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.

And They’ll Know We are Mothers by Our Guilt

My father came to me with an idea when I started The Lorix Chronicles.

“You should write about natural health and cloth diapers and that sort of thing.”

My mind flashed back to two years ago, when my daughter was a year and a half. I wanted to start a blog called Informed and Aware, about cloth diapers,vaccinations,breastfeeding and the many choices we have as parents. I was going to help people become informed…and aware. Even with the load of parenting magazines and books about parenting, I thought parents were uninformed and unaware.

“Dad, there are a lot of blogs and websites like that already. I think I’ll just stick to what I’ve been writing.”

“But you use cloth diapers and homeopathic medicines and all of that. I think people would want to know more about it.”

“No, Dad. Parents get that stuff shoved down their throats all the time. They don’t need more of it.”

What I meant to say was “I don’t need more of it.” I’ve had enough. More

Sleep Deprived and Over the Edge

From last August until present, Milo has not been sleeping well and, therefore, neither have I. Up until last October, he never had a schedule or routine. Taking advice from a friend in my postpartum support group, I read the book The Baby Whisperer Solves all Your Problems, written by a British woman named Tracy Hogg. The author’s philosophy is to teach your baby to put himself to sleep. You don’t let him cry it out, but you don’t rock or hold or nurse him until he falls asleep in your arms. I liked that she took a middle-of-the-road approach, so I decided to try it.

I put him on a schedule in order to teach him how to nap during the day and sleep during the night, but I didn’t stick to the Baby Whisperer’s philosophy, which may be why he’s not sleeping through the night (she guarantees it works!). I don’t have the patience to pick-up and put-down my child for an hour while he cries. During the middle of the night. Multiple times. For several nights (two weeks, maximum!). I have learned some ways to get him back to sleep More

Not a Happy Camper

This past July, my husband Stewart and I went camping with our three-year old daughter Beatrix and then four-month old son Milo. We had planned the trip before Milo was born, figuring four months was just old enough to be out of the delicate newborn stage and just young enough that he wouldn’t be crawling and getting into anything. When Milo was born, I experienced postpartum depression and anxiety (commonly referred to as PPD). I had PPD with Beatrix, so I was looking for the symptoms when my son was born. Before I even left the hospital with him the nurse had me answer a questionnaire which put me at high risk for a perinatal mood disorder.

Very shortly after giving birth I began feeling anxious, depressed and angry. I had trouble bonding with my son and questioned why I ever became a mother, let alone for a second time! I gathered hope from the fact that I had gone through this before and had come out the other side stronger and better educated about PPD. Four months later, though I did have some frustrating days, I felt like I was handling things well enough to take the trip.

I was nervous about camping, but still excited. We were going to Wilderness State Park, a campground in the northern tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula – the same place where I camped when I was younger. I had great plans for us. More

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