Posted in All, Musings

The crescendo and the timbits

It got bad. It got to the point of calling the crisis line and considering putting myself in the hospital for a while until I could see the light again. Dave wanted me to quit pumping. We’d had heard about women that quit breastfeeding and almost immediately had their postpartum depression or anxiety clear up. My doctor hadn’t heard of this and couldn’t find any research on it, but he was on board with quitting because then we could safely adjust my medication. It made sense, but everything in my being was telling me that wasn’t the answer.

I put up a post on one of the twin mom groups on FB to see if other moms had dealt with this issue. I think there was 16 comments, and all but two or three talked about their PPD/PPA dissolving after they stopped breastfeeding. What caught me was those two or three saying that their issues worsened after they stopped breastfeeding. I wasn’t as worried about things getting worse, but what if nothing changed and I had sacrificed my milk. My babies need that to get the best start in life. Dave and the Doc argued that the difference between breast milk and formula was negligible compared to not having a mom either through distance and complications from depression, or through having to commit myself.. Or worse… And that’s a very valid argument. I hadn’t been doing tummy time with the kids, I barely played with them… Kind of just set them up to play or sleep and watched TV or played on my phone. Then I got mad when they started fussing but knew it was because they needed attention. I couldn’t handle their crying because I couldn’t cope with the stress of it, but also because I felt guilty. Like I’d failed them and was just giving up because of it.

I felt like I was in a pit like in Silence of the Lambs. Except instead of a pervert wanting me to lotion up to make for a nicer skin jacket, I had children screaming at me. Ok so not a great analogy, but it’s what I thought of when I felt like I was in a pit. It made sense to stop breastfeeding, but like I said – every single thing inside me told me that wasn’t the answer. I could find another way.

Last night I couldn’t get the kids calm, and could feel another mental meltdown coming. I went to visit Dave on his break and then went for a quick walk on the sea wall so the kids would chill. On the way I stopped to get a coffee, and some Courtenay Crack – birthday cake timbits. Holy shit those are a huge problem for me. Anyways… I was gonna get 10 but Dave wanted me to save him some, so I got 20. And of course ate all 20 of those little bastards on my 45 minute walk. That was my dinner. I felt like absolute shit for the rest of the night, I even thought I was going to throw up. But – BUT! I was in a pretty damned good mood and actually enjoyed my kids. What an insane concept!

Every once in a while I get really tired of my own shit and decide to make a change. Those timbits were the catalyst for that change. Not only did eating all that crap make me realize how much my diet was affecting me, but that short (and very enjoyable) walk brought my mood up higher than it had been in weeks. So I looked at the last few weeks of misery.

  • My diet had gone to shit and I was eating mostly sugar. Munching like crazy, barely drinking water, and I’d almost completely forgotten what vegetables tasted like
  • I hadn’t walked at all. Not even my quick laps around the neighborhood. Basically just to my vehicle and back.
  • I’ve been smoking a bit of pot on the weekends and nights where I am really, really losing my shit – which I know to be inflammatory to the body and a total depressant.

These are all super basic things that I know will help me. Even if I get one of these three under control the results would be staggering. But it’s cycle and always has been for me. I smoke pot and it makes me hungry, so I eat a whole bunch of shit food. Plus I get all groggy the next day, especially if I munch out (which I usually do because my mother in law always makes cookies.) I feel like shit and go into denial as to why I feel like shit, then all of a sudden two or three weeks later I’m having breakdowns and trying not to put myself in the psych ward. Before I had kids it was a totally manageable cycle. Now? Between the extra tonne of stress and the hormones from breastfeeding and being a new mom, it fucks me up.

So.. Once I put this together, I decided I was done with all of the misery and decided I had to make a change. If I do all of this and STILL can’t get my mood under control, ok sure. I’ll quit breastfeeding. But I can’t do nothing to improve myself and then feel good about not giving my kids breast milk. I’m lucky enough to be able to make as much milk as I do. I only have to give them an ounce of formula each bottle. And they’re on five or six ounce bottles right now. It’s mostly breast milk. And yeah, it’s not 100% fresh cuz I could never get into breastfeeding with them but it’s still breast milk. I owe it to those amazing little bastards to give them everything I can. I owe them the best version of myself. And that version doesn’t eat an entire batch of cookies after a joint every weekend.

With all that said, I publish my current goals. Maybe it’ll make me more accountable. I dunno..

  • Walk a MINIMUM of four times a week. Aim for seven, but shit happens and it’s been raining a lot lately. (Mall walks count though…)
  • Cut the fuck down on sugar. I’m not setting a specific parameter on this because I do use it to cope a lot, and I’m not sure how to successfully do it other than to avoid it as much as possible.
  • Only smoke pot once or twice a month instead of every weekend, but aim for zero pot. Sometimes I have panic attacks and lorazepam doesn’t really chill me out like it should. Saying I only have two freebies will make me really assess if the meltdown is worth substance abuse
  • Keep up with the blog. Finish all the drafts and the instructional stuff that isn’t just a glorified diary
  • Learn scriptwriting and try to start putting my movie and TV ideas into paper. Also, finish the damned children’s book.

