Tag Archives: mental health

New Job Blues

I got a new job and I am kinda dreading the start of it. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be leaving my current job. Starting a new job is just…anxiety ridden.

It’s beyond the walking on eggshells to figure out which co-worker you can say what to, or is this a work friendship or are we carrying this outside of work? I can deal with small talk, the what did you do this weekend, and all that. You know what I am dreading?

“So, do you have kids?”

Sigh. Here we go. Do I explain that I have 2 kids, but they died? I can’t just leave it with “Yes”, because then they expect details. But do I really want the pitying look when I explain my kids are dead? Or even worse, the “Oh shit, I shouldn’t have asked that” deer-in-the-headlights look? Awkward.

It’s like it’s not enough that I lost 2 babes, but it has to be rubbed in whenever I make new friends/acquaintances. It puts me in such an weird place–I can’t say no, but saying yes makes it so complicated. I just wish it didn’t come up and I could share as I get closer to people on my own. But it is an unavoidable conversation–hence the anxiety.

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Pregnancy Preparations after Loss

There is a whole laundry list of things to do when you are trying to get pregnant–and your OB will hand you another folder of them when you visit. But what about PAL? How do you prepare for that??

I think the first thing to do is accept your emotions. No matter what time you start trying (right after loss, or father down the road), it is going to be emotional. I went thru a whole range of emotions and I waited a year and a half before I was willing to try again. Some emotions that PAL moms might experience are sadness, anxiety, anger, detachment, guilt, and fear.

Some moms find it helpful to have a “pre-conception” appointment with their OB. That way the couple can bring all their fears and/or concerns to the table and have them addressed by a medical professional. Any bloodwork or scans can be done at that time to reassure the couple. At that visit, couples can also ask for recommendations for therapists, Doulas, and any local pre-conception classes. This visit is a great time to talk about your risks for more miscarriages or stillbirths. Ask if this pregnancy will be considered “high-risk”, and if you need more bloodwork or more frequent check-ups. Don’t be afraid to write down all your questions and the answers. That way if you forget, you have something to look back at for a reference.

If you are TTC, it is also important to eat right, sleep, take vitamins and exercise.  Not only will this make you feel better, but your body will be in the best shape possible for a baby. It can be a good idea to take up yoga or meditation to help with your stress level. Make sure you start taking a prenatal vitamin to build up all the levels in your body. Exercise is great for weight management, cardiovascular health, and can help with any depression you may be feeling. As for eating right, stock your diet with protein, fruits/veggies, and whole grains. Don’t forget to stay hydrated as well! Sleep is also very important, so if you are having trouble, talk to your doctor to find a pregnancy safe sleep supplement.

Start cutting out unhealthy/not-allowed-during-pregnancy habits as well. Get a head start on smoking cessation, stop drinking alcohol, and start to limit your caffeine. Talk to your doctor about what medications are safe for pregnancy, and which ones you cannot take. This is always best to do in advance in case you have to try alternatives. Always easier to find out now that you don’t tolerate a certain substitution then when you are out of time because you are pregnant. This is especially important with mental health medications–not something you want to be changing overnight.

Let’s be honest though ladies. No matter how much we try to prepare we will never have it as easy as those first time moms. The ones who never have been touched by sadness or fear, or even think of the possibility that after 9 months of this hard work, there will be no baby to hold. PAL’s, do what you need to do to get through and enjoy this pregnancy. Remember your mantra! “Today my mind will focus on hope over fear”

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TTC day 7. I have been kinda of irritable and frustrated over the past few days, I’m wondering if it has anything to do with my hormones now that I am off birth control and past shark week #1. I also had a anxiety attack last night that got bad enough I took a Xanax. Whatever the reason, I am hoping it goes away soon.

