It’s Okay to Admit You’re Not “Okay”

*Please note: This is a sensitive and real thing that I went through. It was not easy to write and some parts may make you think I am a horrible person…but if you continue reading, I hope that you will understand. Thank you. <3

Did you know that today is World Maternal Mental Health Day?

It is! It has been declared the first Wednesday in May and I’ve been given signs for a long time now, to share my story. Even more signs popped up in the past few days. It’s something I have never really shared with people and if I did it wasn’t in depth, but I wanted to share this in hopes of someone reading it will know that they’re not alone.

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Photo: Amanda Glenn Photography

This here is a photo of a mother who absolutely loves and adores her child.

This is also a photo of a mother who had/has a hard time with this adorable, little babe.

And I don’t just mean, had a hard time adjusting to motherhood. That, alone, was a battle. But I went through stages of anger, fits, rage, crying, sadness, and hopelessness…and I didn’t know or understand why.

This tiny baby would cry because he was hungry or wanted to be close to me. I had fed him, changed him, burped him, took clothes off, put more clothes back on, rocked him, swayed him, swaddled him, hugged him, wore him…and nothing was working. I feel like this is something quite common. And when you can’t figure out what’s going on with your baby, it’s perfectly normal to cry! Instead, I got angry. I was filled with rage when I couldn’t get him to stop. Following the feelings of anger and rage, I began to really cry. Not only cry but completely sob until it hurt.

I hated the mother I was.

Why would I get so upset at this sweet, baby boy? I grew him in my belly, birthed him, and nourished him with my body through breastfeeding. He was MY baby. My love. Everything I lived for.

So, why did I get so angry all the time? Why was I filled with so much anger when it came to the simple cries of a child needing his mother?

Postnatal Depression is real.

From someone who already struggles with depression (that’s a whole other story), I felt that the post partum part hit me hard. It was always difficult for me to understand what was going on within me and I thought that it was going to destroy the bond with my child and I. As much as it pains me to say this…I was almost afraid. I would get so angry and upset that I was afraid that I was going to be one of those mothers that would actually hurt their child. Yes, it was that bad.

Did I want to hurt my baby? Absolutely not. Never in a million years would I ever want 18280802_10208845007314754_1932360827_n It's Okay to Admit You're Not "Okay"to do such a thing. It is my job to protect my child and to keep them safe. And I will do that until my last dying breath. But was that a real fear of mine? Yes. It’s scary.

But I didn’t know that it wasn’t just me.

Over 75% of women do not get diagnosed or receive treatment or support. And 2 in 10 women have a mental health problem during pregnancy and in the first year, following birth. Think of all of the women around you, having babies. That’s a lot! I’m willing to bet that many of them are hiding it from you and are hiding it well. The problem is, we need to speak up about it.

I had no idea what was going on with me. I thought it was just my regular old depression, short fuse, and bad temper coming in. I didn’t think I actually needed any help with anything. When I was about 6 months post partum with my son, a friend of mine (whom I finally admitted a few things to) said,

“That sounds like post partum depression. I went back to talk to someone and got some help with it.”

I had no clue that she was going through it too! She actually experienced a lot of what I was going through. The anger and the sobbing. She went almost immediately having her child. I went back to get some help and I was given the runaround. Because I was 6 months post baby, I was no longer considered having post partum depression and they thought it was something completely different. So,  I looked forward to meeting with the doc and talking about what was going on – to finally get some answers.

Not long after being in that room with the doctor, I left feeling worse about myself. I felt as though I was an unfit mother. The doctor ridiculed me for the things that I was saying and for how I was feeling. He threatened to find a way to take my baby away. Now, that was one of the scariest things for me. That was why I didn’t want to get help or tell anyone about it. Because, how do you explain to someone the anger you feel inside and what’s happening in there…but that you’re not actually going to do ANYTHING like what you’re feeling? Some people can’t comprehend that until they are in the same situation. And if you’ve never had depression or post partum depression – you’re not going to get it.

