Posted in All, Musings

That time I quit quitting

Well friends, it probably goes without saying but… My tits hurt.

I was gonna stop pumping. But then that mom guilt came over me again. If I have milk to give them, why not give them the milk? They caught up in size real fast, and they’re learning like crazy. What if that’s all cuz of the milk? It feels like I’d be robbing them to stop giving it to them. Dave keeps telling me that they’ll be fine on formula, and I know that.. But that’s not really the point. Plenty of women want to give their babies breast milk and can’t. I’m fortunate enough to have an abundant supply. I feel like I owe it to the babies to keep pumping. And all of those moms. Especially my dear friend Lauren, who died trying to give her baby breast milk. (Fucking Domperidone…)

Anyways… For the last week I have been in tremendous pain. There was a couple days where pumping kinda hurt, and my nipples were getting a bit chapped. I figured that was just a temporary thing, and that my tits would be back up to pumping shape in no time. I went from doing two 25 to 30 minute pumps a day to sometimes pumping just once a day for 20ish minutes. It didn’t seem like it was that big of a difference but.. Gat damn! So I started pumping for the 25 to 30 minutes again, twice a day, and as I said the nips were getting a bit sore. I ignored this sign, and about five days ago I pulled my pump cups off to reveal a horrific sight. My left nipple had a few medium-sized blebs on it but my right nipple literally looked like it had a small raspberry on the end. I almost had a panic attack! I didn’t know how the fuck to deal with it, but I knew I had to do it soon because I had to pump again in the evening.

Disclaimer: If you’re squeamish – Skip the next paragraph.

So I put some epsom salts and warm water in a shot glass and soaked my poor nip in that for 20 or so minutes. Then I had to pop it. It was mostly milk and pus, with a bit of blood (much less than I thought.) I attacked the blebs on my other nipple as well, which was much less dramatic.

All week has been.. Uncomfortable to say the least. I still have to do my pumps but fuuuuck is it ever sore. What I should have been doing is more frequent pumps instead of longer pumps, especially after I destroyed my poor nipples. But I guess I’m stubborn. And since the raspberry showed up I’ve been scared to pump, so I just keep doing two a day. I put polysporin on my poor udders once I’m done. Luckily my tits themselves hurt less, and it’s mostly just the nipples. Hopefully it’ll be only a couple more days before pumping is back to normal.

For anyone reading this and thinking “what the fuck! Is this going to happen to me?!” Probably not. Unless you’re a dumbass, like me. Remember that old joke, “a man goes to the doctor and says, ‘it hurts when I go like this.’ So the doctor says, ‘so stop doing that.’ “ I have been defying doctors orders. It hurts, but I’m doing it anyways. According to my midwife, I was also pumping too long (for a long time, but that kind of evolved when I went from pumping eight times a day when the babies were first born to eventually pumping 30 minutes, twice a day.) I think the lesson here is basically to do what feels right, and don’t push it. I somehow was able to still get over a litre a day while pumping only twice. I’d gone down to 400mL to 700mL when I was slowing down, depending how many times I’d pumped that day. I’m now slowly getting back up above 800mL in the last couple days.

So yeah. Listen to your nipples. Or your heart, or whatever.

Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Epilogue

Well our time with the sleep consultant ended a few days ago, and while it’s a bit scary to be out on our own I have to say – I feel so much more confident in my role as a mom now that we’ve had her help us. I’ll probably be repeating a lot of the things I’ve said over the course of this sleep training set, but they’re worth repeating for sure.

So first off, I’d like to talk about our consultant Jessica with Happy Little Dreamers Sleep Consulting and the process we went through. I had posted on a local twin mom FB page asking how the moms had gotten their kids to stop co-sleeping. After some really useful responses (not… There were a bunch that were like “good luck! Our kids are 3 and STILL in our bed! Lolololol” wow, so helpful. I’m clearly pulling my hair out and asking for help…), there was a lady that said she’d gotten help from Jessica several times and she was of tremendous help over the course of the I think 18 months they’d had their twins. I’d literally never heard of a sleep consultant before, and I was stuck between thinking it was super bougie and California-style (read:unnecessary) or possibly the most helpful thing that could ever be. Turns out it’s probably a bit of both, but definitely more the latter.