Excitement meter: 5

Scared Shit-less meter:2

 

 

 

Mental Health during PAL

”You can’t control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and just let life happen.” Kody Kiplinger

This is something I’m seriously worried about in my upcoming PAL. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and OCD joined the party as a coping mechanism. It was enough of a struggle during my pregnancy with Nyla as I had gone off all my meds, and now combined with all the upcoming emotions of a PAL–it scares me.

To help with this fear, I created a mental health game plan for when I become pregnant:

Actively use my mantra daily. Not just saying it to myself, but writing it down, telling it to someone, making a jingle, drawing it. Anything to keep it in the front of my mind so that it becomes my obsessive thought, silencing all of the anxious thoughts.

Regular exercise–not only is this healthy to do during pregnancy anyways, but it has been proven to help with depression and anxiety attacks.

Asking my OB for “in-between” visits where I can just come in to see the nurse, have my vitals checked, and be reassured that me and the babe are doing well.

Seeing my therapist frequently-like every 2 weeks even if I feel like I need it or not. I have had the same therapist since I  was 18, and I love her. She has been there for me through it all and I trust her completely.

Staying on some medication. This is where I am so torn. The ideal thing to do when you are pregnant is to take nothing but a prenatal vitamin. However, when I  stopped all meds with Nyla, I was an emotional mess. This time around I know I’ll be even worse because it is a PAL. I decided that the right thing for both me and my babe is to have the least stressful pregnancy possible–and that means staying on some of my meds. I refuse to take any meds that aren’t considered “safe” for pregnancy like my xanax, but plan on continuing my prozac and buspar at the lowest dose that works.

Not doing anything pregnancy related alone. Obviously the hubs will be there for all the doctor’s appointments and scans, but if I go out and buy baby things I’ll be taking someone with me. I need someone like my mother-in-law or close friends who understand if I have a complete meltdown in Babies’R’Us and need to GTFO of the store in 30 seconds or less.

Keep writing! Blogging is so helpful to me, so get ready for a roller coaster of posts!

What else do you PAL moms do to keep your worries/mental health in check while pregnant?

❤ to all TTC PAL moms!

 

Developing a TTC Mantra

A lot of PAL moms have said that they found it helpful to have a positive affirmation, or mantra to repeat to themselves while trying to conceive and another one while they are pregnant. Today I am going to make my TTC mantra.

To start, what is a mantra? Originally from Hinduism or Buddhism it is defined as “a word or sound to aid in the concentration to meditation.” I think we need to take a quick look at the word meditation as well–I know when I see the word I think of people sitting cross-legged on the floor humming “Ooooohhmmmm”.

Meditation (for our use) is defined as a practice where a person focuses their mind on a particular thought to become mentally clear and emotionally calmer. To put all this together; a mantra is a PAL mom using a phrase that they came up with to help keep their minds clear of negative thoughts, and help with the inevitable emotional roller coaster that comes with TTC. Sounds like a pretty good idea–especially for my anxious personality!

I did some research on basic mantra’s and found that most seem to start with an I statement such as “I deserve”, “I possess” or  “I feel”. Now, every PAL mom has to have a mantra that works for her, and I’m not a big I statement person. Doing some deeper digging, I found mantra’s that were created differently.

The mantra’s I saw all had the same basic principle to them. Positive, personal, and in the present. Let’s break it down. I don’t think I need to explain why a mantra should be positive so lets move to personal. I think that the personal part of a mantra is generally why the common ones use I statements. You want to create a phrase that focuses on you–the pregnant mom. Examples of keeping it personal include “I”, “me”, “my”, “you” and any variation of those words.

This is not to say that it is wrong to create a mantra for you and your baby’s other parental figure. Everyone is different and a PAL mom needs to find what works for her.

Let’s address in the present. The importance of keeping the mantra in the present is to focus on the here and now, not the past pregnancy. I would encourage staying away from adding phrases like “This will not be like my last pregnancy” to your mantra as I think while it is positive, it has the ability to pull you right back into the past by referencing the negative ending of your previous pregnancy. Use words like “today”, and “now” .

