I read a story about post-partum depression today, it wasn’t a happy one, which reminded me that I haven’t updated the internet on the state of my health: mind, body and soul.
It’s good news. [Sigh of relief]
I don’t really feel like talking about the depression, it’s part of my past now and I know that it could potentially be part of my future. For now I’m going to tell you what I’ve been doing, about what makes me happy.
I needed more Family time, spouse time and time just for me.
First, I called my mom and asked if she would pay for my gym membership. I knew that all the time away from the gym was one reason I was sad. I missed regular exercise!! I started making better choices with my food and I started pampering myself.
Anyone who knows me, knows that when you think of me, you don’t necessarily think “cheapskate.” But, for years I have rarely paid for haircuts (ask a friend or sister to just cut it right over a trash can), I almost never go into a salon, I have never had a manicure and I only get pedicures once or twice a year (because if I didn’t, my entire foot would turn into a callus). I also never spent money on makeup, hair supplies or skincare.
My skin care routine – up until this year – was usually going straight to bed without washing my face. Rinse face in morning or just wait till I took a shower…whenever that was.
Wearing makeup was usually reserved for Sundays and the makeup I did own was either purchased for me by a mother or sister or given to me by a sister or my mother (because it came as a free gift during a purchase)! I spent very little money in the hair, skincare and makeup department.
In the spring and summer of 2016 when I struggled with pink eye, I had to throw away all of the makeup I did own – which included some new and nice (gifted) things. In addition to throwing out all my makeup, I threw out all my bed pillows (nice, newer pillows I couldn’t afford to replace).
We were also very broke when this happened.
Somewhere between back to back pregnancies, a husband who was gone all the time for school and with church responsibilities, a four year old just barely potty training (read “three kids in diapers”) – I was feeling pretty haggard.
Well, I discovered a multi-level marketing company that has amazing skin care and makeup. I knew I couldn’t afford to buy/wear good products unless I sold some. So, I signed up to distribute.
Along the way, I started having fun with my life again and taking care of myself made me feel good.
So, I’m going to the gym, taking care of my body, eating healthier and getting better sleep – now at bedtime, I don’t lay in bed trying to un-wind from a day that pulled and stretched me, I go to bed, I think of all the things I’m grateful for and all the things I can do better tomorrow.
Then, I stop thinking and go to sleep.
I started singing around the house more often, letting the messes sit later, snuggling with my babies a little longer.
I decided that dates with my husband were worth the cost of a babysitter (again, where I tend to be cheap – “let’s just not get a baby sitter and stay in or take the kids with us.”
I re-took my Athletic Training exam (to re-certify) and was 23 points short of passing!! [I mean, I can’t be too sad, I’ve been out of practice 11 years!! With very little study time I squeezed in, I almost passed!! Yes, I’m taking it again].
My energy levels increased and the chemicals in my brain have found balance as I allowed for more positive thoughts.
I consciously made it a daily effort to push negative thinking away and only see the positive. I had let negative thoughts camp too long in my mind and I didn’t want to be sad anymore.
Happiness had been my life before and I wanted that life back.
I never stopped praying during my struggles. I never stopped hoping. I knew that change would come if I just kept trying.
God knew me, He had faith that I could overcome my circumstances and He has faith in you too. The tools are there, we just need to reach out. Ask for help and take steps to change.
Postpartum depression is not an old friend, but foe. An enemy I may face in the coming years. But I have hope that my faith and past experience will help me defeat him again.
Disappointments still arrive, but I see the light and know that everything will work out.
This summer raced by with record speed. My baby is officially eight months old today!
This breaks my heart just a bit, as she is the best, sweetest baby girl and I’m obviously going to need another baby sooner than I originally planned.
Because babies are my absolute favorite…and no, this is not a pregnancy announcement.
What on earth have I been doing this summer?
What have you been doing this summer?
I asked first…
Mostly just all the great mom things of laundry, dishes, cooking…I’ll be completely honest here and admit that I have not been reading many books to my kids this summer, there has been a lot more tv and I have zero guilt about this.
Last school year wore me out. Then in the spring I got pink eye and battled it all the way through July 4th weekend. I have not had any pink eye since that weekend, still have a bit of dry eye, but that is so much easier to deal with.
