threefunnyvoices

Life, How To's, and Other Various Ramblings

The Darkest Shades of “Baby Blues” November 10, 2013

Today, I was cruising through the Scary Mommy site and came across a post about a mom who was telling her postpartum story. As I read it, I realized that she and I had a lot in common and I realized that if she and I had so much in common, maybe one of you out there may have faced or are facing the same thing. So, this is my brave:

 

First, I need to give a brief back story. I promise to keep it very brief. When I was 19 weeks pregnant, my baby and I lost his father. It was an accident based on stupidity and (as I eventually learned) was ruled incorrectly by the police. I spent the next couple of months trying to deal with his “suicide” until I learned that it was an accidental fall. It was traumatic, no matter how you looked at it.

 

Somewhere, in the days following the accident, someone made me go to the doctor to make sure everything was ok with the baby. I remember laying on the table, waiting to hear a heartbeat and it took them FOREVER to find one, but they did and things were ok. They got me some medication to fight the nausea so that I would be able to at least try to eat something and immediately got me into therapy. When I say immediately, I mean I had my first session before we even had the funeral. My therapist was wonderful and I kept her for two months after I had my son.

 

During all of this, I lived with a family member and while I was exhausted, I seemed to be doing ok. My therapist had no need to worry about any kind of postpartum other than the usual hormonal shifts that occur after having a baby. Life seemed ok and I found a little apartment for my baby and I and moved in quickly.

 

We lived out in the boonies. No one was going to know that the house was out there, and if they did, there was no way they were coming to the house undetected. We had a huge long, winding lane to our house and it seemed that someone was always awake. I was safe as I could be, and so was my baby. However, as the days went by, I started to get weird.

 

I would stay up through a large portion of the night. I would check on my son every 15-20 minutes, even though he was usually asleep beside me or even on me. I started to worry about silly little things that never seemed to bother me before. I would bawl at diaper commercials (yes…seriously…I remember the commercial well and if I were to see it today, I may burst into tears just because) and seemed to be preparing for the worst. I didn’t get any kind of real quality sleep until my sons daytime naps because I felt better during the day.

 

I remember, one day, my sister and I were leaving the house and we drove by a cop. I was certain that someone had called them on me and they were headed to my house to try to find a reason to take my child from me…even though I knew that there was nothing wrong. It wasn’t just a little paranoia. I had trouble breathing, broke into a sweat and wanted to turn around and go home and lock the doors and pull the blinds. My sister was able to calm me down a bit and told me I was freaking out because I needed to sleep. “Maybe she’s right” I thought.

 

Things like this happened several more times before my next doctors appointment. I hated feeling that way and I ended up staying home as much as possible. When I went for my next appointment, I filled out their little postpartum depression survey and passed with flying colors. I tried to tell the PA about what was happening and was told that it was totally normal and that things would get back to normal shortly.

 

The days went by and it was more of the same. We left the house only when we absolutely had to and I always preferred to have someone with me. This, however, was totally unrealistic and I found myself alone with my son a majority of the time. When he was awake, everything seemed to be absolutely fine. He was a perfect distraction and so long as we were home, life was good…for a while.

 

I started getting really nervous when I had to leave him alone while I went to the bathroom. I was sure something was going to happen to him. This progressed into complete meltdowns while I was showering, which I would only do when he was asleep for the night. Before I would get into the shower, I had to close all the curtains, lock all the windows and doors and sometimes I would pull his crib as close as I could to the bathroom door. (Our bathroom was right off of our shared bedroom) While I was showering, after going through the lockdown process, I was SURE I heard people in my apartment. I would rush and get out in under three minutes. I would first check the baby and then go through the house and make sure that no one had gotten in somehow.

 

I called my doctor and they had me come into the office. I explained to her what had happened and was once again told that it was “normal” and that I was likely “dealing with the trauma” of losing my husband (he wasn’t) and “learning my new mommy instincts”. They wrote me a prescription for Zoloft and sent me on my way. Somewhere in my gut I knew this wasn’t normal, but I wanted there to be a resolution so badly that I went along with it.

 

Then the night came that I saw myself. I had gone through the lock down routine. The nervousness and paranoia had gotten to the point where I would get cold…like, into the depths of my soul…and I would shiver. I moved my son to the bathroom door and I started the shower. In that time, I had a vision of my son’s paternal grandmother coming and watching us, learning our routine, and waiting until the time was right where she would pounce and take my child while I was in the shower. I was not going to allow that to happen, so I grabbed a butcher knife and got into the shower. I saw myself, standing there, holding a knife with one hand and trying to wash up with the other, all the while forming different plans to make sure that she didn’t get out of our house.