So TTC PAL moms, put one together! Here is my TTC mantra.

“Today my mind will focus on hope over fear”

 

Taking forever to get ready.

Hey friends.

Whew.

I’m honestly sitting here right now not 100% sure I want to write this post. Because if I write it then people know, and if people know then it really is real.

Ever have that moment when you want to say something SO BAD, but it’s stuck? Like it is RIGHT THERE but you just can’t get it out?

I keep second guessing this decision. It’s not the right time, or I need to do this, that, and the other thing before I’m ready. I just moved–maybe my emotions are all jumbled and I shouldn’t be making any decisions right now. Am I just doing this because all my friends are? All my other plans have fallen through, is this just the next idea I have so I can try to be in control of my life?

Honestly guys, I don’t know if any of those reason are valid or not. But I do know that I was building up this nice thick wall of excuses to hid behind–and I just demolished it with 3 words.

 

We’re trying again.

Hindsight really is 20/20

Do you ever have something that happens to you that you think not only should I have seen that coming, but I could have prepared myself for that failure?

That, my friends, is how I feel about my 2 little loves in heaven.

I feel that I should have seen my miscarriage and subsequent stillbirth coming. I’ve had a tough life, even before those experiences–I spent 4 years just trying to forget the first 18 years of my life. Nothing in my life has ever come easy to me, I have always had to work my ass off and then some. So why did I think my life was suddenly going to turn for the better?

But more so than that, I have this odd feeling I could have prepared myself more. I mean, child loss runs in my family, and if you read my previous posts you can see that I was no stranger to it. So why was I out buying baby clothes, toys, diapers, and registering when I hadn’t even gotten into the 3rd trimester?

In reality, what on earth could I have done to prepare myself? Instead of reading about what body part my child was growing today on my daily app, should I have been finding a book called “How to survive pregnancy loss” or “What it will feel like to hold your dead child”? No! Absolutely not! I was doing the right thing–the best thing. Enjoying the little slice of heaven I thought would last forever.

Therein lies the real reason why I think “I should have seen it coming and been prepared”. I have never been a glass-half-full type of person. I am a die-hard glass-half-empty gal. I’d rather think the worst and then be pleasantly surprised. If I wanted something in life-I only wanted it because I knew I could get it-therefore avoiding any kind of disappointment.

But when you become pregnant, everything–every damn thing–changes. You start becoming a different person from the second you see those 2 lines.

That’s what it was. I was becoming a different person and now looking back, I am mad at myself that I started think about that glass being half full, not half empty. Mad at myself for my optimism. My hope. For actually wanting something in life that I couldn’t guarantee I would get.

Journal Entry 2

This journal entry was about 6 weeks after Nyla’s birth. I think it is one of the more powerful entries I wrote.

“I held my daughter’s things today. I don’t know what prompted me to, I was just sitting on the bed.
I walk by her stuff every time I pass in and out of the bedroom as they are in one of those plastic shelving units by the door. I don’t know how to feel about all of her things fitting into one single drawer. It’s strange to me that she even has “things” as she was here for such a short time.
I remember coming home from the hospital and shoving all of it into that drawer thinking “What am I supposed to do with this? How long am I supposed to keep it for?”
“Whatever the reason, there I was sitting on the bedroom floor holding all of it. Her tiny little cloth diaper made out of pink fabric with hearts. The hand knitted pink hat with a rose on it, the glitzy butterfly clip that was on my room number so that everyone who walked in knew Nyla had passed. There was a pink teddy bear that some charity supplied the hospital with. I sat there and held it, realizing that it was bigger than Nyla was. Hospital bands, footprint cards, blankets, discharge paper–I kept it all. I haven’t even washed the blanket they first wrapped her in after she was born. There is still dried blood on it–hers or mine I don’t know.”

“Its strange to not be pregnant. I should be about 27 weeks now. Instead I’m smelling her things hoping for a whiff of hospital to remember her by.”