18280802_10208845007314754_1932360827_n It's Okay to Admit You're Not "Okay"
Amanda Glenn Photography

Needless to say, I never went back again. I never went back for help. I just continued with feeling the way I did. I talked to my husband and a couple friends here and there. I tried my best to be the best mother I could for my son. I loved him with everything in me. I wanted the feelings that I would feel every now and then to just go away. I did, however, feel a strong bond with him through breastfeeding. I missed him so much when I had to go to work. I snuggled with him and played with him and had all of the marvelous moments that one would have with their baby. My love never changed.

But I did realize that as he got older and we started trying for our next baby, my feelings weren’t as bad as they once were. Mind you, I was on the Mirena and although it is localized in just the uterus – hormones are hormones. And I learned a long time ago that I cannot do a lot of birth control because of the hormones. The Mirena still affected me. When I got it taken out, it took some time to get pregnant again and those “crazy” feelings weren’t as strong anymore.

Not until I ended up in the ER. Not many know about that situation. It’s hard to talk about but I will say that, depression caused by pregnancy and birth DOES happen. I had my kids close together. My hormones had gone up and down over the past 3 years. It’s not easy. It’s not easy to talk about or admit. And it’s not easy to know that you’ve had this happen to you.

Throughout my pregnancy with my daughter, I had been attacked from others about “mental issues” and being “mentally unstable.” And let me tell you,

It was a time where I was the strongest I had ever been.

Did it hurt when people talked about it as if it was nothing? Hell yes. Did I want to go off on those people? You betcha. But what was that going to solve? Absolutely nothing. It just made me realize that it really is something I needed to talk about. And the sad part was, it was in reference to the night I ended up in the ER. So, over the past year, I realized I needed to talk about this. So, here I am writing this super long post. 18280802_10208845007314754_1932360827_n It's Okay to Admit You're Not "Okay"

Anyway –
As much as I had bonded with my son, I did notice a disconnect. And I still do to this day. My pregnancies, their births, post partum side – everything is like night and day between my children. I didn’t feel the same feelings I had with my daughter after birth like I did with my son. My pregnancy was fitter and healthier the second time around. Hormones are weird like that, where they really can mess with the body in a very negative or even a positive way. But because of this disconnect with my son, I have felt the pang of guilt on more than one occasion. It hurts me to know that I get angry at him easier.

 

That disconnect actually worried me while I was pregnant with my daughter.

What if I love my daughter more than I love my son? What kind of thought is that?! A real one. And it sucked feeling that way. To be honest with you, I don’t love either of them more or less than the other. BUT – I can totally see a difference in how I am as a mother BECAUSE of my daughter. Because my pregnancy and the BIRTH was so different, I felt more of a connection immediately. When my son was born, he was rushed away from me completely. I am not blaming our disconnect on that whatsoever but I can see the differences throughout pregnancy and birth with each of them. I did post about my birth story with my daughter and I described it as a “healing birth.” And that’s exactly what it was. No, I don’t love my daughter more than my son. But we all connect differently to each other. And that’s okay.18280802_10208845007314754_1932360827_n It's Okay to Admit You're Not "Okay"

Honestly, there’s a chance that most of me getting angry easier is just due to him being a toddler and those “terrible-twos” are quite difficult. He is a lot like me. Go figure. But I can’t dwell on the fact that I used to be a certain way towards him. I can only move forward and learn from my mistakes.

I wish I could end this post where I tell you that I got the help I needed and I am fixed. But unfortunately, that is not the case. Somehow, in some way, my body healed itself. Not completely, but I noticed that I am no longer as angry or hopeless as I used to be. I don’t cry nearly as much as I did and my heart is more open.

I do, however, urge you to get help if you need it. If you feel ANYTHING like how I have described it in this post, please talk to someone. A doctor, a therapist, a friend (who will then refer you to a doctor or a therapist) but don’t let yourself think you’re helpless. Don’t think that you’re the only one.

You are NOT crazy. This happens. You are not alone.

18280802_10208845007314754_1932360827_n It's Okay to Admit You're Not "Okay"

18280802_10208845007314754_1932360827_n It's Okay to Admit You're Not "Okay"

What’s in My Hospital Bag 

img_6942 What's in My Hospital Bag 
Well, now that I have actually had my baby and am incredibly behind on posting this…I figured it’s a good time to finally get this post written out and published!!

