Memoirs Of A Modern Housewife

My life is nothing like the Bravo Housewives!

Archive for the tag “Reproductive Health”

Our Family Is “Complete” and How We Came To That Decision


I’m sitting in the coffee shop, browsing through my favorite Facebook pages and blogs and I come across a random picture of a mom nursing her very new baby. I feel a lump in my throat, my stomach starts churning and my nose starts running. I choke back the tears that are accumulating.

The coffee shop is very crowded with the sounds of a live Irish band. Every one is wrapped into their own world, their own conversations, so I subtly take a napkin and softly dab the tears that escape from my efforts. All I can do is sigh within myself. When there are no words for your sadness only a deep sigh will do.

I never thought that I would be grieving a decision that Mr. Incredible and I prayerfully and thoroughly discussed. There would be no more children physically born through me.

It wasn’t a rash decision based solely on my hard pregnancy with Beaner, but it certainly was one factor.

I am one of the two percent of women who suffer from hyperemisis graviduram during pregnancy. It is a chronic, debilitating condition that strikes within weeks of a pregnancy and can last until the very end. That was my experience with all three kids. I was told by doctors and midwives alike (as well as by my own research and experience) that it gets worse with each pregnancy. There is no cure for this condition, just medication and medical support to keep the symptoms as tolerable as possible.

The good thing is babies born through mothers who have to endure HG do surprisingly well as they take absolutely everything from mom and thrive (like most pregnancies). The problem is a mom with HG is usually depleted of vital nutrients, deficient in everything afterwards.

This was a very rough pregnancy and it not only effected me but the family as a whole. The heart of the home was out of commission for the majority of the pregnancy, our finances took a hit as Mr. Incredible had to take time off to take care of the girls and I, and a year later my health is still recovering.

During my pregnancy I was asked by relatives and close friends to please not get pregnant again. Seems like a very personal and harsh request, and it wasn’t put in exactly those words, but I knew what they meant. Their hearts are in the right place as it is hard to see your loved one suffer, even if it is for a good reason.

Three Great Reasons

Our sweet children that we are absolutely crazy about bring us such great joy. We love teaching them about life, relationships, Jesus and how the world works. And they just love us unconditionally. You can’t beat that!

Eating daddy's hair

It’s not a burden to raise them. It’s challenging and exhausting sometimes but we grow as they are growing. We really are grateful to be able to have them in our lives so naturally we would want to keep adding them to our life. Plus we just love, love, love babies.

Mr. Incredible and Baby Beaner

It’s a tough decision to decide to be done with growing our family, especially when the decision is based on things beyond our control.

In short, our final decision came down to:

  • My ability to endure another pregnancy (including the long recovery),
  • Financially; because of the cost of medication and home health care that is required,
  • and the guilt I felt while my other children had to sit on the sidelines and wait for their mother to be well enough to continue to parent them.

Poots is still having a hard time adjusting and has gotten more and more clingy even though Beaner is a year old now. When I think about the fact that she basically lost me for 7-8 months (while I was pregnant) it just doesn’t seem fair to do that to her, Riggity and now Beaner again.

We have made the decision and taken the necessary steps. I believe the reality of it hit us both surprisingly harder than we expected.

We will grieve the end of everything that goes along with a new member of the family and gather our sweet family of five and move forward.

Anticipating this decision, we have embraced and soaked up every baby milestone that Beaner has taken. It’s been bitter-sweet of course; knowing it will be the last time we will experience “the firsts”, but very sweet because it has been as if we are experiencing everything for the first time.

What about you? How did you come to a decision that your family was complete? Was it outside factors?

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Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression: Personal Stories


David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It really grieves me to the core to think about the taboo that is surrounded around postpartum depression. Even the name weighs heavy when compared to the cutesy reference of baby blues. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services depression is a common problem during and after pregnancy. About 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers have depression.