As you likely know, I was dealing with some pretty intense lows in my postpartum anxiety and depression. I knew sleep training was a thing and that I had to get the kids on a routine, but anytime I tried I just got so overwhelmed. One of my issues has consistently been an inability to cope with my kids crying – which I know is silly, they’re babies. They cry. But still any time I tried to put them down and ignore them for x-amount of time, it just didn’t happen. And I knew I was teaching them bad habits by giving into their cries but in my head I had no other options. I had no idea what to do. So Dave and I had talked about it, and how much was going to be our limit on the cost. How much is getting our bed back worth to us? Our sanity? All of that. We have limited savings, and we’re trying really hard to get debt put away and a down payment on a house put together. Is it worth taking a chunk of that and putting it to something that could possibly not work?

Enter Jessica. She was really quick to respond and set up a consult with us to see if she could help us. We chatted on the phone for a bit, told her our story and what the kids were up to. She told us upfront what the costs would be – I expected it to be at least double what we were quoted. Basically there was a flat fee for two weeks of help, on the premise that both kids would be on the same schedule and only require the one routine. Once we established that we were interested in her help, we set up a video consult with her. It took about 90 minutes and we went through eeeeeverything. She had all of the questions for us; stuff that I wouldn’t have even thought about. We decided on a start date and she set to work, sending us a comprehensive routine and set of guidelines the next day. She even set me up with a wellness plan because I was really nervous about how my crazy brain was going to do through this process. That’s one thing I really loved about working with Jessica – There was so much support on every level. Zero judgment about the depression or how anxious I was about all of this. When she was doing check-in’s it was for all of us, not just how the kids were doing with the sleep routine. She was full of advice and breathing exercises, and was clear about how I needed to present a happy and in-control mood when I was trying to put the kids to bed.

I have said this before, and I will say it again. Hiring Jessica was the best money we’ve ever spent. I’m hesitant to say how much we spent because I don’t want to lock her into fees for anyone reading this, but it was well under $400 for the two weeks of help. MORE than worth it. We have our sanity back, we have our bed back, we’re all so much more rested and our family is functioning better. I haven’t had a really depressed day in almost a month, and aside from some lingering anxiety I feel like I’ve gotten my PPD completely under control. The kids are well rested and raising them doesn’t feel like the overbearing chore it used to be. They’re learning things faster and having much better days. Dave is sad he doesn’t get to see the kids as much because of his work schedule but it’s worth it because he doesn’t have to worry all day that I’m breaking down. So often he’d come home from a long day at work to me just sobbing or emotionally wrecked, with two crying babies in my arms. That hasn’t happened in forever. He can go to work and just worry about doing what he has to do. We don’t need to burden my in-law’s with overnighters every weekend (they say they loved the visits but it’s a lot having visitors to begin with, nevermind giving up pretty much every weekend to help with babies!) We can make plans and appointments with confidence, and holy shit – I can meal prep now. I used to set the babies up in jolly jumpers or their chairs and just hope and pray that I could do what I needed to do to get dinner ready in time to cook it for Dave to come home. Then when we ate, we’d either take turns eating and taking care of babies or just eat with a kid on our lap. Now I prep dinner during their naps, and I’m able to cook it when they go down and have it ready by the time Dave is home. Then we enjoy our meal. Like grown-ups! I’ve recently become obsessed with my KitchenAid mixer, and I have time to use it. I made a super bad ass Cookie Dough cake this past week for when my family visited (I will make a post on that as well, cuz god damn!) that took several hours of work over two days. There is NO way I could have gotten that done if we hadn’t gotten the kids sleep trained.

Whether you get someone to help you, or do it on your own – I implore you to sleep train your kids. We didn’t want to ever be fighting with our kids about routine things like bed time. Now bed time will always have been a thing, they won’t remember a time where things were lawless and unorganized. It won’t be a punishment, it will just be the way it is. I’m sure there will still be arguments – they’re kids. But if we stay consistent on bed time and the routine, the arguments will be moot because again – it’s the way it is and always has been.

