I don’t want to lose weight.
For the past year I have been on a serious roller coaster when it comes to my body. I gave birth to beautiful baby boy. I’ve lost weight and gained some back. I’ve had periods of not exercising at all, and then I would exercise so hard that I now have multiple injuries as a result. This whole year I have had so many moments of hating my body. Why was it so hard for me to get back in shape? I found every excuse, and they were all legitimate. I blamed genetics, I blamed myself for not breastfeeding enough, I blamed pain, I blamed my low testosterone levels, I blamed sleep deprivation. You name it, I blamed it.
While I was blaming my body for everything. I treated my body as if I was punishing it. It wasn’t until very recently that I realized that hating my body was the thing that was holding me back from losing weight. I took a deep look at myself and realized how much my body has done for me. Really, my body is amazing. It gave me Jack. Yes, my body is hurting, and yes, I have some scars. But instead of punishing my body, I need to reward it. The pain and scars are not results of my body failing me. Quite the opposite. They are reminders that my body has fought… and WON. My body is a result of all this life has thrown at me. My body has created a child, and then helped him into the world. So why have I been hell-bent on blaming my body for what I saw as failures? It’s like blaming a soldier for coming home with battle-scars.
It’s been an eye-opening experience to change my perspective. It’s only now that I’m realizing that instead of punishing my body, I need to love my body. To heal it. To restore it. I now understand that health comes from loving my body, not hating it.
Why do we put such an emphasis on weight? I think it’s easy for us to fixate on that as a goal because it is a number. It’s quantifiable. It’s much easier to say “I want to be 130 pounds” than “I want to just feel good about myself.” It’s much easier to reach a goal that can be represented by a number, than by an idea, even if that idea is so much more important in the long run.
A few years ago, I lost a lot of weight. I was thinner than I had been in a long time. I worked by butt off, working out over an hour a day and eating great. I was 150 pounds, but I felt amazing and looked great.
One night I went to the ER because of chest pain. I was in the waiting room for a really long time, just waiting there, hurting while I tried to breathe, and one of the nurses comes over to me and gets my vitals and asks for my height and weight. I tell him I weight 150 pounds and the guy’s jaw literally drops and responds with an incredulous “Really?!” It was so rude and one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Here I was, in a waiting room filled with people, and this nurse is questioning my weight. I don’t know if he was just surprised by my weight because I looked lighter than 150, or he was just surprised I weighed so much, but either way… it was a kick in the gut. (BTW, my chest pain wasn’t anything serious).
After that, I was very self-conscious. I was ashamed of my weight, even though I felt great about it before. I had worked so hard to get to where I was, and because of someone’s judgement, I questioned my confidence.
There is something wrong with how we view health. Weight is not an indication of health. We hear this all the time, and to be honest, it always annoyed me. “Well okay, but that doesn’t help me feel better about my love handles.” But the more I focus on my health, the more I realize that health, not size or weight, is what leads to confidence.
I’m not saying this is going to be a turning point for me, though I hope it is. I’ll still get frustrated and I’ll still struggle. But I think acknowledging the flaw in my approach to weight loss is a good start.
As I was talking to my counselor yesterday, she told me that even calling it “losing weight” could be holding me back. By saying we’re “losing” weight, it’s like we’re letting go of something we don’t want to. We won’t lose something we still want. She said I should focus on calling it “restoring” my body. It takes the focus off of “losing” something, and puts it on what’s important… restoring strength and health.
So I’m not gonna lose weight. I’m going to restore my body.
I was on a walk with my dog and my son the other day. I was pushing Jack’s stroller down this street when I see a man at the end of the road, just standing there smoking. So I make the decision to turn around and go down a different street. When I did this, I stopped and thought “Why am I doing this?” It was the late morning, so it wasn’t dark out and we were surrounded by houses filled with people. We were also in a good neighborhood… so why did I turn around? Am I really that much of a chicken that I can’t walk past a man when I’m alone? He didn’t give me any indication that I should be concerned for my safety. As I was thinking about it, I honestly felt a little ashamed and frankly, a little embarrassed.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. I try to avoid men all the time. And I’m obviously not talking about men I know and trust. But if I’m walking alone, especially outside or downtown, I try to avoid being alone with strange men. Looking back, I’ve basically done this as long as I can remember. But why? Is it stranger danger? But yet, I have no problem approaching strange women or children. Honestly, I have always been scared of men.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized this is not just a me thing. This wasn’t just me being paranoid or scared. This is pretty common among women. Why? Well, honestly, I think it’s become an evolutionary response to years and years of sexual harassment. Since even before having a good set of boobs, we have learned to fear men. I remember being so young and being catcalled by men everywhere. Whether I was walking past a construction site or just walking past older boys at school. I remember one time in middle school, I was walking alone in a hallway when two boys saw me, shouted “SKIRT!” and ran over to me. They tried to box me into a corner and tried to grab me. But before they could get to me, people started coming out of class so they backed off and I got away. I remember being so humiliated and scared. And then, I felt embarrassed that I felt embarrassed. I was a mess.
