I Raise a Hallelujah.

It’s been months since I’ve had the urge to write, in fact I can tell you the day I stopped wanting to write March 31st at 2:45 in the morning, my grandpa passed away. That day started what would define my last six months, the grief I never fully embraced because I was pregnant and a mom of two small kids, I didn’t have time to curl up into a ball and just grieve the loss, I had to be strong. 

August 25th 2019, would again begin a period in my life that would further drown me in a grief and anger spiral that would essentially lead me to you today. To this moment in this post. After an almost perfect pregnancy in the space of 5 hours my pregnancy would spiral out of control and would lead to the beginning of a second NICU stay for our family. They would lead to 11 days of life changing moments and once again a pressure on me to be strong and unbendable because I had a little boy who once again needed me to be strong and unwavering in my faith that he would absolutely make it home to his sisters and dad. 

This strength in those moments would cost me because now that all of that is behind me I feel like I haven’t taken a full breath in six months. I feel the demands of depression sneaking up on me and I feel the waves upon waves of anxiety drown me. Today was a tipping point, when my four year old announced to the world that mommy was being mean to daddy.

 “out of the mouth of babes” 

Ive had to show a strength in myself that has crippled me, growing up my grandpa always told me I was stronger than I thought. He had this unwavering faith in me that I could do anything, the day he died I felt this urgent need to prove to him that I had that backbone. But to what end? Isn’t that what everyone says after a friend, or family member, or spouse, or parent dies from suicide? 

“HE/SHE was so strong”

“HE/SHE was such a happy person”

But to what detriment to themselves did they show the world that side? Did pushing themselves to be what they thought everyone needed bring them to there knees in the end and when they couldn’t hold themselves to that level did it ultimately lead to what would be the end? 

These questions plague me, as a mom and wife I hold myself to a standard that is high, I push myself to be the strong one and the happy one? But in moments of absolute weakness I can’t ever just ask for help, I can’t ever just scream out in pain and fueled with anxiety and say please just help me. Instead I lash out in anger and micro focus on things that don’t really matter at all but in that moment they are what keeps me in control and holding onto that string of strength I have left. 

My greatest fear is that one day I won’t be able to grab that string and than what happens? This stigma against anxiety and depression has got to stop! This pressure on moms and wives to be the backbone and the teaching that if we show weakness and ask for help than we are somehow less than as a mother or wife has to stop. Do you realize the suicide rate in women is skyrocketing because society says we have to reach every single level of “accomplishment” and we have to be so much more, and when we feel like we fail we can’t handle it. We leave behind husbands who don’t understand, and children who are confused. This goes both ways to men and pressure on them, but im a wife and a mother I am not a husband and a father. 

I want to be better than this statistic, I want to be strong but I need to be able in moments of crippling anxiety and depression I NEED to be able to scream for help. I NEED to know I won’t be judged as weak or less than as a mother and wife because I admit that I need a day to just lay in bed and be alone. Society needs to change the story when it comes to anxiety and depression. Society needs to change the edit for how we look at these issues, because as a society we are failing these mothers and wives. We are failing a whole population that so desperately needs us to reach in and say “how can I help you?” A whole population who doesn’t need people to just say “let me know when you need help” because as one of those people in that population, at our lowest moments we can’t ask for help we need someone to reach in grab our hands hold us and be our backbone in a moment when we can’t be our own. When this starts to happen I pray we see a world that is fixing our broken members not remanding them to a psych hospital or telling them that they need to disappear. 

I’m often in my dark moments led to music and I can’t help but think of the song “I raise a hallelujah” 

I raise a hallelujah, with everything inside of me

I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee

I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery

I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me!

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm

Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar

Up from the ashes, hope will arise

Death is defeated, the King is alive!

What an amazing promise that is to me. In my darkest moments I raise a hallelujah to the sky because in my darkest moments I need him more than I need society’s approval! I raise a hallelujah in the middle of a fear so crippling it terrifying, because when the demands start whispering its terrifying! I raise a hallelujah because in a moment of terror I praise a lord who defeated death! I sing a praise to a God who found me worthy of dying for! If nothing else brings me back from darkness that will continue to be my anthem. In the middle of the storm I scream for him, but one day the storm may be so strong I can’t and I pray that in that moment someone else helps God and reaches in and helps, without fear of society. As a society we are only as strong as our weakest, and in our weakest we will find our leaders. 

Weight Lifted

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9 months. We have had 9 long months of fear for Kasalina grace’s heart and what was going to happen. As a momma who struggles with anxiety made worse by post partum anxiety this has been hell for me. I get scared with her crawling and getting out of breath. I worry when she doesn’t gain in weight in a week or if she looses even on ounce I panic. But today we got the news we have been waiting for !! Her VSD has completely closed, her ASD is so small they don’t want to see her again until she is three years old! 

