Trying to Avada Kadabra Self Doubt as a Mom and a Writer

Henlo, to all of my dedicated follower!

I’ve been putting this off for a long time now. It’s like I’ve been afraid of it, for some reason. And the longer I went without updating, the more afraid to post I’ve been. It’s become more than my signature procrastination at this point–I’ve been Stupefy’d with fear of failure/not being good enough.

I’ve almost been feeling like I’m losing my ability to write these days. Which is devastating, as writing has always been my primary source of expression. This is how I communicate. You would never guess if you actually had a face-to-face conversation with me that I am actually able to string words into sentences in any way.

These past few months I’ve felt like I’m no good at writing anymore. I’ve hated every single thing I’ve worked on, including this. I have a few drafts I haven’t posted for fear of whatever it is being the actual worst thing to ever be posted. I’ve been looking back on my old posts and have been cringing at the way they came out–way too long, the formatting is hard to look at, etc, so I’ve been afraid to keep going.

Basically I’ve been back on my bullshizz and I’m trying to come back.

I have Mom brain. Really bad. I can barely speak or understand my native language anymore, it seems, and I can’t look away from a task for more than two seconds before forgetting what it was that I had been doing. I leave lights on when I leave, drinks on top of cars–you name it, I’ve done it. Dory would be concerned for me.

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Grrl, same!

I’m sure this goes without saying, but once you have a child, the part of your brain reserved for memory, focus, and basic motor function is replaced with deciphering different cries, coming up with baby food recipes, and Raffi song lyrics.

Add Mom Brain to selling an apartment, buying a house, moving, and the pressure of freelancing, ghostwriting, and the subconscious desire to pursue ever-expanding personal projects with super-writer’s block/mental constipation, and that’s the equation for my semester-long silence on this blog.

I’d like for this to go somewhere. I want to believe that I have something to offer other Moms. But I know we all have to start somewhere, and we can’t improve what we give up on.

That’s why I can’t give up on this blog. Even if it’s a little incoherent now, I know it can’t get better unless I work on it. That’s why every week/bi-weekly I have to have some kind of post on here. Even if it doesn’t make sense or it, “isn’t that great.”

I’ve been so afraid and unsure of myself, comparing myself to other mom bloggers with bigger (actual) followings that I’ve allowed myself to be self-deprecating and self-sabatoging. It’s so easy to do as a Mom to compare yourself to others, and as a result feel completely incompetent and like every single thing you’re doing is wrong.

I’ve come to realize that if I give up on this, I’m partially giving up on myself, and I can’t allow that for a second. I have to set an example for my son. Of course it’s only natural and human to have doubts in everything, including ourselves, but we have to overcome them. I want my son to believe in himself, and in order for him to understand how, I have to model that for him.

I’m going to be working on updating the aesthetic of this blog and possibly getting my own domain name so maybe that will help with the performance anxiety a bit. So stay tuned on that!

Thank you for bearing with me. I know I keep promising that repurposing formula scoops/tins post. It’s coming, I swear!

Some updates for you:

We moved!

Recently we said goodbye to our old two bedroom, 650 sq ft apartment in favor of a townhouse twice the size and there’s so much more room for activities now! We are also right next to my SIL at Becoming Rivera! Vinny will be right next door to his baby cousin! ❤ ❤ ❤

We anticipate doing several renovations to the house, but all aesthetic! I’ve never lived in a space this large, so it’s a little overwhelming. But we’re going to make it our own, even if we end up making it #nailedit experience.

Vinny

Vinny is ten months old as of June 12th! He’s already somewhat walking, and as always is completely ravenous all the time! He continues to grow like a weed! He’s been going through growth spurts, teething, and developmental leaps so he’s been having good days and really not so good days. Overall, he’s an amazing baby, and I look forward to seeing what comes next!

Here’s some pictures to bring you up to speed!

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No smiles on his 10 month bday…that was a rough day. ):

Thanks for hanging in there with me! This really is the toughest job there is, but we got this! Thanks for reading, my gals (and d00ds). Till next time!

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The Power of the Dark Side: How I almost let Antenatal and Postpartum Depression Force-Choke me to Death.

((I’m sorry to say that this post isn’t going to have any witty memes or pictures, and it will contain some dark descriptions of some dark stuff…))

6 months, 100mg Sertraline, and several ongoing visits with my therapist later, I wonder if this is still lingering postpartum, or if this is just a permanent state of being.

Don’t get me wrong, I have far many more good days than bad days nowadays. It’s just that when they’re bad days…well, I get through.

Like many people, I have lived with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. So it didn’t come as much surprise that I would experience postpartum depression. In fact, I expected as much. I knew that at some point I would need a little help after birth, and I just kind of accepted it as par for the course, and I’d just cross that bridge when I came to it.