I literally started typing out this blog post the week I had my daughter. Not only that, I had finally finished packing my darn hospital bag! Can we say, procrastination? 😂 Hey, it’s how I work and at least I still was able to get the photos taken for this post.

With my first pregnancy, I packed A LOT of things that I didn’t need. I packed a lot less this time but even then…I didn’t use a lot of what we brought. I give birth rather quickly, so I don’t really have time to use everything. 😂 I will go over what I packed and what I didn’t need.

1. Nursing tanks and bras – I was not smart enough to bring these with me when I gave birth the first time. Why? I have no idea. But I didn’t bring them and it would’ve been smart too. The second time around, I didn’t even use them because I wore a different kind of gown and just walked around without a bra ok underneath. As for the tank tops, the best ones are the ones you find at target that are camis with the built in bra. Those worked the best for me…I don’t mess with those nursing tanks that have clips and what not. Also pictured are some socks with the little grippers at the bottom. Kind of like slipper socks. Brought those in case my feet got cold while in bed and if I was too lazy to look for my slippers (they always got kicked under the bed by nurses) I could still get up and move around.

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2. Gown/Robe – for my first birth, I just used the gowns they gave me in the hospital. They’re not horrible but it felt nice being able to use something of my own to hang out in and sleep in. A gown and robe was perfect. Use the gown they give you to give birth in and once you’re all clean, you can get comfy in your own clothes. That was very nice! I also brought some slippers with me because I want to be comfy. There aren’t any carpets/rugs are the hospital (obviously) so avoiding that cold, hard floor is good.

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3. Tennis balls –
I didn’t plan to have a natural birth the first time so I didn’t even need these. As for my second birth, I planned to go all natural. I read many blogs and heard that using tennis balls to massage the lower back will really help and alleviate the pain of the contractions. Same with using a birthing ball (not pictured). But of course, I didn’t use either of these things because…I labored mostly at home and was at the hospital for a total of 19 minutes before my daughter was born. 😳

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4. Hygiene products & makeup –
I really didn’t think I’d need too much makeup but I wanted it…just in case. The first time, I brought makeup and didn’t even touch it. The second time, I brought makeup but I used very minimal the day we left the hospital. As for hygiene products like deodorant and toothbrushes/toothpaste…the hospital gives you a lot of things. They actually give you ALL of that stuff including shampoo, body wash, and conditioner. But, if you’re like me, you can find comfort in using your own things from home. Plus, by not using the toothbrush they gave me, my hubby had one to use! For some reason, we were smart enough to pack my bag and my daughter’s bag but didn’t think to pack the daddy bag! Definitely pack one! The most important makeup product would have to be CHAPSTICK. I need chapstick all the time and being in the hospital…you’ll just want it even more. I even brought some extras…lanolin and tucks pads. Trust me, both are great. I also had coconut oil with me (not pictured) which I ended up using over the lanolin. More natural was the way I chose to go with what I was putting on my nipples and into baby’s mouth. Also, a note with the makeup. If I were to use it, I didn’t bring my most expensive items. My high end makeup stayed home for the most part or I grabbed things that were small in size. More like…travel sized items. They were perfect.

img_6942 What's in My Hospital Bag img_6942 What's in My Hospital Bag 

5. Hair ties & bobby pins –
something so simple…but important! Okay, maybe not super important but my first time, I had short hair. Bobby pins were a must to get my hair out of my face. This time, I have long hair so hair ties were going to be my go-to during labor. Well, never used them again because I just went into the hospital and delivered fairly quickly. Hair was down, in my face, and I was a sweaty mess. Oh well. 😂

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6. Post partum girdle –
I had heard many great things about wearing a post partum girdle from a few bloggers/vloggers and I figured, “why not?” Well, after my first birth, I got a band from Amazon. Problem is, I got it a couple weeks after my son was born and I didn’t even order the correct size. It was way too tight on me and well, I was a bit “fluffier” after my first so it wasn’t comfortable to wear when I felt like my fat was spilling out over the top. I did, however, manage to plan ahead. I ordered the B.F.F. band from Belly Bandit and it was highly recommended by many bloggers and on Instagram accounts including Diary of a Fit Mommy. The funny thing is, I used it for literally…2 days and it was too big on me. Either I got the wrong size or I snapped back rather quickly. Make sure you measure your belly when you’re supposed to!! The site will help you out with that.