A lot of you will likely just have one kid. My friend has been sleep training her son for the past couple of weeks after I was evangellically extolling the benefits we’d been reaping, and her boy was having a tough week or so of sleep. I let her know some of the things that we’d been doing with the twins but she did a lot of reading and listened to a lot of podcasts. She found herself some great methods that she’s been seeing some great benefits of. It’s been very exciting to have someone to share this journey with, because those who don’t get it will likely just hear me ranting about my happiness like “oh wow, I’m happy you’re happy.” But this girl and anyone else who’s done the sleep training after a tough run gets it, gets the difference. It is life changing.

So I say to ye weary and frazzled new moms – whether you have one baby or ten babies (holy fuck can you imagine?!) Sleep train. And if you’re too weary and frazzled like I was, get some help. It is 10000% worth the money. If you’re struggling with cost I promise it will seem like pennies in comparison to the benefits you reap from your family being well rested.

Be well, mamas!

Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Days 8 through 12 (The Level-out)

Today I feel like the pendulum has slowed and I’m back in the middle of the spectrum. I’m really, really happy with my life and my family but I’m not so elated I feel like I’m on drugs. Which is good, cuz when I’m that happy it gets ruined by my concerns of the mood crash. This is just regular happy. It’s a good place. I also got a KitchenAid Mixer today for my birthday (which isn’t until December, but Dave found a refurbished one for super cheap!) So I got a mega kitchen boner and all I want to do is bake. Bake alllll of the things!


Fast forward two days to when I had the chance to pick this up. I did bake. Oh did I bake… I made some incredible cupcakes. Vanilla with a light lemon buttercream. God damn, I’m good. Maybe I’ll do a baking blog some day. Baking and cooking makes me happy. Not like… Matty Matheson happy. But pretty happy. I love feeding people, and I love eating. One of the reasons I was excited to be a parent is to cook and bake with my kids.

Sleep training is still going well overall. Today kind of sucked but it was still far better than before. Birdy seemed to want minimal naps today and was dragging her brother along for the ride, so there was a lot of cranky crying today. Yesterday I don’t think they woke up on their own once. I like it more that way. Well rested babies, with a well rested mom who feels accomplished for getting one or two chores done.

My mood is still fairly level, in spite of a dip today. I wonder if it’s the therapy session I had in the morning opening the gates on some shitty memories or if it’s just the way she goes.


Fast forward again. Day 11 already. Still a pretty level day except I can’t seem to make time for blogging or showers. That’s more a side effect of my laziness though… Maybe I’m catching up on sleep and laze, maybe I’m just feeling bleh. Either way my mood is fine, so I consider that a win. I continue this post while I sit and wait for the babies to settle. There’s been no check-in yet. Usually they only need one check, and once we put their soother in its over pretty quick. Sometimes they find it on their own, but more often they cry until we come in. I’m not sure if this is a healthy habit.

I reverse jinxed it. They’re quiet now.

Oh wait, I regular jinxed it. Moose is still mad

Nope reverse jinxed it again. Quiet.

Oh shit. Regular jinx again. He had his soother, damnit! Birdy’s is across the crib but I watched Moose put his in his mouth. Now he’s doing that sobbing cry like he just lost a limb or a loved one. Ugh. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to that.

I have to say though, I do much better with it than I expected I would. Now I only break over them crying if I’m uncertain about what I’m doing. Like if I goof up their nap schedule and they’re hungry at an odd time, and I don’t know if I should feed them right away when I’m gonna start their bed time routine in an hour. Or if they’re waking up from naps riiiight before the minimum 70 minutes so I have to chill them out before I let them get up. Or not, if they’re just pissed off and hungry.


Ok it’s taken me days to write this. I am one busy mama!

I went for a walk today. I think one of the reasons I hit some lows is because I haven’t gone for any walks. I learned a few months ago that I need to walk or I go crazy, but I guess I had to learn it again. I felt great all night, and I only walked for like a half an hour. I got home, hung with the kids, put them to bed, prepped dinner, iced the cake I made earlier, put all of the laundry away and posted a bunch of stuff for sale on FB. Productive as fuck, yo. I’ve been really nervous to leave for more than 20 or 30 mins cuz last time I did, I screwed up their bed time. I think I’m getting the hang of their sleep schedule enough that I can go walking again. At the very least, just up and down my street. There’s a big ol’ hill there, it’ll help get rid of these cakes and cookies I’ve been making with my mixer. (I need to start bringing these things to other people….)