I sobbed in the care when I left her appointment, maybe it was just a build up of her screaming through all her tests and not being able to comfort her, or just a build-up of the last nine months. To finally be able to put her birth behind me and focus on her future is like a weight lifted over my shoulder. That has been hanging over us for nine months. That was all that was left of NICU. Everything else she has proven us all wrong! She crawled right on track with babies in her February due date group. She talks with them, she eats as good as them, she’s on track weight and height wise with them. She is proving every single doctor wrong and for that I am so eternally grateful for the power and healing grace of prayer. She has shown people who don’t believe that she is greater than what they thought she would be. As her mom I am so incredibly proud and humbled! 

My battle with infertility.

I think one of the hardest stories of my life will be my journey to motherhood. As a child I always dreamed of becoming a mother, it was so easy, get married and have one. I never envisioned going through infertility, I never envisioned loosing child after child. Thats never talked about! Our mothers (at least mine) never told us that miscarriage was common. I’m the product of a 16 year old who got pregnant on accident, she’s a product of the same. I was adopted by my parents and they raised me but it was never truly talked about on why they adopted. I knew it was because they had tried and it didn’t happen but no details, truly were explained. They did go on to have my brothers after adopting me, and one is a short six months younger than me. 

Andy and I met and married at the ages of 19 and 21. That story is an incredible story ill share closer to our anniversary! We got married in December of 2010 and January of 2011 was our first miscarriage. At 16 weeks we miscarried our first daughter, in a story thats long and painful, ill shorten it for you. Doctor error was made and the end product was us loosing her. We would go on to try for another 18 months with two more losses before we called an infertility doctor. That doctor gave me the diagnosis of PCOS. Which stands for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, in short means I have cysts all over my ovaries that cause my body to not ovulate regularly like other woman. 

It took me two months to accept my body was different, I remember thinking over and over again why does my body have to be different? Obviously my family had no problem having kids, I come from a line of teen mothers. When we finally decided that we wanted to start fertility treatments it was such a point of excitement. I began to picture being a mother again. I began to picture these little babies we would have, and the look on my husbands face when I told him. 

If you have experienced infertility or are in the middle of it, you know that sickness every time a pregnancy test would be positive.  That feeling, that you wanted to be so excited, but the fear that you may loose that child again. I firmly believe every pregnancy I had was one of my children. I grieved them equally, I grieved them and still do to this day grieve for the lives ill never meet or raise. I never will be able to truly explain the grief and pain of each loss, a piece of me was taken every time. A piece ill never get back and a piece I can’t share with anyone else because no-one truly understands. 

My strong husband stood beside me after every appointment or loss and had my back. I remember at one point after about our fifth miscarriage I told Andy to go find someone who could give him the child he so desperately wanted. 1 in 6 woman going through infertility commit suicide. I HATE that number. I HATE that there is no support for woman going through miscarriage because to many its not a true loss. I remember screaming and crying asking why I couldn’t do the ONE thing we as woman are made to do. We are amazing at many things. But we are made to create babies, thats what god created us to do. I couldn’t do it. 

If you are going through infertility please know you are not alone! You are not a failure, you are not inept, you are amazing! There is a strength in you that on some days even you won’t think you have, but you do! This fight is so incredibly hard! Its a battle every time you see another woman with a baby, its heartbreaking every time you get invited to a baby shower. I hated going to them, and would even at times skip them. My true friends would understand but I lost some during our four year struggle. I hated watching shows with woman having babies, I used to sob through movies that a character would get pregnant because I was so jealous, OF A TV CHARACTER! 

I never could have made it through all of this without my husband. He relentlessly pursued me, he unfailingly loved me. Our pastor at our wedding used the word AGAPE love, which is christ love for us. It has no conditions or boundaries he just loves us. That perfectly describes my husbands love throughout all of this. Without question he just loved my crazy and loved my mood swings. He just loved me. I couldn’t have done this without him. 

Through all our losses I would go on to have two of the most rare forms of pregnancies, that would lead to the IVF doctor who would tell us I had cancer. Which in fact was Hayden. So let me back up a little bit. 

In may of 2013 through clomid and our infertility doctor  we found out I was pregnant for the fifth time. We were cautiously optimistic that this would be the time I would get pregnant. This was it. About a week after I tested positive I started to experience extreme abdominal pain, so we went into my infertility doctor who after the ultrasound said we don’t see a viable pregnancy but it looks like it might be in your tube. I had never heard of an ectopic pregnancy before so I was at a loss as to what that meant. 

Essentially an ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus. Most often they occur in the fallopian tube but can occur in other areas. The biggest signs are extreme abdominal pain ( which I have been through two c-sections and recovery now and I still say to this day that abdominal pain of my ectopic was way worse.) I went home that afternoon from my doctors and just sobbed in the truck, I couldn’t understand what was going on and I just was hurting. We weren’t home an hour before I started screaming in pain and Andy decided that was it, we needed to be in a hospital. I was rushed into emergency surgery and was told about a quarter of my blood was in my abdomen and if I had stayed home I probably wouldn’t have made it. I lost my left tube but was thankfully able to keep my ovary. It would take me a year to even consider trying again. First month we tried, I got pregnant again, this time with a molar pregnancy. 

