Thursday, August 12, 2010

Butterfly Funeral

Today Claire found a butterfly stuck in the front of my car. She was excited! We have a butterfly bush, and she loves to watch the butterflies flit around. She knows that if she gets too close, then they will fly away. She said, "Oh it's so pretty! Then...why isn't it moving? Is it dead?" Like she knew...just from seeing dead worms outside. We've encountered a dead baby bird this summer on a walk. That was sad :( So she wanted to take it home. So I decided this was a good lesson. So we brought it home. I found a small white jewelry box for a casket and had a little funeral for it. We buried it under a tree in the front yard. She has probably asked me a 100 questions about it tonight. And I try patiently to answer them all.

I try not to say things like, "Just because." You know, I read a blurb in a magazine one time that the average 3 year-old asks 70 questions/hour. So her rate must be 170 questions/hour. I've been working on getting her to extend her questions, so they are not just "Why or how?" Because that's like "Why what?"!

So I haven't posted in awhile, I know, because sometimes life gets going and the thing is, if I miss one night of blogging, then I miss another, then suddenly, a week has slipped away, then another. Sometimes I think maybe I shouldn't blog because nobody reads it, then I let it go for awhile, and it's a good remind that...wait! There are fans!

Claire had her 3rd birthday. Alex has turned three months, and is closer to 4!!! He weighed in at 19.9 today at the breastfeeding group. He is my little chunky monkey. He is wearing the Huggies size 4 overnight diapers. Claire wore size 4 diapers in January when she potty trained!!! He has actually leaked a couple times with those though, so the next overnight pack will be size 5s! During the day he is in size 3s. His clothes range from a few bigger 6-9 month sizes to 18 month onesies. He is very long. The 12 month ones are getting hard to snap in the middle!

This is going to be a conglomeration of topics rather than several separate posts. Another reason I haven't posted in awhile is that I have been recently "labeled/diagnosed" or whatever you want to call it with PPD or post-partum depression. I feel like I wanted to share this sooner with any of my dear readers, but I haven't really known how to present it. So whatever, now you know! And actually, I've been on meds for about 3 weeks and I feel like they are working. I don't feel intensely angry anymore. My depression took the form of anger and mood swings. I'll probably be posting on this more later. But I've probably had depression my whole life. It was actually a relief to hear this label. Like I had a reason to feel how I was feeling.

Anyways, I saw a perinatal mood specialist in Indy. So that's like all she does. Talks to crazy post-partum, hormonal women. :) And oh, guess what. I have OCD with intrusive thoughts which is anxiety. Like I stress about germs and strangers touching my kids. OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)...yes... I am obsessed with keeping my kids healthy! Like, have you seen all the crap I post on facebook about breastfeeding! It's very common for people who are deeply involved in a cause to have OCD ... or is it the other way around? Anyways, it always hurt my feelings growing up when people would call me a neat-freak or perfectionist because I didn't see that in myself and don't. Like all I see is how dirty my house is when it's really not that bad....

And man, do I get grossed out going to public restrooms. I like libraries and hospitals. They know how to clean bathrooms. That's about it! Anyways, here's what I want to know...they say that you should get your teeth cleaned ever six months. You should have a yearly physical every year around your birthday, so you remember. And you should have a yearly well-woman exam, etc...what about a head check? Why is America never saying...get your mental health checked?

I think there is a lot of "stigma" attached to mental issues or labels, like if you're depressed, you can't do anything, but lay around your house all day on the couch. I'm the opposite. I don't like being alone. I go to the Children's museum 1-2x a week to get out and visit with other moms. Here's the funny thing...I'm starting to recognize the staff and other regular members!

Anyways...why the sudden "revelation"... I guess I was just feeling incredibly overwhelmed and tired and like It's a lot to take care of a kid all day everyday, plus all night. Parenting is endless. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids so incredibly much, but it's sad when I think of running to the store for 15 minutes as "me" time. Or taking a shower alone is "me" time. Haha!

I usually take a bath with one or both's just like once you sign up for a kid, the whole thing doesn't become real until you have a squalling baby (and a toddler in your arms!)

So let's talk about anger. I always had a focal point for anger. I think some people get angry and get the road rage with driving. My anger that I can remember was always in school. I mean...I got pretty much straight As. My OCD made me a great student!!! I got a full-ride to college on an academic scholarship and did great there as well. I am very focused on grammar and spelling and can't stand it when I see grammar errors on Facebook, etc. I know sometimes I get sloppy with commas and stuff on there, but I still notice it and post it anyways. It's my way of being a rebel. :)

So during school I would be angry about certain classes or assignments or teachers I didn't like or different things we were doing that drove me nuts. I hated my 8th grade English class with passion. Beowulf. YUCK. I hated Chemistry. I hated Calculus. And on and on. I was super angry about stuff. I would obsess about homework and assignments and then stay up late working on stuff. I would be pissed when I would get stuff "wrong" or lose points, etc.

