Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Am I Excited About This Baby?

It's a valid question. 

Our 3-bedroom home feels full with twin one-year-olds, a preschooler, and a kindergartener. Our work is unstable, healthcare not ideal, and we just decided we can't afford a dog. 

[New Baby enter Stage Left]

Let's start with all the things I'm mad at: 

1. A system that expects employers to cover healthcare (I keep typing WTF after this and then deleting it and then re-typing it and then deleting it. I sincerely hope you're not offended; but it needs to be there.)

2. Employers doing everything possible to not cover healthcare 

3. The Catholic Church telling us children are a blessing, to welcome them with open arms, while Catholic education becomes increasingly affordable only for families of 2 blessings or less

4. All the stuff I'd like to buy -- weekly massages, annual family vacation, babysitting for date nights, date nights, unlimited fruit snacks, a giant trampoline, and a dog

5. Sitting outside the sanctuary with a one-year-old during Mass (and thinking, I'll probably be sitting outside the sanctuary during Mass for many more years to come) (and also thinking, waffles and bacon would be so good right now -- followed by, wait, ancient liturgy, heaven on earth, here, right now -- followed by, mmm... waffles)

6. Living in a place that's completely dependent on cars to get anywhere

So it's not crazy for my super-amazing midwife (who knows all of this about me, since the twins gave us so much quality time together just a year earlier) to ask how I felt about another baby. And given the logistics of large families in our world today, I don't think she's crazy for offering me contraception every time I visit!

[Aside: I did the whole Catholic, pro-life obgyn thing, and it really sucked. Let's not get played by doctors or businesses or politicians throwing around the "Catholic" card.]

Anyway, if I look past all the stuff that makes having a baby seem untenable -- and sure, there's plenty -- I am surprisingly, legitimately excited about a new baby. 

Our family is awesome, and not in the sense that we're better than every other family, and my kids are the best kids ever, and everyone should have 17 children; it's just that I really like our family

And yes, it seems like every time I start a new dream job that I'm going to have until I retire, I get pregnant and life changes (4 for 5 on that stat), but maybe, I just have a whole lot of dream jobs, and I'm getting to do all of them. (Or maybe I should quit them all and take care of all these children, my goodness.) Let's not get into that. 

When it comes down to the little microcosm of things that actually matter to me in life -- none of the swirling changing unpredictable unimportant sideshows considered -- YES, I am unequivocally thrilled about a sweet new little baby to join our crazy wonderful crew. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Couch to 5K" in Six Short Years

We are definitely not that cute jogging couple in the neighborhood. 

Between our stride difference of several feet, and my inability to keep doing something pointless when it hurts like crazy, I joined the Runners Quitters Club early. 

Nonetheless, I've discovered a new way to join the Couch-to-5K Club!

Not Us
In the early months, after our big white wedding, Wally and I were definitely couch people. We watched seven years (every episode) of Boy Meets World, the entire Band of Brothers miniseries, the cliffhanger remnant of one season of Firefly, the best James Bond movies (all of them), Sports Night, Monk, Psych, every classic trilogy in sequence -- Star Wars, Bourne, Indiana Jones, Oceans 11-12-13, The Godfather, Lord of the Rings -- and Planet Earth.

Through no intention of our own, we graduated from the gratuitous TV watching phase of our marriage. 

Wally's success came through an online Couch-to-5K program (C25K) that literally takes someone from zero to a few miles over several weeks. 

My 5K experience has taken over six years of punctuated growth spurts, often loving it, sometimes hating it. In the beginning, everything about achieving 5K seems unattainable. 1K feels like 20K, and you don't know if it will ever not feel awful. You miss the couch.

1K = AAAAHHH! Your body hurts. Your life crashes down around you. People keep telling you that what you're doing is awesome. 

2K = AAAAHHHH! You finally got comfortable with 1K. You could circle the neighborhood without looking beat down and exhausted, and even waved at the neighbors. But somehow the plan jumped to 2K, you're not ready at all, and everything is awful! You get lots of sympathetic looks while you're out doing your thing.

3K-4K = Not a bad transition. You're feeling better on the inside, even if things still look a little messy on the outside. At this point in the program, people start to stare. "How does someone even do that," they might wonder. 