1 in 1000 pregnancies are molar pregnancies, why in the world would I have one! Molar pregnancies are when the cells that normally develop into the placenta abnormally grow. I had a complete molar pregnancy, the tissue was abnormal and swollen and forms fluid filled cysts with no formation of fetal tissue. Once you have a molar pregnancy it is 1 in 100 chance of it happening again. So it significantly increases, my Obgyn told me at that point that it was time to consider other options. Ivf where they could ensure that this didn’t happen again or adoption. 

I remember walking away from that meeting thinking, well thats the door and it just shut. Time to consider other options. We went to our initial appointment with a doctor that specializes in IVF and he saw a “cyst” on my uterus. Super tiny spot that they barely could see. He prepared us for a cancer diagnosis. He explained if that was the case at my age he would strongly urge me to do a complete hysterectomy. 

Eight weeks later I would start to experience extreme hip pain and exhaustion (sound familiar), I freaked out! I called my Obgyn and they offered to bring me in that day and check me out! I will never as long as I live forget those fifteen minutes in the ultrasound. The technician started looking trying to get a measurement on the cyst, and she jerks. How often do they see crazy things?? SHE JERKS YALL! I felt my heart sink and my head just went to horrible places. 

She looks at me and goes “when was the last time you did a pregnancy test?” 

“uh I have no idea” with everything going on I had no clue when my last test was. It was January of 2015 at this point and I just had no want to test anymore. 

She looks straight at me and goes “ honey I see a baby and a heart beat.”

Y’all if that isn’t God I have no idea what is. 

I will never forget that moment. My mother in law  (who is an absolutely amazing woman who took me in at 18 and has raised me as her own ever since) had driven me and she just grabs my hand and goes “oh my gosh Sarah” I love that woman because in that moment she was everything I needed. She held my hand through the rest of the appointment and than drove me home while I called my husband and my mom and told them the news. 

Hayden Renee has been dramatic ever since. From my pregnancy to my delivery to every aspect of who she is has been dramatic and she is everything good and amazing I waited for in those five years we cried and screamed and begged god for her. I will forever be grateful for her. Ill forever be in awe of the true miracle she is. 

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Ridding of negativity.

I love the beginning of the month. I love that it signifies a chance to start fresh and be better. 

We started our month with Some play time in the mud and my monthly refresh and cleansing of the house. (After I cleansed my daughter) 

I have found my style of parenting to be a bit more free range. We live on property so Hayden Renee has the run of the place and Kasalina Grace will also have those chances as she gets older. We love this life, we love the freedom it allows us and most of all I love the opportunities it gives to my children. Hayden is my right hand girl when it comes to refreshing and purifying the house at the beginning of each month. She has her on little sage smudge stick (never lit, im not that free range) and she uses her own little feather to spread the smoke around. I have just in the past six months begun this practice of purifying the house every month. We started when Kasaline Grace came home from Nicu. After a terrifying and unexpected delivery at 33 weeks we would spend 15 days in Nicu, and thats where I truly began my research on ways to purify and cleanse my house when we got home. Being in a hospital 24/7 is not fun and all you want is to bring this tiny child home to a place that was pure and clean and has no negative energies. So in those moments I found sage, I was a little leery of it at first but after the first two months ive become a believer. I so notice a difference in my families attitudes and overall wellness.

Hayden and I both suffer from asthma and I have seen a difference in us both with our breathing over the summer months. Sage is known to release negative ions that help neutralize positive ones. In short, it gets rid of things such as pet dander, pollution, dust, and mold. All of those things don’t help people with asthma, and when you live in the country all of those things surround you constantly. To put it into perspective, when I was pregnant with Hayden Renee I was put on steroids my breathing due to asthma got so bad, which caused my water to break at 37 weeks and would lead to a 37 hour labor and than emergency c-section. This year I haven’t had to use my inhaler once! Not because the pollen hasn’t been bad but because I truly believe the smudging monthly and getting rid of the positive ions, has truly benefited the air quality in my house. Sage also contains anit-microbial and anti-bacteria qualities that aid in cleansing and purifying the air. 

Smudging helps to rid yourself and your space of negativity, (and coming out of the NICU I needed that so deeply to my core!) It helps you to establish a positive environment for meditation. I use this in my “War Room” if you haven’t heard of that its literally a place in my house that all my prayers are put up on the wall. It’s my area I go to and declare war on things that are hurting me and causing me pain. Once I release those negatives I give them to God. I need this area cleansed and purified and than I let go of all the negative thoughts and energies. I go to my war room daily, weekly, sometimes multiple times a day. But I without fail every month I go in there and use my sage to truly get rid of all the negative energy. 

Another huge benefit ive seen is the quality of sleep we have all started to get, Hayden Renee is my fighter, she on the regular will fight sleep for hours before she will finally knock off. She now on average will only watch her show and than will lay down and relax. As a new mom of two young kids I need them to sleep with some consistency. I need to be able to fall asleep myself without things weighing me down or giving me nightmares. I can’t tell you how important it has been for my post party anxiety to be able to sleep well this time around. With Hayden even when she would sleep I couldn’t, I would envision horrible things happening to her, or to me. I would lay in bed all night worried about things that in reality were not going to happen but it would always terrify me that it would. With Kasalina Grace you would think I would have this 100x worse with her heart issues and her being a preemie. But I haven’t, I did suffer from post partum but not nearly as bad as I did with Hayden and I truly believe it had to do with the benefits Ive found with smudging. 

