Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Big Life Changing Decision

   I'm a quitter. A big fat quitter. I have always been a "finish what you start" type, but not any more. I resigned from the PhD program. There was a lot of very existential reasoning behind this decision as well as some more practical concerns, but at the end of the day, it just wasn't fun anymore. It wasn't fulfilling. And I can't rationalize spending time doing something that isn't making me a more complete person if I don't have to be doing it.

  So what am I going to do instead? Well, I'm going to do what I have been doing as a hobby for over 2 years now. Birth work. Over the next year I will be certified as a child-birth educator and a lactation counselor. It's something I feel very passionate about, something that I am good at, and something I can see myself doing for a very long time. While we are in Tucson, I will probably just offer childbirth and breastfeeding classes independently and through hospitals and birth centers. However, my goal is to one day have my own space to offer childbirth, breastfeeding, prenatal yoga and post-partum yoga classes.

  This will also give me time to pursue some other interests that I have been putting off for years at the expense of school. While I have enjoyed my educational experience thus far and am very grateful for the opportunities I was given, I am looking forward to living more in the present and enjoying each day rather than constantly looking to some future date for contentment. Stay tuned for a follow up post about why I want to do birth related work.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

50mg of Motherhood

    It's time. Tomorrow I start taking 50mg of Sertraline (Zoloft) a day for post-partum depression and anxiety. For those of you who are unaware, I have been dealing with post-partum depression since Perrin was about 2 weeks old. It went from debilitating depression to a nice mix of depression and anxiety. My symptoms have included severe weight loss, fatigue, body aches, listlessness, anger, rage, self-destructive behaviors, and suicidal thoughts. It was the worst in the beginning. I honestly remember very little about the first 6 weeks of Perrin's life. Joey tells me it wasn't a good time. While we did see some major improvements once I started counseling (around 3 weeks) and have since seen more improvement with the addition of our marriage counseling, it also feels like we've hit a wall. 
   You see, we have been dealing with a lot on top of the high needs baby stuff. Shortly after getting pregnant, we found out that Joey's dad's cancer had returned and was terminal. We lost him a little over 2 weeks ago.For the last half of the pregnancy and the entirety of Perrin's life, Joey has been dealing with losing father on top of everything else. We had family in and out once Perrin was born and have traveled back to Memphis twice since September. With everything going on, I feel like I just can't get ahead of this PPD/PPA. As was made clearly evident during Perrin's labor and birth, when I have stuff going on, I need my quiet dark space to work through things and that just isn't possible right now. There is no time or space to be quiet and heal, so I'm going to need help that I normally wouldn't turn to.
  I don't really know what else to say about it. I'm sad, because I feel like my body failed. Because I truly feel that when left alone, our bodies are perfectly equipped to thrive. But sometimes you just can't be left alone. We live in a society whose pressures and influences are inescapable and sometimes that means unnatural problems arise which need unnatural solutions. When you have no tribe, where do you turn? I plan on continuing all of my other treatments and therapies (flower essence, herbs, supplements, diet, exercise, chiropractic care, accupressure, and intensive counseling). But I can recognize that I need something more, so I'm taking that step. I know a lot of people are under the impression that I am completely anti-Western medicine. It's not true. I believe medicine has a place, and this is one of those instances. It's just not my first course of action. 
   The good news is that I will be able to continue to breastfeed. After doing a lot of research, I have found that the consensus is that most SSRIs are compatible with breastfeeding, especially Zoloft. In studies it was found that only some babies showed traces of the medication and of those only some showed any effects. The effects of the medication were found to be less risky than weaning and introducing formula, so it is recommended that breastfeeding continue. This information is what sealed the decision for me. 
   So there you have it. I guess my one lingering fear is that this little blue pill will just be a band-aid for the real problem. There is an underlying issue, whether it be psychological, hormonal, or otherwise chemical. I don't want to lose focus on fixing that problem. This pill is a temporary aid to give me the ability to heal. How am I supposed to focus on healing myself when I don't have the energy or desire to focus on anything? That is what I hope to gain. I'll keep everyone updated. And as always, questions are welcome. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

That one thing...


   Often time when reading Mommy blogs or talking to other people, the question arises, "What is one thing that is a deal breaker when it comes to having mommy friends?"

   In other words, is there some practice that other parents use or something they do that makes it impossible for you to be friends with them. Now I will be honest. There are quite a few practices that I do not like and will not have in my parenting tool box. They range from issues of preference (i.e. purees just seem like a pain in the ass so we aren't going to do them, but that doesn't mean I think there is anything wrong with purees) to issues that I truly feel like there is a "right" answer to (whether or not you turn your child forward in their carseat at the legal limit of 1 year old doesn't change the fact that it's 500% safer to have them rear facing until they reach the height/weight limit). But I can honestly say that I don't have any parent friends who do everything exactly the way I do it. I think it would be impossible. I know parents who are way more natural minded in some respects but more mainstream in others. I am friends with parents all over the spectrum. Just because I do things the way I do doesn't mean I think I found the perfect way to parent or that I think the way other people parent is wrong. We are different people and our children are different people so what comes out of the mix is going to look different.

   However, I do notice that I distance myself from some parents. They may say something or do something and slowly, over time, I realize they are no longer on my list of people to go to for advice or people I would seek out to spend time with. I don't think they are bad people or bad parents, but I start to feel that "something" that everyone always talks about. It took me a while and I think I found out what "it" is. Some parents see their children as people, and some don't.

   Some parents make it apparent through their words and actions that they respect their children as individuals in their own right and afford them basic human dignity. Others make it clear they think they own their children like property. That is my deal breaker. Because if you don't see your children as people and treat them accordingly, we are operating from two completely different philosophical perspectives. Most of what I do will not make sense to you, and most of what you do will not make sense to me. It's not like I am going to cross the street to avoid anyone. It's more the acceptance that our exchanges are likely to be unproductive and pointless. So yeah, I guess I do have a line. And maybe that makes me judgmental. But unless you think all people are people, you're not *my* kind of people.

**This is not meant to be framed within the Person-hood movement. I do not agree with Personhood legislation and do not support it. Do not use it as such.