…maybe it’s PPD

Earlier today, I posted my very first Facebook Live video. For some reason, I decided to make it light and fluffy by asking people to tell me their stories of Post Partum Depression – or PPD.

The response I got was…immense. 

Sometimes I feel like God’s sole purpose of putting me on earth is to ask the hard, awkward questions – because out of 7 billion people planet wide, I cannot be the only person who thinks/feels/wonders about certain things? And maybe if I just sack up and take one for the team, then maybe others will feel like it’s okay for them to talk about it too? 

The thing is, I’m not sure if I have PPD. I wouldn’t blame or shame myself if I did. If you’ve followed me at all in the last couple of years, you’ll know that pregnancy and birth and motherhood has kind of done a number on me. 

But maybe it’s just the circumstances we’ve found ourselves in. So if I just list off all the pinballs that are bouncing around in my brain, maybe I’ll win the game instead of dropping like it’s hot. 

Winter.

It’s the middle of February and I have never done well in winter to start. I need sunshine and blue skies and lake days and smelling like campfire smoke to really thrive as a person. 

So why would I question my well-being when I’m basically trapped indoors with a helpless creature who would probably burst into flames if exposed to the sun longer than 5 minutes?

I’m talking about the baby, not my husband. *ba dump chh*

Sleep

I’ve never been a sleep-till-noon sort of person but I truly fire on all cylinders when I’ve had 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. And being a mom is not like your teen years where you babysat for 6 hours, then spent your money at the 7-11 and video store (oh I am soooo dating myself right now) so you could stay up til 3am with your girlfriends, and then be *so tired* the next day but it was fine because you could settle the sleep score the next night. 

No.

This is sleeping two hours, being awake for an hour, sleeping maybe another 2 hours etc FOR MONTHS. There’s a reason why they use sleep deprivation as a torture device, friends. IT SHITS ON YOUR BRAIN. 

Stuff I’ve known my whole life is now living in that deep chasm from Inside Out, full of colored memory marbles that are slowly becoming dust. 

And all the new stuff I know, the stuff I do every day, starts to run like cookies in the oven that were put too close together. The thing I did 5 minutes ago was actually 5 days ago.

Last night, I forgot to medicate my son. He went a whole 16 hours without the medicine that literally helps his heart not beat too fast. Because I’ve done it approximately 360 times, right, so why would last night be any different? But there it was this morning, an already-full syringe that should have been coursing through Harrison’s blood stream for the last 8 hours. 

And also? *straps on a megaphone*

SLEEP TRAINING SUCKS BALLS (BALLS) (BALLS) (BALLS) 

My words echoed because I was standing on the edge of my Inside Out chasm. 

On that note…

Dreams

 In those precious hours where sleep does come, your thoughts might occasionally dance on your shit-for-brains and proceed to make a Jackson Pollack on the walls of your subconscious. 

I have had dreams where my baby is dead. SIDS, drowning, heart failure, I could go on. 

I have had dreams where the hospital doctors decided he wasn’t thriving with us, so they took him away to live with better parents. 

I have had dreams where he never gets here because I’m having another miscarriage. 

I’ve had dreams where he never talks or laughs or plays because he is destined to be a baby FOREVER and I think it’s our fault for calling ourselves The Buttons. 

I f*cking hate dreaming. 

The World Sitch

As an adult that was raised in a lot of end-of-days theologies I’ve had to toss out to maintain my sanity, I’m feeling pretty damn triggered lately. 

So much shit that I was taught to keep an eye out for is actually happening now. I don’t care what your worldview or political affiliations are, you have to admit that every morning brings a new shitshow to read about or watch on the news. 

So? You say. Just ignore all of that. It’s so negative and you can’t trust what you read/hear anyway. 

That’s part of the problem. I feel like I have two choices: feel shitty about bringing a child into the shitty world all the time, or be ignorant, uninformed, and ultimately unable to make the world a better place in my corner of it. I don’t want to block my senses, singing LALALA, IF I CAN’T SEE YOU, YOU CAN’T SEE ME. 

I want to care, and to me that means not letting my privilege make me selective in what I care about.
Being what kids these days call WOKE feels impossible when a mama just wants to sleep. 