This is just one example from my childhood where men have made me feel uncomfortable and I can confidently look back at the experience and call it sexual harassment. So when I saw the first “me too” on Facebook, I reflected on my past and was shocked by how much sexual harassment I’ve experienced. And what’s sad is that I hadn’t even considered it to be sexual harassment until now. Before #metoo, I just considered it #beingawoman. Because sexual harassment IS the norm for women. And that’s why #metoo is so important. Just by saying “me too,” we acknowledge a common struggle, and that’s the first step to righting decades of wrong.
There are those who don’t consider this a problem. And there are those who believe this is just women being too sensitive. The new wave of sexual harassment allegations throughout Hollywood has proven that there is a real problem. However, Hollywood won’t solve the problem. Yes, it’s getting us talking, but the world isn’t Hollywood. Sexual harassment is about all women. It’s not just about actresses. It’s not just about actors or prominent businessmen. It’s about everyday women and everyday men. And there are men whose actions will never be brought out of the darkness.
I want to clarify that this post is not meant to demonize men. My life has been surrounded by good men who I trust and love more than anything. There are good men just as there are also really bad women. Men and women need each other. And just as we need women to have the courage to stand up against harassment, we need these good men to stand up with us. And for those of you men who don’t think this is your fight, think about the women you love. Think about your mother, your wife, your daughter, your best friend. Chances are every single one of them have been sexually harassed at least once. Sexual harassment is everyone’s problem.
Because no woman should be afraid to walk next to a man.
Because no woman should be afraid to wear a skirt.
Because no woman should have to carry a weapon in their purse.
Because no woman should have to fear being alone.
Because no woman should be treated like an object.
Because no woman should have to be catcalled while walking to work.
Because no woman should have to take self-defense classes.
Because no woman should be told to stay silent.
Because no woman should have to say “me too.”
Being a new mom is hard as hell. And those who try and tell you otherwise either never experienced it, or simply forgot. For me, the first three months of Jack’s life were so difficult. Yes, they were also beautiful, but they also turned me into a low-grade psychopath. While I was in the thick of it all, I received so much love and support from people I love. I am so grateful for that. But with all the love I received, there were also those not-so-loving comments that left me either scratching my head, wondering why someone would say something like that, or left me on the verge of tears. So I thought I’d do a little PSA-type blog post about things you maybe shouldn’t say to a new mom. Because I think it’s important. But I should also say that this is totally opinion-based. So something that may upset one mom may not upset another. But I think it’s good to just be safe.
“It just gets harder.”
Talk about unhelpful. Some people think they’re being comforting by saying that this stage of parenthood is not as hard as others, but while you might think this is comforting, it’s absolutely not. Even if you’re right, you want to offer hope to the new mom. You never know what exactly she’s going through. Especially if she’s experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, she will need support and hope that things will get better, not worse.
Instead, maybe say something like, “It just gets better.” Because even though things may get harder, it’s bound to get easier for the mother to handle because she will be stronger and healthier.
“Every woman has done it.”
This is another phrase that may seem comforting, but can actually be pretty discouraging. Someone once told me, in an attempt to make me feel better, that women have been having babies since the beginning of time, so I should be able to handle it, no problem. It comes naturally to women. And if they can do it, I can do it. Instead of making me feel better, this just kind of made me a little discouraged. It made me feel like I was the first woman in history to struggle with something I should naturally be good at. This may also make a mother feel like her struggles are being downplayed. By telling someone that they’re dealing with something so universal might make them think they don’t have the right to struggle, or that the struggle really isn’t that tough.
Instead, maybe say something like, “What you’re doing is hard.” Leave others out of it. Mothers compare ourselves enough, we don’t need you to help us with that.
“I did my time.”