That may not seem like a large number but when you are battling it yourself knowing that even one other mother is or has experienced PPD can mean the difference of another woman acknowledging it and seeking help. I have a sneaking suspicion that the number may be larger but this is a subject that women are secretly ashamed. Whether it is the fear or being seen as weak, not appreciating the gift of a new child, or afraid that there may be some other mental illness that hasn’t been uncovered it remains hidden. I can tell you from experience that things that are hidden usually appear worse than they are and seldom go away on their own.

A dear friend of mine asked me about the difference between postpartum depression and the baby blues. I could (and will) post a link that lists things to look out for but I hoped a real-life example would be of use. I am also hoping to remove the  unnecessary shame and loneliness that goes along with PPD. Here was my response:

I can tell you from experience. I had PPD with Riggity and Poots and the baby blues with Beaner. They are very different. I will underline the symptoms:

After I had Riggity I had to go back to work 6 weeks postpartum. I was a walking zombie and it wasn’t because of lack of sleep. Riggity was one of those rare babies that slept through the night early on. I wept on and off, I was clearly so unhappy that every one would mention it. I was not interested in any of the things I used to be, including friends. I started isolating myself (not wanting to see anyone because it was too much work or caused anxiety. I was not my self and it wasn’t getting better as the months went on. Her father worked evenings and I would have Riggity every night after work. I was exhausted and would come home, feed her (she was bottle fed) and I would sleep on the couch until morning. She would be in a playpen next to me (even though she had her own nursery…I didn’t feel like taking her there and I wasn’t so quick to attending to her). I truly loved her and felt so blessed to have her but I was disconnected from her because of how I was feeling. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what to look for at the time and it took my mom at about 6 months postpartum to plead with me to talk with my doctor.

When I was pregnant with Poots my doctor was aware of my previous PPD and we developed a plan; to look for the signs, be accountable (she came to see me before I went home after having Poots and she sat down and talked with Hubs and I about what to look for) and also we discussed what were some options if I were to have it again; counseling, prescription, diet, combo of all.
When PPD appeared with Poots, hubs was the one who pointed it out to me. Sometimes when you are experiencing PPD you start to think it is normal because you are living in it everyday. I  stopped returning phone calls, declining visits and invitations (after the postpartum period). I stopped sleeping (I would stay up almost every night watching television). I was disconnected from hubs and the kids. I would be holding Poots but not engaging with her (zombie like). My oldest and hubs shared their observation with me; I always had this blank stare and they would be talking to me and I would look right through them. I would go from not eating to eating too much.  I was exhausted, completely exhausted. I had overwhelming fears and anxiety about myself, the kids, hubs.

I’d seen my doctor for my yearly check up and she asked me how it was going and I cried my eyes out. She said that my appearance looked different, my eyes were distant and I was not the same happy person I was a year previous. She’d said exactly what hubs had just told me (which led me to schedule the appointment) and I knew she was right.

I believe I waited too long to be treated. I had just lost my mother and thought I was heavily grieving and that was the reasons for my symptoms. I also thought it was something that could be reasoned and prayed away, a positive attitude and strong-will would help me overcome it. I eventually agreed to try some medication and after two weeks or more started I started to see more clearly and not walk around with my head in the cloud. I also started to see a counselor to process some things. Both helped. Again, I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long.

With Beaner, I had the baby blues. We were on alert and looking for PPD because of the hard pregnancy, traumatic labor/delivery I’d had. The baby blues felt like an emotional roller coaster that came and went around the second week. It was intense when it peaked and I had one melt down when I was feeling overwhelmed with healing, nursing, lack of sleep and my hormones had tanked but after that things settled and started to feel normal.