There. You just became my accountabili-buddy. Go team! I’ll have to keep you posted. The writing goals are obviously really long term, but I think I could probably get some cool stuff down. I think I have cool ideas, but we all think we have cool ideas lol. Time to find out for realzzzzz…

Posted in All, Musings

It’s been a while

Damn, man. I started this blog and I was all gung ho to start blogging all the time. Then I got caught up on a post that I kept having to rewrite and just kind stopped. Funny how that happens. Plus, for some reason I have zero time to myself lately. Oh right! I’m a mom.

Had another good dip into the depths of postpartum misery. It’s intense! I know I’ve said this before but it’s amazing how quickly it comes over me. One minute I’m playing peekaboo, the next minute I’m in the fetal position on the bathroom floor with the fan on and my hands over my ears. I didn’t want to be a mom for like three days. And that made me feel like an intense failure, which made me want to be a mom even less because I felt like I didn’t deserve it.

I had some time to think about the misery because (as usual) Dave stepped up and took care of the kids while I laid down and chilled out. I mostly spent that time kicking myself. Kicking myself for not being able to do my job. For putting so much on Dave when he already works full time for us. For not giving those gorgeous kids the mom they deserve. For thinking I was ready for this intense responsibility when I wasn’t. Mostly I kicked myself for kicking myself. That’s a funny thing about misery, and I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone.. But I feel so much shame when I get depressed because my life is actually pretty fantastic. So I go into this silly shame spiral because I can’t climb out.

My sister is visiting, and we talked about it. One of the things we discussed is how I’m worried than when things even out and I’m not depressed anymore that I’ll still not want to be a mom. I don’t necessarily feel that way right this second, as I’m in a pretty good mood. But I feel that way a lot. There are days I love being a mom but it seems like as soon as things get too hard, I fall back into depression and feel like I can’t do it. Maybe it’s not every time there’s a bad day… I know there are a few days I can take it. But it really seems like I just can’t handle it when things get hard. She told me that it’s really obvious how much I love my kids, and I don’t remember exactly how she said it but it was the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

I have to find a way to make amends with these feelings. All this shame and frustration. Like I said, one of the things I’ve been struggling with is putting all that emotional weight on Dave. He’s such an amazing partner. Anytime I start feeling overwhelmed he steps up – no questions asked. He listens to me crying about the same old “I can’t do this” shit, holds me really tight, and then takes on both babies until I’ve had a chance to calm down. He acts like it’s all good but I know it weighs on him. It’s a lot. He works shitty hours at a monotonous job, then comes home and helps me with the kids. He really doesn’t get a lot of rest or fun time. I try to send him out to visit friends and stuff as much as possible but he says he loves to be around us. I wish I could keep it together for the kids, but more for him. He does so much for us. He’s an amazing dad and husband. I love him so much!

I guess all I can do is keep truckin’. Do everything I can to keep myself together so I can do everything I can for my family. They deserve it. Those kids are amazing, and Dave is the absolute best. I find when I have gone for walks a few days in a row my mood is great. The weather has been kind of shitty but the mall is open. I could strap on a mask, put blankets over the baby seats and just mall walk for an hour or two. I like the rain, and walking in it isn’t so bad. I just don’t have a proper way to keep the babies dry. Lately I’ve been arranging to walk with some friends. Only gotten one walk together… But the plans are there. It helps.

And back to the issue of food. I eat like such an asshole. An asshole that’s never seen a vegetable in her life. So much sugar… I am so aware of how much sugar fucks up the brain but it’s like I can’t stop eating it. It’s the only substance I can really abuse right now. Not that I’m a cokehead, but I’ve been known to have some drinks when feeling down. Maybe smoke one… Sure, not the healthiest way to cope but it works when I need it to. That was one of the hardest things to deal with when I was pregnant and having a hard time. Trying to figure out how to cope using only my brain. Still haven’t gotten a great handle on that obviously, as I still like to have a few drinks here and there. Especially when it’s been a rough week.

These are the things I need to do to keep it together. And shower, cuz I feel like a homeless bag of shit half the time… But that’s another issue.

I doubt this would help anyone with Postpartum, unless they just need someone to commiserate with. And if that’s the case, I’ve got you.

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.

