Well, Jack turned 8 months last weekend. EIGHT MONTHS PEOPLE! How... HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! I feel like I just found out I was pregnant and now i'm snuggling my 8 month old son.... I finally understand when people told me that "time flies".
He is at SUCH a fun age right now. I feel like I could sit and stare at him all day, watching him learn new skills and discover the world. But he may think i'm some weirdo if I literally just stare at him, so I guess i'll play with him, too. I feel like he is changing every single day - as soon as he starts doing something, BOOM, next day its something different. He is one spirited boy - doesn't want to miss a thing - and we love him more than the world.
- He is still around the 94th percentile for height #howismykidtall and 60th for weight (around 19lbs)
- He started crawling last week and now gets into everything
- We recently put up baby gates and will be baby proofing more and more over the next week
- He loves to eat. LOVES IT. I mean, he is my son. Mum-mum crackers and puffs are a favorite snack of his, and his sippy cup filled with water is always offered and its so fun watching him figure it out. We've tried peas, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, prunes, spinach, apples, bananas, blueberries, pears, purple carrot, broccoli, cauliflower (not a fan of this), and Joey once put the corner of a sea salt and vinegar chip in his mouth #dadoftheyear. He seems to LOVE peas more than anything - which I find funny because that was my biggest pregnancy craving. Like mother like son.
- He is a crap napper. Most of the time. I've had to come to the realization and acceptance that Jack will nap when he is tired. He doesn't seem to have a consistent nap schedule despite everything we've tried. Daycare days he naps much less because, I mean, he just wants to play. He is curious and doesn't want to miss a thing with all of his friends. Then at home he usually takes 2-3 pretty good naps (some may be only 30-45m, but he will usually get one long one between 1-1.5hrs). And yes... I understand those don't seem like long naps but... again, it is what it is.
- He sleeps OK at night. Still wakes up around 4/5 for a bottle then goes back down... usually. Or he likes to keep us on our toes and wake up 5x a night (like this Monday)... so that was cool!!
- He doesn't seem scared of anything - within two days of crawling he pulled himself up onto his activity cube AND the stairs #what
- He LOVES bathtime. I swear he was a fish or a merman in another life.
- He LOVES music... especially songs and music videos from Moana. We haven't even seen the movie but we will definitely be buying it for Jack. He becomes mesmerized when we put the songs on, sometimes he'll clap or rock back and forth - jamming out.
Overall, he is pretty amazing. Things are really, really good right now. But if i'm being honest... I haven't always felt like things have been good. This is where i'm going to transition the topic to something that has been weighing heavily on me. I've debated on whether or not I was going to share but I shared my entire infertility journey... so I feel like I should share this, too, in hopes that others will resonate, empathize, and know they are not alone.
Postpartum Anxiety & Depression.
Baby blues. That is something that a lot of Moms deal/dealt with. Per my Doctor, she said its very common for many to experiencing the baby blues shortly after baby arrives. With the major life change, hormones fluctuating, new responsibilities, life becomes more stressful, different and overwhelming. But she said it usually passes... usually. She then told me about the warning sign regarding PPA/PPD... and I put them in a pamphlet on top of our microwave to collect dust. I would never have that, I am fine.
The first few weeks with Jack were tough. Sure, I was overjoyed at the arrival of my long-awaited son... but my c-section recovery was so difficult, I couldn't pick Jack up much at all, nursing wasn't going well, we discovered a lip-tie, I wasn't producing milk on one side, etc. etc. You get the picture. Normal new-Mommy stuff, right? I gave myself grace and cut myself some slack, and tried to remember that this is all just a learning experience. I can get through it, day by day. I'll be fine. I just need to figure out this new Mom thing. I got this.
Fall 2016 was OK. I felt like I had more control of my emotions/feelings and mood - some days/weeks were still rough, but I felt like I could handle the roller coaster. Then December 2016 hit. I was in the process of weaning from nursing/pumping and I felt like I was going crazy... something was wrong. I knew my hormones were probably extra wonky and trying to figure themselves out. Anyways.... I was on edge, all the time. Yet, I did all I could to make things look like my life was perfect. In truth.... Jacks crap-naps would make or break my day. I had anxiety when i'd pull onto the street that the daycare was on because I didn't want to see his horrible nap schedule. If he didn't nap at home I would break down and sob. He would start acting tired and I would get anxious thinking about the fact that I would spend an hour or more (at times) trying to get him down, then he'd sleep for 30m. I felt like I couldn't get anything done, or that I was confined to the house - having our plans based on when he may or may not nap. I couldn't bare the thought making plans because I would get so much anxiety about when/if it would dig into his nap time. I felt like a crazy person. I was so sad, so frustrated, so up and down... all the time. A few days into January 2017, I lost it. Jack was so overtired and wasn't napping. I started crying, set him in his crib and yelled "WHY WON'T YOU TAKE A NAP?!". And left him in his crib as I went downstairs to call my Primary Care Doctor. This wasn't OK. How could something SO minute be causing me this much anxiety? I didn't get it. He is a baby... sometimes he naps sometimes he doesn't. Why couldn't I understand that?
An hour later I dropped Jack at daycare and proceeded to go see my Dr. I was screened for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety and scored extremely high on the Anxiety spectrum. I had tried to "fix" and "help" myself, on my own, for months - and I finally had my breaking point. I couldn't fix this. I had to relinquish control and ask for someone to give me directions. They recommended a low dose SSRI, as well as working with a Therapist on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I started the SSRI that weekend and met with the Therapist every week for a month. The first two weeks after starting the medication were rough, but after that I started to feel different. I felt like I was doing so much better. I felt free. I felt like I could enjoy time with my family and not worry about when, or if, I would have an episode. I felt like I was back to my old self. I was happy. I wasn't crying. I was the Anna I always knew.
In closing - I know there is quite the stigma surrounding the topic of PPA/PPD, but don't feel alone. Don't push your feelings, thoughts, emotions, aside. Ask for help. It doesn't make you weak. I've learned... through the help and advice of friends... that it makes you strong. I needed to do this - not only for my son and my husband, but for myself.