 

The woman lived several hours away and did not have a vehicle. There was no way this was possible….but that was not what took control of my mind and emotions. A complete paranoia took over my life. I would jokingly call it “postpartum psychosis” because I never knew there was such a thing. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until a few years later that I had heard the term and when I did, I FREAKED OUT! I was furious that I had gone through this, that I had said something to my doctor and that it was never even considered…and was labeled as “normal”.

 

I don’t know when it stopped happening for me. I just know that it did. I had a few friends and family members that I could call at any time of the day or night and just ramble. I think that’s what did it for me; knowing that I had someone out there that would hear me. I don’t remember how much of that time I shared or in what detail. I just know that I would talk and I didn’t feel like I was alone or that I was cracking under the pressure of my new life.

 

I no longer take armed showers. I no longer fear my son’s paternal family. I do still worry about something happening to my son, but not in any extreme sense. I worry about him like any mom would worry about her child. We sleep with our windows and doors locked but that just makes sense. I still have my incredible network of friends that I could call at any time and they would be there for me, just like they were in those darker hours.

 

That is my truth…that is my brave.

PPD and all related illnesses are SO real. They are not something that you should just have to accept and wait out. If you are experiencing any form of postpartum, reach out and make your voice heard. Do not stop until you get the help you feel you need. It is out there for you, don’t let anyone stop you from getting it. You are worth it and so is your family. You will make it through, but you need someone by your side. You need someone you can trust, someone who can help calm you down and help you regain your focus. They are out there.

 

Here are some websites that I found that I wish I had known about when I was going through my experience. They are full of useful information and have links to other great places.

 

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/ppd.html

http://www.postpartum.net/

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/

http://www.melaniesbattle.org/about.html

https://www.facebook.com/beyondpostpartum

 

Remember to hang in there, to ask for help and that sometimes we can just go moment to moment, hour to hour…eventually it will get better. Call on your network of people and let them help you.

 

Peace and Blessings to all of you

~C

 

 

 

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Ice Cream Dough July 24, 2013

As previously mentioned in other posts, it is hotter than hot here. Maybe it is because we are freshly relocated and this is our first summer below the Mason Dixon…but I personally think it’s just HOT.  It’s so bad that the other day I asked my little one to come outside with me and he ran excitedly to the door, stopped short of crossing the threshold and then he said “Mama…it’s too hot! I’m going to color!”. This is coming from the child who lives to be outside.  Unfortunately part of the conditions for living in the complex we live in is no swimming pools or hoses. This is not cool…literally or figuratively.

Now I am faced with finding things to keep him occupied inside…and have a limited budget for new products at the moment. Can you say “challenging”?  I set to scouring Pinterest for new ideas and I found this one .

How could it possibly be as cool as it seems? Well, trust me when I say that it is! We are just cleaning up from 90 minutes of hardcore playtime.

Since I have this need to eyeball most measurements when it comes to things like this, I know I didn’t make it exactly right but we came darn close. And the best part is that it cost me less than a $1.

We dumped approximately 1 ½ cups of cornstarch into a mixing bowl. Then I took all the conditioner samples I have laying around the house. I figured out which ones would smell similar and took to squeezing 9 little packages into the cornstarch. I started to mix it and instead of coming together as a dough, it was mealy. I added  water about a teaspoon at a time until it started to come together as a dough. Once it got to the consistency I liked, I divided it into three equal(ish) balls and placed them in their own little containers.  Then I added about half a pack each of Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Flavor Packets. They worked GREAT! Added a nice color and even made the dough smell like something other than conditioner.

We gathered all of the little plastic ice cream cones we have for the boys kitchen set, various dishes and “Toppings”. After the spread was all set up we went to town. It was a great way to pass the time without any kind of screen in front of us and he thought I was actually letting him play in ice cream. Crazy kid….

~C

 

PS….sorry that the photos are all of smooshed ice cream. It really does ball up nice and look like ice cream but someone in these photos couldn’t let them stay looking pretty. He needed to smash them all. Boys…

 

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Ice cream dough 1

 

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How 2 Cups of Flour and 2 Cups of Water Saved My Sanity April 22, 2013

By the time the milk paintings were complete, I thought that B was ready to calmly face the world. HOLY MOSES WAS I WRONG!!

What to do? What to do?

Then I remembered reading a post a while back about “Magic Playdough” The woman who wrote the post makes astronomical amounts of plain play dough every year for the first day of school. She separated the dough into individual balls (saving two balls to use later), pushed a well into the top and added 7-10 drops of food coloring into the well. Then, she took took the two balls she had held back, and used little pieces to plug the hole in the others. The goal is to have a collection of plain colored balls that look like there is nothing special about them. She then wrapped them up, added a little note about “mix and mash and if color should appear, it will be a great school year”. I thought this was adorable and wanted to try it at home…sort of.