I can’t even begin to count how many times I was told this by someone who had older kids. I have been told that I won’t get any sympathy for being sleep deprived or miserable because they “did their time” and went through it. So, naturally, they don’t need to have sympathy for me. Cause they already went through it. Ironically, most of the people who have said this to me are men.
Instead, say something comforting and positive. Even if you don’t feel bad for them, just be comforting. And if you are so confident you went through something just as difficult, then you should know how hard it is. And you should know how much a comforting word or thoughtful gesture could mean to them.
“You shouldn’t be in this much pain.”
Ok, this one was one my nurse told me. The second night after giving birth, I was in SO much pain. I literally dreaded having to get up and go to the bathroom because it was such a painful ordeal. That night I just broke down in tears. And when my nurse came to check on me, she literally said. “You only had a 2nd degree tear, you shouldn’t be in this much pain.” Uh, not helpful… because, well, I am in this much pain. Then, I felt totally embarrassed by how much I was hurting. I was going off of maybe 3 hours of sleep in 2 days, so my body wasn’t healing the way it should. So, please, for your own sake, don’t underestimate or downplay how much pain a mother is in. I thought this was common sense, but apparently it’s not.
Instead, say something like, “How can I help you feel better?” Let her know you care.
“You’ll never sleep again.”
One of the worst things you could say to someone who is sleep-deprived is that they will never sleep again. Yes, she knows that she won’t be getting sleep any time soon. But reminding her of that is tactless and rather unhelpful. Sleep deprivation is NO JOKE. It’s awful.
So, instead of reminding your friend that she may not sleep again, offer her comfort. Or, even better, offer to watch her baby so she can take a nap.
Well, there you have it. When you were a new mom, what kind of comments annoyed you? If you have something to add, please let me know in the comments. Cause at this point, it is a little amusing.
When you first get pregnant, or start the adoption process, or even when you start consider parenthood, it can be so overwhelming thinking about all that you will need. I remember scrolling through Pinterest at all the “what you need for baby” infographics and lists and just being so amazed by how much you need. So. Much. Stuff. And to be honest, half of it is probably unnecessary. I remember also being so overwhelmed by the different brands and products of each thing I needed. Like, I had no idea how many different types of bottles there were. Or baby baths. Or swaddles. And when you think you got the best of the best, or what you think will be perfect for your situation, your baby decides to throw your expectations for a loop and you have to adapt.
I’ve had a few friends ask me for some recommendations on baby products that I used/loved, and also on what I didn’t use/love. So I thought I’d make a blog post out of it in case some of you readers are on the road to parenthood, or know someone who is and need a few ideas for baby shower gifts. But also, keep in mind that some of these things won’t work for every baby. As I said before, you don’t always get the baby you planned for. For me, I had to adjust and buy some things I didn’t think I needed because my baby dealt with reflux and was constantly moving.
But without further ado, here are some of my favorite products:
Why it’s great: The Mamaroo is amazing. It’s a little spendy, but we were lucky enough to get one second hand and Jack loved it. It’s a baby swing that has 5 different motions and sounds, and kind of looks like a little baby spaceship. This was great for Jack because for a long time, he couldn’t sleep on his back because his reflux was so bad, so he actually slept in his Mamaroo because of the incline.
Find it here.
These were so helpful for us because Jack was such a wiggly baby and he just undid every other swaddle we used on him. The Swaddleme has velcro that helps secure your baby and helps the swaddle stay on. I would highly recommend these if you have a busy baby.
Find them here.
LOTS of binkies
So this is just a reminder to get plenty of binkies. Because they are allusive AF. Those little things get lost so easily, and you do not want to find yourself in a situation where you don’t have one. I try and keep one in almost every room of the house (and in the diaper bag).
Jack’s favorites are soothies.
This was the best baby bath ever. It fits right in your sink, and isn’t bulky so it’s easy to store. I just hang it on the wall in the bathroom.
Find it here.
This is a great bassinet. It has an adjustable height, and it swivels so you don’t have to move to get your baby out in the middle of the night. It’s also great for C-Section mamas who have a longer recovery.
Find it here.
Onsies with mitten cuffs
I wish I knew this before Jack. He was always scratching his cute little face and it made me super sad. Some onsies come with little mitten cuffs you can fold over your babies hands to keep them from scratching. I found this easier than cutting their nails… that scared me too much.
Find some here.
I wish I bought more of this for his newborn stage. After birth, baby’s skin get so dry!
Find some here.