The Future

Que sera sera, and all that. I have no control over any of it. I just know that it’s going to be different than what I thought. 

Right now, my husband is mostly unemployed and soul-searching. Maybe he’ll morph into a stay-at-home dad. Forever, my son has Noonan’s syndrome. Maybe he’ll grow up accepted for who he is, where he’s at, and maybe he won’t. A few years from now, we’d like to take our family to Disneyland, or maybe it’ll all be underwater. 

So? Am I suffering from PPD? I still don’t know. As someone brilliant once said, “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, surrounded by assholes.” 

Or sleep deprivation, or World War 3. You know, those old nuggets. I guess time and sunshine will tell. 

5 New Mom Truths I Didn’t Know Until I Knew Them

I’ve been a mom for 4 whole months now so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about.

1. You learn to function without sleep.

All I had to do was stop visualizing my life as “day” and “night”, and start visualizing it as nap #3 of 6 in a 24-hour period. So go ahead and have that coffee at 9pm, because nothing matters anymore.

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2. Breastfeeding can be REALLY difficult. 

And just like pregnancy, I did not love it. I  wanted to, and I thought that would be enough to make it a reality.

 

Nope. I could not Desire Map my way into this delicate, hormonal endeavour called breastfeeding. But after doing it for 3 months, I can say YOU GO MAMA to anyone who manages to do it for longer, while eating, while lying down, while in public, while being covered up, while being stared at, while being given advice. YOU ARE MADE OF STRONGER METTLE THAN I.

3. Successfully putting your baby to bed is like a scene from The Hurt Locker. Or any movies involving bombs, really.

Their bellies are full, their bums are clean, the room is dimly lit, the white noise is whirring, the lullabies have been sung, and Baby is so sleepy it’s adorable. You debate just holding and snuggling them for the duration of their nap, but then you remember you have shit to do. And so, you must GTFO before this happens:

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If you succeed, this is how you will feel.

 

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4. Any amount of personal hygiene will feel like a spa day.

If you’re wondering about the state of our hygiene as new parents, a mouse lived in our tub long enough to chew the shower curtain and drop 40 poops in it before we noticed. But once we decided not to burn said tub to the ground, man, those showers felt great.

5. Your love for your child will be infinite.

All the songs on the radio will be about them, you will sacrifice everything you once loved to take care of them. Every smile and achievement they make will convince you that surely it’s never been done before, and they are the first ones, and they are THE BEST at it.

But you’ll be amazed at how much MORE you love them when they sleep more than one hour at a time. It may occasionally happen at the expense of your husband’s feelings (“If you fart like that one more time, you cannot sleep here! At least muffle it with a pillow for the LOVE OF GOD!”) but it will be worth it.

Actually, everything is worth it.

Talk again in another 4 months…maybe…

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Somewhere Over The Rainbow: A Birth Story

It is absolutely surreal to me that, at this time 5 weeks+3 days ago, I had just given birth.  First of all, thank you for receiving my last blog post so graciously. I was a little unhinged, so y’all have … Continue reading

Baby Button Needs You To Stop Praying For Him Now

8 weeks ago, I wrote a story about the journey our baby was taking us on, and how we were praying that my body would survive being pregnant just 7 more weeks to give him the best chance. So many of you responded in love and prayers and genuine care.

I truly believe it worked because my body proceeded to need a total of 3 amniotic fluid drains, plus a dramatic 3 night stay in the hospital because I was having very real contractions every 5 minutes…and then suddenly everything stopped. I went home. Life has resumed at an almost-usual routine for the last 4 weeks. Baby Button has grown big and strong, we have a safety-approved place for him to sleep and travel, and my mom made it here without complication.

So now? I need y’all to stop praying. I turned the corner on 38 weeks yesterday, and I am done.

I know every third-trimester mother says that, but I don’t think you understand.

I am “answering questionnaires for concerned psychiatrists/sense of humor completely gone/collapsing into tears for no reason at least once a day” done.

I have survived the Apocalypse. I have lived in fear of the government and deportation. I have moved houses at least as many times as I’ve had birthdays. I’ve seen a childhood friend die right in front of me. I have endured losing a relationship with my father 2 months after it began. I have gotten lost in Europe, lost a baby, lost jobs, and been one paycheck ahead of financial disaster for years.

