Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Wrapping Up? (It Gets Better Part 4)

I closed Part 3 by telling you "how badly my mom was doing began to really hit me," complete with that link. If you haven't read it yet, you can click over and do that now -- it's essentially Part 4 of this story, and this post labeled Part 4 should be Part 5. Not confusing at all!

But I didn't say in that link how the trip down to California to say goodbye to my mom went, because it hadn't happened yet.

I absolutely love this picture. Somehow, amazingly, it shows joy and laughter as I sit by my mom, who's dying, and by my baby, who by the grace of God is whole and healthy even though her organs are in weird places.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Getting So Much Better (It Gets Better Part 3)

Parts 1 and 2.

I think I'd started towards scheduling my first postpartum therapy session already. So after a lowest point where, though I wasn't going to commit suicide, I still had a case of clear and definite suicidal thinking, I took the leap and told my therapist about it at my appointment, in early November 2017. My baby was born in late August, so I was just a little over two months postpartum.

You can love your baby with all your heart, feel intense gratitude, and still be depressed.

I agreed with her that it was time to try medication, that we don't earn brownie points for making things harder and more painful than they have to be.

I'd also already had postpartum checks and discussion with one particular amazing OB at my practice, I'll call her Dr. B. (She happened to be the first doctor, after we found out in the prenatal visits about my baby's rare and scary organ placement, who stopped and asked me how I was doing with all of it.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Mundane, Sacred Invitations

I haven't finished telling you my PPD story, but I'm going to share this mental health tool anyway. This isn't the first tool I wanted to write about, this isn't how I'd outlined and planned it out, but God seems to be inviting me to share it now, so here it is.

I struggle with figuring out what realistic expectations are for myself, and goals that will push me without being delusional, goals that are relevant and appropriate to my life stage and responsibilities.

But I enjoy goal setting, and systems, and tracking things. I love playing around with it all, even though I'm not great at buckling down and actually getting stuff done.

Idealism is... sorta my middle name. To me, there are whole layers of realism. I can work real hard and cut things and make my schedule realistic... and then I realize it still isn't, I need to peel yet another layer off that onion.

So it was revolutionary to me when I was talking with a sister about this and she told me she's stopped asking what other people would consider a realistic expectation, to ask what God expects of her.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Really, It Does Get Better (It Gets Better Part 2)

Part 1 is here.

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Thoughts.

As I said, we received bad news at the 20-week anatomy scan in my latest pregnancy, 2017.

I never did get that one complication again, despite what they say is a 90% chance of recurrence in my type of case, but I did have other circumstances combined with my baby's weird organ placement that meant induction again, just in case it meant certain bad things, at 39 weeks.

It was another different experience, though it had more in common with my second induction than my first, so that was good. It went slowly until it didn't AT ALL -- epidurals either speed things up for me, or if it's just coincidence and it was going to speed up anyway, I'm still eternally grateful for the epidural, because I do NOT want to experience 45 minutes from 5 cm to the actual birth without an epidural!

But I digress. :) There was a NICU team there, but our baby was doing so well they decided to let her stay with me overnight and take her down for testing in the NICU in the morning, so that was good. Even though they had us track and report every time she spat up a little, and about how much.

The next few days in the NICU were only a few days, but felt longer. They felt full of inconclusive test results. And a spinal headache. The nurse who put in my IV for the blood patch to treat my spinal blew out a vein, and later I took a sort of fierce satisfaction in how completely awful that bruise looked. It didn't feel that bad, even that initial botched IV was nothing compared to induction or my headache, but it shocked and horrified others and I grinned at pain made visible. You know?

This is not at its worst. Not at all. Unfortunately I didn't take enough pictures of it! :)

Saturday, June 02, 2018

It Gets Better

Grief, hope, healing.

It's the new tagline for my blog, the tagline I've been meaning to change to for a while now. But there are so many things I want to change that I put it all off.

At any rate, whether you're grieving or you're just sad and you don't know why, or even if you have postpartum depression but with other symptoms and you don't feel particularly sad (it's a thing) -- I want to give you tools for your mental health, I want to offer hope and come alongside you as you begin to heal.

I want to let you know that I've been there, and it gets better. No, I haven't been exactly where you've been; every body, every situation, every relationship and grief, is individual, unique. I certainly may not have had it as bad as you either, but I want to offer you what I have. Some tools I use may not work for you, but I hope some of it will be helpful. I want to offer you the life-giving, the lifelines that have been given to me.

"Pick what you like, then see how it grows."

Parenting three littles while depressed is probably the hardest thing I've ever done. A little after I was coming out of it a stomach bug went around our family, and I can tell you that a normal day while depressed is harder than a day cleaning up vomit and diarrhea without depression. Definitely, no doubt in my mind. #StillEasierThanPPD

But it does get better, it can, with some mysterious and magical mix of time, hard work, and grace upon grace upon grace.

Let me tell you my story, in hopes that my having been there will be encouraging to you. (The beginning of my story anyway, so I don't put off posting it for forever. Let's ban perfectionism!)

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Begin Again Part 2

Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest by Leeana Tankersley
Read: 4/7/18-4/24/18

Last week I started to tell how I found this book, and about my grief with my mother in the late stages of dementia.

I left off with listening to The Next Right Thing podcast, the episode Be a Beginner.

I'd just been told, by multiple people, that I didn't know how to do this, how to proceed, because I'd never done it before.

So this week, if you're in your own grief, anxiety, or transition, I invite you in with these words from the transcript:

"If you are newly engaged or newly pregnant or if you are a new step-parent or just moved into a new house, you are grateful for the new role that you have and maybe excited about the future. But there’s a lot you don’t yet know and there isn’t a handbook to teach you.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Begin Again Part 1

Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest by Leeana Tankersley
Read: 4/7/18-4/24/18

This book is based on/inspired by the line in the Rule of St. Benedict, "Always we begin again." I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to everyone, but especially anyone who's in transition now, and especially especially anyone who's grieving anything.

Why? It's not a book on grief, right? I mean, "Hurt" is in the title, but "Releasing Hurt?" What if you just lost someone and the thing you're beginning is grief, and you're not ready to be done with that process yet?

This isn't a book that only applies to happy beginnings. Beginnings also involve endings, even the "my world is falling apart" sort.

I could give you a beautiful quote from the introduction to prove it, but first, let me tell you a story.

Here's how I found Begin Again. What I've written so far, anyway, and we'll finish the story and review next week. (Hopefully, that's the plan.)

My mom isn't doing very well. Nothing especially new there, but she's at a stage of not doing well that seems to be closer to the end, and I've been surprised at how hard it's been hitting me.