5K = Eh? What's another K?

Somewhere along the way we went from kilometers to kids, and somehow made it to 5.
Best of luck to everyone in your Couch-to-5K adventures, whether it's kilometers, kids, kangaroos, kayaks, kiwis... stay strong!

Friday, June 19, 2015

24 Things I Told Myself Instead of Just Taking Anti-Depressants

1. I just need more sleep.

2. I just need to be more patient.

3. I just need a break from the kids.

4. There's not even such thing as post-partum depression. It's just something other moms make up who can't handle their kids.

5. It's too expensive. First you have to pay for the doctor's appointment, and then a regular prescription of anti-depressants.

6. I don't even take my vitamins regularly. What makes me think I could take anything else regularly?

7. What will people think? I can't even potty train my kids without posting a blog about it. Obviously I'll blab all over the internet about being incapable of raising kids without being medicated.

8. If I'm going to get 2 hours without kids, I'd rather go to the library than the doctor's office.

9. It's just a tough couple of weeks. Things will change.

10. It's just my hormones. Things will change.

11. It's just my husband's work schedule. Things will change.

12. I'm still functional and interactive. Things can't be that bad.

13. I just need to get more exercise.

14. None of my friends had to take anti-depressants. (Yeah right, just like I'm sure none of my friends have fed their kids Cheerios for 3 meals in one day.)

15. I've just been listening to too much music. (Voice in my head: "You know music makes you emotional.")

16. Women have been raising kids for thousands of years and doing way more work, without anti-depressants.

17. I need to suck it up and just do it. Do it!

18. A few crappy months won't kill anyone. Wally & the kids will be okay. Just give it time.

19. People will think I have bad coping skills. It will undermine my credibility.

20. I'm going to make having kids look bad. People already think moms with lots of young kids are crazy. Don't give them ammunition!

21. I'm doing a lot right now. It's normal to feel tired, unmotivated, and anxious. Life will cycle again, and I'll be back to my old self.

22. Plenty of women in third world countries are raising kids without washing machines, dishwashers, and antidepressants.

23. Antidepressants will prevent my body from regulating its own happiness in the future, and I'll never be happy again without medication.

24. But I just need to cut out coffee, read this advice book, eat less sugar, join a moms group, dab these three essential oils behind my ears seven times a day, demand more "me" time, re-allocate grocery money to those magic green-or-pink smoothies, start a new personal hobby, wake up early to enjoy nature, exercise 30 minutes every evening, and eat three square meals a day with two healthy snacks! Why isn't this working?!!

When I finally called my obgyn to talk about post-partum depression, I cried on the phone with the receptionist. (We'd been through a lot together. I feel like the whole office became part of our family through that pregnancy.)

Guys. This was the easiest obgyn appointment ever. 

My doctor spent 20 minutes listening to me and asking some questions, gave me reassurance and comfort, referrals for some counselors, and a low-dose of Zoloft. 

She said I probably wouldn't feel any effects of the Zoloft, at least for a week, but it made an immediate difference. 

The world slowed down, normal interactions lost their intensity, and I could make calmer, more deliberate decisions. 

For me, depression wasn't sadness or a cloudy day. It's a sunny day, so bright, with rays so intense and piercing that I can't escape. 

Everyone experiences pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum life differently. Despite all the smiling advertisements, I don't think these are easy seasons for any woman! 

For some, improvement is found in dietary changes, supplements, and adaptations in routine. If these don't work for you, don't let it add to your depression or anxiety! 

There are great medications out there that can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Do you take Tylenol when you have a headache? Do you cough down Pepto on an upset stomach? Does your doctor prescribe a Z-pack when you need an antibiotic? The physiological side effects of depression and anxiety can also be helped with medication. 

If you're experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, don't be afraid to check in with your doctor.

It's also possible that the "It's Like They Know Us" Tumblr feed could solve all of your problems.

This picture is captioned: "Sit back and enjoy a hot cup of coffee as you casually observe your child in her brand new Baby Containment Module! Baby Containment Module fits seamlessly into any decor, and baby will be happy to play for hours without hanging white-knuckled from the sides, wailing like a wild snot-covered banshee whose only goal is to keep you from going to the bathroom. Baby Containment Module, it’s everywhere you want them to be."