I’m Back! (+ my depression relapse story)

It feels funny to write “I’m back” after only publishing 2, maybe 3, blog posts…but, here I am! Did you miss me? Thea, Alex and I shared the stomach bug (sharing is NOT caring in this situation) and it was AWFUL…hence why I was gone. Thankfully, we are all back to “normal” now…it’s good to be back to the blog!

To those of you who follow me on Facebook, you know I recently struggled with a medication “change” (or a depression relapse as I like to call it)…to those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, let me explain…

2-ish months into motherhood I began realizing that I wasn’t just experiencing the “baby blues” and something was seriously wrong. Alex noticed it much sooner (i.e. 2 weeks postpartum when I couldn’t stop crying after Thea spit-up or looked at me the wrong way), but I didn’t want to admit he was right, nor did I was to slap a “postpartum depression” stigma sticker on my forehead. I was literally convincing myself that what I was experiencing was normal and I would be fine.

Spoiler alert: it was NOT normal and I was NOT okay.

I sucked up my pride and I went to my PCP and he recommended a low-dose antidepressant…was I opposed to having to medically help my brain chemical imbalance? No. Was I angry at myself for waiting so long to seek help? Yes. I said yes and I gave it a shot…4 weeks later I still felt the same depression-like symptoms and at this point, I had convinced myself (even more) that I was not made out for motherhood, and I was failing at everything. So, I dragged my butt back to my PCP, and we upped the dose. Guess what? THAT was the magical moment and that is when I started feeling better (not perfect, but better).

I rode this “train” for the last 8 months or so. I still had my good days, and my not-so-good days, but generally I was a LOT better. I felt so much better that I decided I didn’t want to rely on medication to make me feel “normal” anymore…with the guidance and support from my PCP, I stopped my antidepressants…cold turkey…and this is what happened:

Note: I am NOT a healthcare provider in ANY way, shape or form. PLEASE consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions regarding medication changes.

Week 1: I was cool as a cucumber. I was medication-free, I lost 10 pounds (seriously) and I was feeling like I could conquer the world.

Week 2: I started to notice things were bothering me more than they were in the past 7-8 months. I was getting extremely anxious, again, and I had very little patience. I sucked it up to the change of weather and carried on.

Week 3: The week 2 symptoms progressively got worse, I didn’t want to leave my house, I didn’t want to do anything while I was home besides lay in bed and watch TV. Which, is pretty impossible with an almost-toddler, but you get where I’m going.

Week 4: I read another blog post regarding depression relapse, and the fact that it is a very real thing, took myself back to my PCP, explained my symptoms and what I was thinking/feeling and back on my medications I went.

I was SO incredibly angry…I was angry at the world and I was angry at myself. WHY couldn’t I be back to normal without my medication? WHY couldn’t I function like a “normal” human being? WHY couldn’t I feel like every ‘happy’ Facebook, stay-at-home, blog-Mom that I see and read about constantly?

It was not my time, yet…THAT’S why.

Maybe, to you who are reading this, it was your time…it was your time to be medication-free, to feel like yourself again, to say ‘F*** you’ to whatever has ailed you…and for that, I am so incredibly happy for you. We will all have our time, and it just wasn’t mine quite yet.

Always remember, you’re never alone, Mama!

XOXO,

Megan

Let it Go, Let it Go, Can’t Hold It Back Anymoreeee

Yes, I’m a real-life Disney fan, thanks for asking…but, for real…a huge part of “learning how to be a parent” has also been “learning how to let it go”, with some help from Disney movies and Anna/Elsa, for sure.

I’m an introverted perfectionist, and it’s not as uncommon as you might think. Often times, individuals like myself (i.e. introverted perfectionists) will feel like what they’ve done is never good enough (no matter how much praise they may or may not receive) and will feel worry that they’re consistently disappointing others.

Now, throw a baby in the mix.

Ha. Ha. Ha. You’re laughing too, right?

