Parenting

Anxiety

If You Only Ask

I went into the birth of my second child absolutely convinced I'd experience at least some degree of the postpartum depression I dealt with after Indy was born. It was something I brought up at my very first appointment after finding out we were expecting, and something that I touched base with my doctors about over the course of the next few months. I didn't want it to catch me unguarded and without a plan in place, because with a toddler and an infant to think about, being that emotionally out of sorts even for even a day didn't feel like an option.

My primary concern: you know how I've written extensively about my insomnia (which is largely related to my anxiety)? Well, when you have a newborn, you sleep even less. And less sleep = a greater chance of suffering from PPD.

At the mid-point in my pregnancy, I went to meet with a psychiatrist (which I should have done a long, long time ago), because even though I didn't want to start any new medications while expecting, I figured you know what? I've been dealing with this problem long enough. I've tried lots of different things - some that have worked for a time, and some that haven't worked at all - and if there's a longer-term, more stable solution, I'd like to find it. What we decided: that I'd start on an extremely low-dose daily antidepressant immediately following the birth. I don't suffer from depression, but apparently this kind of medication can help to shut off the sort of ruminative thinking that characterizes my particular type of anxiety.

(As a side note, this decision to try medication wasn't something I was going to talk about here - it feels so, so personal - but then I realized: am I ashamed that I suffer from insomnia and anxiety? No. Am I ashamed that I've tried lots of different things over the years, and that now I'm going to try this? No. And I know that these are issues that a lot of people suffer from, and that a lot of people feel ashamed about, and I believe with all my heart that there is no shame in being open about your struggles and seeking out help wherever you can find it.)

Crafts for the Uncrafty

DIY Big Brother T-Shirt

I’m not really a crafter.

I churn out the occasional DIY project, but when presented with a kit of dyes and sparkles and sponges? I’m sort of at a loss.

But! Crafting is fun, obviously. And two-and-a-half year olds enjoy things like creating disasters with paints and markers, obviously. So: an afternoon of crafting it is.

DIARY

Making New Mama Friends

The below, about the difficult process that is trying to forge new friendships as an adult, is an excerpt from Ramshackle Glam

(Read the full book on your Kindle here.)

Making friends as a grown-up is a tough business - I personally spend approximately 90 percent of my first conversation with a new person trying to figure out exactly how much of my personality I can reveal while not freaking them out - and making friends as a new mom can be even tougher.

Anxiety

So Here’s What I’m Afraid Of

I mean, I'm afraid of lots of things surrounding the family expansion that's on the way. I'm afraid that I won't be able to find the time to do my work (which does not involve maternity leave). I'm afraid that I'll be so overtired and stressed out that I'll take it out on Kendrick, and that our baby's first months in the world will be full of yelling rather than joy. I'm afraid that I'll be so busy and worried about everything that I'll forget to notice what's really happening, which is that my daughter is right there in front of me, learning where her fingers are or how to reach for a toy, and then it'll be over, and I'll never have a baby again, and I'll spend ever day for the rest of my life wishing I had just stopped everything to be with my child and watch her watch the world.

I'm afraid of all of those things.

But right now, right this moment, what I'm afraid of is this: nearly every new parent I've spoken to has told me that part of how you make it through those first few months with a toddler and an infant is basically by dividing and conquering. I've heard from more than one new mom of two that - in the beginning, at least - her partner is generally the one "responsible" for the older child, the one taking him out, playing with him, feeding him, heading out to the park with him, while she stays home with the baby (because, of course, there are some things that Dads just can't do for a newborn; breastfeeding, for example). I've also heard that the moment your new baby arrives, something changes in the way you see your first child: they seem so big, all of a sudden. So capable. And that's wonderful, and also a loss: where did my baby go?


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