But 9 months of pregnancy, one of life’s greatest mysteries that I was looking forward to the most, is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel needy. I feel weak.

And so I feel lost. My identity is shifting. I’m the girl who writes about all the crazy shit that happens to her, and still manages to make people smile. I’m the Chandler Bing, I’m the Spartan who keeps on trucking, I’m the one who has heard time and again, “Wow. Looking at you, listening to you, I would never have guessed that you survived all THAT. You’re amazing, and you should probably write a book.”

My shit has always been a little messy, but it was my mess, and it made me stronger.

Now? After being pregnant and sick and worried and unprepared for 267 days in a row (including being displaced from home for 60+ days in a cramped house with 4 animals and 4 in-laws out of that)?

All I want is to go to sleep, and wake up in my own bed with a fresh mani/pedi, a killer haircut, a multi-ethnic buffet, and an impossibly adorable baby who never cries longer than 5 minutes or makes me question whether I am mentally and emotionally capable of becoming a mother in the first place.

I feel gross for even admitting it. Because I can see all you ladies who have been moms for years, who are laughing at my innocence and thinking, “Just you wait, honey, it gets worse.” I can see all you ladies who have been thinking they’d like to get pregnant, and now I’ve just ruined it for you. I can see all you ladies who had magical unicorn pregnancies with babies made from Jesus’ eyelashes, and are secretly judging me for being so dramatic and non-sacrificial.

And honestly, I’m going to play the Pregnant Bitch card and say up front: I don’t need to hear from you right now.

The only thing that keeps me typing so vulnerably is the off-chance that maybe some lady will read this and think, Thank GOD I’m not alone. Maybe I’ll wait one more day before checking myself in to the closest institution. Hi, Carly. I’m your new messy mama friend. Let’s keep talking.

13 days or less…

 

7 weeks to go: the ups and possible Down’s of our Baby Button

Every once in awhile, there comes a time when you straight up have to cancel your life. Your cares, your responsibilities, the expectations placed upon you are bulldozed by reality, and you must deal with THIS THING for your own … Continue reading

13 Inappropriate Status Updates I’ve Wanted To Make Since I Got Pregnant

Oh, good. Another blog post about pregnancy. This should be informative, fun, cutesy, non-judgy and—*retches into nearest garbage can*.

Oh, sorry, that wasn’t about the topic – that’s just my life now. Any conversation I have from now until September is 90% likely to be interrupted by me retching into the nearest garbage can.

Cause I got knooooockedddd upppp hawrrrrd. 

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Two hours into my shift and I'm ready to go home. I am the weakest link.

It was really difficult for an oversharer like me to achieve but Steve and I decided to keep this news fairly on the down low this time around until it was impossible for a photo of me to be shared without cropping half of me out. We wanted to make sure that everything was okay first, as if we are going to have control over a concept like *that* ever again.

And now, unfortunately for y’all, I have a serious backlog in my brain (and phone) of everything I’ve wanted to say since the day I found out I was pregnant again.

1. “This pregnancy test better not be f*cking with me.”

2. “Oh shit, this is actually happening. I should probably find a doctor or a midwife. And tell my husband. In that order? Will he be less panicky if I say I already have a care provider ready to go, or will he want to do that together? Yes.”

3. “Wow, I’ve made it 6 whole weeks, and I feel great! But that’s bad. I should probably be sick, right? I wasn’t sick last time, and that was a bad sign. Oh no.”

4. *one week later* “Ohhhh Goddddd, when will the vomiting end?” #SecretlySuperRelieved

5. “I just vomited from the hours of 3am to 6am and now I have to go to work for 8 hours. I’m no mathematician…but this kinda sucks.”

6. “I am the worst human being in the world. Like, here’s Donald Trump and waaaaayyyy down here is me. For I have just desecrated Her Majesty Queen Adele. She was on the radio, and lo, I could not stop barfing from beginning to end. Off with my head.” #HelloFromTheGarbageCan

7. “Did you know you can get a sinus infection, just from all the extra fluids being produced in your body during pregnancy? I SURE DIDN’T! Seriously, Adele, if you’re not gonna cut off my head, I’m just gonna do it myself.”