I will add in its not the end all be all I combine it with other things such as my war room, but this practice dates back even to ancient times. You can find a history of it in native american time. It is a practice that has been sustained for many many years. I find solace in knowing that many have come before me that saw the benefits of doing a more holistic alternative to helping there families, in times much worse that these. These customs have such a deep and powerful meaning that you can’t help but to respect them. 

The basic things I use for this monthly is a sage bundle, you can find them online but I go to a local store to get mine. I use a glass bowl to catch the ashes and I buy matches from the same store I get the sage from. You can use a traditional lighter, but I find solace in doing it the way others many years before me have done it. I use an eagle feather to fan the smoke around. I do try to do this room by room and let it air out fully before allowing the girls in. The scent can be over powering at times and I don’t want my tiny girls around a lot of smoke. Follow your heart on this, add this in slowly to a routine you establish that helps. I will say taking control of my families health has been empowering for me. 

 

Pay it Forward

I feel like my reoccurring theme is to be better.

All we ever see in the news and online is negativity. Why are we as humanity forgetting to be better people. 

Hayden Renee while being my strong willed child has a heart of gold. We were at a store the other day and a little boy was crying and she walked right up to him and gave him a hug. She had no idea who this child was, the mom just stared open mouthed and than looked at me and said “she is so sweet”. In my shock I just said “in this moment she is being sweet, thank you.” We all know that sour patch was screaming ten minutes before because someone had “drank” all her juice. You child, you drank all your dang juice in the car on the way here when I told you not to because I hadn’t brought anymore with me. 

I’m proud of that sweet child, im proud that she can be nice in moments when she sees a need. 

How many of us as adults don’t do that?

I was at publix earlier today and a mom ahead of me in line was with her little baby, probably around the same age as Kasalina Grace, was trying to buy one can of formula. Her card got rejected and she looked about ready to cry. I was two people behind her and everyone just stared and shifted impatiently. 

Why can none of you help her out? 

She was outside by the time I got up to the front of the line and they had already put her formula back. I slipped her a 20 I had on me when I walked outside. Just handed it to her and told her “one day when you make it pay it forward.”

I’ve been there. We are a one income family and i’ve had moments when I wouldn’t eat all day just so there would be food for my husband for dinner and enough left over for him to take to work. I’ve been that person whose card got rejected. I have been there. 

We are so incredibly blessed with everything we have now, we are blessed Andy has an amazing job that allows me to stay home with our girls. But I would hope and pray that if I was that mom someone would help me. 

We need to be better. It shouldn’t surprise other humans when we offer to help others! If one person helped one person in need how many people would need help? 

We are showing the generation below us how to act, but what are we showing them. We on this earth need a generation with compassion and empathy, we need a generation who will help others. We need a generation who will stand up to the bullies, who will take a loss and learn from it not turn it into a crippling experience, but learn from it and change and be better. 

I want so badly to raise my daughters to not expect things to be given to them but to want to help the person who has less. I so desperately want to see a change in this world for my daughters sake. 

I didn’t ask this woman her story or her name because thats none of my business. My business is to help her. My job as a human is to help her. I may never see her again but I hope she will one day pay it forward. 

Kindness

Sometimes we as mommas forget to compliment and uplift husbands and there friends. ( yes, even the ones who come over and tease you, and laugh at your witchy tendencies or even give you advice on your cooking.) Thank them. 

We were all in the truck this past weekend when we passed a man who for a reason we don’t know was in the median of a major highway, standing beside his motorcycle that was on its side and you could tell he was frustrated and couldn’t get it back upright. My husbands best friend was in the truck with us and without hesitation both of them said we need to go help.

 Y’all four other trucks going down the highway beside around us turned around too. My faith in humanity was restored in that moment. So many times we just see and hear about the horrible and the bad, we very rarely hear about the good in this world. 

I snapped some photos from the backseat of the truck just as a joke for my husband and his friend. But the more I have looked back at these pictures all week I can’t help but be proud. Proud of the man I married, proud of the friends he surrounds himself with and most of all proud that these are the men my daughters have to look up to. 

These two men are the men my daughters will base there relationships off of (if they are ever allowed by them). 

These two men are who my daughters will find solace in when the world is mean and they need a strong arm to hold them.

 There father is going to be the hero they will always look up to. But his best friend who is like a brother in many ways is also who I know my girls will go to when they have problems. 

These two men will be the two men my girls call when they get there heart broken for the first time. And I know they each will offer to beat the poor boy up.

When we first found out we were having a second daughter Andys first words were that he was going to need help. I didn’t understand it at first but I do now. 

Daddy’s you are the standard to which your daughter will compare every other man. You need back up just like us mommas do! Don’t be afraid of finding that backup! 

I 100% trust the men my husband has at his back. I trust they will teach my daughters things that I lack. I trust that they will be pillars for my daughter when their father and I can’t be. But most of all I trust that they will everyday show my daughters that helping a man on the side of the road is just as important as getting to dinner on time! 