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7. Snacks – we packed a few snacks for us (mainly for me) to keep me going during labor. Some hospitals don’t let you eat because in the off chance you have an emergency c-section, there’s a chance of asphyxiation while in surgery. Well…I’m not about to go through hours upon hours of labor and not be properly fueled. That’s just dumb. At least it is in my opinion! So we had a few items with us and I had looked up some recommendations on what to bring. Granola bars are perfect and rice cakes. Honey to help with the glucose levels and food that is NOT heavy or colored red…just in case you throw up. You don’t want it to look like there’s blood in your vomit. Again…I didn’t use these either time. At least…not during labor. They were great for snacks while in recovery!!

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8. Clothes – make sure you bring clothes to leave the hospital in! And make sure you bring clothes that are going to be comfortable to leave in. I mean, unless you’re superwoman, don’t assume you’re going to be back to the same size you were before you got pregnant. You’re going to be a bit swollen still and your uterus is still working it’s way back down. I was actually pleasantly surprised this time around how I bounced back a lot better than my first. The first time I pretty much looked like I was still 6 months….maybe 7 months pregnant. I had also gained an awful amount of weight. Anyway, this time, with a due date of November I knew that it could be pretty warm or it could be chilly when I gave birth. So, I planned accordingly. A maxi dress, a cardigan, leggings, and a long sleeve button up. All can be interchanged to make an outfit. I ended up giving birth in October this time and walked out in the maxi dress. It was quite comfortable!

9. Depends – unfortunately, I don’t have this pictured. But you all know what they are. In the hospital, you’re going to be given HUGE and I do mean huge pads. Among those you will receive the wonderful mesh underwear. You may or may not fit into the underwear you wore before but I didn’t. Especially not the first birth. I wore that mesh underwear like it was going out of style! Whatever, I just had a baby and my lady bits needed some healing. Second time, I had depends. I forgot who gave me the idea but it was a friend of mine and it was a GREAT idea. Seriously, get them and try them out. You’ll thank me later. 😜

10. Diffuser & Essential Oils – I was so excited about this one. I knew I wanted to use a diffuser and essential oils to help set the mood in the delivery room. I was going to labor through my contractions, have some oils diffusing to help keep me calm, and to use some oils to help with the pain. You guessed it – I didn’t use them. With my insta-births there was no way I was going to be able to use them! Although, I do use a diffuser most nights anyway so it was nice to have a little lavender at night while I stayed the night at the hospital.

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 What not to bring: a lot of people made lists of what to bring and I thought about it but…I didn’t need a lot of what was on people’s lists. Obviously, it’s up to you what you bring and what you feel you might need. Consider this blog post just a helpful list of things to get you started. But here’s a few things that I either read or was told to bring that I just didn’t feel were necessary.

  1. Blanket – ask the hospital staff for more if you really need more
  2. Pillow – see above
  3. Valuables – if you’re anything like me, you’ll lose them
  4. A lot of cash – literally just bring a few bucks if you feel like you need it (I left the house without my wallet and I didn’t feel like I really needed it)

Honestly, the list is pretty short. But you’ll figure out what you need and don’t need. Also, don’t forget cameras, phones, and chargers. Those are going to be pretty important!

I hope this helps some of you get started as you’re trying to figure out what to bring to the hospital. I’ll be posting again with things in the diaper bag! Be sure to be on the look out for that! 👀 Thanks for coming by and checking out my blog!!

Much love,

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img_6942 What's in My Hospital Bag 