Anyways, it's very common for when you have depression to pick a focal point for anger. So here's when I realized I had issues, after Claire's birth I now know I had PPD. I was so so so angry about the cats. Yoda and Snuggles. I was angry about having to clean the catbox. I was angry about the fur and hair the left everywhere. I was angry that they would get too close to baby Claire and get their paws on her...or even walk on her or her stuff. Those same paws were in the litter box! EW! So it got to the point where I was so mad about them, that we gave them away to a dear friend from college. Anger about that was then gone.

So then, my focal point changed. I began to obsess about Claire's birth. The cats were gone by about the time Claire turned 6 months. I was so angry about her birth experience and things not going how I wanted them to. I went to a LLL enrichment meeting at Broadripple and the topic was birth stories. I shared mine and was crying the whole time. I was the last one to share, and said I didn't want to share. Another leader said, take your time, and encouraged me to talk about it. It was actually very healing for me to talk about it in a safe environment with women I knew about it.

After I had shared, one of the leaders came up and talked to me about post-partum depression. Shortly thereafter I went to my OB and got a script for Zoloft. However, I didn't get it filled. I think I only ever told Josh. He said that I basically didn't need it. I know he wasn't trying to "hurt" me or anything, but we as a society are so so so uneducated about perinatal mood disorders like PPD. I would cry every time I went to a website about PPD because the list of symptoms to me where like, check, check, check, check.

I honestly didn't start feeling better until she was about 18 months old. I started working out and lost some weight. But I guess I would still get angry and in debates on facebook and elsewhere about breastfeeding, etc. So sorry about that ;) It's my obsession. Truly.

So then around her 2nd birthday, I got pregnant with Alexander. We were trying of course. But then after he was born, I was starting to feel some of the same things like I did with Claire. I'm afraid to walk by the top of the stairs because I'm afraid I might drop him, and walking down the stairs is worse. I'm afraid to have other people hold him. I'm afraid of lots of things. I'm afraid if Claire splashes water on his face that he might get water in his lungs. But my parental worry goes over and above the normal worry. Like part of my intrusive thoughts is playing out weird scenes in my head. Anyways....I'm working on not worrying about things like, ew, gross Claire just picked up a dead butterfly!

I honestly feel like I am sleeping better. I haven't cried for about 2 weeks. I feel like my head is clearer and my thoughts aren't jumbled. If you think you have had PPD, you probably do. And you might have depression too. It's ok. You have to take the step. Call me/email me/etc if you are local and I'll get you the hook-up with the Clarion counselors. WORTH IT. Step one. One day at a time. Know you want help. Know that this too shall pass ;) Know that you can do it. And you are doing it. Seriously, 1 in 7 women have PPD. It is the most common complication of childbirth. And the most commonly undiagnosed because it's so misunderstood. It's a chemical imbalance plain and simple. Pregnancy changes your body chemistry so much. Then it takes MONTHS before your body goes back to normal chemical levels. Add in sleep! And nobody knows sleep deprivation until you have a baby that needs you all.the.time. It's normal though, and that's what babies do and need.

And I'm obsessed at not letting my babies cry.for.a.single.dang.second. I feel like it's incredibly wrong. Like why in the freaking hell would you sign up to be a parent then let your baby/child cry? Seems so inherently wrong. Not only that, but when I hear them cry, it actually gets inside my head and I.can' That's why if Claire still needs to nurse at 36 months and still asks for it, then I let her. Basically, I was feeling very angry at Claire. I knew that something was wrong .... with me!

It wasn't right to feel so angry at my sweet little Claire about crying or needing something when before Alex was born (enter PPD) I wouldn't have cared about it a lot at all. I was also having a lot of mood swings. Like, very hard to not cry at stuff. Stupid stuff, too. So that's not normal!

So what if somebody says they think that they have PPD to you? Encourage them to get help. Get an evaluation and get meds that work for them and a person to talk to who is "outside of their circle" so to speak.

Don't say it isn't real. That's like telling somebody with strep throat that they don't have it. That's emotionally cruel.

Don't ask if they're feeling ok or better? That's kind of vague and annoying, although I know it's generally not meant to be. Ask more specific questions if you really want to know or care.

Don't ask if you can do something without plans to follow through. Better: Hey, "I want to help. I want to bring you dinner or come clean your bathrooms." And no, I'm not asking for this of anyone, those awesome souls of you who have already done this after Alex was born or more recently, thank you a thousand hundred times over again and again, or if I've chatted on the phone/emailed with you, etc. You know who you are ;)

I guess flakiness is one of my pet peeves. Like I remember the girl in 7th grade that borrowed lunch money from me 2 times and never paid me back. Really, why did I do it a 2nd time. I'm nice. And I still can't let it go. Really. What the heck!

Anyways, if this is totally random and jumbled, forgive me, but if you're still reading then I know you care ;)

Here are some fun things Claire has said lately:

"Momma, baby cows come outta them Momma's butts" in reference to watching a baby calf be born at Fair Oaks Farms. We are working on pronouns still!