I chose jogger over stroller for the versatility. I love how smooth a ride my jogger is. And with a simple adapter, I was able to attach the carseat as well. It’s great for long walks and running (if that’s your thing).
This is the jogger I got. It’s awesome.
Johnson’s sleepy time baby bath kit
This stuff rocks. It’s proven to help calm your baby and get him/her ready for bed. Also, and most importantly, it smells incredible.
Find it here.
Although I had the Mamaroo, I needed a more portable bouncer that I could take on trips or even just take up to the bathroom to put him in so I could shower. You can get a good one for cheap that still gets the job done.
This is the one I bought and we love it.
You definitely don’t need this right away. This is for when your baby is at least 4 months old. Jack loves this jumper. It’s so useful when you need a break. Just plop your baby in there and let him play while you rest on the couch or do the dishes. And it’s also great for your baby’s motor skill development and their leg strength.
This is the one I bought.
I love our monitor. I knew I wanted one with video because as a first time mom, I want to be able to see and hear my baby at all times. This one is pretty decently priced and gives you a pretty clear image. It also allows you to move the camera remotely and talk to your baby from your screen. I also love that it tells you the temperature of the room as well, which is important when your baby can’t use blankets in their bed.
This is the one we have.
Fawn Design diaper bag
These may be spendy, but they are super trendy so it doesn’t even feel like a diaper bag. There are lots of pockets and the material is easy to clean.
Find it here.
Ok, now that I’ve given you a long list of things I love, here is a shorter list of things I did not like or did not use. No, these may work for you… they just didn’t for me.
Well that’s all folks! I hope you find this helpful! And if you have some good recommendations, add them in the comments!
I am about to get real on what has been one of the most, no, THE most difficult time in my life. And no matter how many times I was warned, nothing could have prepared me for my postpartum journey. To be honest, I can’t even fathom how some women can “bounce back” from birth easily, both physically and mentally. I know not every woman struggles from postpartum depression, but it’s hard even without that terrible speed-bump (or, a more accurate metaphor would probably be a 10 foot brick wall). But I share this in case there is someone out there who needs to hear it. Whether you’re preparing for motherhood, or you have already experienced it and just need to know you’re not the only one. Here are some of the things I wish I knew about postpartum depression before I had it:
It’s Not the Same as Generalized Depression
I was diagnosed with depression in high school. It’s something I take medication for every day. So when I got pregnant, my doctor made sure I was aware that my risk for Postpartum Depression was higher because I am chemically more prone to depression in general. So, I knew this was probably going to happen. However, I thought that since I was already on medication, it would be like any other bout of depression. I also thought it would feel the same as my “regular” depression. I was so wrong. Postpartum depression brought feelings I’ve never felt. A different feeling of hopelessness, a huge emptiness that cannot be filled, and even resentment towards that beautiful, perfect little human you just brought into the world. So, if you are going to have a baby, and you have depression, just know that it is a whole different monster.
It’s Not the Same as the “Baby Blues”
I think this is a really important thing to remember. I hear people refer to the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression synonymously. It should be made clear that these are very different. Most women experience baby blues. Not as many experience postpartum depression. Baby blues happen within the first couple of weeks after giving birth. Baby blues feel a lot like intense mood swings. I remember one moment just sitting by my baby’s bouncer, just totally filled with intense infatuation, radiant with joy. The next moment I would just be weepy for absolutely no reason. I remember breaking down in tears when my husband and mom wanted different things for dinner. My mom wanted Wendy’s and Grant wanted Taco Bell. And when we couldn’t decide what to get, I just started to weep. It was absolutely ridiculous. Postpartum depression is different. It is a consistent feeling of emptiness and hopelessness. That joy I felt before, now seems a distant memory. The worst part is that even my baby wouldn’t bring me joy. I didn’t want to take care of him. I didn’t want to get up in the morning. This is postpartum depression. The baby blues will pass. Baby blues are just your hormones stabilizing after a traumatic experience. Postpartum depression requires help: therapy and possibly medication.
You Need Help
This leads me to my next point. You cannot do this alone. You need help. Depression doesn’t just get better one day. And it’s not a matter of will either. It’s not like going on a diet where all you need is good self-control and dedication and you can kick the late-night binging. Depression is chemical. Depression is a disease. I’m always amazed when people won’t see help for their mental or emotional health. If you have appendicitis, you go to the doctor. Because if you don’t, your appendix will likely explode and kill you. So why wouldn’t you go to a doctor if you’re mentally sick? For some reason, mental disorders aren’t treated the same as physical ones and are often ignored. But, like appendicitis, depression can be life-threatening and should be treated with just as much care. So, get a therapist. Go to a mental health specialist. Make a game plan with your OBGYN. Whatever you feel is right for you, do it. And don’t be ashamed.