Posted in All, Musings

Mama’s first Mother’s Day

In high school I was such a conspiracy theorist. 9/11 happened when I was in grade 8, so for several of the following years it was “George Bush” this and “Skull and Bones” that. The Government, maaaaaan! There’s still remnants of it in my personality. For example, I totally think the COVID virus was created and released. By whom, and to what end? Well.. I don’t really think enough about these things to form a complete opinion. Anyways.. One of the symptoms of this charming personality trait is that I hate “Hallmark Holidays.” Just days created by ‘the man’ to push sales, costing people money on things no one needs. What a rip! I would still call my mom, send her flowers sometimes. But whatever. Not a real holiday. Pointless, I say!

So now – I have kids. More specifically, I have two 4 month old premature babies that I care for while my fiance goes to work full time, in the middle of a pandemic that eliminates the possibility of accepting any of the help I was offered beforehand. Shit is hard! Holy crap! I had no idea how hard being a mom is. I thought I knew, and I thought I’d heard enough to be adequately prepared. No. And any mom who is reading this right now is chuckling to themselves, because you likely felt the same way. Even if you weren’t cocky about it like I was – You definitely learned a lot about patience and hard work in even the first week of parenthood. You’ve definitely had your share of breakdowns and “what the fuck have I done” moments. I remember sitting in the NICU with my mom and we were talking about how it’s something that you just can’t be prepared for. No one can tell you what it’s going to be like in a way that you will understand. I have worked hard labour jobs, waitressing jobs, three jobs at once, jobs where a normal day for me was 16 hours… Those was nothing in comparison. I love my kids. I absolutely adore my kids and would do anything for them. But unfortunately I’m not at the point where I’ve gotten to really enjoy being a mom. I spend a lot of time reminiscing about my old life when I could just up and go to Mexico for a month or two, or when Dave and I would go to the city for the night to see a band and get white girl wasted. Things you can’t do as new parents. And granted, I’ve been spending less time in regret mode as the kids get older but damn. I miss being young and exciting. If I only knew, bla bla bla… I’ll spare you that diatribe.

When Dave asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I honestly didn’t even know how to respond. It had never even occurred to me but all at once I realized how much moms deserve that shit. The flowers. The Chocolates. The macaroni pictures that live on the fridge and slowly lose pieces over time… All of it! Ladies – You deserve that shit entirely. Eat the whole box of chocolates. Be proud of those macaroni pictures. Smell the flowers. Let your kids make you breakfast in bed. (Warn dads to be ready to clean that shit up too cuz having to clean up the mess involved in kiddos cooking and serving negates the pleasure of a breakfast in bed.)

After I realized how much I’d earned a day, my sad self started thinking about how much I maybe didn’t deserve it. I still don’t feel like a mom. It feels weird to say that because I spend my life pumping and bottling and changing diapers and rocking and everything else involved with raising tiny babies. I am all that is mom. Except I don’t get to really enjoy it right now. Spending time with the kids is great, it’s just a lot of responsibility. Usually I get off on responsibility but not as a mom. I don’t know if it’s that there’s so much more at stake than someone’s breakfast order, or maybe it’s just the way it goes for new moms (new multiple moms, maybe?) Or maybe it’s just the onslaught of postpartum mental health issues I’ve experienced since the kids came out. It becomes a bit of a vicious cycle – I am depressed and exhausted so I don’t enjoy parenting. I don’t enjoy parenting so I feel guilty. My guilt makes me feel even more depressed and exhausted. I feel like I’ll probably start enjoying it when they sleep through the night and can sit up on their own. I recognize that a lot of my postpartum issues are due to near complete exhaustion, so maybe once I get a normal amount of sleep I will feel better and more in control. God, I fucking hope so. But I’m getting off topic.

I still don’t know what I want for Mother’s Day. I told Dave I want a clean house and a foot massage, that is really all I want. I sound like my mom and any other mom I’ve heard answer that question. I will likely only get the foot massage, and let’s be honest – I’ll still be really stoked about it. He’s gonna make us an epic dinner too. ‘Us’ being Dave and I, as well as Dave’s mom and her husband. We go visit every weekend to keep ourselves sane. Ma-in-law keeps the babies for the night so Dave and I can relax, get some real sleep, and then go for a little day-date the next day. We go home refreshed and (in my case) terrified to start a new week taking care of the babies alone. But for Mother’s Day, ma-in-law and I are gonna enjoy the relaxation. Me more than her apparently cuz she loves hanging with those babies!

All this to say – I have to recognize my struggle, and the fact that I have earned a day. I can still be humble about what I do for my family without being self-deprecating. I can let others appreciate me. Dave and I both have our jobs, and yeah mine is a little harder. Ok, maybe a lot harder.. But it’s ok. And I can do this – I do it every day! So yeah Dave, I’ll take the foot massage. And if you can swing a clean house? Fuck yeah. I’ll take that too. I’ve earned it. Thanks babe 🙂 Also, ma I’m gonna send you a big sexy bouquet of flowers. Maybe a little minion to massage your feet if I can find one.

Happy Mother’s Day, betches.