Mommas we need this for our daughters. We need to surround them in safety and security! We need to have men in there lives that are strong and will help a man in need! We need to show our daughters that a man is not a master but someone who will stand at there back, someone who may let them fall but will be right there to clean them up and teach them a different way. 

It is important to raise these girls to be strong and secure in themselves, but we need to also show them that when they do date that there is a standard. 

So my challenge is that mommas of girls, even when your husband has his friends over all the time and you don’t understand why, those men are there support system. They need that to raise these girls! 

So to the men who are the best friend. Thank you. 

Thank you for loving these girls like there dad does. 

Thank you for showing these girls humility and toughness. 

Thank you for showing them that its important to help others. 

Thank you for being willing to be there if we are not. 

Sour Patch Kids

I remember when it hit me that I was raising a strong willed child, and that everyone’s threats growing up saying I would get my payback for how I acted was in fact a horrible way of putting that I would raise a miniature me. 

Hayden Renee is my strong willed child, she from the start has tested every limit given to her and exceeded every expectation I’ve ever had of her. She tests me every single day and makes me question if I can make it through, but at the end of the day im so incredibly proud of the tiny human she is becoming. 

I always tell the story of Hayden at about 18-19 months old coloring and ripping the pages out of the book “how to raise a strong willed child” I laugh now because ive realized there is no set in stone way to raise these sour patch kids. But there is w mindset to get into to raise them. I fail as her mother daily, but I try everyday to be the best I can be. 

Hayden is notorious for loosing her cool when she feels out of control in a situation, and after many battles between us in which both of us ended up in tears i’ve learned one major thing, be the calm in the storm. I am her calm and her pillar when she feels out of control, if I am out of control with her than who is manning this ship? We are sinking in a terrible sea of yelling tears and an occasional crayon, because my life is consumed with these crayons that pop up all over and magically color on my walls and my bookshelves and ever on my wood floor. When you start seeing your little strong willed child start to jut that chin out and you watch their eyes glint over with sheer determination, brace yourself and count to ten. Once I learned to stay calm, the length of a fight is much better. I fail every day, and every day I ask for forgiveness or empathy, we as adults ask for those two things daily, but it seems that we don’t think our children deserve the same thing. They are still learning how to control adult emotions in kid bodies once I remembered that I had a much easier time reacting to Hayden. 

Now mommas how many times does your child walk by your spouse and come find you and ask for something. Hayden Renee will seek me out to ask me something, while she walks right by her dad who is sitting on the couch watching tv. She will than proceed to say mom 1000x and than ask me for juice. I think I say “ are you kidding me 100x a day” but I also try to remember that she DOES go to her dad when she needs him to fix her toy drill (yes she has a toy one because for the sake of every screw in my house it was safer to give her her own than to have her sneak daddy’s and use it) But I’m mom im the magician of opening juice boxes. I’m ok with that, thats her way of communicating. Your reaction to your child in that moment will mirror how they respond. So if you react poorly you may just end up with a juice packed thrown at the wall and a child running away screaming. It has happened don’t laugh momma was stressed and reacted poorly. 

Remember that you are the parent, it’s your job to teach them to channel that energy and tendencies of sheer bull headedness into something that they will be proud of. Notice I said they? You are allowed to be proud of your children but raise them to be proud of themselves! That is your job! 

So with that let’s switch to you mommas and daddy’s side. How embarrassing is it to go into a restaurant and have your little sour patch just terrorize the whole entire place? I used to get so stressed out and embarrassed anytime we went anywhere. But than I looked deep into myself and why I felt this way. We all have this perfect picture of what we think our children will be, they’ll say yes mam and no mam and never act up in public etc. How big of a joke is this? My child is polite but 9 times out of 10 she is an absolute terror in public, and guess what im ok with that. She is exploring and learning new things, and its my job to teach her how to reign that in and be better. Please mommas if you do one thing different from this don’t ever them see you feel embarrassed by them, that’s a part of their self esteem you will never be able to repair. You can never fix that broken piece. Instead remember your child is perfect in every way!  They are your child, they are reflection and a piece of you. 

Some days you may have to hide in the shower and eat that chocolate or drink that glass of wine. That’s ok, I at least twice a week lay in the fetal position and just think about the day. Hayden Renee is a handful on a good day, on a bad davits by grace and grace alone I make it through. Grace on my part to acknowledge that she is a child, and grace on her part to acknowledge that I am not a perfect parent. I have on more than one occasion had to call Andy to come home from work because I was in tears and couldn’t handle it anymore. That is ok to do momma’s! Its ok to admit you can’t handle them, the world puts this huge weight on our shoulders as mothers. They say we should be able to handle them no matter what. What a load of crapp that is! Take that weight off your shoulders, put it on the ground, and let your spouse sit on it with you! Let them help with those issues! I can guarantee they feel just as lost as you. 