We obviously did not need 50 balls of play dough so I scaled the recipe WAY back and added a little extra something to it. Here is what I came up with.

Magic Play Dough

2 cups of flour

2 cups of water

Lavender Essential Oil

place all ingredients in a pan on the stove and cook slowly (while stirring regularly) until it comes together and looks like dough. When it is done, place it on a piece of wax paper and knead it until it is nice and smooth. Divide into 6 balls and put two back. With the remaining 4, use your thumb to push a well into the balls. Add 7-10 drops of food coloring per ball. Fill hole with pieces of dough from extra 2 balls and GENTLY form them so that they look like a plain white ball of dough.

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As the dough was cooling, I lined the table with some wax paper and taped it down and got some plastic silverware and other small things that would make fun imprints in the dough.

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Then I unleashed the wild child on his first real encounter with play dough…

We mushed, and folded, and mushed and folded and mushed and folded and mushed and folded…

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And ended up with these (I would add more red food coloring next time)

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It took no time for him to discover that it smelled good (and all that lavender helped calm him down…like, whoa)

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And it felt good

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And because I made it, I knew exactly what was in it and I didn’t freak out when he did this…

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Let the games begin…

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And THAT is how 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water (and a little Lavender Oil)  saved my sanity!

The dough will store nicely in ziploc bags and keep for quite some time. Best use of flour and water I have seen in weeks!

~C

PS: As I sat, enjoying the quiet stillness that this activity blessed me with, I couldn’t help but think that this would make for a GREAT party favor for your little ones birthday party…especially if it is a Magic theme!

 

A Home with a Gun? April 14, 2013

Filed under: Things that might be a little touchy — threefunnyvoices @ 9:31 pm
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Guns are a big thing down here. Most of the time, if you ask someone why they carry a gun you will get the response “because I can.” Knowing this, when Brennan is asked to go to someones house to play, I ask if there are guns in the house and if so, are they locked up so that the kids can’t get to them. Fair enough, right? Apparently not. I was told tonight that it’s none of my business and I had a lot of nerve asking. (Only in not terms not as nice as this)

 

So, I ask you…do you ask?

 

I ask because I am trusting that other parents are going to protect my child as I would their child. I ask because I know my child well enough to know that if he saw one, his curiosity would most likely get the better of him. I ask because I feel it is my right as a parent to know. But is this right?

I never knew when I became a parent that there was such a HUGE gray area and very little black and white. I am learning I operate better in the black and white.

How do you handle the gray areas when it comes to your child and their safety in the home of someone else? How do you ask the tough questions without coming across as judgmental or rude? Do you care if you DO come across that way?

Leave your answers below…I am truly interested.

 

~C

 

It started out so simple… March 25, 2013

And it became a HUGE mess!

While my boy and I were out at Kids Fest this weekend, we stumbled upon an activity center that had gallon bags full of shaving cream and food coloring. The kid LOVED it and it was simple enough that I knew I could replicate it at home, which is exactly what we did this morning.

It started out simple enough. Gather a few gallon zip seal bags, a can of shaving cream and some food coloring.

I let the kiddos spray the shaving cream into the bags and choose the colors they wanted to use. (Shockingly, they both wanted to use the same colors. Now, had I suggested this, it would have been the beginnings of WWIII, but since they did it on their own, it was the best idea they had all morning!)

After sealing the bags, they set to squishing…

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…and pounding…

and adding more colors.

Then they realized that we could OPEN the bags and play with the stuff inside which meant I better act fast. I stripped them down to their skivvies and plopped them in the tub. Lord above did they have fun. From this point on, it all got a little fuzzy. There was slipping and sliding, giggles, splatters of shaving cream flying and LOVELY artwork being created right before my very eyes. When all was said and done, we ended with this scene…..

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If you ask the kids, it is the best thing they have done EVER and they would like to do it when we get together again tomorrow. MOM on the other hand thinks that this much excitement should be experienced once every few months!

 

~C

 

Post Pregnancy Pregnancy Dreams March 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — threefunnyvoices @ 7:26 pm
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I will readily admit that I have ALWAYS had weird dreams. When I was in 4th grade I had a dream that a bunch of wild animals stormed our housing development. I had conversations with lions and gazelles. In my mind it made PERFECT sense that a large variety of African animals would be storming PA in the winter.