So the level-out continues. I learn, I screw up, I learn again, I eat, I eat, I eat… Our consultant has given us all of the tools we need. Now we just need to stick to the schedule as best as we can, and find ways to stay sane inbetween. I am already forgetting how much easier it is these days. How convenient! But it is better. Everything is better. I appreciate my kids more, and I have time to get shit done.

I am not sure how to end this one so….. Bye?

Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Day 7 (The Lows)

So yesterday I rambled a lot about the amazing highs I’ve been feeling this week. And let’s be clear – I’m still feeling them. But maybe its time to talk about the downsides and the lows I’m feeling too. Especially because today the emotional pendulum has begun to swing the other way. I have definitely not reached the misery levels I’ve hit in the last several months, but you know. Feelin’ it.

So first off, I think I talked about this yesterday (I talk about a lot of things on this blog and in my real life that I will likely repeat. Repetition is the repetition is the repetition is the best way to learn things. For me, anyways… Ok but yeah. The one thing I notice I’m missing – and now on a more hormonal level, I think – sleeping with my babies. I feel like it’s hard to get snuggle time now. Snuggles make them sleepy, and we’re still in the phase of trying to teach them when to sleep and when to be awake. We get our snuggles in here and there, especially when we’re really struggling to keep them awake and holding them to keep them calm. Then they get their soothers and tend to just flop down on us for snuggles. It’s heartshattering that we can’t just take them to bed for a nap. Before we started sleep training, I was missing Dave even though I saw him every day. Now that that is balanced I find I’m missing the kids in the same way. Go figure!

I am super, super cranky these last two days. I’ve thought a lot about it, and I’ve kind of noticed it’s because I can’t seem to get the hang of the sleep training myself. The kids are doing great but it’s like I’ve decided we’re ready to schedule things and we’re not. I keep guessing on their naps and I’m screwing it up every time. The other day we went for a walk for their catnap and I thought I had everything ready and set up to go, but we got there at like 4:15 or something and didn’t leave until an hour or so later. They ended up in bed at 7:30 instead of 6:30 because I just didn’t have my shit together. As I type that, I’m wondering if the sleep consultant is going to remind me not to speak so negatively. Sorry Jessica. But… I’m cranky. So nyeehhh.

Anyways, I just feel like I’m getting too caught up in the math. Dave was getting frustrated with me this morning because I’m overcomplicating this like I do everything. “Ok, they went down at 8:30 which means they’ll probably be up around 10 or 10:30, which means they’ll go down at noon or 12:30 and wake up again at…” I’m already frustrating myself. Being the imperfect perfectionist I am, I’m always looking to schedule things. I like working off of lists and at least a loose idea of how my day is going to go. One of the things I was so overjoyed about is that I can plan my day now, and get things done. But I’m finding a clash between trying to do that and work the kids’ schedules. One or the other is getting sacrificed and it’s starting to make me anxious. I’m feeling out of control again. I need to feel like I have some kind of control over my life or I start to go crazy. Funny how it took me like 30 years to realize what a control freak I am. At least I kind of knew it before I had kids!

The anxiety is also back. It’s probably another by-product of feeling out of control. I’m irritable and silly things are happening in my head. I remember when the kids were in the hospital and my anxiety started getting out of control, I’d picture horrible shit like people dropping them or their monitor becoming unscrewed from the wall and falling on them, or the milk having been out too long and making them sick… Just unreasonable things to be concerned about. That kind of stuff is happening again, and not quite at the frequency it was happening then. I’m trying to think of an example but I can’t. Just nervous about unreasonable shit.

I’m irritable as hell too. Oh fuck. Am I pregnant…? Let’s put that horrible concern away for a minute… Fuck… Period is in two weeks. Cross your fingers for me.

Anyways… I’m irritable as hell. Dave broke my Anchor 2-cup measuring cup yesterday and I snapped on him. And he says it’s not a big deal, and I’m sure it isn’t. But 1) I’m not really the type of person to get mad about an accident, 2) I’m not the type of person to be mean when I’m mad and 3) I’m clumsy as fuck and that totally could have been me. Dave and I have broken like 5 glasses between us in the last like 3 months and it’s disappointing to lose our favourite glasses, or my new measuring cup, or whatever. But it is not an issue. We can get another Tofino Brewing glass. We can DEFINITELY get another measuring cup.

