By The Numbers…

Edited to add:  Apparently I tucked the idea of ‘doing math’ away after reading Marine Wife’s post on her blog, Dragonfly.  I can’t believe that when I wrote it, I completely forgot and then I used the same title!  My apologies for inadvertantly borrowing your idea without crediting you!

 

Feeling pretty down today and really missing Husband on a beautiful spring day that is too glorious not to share with him.  So, masochist that I am, I decided to do a little math. 

This June 29 we will have been married five years.

Husband will have been gone a total of 24 months at around that time (actually that includes his last detachment in July, so two weeks shy of 24 months as of the actual date of our anniversary).

Two out of our five years together, we’ve spent apart.

August and Shore Duty can’t come quickly enough.

 

A quick P.S.  To add to my craziness…  A part of me feels guilty that we’ve had him home for three years (total).  I know we are extremely lucky in some respects to have had him home as much as we did.  That’s almost even more frustrating….  To have had him gone that much and to feel that I constantly have to buck up because he could have been gone more.

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BLOG PARTY PORT CALL!!!

This post is in honor of one of my favorite snarky bloggy buddies.  In her last post, she bemoaned the frustration of hearing that your service member, especially your sailor, has pulled into a really cool port (think Hawaii, or Greece, or Spain….) and they call you drunk on life and/or other elixirs to tell you of the incredible things they are doing while on your end of the phone you clean up puke, or cat doo, or take your kid to urgent care for the 24th time.  Now she relates the jealousy that bubbles up much better than I could here, but suffice it to say that while we don’t begrudge our sailors/service members their fun, as you know…  they spend time in war zones and hang out on noisy dirty boats with floors so disgusting that Husband literally disinfects the floor, and the soles of his shoes near his rack each night before getting into bed…  But still, when we’re home 24/7 with rugrats, rarely getting a break for even a cup of coffee sans kids or deployment gremlins, it’s easy to wish for your own portcall. 

And so….  here it is.  Our very own Port Call.  Let’s get together ladies.  Tell me what you’re doing on our port call on your blog.  Where are you?  How are you pampering yourself?  What bloggy buddies have you drug along? 

And, as military spouses aren’t the only ones who need a port call now and again, anyone is invited to participate. 

If you want to, leave me a comment and/or link back to this post so we can all find out how your port call is going. 

Hey–a fantasy weekend of rest and recuperation is better than nothing, right? 

 

 

 

 

MOTHERS Act

Want to do something to help women struggling with PPD?  It’s really, really easy, and really, really, really important.

Follow this link, fill out your information and send a message to those who represent us in the government that the MOTHERS Act will HELP mothers.  There are those who believe that passing this legislation will result in pregnant women and new mothers having drugs pushed at them.  The language says NOTHING OF THE SORT. 

The MOTHERS Act is about education, advocacy, and ultimately better and much needed care for women who, like me, experience Postpartum Depression.  If you’ve read here and thought, “I wonder what I could do to help Val right now,” click the link and fill in the information.  If you’ve ever had a friend, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, or third cousin twice removed who has experienced PPD and wondered how you could help them, click the link and fill in the information.  By doing so you will essentially be helping scores upon scores of women like me, and like them to survive the challenges of Postpartum Depression. 

Goferit. 

Here’s that link one more time:  Support the MOTHERS Act!

What Does Postpartum Depression Look Like?

After speaking with another woman who has been through PPD yesterday, I got to thinking about what people think that postpartum depression looks like.  It’s talked about…  Sure–but generally in extremes.  We hear crackpot quotes by Tom Cruise.  We think of Andrea Yates or at least of women who absolutely can’t function.  I hurt for the women living through the extremes of PPD and I know that is the experience of some, but my experience was different.

When I thought about PPD before my diagnosis I thought of a woman who couldn’t get dressed, who stayed in bed every day, who couldn’t function, and cried at the drop of a hat.  When I took the screening tests at Well-baby checks, I didn’t necessarily test in a range that was alarming (which is probably partly because I’m good at taking tests). 

And so I assumed that I couldn’t have postpartum depression.  I blamed the way I was feeling on other things:  My husband’s impending deployment, the two-year anniversary of Mom’s death, the grief that splashed up at me as a result of having a baby in my arms that Mom would never see and reliving the memories of Little Miss’s first four months superimposed on Mom’s last four months.  Then I blamed it on the deployment, and the difficulty of parenting an infant and a toddler by myself for 3 months. 

