Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mental Health

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I worry because I live in an area with very few (almost none) mental health services.
Admittedly, I have a lot going on between my daughters, work (I just picked up another job), grad school, my marriage, trying to get healthy and the basics of keeping myself and my family afloat.  But sometimes I have episodes that are altogether different.  Intellectually, I know that the feelings that I'm experiencing in the moment are way too extreme for the circumstances.  That unfortunately doesn't make them any less real.  I try to readjust, but this often makes things worse.
I need to be in counseling, I think.  I mostly have a handle on the day-to-day, but I have these moments.  These moments where I feel like I'm drowning, or when I can't seem to move my limbs at all, or when my world flashes white with unexpected and unwarranted rage towards people that I love.  Where my mind stops me.
I don't think it would scare me if I didn't know that the nearest mental health clinic is over forty five minutes away and grossly overbooked.  I think that I would seek help more readily if I felt like I could get it here.  I'm too busy, frankly, to sit and talk about problems that I talk to myself about over and over.  If I try to fit one more thing in my schedule, I feel as though my life will collapse under all that weight.
For now, I'm trying meditation.  I can only hope it's enough.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Random Thought

The relationship I currently have with my body (from time to time), summed up in a musical: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.

Friday, June 20, 2014

I'm back, baby(s).

So I want to come back to this even though I'm not sure how often I'll be able to.  When last I left you, I was on track with weight loss and had gotten accepted in graduate school.  Lala was getting to the point where she was becoming her own person, who could play for a little bit while I did something that didn't completely revolve around her. I was writing and reading.  I was in a really good place.
And then something happened that really derailed me, in a lot of ways.
I got pregnant again.  The last post that I wrote, I was already pregnant but I didn't know yet.  I was really sick for almost two weeks, but besides simply feeling like crap, I didn't have any other symptoms.  I stopped losing weight.  I started to get really worried.  I hadn't yet gotten a period since Lala had been born and I was on birth control, so pregnancy didn't jump immediately to mind.  But, deep down, I had a feeling.
I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.
I can't fully describe how I felt.  I was devastated and terrified.  I walked out of the bathroom and looked at my husband.  I remember that my hands were shaking and cold.  I didn't have to say it out loud.  I burst into tears.  He held my shoulders but I didn't want to be embraced.  "What are we going to do?"
We had already started preparations to move.  I had been accepted to school and we were set to go.  I was finally experiencing more physical freedom than I had known from Lala but she was still breastfeeding.  I didn't think I could do the exhaustion and the physical symptoms of pregnancy and birth all over again, especially with a baby as young as Lala that I needed to take care of.
It was hard but my husband and I talked a lot and we decided that we were going to go ahead with the move and with school.  I really felt that I needed to go ahead.  I feel like I stalled on my career long enough, and I was really itching for intellectual challenge.
So we packed up and moved back to our alma mater into an expensive not-great apartment in an excellent location in the village and I went back to school.  With a lot of finangling, sooooo much help from our family and friends, a lot of understanding from my professors and a heady mix of determination, organization and insanity, I made it through my first two semesters, giving birth to Lala's sister Mimi a little more than halfway through my second semester.
Lala & Mimi
Now I'm getting ready for my last semester, taking a few summer courses and trying to get back into my groove.  I'm working out and trying to eat better; I'm almost back down to the weight I was when I got pregnant with Mimi (which was about fifteen down from the weight I seem to hover around when I don't pay attention).  I'm trying to get back into writing and read more (for me!).
Thus, this post.  I'm working on my own projects again, though I'm going to try to ease into a little.  Here we go!

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Can I just take a second and tell you how much I love my new Panache sports bra?  Being well-endowed, I have trouble finding a good sports bra, but this thing is amazing.  I was doing jumping jacks in the thing and my butt was bouncing more than my chest.  A revelation!  Hurray!
That is all.  :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I got into graduate school!!!!
This of course means that I am super busy.  We need to get ready to move, we need to find jobs and a place to live, I'm still working and taking care of the baby.  Plus, it's summer, which means visits and trying to get some leisure in.
It's only going to get crazier!  I have decided to Camp NaNoWriMo next month.  Which may be a mistake, but I'm going to give it the good college try anyhow.  Before we get there, I'm going to try to write a few blog posts and schedule them for about once a week up through the middle of August.  I'll still be around; I've got lots to say.  But it'll be spotty.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Keeping it up