You Are Still a Good Mother
When I was in the middle of all this mess, the most agonizing thing was how I felt about my baby. And do not get me wrong, I still felt SO much love for Jack. But there was also this lingering feeling of resentment and regret. After all my sleepless nights, I couldn’t help but think “why did I do this?” and “I wasn’t ready for this.” And I projected these feelings onto my sweet, innocent little babe. Like, he is the reason for all this pain and for my loss of freedom. This is painful to write, because if you know me at all, I cannot shut up about my son. I am so ridiculously and annoyingly in love with that boy. So, to admit any feeling other than complete infatuation, physically hurts me. But the point of it all, why I felt it was important to tell you all this, is because you need to know that you are still a good mother. If you get those ugly feelings, you are still a good mother. If you need a break and have to go for a walk, you are still a good mother. If you forget to change your baby’s diaper in the middle of the night, you are still a good mother. Just remember, if you are doing your best, and you love that sweet child of yours, you are a good mother.
This Too Shall Pass
This is something my dad would always say while I was in the thick of it all. Every time I would call my parents in tears, unable to see past the darkness before me, he would say, “remember, this too shall pass.” So this is what I want to tell you. If you find yourself suffering from what seems to be an unending, unbending force of darkness, just remember… this too shall pass.
I really love the definition for wellness. Because of my years of experience as a student, I immediately went to dictionary.com for a little inspiration on what to write. And I didn’t regret it. Wellness is “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.” I especially love the last part. Wellness is not achieved without deliberate effort. As human beings, I think we naturally are self-destructive. We generally do things, deliberately or otherwise, that hurt us mentally, emotionally, or physically. We eat garbage, we refuse to exercise, we hold onto toxic relationships, and we embrace the stigma that getting professional help is a sign of weakness. And hopefully, at some point, we become aware of all those negative things in our lives and realize the importance of being healthy and well. And we start making that deliberate effort.
These past several months have been eye-opening for me. With the birth of my wonderful son, and through so much anguish, joy, and pain, I realized how unhealthy I was. And I’m not just talking about the always-laying-on-the-couch-eating-potato-chips kind of unhealthy. I’m talking about all the mental junk I’ve got in my mind. All the chi blocking nonsense that comes with years and years of ignoring wellness and embracing negativity. For so long, I’ve been using self-hatred as a coping mechanism, which, by the way, is the worst coping mechanism. Turns out it doesn’t actually work.
When I decided to return to blogging regularly, I didn’t know how to approach it. I knew it couldn’t be what it used to be, because that just didn’t work for me. I have to talk about something I’m passionate about. And when I decided to create a wellness blog, I was a little afraid I would be written off as a hippie wannabe: a millennial with healing crystals and a crown of daisies. I’m not going to give the impression that I am an expert at anything, or that I’m healthier than I am. I eat sugary cereal. I sometimes watch garbage media. I don’t go out of my way to find vegan, vegetarian, non-gmo, preservative-free, cage-free, free-range, organic food. Though, that’s great for you if you do. I applaud you. But what I’m saying is that I’m just going to be honest. I’m going to give my honest thoughts and try to create a blog that reflects life as it is. I’m just a normal girl, trying to live her best life.
So, if you are interested in reading a blog about a girl who loves family and food, stick around. Or, if you want to read about one girl’s journey to be a healthier, happier person, stick around. If you want to follow along because you too may be battling the same demons as I am, stick around. Or maybe you’re a postpartum mama who wants to lose the pooch too. Or maybe you’re just reading this because you feel obligated to do so (hey Fam!). Whatever brings you to this blog, stick around. All are welcome.
Well, I’m back! I haven’t posted since April and before then, I didn’t really post consistently for like a year. But I’ve decided to come back, and with a complete new focus. I recently read the book You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. It is an amazing book, and I started reading it because one of my favorite bloggers wrote about how awesome and inspiring it was. So, I clicked “add to cart” on Amazon and was determined to see what the fuss was about. I read it over the course of a week or so and LOVED it. It was the self-help book I needed. It wasn’t preachy or cheesy, and had the perfect balance of motivation and humor. I think I was inspired to read it because everything I read seemed to be an answer to my most recent huge burning questions.