So that was a fairly bad example because I have a reason to be legitimately irritated, but it’s even in little things. Dave tried to kiss me while I was doing something yesterday and I just got so annoyed with him. I stopped myself and kissed him back, because I realized I was just being a bitch, and I don’t think he really noticed I got shitty about it in my head. (He never really does, he’s such a chill person that other people’s moods don’t really affect him. I’m forever jealous of that trait and hope he passes that on to our kids.) I also got frustrated making too much dinner and I couldn’t mix the sauce, the veggies and the chicken properly so I made him do it. Then I wouldn’t even eat right away. I went for a walk.

All of this to say – the mood swing has swung. I still wouldn’t give up the progress we’ve made for any of this, and there’s a really good chance this is just hormones. My period came back a few weeks ago and I’ve noticed some wonky shit going on in my body, maybe all this is just a byproduct of getting back into Shark Week. I’ve also decided it’s time to slowly ween off pumping now that the kids are going to be getting into real food soon. I’m sure that has to have SOME affect on my hormones and likely my mood.

But I repeat – I would still not give up the progress we’ve made with the kids, and as a family over the last week. Sleep training has been amazing. I will find a way to get over my shit and go back to being crazy in a good way.

Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Days 4, 5 and 6 (The Highs)

As I said in Day 3, I sort of lost steam on doing a continual update. I have a list that I’ve been updating for the sleep consultant, and I’ll put that up at the bottom here once I’m done rambling.

Before I keep going, I want to speak to getting a sleep consultant. I feel like I did on the first day, but I just need to say HOLY SHIT, THIS IS THE BEST DECISION I’VE EVER MADE. It sounds super new age and bougie, but I had no idea where to start with sleep training. Especially with twins. I got some funny looks from family and friends, like ‘oh… Sounds expensive.. Are you sure you need that..?” and I’m really glad I didn’t take that to heart. It was under $400 for two weeks of help, and it just seems like pennies in comparison to the sanity and structure it’s given our family. Plus I expected it to be much more expensive (I mean, I guess I had no idea how much it was going to be… But to me, the word ‘consultant’ usually means several more digits.) She really broke down what needed to happen and tailored it to our life and schedule. I have a much better understanding of how babies function, and I can see the improvement in their cognitive function when they’re properly rested. I’m the kind of person who has to ask a lot of questions about why thinks work the way they do, and she has all of the answers. I’m still not 1000% confident but even if I was cast off on my own today I’d be able to figure it out from here. If you feel like you’re struggling to get a handle on naps and bed time, or if you’re even remotely as daunted as I was – I promise you it will be worth the expense.

On that theme, let’s talk about some of the benefits we’ve experienced this week.

For one, anyone who’s read my blog or even scanned it over knows that I’ve been dealing with some wicked postpartum mental health issues. Well I don’t want to say they’re solved – It’s been less than a week. But I can say with complete certainty that I’ve never been this happy in my life. To the point where I’m nervous because I’m waiting for the mood swing that will bring me back to earth. Seriously though, I’m getting sleep – as much as I need and probably more. I sleep when the babies sleep, and with them going to bed for like 12 hours at 6 or 7 there’s time for Dave and I to spend some time together AND get a good night’s sleep. I still have anxiety over random things (like the other night when I couldn’t sleep and my head got all wacky about people dying) and I get cranky at the drop of a hat. That could totally be my hormones balancing back out now that my period is back too. I dunno.

Dave and I have been falling even deeper in love. We were already near disgusting to people, so annoyingly and adorably in love. This week it’s like we’ve hit another level. He’s such a great dad, and an amazing partner. I cannot believe my luck. And at the risk of going too far, I’m gonna also say that the sex has been fantastic. With good timing too, he just had a vasectomy and we’ve got a quota over the next couple months to make sure we’re clear. Personal shit aside – I feel like I can be a better partner to him and take care of the house end of the partnership. I think I mentioned that I’ve taken care some cleaning and organizing that just has not been able to take place since the kids came. I have time to prep dinner and tidy up our tiny place a bit before he gets home from doing his end – bringing home that bacon.

I also get to shower, which is super exciting for myself and anyone I happen to walk past.

