Because it’s Been a While

Yes, I’ve been writing.  Just not here.  Please forgive me.  The thing is, The Lorix Chronicles began from my need to get a lot of crud out of my head.  I hoped it would help at least one other person who was dealing with postpartum depression or just the regular trials of motherhood.  It’s helped me, and, I assume from the positive feedback I’ve received, that’s it’s helped others (and is still helping others) as well.

Which is why I feel embarrassed that I haven’t posted for about six months or so.  Oops.

Anyway, this is not an “important” post, but I did want to update the few of you who read The Lorix Chronicles.  I’m doing well.  My kids are great, I enjoy being a mom now, and I feel about as “normal” as I ever have – maybe even more so.  I told my aunt this morning that I really love my medication.  I may wean off of it at some point, but a conversation with my psychiatrist helped me see that the goal is not to wean off medication – the goal is to feel normal.  I’m there now, and I’m able to enjoy parts of  my life that I haven’t in a long time.  That makes me happy.

So, that’s my update.  Now, for your viewing pleasure, a few random photos from my lovely daughter, Beatrix.

Baby in a basket (don't worry, it's not a real baby)

She's really into words right now - though she was pretty sure this said "Subaru"

One of her "studio" pictures - she poses her stuffed animals for a photo shoot

Her brother trying to feed a cracker to the camera

I think this was another posed picture - a mom and baby, perhaps?

We ate lunch today at a restaurant where you can draw on the tables. Beatrix was being, shall we say, not so great. We were eating with my aunt and uncle and she kept griping "We don't even know these people. Why are they sitting with us?" I occupied her by letting her choose colors for me to draw her a castle. See, a year ago, I would've just ordered another Bloody Mary. Now I'm able to deal with the crankiness. Thank you, Zoloft. (Of course, the one Bloody Mary I did have was delicious).

So that’s that.  I’ll try to write some more soon.  Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I didn’t know if I could ever say this (and actually mean it), but I am so thankful to be a mom to my two awesome children.

Birth Stories: Making Peace

Disclaimer: This post goes into some detail about my children’s births. You have been forewarned.

Everyone who has ever given birth has a birth story. Women through the ages have sat down and shared this story with friends and family, sisters and daughters. Now, mothers are encouraged to write down everything they can remember about the birth of their child(ren). It’s a lovely idea – to be able to share this story with your child when he or she is older. I wanted to write one after I had Beatrix, but I was too busy to finish it. My doula, Holly, was kind enough to type a few pages about the events of the birth, and for that I am thankful.

Holly also wrote Milo’s birth story. Once again I wanted to write my own version, but never seemed to find the time. This week I found myself writing both of my children’s birth stories.

My labors and deliveries were “normal,” yet not what I expected at all. More

Four Years with my Amazing Daughter

Today is Beatrix’s 4th Birthday. The memories of her birth and the months following, while somewhat fuzzy, are still powerful.

Like so many mothers, I thought I would feel an instant bond the minute she was born. Instead I was stricken with a mix of wonderment and fear. It was as if someone had handed me a gift and said, “You take it, I have no idea what it does.”

When Stewart and I arrived home from the hospital two days after she was born, we set her in the middle of the living room floor, still in her car seat, and looked at each other.

“So…what do we do now?” Stewart asked. More

Murky Waters

 

This past Saturday Beatrix and I, along with my mom and Milo in the stroller, walked 2.4 miles for a fundraiser called Walk for Water. It was organized by 20 Liters, a non-profit that helps raise money to supply water filters for people living in Rwanda. 

It was cold and rainy, and I had forgotten Beatrix’s hat, but I asked her to walk anyway. We first had to walk 1.2 miles to a drain pipe leading to a ditch at the side of a road, where we would fill empty bottles with dirty water, then walk 1.2 miles back to the starting point where that water would be filtered. 

Along the walk route there were signs that 20 Liters had posted, with alarming facts about access to clean water.

“Did you know,” I asked Beatrix as we walked with a crowd of 500 down the sidewalk, “that one out of every eight people in our world don’t have clean water? That means that there are a lot of people who don’t get to drink clean water like we do.”

“Mom,” Beatrix whined, “I’m getting tired.” We had walked about three-quarters of a mile.