8. “Sweet, I finally lost that 15 pounds I’ve been chasing for 3 years, and the curves are landing in all the right places! Hello, boobs, nice to meet you at last!” *smacks husband’s hands away for the 27th time cause these new bubbies HURT, BITCH*

9. “Steve just told me that he feels like our bodies are singing Sarah McLachlan songs to each other, it’s been so long. And then to prove his point, he burst out, I WILL REMEMBER YOUUUUUU WILL YOU REMEMBER MEEEE DON’T LET YOUR WIFE PASS YOU BY *reaches towards new boobs* WEEP NOT FOR THE MAMMARIES

I should probably do something sexy before he leaves me.”

10. “I am in the bathroom at work. I have just barfed, peed myself a little, switched gears for diarrhea and had a nosebleed in the last 5 minutes.

Baby Button, I love you, but seriously CALM YOUR SHIT.” #AlwaysKeepAChangeOfClothesInTheCar #ThanksHusbandForBringingMeClothesAndAlsoForNotLeavingMe

11. “Omg our maternity photo shoot is in 3 days, and everything is terrible! At least on my wedding day, someone could use the power of foundation and witchcraft to make me beautiful, but NOW I’m on my OWN! I need a haircut! There are burst blood vessels in my face! I have nothing to wearrrrr…”

12. “Did I actually forget how amazing our photographer is? For. Shame.”

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13. “Hold up. Did I just…? Yep, there is *something* moving inside me, and for once, it’s not gas! Or maybe it is? Wait, now I’m being punched in the ribs by the tiniest little fist in the world, yes I am, hello baby! Steve, come quick! Everything we’ve gone through in the last 5 months is about to be worth it!”

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To be continued…

A Canadian’s Guide To Understanding How Donald Trump Made It This Far

I know, I know. *already shaking my damn head*

After much deliberation, I’m adding my opinion of the 2016 US election to the growing pile. At this point, you’re probably even more sick of it than I am, and won’t want to keep reading.

I don’t blame you. But hang on for a moment longer.

I’m not here to make a list of everything wrong with Donald Trump – you’ve already been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.

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No, not this one

I’m here to set a few records straight, because as a former American living in Canada, I’ve been getting some inquiries:

“How is anything Trump even says sounding good to Americans??”

“Are evangelicals *really* the majority of his voters??”

“Just…why?????

They deserve some answers, and even though I’m just one woman with little to no understanding of how politics works, I’m here to share what I see.

1. Many American people suffer from a major spirit of poverty.

I’m not just talking about poor and homeless people, which it sadly has plenty of – I’m talking about people who have enough, but don’t know it. With some of the largest records in credit card debt, workaholic standards, food waste, welfare, obesity, environmental hazards and privilege in the world, Americans are drowning in the pool of Too Much & Not Enough. And the fear that one day everything they hold dear will be taken away from them is firmly in the driver’s seat.

2. Many American people have been blaming immigrants and citizens of different skin colours alike for the state the country is in, for years.

Most of us can admit, looking back, that the whole enslavement of black people leading up to the Civil War was pretty wrong. (In fact, the enslavement of any people group in any point of history is pretty wrong.) We’re thankful for people like Abraham Lincoln who helped abolish that law; we remember his assassination still.

So why are the KKK still in action? Why is the Confederate flag such a sacred cow that no one had better speak against? Why are people being shot down in the streets daily because of how they look?

Because you can abolish a law, but it doesn’t change a person’s heart. Your mom can *make* you apologize for punching your brother, and you can say it well enough to appease all parties involved, but maybe your fingers were crossed and you can’t wait to punch him again when no one’s looking – because only you know how much the little punk is really asking for it.

There’s a movie from the late 90’s called American History X. It’s focused in L.A., on the gang wars between multiple races and a white supremacist neo-Nazi group, and two brothers caught in between.

It’s disturbing, eye-opening, horrifying, violent – and I believe it should be required viewing for every university-age person on the planet.

It has challenged me multiple times, seeing how subtly deep the levels of racism go, mixed with a prominent attitude of “I’m a good, hardworking white American, so if anything bad happens to me, it’s definitely the fault of that guy over there! America was so much better before people like him came here.”

Sound familiar?

3. Many Americans identify as Evangelical or Christian in census and survey, without even realizing what those words imply.

