My Postpartum Depression Survival Guide

postpartum-depression-survival-guideUgh. Just as I was getting up and running with blogging, a second wave of postpartum depression (PPD) knocked the wind right out of me. This is my fourth episode of PPD in the past year and a half (I had two episodes with DD and now two episodes with DS). After coping with PPD so much lately, I’ve come up with some tricks to stay afloat during this painfully difficult time:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert, just a mom who has suffered from PPD. Consult your doctor if you think you have depression, or call 911 if you think you might harm yourself or others.

Pray hard, and pray often. Psalm 13 really helps me during these times.

Get medical help. With DD, I did not realize what had hit me. I thought what I was feeling was normal, and I needlessly suffered through it. With DS, I started taking an antidepressant the night he was born. The difference between my two postpartum experiences was night and day.

Do your best to live in the moment. When I focus all my attention on exactly what I’m doing in that moment, I can’t think about how many hours stand in between me and my bedtime, or how life used to be before babies. It’s much easier to enjoy this one moment in time and not worry about all the other moments that need to be filled.

Try to get out every day, even if it’s just for a walk. It may sound cliché, but getting out into the world for some fresh air makes me feel less isolated and ALWAYS lifts my spirits.

Have healthy snacks on hand. This is very important for me as I have a tendency to overeat and gain weight when I’m depressed.  Healthy snacks also energize your body.

Do something nice for yourself every day. For me, this us usually just taking a long, quiet shower in the evening. On really rough days, I’ll splurge on some Starbucks.

Rest whenever possible. I have two under two (still two under 1.5 as of writing this post!) so I know this can be a big challenge!

Avoid your iPhone. When I’m feeling bad off, all I want to do is zone out on Pinterest or Facebook. It feels good while I’m doing it, but the second I get offline I feel even worse than when I started scrolling through my news feeds. Instead of staring at your screen, close your eyes and relax.

Get on a routine. I have a morning routine and evening routine that I always follow, both of which help me gear up and wind down from my day.

I am not out of the PPD woods yet, so I would love to add to this list. What do you do to cope with your PPD?


Irish Twins

irish-twinsI wrote the post below 3 months ago, or half a lifetime ago for DS.  I keep meaning to edit and post it, but clearly I’ve been slow…it’s taken 3 months to get around to it and that should be some insight for you into life with Irish Twins.

A little update: the past 3 months have gone by quicker than the first three with DS.  Things have been really, really hard lately. We just moved across the country from the Chesapeake Bay to the San Francisco Bay (more on that in a future post) which, to put it frankly, really sucked.

When I read the post below (written pre-move) about how everything was all happy and go-with-the-flow, I wanted to turn around and punch my old self in the face.  But, then I tried to look back in time through the sleep deprived haze that has settled in permanently around me, and I remembered: when you have a familiar location and a regular routine, Irish Twins are wonderful.

So, the post below gives me hope: I hope that as we continue to settle in to our new home here, to the new time zone and the new daily routines, that the babies will relax and feel comfortable in their environment once more.  Then I can be a happier, go-with-the-flow Mama again.

—From May 24th, 2016–

I am the mother of Irish Twins.  My baby girl (DD) is 13 months old, and my baby boy (DS) turns 3 months old tomorrow.

And whew, what a ride these past three months have been.

In many ways DS’s birth seems like a lifetime ago, which, for him, I suppose it was.  Before he was born, mothers with children close in age would happily reminisce to me about how these first few months would “be a blur” and how my kiddos would soon be “best friends” and “how great – in the long run – it was having children so close in age.”

Well mamas, as someone still in the thick of things who is not simply reminiscing, as someone whose *mom-nesia* has not yet set in, here’s my description what it’s really like to have Irish Twins these first few months:

It’s as if you’re *happily* fighting to keep your head above water; it’s as if you’re being swept off by a river of harsh rapids, *happily* almost drowning as you go, but because you know you won’t actually drown you are able *go with the flow* and enjoy the ride.

Yes, it’s hard.  Yes, it’s fun.  Yes, I am beat and look forward to the night when I can actually sleep a total of 8 hours again (or even 7 or 6 hours, especially if they’re consecutive!).

But, the good news is that even while I’m almost drowning in the rapids, I’m so happy my babies have each other.

It warms my heart to see DD crawl over to kiss her baby brother.

It warms my heart to see the way DS watches his big sister play, with wide eyes full of wonder.

It warms my heart to see DD bring her WubbaNub over to her baby brother when he cries.

So to any Mama out there trying to have Irish Twins, or to any Mama out there with an unexpected miracle on the way I say: YOU CAN DO IT.


On Becoming “THAT” Family

that-%e2%80%a8familyI am ashamed to admit that this past weekend was the first time we went to church in two months.  I have lots of excuses—babies, travel, moving, etc.—but I know deep down that I have just been lazy and shirking my duties as wife & mother by not getting us there.

So today I ask God for forgiveness, and pray that he will help me get us back on a church routine.

Now, on to the title of this post…”THAT Family”.  At church this weekend, we were THAT family…you know, the one with the fussy crying baby.  The one with the toddler who won’t sit still and screams every time Mama tries to make her sit down.

I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say we had to leave church early.

I am feeling badly about this and am trying to figure out what to do going forward. My kiddos have gotten out of the church routine and no longer know how to behave.

This is a particularly bad time to re-teach DD as she is going through a “phase” of tantrums. But, I read an awesome post by Jill Simonian on this weekend that gave me the inspiration…and hope…that I will get us back in the church groove.

This article was about training kids to behave at restaurants. It reminded me that behavior is learned and that I can’t simply expect my 15 month old to sit still and be quiet.  Developmentally, her body and mind want to do the opposite.

So I’m going to do what this author suggested: re-train DD on how to sit still and be patient.  We’ll start small and work our way up:

  • Wednesday: Have DD sit on her bottom on the couch when we read together.  Mama will only read if DD is sitting calmly.
  • Thursday: Got to Starbucks for a cake-pop and have DD sit calmly in her chair. (Note: I love what Jill Simonian said in her post about teaching her kids to observe their surroundings as their way of staying entertained. I also love how she talked about respecting others in the restaurant, and having her kids apologize when they were rambunctious).
  • Friday: We’re going to visit Daddy at work, so I hope to try a sit-down cafe maybe a step-up (in formality) from Starbucks.
  • Saturday: Lunch at IKEA, anyone?
  • Sunday: CHURCH. I’m sure it will still be a struggle, but I hope that with daily practice we will get better.

More to come on this…I’ll report back on how things are going.  I would also love to hear if you have tips & tricks to help little ones behave at church and restaurants!