The motto for today is 'Rome wasn't built in a day.'  I have lost eleven pounds and sort of stalled out a little.  Possibly because I've had a terrible week.  It's been mega stressful on its own and my biology is out to get me.  I know I am a stress eater, so I've been trying to be mindful.  But, honestly, it is better for me to sacrifice some calories than to torture myself with resisting my sweet tooth.
I am trying to get back in the groove.  I just have to keep on the mantra.  Forward, forward, forward.  It'll take time.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Opting In

I want to be on What Not to Wear.  Occasionally I can be counted on to look presentable.  I am nothing if not a student, so I have tried to internalize the key points of the show.  However, this has a way of backfiring on me.  Namely, that I don't buy clothes because I talk myself out of them.
While I was pregnant, I needed to buy some clothes, but my biggest concern was simply whether it fit over my stomach and would see me to the end of my pregnancy.  But Lala's eight months old now, and I'm working on losing weight.  Soon I'll have to buy clothes.  At least, I hope I have to buy clothes soon.
I'm about ten pounds down and I'm not really noticing much of a difference in the way my clothes fit.  It's a little frustrating.  Keep on trucking.
Anyway, buying clothes has always been difficult for me.  I am pretty picky and I am very cheap when it comes to myself.  (Mostly.  I will spend money on bras, because I am not about to suffer to save ten bucks.)  On the other hand, I'm very interested in fashion.  I read fashion blogs, I watch fashion shows, I work with clothes everyday.
I dress like a schlub.  I need to figure out how to balance practical with fun.
In other, related news, I've finally tried Polyvore.  It's pretty fun but I have a tendency to get stuck on one item.  But I'm doing these theme outfits.  It's totally fun.  Like playing with paper dolls with an infinite amount of pieces.  And, if ever I am rich, I could make these dream outfits a reality.  Ha, ha.

Friday, June 7, 2013


I want to write again.
God, just writing that makes me nostalgic.  Sometimes I'll get in a good pattern, where I manage to read and blog and work out and spend time with my family and something is still missing.  I think that it's probably writing.  Or maybe roleplaying which serves a lot of the same functions in a slightly different format.
When I'm writing or gaming actively, I find myself less bored and overall in a better mood.  But it's a lot of time investment.  Time is something I simply don't have too much of these days.
But that's probably an excuse.  I don't feel so hot about my writing of late.  The characters floating around my head are all old, their story-lines largely forgotten or incomplete or both, their voices rusty and disused.  I feel awkward at the keyboard, only able to hash out the barest bits of a cliche before I'm too upset/disgusted to continue.
Perhaps I need to do something drastic.  Camp Nanowrimo starts up again in July.  If I get into grad school, that would be one hell of a balancing act.  Moving, momming, working out, eating alright, blogging, working. Mmmmm.  Maybe.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nail cutting

The worst baby chore, even worse than changing poopy diapers, is nail cutting.  It is a nerve wracking experience that I can only compare disarming bombs in the movies.
You need to take a wriggling human being and cut the barest sliver of the thinnest substance right from the end of the wiggliest part of said human.  If you're not super careful, if there's one little slip, the baby is screaming and bleeding, and, worse, it's all your fault.  It is the worst psychic torment to heap upon a parent.  But if you don't cut the baby's nails they scratch themselves and everyone else around all to hell.
Some advice says to cut the baby's nails while they sleep, but Lala's not that deep of a sleeper.  It would make it much easier.  There are also baby nail files on the market.  I've never been that great at filing my own nails, but I bet it would be more painless.  The only downside is that you have to file every day.  I have to cut Lala's nails about once a week.
Oh, well.  It's done today.  No Mommy torture for a few more days, at least.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Man, I did not realize what a snakes' nest it is feeding your baby.  Everyone has an opinion, and some people get super vocal/scary about it.  Breastfeeding is the only way!  Breastfeeding is an abomination   You feed formula!?  You ingest caffeine!?
It's exhausting, dudes.
So, mostly I try to avoid the mommy drama.  Especially on the internet!  I say, if you're doing what you can to make your baby the healthiest he or she can be, that's all anyone can ask.  No judgement here.
I decided, a long time ago, that I wanted to breastfeed.  I knew it was going to be tough, but I insisted to myself that it was the way.  I wouldn't take no for an answer.  After my experience having Lala, however, I was worried that I had been too steadfast about this particular thing.  That there was no way I could have what I wanted in this arena.  But I was wrong.  My steadfast insistence proved one of my greatest allies in my attempts to breastfeed.
That is the biggest piece of advice I can give: you have to WANT it.  There were times that it was harder than anything I'd ever done before.  Times when I was exhausted beyond belief, or just wanted a minute completely to myself, or suffering discomfort from too much nursing or not enough nursing.
Really, though, breastfeeding came easily to me.  That sounds like a brag but it's more like a wonder.  I did a fair amount of research online and in books but not as much as I thought I would.  Not nearly as much I researched anything else, and not near enough to realize that some days I would be spending close to five hours physically connected to another person.  I attribute my success mostly to Lala.  She's a good breastfeeder   Her latch is great, her focus is pretty reliable and she doesn't get too hungry before she asks (my words, haha).