The first week, two weeks, heck, even two months, home with Thea felt like a complete blur. I can’t tell you how many times I panicked that I was doing something wrong (even though I had encouragement and support telling me I was doing a good job).

I worried that I wasn’t being a good enough Mom…I was crying ALL of the time. Thea wouldn’t eat right…crying. Thea wouldn’t sleep…crying. Alex breathed the wrong way…crying. Thea was finally sleeping…crying. You see where I’m going? For me, worry and crying went together like peanut butter and jelly. Inseparable.

I also worried that I was letting others down, by not being a good enough Mom. I doubted myself and my abilities SO much that I started to doubt that anyone could possibly think I was a good enough parent. Ya know how people say that new Mom’s automatically have a maternal instinct that “kicks in”? I’m still convinced that mine was broken.

So, you’re probably wondering how I finally got over the fear, the crying, the worry and how I eventually just let it all go. Or, maybe you’re not.

I stopped being so hard on myself. That’s it…

I know, easier said than done…but, hear me out.

I read a lot of new Mom, self-help books. I was able to connect with these strangers over text written in a book. I joined new Mom Facebook groups (be careful…there are a lot of not-so-good ones out there). Most importantly, I reconnected with my new Mom friends, who also had babies in late Fall/early Winter.

I simply stopped worrying that I was doing it all wrong, because who really knows what is the right way? I mean, is there even a right way to parent?

Suddenly, if Thea wouldn’t eat “right”, I’d give her a couple of minutes and try again. If Thea wouldn’t sleep “right”, I’d put her in her crib or pack ‘n play, walk away, and try again. If Alex wouldn’t breathe right…well…I’d just walk away. I let go of the perfectionist and the eagerness to do it all “right”.

Most importantly, I learned that a stressed Mom = stressed baby. Which is still something I remind myself of to this day…almost an entire year later.

Always remember…you’re never alone!

XOXO,

Megan

Mama’s, if I Could Give You One Piece of Advice…

“Sleep while the baby sleeps” was by far the biggest piece of advice I received throughout my entire (noticeable) pregnancy. If that was the case, I would have also eaten when the baby ate and washed the dishes when the baby washed the dishes. Right?

C’mon folks…it’s 2019, let’s start sharing more realistic, heart-to-heart, truthful advice with one another. We don’t need to keep hearing “sleep when the baby sleeps” and “it goes by so fast”…we, as Mama’s in 2019, know this or have heard it enough.

I know what you’re thinking, all you pregnant Mama’s currently reading this…you don’t need (or want) another piece of advice. I can literally *hear* you thinking that in your head right now. So, here is your opportunity to either keep reading OR leave and read my previous (or next) post. Thanks for the support!

My one and only piece of advice that I now give to all new and expecting Mama’s I encounter is to take ALL of the time you need…in every aspect. You need to take a longer shower? DO IT. You need to go to Starbucks by yourself, without the baby, once you’re allowed to drive again post-delivery? DO IT. You need longer then the standard 6-week maternity leave from work? DO IT. See where I’m going here?

Exactly 4-1/2 weeks postpartum, I posted on Facebook: “This time next week I’ll be prepping to go back to work. Today? Snuggles.”

No one, that I can remember, gave me this piece of advice while I was pregnant or shortly after delivery. I spent my short 5-1/2 weeks home post-delivery trying to learn how to be a Mom, how to survive on limited amounts of sleep and how to try and maintain a “normal” lifestyle with a newborn.

I was 5-1/2 weeks post-delivery when I went back to work. FIVE AND A HALF WEEKS. Trust me, I absolutely adored my job, and if you asked me 12 months ago, I would have told you: “of course I’m still working there!” (spoiler alert: I’m no longer working there, but that’s another story for another time).