Welcome! My Birth Story 

Welcome to the world, Juniper! 😍

img_5988 Welcome! My Birth Story 
This beautiful, little girl came roaring into this world yesterday morning. It all started at 6am when I felt a punch in my cervix. My water broke and it woke me up. It didn’t break all over the bed or anything but I went to pee to make sure and my husband got up and walked around the house with me. He actually sat down to play video games while I paced around the house. Then I realized I was having contractions and it was time to start getting things together. Aston was still sleeping and we figured he would be waking up soon so we let him sleep while we got ready and started timing contractions. Not much time passes, Aston is up eating breakfast, I texted Kassie and she came to pick up Aston, I text and call Nicole and let her know this is happening, and I told Jonathan it’s time to go. Got everything out of the house and I was on my way. I even said to him, “I’m not going to make it to the hospital.” I grabbed a trash bag to put on the seat of the car if I needed it. I was seriously convinced that I was going to give birth in the way there. Hubby sped down the freeway and followed a cop the entire way (who happened to also be speeding) and when we got there, they came out with a wheelchair for me. It was 8:01 and I got a text from Nicole and I responded with “wheeling me in right now.” They asked me a few questions, got me into the triage room, and I told the nurse “I need to push.” She told me to get on the bed so she can check me and I could barely do it. I fought through a contraction and Jonathan was rubbing my back and pushing my hips together. And I guess I was dripping blood while I stood there (he told me about it later). She checked me and I was 9cm and immediately rolled my bed into delivery. Jonathan let them know that last time I was in labor for less than 3 hours and the nurse called down to another and said, “she has her babies fast!” And the other one said, “oh yay!! This will be fun!” Lol. We get into the room and I had to transfer beds. I had originally planned to walk through my contractions and to be squatting or on my knees on the bed during delivery. I had to deliver at the hospital, couldn’t have a home birth, and had to follow a lot of Navy rules (I am active duty) but I knew I could have the natural birth I wanted under any circumstances. BUT the most comfortable position for me? Oh my back. I wasn’t moving…no way. 😂 my husband talked to the doctors and the nurses and expressed everything we wanted for this birth and what we didn’t want. Everyone was amazing. They listened to our wishes and communicated everything with us. My hubby was a rockstar at being a great advocate for me and was an amazing birth partner. 😍 As for me, I wanted to push. At this point I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do this. I doubted myself for a second but it didn’t matter…this baby was coming. They told me not to push for a minute so I was trying my best not to and I would thrust my hips up with every contraction. The doctor reminded me that I needed to not do that otherwise I would risk tearing worse. And let me tell you…it was very difficult to not do that. But I did it. And then it was time to push. 

With my first, I had gotten an epidural and I didn’t even push. They had vacuumed him out and I felt useless. So, that’s why I chose a natural birth this time around. But because of that…I didn’t know how to push. 😂 There was an amazing nurse on my left that was trying to explain to me how. And I think it helped. I was making a lot of noises during this process. Nothing too crazy at first. I yelled a bit, a few “Ah’s” were coming out. And then I heard the doctor tell my husband, “okay, she’s not moving and he heartbeat has drastically dropped. We NEED to get this baby out. She needs to push. I’m going to put the vacuum on her for just a second and then take it off.” Jonathan agreed and told me I needed to push. I pushed and her head was out. And the doc removed the vacuum. It sucks that the vacuum was used but had he not, that would have been worse. But I’m thankful he took it off immediately. Then I remember being told to give one really big push…

I screamed. I pushed. And what felt like 10 minutes was the most excruciating pain I had ever felt in my life. I honestly felt like my body was being torn in half and then she was out and my body could relax. The tension was gone and all of a sudden I was overcome with a feeling of relief and then I was just in shock. I did it. And you know what? That 10 minutes….was literally a few seconds. They handed me my baby girl and laid her on my chest. She cried as she was coming out, the umbilical cord was around her leg but they got it unwrapped, and she was on me…I was staring at her. Again, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. I felt every bit of pain and every bit of her. We chose to do delayed cord clamping and my husband and I were just in awe. 

img_5988 Welcome! My Birth Story 
I did it. The girl who can’t watch someone take her blood or get a shot…someone who has an extremely low pain tolerance…gave birth naturally. Just like I wanted. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t have my home birth or a water birth. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t birth with a midwife or that I didn’t have a doula…I listened to my body. I was in tune with my body. All those weeks and months of preparation, reading, prayer, being at peace, and just finding balance in my life is what made me get through this. And having my amazing husband with me through it. Have your birth how you want it. You are in control. ❤️️

Oh, and remember what time I got to the hospital? 8:01am… our baby girl was born at 8:20am. 19 minutes later. A lot can happen in 19 minutes! 

The goal was a healing birth. And I have been healed. 

img_5988 Welcome! My Birth Story