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    My Dearest Daughter: Saying Goodbye to Gender Disappointment

    My Dearest Daughter, Though I’ve never actually met you, you have always a part of me: a dream, a desire, a hope. Until today. Today I say goodbye to the dream that was you in order to make room for other dreams. For as long as I can remember I dreamed about hearing ‘it’s a […]

  • Our Boys Are Watching Too

    Our Sons Are Watching Too

    This past winter I had the privilege of attending a conference called “Shine” where the main speaker was the talented pastor and author, Bo Stern. Recently Bo also wrote a blog post discussing one of the main points that she spoke of at the conference. To summarize, both were about the shame that surrounds women and […]

  • Summer Themes

    Summer Vacation Weekly Themes

    I’ve had some interest in my “themed” summer so I thought I would take the time to type it out as it’s currently in scribble form on my notepad at home as a compilation of ideas and outlines that I continue to add to. Depending on where you live you may have more or less weeks than […]

  • That Parent 1

    You’re only “that parent” to yourself

    It was lunch hour in the middle of a very large metropolitan Red Robin that was way over capacity. We had 4 starving children and we were pushing nap after 2 very full days visiting the Portland Zoo and Ikea during Spring Break. The wait would be long but because we knew it would be […]

  • Advice for New Dads

    26 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Being a New Dad

    If you missed last week’s posts about the  25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy,  the 25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth, and the 25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know about Postpartum I suggest starting there. I’ve compiled some advice from several veteran dads and their wives about what soon to be […]

  • New Dads and the Postpartum Period

    The First Few Weeks After Birth: What New Dads Need To Know

    If you missed the following advice for new dads: 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, and the 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Birth I suggest starting there. Once you bring your baby home from the hospital you and your spouse are on your own. No more nurses, no more doctors. On. […]

  • Advice for Dads about Birth

    25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth

    If you missed yesterday’s post about the 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, I suggest starting there. After waiting 9 months the time is finally here! Birth. Some fear it. Some are excited for it. Or, maybe you’re feeling a little of both? Totally normal. Birth is incredible. What the human body […]

  • Advice for New Dads

    25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy

    First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…uh, what? Oftentimes soon to be dads (and moms alike) don’t know the first thing when it comes to pregnancy, birth and the weeks following birth. The very thought of having a baby can be scary and overwhelming. Don’t worry, with the help of several veteran dads and […]

  • Dating Kids

    Dating Your Kids: 10 Fresh Date Ideas to Get You Started

    All too often I have gotten to the end of the day and stopped to realize that I was never fully present with my children. Sure I was there in the flesh. But my mind was constantly multitasking: making mental lists of everything I needed to add to my to-do list for the next day […]

  • Brothers

    Redefining family after baby gender disappointment

    They sit across from me waiting anxiously, eager to play cars, trains, superheroes, or ninja turtles. Boys. My destiny. I’m learning to embrace this. Honestly, it hasn’t come easily. My parent’s closet still has my American Girl Doll neatly packed waiting for my daughter to play with. There also sits my dollhouse my grandfather made […]

Sep
29

10 Things To Help With Postpartum Depression

ppd pic

As I said in my transparent look of Postpartum Depression I was determined with our second baby to do all I could to help prevent PPD the second time around.

Here are some of the things I learned…

1. Ask (or accept offers) for help.  This is the number one piece of advice I can give. If someone offers to make you a meal, get their phone number and call them. You do not need to do everything. Trust me, you will appreciate not having to think about what to make for dinner. Actually, start a mealtrain! That way you can direct people to sign up for a specific day to bring you a meal and you don’t need to worry about it. If someone offers to come clean you house…TAKE THEM UP ON IT. You might need to allow them to hold your baby for a few when they’re all done, but it’s so worth it. You won’t be able to do it all yourself, and it’s important to know that’s okay.

