama. I worked in the nursery and held a little boy quite a bit, and she didn’t mind at all until he cried and I was holding him.  Then she cried too. Poor bug! Good thing my lap was big enough for both of them.

She loves when mama sings to her (Wheels on the Bus and Itsy Bitsy Spider are still her faves) but she also loves my made up lotion song (“Lotion, lotion, lotion, warm it up real good. Rub it on the Remi, make her skin so smooth”) and she just is starting to like music in general. She bounces along when music plays now! I love that!

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Her nicknames include: Roo, Bug, RG Lee, Rem, Remi, Doodlebug, Bunny.

Remington, there are some trying days (mostly when we are both tired) but our time with you is just the best. You are the light of our lives. We look forward to coming home, seeing your smile, and spending time with you.  Somehow, you make everything an adventure and you bring out the fun in our family. Lots more laughter and giggles with you around. We can’t believe how fast you are growing and learning! We pray that we parent and guide you as best as we can! We love you, Doodlebug!


37 Week Highlights

37 Week Highlights

Oh this week was so fun!

Daycare/school had spirit week…so we had lots of fun with that!

Crazy hair day (a little hair spray on her brush and we had some fun hair!)


We bought Daddy some “dad” themed baby books so they could read together.  He did bedtime stories on Monday night because I didn’t feel well (had an ER visit Monday morning and have pleurisy). They are adorable together.

Crazy sock day at school.  Good thing I set her clothes out the night before because Grammy got her ready for school since we were at the hospital.

Sunday we had lunch with daddy since it was Father’s Day.

And Sunday I discovered that I love matching outfits.  As long as she doesn’t complain about it, we’re doing it.

Saturday evening, we hung out at home because Ty was working overtime. Love my snotty girl (allergies are rough, yo).

Saturday during the day, we had lots of play time together. And how about that watermelon romper?

Saturday morning, we met up with my half brother to visit with dad. It was his first time meeting Remi. She thought his leather vest was pretty neat.

Saturday morning we met up with some friends for breakfast and the Farmer’s Market. Remi and Melody enjoyed playing and talking at breakfast. So sweet!

We attempted the sock monkey hat for mix and match day.

No go. Haha

So we settled on a bow.

Sweet girl sadly got another ear infection this week. But other than a little fussiness and snuggles, you wouldn’t know. 

She is recovering well and we had a great week despite a little sickies.