I mean, you’re not an atheist or a pagan or *shudder* a Muslim, right? Your hardworking, white American ancestors that *ahem* emigrated over on the Mayflower raised you better than that. And you definitely were in church at least twice this year, so put a little ✔ next to that Evangelical box and you’re good til next time.

4. And sometimes, in a perfect clusterf*ck, all of these attitudes collide in the same people.

They are the ones voting for Donald Trump.

And why not? Finally, after EIGHT YEARS of having to deal with a president who’s black and probably secretly a Muslim, here comes a successful white guy who is promising you more money and less immigrants – all under the banner of your Evangelical flag. He gets you. He knows what you need, and he isn’t afraid to speak it out boldly, like a kid in a candy store who’s never heard the word “no.”

Except, PSYCH! He owns the candy store, and now you can never leave because he’s going to feed you sugar until you die.

Whether he completely believes everything he says or not, he knows you’re ripe for the picking.

All of it bums me out, but highest on the list is how the label of Evangelical has been dragged into it.

JESUS WOULDN’T VOTE FOR DONALD, MMKAY?!

Somewhere deep down, I’m sure Jesus loves Donald as much as he does the rest of us, but even he has to admit the man is batshit crazy.

Jesus wants a government of justice and peace for ALL, not just the hardworking, white American. His heart breaks every time one of his children is gunned down in the street again, no matter what color their skin is. He designed that skin. He knows every scar inside and out, and he says you are enough.

That’s what I believe with my whole heart; that’s the Jesus I know.

But if you don’t know that, then it makes sense that you would see the label Evangelical Christian and automatically brace yourselves to meet another asshole like Trump.

And sometimes, honestly, we are. But some of us are trying our hardest to show the difference.

I hope you see it, I hope it gives YOU hope, and I hope that the next 8 months will go by quickly and painlessly.

Goodness, can I have some fries and gravy with that cheese? Canadian OWT.

A Sky Full of Stars

At this time last year, I wrote a letter to 2015. I asked the future if it could bring a little more understanding.

I had flowery hopes and dreams about achieving peace and love in our increasingly ignorant and violent planet – when, most of the time, I don’t even know how to keep peace in my own heart.

So, I learned to find beauty in the small victories.

For me, peace in 2015 was the day my husband’s 8-week chicken pox came to an end.

The day we both got full time jobs, after months of unemployment.

Peace in 2015 looked like America and Cuba bringing their 50-year standoff to an end.

And China changing their One-Child policy.

And Prime Minister Trudeau personally greeting Syrian refugees in the airport of their new homeland.

My best friend organizing and raising hundreds of dollars in less than 24 hours to help feed medical staff after a local mass shooting – that was peace and love.

In February, when our baby should have come, when I got a tattoo instead. Love all over the smoke filled parlor. Peace found in the familiar buzzing warmth of ink upon skin, letting me wear my scars on the outside.

Serving hot chocolate to elderly people whose cheeks are rosy after a city tour of the Christmas lights.

The last scene of the series finale of True Detective.

Skating together for the first time, on the lake where we got married.

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Our music, our saving grace.

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And yesterday, when I spent 3 hours with Tova. I helped her mum deliver her a year and a half ago, just before I realized I was having a miscarriage at the same time. I never wrote about Tova like I did for Eva, my first doula baby, because the memories were too painful.

But now, I can. Because she deserves some recognition.

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This is our journey: the day she was born, one month later, and yesterday – when she discovered snow for the first time, and then promptly plopped herself down in my lap with Dr. Seuss.

She is a ray of light – full of smiles and hugs with no warning that steal my breath away. When the Russian alphabet song comes on, she immediately stops what she’s doing because she must wiggle and squeal and dance her butt off until it’s over.

When we bonked heads by accident, she said “sorry!” and rubbed my head multiple instances; kindness abounds.

I might not have been as ready to face 2016 if I’d not faced yesterday. I’d like to think Tova and my babe would have been friends too.

So, instead of making a list of all the high and lofty goals I expect for 2016, I’m just gonna let it be. Do its thing. And whatever happens, I will keep looking for the small victories. Because a bunch of tiny stars against the black sky will eventually take over the night.

I can wait for that.