“I know, but I want you to try to keep going. I think it must be very hard for the boys and girls in Rwanda too, but this is something they have to do every day.” I didn’t want to make her feel guilty, but I did want to use this as an opportunity to teach empathy, something even I still struggle to learn.

“You’re doing a great job,” my mom said, giving the stroller to me and taking Beatrix by the hand. “Why don’t we skip? That will be fun.”

We passed another sign.

“Wow, Beatrix, those jerry cans – ” I pointed to one of the yellow 20 liter jugs someone was carrying, “those are what moms in Rwanda use to carry their water. One of those weighs forty-four pounds. That’s more than you weigh!”

“Whoah,” Beatrix said with awe.

There were more signs along the path, which Mom and I read silently to ourselves.

“Dirty water kills more people than all forms of violence including war.” “Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.”

“Should I read this to her?” Mom asked, pointing to the sign that read “Diarrhea kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.”

“Yes,” I replied. “I think she needs to know so she understands why we’re doing this.” But how do we explain that to a child?

Beatrix understood death, More

One Year

Today is Milo’s first birthday. This past year has been wonderful and exciting, full of firsts for him: sitting up, eating solid foods, crawling, walking, first tooth, and even his first words. Yes, “fff, fff!” counts as a first word, especially since he says it any time he sees a dog (“woof, woof!”). I love watching my son grow and learn.

There are many parents who love the baby stage. I used to think that’s how I would feel, but I was wrong. Yes, I’ll miss the feeling of nuzzling my newborn. I’ll miss the tiny clothes and socks, and the toothless grins he spoiled me with. I will miss those moments that were precious and fleeting. Even so, I’ve been waiting for this birthday for some time. More

The Cloud is Lifting

Just last night, as I was rocking Milo to sleep, a thought tiptoed through my brain.

I wonder if I should have another baby. I’m good at this.

Wait. What?

The thought skittered away almost as quickly as it came. I don’t want another child, at least not right now. Stewart got a vasectomy last summer, and we both agreed if we wanted more children and were financially able to do so, we would adopt.

So, why did I have that thought? It may have had something to do with the warmth of Milo against my chest, his soft breaths intermingling with mine, while Beatrix slept in her bed next to the rocking chair, snuggled beneath her sleeping bag, two blankets, stuffed animals and dolls. The more probable reason, however, is because I’m finally breaking through this cloud of despair called Postpartum Depression and beginning to love my life.

Yes, that’s right, I’m on the other side now, or at least I’m getting close.

It’s at this time I start to wonder why it’s been so hard for me. Why wasn’t I able to care for my children like I wanted? Why couldn’t I clean my house or get dressed every day? When Milo was born, I wondered why it was so hard for me to take care of Beatrix when she was a newborn. She slept most of the day and there was only one of her!

I don’t ponder these questions for too long. The answer is clear. Postpartum Depression is an illness. It is not something I chose. I could not “snap out of it.” The loss of control over my own thoughts was the scariest and most debilitating part. I experienced anger, depression, irritability, apathy and anxiety – sometimes all in one day.

For those who are new to this blog, Postpartum Depression, or PPD, is the common term used for what is more accurately described as Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders. PPD is only one form of this illness, as it can can manifest in so many ways. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders include Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression, Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, as well as Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Postpartum Psychosis. Some women experience more than one of these disorders.

I imagine, like any mental illness, it is difficult to understand for those who have never experienced it. One of my goals with this blog is to help people know what it’s like to have PPD, and to help other moms suffering with PPD to feel less alone.

I have been working on a post about what it’s been like for me, but realized it’s much too long to be a single post, so I will break it into two or three parts. I am scared to put it out there, and I also feel empowered because of it. It’s an honest, unfiltered account of some of my scariest and darkest experiences, much of which I haven’t shared with anyone beyond my husband, therapist, support group and close family and friends.

I’m ready to share this part of my story now. I’m so thankful to have writing as an outlet for me. I hope that others suffering will find a healthy outlet as well, and I hope that those reading who have never experienced PPD will gain a better understanding of this illness.

I wanted to post something sooner, but life got in the way.   Sorry about that!

Stay tuned…more posts to come.

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