And then those things faded into the background.  Husband came home.  I got into the ‘easier’ part of the calendar that was less filled with trigger points for missing Mom…  And I still felt “off.” 

But I could function.  I got up and got dressed every day.  I hardly cried.  I ordered my eating habits for probably the first time ever so I neither lost weight or gained weight because of the depression.  I managed to keep up with my commitments.  I even spearheaded a few new efforts in our church, and began leading a ministry for Moms.  If I could do all of that, surely I wasn’t depressed, right?

So was it real?  I asked myself that a lot. 

It was.  It is.

For me, PPD looked (looks) like this:

  • Feeling off.  Just off.
  • Feeling disconnected–from my life, from my kids, from my husband
  • Feeling like I’m in a ‘fog.’
  • Lacking joy.  Lacking joy in being a Mom, in little things that I normally love, in life in general.
  • Guilt, guilt, and more guilt. 
  • Just feeling down
  • Having my ‘default’ attitude be negative and pessimistic rather than fairly optimistic
  • Wanting to run away.  To sleep, to hide, to curl up in a ball.
  • Shrinking when my children cried.
  • Inability to focus
  • “Escaping” often.  To the computer, to phone calls, to books, to anything to get me out of my ‘real life’ and my feelings.
  • Snapping at my children very, very easily
  • Feeling overwhelmed all the time
  • Feeling like no matter what I just couldn’t get it all together.

Interestingly enough, I felt different immediately.  I can remember feeling very distressed in the Labor and Delivery room after Baboo was born because she felt like a stranger.  I didn’t know what to do with her.  I was so shaky I was afraid to hold her.  I couldn’t figure out how to move my own body.  I didn’t feel right.  After Little Miss’s birth this tremendous euphoric feeling of empowerment took over me.  After Baboo’s birth I just felt fuzziness and confusion and exhaustion. 

I wouldn’t say that I had trouble bonding with my youngest…  But for certain, those first couple of months especially, the only time I felt anywhere near happy or content was when I was holding her.  I can remember just wanting to burrow into a spot on the couch with her snuggled in my arms to breathe her in and do nothing else.  Everything else seemed like too much. I just wanted to hide away and snuggle her and pretend that nothing else existed.

There is still such a stigma attached to PPD.  And so much guilt involved.  Plus there seems to be a very fuzzy understanding of the spectrum of ways that it can present itself.  Not everyone is Andrea Yates.  Not everyone ceases to shower and cries all the time.  But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem.  That doesn’t mean that a woman shouldn’t seek help. 

So, just in case someone out there is looking for someone’s story to relate to, as I was…  I wanted to share what it looked like for me.  It took reading two or three accounts of different people whose experiences sounded like mine for me to realize that I needed help too. 

Should you be that person, help is out there.  A good resource to start with is Postpartum Support International.  You can overcome this.  Motherhood doesn’t have to be like this.  You can break through the fog and reclaim your joy.  I believe that, and I’m reaching for it.

And as a postscript, as I was thinking over this post I happened to go read the latest post at Finally Getting Somewhere.  She relates her experience with depression and postpartum depression as well (And it’s not surprising to me that we both happened to do this today…  We seem to be in some sort of weird parallel universe at times ;)). 

And as a second postscript:  I know that I have some special ladies reading who are expecting kiddos any moment, or who have just had a new little bundle.  I hope that reading posts about  PPD doesn’t scare you.  That is not my intent.  Be aware, but please don’t worry.

Steak-n-Shake Anyone?

My college kinfolk (you know who you are) will know what I mean immediately when I say this:

I need a Steak-n-Shake run.  It’s 11:30 at night, which…  would have been an EARLY run for us…

I could really go for some cheesy fries and a hot fudge brownie sundae and some convulsive giggling.

I would love a Vanilla Coke and a nice deep conversation.  The kind where I know I’ve been heard, and where I feel safe and valued.  I’d like to work on fixing the problems of the government, the world, the church, and myself all in one conversation.  I’d love the banter of inside jokes. 

And of course, we’d sign a sugar packet.  Of course we would.

So…  Anybody wanna jump in my truck and go?