Don’t let the world tell you are a lazy parent because your child isn’t perfect all the time! You are doing amazing momma! These sour patch kids of ours are going to amazing things in life! They won’t become serial killers, they wont flunk out of school and end up in a ditch. They won’t hate you for being tough on them. These kids, these strong willed kids that test us to the limit are the ones who run nations, they are the ones who own a business they are the ones who protect the other kids from the bullies. These strong willed kids are who this world needs, someone upstairs felt you were strong enough to raise them, don’t take that lightly! 

Just as a good example of moments of grace. This is the second write up of this blog! I had finished the first one and was extremely proud of it and Hayden Renee erased it in the split second I was up checking on the baby. YALL I was gone 20 seconds and she had it completely erased and I could not find it. By grace I didn’t scream, I just laughed and wrote it again. Apparently the first draft wasn’t what I needed to write. Whats meant to be will happen. The story is already written in the stars so just follow it and stop letting other try to change it with there un needed opinions. You know your child better than anyone else! You know what they need! YOU GOT THIS MOMMA. 

Post Partum Anxiety

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I have struggled so much with this blog. How do I make this have a meaning? How do I write something that actually speaks to all woman. The one’s who think they are going through it and the ones who are struggling, and the ones who are going to be struggling. I struggled in silence with my first daughter for ten months before I finally had to admit that something wasn’t right. My marriage had hit a spot that my husband who is always so steadfast in forever was going something has to change or I am taking her and leaving. To some that may sound harsh but for me who is extremely bullheaded I needed that jolt. So I sat down with him and finally, finally admitted that I wasn’t happy, I was so filled with constant worry that the worst would happen! I couldn’t fathom the idea of anyone holding or touching my daughter but me because I knew I wouldn’t let anything happen to her! I would be fine one second and than would screaming in pure rage the next. Approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety! After everything I have gone through to get that child I couldn’t understand why I would develop more problems. I almost became one of the 20% that die postpartum from suicide due to not being treated. It tears my heart apart for the women who don’t beat that number! We don’t know there story, we don’t know what led to that point. What we do know is there voices need to live on and that they didn’t die senselessly. There children matter, the ones who will grow up without mothers because the world rarely notices these problems. In order to accomplish that dream I want to share with you what to look for what your risk factors are so you can be more informed than I was! 

Some symptoms to look for when asking yourself if maybe you are suffering from PPA:

  • Feeling, nervous, restless or tense
  • Sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Random Surge of Anger
  • Constant Worry
  • Inability to sit still
  • Disturbance or sleep, and appetite
  • Physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, nausea

So many of these symptoms are something as a new mom you feel anyways so I can see where I missed what was going on. We as moms feel this unimaginable burden to be perfect and to admit we aren’t is so dang hard. But we have to begin saying im hurting! We have to start saying something because in this day and age there is no shame in asking for help! We are the ones who will bring awareness back! 

The rate of Post Party Depression vs. Post Party Anxiety may not seem like a lot but 1 in 7 is to much! Almost 50% of women who are diagnose with Postpartum Depression are also diagnosed with Postpartum Anxiety. But Postpartum Anxiety is very rarely discussed. 

Depression :   4% of pregnant women

5% of postpartum women

Anxiety: 6% of pregnant women

10% of postpartum women 

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This picture was taken four days before I tried to take my own life. Deceitful isn’t it?

Now for me I didn’t understand after everything I had been through I would suffer from anxiety. This should be the happiest time of my life, but I didn’t feel happy. I couldn’t focus on being a good mom because I was so dang worried everything would hurt her. When I started doing research after admitting something was wrong the risk factors surprised me. Not having adequate social and family support, I had that, I had more than enough of that. Divorce or Marriage problems, which for the record my marriage was fine but when you are constantly flipping out on your spouse who is just as exhausted as you are marriage problems begin to develop! Financial Hardship is also a risk factor due to the stress from that! Stressful life events over the last year such as job loss, grief, a health emergency or an accident. Now if you follow our blog you know my story, you know I had been through hell the five years prior to Hayden so that in my opinion was my biggest reason I developed Post Part Anxiety.  

Now this part is for you husbands and men who might read this blog. Did you know 10% of new fathers experience some form of Postpartum Anxiety or Depression. If you are struggling, please say something! Don’t feel because you are a man you can’t say anything to someone. New fathers are going through a lot of stressors just like new mothers. Its ok to admit a problem! 

Now for the fun part of this article, why I began writing this! What I learned in the past three years of struggling with this and what I have used in my journey! I found this wonderful website called draxe.com ! Now lets start with everyones favorite and probably the most known oil, 

  1. Lavender: Considered a nervous system restorative and as we all know helps with inner peace, sleep, restlessness, irritability and panic attacks. 
  2. Rose: Lesser used than lavender but it is extremely settling for your emotions, and when used in a diffuser or in a warm bath can decrease the feeling of anxiety.
  3. Vetiver: I personally LOVE this oil! It’s tranquil and grounding and helps decrease jittery ness and hypersensitivity! 
  4. Ylang Ylang: Fun to say and one of Siobhan’s favorites! Helps with cheerfulness, courage, optimism and soothes fearfulness! Calms heart agitation and nervousness. Now a note for this one is please be careful if you suffer from low blood pressure because it does have mild sedative properties.
  5. Bergamot: Is one more popularly used to treat depression over anxiety because it induces relaxation and blends amazing with lavender to help with better sleep which depression worsened by with exhaustion. 
  6. Chamomile: We all love a good chamomile tea! It decreases anxiety and worry! Dose that not just help you to better understand why your grandmother and mom always drank that nasty tea before bed. Now as mothers you love it! 
  7. Frankincense: I Love this one too! It provides an amazing calming and tranquil energy as well as spiritual grounding! In aromatherapy it helps deepen meditation and quiets the mind! We are huge pushers of Self care Sunday and you better believe this is in my diffuser going during that time! 

