What Postpartum Depression looks like.

The other night I watched a movie about a woman with Postpartum Depression (PPD) who kills her children. Actually, I think they said it was manic depression but it made me think about PPD so I’m going with that. That’s really vague, isn’t it? I don’t want to say more about the movie than that because maybe you want to watch it and I’d spoil it and you’d hate me. It’s a good movie, so I won’t risk it.

Anyway, the point is that the movie made me think about PPD. In a “Holy crap I hope someone would help me before I ever got to that point” kinda way. I’ve dealt with PPD before, and though I never wanted to hurt my child, myself, my husband, my dogs, small rodents, bugs, or anyone/thing else, I know it can manifest itself in that way and that scares the crap out of me (a lot). I always wonder how the PPD gets to that point. How someone doesn’t step in and help these mothers with what they’re going through. How the mothers can’t see it themselves (which is honestly what scares me the most – the chance of not being able to see it myself). But then I remember that us women are good at hiding & suppressing our feelings. That PPD doesn’t have a look. But it does have a stigma. Let me show you something …

This is the face of PPD.

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This is the face of PPD.

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This is the face of PPD.

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Can you see it? Because I couldn’t. And yet, during each of those photos, I was in the middle of undiagnosed (and thus untreated) PPD. That’s not what many people expect PPD to look like, right? They expect crazy eyes and unkempt hair. Angry faces. Sad faces. And sometimes it does look like that. But remember what I said about women being good at hiding at suppressing our feelings? Smile for the camera – that’s me. I think a lot of that stereotypical image about PPD keeps women from getting help when they truly need it. Their friends can’t see it. Their husbands can’t see it. Maybe they can’t even see it.  I couldn’t.

I thought I was tired & hormonal. As new mothers, we have the right to be. But sometimes it goes beyond that. There’s a definite difference.  Periods, pregnancy & new babies make me hormonal – but that hormonal I can control. This may come as a surprise to some of you (or not) but sometimes I’m hormonal and that makes me a bitch. The great thing about being a bitch is that I can go, “Oh, hey. I’m totally being a bitch” and make the conscious decision to NOT be a bitch anymore. The scary thing about PPD (or really any depression, for that matter) is the inability to turn it off, in whatever form it manifests itself – bitchiness, irrationality, sobbing fits, insomnia, binge eating, not eating, etc.

For me, there were two stages of PPD. There was the stage where I was a mess and had no idea. Then there was the stage where I knew I was a mess, wanted to not be a mess, but couldn’t will myself to not be a mess anymore. I don’t know which is scarier. Probably the later. Because it’s like living in a shell of yourself and being trapped there.

The thing is, you don’t have to be trapped there. It’s OK if you wake up one morning and find yourself stuck in that shell. Really, it is. Eff the stigma. It doesn’t make you a weak or a bad person. It just makes you human. It’s OK to tell someone you trust, “I really don’t feel like myself right now” and ask for help. I know, I know – you’re a new mom. You’re a MOM. You are strong, you are the caretaker, you can fix everything! But no, maybe you can’t. And that’s OK. Maybe you need others to help YOU. Maybe you need others to take care of you for a while. To be strong for you. That’s OK. You’re still a mom and you’ll be a happier mom … no, screw that, a happier person by being good to yourself & allowing others to be good to you.

Forget what you think PPD looks like & feels like. If any of this has struck a cord with you – ask for help. Tell someone how you feel. You deserve to be happy with yourself. You deserve to be happy with your life. And if you know a new mom (or a not so new mom) who is struggling with PPD – GIVE her help. Don’t wait until she asks. Just throw your arms around her and tell her you love her. You’ll both be glad you did.

Getting back to the Three B’s.

Back before Sabine was exercised of her demons (i.e. when she had colic) we lived by what we called the Three B’s – Boob, Bath, Bouncing. These were the only three things in the world that held any promise of stopping the incessant screaming. Those aren’t the Three B’s I’m talking about today though. In fact, I’m not really sure why I felt the need to tell you about those Three B’s. Maybe because I haven’t before. Maybe because I’m ADD. Who knows?

The Three B’s I’m talking about today are those three up at the top of the blog. See those? Babies, Boobs & Booziness. Those Boobs come up a lot, huh? They’re important. But the one I want to focus on today is “Booziness”. Maybe some of you saw my Tweet this weekend about Brandon buying Juice Box wine. Maybe you didn’t – in which case, you should probably read more of my Tweets because there’s good stuff in there. Sometimes.

Anyway, Brandon came home from the store on Sunday with what appeared to be a juice box full of wine. I guess that makes it a wine box, but it wasn’t big like a box of wine. It was a single serving. Actually it was a four pack of single servings, so four servings. Whatever. It was a JUICE BOX, y’all. With wine in it. And it cost $3 a serving.

Instinctually I felt this was a bad idea. I’m not really sure why. I drink boxed wine. You know, when I’m not gestating a fetus and all. But juice box wine seemed even … Klassier? Or more vomit inducing. One or the other. I was immediately glad that I was pregnant and unable to be a wine tester. Which says a lot for me. Because I really like wine. Also this was Pinot Grigio and that crap gives me a headache. So maybe that has something to do with it. Brandon tried to convince me that I could still do the classy (with a C) wine tasting swish and spit “Like super strength mouth wash!” but I declined.  The testing was all on him.