Breastfeeding while laying on my side works the best for Lala and I.  It took me way too long to figure that one out.

This post comes towards what may be the end of my breastfeeding sojourn.  My initial goal was six months.  But here we are at eight, still doing alright.  I'm trying to make it to a year.  Lala wants more and more "people food" as she gets bigger and with her four teeth (top and bottom incisors), biting has become incredibly painful.  I'm trying to hold out.  I enjoy our time together so much.  It's so intimate and dreamy.  And, if I'm completely honest, the extra three hundred or so calories a day I get to eat is pretty nice.
So, here are my suggestions for successful breastfeeding, in list format, because that's how I roll.

  • Get a support group.  If you have a partner, they can be a great asset.  When I was head-lolling tired, my mom and Bard supported me, helped me the best that they could.  With their support, I felt like I could continue even when all else felt lost.  I also had the number of a great lactation consultant.  You can usually get this through your hospital.  We didn't even have to ask.  There are also tons of great online resources.  But I was careful where I tread.  La Leche League International is a great resource but they stray into the political too much for my purposes (I'm a little conflict phobic, I think).
  • Research.  A little.  Don't go crazy, but it's nice to have the general idea of what has worked for others in the past.  It gives you a little arsenal of things to try in the event (and it happened to me) that what your baby has been happily doing for months suddenly doesn't work.
  • Trust your instincts.  Every baby and every mom are different.  What may work for someone else, or some other baby, may not work for you and that's cool.
  • Balance research with your instincts and don't be afraid to play detective.  When Lala was still very new, she was having serious issues with gas.  You could hear her belly, and (gross alert!) her poops were explosive and green.  She was unhappy a lot of the time.  I had a doctor tell me that it was pretty normal, but I wasn't happy with that answer.  So I did some research and discovered that it might be a number of things with my breastfeeding technique.  So I made a number of changes and it really helped.  My favorite resource in this endeavor was http://www.breastfeeding-problems.com/.  A collection of really sound and simple advice.
  • Invest in some good nursing foundations.  Especially if you go back to work.  Pumping in a regular bra  sucks!  Also, my favorite article of clothing right this moment is a mid-length nursing gown my mom bought me when I was in the hospital.  It's cool enough for summer, short enough to wear pants for winter, not terribly ugly and crazy convenient.
  • Drink lots of water and try not to stress out too much.  Of all the things that supposedly impede milk production, these are the two that I have noticed pretty much kill it for me.
  • Room in, at least at first.  Lala, I have told you, is a terrible sleeper.  I can only imagine trying to drag myself down the hall two or three (sometimes four!) times a night to feed her.  That she was at the foot of our bed in her cradle and then her crib was a godsend on those early late nights where she needed to be fed-NOW.
  • If all else fails, formula won't kill them.  There are people who would argue this point with me.  Lala's had probably three formula feedings and it didn't inhibit her taste for breastmilk.  My production didn't flag any more than normal day-to-day fluctuations.  If you want to breastfeed almost exclusively, all you need to do is make sure it doesn't become a habit.
It is my hope that my meandering experience may do someone good.  And if it doesn't, that's okay too.  Maybe if/when I have another baby in four or five years, I'll be able to help myself.