See, lately I’ve been feeling stuck in this deep rut. For the last year and a half, I have been focusing on my pregnancy and then my new baby. Motherhood hit me like a steamroller with no regards to my well-being. Yes, I love my little kiddo more than ANYTHING, but contrary to what some might believe, motherhood is effin’ hard! I spent nine months throwing up, nursing an aching back, crying at cheese commercials, and struggling to get out of bed. Then, one day, I push a small human out of my body. Then, as I’m holding my child and basking in his glory, My doctor is *down there* SEWING me up because that sweet boy had no regard to my anatomy and tore right through me. And after a few days in the hospital, the nurses give me some ice packs and a few “how to mother” forms and send me home. So for the last six months, all I’ve been trying to do is simply survive. Trying to learn how to be a mother, failing at breastfeeding, dealing with a colicky baby, healing my body, and trying to pick up the debris from every mental breakdown. So, during all that time, I had very little concept of “me.” Everything was about that sweet little boy and though I wouldn’t have it any other way, I feel like it’s time to regain my individuality. It’s time to focus a teensy tiny little bit on me. So when I picked up You Are A Badass, I was desperately hoping I could gain some insight into what I wanted to do with my time (when I have some). The book is all about letting go of all your unwanted fears and anxieties and get to work on what you really want to do. She made me understand that everything I want is possible, all I need to do is take the leap of faith, work hard, and believe in what I’m doing. Once I do that, I can have the life I’ve always wanted.
So what does this mean for my new blog? Well, when I started blogging a few years ago, my goal was to become the next Cara Loren, a beautiful fashion blogger from Utah. Really, I tried to be someone I wasn’t. I tried to be the girl whose photos would be pinned over and over on pinterest with comments like “goals!” and “omg I want to be her!” Yeah, it makes me cringe a little to say this because it’s kind of taboo to talk about wanting to be well-known. And, it’s a pretty vain goal to have. So, of course I stopped blogging after a while… I wasn’t being true to myself! I got tired of keeping up with a blog that wasn’t true to my real passions.
About a month ago, I suffered from a major mental breakdown. It was so bad I ended up in the hospital because I couldn’t help but want to harm myself. It was the worst time in my life. And I mean, the absolute worst. I would relive my knee injury over and over again rather than feel what I felt that week again. Anyway, I came out of it realizing I needed to take better care of myself, mentally and physically. I started making that a focus and the more I did, the more I realized how much the idea of wellness means to me. And I realized this was my passion. Fitness, wholesome food, and good energy. So, with that, I realized I needed to start blogging again. This time, with another focus. Wellness and just being me. I’m not going to try and force anything, but simply share the things I love and hope that a few people will appreciate that. I will be focusing on healthy food recipes, fitness, good thoughts, creativity, and happy moments.
Here’s to starting fresh.
It has been 3 1/2 weeks since my sweet boy came into this world. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that my life has turned upside down. The first two weeks was all about the baby blues. One minute I am so incredibly happy and soaking up all this love with my baby, and the next I am sobbing uncontrollably because I am so overwhelmed by everything and everyone. I could handle that. It’s just like pregnancy hormones x10. Then at about the two week mark something started to change. I stopped sobbing, and more worryingly, I stopped doting on my son. I knew I was more perceptible to Postpartum Depression because I’ve been struggling with Depression since high school. However, I was so unprepared by how strongly it came on. I started to feel more melancholy rather than weepy. Then, at my worst moments, I would be completely hysterical and inconsolable. I would sob uncontrollably and want nothing more than to just disappear. I started to feel less connected with my son and then I would feel extreme guilt when I didn’t want to hold him. It was like there was a brick wall was around my heart. Eventually I reached out to my doctor and we started treatment. Now, I can honestly say that things are starting to look up. I am sharing this because I think people do not talk about this enough. Women are now starting to open up about it. But I feel like there’s such a stigma surrounding PPD because we’ve all heard the horror stories of mothers who have hurt their children because of this condition. These are worst-case scenarios. I have never felt like harming my child. I want to make that clear. I am incredibly and deeply in love with my son. Because of my lifelong struggle with Depression, I’ve realized the importance of getting help. Depression isn’t weakness and it is something that can be helped. I am also so grateful for modern medicine that enables me to be well enough to take care of my son.
Okay, that’s enough of the serious stuff. Now here are Jack’s newborn pictures. Because we are tight on money, I ended up taking them but I am very happy with how they turned out.