2. Surround yourself with other parents. Find a go-to person for all those parenting questions; someone you can call when you need advice, need to know if you’re acting sane, need an ear to listen and let you know that what you’re experiencing is perfectly normal…or not.

3. Identify potential triggers. E.g. I knew if I didn’t find out ahead of time what we were having I had the potential to feel depression (especially with the surge of post baby hormones) if we had another boy. I wanted to feel elated at his birth that we were adding another baby to the family. See Baby Gender Disappointment. For some it might be having an overbearing parent, or parent in law, that might have the potential to hang around too much. Or it could be knowing you’ll feel too stressed if the house isn’t immaculate. Or for others still it might be something else entirely. The important thing is to address it beforehand (as much as possible…you won’t know every potential trigger) and have a plan.

4. Ask those closest to you to monitor how you’re feeling/acting. It’s normal to be weepy and emotional. But if you start to feel like it’s going beyond that, take it seriously. If you’re like me and don’t realize how bad it is while you’re in it, make sure you let your spouse and/or friends/family know it’s okay to suggest help.

5. Get out and about. Go to coffee with a friend, go shopping, go to dinner, go for a walk. Whatever it is, just get out. If you have a baby that allows you to get out with him/her, then by all means, do. But, if you have a baby like my first, try to find outings that are easier to manage a crying baby. Getting out for a walk, or exercise in general (nothing strenuous for the first 6 weeks) can help produce endorphins which help your overall sense of well-being.

6 Don’t expect everything to go according to your plan. Life is unpredictable and babies are, well, babies. Just when you think you have them figured out, they throw you a curve ball. Your baby may not sleep, you may struggle in ways you didn’t realize, your baby may

7. Sleep. Okay, remember how I said I hated (understatement) when people told me to do that? Well, I hated it because inevitably whenever I would lay down for a nap my son would wake up just as I was dosing off (It would take me 30 minutes to fall asleep which is exactly when he would wake up). However, there is truth in the statement that you should sleep. Only what I want to suggest is sleep even when your baby is awake. What I mean by that is if you are one whose child does not sleep, take up one of those people on their offer to help and have them watch your baby (yes, even if your baby is awake) so you can get caught up on sleep. I had my son at 3:42 am, the doctors and guests didn’t leave until after 5:45 am, and the pediatrician came in to do the circ at 7:00 am. Guests started pouring back in around 8:00 am…should I continue? Needless to say, we were up for basically 40 hours straight. It’s a hard thing to catch up on. And then to have a child that didn’t sleep made it that much harder. In hindsight I wish I had asked someone (other than my husband because he was so tired too) to watch our son and only wake me for nursing…I could have missed one day of his life instead of weeks. Would it have helped? I don’t know, but I sure wouldn’t have been as exhausted while I was depressed. Fortunately, I was blessed with a 2nd child that slept 20 hours a day for the first few months. While you’re still in the hospital, don’t be afraid to send the baby out with the nurses so you can get some sleep. It doesn’t make you a bad parent, and it doesn’t mean you love your child any less. If your baby is anything like mine was, it may be the only sleep you’ll have for awhile and it’s so important for your recovery to rest. This will be especially true if you have the baby in the middle of the night…you’ll need to get caught up on sleep!

8. Make sure you’re getting your Omega-3s. I didn’t try this one, but a lot of the reading I’ve done has shown me there is some research backing this up. Interesting thought. 

9. If postpartum depression does happen to you, know that you are not aloneYou are not the first, you will not be the last. Seek out help.

10. Talk with your Doctor. If you suspect (or a loved one) that you’re suffering from PPD make sure to talk with your Doctor. It may be necessary to be on medication.

 

Please know that since I am not a Doctor any “advice” I suggest should be run by a Doctor first. 

Readers: I hope you’ve found something to either carry with yourself, or pass along to a friend. Please do! It’s so important to know you’re not alone. Anyone else have any tips to add? What did you do to help get rid of, or prevent postpartum?