There are tons of others…like the one where I went grocery shopping with Zac Brown’s guitarist…or the one where my mom asked me to go knock down and ant hill and I was swarmed by quarter sized fire ants that embedded themselves under my skin…or the one where my family sent me to Barbados for three months and took all my money because they wanted me to learn to be a survivalist so when I got there I learned how to make rum and drank tropical drinks for three months. My all time favorite has to be the one where I caught a friend of mine with her boyfriend that she never wanted any of us to meet…when I saw that it was Mickey Rourke, I understood why.

( I can’t look at a photo of the man without cracking up! It may be the dream…but I am starting to think it is just him) Oliver Stone, Mickey Rourke

They are not all fun and games however. I had some of the worst pregnancy dreams. I still remember them vividly and they are too disturbing to share here…

Last night’s dream falls somewhere between grocery shopping guitarists and disturbing.

I am sending my son to preschool for the first time this week. For the last three years, I have been his full time caregiver, unless Ebun was there to babysit him. (there was also that time I was so sick I thought I was going to die and another dear friend her and hubby came to my rescue…I will always love her for that! AMS, this love is for you!)  It was a hard decision for me to send him and clearly it is causing me some internal strife.  Read on…

Last night I had a dream that I sent him to school and they did not approve of the brand of milk that I sent him to drink so they called Child Protective Services on me. When I went to pick him up for the day, no one told me anything. They acted like they didn’t even know who I was. DAYS went by before I was able to learn anything about my child and when I heard what had happened I went crazy. I called someone (who, I don’t know) and lost it…sobbing and wailing and losing my mind…and all they said was “oh…it’s you! I don’t know what to tell ya…you just gotta move on” (HORRIBLE!) I spent extreme amounts of time trying to track down my child, getting more and more desperate at every turn. I finally found him, in a bassinet in some old man’s house. He was covered in tea towels and his bassinet was full of little yippy dogs that wouldn’t let me near him. I am happy to report that I was able to snatch him out of the dog pit and after sustaining a few bites and nips (a few dog teeth stuck to my shirt) I was happily reunited with my son.

I woke up several times during this dream and every time I closed my eyes I went right back to it. I knew, as it was happening, that it was weird and not true but I woke up panicked each time. It was horrible and bizarre and all I could think was “I thought those kind of dreams only happened when pregnant!”

In closing, I would just like to say that the boy will be going to preschool this week….with juice!

~C

 

Why should kids have all the crafting fun?? February 25, 2013

I hate my kitchen window…my kitchen in general…but definitely the window.

It has white blinds and looks out onto a farm supply company and a light pole. WHOOPIE! It is so blah and OF COURSE that is where my sink is, so I look at blah all day….until this weekend came! No, I didn’t move but I got crafty…literally. (Shocking, I know)

I had some frosted glass ornaments and acrylic paints left from this past Christmas and the gift that my son made for everyone. They were just sitting in my closet taking up space so I decided to do something with them. I took to etsy.com and found some ornaments that I could easily make and this is what I came up with….

They are SO fun to make and look at…and easy as can be.

Here’s the lowdown

1. Gather clear/frosted glass/plastic ornaments with the removable tops and acrylic paints .

2. Remove the top and add small amounts of pain to the inside of the ball

You can either put the paints in the ball in separate areas, like I did here, or you can pile in all in on top of one another. If you choose to do the second option, I would use smaller amounts of paint and do the layers in three or four spots around the inside of the ball. It will make it easier later on.

3. Place your finger over the hole and shake.

Word to the wise…Don’t space out and forget that you are holding something in your hand and drop it….not that I would know by experience or anything. Also, have an old rag to wipe your finger on. It will get paint on it.

You may need to add a little extra paint as you go along, but that’s ok. Less is more in this situation.

4. When you are done shaking, you should end up with something that looks like this:

5. Put the balls back into the box they came in, leaving them uncovered, and place it somewhere safe that it will not be disturbed for the next 24(ish) hours so that the paint can dry.

6. Once they are dry (or at least dry enough that the paint isn’t running everywhere) place the top of the ball back inside. Be careful…

7. You can stop here if you like.

They are pretty and will serve their purpose. Personally, I like to fancy them up a bit, taking them from this:

To this:

The bows are SUPER easy to make… Here’s a photo I got from wantu.taobao.com

Once you are done with the bows, simply hot glue them to the top of the ball, close to the loop that you use to hang the ball.

That’s it! SO easy, right??

Here are a few of the ones I created this weekend:

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I have three of them hanging in my kitchen window at various lengths. I LOVE them. They add a pop of color in a plain white room overlooking a rather blah scene. Because of the shape and colors they do not make it look like I forgot to take down my Christmas decorations, which adds to my love of them as well. I will get a picture of the window up, just as soon as night comes and the colors will actually show up.

 

~C

 

 
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