Today she threw a band-aid on the ground. I told her to throw it on the ground. I said, "Claire, where is the trash can?!" And she replied, "Wherever you left it, Momma!" Good answer, as that is what I tell her whenever she asks me where a certain tiny toy is that she can't find. I'm thinking she might need glasses.

She has a 'sidewalk' for her playhouse. She calls it an "8" or "B" sidewalk.

We go outside first thing in the morning or after we eat supper. We have no big shade trees in our newer neighborhood. We might go out for 5-10 min. when we get the mail midday, but then it's too hot! So we came back in recently and Claire was pleading to go back outside. She goes, "But Momma, I promise that I won't get too hot!"

Claire was trying to describe "That Fun Place" to me. I was having a hard time figuring it out. It's like Chucky Cheese, although we have yet to take her to CC yet! I asked her if it was before Alexander was born. She adamantly said, "NO! YOU WERE PREGNANT." Haha! :) I guess he was around if I was prego.

So anyways...I am fine. I am the same old me basically! I want the best for my kids, and I am OCD about it!

Alexander is the little baby boy that stole my heart. He weighed in at 19.9...I can't believe it!!! My little big baby! He sleeps great, nurses great, and seems super laid back. And it's not just my observations, but others have noticed this too.

Confession: I broke a rocking chair at church while I was sitting in it, nursing Alex. That was pretty crappy. Sigh.

Confession: I spanked Claire on 3 different occasions since Alex was born. It felt awful. It didn't work. I'm never doing it again, and I'm very sorry to my sweet baby Claire! There, I feel better having admitted that. But man, I said I never would, and I never will again. She said, "Momma, No hitting! That's not nice." She's right. I need to talk. She's totally old enough now to understand and ask "WHY!" about stuff.

Confession: I had a cleaning lady come recently. Why do I feel guilty? I feel like I should be able to do it all. I feel OCD about not wanting a stranger in my space, touching our stuff. Snooping? Stealing? But it's a friend of a friend, so I feel ok about it.

So the cleaning lady comes Tuesday. Wednesday, yesterday, I dumped 8 cups of soup with meat and veggies all over the counter and floor and me. 8 cups is a lot. Dump one cup on your counter and see. OH MY GOD. I was so pissed. I threw away all three kitchen rugs (ok, they were 10 years old) because I didn't want to mess with them. Then I had to clean up my 1 day old mopped floor. Super pissed.

Then. Claire was playing around the house in a swim suit. Fine. Whatever. She can wear what she wants when we are home. That's fine as long as she is happy and dressed! So she went to the bathroom and couldn't get the suit off in time. She peed all over the 2 rugs in the bathroom. So I threw away the 2 bathroom rugs. They were also old to let you know and the backing was falling off. SUPER ANNOYING. So then I had to remop that floor after spraying her off. I also threw away her swimsuit. I feel wasteful ;) But it was a garage sale suit that had lost the elastic and was not staying up anyway. Seriously? What do you do with that kind of stuff? Does Goodwill recycle clothes/rugs like that? Who wants to wash them to donate them!

Also, Josh's Grandma Peggy died around Claire's third birthday. :( Super sad. She was a great lady and will be missed. I will miss chatting with her on the phone.

Some other fun things post-Alex:

Claire tried the soap in the bathroom. As in ate some. When she does stuff "wrong" I try to always remember to ask why. She said, "I wanted berry yogurt." Sure enough, there were berries on the bottle of soap.

Alex had his first taste of solids. It was an orange MnM. Via Claire. Yup. He had a super orange tongue. Of course at this age they suck anything in their mouth. She didn't let go of it though. She said, "He's not eating it, Mommy. Just licking it." Sigh. I thought I had that chat with her.

I buried a butterfly today and talked to Claire about death. It was actually pretty amazing and a good way to talk about God. I thank God everyday for the 2 greatest gifts on earth, my sweet baby Claire and my sweet baby Alexander.

Anyways, I'll let you go. Now, who read that to the end?


Anonymous said...

What a powerful post Maria! Love how straight forward you are!

Melinda said...

It was good seeing you at support group last night! I'm looking forward to staying in touch through our blogs :-)

I can imagine how relieved you were when you got the diagnosis of PPD. Once a problem is labled it can be fixed! I know your experiences will help others too. Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your story with us!

mfetissoff said...

I read it all. I've always thought of you as a super tough woman, so I know you can get through anything, especially with such an awesome husband at your side.

Thanks for sharing all that, and lots of love to you all.

Hannah & Eric, Wiggles & Kiesha said...

I'm glad you are comfortable sharing your feelings. I actually suffer from OCD as well so I have somewhat of an idea what you're going through. It is easy for people with OCD to slip into depression and I've dealt with that too...not post-partum, but depression nonetheless. Take care of yourself, keep your chin up and surround yourself with those who love you...which are lots and lots of people! ~Hannah

Katie said...

I read it all and LOVED it. Glad everything is working out. HUGS

Kristel said...

Very honest post! Thanks so much for sharing! I'm so glad that things are starting to look brighter; I'll be praying that they continue to get better. =)