But nobody warned me about antenatal depression…

Antenatal depression, or prenatal depression, is a clinical depression experienced during pregnancy. Normal clinical depression is caused by changes in brain chemistry, which causes the feelings of sadness, anxiousness, hopelessness, etc. Hormone changes during pregnancy also affect brain chemistry, and can exacerbate existing issues.

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), around 14-23% of women struggle with some symptoms of depression during pregnancy. Often times, this depression is neither diagnosed nor treated properly as most people believe that these feelings are just a part of pregnancy-related emotional turbulence.

That, and the still-existing stigma of postpartum depression make a lot of moms want to keep quiet about their feelings, afraid of being judged or that if they seek help it means that they are inadequate mothers. This can create very dangerous, and very tragic circumstances.

My Story

As I mentioned before, I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety for a while, the worst of which being from late high school through the middle of college. I had severe suicidal ideation, and would write suicide notes and plans daily, detailing how ugly and useless I was and how I didn’t deserve to live and how I might kill myself if I’d had the guts, mainly through running away and throwing myself off of the tallest building I could come across. I thank God that He gave me my friends and my husband, because if not for them, I don’t know where (or if) I’d be…

I was in a bit of a rough place to begin with when we were “trying” to conceive. I was enduring regular panic attacks and thoughts of self harm, but was working through them with a therapist, and my coping mechanisms had come a long way.

When I got pregnant sooner than expected, I was initially ecstatic, immediately turning to Pinterest for early pregnancy tips and reveal ideas. But, this excitement seemed to fade as soon as it came.

Towards my third trimester, these symptoms worsened. I was irritable and despondent during the day, and suffered severe insomnia at night (insomnia is a common occurrence in the third trimester, granted).

I would lay sobbing silently into my pillow to not wake my husband. I had become highly skilled in crying in secret over the years, and the thought of burdening my already overwhelmed husband made me hate myself.

During these restless nights, I found my thoughts darkening more and more. I remember one night visualizing myself walking to the bathroom, turning on my shower, and just standing in the water. I fantasized taking my shaving razor and slitting up and down my arms, shoulders, and back, letting myself bleed out into the running water until I could finally pass out and get a little bit of relief from my running thoughts. Thoughts that would tempt me to jump out a window and save my unborn son the misery of being born into a dying world, worst of all enduring it with a useless shell of a human being of a mother.

This was just one of many examples of terrible thoughts I’d had during these dark times. I would only reluctantly open up to my husband about these feelings, but only after being “badgered” by him, but I would continue to lay awake almost every night, crying angry, self-loathing tears as my son kicked and jabbed in protest.

Loss

My grandmother had passed away late into my second trimester. On Good Friday, of all days.

I could write an entire separate blog post on how incredible of a human being my grandmother was. I don’t think there’s even a way to condense into a paragraph just how inspiring, selfless, determined, strong, loving, accepting, firm, fun, and overall wonderful this woman was…and how much of a gaping, vacuous hole her passing has left in my family…

I hadn’t seen her in over a year at that point, as she had moved thousands of miles away several months before I conceived. She had finally been able to retire after nearly 50 years in the workforce, and she was going to finally enjoy the happy, worry-free life she had always deserved…

So when I got that call in January that she had lung cancer, and that call in April that it had taken her life…I just couldn’t accept either.

I was in denial for so long, and I’d be lying if I still wasn’t, to some extent. I would cry to myself on a daily and nightly basis, wondering why God had not taken me instead of my beloved grandmother, who had finally just started to be able to live her best life.

I’d look around at the world without my grandmother and began to notice then more than ever how terminally ill the world seemed. Climate change, corruption in politics, evil, hatred…the world as I’d known it had ended, and it seemed the world at large soon would be, too. How could I be so selfish, bringing an innocent life into this wretched, dying world?

Postpartum

While the prospect of dying in childbirth had initially petrified me, I began secretly hoping, wishing for it. If my son must be born, then at least he could be brought up by his loving father, family, and surrogate aunties and uncles. I would leave him in their capable hands to help him navigate this poisoned planet, and to bring him up to make as much of a difference as possible for good in the world.

Well, sure enough, his birth went perfectly. Peaceful, yet empowering. He came into the world like a lamb and would grow like a mighty lion.

I had a fleeting moment of optimism as I recovered in the hospital as I was bombarded by questionnaire after questionnaire regarding my mental health. I was more or less honest, but promised that I would be okay.

Maybe, just maybe, I could do this on my own.

Home Again

Things started off okay, more or less, until nearly a week back at home. I began feeling miserable again, even worse than before.

I would look at my postpartum body through tears of rage, furious that I had “let myself” “get like this.” I was livid with myself for not getting sick “enough” during pregnancy, and began hating myself thinking back on all of the times I had indulged.

I saw my raw, still very much healing post-birth form as that of a grotesque monster, my emotions as signals of an incompetent and incapable parent,  and decided that I needed to be punished.

I had little to no appetite as it was, but when I did feel like eating I would only allow myself limited portions, in hopes that nursing my son would cause me to shed excess weight faster. I knew that producing breastmilk required extra calories, but I figured as long as I allowed myself the 500 “extra” that it would go to making the milk and I would wither away and look “decent” again, while still being able to give my husband’s son that precious, precious breastmilk he so needed and deserved.

Needless to say, my supply dwindled, and I had to supplement my son at barely 2 weeks.

This fueled my self-loathing.

There were days when I didn’t even feel like my son was mine. I would look at him, in the arms of my friends and family, and just see him as some alien being. Some type of benign parasite that was once sapping energy from within me, that needed to be painfully ejected from the most delicate part of my anatomy, and that now demanded nutrients from another painful, delicate part of my anatomy. I would go through the motions involuntarily wondering when his true parents would come from whatever planet they were from to take him away.

Looking back, maybe my hatred for myself made it hard for me to attach myself to something that was half of me…

Spiral

I began to start planning my suicide. I began looking into life insurance policies, to see if my son and the rest of my family could further benefit from my death, how many ibuprofen it would take to kill a 190 pound woman, and crafting the will for whatever it was of value that I had to give away, and how it would all be dispersed.

As it turns out, life insurance won’t cover suicide, it’s more difficult to overdose from ibuprofen than I’d thought, and I didn’t have much to offer, aside from my wedding and engagement ring that I had willed to my son.
My husband eventually found out what I was doing, and talked me off of the ledge, so to speak. Eventually, I had to come clean to my doctors and let them know what I was feeling, and my worst fear had come true–I was prescribed sertraline for post partum depression, and had to see a Psychiatrist for further evaluation.
“But I’m breastfeeding…” I explained to my OB in my zombified state. Or rather, I was struggling to.

He explained to me that zoloft is one of the safest medications for nursing, and I later found that you can even donate breastmilk if you’re taking zoloft.
It was a bumpy few weeks between increasing doses and working through feelings with my therapist and the psychiatrist, and finally reaching out to my friends and opening up to my husband, but eventually I got through the worst of it.

Life Goes On

Today wasn’t the greatest day. I had some scary thoughts. But I’m not a slave to them, and I won’t be force-choked out by them anymore.

I will fight back. The Force is strong with this one.

I can see the road to happiness from where I am, and the woods don’t seem as deep.
Postpartum Depression is a real and scary thing, as is prenatal depression. Although not as heavy as in the past, the stigma is still very much there.

We feel like bad mothers for being depressed. We feel a pressure to forget about ourselves and pour our whole depleted energy into a small being we may not even feel that same overwhelming love that we see televised and written about everywhere, and wonder what is wrong with us. Self care is a thing of the past, we think, so we suffer in silence.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” I have seen this quote everywhere. I would sometimes rephrase it to myself, “You can’t nurse from an empty breast.”

I realized after I had gotten help that by not taking care of myself, I was affecting my ability to really care for my son. My suffering caused me to drastically lose supply, and make it difficult to feel attached to the thing that attached himself to my sore, bleeding, cracked nipples, desperately trying to pull nutrients from the drooping speedbags that hung from my chest.

I eventually had to exclusively formula feed because my PPD had warped me so much that I sabotaged my vision of exclusively breastfeeding until my son was a year old.

Once I was beginning to come to, I went from Post-Partum Depression to involuntary weaning depression. He is still thriving, and I will always believe that fed is best, but I had failed my son in my eyes. But more on that later…
What I want to say through all of this is, is that if you are suffering, you are not alone. It is nothing to be ashamed of. I know that you want to take care of your baby, but your baby needs you to take care of yourself. Your baby needs their mama, above all else. Please reach out to your loved ones, and your doctors. It’s hard at first, but it gets better. You can do this.

If you need help, but aren’t sure how to go about getting it, this website may be of help.
Thanks for reading! Tune in next time for a more light-hearted post on ways to repurpose formula cans and scoops!

Until then, thank you so much for reading, my Gals! Talk soon!

Dys. Morphia or: How I’m learning to stop worrying and love the (Mom) Bod.

(Disclaimer: yet another post from my phone under the wire of my son’s naps so it’s a little raw and unfiltered I’m so sorry!)

I’m pretty sure anyone reading this blog is too young to get what this is parodying. Because I’m too young to get this is parodying, as it’s a film from even before my parents’ time. I only know about it because I’ve seen this title in a trivia game and the name resonated with me. If you care to know where it comes from, you can look at the IMDb. It’s a classic, I should see it sometime.

Anyway, getting to the point, I know this blog has been a lot about personal issues more so than actual Mom stuff, but we Moms need to look out for ourselves and each other. We owe it to our babies to be our best selves, whatever that takes.


I took this picture before I got married. I was mad at the way I looked. I was livid with myself for not losing enough weight before my wedding and felt I didn’t deserve to get married…my self image has always been a little warped 😅


So, if you haven’t already guessed, this post is all about body image issues. Particularly after a baby. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that our bodies go through the ringer while we’re incubating our progeny, some more so than others. And while it’s a simple biological fact that the majority of us won’t be the same after our miraculous, awe-inspiring forms bring forth miraculous, awe-inspiring, albeit terrifying, life, somehow it feels like the pressure is on for us to fit back into those skinny jeans from college as soon as we “recover” from the ordeal our bodies have gone through.

It seems like those perfect inspo moms follow me everywhere I go. Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, hecc, even family and friends and friends of friends seem to have it more together than I do…I know the most toxic thing you can do to yourself is compare yourself to others, but it’s easier said than done.


Working my Puff into Tuff 💪🏼 My failed attempt at inspomomming. I busted my knees for three weeks running full impact downhill shortly after my 6 week recovery period 😅


I have this addiction of sorts to hurting myself. I’ll get more into that in another blog post. But in a nutshell, lately my addiction is laying into myself about my body. I know I’m not alone in this.

I feel like there’s a negative message in the media about post baby bodies. In the movies, after women have babies, they just lose that prosthetic bump and just have a messy, but still attractive bun and running makeup that’s still somehow on point. But their bodies are for the most part, back to being taut, with perky boobs and although they wear mainly sweats and yoga pants because #relatable, you can tell that they could probably zip their pre-baby jeans. This could just be that they weren’t really pregnant to begin with, but I guess even after knowing real people that have gone through this before me, I guess I still had this idea that I’d breastfeed, workout, eat right and the weight would melt off. Yeah, #notsomuch.

Four months postpartum, I can now manage to button my jeans, but my loose belly skin and residual baby fat still hangs over uncomfortably. So to keep circulation going to my midsection, I need my pregnancy belly band. I know this is realistic for a lot of women, but I can’t help but be infuriated with myself for this…


Ow Ow! 😂 Really putting myself out there…I took this picture while doing laundry at my Dad’s house today. No belly band, no push-up bra, trying to embrace my new form. My “deflated” Mom boobs, that I used to nourish my son for as long as I possibly could, my “sloppy” Mom belly, that protected my growing baby for 39 weeks and 4 days until he was ready for the real world, and my stretch marks, which I honestly kind of like. I know I’ll never be the girl in that spontaneous mirror pic again…and the more I look at myself and the more I really think about the power behind all of the flaws, I think I could be okay with it…someday.


I need to remind myself that I’m real. That I’m strong. I need to remind myself that what my body did is a beautiful thing, what God gave me via my womb is a beautiful thing. I should be grateful to my body, kind to my body, and take this love/hate relationship and make it more about love.

I know this will be an ongoing battle. I’ve been going through some mental and emotional turbulence lately, so my body image has me down. I’ll have a post on prenatal and postpartum depression at some point, because, honestly, it’s brutal.

It’s time to be kind and n o t rewind. I mean stop looking at those old pictures longingly, mourning the figure that you had before you had a baby. It’s absolutely fine to want to slim down, for health’s sake, even to fit into old clothes for the sake of not having to go out and get a new wardrobe, but we need to be okay with our new forms. Even if our stomachs never stretched out, our breasts stayed firm, and our feet never Hobbited out, the body we have in our 20’s and 30’s is not even our final form. Eventually, we will all be subject to gravity, and we will age. Physical beauty is relative, and how we take care of ourselves will reflect how we look later on, but ultimately, our figures will change in some way, our physical beauty, in the technical sense, will fade. So we may as well look at all we’ve been through and take all things into consideration, and focus on the things we like of it hurts too much to confront the things we’re still sensitive about. It will never go away, but eventually it will get easier.


Censorship. 😂 This lil d00d’s too much! And soooo worth embracing this new form. I could learn to stop worrying and love the bod for his sake 💞👩‍👦I need to set an example for my son, because boys get body issues, too. Is there any better incentive for self-improvement?


Bless you for making it so far!

Tune in next time for my first trimester story and life hax for those brutal three months!

Thanks for reading! Talk soon! 😘