Now, feast your eyes on this perfect and beautiful boy.
I honestly can’t believe I’m writing this right now. It all still seems like a surreal experience and I am some things still seem fuzzy, because it seems like everything happened so fast. As I have shared before, I had an induction set for Thursday (March 2nd). It was set for when I would be about 39.5 weeks pregnant. I wanted to be induced because of the severity of my pain. See, my pubic bone was separating, something known as Symphysis Pubis Disorder. It was awful. It got to the point where I couldn’t walk more than a few feet without pain. So, I planned an induction close to my due date so I didn’t have to prolong the pain more than I needed to. On Tuesday, we picked my mom up from the airport, and that night we went to Red Robin for dinner. We planned on doing a lot the next day to prepare for Thursday. Well, all day Tuesday I had this terrible sciatic pain in my right leg, it seemed really random. Looking back, there were probably little signs that I was close to labor that I totally dismissed. But that night, going to bed, I just felt different. I can’t describe the feeling, but it’s like my body knew what was going to happen before anything did happen.
I woke up at about 5:30am. I’m not sure what woke me up, but I immediately got up because I thought my body was just telling me to go to the bathroom. When I stood up, I was… leaking. At first, I thought I was peeing my pants. But it felt weird. Then I knew I wasn’t peeing my pants because it just kept flowing and I had absolutely no control over it. Uhhh, this was it… right?! So, there I am, cleaning myself off in the bathroom, and I calmly wake Grant up and tell him, “Umm, I think my water just broke.” He said, “Are you serious?” and got up immediately. So, while I was cleaning myself up, Grant went and told my mom and we started getting ready. It’s a good thing my bag was almost fully packed and I had a list of what still needs to be packed because Grant was so panicked. I was pretty calm as I got ready, but Grant was not. It was so cute. He was totally Jim when Pam was in labor. And though he’s going to hate that I’m writing about it, he was totally crying. It was early, he was in shock, and totally overwhelmed. I was seriously so surprised, but I was so calm. I gave him a hug and told him it was going to be OK and to try and stay calm. I had to help him pack (which he should have done days ago but of course, he didn’t listen) and keep a steady head. So then when my mom and Grant and I were ready, we headed off to the hospital.
Since it was so early, we went to the emergency room first and they wheeled me up to labor and delivery. We got settled in a room and checked in. They checked to make sure my water really was ruptured (it was) and then set me up to the fetal heart-rate and contraction monitors. So next we just kind of waited. I was dilated to about a 4, so after an hour or so, I was going to get my epidural. I hated getting my epidural. I don’t like needles, and though I couldn’t see it, I knew it was being put into my back and I hated it. It’s also painful. The sting and then the pressure were awful. But then I had some pain relief as my legs got all heavy and tingly. But I didn’t feel so good after I got the epidural. I started feeling really faint. Everything was going dark and I told them so and they saw that my blood pressure had plummeted. So they quickly gave me this medicine through my IV to increase my blood pressure. Everything became clear again. Once I was feeling better, the doctors and nurses left and we continued to wait. We watched Brave and then listened to some music. But I was definitely still in a lot of pain. For some reason, I could feel each contraction on the right side of my body and it was agony. Even after pushing the button for more medicine to come through, nothing seemed to change. This didn’t seem right—this is not how I was told epidurals would feel. So they called in the anesthesiologist and they decided to just completely start over and give me a new one. The doc said I should be comfortable and I was definitely not, so the distribution of the anesthesia wasn’t working correctly. So I had a new one put in, and it worked! I felt so much more relief. I could feel nothing from the waist down and it was fantastic. I couldn’t even tell when I was contracting. Thank the heavens! However, my blood pressure dropped again and they had to give me medicine to keep me from passing out. I also got super weak and tired. It was hard to breathe for a while. I remember my mom trying to put my hair in a braid and I couldn’t even lift my head to help her. The nurse offered me oxygen and I took it. That helped a ton, and I regained my strength. So after several cervical checks that day, my labor was progressing. Then, the glorious moment came at about 4pm. I was feeling some pressure down in my pelvis that basically felt like a bowel movement. I told the nurse and she decided to check me. I was completely dilated and effaced. I WAS READY. Holy cow, I was so nervous. My doctor had been in and out of surgery all day and I was totally scared he would be in surgery and another doctor would have to deliver. But I was super lucky because he just got out of surgery when the nurses called him. He came and checked