Sep
28

Postpartum Depression: a transparent view

When you’re pregnant your Doctor may speak of Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression. Baby Blues affect 70% of women following birth. Most women will admit to being weepy after having baby, or being more emotional. Postpartum depression affects 10-15% of women after birth. Strangely, you don’t hear much from those 10%. Oh sure, you hear it referenced when you’re pregnant, usually by your doctor, or there have been some celebrities that have shed some light on it, but more often than not it gets dismissed as it will never happen to me.

Exactly my words; it will never happen to me. I had always wanted to be a mommy. When I was 10 I got my first babysitting job. I then spent the next 14 years in childcare in some fashion; babysitter, daycare, nanny. I was pretty darn good; I usually had a waiting list for Friday nights, and had families offer to pay more just to ensure I would remain theirs. I knew how to hold, clothe, bathe, rock, burp, sing to, and cuddle babies. I had been on trips with families as a nanny and I had stayed days at a time with families as a nanny. Calm a screaming baby? You got it. Change the nastiest of all nasties? Done. So, you can see why I thought I would I would be a natural pro at motherhood and handle it with ease and grace.

I was not prepared for the sledge hammer that hit me over the head after my first son was born.

I understand why not very many people talk about it.  No one wants to admit wanting nothing to do with their brand new baby. No one wants to admit they were filled with regret. No one wants to admit spending days crying, laying on a bed in complete exhaustion wondering if they made a mistake. A.terrible.mistake. Having a brand new baby at home is supposed to be incredible. You’re supposed to be filling out birth announcements, swooning over your baby, and taking picture after picture (I think I took 2 pictures in the first 5 weeks.)

Leading up to and immediately following the birth of our son we were in the middle of chaos. As is my style, I had taken on too much. My husband was remodeling our house so we were living with my parents and brother; 5 adults, 4 dogs, and a brand new baby all in their house (not having a place to nest was hard but figuring out nursing with my step dad and brother over my shoulder was harder). My sister-in-law was getting married 4 days later and I was devastated that I couldn’t appropriately be a part of her wedding (We missed the rehearsal because we were back at the pediatrician’s office getting our son’s infection looked at. I wasn’t able to help with any of the setup or other matron of honory things. I was so exhausted after the ceremony that I had to duck out of the reception early.). Christmas was a week after his birth.  I didn’t have a network of mommy friends; I knew very few moms my age and wasn’t very close with the ones I did know. And, I went from having a lot of attention when I was pregnant to feeling very alone, very isolated afterwards.

In addition to all the events that were going on, I was afraid to ask for help. I thought I should be able to handle it all myself; I thought I should be able to cook, clean, take care of our son, be a great wife, and nurse every 2 hours for an hour (yes, that is really how long it would take him and if I didn’t oblige, he would be screaming 20 minutes later), be a great sister in law, and hand make all our Christmas gifts. Boy was I wrong. I was frustrated that I wasn’t doing it all. My mom was cooking the meals and cleaning while we lived there, I was hardly taking care of our son, I was trying my hardest to please everyone, and I felt like I was failing…miserably.

The tears flowed about as often as my milk. I felt like I was being weighed down by a boulder; like I was being crushed. I longed for a connection with our son and was upset with myself that I didn’t feel one. And to top it all off, our son didn’t sleep. I would always get angry extremely pissed when someone would say sleep when your baby sleeps. Well, that’s great for someone that easily takes naps and has a baby that sleeps for more than 30 minutes at a time. You  could literally set the timer for 30 minutes and my son would be up. Nothing, no amount of nannying or childcare, could have prepared me for that level of exhaustion.

Luckily, my depression only lasted for about 6 weeks. The. Longest. Six. Weeks. Of. My. Life. However, for some moms this lasts months. Luckily, I never wanted to hurt my child. Some moms with severe postpartum depression do. Others want to hurt themselves thinking their baby and family would be better without them. Everyone’s experience with PPD can be different. Some more extreme and severe than others. I thought what I was experiencing was just the baby blues; I didn’t realize how depressed I was though until I got out of it.