Any-who, 5-1/2 weeks. You’re probably thinking to yourself “standard, legal (blah-blah-blah) maternity week grants you 6-weeks”. You’re right! However, it is per the companies discretion whether that 6-weeks is from the last day you worked BEFORE your maternity leave started or 6-weeks from the day your child is born. Read your employee handbooks, folks.

I was 38+4 days and I had a pre-natal OB-GYN appointment to check my relatively high blood pressure and left the appointment with a “strict” warning that this were to be my last day of work pre-baby unless I wanted to deliver THAT day. (Did you read my previous post? That was NOT going to happen). I went back to work after my appointment, gave my “maternity leave notice” (as if everyone didn’t know I was very much pregnant), set my ‘out of office’, cleaned my desk and left. FAST FORWARD. Then I returned…groggy, tired and probably kind-of smelly (sorry guys), 5-1/2 weeks later.

First Day Back to Work “selfie” (at the end of the day)…we had made it!

I don’t ever want to blame MY postpartum journey on a person, or an event, but I strongly feel that if I took more time to figure out motherhood, to really enjoy my brand new baby, to spend more time with my husband, to not have to worry about the meetings, workload and over-pouring emails, my healing would have been easier. Not perfect…but easier.

So, Mama’s (and Dad’s, you guys are important, too)…please, take as much time as you need. Don’t rush these precious moments. Your desk, your office and your coworkers can all wait…but, your baby? Your baby is growing up faster than you could ever imagine! (Remember that useless “advice” from above? There ya go!).

Always remember…you’re never alone!

XOXO,

Megan

Hi, I’m Megan

“I can do this…I can do this…I can do this…I can absolutely NOT do this…HELP!” These were the words and thoughts going through my head in early-October 2018. I was approximately 8 weeks away from my due date with our daughter, Thea, when fear, anxiety and self-doubt hit me like a ton of bricks.

I began doubting everything I had (thought) I’d prepared for. Labor and delivery wouldn’t be THAT bad…right? WRONG. Anything I could possibly think of that could go wrong, would have gone wrong. The epidural wasn’t going to work…then, said epidural, was going to leave me paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of my life…I was going to poop myself on the hospital bed and THAT was not an option in my book. Absolutely NOT. These were all continuations of the “I can absolutely NOT do this” thought process.

Then, I found a blogger by the name of Amber (go check her and her blogs out here)…she is a true inspiration, and a big part of the reason I made the choice I did. In September 2018, she published a blog post about choosing an elective c-section for tokophobia. I read her post and realized that we must have been twins separated at birth…there was no possible way that there was someone else out there experiencing the same thoughts and fears that I was. Well, surprise, there was!

I printed our her entire blog post (totaling 6-7 pages, printed) and brought it with me to my next prenatal OB-GYN appointment. I needed physical, solid “proof” that I wasn’t completely crazy…and, guess what? The very first doctor I brought this idea to thought I was absolutely NUTS for even bringing up the idea. Guess what (again)? That was the last time I saw that doctor. I knew I wasn’t crazy, and I wasn’t going to take an immediate, unexplained “no” as an answer.

I had another appointment that following week (mind you, we’re now 7-ish weeks to my due date) and I proposed the idea, again, to another doctor…my routine doctor (thank goodness for her). Yup, you guessed it…guess what? She DIDN’T think I was crazy! I finally had validation that my thoughts and fears weren’t uncommon, and there was going to be a way to ease them.

By the end of that week, my elective, primary cesarian section was on the schedule for Wednesday, November 21, 2018…the day before Thanksgiving!

THIS is where my interest, and motivation, to start my own blog happened. I wanted to share my story past my friends, family and Facebook page. I wanted to scream it from the mountaintops (but was too afraid to do that) so a blog is close, right?

From November 21, 2018 to today (October 5, 2019) a LOT has happened. Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually…and I want to share that with you.

Thanks for stopping by. Your support means the world to me. I hope you enjoy my posts just as much as I’ve enjoyed living them. And always remember…

You’re never alone!

XOXO,

Megan