me and decided it was go time. Suddenly everyone was getting ready and I was totally freaking out. I can’t believe I am about to have a baby! So, they got my legs onto the stirrups and the doctor was telling me what was going to happen. He also made sure Grant knew what to do and told him to sit down immediately if he started to feel faint. But Grant was so good. He had been great all day so I knew he would be OK. The nurse and Grant each held one of my legs. And then I started to push. This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Though it was one of the hardest I’ve ever worked, this strange power came over me and I felt so strong and so focused. It was also very spiritual. I have never felt closer to my Heavenly Father than when I was bringing one of his beautiful children into this world. I felt angels holding me up in those moments where I sincerely didn’t know if I could keep going. I was pushing for about 25 minutes. I could feel when he was almost here and Grant could actually see his head and the doctor told me one more push and he would be here. And so, Jack Leland Merrill came sliding into this world. I immediately just bawled as they placed him on my chest and I held this beautiful little human. As I held him, the doctor had Grant clamp the chord! Grant told me later that he was terrified when the doctor just handed him scissors out of nowhere and told him to cut. Then they took him from me because he swallowed a lot of fluid on his way out. They took him to the warming station and sucked fluid out of his lungs and tried to get him to cry out. I was so scared because he didn’t make a sound, but they assured me he was breathing, and they just wanted to make sure they got the fluid out. He was so quiet! Even when they cleared his lungs, he was just looking around, totally chill. I just watched and didn’t even pay attention to the doctor sewing me up. Yeah, so I tore pretty badly down in lady town. But I didn’t care. My babe was here and that’s all that mattered. So they cleaned him up, got his footprint, weighed and measured him and then gave him back to me so we could do skin-to-skin. Finally, he was back in my arms.
The rest of the story includes a lot of crying and a lot of marveling over this BEAUTIFUL baby. He was finally here. All the pain was worth it. He was worth everything. I am still astounded that he is mine forever. Jack Leland, this world already seems a little brighter now that you’re here.
Jack Leland Merrill
Date: March 1, 2017
Weight: 6lbs 2oz (he’s so little! His newborn clothes drown him)
Height: 19.5 in
Just for Fun, I thought I’d share a little more about myself–in case anyone new is reading my blog. I am trying to expand my reach so hopefully this post will be useful at some point! So without further ado, here are 10 things you may not know about me.
1.I just started an Etsy shop for all my nursery prints, called “Nella’s Nursery”. You can see it here.
2. I consider myself to be a crazy dog lady. My cavi, Charlie, is my world. The first time I left him was for a three day trip down to Utah and when I came back, I bawled because I was so happy to see him.
3. 3 years ago, I got breast-reduction surgery. Very few people besides close friends and family know this. I was roughly a size G and went to a size DD. I used to hate my chest so much. I felt like I couldn’t wear anything without looking like a tramp and being modest was almost impossible for me. The surgery was such a blessing and I feel like I can finally share because talking about things like this is becoming more acceptable. I used to be ashamed thinking I had altered my God-given body for selfish reasons. But I have since come to terms with it and no longer feel any shame for what I did. I think everyone should be able to talk about things like this. It’s one step closer to having a society filled with girls confident about their bodies.
4. When I was in high school I was diagnosed with Depression and body dis-morphia. Many people are prone to certain mental illness, and just need a trigger. My Depression was triggered when my boyfriend cheated on me with 3+ girls when I was out of town.
5. 4 years ago, a guy put my in the hospital by showing off and using an illegal jujitsu move on me. My ACL and meniscus was torn. He was kind enough to take care of me while I couldn’t walk for 6 weeks, but the moment I could walk again, he never spoke to me again. I still haven’t spoken to him.
6. I’ve been to England and Ireland. They’re amazing countries and I seriously cannot wait to go back.
7. Currently, I have bursitis and tendonitis in my right shoulder, an injured lower back (the docs still don’t really know what’s wrong with it), and patella-femoral pain syndrome in my left knee. I’m 24.
8. In High School, especially the last two years, choir was my life! Singing is still a huge passion of mine and I hope to someday start a music youtube. I also dabbled in musical theater. I was in three musicals in High School and once played Cosette in our concert version of Les Miserable.
9. I have an unhealthy obsession with Tom Hiddleston. I don’t think Taylor Swift is right for him. 😉
10. I love fitness. I have completed over a year of Kayla Itsines’ BBG program, as well as several beachbody programs including Insanity, Cize, and I am halfway through Piyo.