So yeah. Sleep train your kids. We knew it was time because they’d always been good sleepers, then all of a sudden we were fighting with them to go to bed. It would go back and forth between having to stand and rock Moose to sleep while I sang to him or talked to him or just did the mom bounce, and having to walk Moose around the house doing the same thing. They’d cryyy and cryyyy and cryyyyy… I’d be half in tears myself. We’d read about the sleep regression so we figured it would be a couple weeks of this and then things would go back to normal. They didn’t. Plus, they were still sleeping in our bed and that was getting increasingly unsafe as they got bigger.

The kids woke up, and I got sidetracked. So I’ll continue this rambling thought train tomorrow.

Posted in All, Useless Opinions

How to help a new mom/pregnant lady (mostly for non-parents)

This might seem kind of obvious, but I had a lot of really useless (but well-meaning) helpers when the kids came home so I thought I’d write a bit about it. This isn’t meant to be angry or bitter…. Just informative.

I’ve always been super defiant and obnoxiously independent, even when I was pregnant. We moved into our current place when I was 7 months pregnant (and huge) and my mother-in-law basically had to guard me to make sure I wasn’t doing any moving or serious unpacking. It drove me crazy but I understood, and underneath my defiance I was grateful for the help. The last thing I needed was to go into labour early (joke was on me anyways, I went into early labour 19 days later…)

Once I had the kids my ego dropped a bit. I knew I needed help. Watching the state of my house deteriorate was frustrating but I could do fucking nothing about it. I was drowning in newborns! I was at the hospital during pretty much all waking hours for the first 6 weeks of my kids lives, then after that the real work began. We had a cleaning lady for a bit but then COVID hit and she had to bail. But even before that I’d have a few of my friends come over to “help.” It was super frustrating. Not only was my perfectionism clashing with my not giving a fuck, but I was also so overwhelmed with becoming a parent – to twins no less. I had zero brainpower. Plus I was going through some sort of nesting phase where I just didn’t want to see anyone except my husband and my babies. I think this is important to mention because before kids I was incredibly social and loved to be around my friends. I still do, but it’s different now. I get way too exhausted to catch up or visit.

Anyways, these few friends would come by – well-meaning as they were – and ask me what I needed them to do. All I could muster is “I don’t know. Just come chill and hold a baby.” What I should have said was “yes, please do the dishes. Cut the veggies in the fridge. Watch these kids while I sleep/shower/leave the house for half an hour to see what the outside world looks like.” Because that’s what I really needed. I was just too brain-shot and sleep deprived to realize it. My mind went blank when they asked. And then I got somewhat resentful because they put me in a position to ask for it. I’m awful at delegating. I am way better at just doing things myself. There was at least one time where I just got people to hold or watch the babies while I got up and cleaned (which wasn’t the worst thing ever because at least I felt like I was accomplishing something. I didn’t find the first couple months of being a parent to be that rewarding. More on that later.)

Moral of the story – if you have a pregnant friend or a new mom in your life and you want to help, here’s a few ideas to get you going.

  • Bring snacks or prepared meals -The first 1 to 3 months of being a parent is a fucking blur. It’s hard to make time to eat, let alone put a meal together. Plus it’s nice to have finger foods or snacks when you’re living one-handed and it’s too easy to eat shit food all the time.
    • Make a lasagna or a shepherd’s pie or something for the freezer. Write reheat/cooking instructions on it so no brain power is involved.
    • Bring leftovers from the meal you made the night before.
    • Bake mini-muffins. See above comment about living one-handed. Morning glory muffins are a good way to get some veggies and vitamins. And it tastes like cake.
    • Bring washed and cut veggies/fruits. Good for the brain AND the butt.
    • Bring trail mix or something
    • Fuck it, bring chips and cookies and candy. Comfort food, yo!
  • If you want to help clean – just clean
    • Don’t ask what needs to be done. You can see what’s up, just pick a task and go to it.
    • If you feel the need to ask, maybe go about it like “hey I’m gonna do the dishes, is there something else that’s been bugging you that I can do first?” I bet you dishes is going to be the number one frustration. Or garbage. Or laundry….
  • Don’t be there just to chat
    • This one is tricky, but I’ll put it on cuz it’s how I felt. Your friend probably loves you but is super overwhelmed. If they want conversation, they’ll probably talk to you. Otherwise maybe just kinda hang out. Or don’t.
  • Help with kids (if you can/she wants you to)
    • Some moms are attached enough to their kids that they won’t want anyone really helping at that point. Some kids are so attached to their moms they’ll lose their shit if anyone else holds them. But in the event that kiddo takes a shine to you, let mom go get some sleep. Or maybe she wants to go for a drive or walk or something. Offer to hang while she goes to just be her for a minute, not mom.
  • Offer to pick up groceries or something for her
  • If you can’t do any of these things, don’t bug her.
    • Feel free to send a “hey, thinking of you” message or something but don’t expect a reply right away. The few friends I’ve had that have had babies since I had mine I specify that I am not expecting a reply at all, let alone in a timely manner. Shit is exhausting and overwhelming to say the least. I still have trouble talking to people. I just want to nest.
  • DON’T buy bouquets of flowers.
    • They’re too busy to change the water and they’ll likely just sit there dead and moldy for a few weeks until they start to stink.
  • DON’T stay too long. Hour or so is plenty unless you’re cleaning or whatever.
  • DON’T show up unannounced