Aromatherapy is such an amazing way to combat anxiety and depressive moments! Our sense of smell triggers huge and powerful emotional responses in us. We process so much through our sense of smell, just think about what triggers a memory. Topically is an amazing way to also use these oils, just add a carrier oil and maybe have you spouse massage it in. Win win for everyone! 

Disclaimer: If you feel any of these things please go ask for help! Don’t be that statistic of woman or men that loose this battle senselessly! Find a doctor or a counselor or a best friend or someone who can help you put the puzzle pieces back together. 

1-800-273-TALK

1-800-273-8255

The national suicide hotline is always available to talk! 

Refrences: 

  1. https://www.postpartumdepression.org/postpartum-depression/types/anxiety/
  2. http://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/anxiety-during-pregnancy-postpartum/
  3. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/postpartum-anxiety-might-be-even-more-common-than-ppd_us_57742e48e4b0cc0fa13661c0
  4. https://www.romper.com/p/how-many-cases-of-postpartum-depression-lead-to-suicide-statistics-dont-say-18973
  5. https://draxe.com/essential-oils-for-anxiety/

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Be Better

Why is it as a mom you feel things more deeply? I have had loss of friends in high school and over the ten years since high school (god that makes me feel old). I’ve felt heartache and loss, but since becoming a mother any kind of loss almost devastates me. 

Recently I lost a 15 year friendship and its just put me in this funk I can’t shake? It takes a lot for me to let people in, thats just my nature, so if you are on that list I than I truly care about you as a person. Its taken me weeks to think and I just feel lost. I was laying up watching t.v the other night and the words just started flowing out of my mind. The pain we as mothers feel over a loss of friendship, its so deep and so intense why is that? We deal with loss at a completely different level. 

The conclusion I have come to is we feel this loss more because we have more to protect.  My children have made me a mama bear, I fiercely love them and I fiercely protect them. So when i’m hurting, you not only are hurting me, but my heart ache’s for my children. 

Many people have watched my loss of a friend in the past months and I still don’t have the words to explain it. I truly thought In the week leading up to the final fallout that I was doing what was best and in the end it wasn’t taken that way. So many people will tell me it was just a friendship but I know you fellow mommas will understand. As moms we are so criticized for every little thing that we do, from how we give birth, to how we feed, to how we dress, to how we vaccinate or don’t. We are criticized for it all! So to find a fellow mom or moms who agree with how you do things, or at least doesn’t critisize you is so rare. To lose that is hard, because suddenly that person you text at 3 p.m when your toddler is acting like satan is gone. Lord forbid you text someone else or put on your facebook “toddler for sale” because hell will rain down on you. 

I hate that for moms! I hate that we don’t have the comfort that no matter what mom we go to we can vent. I hate that we are so scared of being criticized we second guess every single thing! Being a mom is hard! Being a SAHM is incredibly lonely and depressing, and that is made more so by the constant scrutiny we feel as moms! 

I don’t necessarily agree with every mom out there but if you need a shoulder to lean on come find me! I’ve been in your shoes at some point! Ive been in that pain at some point! Why would I judge you?

In an effort for utter transparency so you all can truly get to know me, I’ve always struggled from anxiety and depression, which was made worse through infertility and subsequently two back to back babies. I know going into tough situations that, that will play a part in my reactions to the things. The past two weeks have been hard on me as a wife and a mother, I felt like I wasn’t good enough, I felt like a failure, I had been made to feel like I was less than as a person, I had been made to feel like what mattered to me was stupid and pointless. I don’t think i’ll ever be able to truly describe how that feels. I ache for the loss of a friend, but I ache for what I lost in myself. I lost a fire I had for something I truly cared about! I lost a confidence in who I was and am as a person. 

That’s not right or fair. NEVER let someone do that to you. NEVER allow anyone or anything defeat you. We as women, as moms, as humans, have gone through fights some people will never know about! Things we never have to tell others about, but we made it to the other side! 

If the past two weeks has shown me anything, its shown me the truth about humanity, a truth that I looked at through rose colored lens before, but a truth that has been there the whole time. It showed me a truth about myself, I care, I care about strangers, I care about other moms who are going through heartache and pain, I care about what others feel. 

It also showed me a lesson I need to teach my children, especially my girls! BE KIND. Never be hateful or mean, always respect others and who they are as a person. There opinions may be different from yours and that is ok! Be honest with others even when it hurts! Be true to yourself, do what you think is right even if the world is telling you its wrong. Be a human that you want to be friends with. Last of all don’t be a victim, take the pain and turn it around and acknowledge your mistakes and than be able to say because of this I became a better human, a better friend, a better everything. But I wasn’t a victim who allowed myself to be defeated, I made a change and came back better!  