I don’t know what happened but one day I just woke up and felt better. Was he sleeping better? No. Was I sleeping better? Not really. Could it have been that we were finally settled in to our own place? Maybe. Could it have been that the chaos had subsided? Maybe. Whatever it was, the cloud lifted. I immediately felt the connection with my son that I so longed for…like he and I were meant to be. Did I cry still? Sure. I still do. But for entirely different reasons. And that’s okay. I’m a mom.

And for the record, I may have known how to take care of a baby based off of all my experience nannying and I may have felt like I loved those kids I nannied for like they were my own, but nothing prepared me for the love of being a parent (after the postpartum depression lifted).

In another post I will be sharing how to help someone that is affected with Postpartum Depression.

Sep
21

Baby Gender Disappointment

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Long-ing (noun): a prolonged, persistent yearning or unfulfilled desire or need, especially one that cannot be fulfilled.

Baby gender disappointment. This is not something I am proud of. However, I feel it’s one of those unspoken things of motherhood. Therefore, I am willing to be transparent for a moment and share my heart. The reason this is often unspoken?  Because there are so many women that struggle to have a baby…any baby. There are so many people that say “just be happy you have 2 healthy kids.” Truth be told, I am grateful I have 2 happy kids, I love both of my boys equally, with all my heart. But why do I always feel I need to apologize for wanting a girl? Why do I feel I need to apologize for being disappointed we were having another baby boy?

When my husband and I found out I was pregnant the first time we didn’t care what gender the baby was. We found out early that it was a he? Ecstatic.
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Jul
2

Gender Reveal

Just over a week ago we had the baby’s big ultrasound. It had been scheduled for a few days later but we bumped it up as a surprise. Beforehand we did a lot of talk about how we don’t get to choose what baby is and that God has the perfect sibling picked out. Regardless, we were all excited and had in our heads what baby’s gender is. As the boys were referring to it…Kadyn, Ryan and I were all on “team pink” and Kai was on “team blue.” The boys came to the ultrasound with us and did a fantastic job of sitting still. Kadyn watched with much excitement while Kai was quite content looking up every now and then while he was coloring.
Gender Reveal

Outfit Selection: It was so fun to include the older brothers in the process of the Gender Reveal. We had the ultrasound tech put the gender in an envelope (we hadn’t seen the gender yet!) and we all marched down to the Carter’s Outlet after the ultrasound and the older brothers got to each pick out a girl outfit and a boy outfit. The outfit choice for the gender they thought baby was were easy. They weren’t too interested in picking something from the other gender, but we insisted that they would be disappointed if their choice wasn’t in the box.

Gender Reveal

The box. Inside holds the outfit for the gender of baby #3. At this point we had NO idea what was inside. We had taken all 4 of the boy’s outfit selections (1 girl outfit and 1 boy outfit from each of the older brothers) and brought it up to the cashier. We handed her the envelope with the gender written inside and our credit card and asked for her to purchase the correct gender outfits and put them inside the box.

 

Gender Reveal

 

 

Family dinner for reveal! Immediately following Carter’s we went to a family dinner. We rarely go out to eat so this was at treat in and of itself. I don’t know how we contained our excitement long enough to make it through until dessert but we did. While we were waiting for dessert to come the older brothers opened the box.  

 

It’s a BOY! Boy #3 on his way.Gender Reveal
Kai couldn’t have been any more excited. Kadyn was disappointed at first but primarily because he wasn’t right. Although he did say a few days later “Mommy, we really need a sister. I’m happy and all that we’re going to have another brother…but can we keep having brothers until we get a sister too?” He was all too thrilled to share all his toys with “all the brothers” just so he could have a sister in the mix.

And p.s. the most important part is baby looks healthy!