This list obviously comes from my experience, and everyone is gonna be different and have a different take on it. But hopefully this offers a decent guideline for non-parents to help their new parent friends. I feel like if I had no kids I’d have zero idea about most of this. I remember when my close friend from high school had a baby almost seven years ago. I didn’t hear from her until a month or two later, and I was kind of offended she didn’t tell me right away. I actually think about that a lot lately, and laugh hysterically at myself in my head. If I only fucking knew…. If you don’t – I can only tell you that it’s an inexplicable experience. No one can prepare you for the changes in your life. It’s like a train wreck of hormones, emotions and more responsibility and work than you could imagine. It’s pretty rough for that first month or two, and stays rough for a while after. So cut your pals some slack!

Have you had a similar experience? Agree or disagree with things on this list? Comment and lemme know! I’d love to hear it.

Posted in All, Musings

Good days, bad days

Today seems to be one of those days where postpartum depression is creeping back in. I’m not sure if it’s following my cycle or not, I haven’t gotten my period back yet but from what I understand it’s still going strong behind the scenes. It’s funny how quickly it hits – I’ll be in a great mood, things are awesome and the kids are being chill. Then bam. Downward spiral.

Its hard to parent on days like this. I get no joy from it, but I also don’t want my babies to see the scowl on my face that would be there if I wasn’t trying so hard to hide it. Back when the kids were first born, I was told by my obstetrician that research showed that babies of moms suffering from postpartum depression showed signs of mental health issues later in life. I don’t remember specifically but it was something about seeing their moms sad all the time and they mimicked the facial expressions, which created brain pathways or something. Basically when moms are sad, their babies get sad too. I have such happy babies – I work really hard to mask my shitty moods when I have them but sometimes I get frustrated. So less smiling at them on the change table, or snuggling them, or doing tummy time or playing or anything. Then it creates a cycle because they’re bored so they get cranky, and their crying makes me more stressed and unhappy, and so on.

I always seem to forget the stroller in the truck after the weekends at Grandma’s. Now would be an ideal time to go for a walk. If nothing else, it quiets the kids for a bit so I can think and calm down. Plus theres that whole ‘exercise makes your brain happy’ thing. And I’m vain so my weight has been bringing me down too. I should call a counselor or something but I just don’t know what to say, or moreso, what they would say. I was seeing one a while back that was a total cheerleader. Useless as an actual therapist but she was very validating. At times it helped but other times it was really patronizing. Like… Yeah, I know I have the right to be hormonal and sad and hungry. What can you help me do about it. She doesn’t work at that clinic anymore and I haven’t met the new lady, but I figure I’ll get more of the same ‘you’re doing amazing’ shit that I guess I already know but doesn’t help.

I’ve heard a bit a out how pregnant and breastfeeding moms lose a lot of vitamins and nutrients, and it’s hard to keep up with the loss. I take a daily, but I was recommended by a psychiatrist doing a postpartum assessment to take some omegas as well. I keep forgetting to buy some. I also remember a friend of mine’s sister was going to school to be a nutritionist several years back. She was talking about the link between proper nutrition and mental health. Niacin specifically is something that people can often be really low on and it means your brain isn’t doing its job properly. I also had a friend going to med school and we were talking about how potassium and sodium are what makes your cells actually function. So if you don’t have the right amount of those things, again – brain no worky. I know. I’m basically a doctor.