The difference with Beaner. I had been seeing my counselor the last few weeks of my pregnancy and started to see her once I was out and about (about 6 weeks postpartum). I discussed my disappointments and fears candidly and didn’t hold anything in. Also, with  my doctor we tested my blood levels and made sure my iron and vitamin d levels were good. I immediately started taking supplements postpartum, started lowering my expectations with what the house should look like, accepted help when offered, slept when hubs was home (that meant earlier bed times) and when my mother in-law came over. I allowed my body the time to heal without having a time-table as to when I should be doing things and I cried when I felt like crying and I talked about things that bothered me instead of holding them in. I, hubs, my doctor and my counselor (haven’t seen her since June) have all been keeping an eye out for any symptoms and so far so good. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had days when I’ve felt like I am the worse mom, or wife, or not doing everything right or woke up feeling overwhelmed with everything. The difference is that feeling comes and goes, it doesn’t linger like it did in the past.

 

The best way I can describe PPD is: I felt like I was on an island that was once a part of the shore. I could see myself drifting farther and farther away from the shore and no one could reach me and I couldn’t reach them.
Another description: I was falling deeper and deeper in a black hole. I had my arms and legs stretched out to try to keep from falling but I was still falling, some days super fast and some days I was trying to stop the falling with my finger nails, barely holding on.

Either way, I felt alone even though people were around me, and scared, anxious and unhappy.

By the way, all of this was going on and I loved my kids and hubby so much I could hardly stand it. The good news, kids are sooooo forgiving and resilient. They love their mama’s so much that any mistakes along the way are forgiven. In spite of my rocky start with Riggity is really unbelievable how much she loves me. Poots thinks I am a rock star. I have to lock myself in the bathroom sometimes because they all want to hang out with me (this is even after spending all day with them). I am not saying this to brag about myself because like I said, I am not perfect. I still make mistakes and lose my patience and have challenging days but kids are pretty forgiving and resilient if your heart is in the right place.

 

A few things:
  When you are pregnant or have just had a child you are exhausted for very normal reasons, the weepys can come from being exhausted. And you are right to feel overwhelmed. It is a lot to take on and a lot to learn.
Be patient with your self friend. Patience with yourself as a mom and with your body. Don’t expect to know exactly what to do right away and all of the times.

Don’t feel guilty  if you find that you do have PPD. It is nothing you did wrong, nothing you can control with will power and like any other illness if there were treatments available no one would judge you for using them.

Practical notes: Have someone to take babes while you sneak a nap, take a soak, have some quiet time. It will make you a better mama if you get as much rest as you can, stay hydrated and nourished. Stay connected to your partner and be honest about how you are feeling. Even if it is continuing to communicate about how all of the changes are affecting you both, snuggling up to a comedy or doing more if you feel up to it (don’t feel bad if you don’t).

Accept help when it is available; food, cleaning, errands ran. Breathe and when you are feeling overwhelmed acknowledge it and stop and think what do I *need* to be doing right now, or today? It may be just getting back in the bed with baby and counting her little fingers, smelling her hair, listening to her breath or eating a soulful meal, taking a stroll or a nap. Pace yourself, there is no pressure. You are the perfect mom for child(ren) even if you are dealing with PPD.

 

P.S. Not saying you do, but If you suspect that PPD may be creeping up see your doc asap, they have a test you can take. There are many options and the sooner it is dealt with the sooner you can experience this first year in all the beauty and clarity it was meant to be experienced in. Not through a cloud and tears.
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How about you? Have you or someone you know dealt with Postpartum depression? Do you find that it is something women have a hard time sharing or getting help for?

Fourth Trimester (Survey)


If you are an expectant mother or have had a baby in the last six months would you please consider taking the time to participate in a quick survey relating to the postpartum period.

I am working on a new project to help mothers during the postpartum period that I am very excited about and your input would be valuable to the process.

Click here to participate in the online survey. 

Thank you so much,

Natalia

Click here to take survey

Beaner’s Birth Story


I recently posted the birth story of my last child via my doula and childbirth website but thought I would also share here. It was a very long pregnancy (aren’t they all) filled with many disappointments but taught me so much about myself and I received the greatest prize at the end. It’s lengthy but I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.awomansdesign.com/1/post/2011/08/birth-story-of-elisha-eli.html

 

Blessings!

 

 

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