So test he did. And no he didn’t use a straw. He poured it into a glass like a big kid, er normal person. I smelled it. It smelled like Pinot. Not even really like bad Pinot. He said it was decent. I said he was crazy. He swears he’s not. I had to Google the stupid wine and it turns out that maybe this is an EF form of wine consumption. Made by Three Thieves, these juice boxes (or Tetra Packs, as they call them) are made from 70% renewable resources & recyclable. Score one for Three Thieves.

My vote is still that an entire box of wine is more EF than individual serving juice boxes of wine. And not nearly as weird. Score one Franzia? And score one for me, probably the first pregnant woman ever to blog a wine review (sorta) on a wine she didn’t even taste.

What I’ve learned about choking.

Saturday Sabine choked. Not like, “Oh, I swallowed some water wrong!” choked but like CHOKE choked. On Veggie Booty. I don’t really want to recount the whole story. I’d rather share what I learned that night – both humorous & informational. I will say that the ordeal involved not breathing, then breathing again, then a trip to the ER, then some puking at the ER, then a clean bill of health and being discharged. That sums up what you need to know before you read the lessons gained. Here is what I have learned about choking incidents:

– Take a First Aid/CPR class. One that covers infants, toddlers, adults, pets, everybody. Give yourself a refresher from time to time. Hang the pictorial instructions on the fridge, if you have to. Just make sure you know it.

– In an emergency, it is normal to forget (or to think you’ve forgotten) everything you learned in the aforementioned class. You haven’t. Your body will put your mind to work. Just go with it.

– It takes longer to say the word “asphyxiate”, and then to define it, than it does to say, “stop breathing.” Use small words when dealing with frazzled and half-awake husbands/daddies.

– Parking lot barricades are probably there for a reason … like maybe there’s a giant mud hole that will sling mud up to your windows if you drive through it. Don’t drive through it. Seriously. Don’t.

– “She just isn’t herself” is a PERFECTLY viable excuse for taking your child to the ER. Mom knows best. And not talking and/or refusing popsicles are logical reasons that your child is not herself.

– It’s OK to “just you wait” people if they don’t believe “she just isn’t herself” to be a viable excuse. Particularly when you are proven right 30 minutes later.  They deserve it.

– When you’re headed for x-rays with your toddler and asked, “Any chance of pregnancy?” they probably mean you and not her. Also 27 weeks is apparently not visibly pregnant.

– If your child chokes, take them to the ER. Just take them. Even if you think they’re fine. According to my BFF & former First Aid/CPR Instructor Holly (who I totally didn’t ask for permission to quote, but I doubt she’ll mind since she is A) the smartest person I know and B) I am deferring to her excellence.) “Too often, parents think that once they’re breathing again, everything will be fine, but that’s often not the case. There is frequently tracheal or esophageal damage or something aspirated that can cause problems later, and xrays are the only way to know.”

– No one in the ER cares that you are in your pajamas. They also do not care if you are simultaneously covered in drool, snot, tears & vomit. They only care that your kid is again talking, smiling, and happily drinking orange juice. So you really don’t need to apologize for your appearance.

– At some point, it’s OK to laugh about the ridiculous parts of an emergency. It’s OK to scream, too. Or cry. Or whatever you need to do to keep yourself from really thinking about the “what if’s”. Because the “what if’s” will drive you insane. And insanity is pretty unproductive in an emergency.

– Little girls who choke and stop breathing get covered in kisses, at least two nights in their parents’ bed, a case of popsicles, and a new playhouse. At least they do in my house.

Snot & vinegar. Now that’s an eyecatching title.

I wanted to take a minute to extol the virtues (hello, idiom!) of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV, if you will).  And to talk about snot.  Because, really, what’s a good baby blog without some snot talk?  Today’s snot focus, however, will not be on the snot of a child, but rather on my snot.  Please stay with me.  I realize that I am losing my audience here, but I’m halfway into a Coca-Cola and I honestly cannot shut up at this point.

Anyway, my allergies suck this year.  It’s been a horrible allergy season for everyone.  In addition to that, we have some crap neighbors (or lack of crap neighbors, I guess, since they don’t seem to actually live IN their house) who don’t ever cut their grass.  Thus, their yard has turned into a mess of whatever that nasty weedy stuff is that pops up in the spring and isn’t pretty like dandelions.  That stuff messes with my head.  Big time.

I have been allergy battling for weeks and yesterday it hit me – this is turning into sinus funk.  You know that weird feeling you get in the back of your throat right before allergies cross that threshold into infection?  I had that.  And the rubber cement snot.  And the “ZOMG my EYEBALLS are going to EXPLODE!” feeling.  It was all there.

In this situation, normal people might go to the doctor.  I am not a normal person.  I hate going to the doctor, I hate antibiotics, but I also hate sinus funk.  So, instead I went to my fridge and got my trusty bottle of Bragg’s ACV and took a shot.  That’s right – I did a shot of vinegar.  I’m not even going to lie – this is possibly the most disgusting thing ever.  It tastes like rotting apples, it burns your throat, you have to drink 5839058109 glasses of water afterward to make the taste go away and still, you SMELL like rotting apples.  It’s gross.  But, you know what?  It works.  Several shots of ACV & several hours later, my throat was feeling less weird.  I SLEPT last night instead of waking up every hour to de-snotify my nose.  And I didn’t even have to cough up $30 for a co-pay.  Sure, I’ll be in gross tasting/smelling ACV hell for a few more days while I make sure the impending funk is truly gone, but it’s worth it.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!!!

ACV also kills heartburn.  True story.  You just have to get past that first burning throat sensation and then it’s gone.  And that, my friends, is more than worth smelling like rotting apples to a pregnant chick.