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You are an amazing mom!

Why is being a mom one of the most judged most looked down upon careers in todays world? If you breastfeed you’re showing to much boob if you formula feed you’re hurting your child. If you feed them processed baby food from a jar your a terrible person, but if you make your own you’re a snobby mom. I mean how does any mom feel good enough? I have only been a mom for three years and in those three years I have been put down for every little thing I do with my girls. It took having a baby in NICU and being forced to have to advocate for my child that gave me the clarity to realize I don’t need anyone’s approval. These are my kids and I am their mother! I learned in those weeks that I had a voice and if I wasn’t going to be confident in my decisions for them they wouldn’t ever be confident women themselves.

The first year with Hayden I was paralyzed in fear. I had gone through infertility for five years, I had fought so hard for this child and I wasn’t happy. I was doing what everyone else told me I was supposed to do and it didn’t feel right. Hayden was ten months old before I was diagnosed with Post Partum Anxiety, and the only reason I got that diagnoses was because I almost became one of the 20% that took my own life due to not getting treated for post partum. Getting the help I needed gave me a voice that I had been wanting to find. I went on to nurse Hayden till she was 19 months old and that was after everyone told me I was crazy. I would hear at every family event how gross it was I was still nursing her. Why is that? Why does anybody else think its ok to comment on our bodies? I had fought hard for that child and if she was going to be my only one I wanted to truly experience everything motherhood had to offer! 

Kasalina Grace’s pregnancy was a whirlwind and in that time is when I found my voice! When you have no other option but to lean on God you truly find a backbone of steal! 

Both of my girls are at home with me 24/7 and when I go anywhere they are with me, I don’t typically do anything without my children. “but when do you get away from them?” If I was the opposite and I left my children all the time to go out by myself I would get criticized on the other end of the spectrum and be called a bad mom. Why? Why do we as a society think its ok to shame moms? I can’t think of one single mom that doesn’t feel some kind of guilt for either leaving their child to go to work or for staying at home with them. 

“Will they be adjusted and able to be out in society?”

“Will they be mad im gone so much?” 

“Will they be sociable, because all they see is me?” 

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Being a mom is the hardest job in the world! You will never make everyone happy! And guess what I’ll be the one to say it, SCREW THEM! When you get to those pearly gates I know Jesus isn’t asking if you vaccinated or didn’t, or if you breastfed or didn’t. He will be asking did you love them? Did you lead them to me? Did you show them every single day that they had a father in heaven who would NEVER judge them? Those are the questions to answer. 

With this realization came freedom, a freedom to be a mom, a freedom to love my children with abandon. Guess what some days my kids stay in their pajamas all day and we watch tv shows. Other days they are dressed. Guess what 85% of the time my two year old is in just underwear because she had a vendetta against clothes. I live in mom shirts (thank you Angie at Curly Q’s, if you don’t know her find her she is amazing) and I have 3x the amount of yoga pants and sweats than I do jeans and shorts. That’s ok! We are moms! I can guarantee that my two year old could careless if i look like a model or if im in the clothes I wore the day before. 

Which on a side note Hayden Renee told me the other that I smelt so I figured it may be time to take a shower. I couldn’t remember the last time I had showered. Both girls had been sick, Kasalina Grace was teething and had her first ear infection and momma slept when there was downtime because I wanted sleep more than a shower. But that is my life. My husband works 50-60 hour weeks and usually gone before the sun rises and doesn’t get home till right at sunset. 

I am there mom no-one else is. Guess what momma’s your babies are watching! They see when you second guess yourself or when you back track over what you said yes to because someone else questioned you. They see that, and the will later follow your lead. Be strong momma! Those are your kids! If you want to get them chick-fil-a every dang day for lunch you do that momma!! If you want to make a perfectly balanced meal for your child everyday I am in aw of you and you do that momma! But mom’s always remember you are showing your kids christ in you! Food won’t matter, vaccines wont matter, your story is already written so you need to live it. The only thing that matters to me is my kids see christ. 

Now one things thats been on my heart lately and i’ve been struggling with is the guilt of being a stay-at-home-mom. I love it but on the days when my husband gets home and the house is still a wreck and I feel like is no way ill get my head above water. I’ve learned that on those days to take stock of what my kids got to do that day. When it seems like dishes never end, its because I allowed my two year old to help me cook and she had to have her own bowls to mix and her own pan to cook in. On the days it seems like laundry is never ending, its because we are blessed to live on land that allows us to get our clothes incredibly messy! 

I guess in all of this rambling im trying to say, mommas be moms don’t worry about what the world thinks of you or is saying about you. BE THEIR MOM. All those people with opinions are not the mom YOU ARE. Don’t ever second guess yourself, don’t allow someone to bully you into changing what you want for your kids! I was and still am a person who allows others to make me feel guilty and I need to read this every single day! 

YOU ARE DOING AMAZING! YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT!