Posts Tagged With: Bi-Polar

 
 

Keeping Hope Alive

I am here 

and there

and it feels like a little bit of everywhere these days.

I celebrated surviving the seven month postpartum depression risk zone, just in time to welcome the changing seasons, and the associated seasonal affected disorder with another major life altering decision. Our little family moved halfway across the country!

While this has been something we have been longing to do, the work necessary to bring our dream into reality has been a bit overwhelming. Add to that my unwillingness to allow any admonitions of stress, and you have a recipe for complete and utter exhaustion. In fact, by the time we arrived at our wonderfully quaint little cabin, I was about to tuck tail and run the nearly 2,000 miles back home!

Deep Breath

After a couple of weeks adjusting to the elevation, isolation, and lack of communication (yes, there are still such places in the US, thank God) I began to settle into our new age homesteading lifestyle. My property manager has been a delightful source of inspiration with her frequent gifts of fresh fruits and veggies from her back yard. I made my first apple pie from scratch, with apples from her trees. I was going to post the recipe with pics, but the pie was devoured before I could think to snag a photo. Quite a testament to the value of home made baked goods, as well as an ego boost to boot.

Yesterday we experienced a little taste of autumn, as some cold, grey wet blew in to tone down the  summer. We enjoyed staying cozy with some fresh potato soup and beer bread. However I was reminded to savor the remaining days of sunshine and stock up on my omega oils and vitamin D3.

Best of all, our son has seen some local wildlife along with giant trees and more flora than he has yet to experience in his citified origins. 

Here’s to remembering to enjoy where we are, while we are there!

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Help!

At six and a half months postpartum, I’ve finally hit a wall. I’ve had my fair share of emotional ups and downs over the past several months, but our little family has managed to survive and even thrive thus far.

Now, exhaustion has crept into every nook & cranny of my body. Which I find hard to fathom because I get at least eight hours a night plus a nap most days. (yes, I usually still wake up at least once to change a wet diaper)
Is it really that emotionally draining to be on constant high alert during my waking hours playing the role of primary care provider to my son?

Somehow, in this liberated, feminist-friendly day and age, isolated nuclear family units seem to be the norm for couples wishing to make a cooperative effort to raise their children. I was under the impression that the new grandmothers in the family would be more hands on, what with all the “it takes a village” talk while I was pregnant. Of course, some of their efforts to help out have been thwarted by my stubborn refusal to just do things “the way they have always been done, and everyone’s turned out just fine”.

Well, I want better than “just fine”. I want the best. As I mentioned in earlier posts, this perfectionistic attitude can lead to procrastination when an overwhelming multitude of possibilities present themselves. And here we are, a true American melting pot of parenting practices.

Is it really necessary to vaccinate if I plan to unschool my son? And if so, how do I weed out the superfluous ones (like maybe chicken pox?) And how long can I wait to decide on any of them?

And since I mentioned unschooling, there’s a hot button topic a rarely mention, because I’m still not sure I’m up to the task; even though I’m certain we need an alternative to public education, and private schools tend to be a pricey religious gamble.

Is it possible to eat wholesome, organic meals and still have the time and money to indulge in regular, family-friendly entertainment and activities? And do we want to participate in the normal consumer-driven activities which dominate the majority? Or is it true that the best things in life are free?

These are just a few of the parental concerns plaguing my brain lately. Again I long to live someplace where everyone agrees on a few main tenets. However, I am thankful to have access to some of the creative innovations afforded by our freedom. Now, if I can just sift through the muck and the mire to find true parenting gold.

Baby steps!

Right now, I’m going to refer to my Mother’s Day post:
Exercise/Nutrition/Community
Repeat daily as needed, till sanity is restored.

Oh, and happy belated Father’s Day to all the rockin’ dads out there. Whether my dad realizes how much I actually learned from all his ramblings or not, I remind myself often that consistency is key with children, as with ourselves. Time to be the change I wish to see.

Anybody else with me?

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My First Mother’s Day

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Yay!

So far, so good.

Things I have found helpful in maintaining my sanity (more or less)

1. Walking outside.

It’s amazing how a little fresh air and sunshine can quickly shift my son and/or me out of a funk. Plus the added benefit of exercise has been proven to boost your mood more long term.

2. Singing.

Whether I’m jamming Michael Franti or twinkle twinkle little star, singing puts a little extra skip in my step. And the fact that my son thinks I have the best voice in the world is great for my ego 🙂

3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

This is always important, especially as we go into the summer months here in Texas. Dehydration can be responsible for headaches, crankiness, and some of those “mommy moments” like putting the keys in the freezer or temporarily forgetting your middle name. Thirst can be confused with hunger (if you’re breastfeeding it’s probably both) so be sure to drink sips of quality water throughout the day. ( tap water tends to leave me feeling more thirsty so I’ve started reaching for spring & RO waters at the store)

4. Omega Fatty Acids

These are super important natural mood balancers. There are both plant and animal sources, with varying levels of 3:6:9 oils. Omega Brite fish oils has been a life saver! I chose this brand after researching a bit because of their high DHA levels and relatively low cost.

5. Letting go of “perfect”
I have left many projects hanging in the past because I got overwhelmed by all the little details. As a parent now, I’m in for the long haul. I don’t prepare as many home cooked meals as I’d like to. I have hardly written anything in my son’s baby memory book. And my daily beauty routine is out the window (although i have added a new urine hair soak to the mix, I hear it’s all the rage in France;) Even so, I am more confident now than any other time in my life, that I am strong enough to help my son grow vital and vibrant.

6. Community

I have new levels of respect for my mother now that I have a real life frame of reference. And despite our differing opinions about most child rearing topics, I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. And I feel so blessed to have online community resources connecting me to other like-minded ladies, near and far. Listening to the trials and tribulations of other mothers calms my incessant worrying so that I am able to enjoy more of this precious time with my baby.

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ForGive to ForGet

The miracle of bringing a new being into this world has the power to bring people together. Parents and grandparents alike wish to provide their babies with all of the best in life. Once the initial euphoria wears thin however, generational differences of opinion can rock the love boat everyone once so cozily cruised.

As a holistic minded parent in Dallas, Texas, I have found myself at odds with my well-intentioned parents as often as I have felt supported. The previously pliable version of me has surprisingly been replaced with someone suspiciously as stubborn as my mother. Neither of us quite know how to handle this situation and we both tend to feel like we’re walking a tight rope over egg shells when we spend any prolonged time together. And this is with the woman I’ve always thought of as my best friend!

I have heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” so many times since I first discovered I was pregnant. To make this concept work, everyone in the village must agree upon certain similar fundamental aspects of child rearing. Do you breast feed? Would you give an infant water? Should you co-sleep? Why go through all the trouble of cloth diapers? When are you going back to work? Who’s your pediatrician? And what does a homeopathic practitioner DO exactly?

I wish the thought had occurred to me sooner that I might need to reach out to new mothers in my community to create the village I feel most at home with. In fact, there are many things I wish I were better prepared to take on, and it’s little comfort knowing even the most prepared parents feel this way sometimes. The only thing to do in these overwhelming situations is forgive our own shortcomings and forgive your loved ones’ their imperfections.

In the past I’ve found myself getting hung up on the word ‘forgive’. What does it mean to truly forgive someone? And how do you go about doing so? The simple info graphic above really clicked with me.

Utilizing the power of empathy, consider the possibility that the behaviors you find upsetting in others are also an aspect of your own personality. Now imagine others reflecting your reactions to their behavior back to you. Doing this helps me feel what karma may have in store for my future. And from this vantage point we can become co-creators with life!

This takes practice. Right now I have just begun to see how my actions and reactions could possibly effect my life, but I am still working on changing those responses to ones I would enjoy receiving. Luckily I don’t have to know HOW I am going to make these changes. I just need to be WILLING to change.

Helpful Hint: Avoid getting hung up on the expectation that by changing your interactions with your friends and family that you will receive exactly what you give to each person back from them specifically.

I think the Beatles said it best, “And in the end the love you make is equal to the love you take.”

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Coping strategies

Last week’s project had to take a backseat as my son continued to launch me into the present moment with almost unbearable fussiness. Funnily enough last week’s agenda was to fine tune your coping skills.

First of all I would like to give mad props to all the single parents out there. I am so grateful to have a loving partner and family to reassure me when my “mommy sense” is on overdrive.

The most effective coping strategy according to Wikipedia is problem-focused. This refers to any means by which you identify the source of stress & subsequently take action to reduce and or remove the stressor. Even the simple act of listing possible solutions can offer some relief.

Since the source of stress this past week was my beloved baby, I couldn’t very well “remove” my stressor without creating a whole new source of stress. And I definitely exhausted my suddenly limited repertoire of relaxation techniques.

Then, just as things were starting to look grim, my honey suggested a little father son bonding time away from the house. At first I didn’t know what to do with the few quiet hours of personal time. I puttered around the house, cleaning in circles in a desperate attempt to catch up to a somewhat pre-baby state of organization.

After playing my Jai Uttal station on Pandora a while, I centered enough to remember the leafy greens that needed to be salvaged and set to work juicing with the Vitamix. After that rewarding project was completed, I had just enough time to do a little deep breathing and stretching.

When my boys got back home we were all miraculously happier. I realized how my son must have been feeding off of my increasing stress levels, creating a vicious cycle.

I am thankful to have these small but powerful reminders that even the most attentive and well intentioned parent needs a little help to maintain their sanity and their children’s well-being.

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Repairing Bridges

 

It’s amazing how inviting a child into your life can put yours in perspective. This weeks focus has been on improving social relationships. Since the beginning of my pregnancy I’ve started to think about who I want my child to be influenced by and where he might find the highest quality friends. Until reading the above article, I found myself frustrated in my efforts to seek out great environments to nurture my son’s social skills. When considering our children’s interactions with peers, we must first evaluate our own relationships. Our little monkeys’ first and strongest mode of learning is based on watching the actions of their parents. If you have solid relationships with healthy boundaries, then your child is likely to mimic you. No small wonder I’ve been having difficulties in this area. To be completely honest with myself, I have let my personal relationships take the back burner for the past few years. I keep telling myself, “When I get my life together…When I have accomplished something I can be proud of….When I have something of value to contribute again…Then I’ll hold my head up high and dazzle my friends with my greatness” Haha, I have to laugh at my foolishness, because all that waiting has left me with few friends to share this theoretical super me with. In fact, gritty, uncomfortable truth, all of that waiting was just an excuse to hide the fact that I was struggling with depression. Nobody wants to share that side of themselves with anybody. Funny thing about that though, a little help from your friends can be the key to turning that frown upside down. I’m coming to the realization that depression is a luxury mother’s can not afford. There’s a plethora of resources out there to help individuals combat this monster when it rears it’s ugly head. And, just as every person is unique, treatment must be customized very precisely. Most importantly you must develop your intuition and LISTEN to it! More on natural solutions I’ve found useful in my life to come. Today my focus is repairing some of the bridges I’ve let fall to the way side. I’ve got some emotional IOUs I need to make good on. How about you?

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