On a more experienced note, there were two main things I put into effect when I first lost a bunch of weight and got my mental shit together. One was hydration. It seems super obvious – our bodies are a mostly water. It’s like the fuel that keeps us running. It flushes out your toxins and keeps your brain floating in the jar that is your skull. I’m not gonna pretend I know the exact science behind it, but your body and brain work best when you’re really hydrated. I was drinking at least two litres of water a day. I’d have at least a half a litre as soon as I woke up in the morning, which helped get me started on hydration and helped wake me up. I’m awful for lazing around hitting a snooze button for an hour (or… Was, until I had babies…) even though I know the day goes way easier when you get up right away. I used to follow a thirty second rule, meaning I had 30 seconds to get out of bed after I opened my eyes. It didn’t last long but at least even if I was late it was only a few minutes. Not 30 or 40 minutes like it used to be.

The other thing I learned at a Workers Comp stress workshop when I hurt myself at work. Basically we use the top half of our lungs more than the bottom half, especially when we’re stressed out. You can feel your stress in your stomach and shoulders, right? Well when you’re breathing deeply and into your entire lungs, you stretch out your whole torso. I noticed when I was breathing deeper, my digestion was better. Almost like my lungs and diaphragm were massaging my intestines and helping me get everything back out more efficiently. It helped me with my weight loss. Another aspect of stress vs. weight loss was that when you stress out your body makes Cortisol. Cortisol makes your body store fat. So if you’re dealing with your stress, your cortisol levels go down and your body can process your food better. Or something like that. Over 2016 and 2017 I lost about 120 lbs. Mostly 2017 because I was walking around NYC for the first 4 months of it and then just kept roaming. My stress was non-existent so my cortisol levels were low, and I was broke so I was drinking a ton of water to reduce my hunger. I lost weight so fast I couldn’t keep up with my clothes. By the time I got back to Canada my clothes were hanging off of me, it was awesome. I’ve never looked so good in my life. More importantly, I’ve never felt so good in my life.

The problem is that even though you can know all of this, if you don’t have the motivation to change your habits it won’t happen. And I assume I’m not the only one who’s self sabotage mechanism kicks in when they’re depressed. It’s hard to care for yourself when you just don’t give a fuck. All of my fucks are being reserved for my kids and my fiance. It’s hard to find more motivation. The medication is doing its job but I’m not sure there’s anything that can completely wipe out bad moods. My doctor says it’s not worth adding more medication just to buffer the bad days because they are few and usually come every few weeks. Just have to bite the pillow and deal with it. Keep smiling at the kids and cooking dinner for my amazing man.

Dave is home now and we’re watching TV as I finish writing this (I started like 8 hours ago.) I feel a bit better. We had some dinner, went and had a quick bedroom session, and now we’re just chillin’ with the kids. Sex is important for both of our mental health. I know we’re not the only ones. We both miss the days when we could just be together and enjoy. Not even just sex, but the closeness. The intimacy. Now we exist to work and take care of kids. We even miss each other when we’re in the same bed. Our quickies are the only times that bring us a tiny bit of intimacy. Even though it only happens every week or two, it’s really held our relationship and individual self-esteem together. And most of the time I don’t feel like having sex until we’re doing it. It’s crazy how quickly I forget what it does for me. We’ll not have sex for a while and then once we’re done, all of a sudden I want it a few hours later. And the next day. And then for maybe another day before I’m back to existing without it, and forgetting what the hormones and exercise does for both of us. So… Don’t neglect your sexy time. Even if you’re depressed. It will make you happy. Science told me.

I’d like to mention that I have no medical research to quote for any of what I’ve said, it’s just a bunch of things I’ve learned or deduced over the years. I’d be happy to be corrected, or if I’m right have my logic explained in the comments. As you can imagine, I have no time for research lol. I just want people to know what I know so maybe it can help someone. At the very least, maybe it will help me just having recanted all of this. But like I said – it’s one thing to know it, quite another to do it. Tomorrow’s another day. Hopefully I can make it a good one.