What we have had is lots of cuddles – indoors – lots of dirt in hair from the hours spent outside in the backyard, lots of forts. I got tired of putting the boy’s mattress back on the bed, so it’s still on their bedroom floor, surrounded by toys.
I’m gloriously less stressed these days.
I want to attribute the goodness in my life to God.
In the chaos of this world, He gives me peace and hope that good things will come.
In addition to having the support of my husband, the women of the Relief Society (the women’s organization from my church) have gone above and beyond to serve me here in Columbia, Missouri.
I hit the jack pot – and it’s not just the women in my LDS ward – there are women in surrounding wards who have served me too.
Those acts of service (making us dinner, taking my kids, swapping baby clothes, having us over to play, teaching my children) have lifted my load.
If only the news was full of the stories of these life transforming women – the world wouldn’t seem so dark to me – it would be the light of God’s love shinning. A beacon of hope for humanity.
The women I go to church with lift me with their testimonies, their compliments, their smiles, their friendship.
In return, those women let me take their picture. I wish I could tell their stories from a photojournalist point of view – as an alternative to the terribly distressing news as of late.
Motherhood (since I’m a mother)/Parenting takes a lot of work/sacrifice and without this village of helpful women I would have lost my mind long ago.
(Note about photos – all are SOOC (straight out of camera) photos – because I’m currently too poor for Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.)
[Below are photos taken by a friend – with a nicer camera, nicer lens…nicer skills]
It helps to have a hobby.
Mine is record keeping. Family record keeping. Which is the main reason for blogging. It’s also why I love taking photos. I have made several family photo album books this year. It takes me awhile to make family yearbooks, but I enjoy reliving our time together as I pick through our photos from the year and write about our time spent together.
It is the reading of and looking through those memories that draw me nearer to my extended family and friends.
Anyone up for pictures? I can’t promise they will look mystically amazing, but I’d love the practice and you will have a moment of time captured forever of that day your three year old got gum stuck in his hair and your baby had poop up his back…
Today at church I briefly stood before my congregation and bore my testimony of God’s love, how sometimes in His love (and infinite wisdom) He asks us to do hard things…because He knows that it will make us strong.
Motherhood has been a struggle for me lately. Particularly with my first born. He is determined to help me be strong. Really strong.
After my testimony, I returned to my seat. Wiley was so happy to see me and said, very enthusiastically, “Mom, you did a great job!” followed by a sweet little boy kiss.
Floating – his kiss and exclamation had me floating the rest of the day! (much like the hot air balloon we saw fly over our home.)
God sent me a strong willed, funny, intelligent, happy, passionate, particular and loving boy we call, ‘Wiley.’
Wiley turned 4 years old last week.
Lord knows time is flying and somedays it doesn’t fly fast enough to bedtime…
I am well and healthy today, but the entire month of April I was sick. So, as Wiley’s birthday neared, I knew he wouldn’t care if he had a party, but I wanted his day to feel really special. I wanted him to know I thought he was special.
He started his day with cartoons. I had blown up several orange balloons to litter the floor and got him four floating balloons and two dinosaur puzzles.
[go Dollar General!!!]
I had to coax him away from the TV for a morning outing – just with mom.
I took him to the grocery store and let him pick out anything he wanted! Cause, I’m money bags like that.
The birthday boy wanted fresh strawberries, raspberries, whipped cream and donuts.
He also wanted a “grown-up sippy cup” (those plastic drinking glasses with straws/screw on lids) colored orange. The boy likes orange.
I’m pretty sure most of his t-shirts are orange.
Kind of fits his personality.
After our breakfast outing, he wanted to put his dinosaur puzzles together with me. He and his little brother had hours of fun playing with the balloons. I read some books…and I let him play on the iPad, because that was just what he wanted!
Daddy took Wiley and Tyler to the “big slide park” for about two hours later in the day.
(I love, LOVE, when Dan takes them to the park – no bedtime troubles – and quiet time for mom.)
The grand finale to the birthday boy’s day was after the two babies went to bed.
Daddy made a fire in the fire ring and they roasted marshmallows!
It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten marshmallows, they aren’t my favorite.
We didn’t have cake, I pointed them out in the store, but he wanted donuts for breakfast and marshmallows for dessert; who am I to argue with the birthday King?!
Wiley stayed up late. I wish I could say it was way past his usual bedtime, but he typically refuses sleep until around 10pm every night, so it was business as usual.
Wiley finally passed out on the bed next to mommy and his sleeping baby sister.
Dan and I agreeing on a name when I was six months pregnant, was the soonest we decided on a name.
We had driven down to Texas for my sister’s August wedding, so we had ample time to talk names.
On our drive back to Missouri, Danny had his cellphone out and was telling me all the cool bird names he liked (because I really like the name Birdie, and we were trying to find a bird name for awhile).
I smile when I hear ‘Kestrel’…my youngest sister could have been Kestrel.
So, from Houston, TX to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Danny and I tossed names back and forth. Separately, he and I decided we liked the name Bell, but not as a first name.
Our little family made a really fast stop in Tulsa to stretch our legs and visit a close friend of mine.
My friend Rachel happens to now work at our alma mater, The University of Tulsa. It being August, the football team was in the middle of their two-a-day practices.
So, our brief stop was in the football training room to catch up with Rachel.
As she and I were catching up, one of the long time Orthopedic Doc’s came into the training room and joined our conversation.
I think some things are truly meant to be.
Out of no-where, Rachel says to Dr. M, “So Katie and her husband are having a hard time choosing a name for their baby girl.”
Dr. M has been a long time friend of my mother’s family, so when he got a sparkle in his eye and said, “I know a nice name.” I knew he was going to say, “Adrien.”
Dr. M’s wife died of cancer in her early forties, and I have heard, for many years from my Grandmother, what a lovely and gracious lady she was. He never remarried and adopted The University of Tulsa athletics as his family (in addition to his children).
Rachel and Dr M said how they liked the sound of Adrien (how his wife spelled her name) with our last name.
An hour later, Dan and I back in the truck swapping names again, I asked Danny what he thought of the name Adrien.
He said he liked it!
Dan looked up the origin of the name, depending on where you look, “dark one” or “one who comes from Adria” which makes way more sense to me.
Adria is on the north eastern coast of Italy, sitting on the Adriatic Sea.
Now that Dan is neck deep with research in Water Engineering, it only makes sense that he said, “if we spell it ‘Adrian’ after the body of water.”
And that is how our sweet little Adrian Bell came to be named.
Alert, Smiles all day, babbling, a great sleeper (when she isn’t sick) and trying to get up and walk to keep up with the boys.
The last thing I remember was, I had a baby…the other baby in August of 2014. Then, I was having a baby.
About the time I got serious about getting back in shape in Jan/Feb of 2015, I joined a beach body fitness group…my entire family had whooping cough (yes we’d been vaccinated, thanks).
Sick as a person with whooping cough, who is taking care of two small people with whooping cough, can be – I still started my fitness challenge the day the rest of the group did.
A month into my fitness challenge, I was growing another human again.
I was eating well, just got off antibiotics, and exercising regularly – so I couldn’t figure out why I was so tired.
Well, truth be told, I knew (deep down) that I was pregnant, but hadn’t excepted or tested the fact yet.
Here I am less than a year later with another baby laying next to me. My brain is not… what it is capable of being. I can’t remember some people’s names, I can’t recall words I used to know (I think I still know them, somewhere in there…) and every day feels like yesterday.
We’ve had a wedding, births, deaths (in my extended family), holidays in all those yesterdays. Where has today gone? Just another yesterday now.
My husband has been just as tired and overworked as I am. This winter vacation has been such a blessed and lazy affair.
We have had a very short visit to see my family this break and a weekend visit with Danny’s parents.
I was mind boggling tired with each visit and forgot to get pictures of my kids with their grandparents!! I was so grateful for the time we had together.
I’m enjoying this “honeymoon” of sorts with a(nother) new baby! The long days just cuddling are slowly fading and I’m slowly pulling myself together.
It’s good to exercise my mind again – with the whole blogging thing – and having just looked at a calendar, I can see that today is Monday…January 2016!
Wishing you all the best while facing your trials and reaping your blessings of another year.