Thursday, March 17, 2011

how a savage beast becomes a fully domesticated animal

 I had no intention of getting married or having children. My plan was to be a spinster with cats. Cats are f-in awesome and celibacy equals very low drama levels.

I married my true love in a private ceremony on valentines day 2008 in Las Vegas.

Now I do shit like this
                                           banana hearts

                                           blueberry oatmeal

And I have one of these

I'd kill for a goodmama or How cloth diapers saved my life

Sometime around Ava's fourth month of life I experienced  postpartum depression. I did not want to hurt her. I was not hindered from bonding with her. Quite the contrary I was (am) very bonded and in love with her.
I wanted to hurt myself. I felt insane. I felt ugly and worthless. I was over stressed and totally sleep deprived.

I was having suicidal thoughts I was also having delusional paranoid thoughts. I would have entire days where I could not stop the intrusive thoughts that something was wrong with Ava and no one was telling me. I would look at my perfect beautiful baby and become convinced she had cerebral palsy or worse. I knew these thoughts were just thoughts, that did not stop them from being troubling.

I was also in constant physical pain. I was recovering from a c section. I had several layers of stitches. I developed de quervain's tenosynovitis in both wrists. Picking up the baby was agony. Doing dishes was agony. Changing diapers was agony. Agony was agony.

I was crying all the time. That is when I wasn't screaming at my poor husband. I wanted to be joyous. I was so happy about my life, my baby, my husband. The chemical imbalance was sucking away my joy. I was so tired of being in pain. I was so tired of being crazy.

I told my husband I was having the bad thoughts. I emailed my doctor. I told people I was crazy. My doctor prescribed celexa. I have never been one to think head meds were for me. I'm not sure why I held that opinion I have had anxiety for years my whole life. This time I did not let pride get in the way, I took the medicine. I was not going to let anything ruin motherhood.

My husband confessed to me that he had also been feeling the strain. After Ava was born he had started a new job that came with an ass load of stress. He became the only breadwinner. He was also dealing with my craziness. I don't know how he did it without killing me. I was horrible. I was a barking shrew, a crippled yelping elephant seal. I sucked. My husband also took steps to help himself.

To add to our insomnia and stress we were not receiving the kind of support we had imagined we would from our family. They were more than happy to buy the baby toys and clothes. They just didn't want to watch the baby or clean our house or anything that would have f-ing helped our exhausted state. They did seem to want to come and impose visit in the beginning while I was doubled over from being sawed in half and the newborn babe was getting used to her new earthly surroundings. I always thought people were supposed to bring casseroles and do your dishes instead they would show up hungry and nursing colds.

I must add here that I love these people dearly. They are family. They just weren't doing shit the way I wanted. When you are a control freak with postpartum depression and anxiety disorder you really need people to do shit the way you want.

We reached out.

Actually we freaked out.

On Halloween it came to a head. We were waiting for word back from our doctors and trying to figure out how to get help. We were trying to make the crazies stop. My husband made a desperate call to his mother. He requested that she come by just a couple hours a week to help. I just needed a shower or a run a couple of times a week. I was certain this would help the crazies. Exercise and hot showers have always helped the crazies. To this day that request has not "exactly" been fulfilled. Ava's never been watched by anyone but her daddy in her now seven months of life, except for a couple of comedic [ad nauseam] attempts I'll write about later.

I called for therapy. The way my insurance carrier handled this was absurd (see bureaucratic bullshit). I was given a list of contracted therapists and told to call them. When I had an appointment with one I was to call back and then coverage would be determined. I called six therapists. I reached voice mail on each call. I left messages on each one detailing that I had postpartum depression and needed an appointment asap. I never heard back.

A few weeks later I lost my insurance. My maternity leave was over. Our hope had been to put me on my husbands insurance however it turned out that would cost 700.00 dollars a month. I am currently uninsured.

I will take steps to try to find free counseling. I'm also looking for a support group to join. I am trying to get better. I am working within my means to get better. I am getting better

The good news is the celexa helped a lot. The suicidal thoughts stopped. Paranoid thoughts are rare. I'm awaiting delivery of a jogging stroller so I can just run with the baby. I manage to get a shower almost everyday. I brought Ava into our bed and that improved sleep a great deal. I still get anxiety attacks but as I stated earlier that's been with me a long time.

Around the time all this came crashing down I was also becoming disillusioned with disposable diapers. I started researching cloth. I was AMAZED at how awesome cloth had become! I dove in head first.
I was addicted before I even had it on my baby's bottom. I have to give a major shout out to Autumn Beck her blog was an f'ing amazing resource. She steered me in the right direction. I have washed diapers correctly and purchased diapers that were perfect for my baby thanks to her.

Thank you Autumn.

I spent my anxiety ridden nights perusing diaper sites and diaper chats and diaper forums. The diapers were so cute. In some cases the diapers were works of handmade art. The diapers held in the poo-splosions that had been plaguing me. Many other mommies were so honest and real. Going cloth felt more like me. I started to feel like I was part of a group. I was no longer isolated. Diapers were making me HAPPY.
Somehow even without help or a break from the baby or therapy I was coming out of the worst part of the mental illness. Cloth diapers were speaking to my creative soul. If you haven't seen the evolution of cloth you may think I'm bat shit but cloth diapers are seriously amazing (see goodmama).

It wasn't tangible physical contact with other moms but, it was contact. It was a feeling of belonging.
It made changing poop fun. It made life good. If it hadn't been for my amazing husband, my wonderful baby and cloth diapers I'm not sure what would have happened.

Thank you #clothdiapers, you provided a much needed distraction ,while saving the planet and my baby's butt.

*Author's note: after this article was written my mother in-law decided to sponsor my health care- I am currently shopping for a plan.  scratch that

trials and tribulations of a non breast feeder

Why are you asking me about my intentions for my breasts and my breast milk?

Strangers and acquaintances alike would ask what I planned to do with my breasts and the milk they would be producing. A pregnant belly is a universal symbol for no boundaries. When I gave an honest answer it led to a dissertation on the beauty and benefits of breastfeeding. I do not dispute the value and loveliness of breastfeeding. I simply did not make that choice.

The indigenous peoples  (see strangers in the grocery store) outrage at my selfish denial of my breast milk led me to want to lie. I concocted horror stories. I wanted to tell people I had disfigured breasts, no breasts, hepatitis, or HIV. You name it I had it and it was stopping me from the glorious act of breast feeding. It certainly wasn't my own  free will. It certainly couldn't have been a choice I would make if said stranger or acquaintance could just educate me.

I have had one instance since Ava's birth when I wished I had chosen breastfeeding. I was in a packed baby unfriendly restaurant. I wanted to torture my fellow diners by whipping out my bare breast and attaching my little savage right there. I wanted to use breastfeeding as a weapon. I think this is a solid argument against me breastfeeding not for.

I support my breastfeeding sisters. I know they are often judged harshly. Public breastfeeding is always a challenge. Breastfeeding itself can be torturous hard work. Please remember this the next time you judge a mother who chooses the bottle.