Friday, October 16, 2015

Postpartum Depression

Recently you may have read about celebrities that have gone into treatment for Postpartum Depression. I think this is pretty great to hear; they are making light of it,not that they have it. I also think its great that many women are coming to terms with it. So many women struggle with PP more than they ever realize or would ever admit. Just talking about it and making those struggling with it can open up so many lines of communication.

No mom wants to feel like they don't have it all together. Its supposed to be our natural instinct to mother. Who would ever want to admit they aren't feeling like they are living up to par? Its tough.

Most people think that PP is defined as depression to the point that you don't take care of yourself, your baby or that you want to harm your children. Those things do happen daily, yes, but they don't have to be to such a degree that people are harmed for it to be something someone struggles with daily.

When I was in the hospital, right after having LB, my doctor told me to get lots of rest and take some time for myself. I chuckled and laughed it off but then she became really stern when she said, Postpartum depression is VERY real.

Eek. OK lady. Point taken.

But not really.

Looking back, I am sure I had it with LB. I know I had it with Ash - likely around the 9-10 month mark. Low and behold, I know for certain that I now have it with Willy at the 9-10 month mark. Even after taking an extra step to prevent it, I have it. Granted, I have something to help me with it and know that I am not a psycho mom when I have a 'flare up' but I certainly feel it more than I ever did with the other two.

I also believe I have a form of Postpartum anxiety in addition to the depression part. Some would say that its just having 3 kids so close.... but I know me. I have struggled with anxiety all my life. It hasn't been until recently that I can actually recognize it and know what that actually means for me.

So when I reminisce to when LB came, it seems like PP would be such a natural reaction to my situation at the time. I had to learn about what Ds meant for me/us, I had a baby with a heart defect and now I couldn't take her home when I was released. But I refused to allow the sadness to set in. I was far too stubborn for that. I was going to be different. Phew.. yeah right lady. Who was I kidding?!

So many moms I have met or know from the Ds community tell me that they had a severe case of PP due to an after birth diagnosis. I can see that side of it too. In hind sight, I am very glad we had the pre-natal diagnosis even though I never wanted it at the time for many reasons I will be talking about in tomorrows post.

When she was born though, the diagnosis wasn't a problem for me. The stint in the NICU, however, was. That situation scared me more than I care to ever experience again. The uncertainty, the unknown. I remember barely sleeping  because I didn't want her to open her eyes without me there. I never wanted her to be alone or to not feel loved. My mom finally convinced me that she would be there for her so that I would get some rest. I was scared. Even when I slept, I didn't sleep.

Exhaustion and fear alone was enough to spiral me into an oblivion. But to my amazement, I didn't feel like I was doing so bad at the time. I felt like there was too much to learn. Too much to be sure of and take care of when it came to LB. So I focused on the things I could control like cleaning and making sure my baby was loved. Amongst other things like making sure I contacted all of the therapy places I needed to so that she could get early intervention services, or interviewing nanny's so I could go back to work. Heck, even dressing her became a hobby of mine. Complete distraction. Before I knew it, 3.5 months later, I was back to work and barely had time to think, much less be depressed.

Sadly, I don't feel like I remember a lot of her as a tiny baby. I think I was in a postpartum fog. A delirious state of consciousness that functioned on completing the next task. Just going through the motions of motherhood but not really feeling them. That breaks my heart to admit, but I have to be honest with  myself. I am sure I felt more at the time than I can actually remember. My hubs tells me that I never put her down. I don't remember that at all.

Now when I think about when I was working, commuting and coming home to my little baby, I always felt like something was off. I blamed it on my 2 hours door to door commute, or the anxiety was because it would take me so long to get to her, but it was really PP. I didn't know how to handle working and being a mom. I didn't fit in at my job anymore because there were so few mothers there. I didn't feel like I could perform to my best ability because part of me was always at home with my baby and the other part of me was counting down the hours so that I could be home before she went to bed. It was such a struggle.

But then when Ash came and I started to stay home, a whole new set of dynamics came into play. Now I had no commute, no daily camaraderie and really no one to talk to but 2 little babies that didn't know how to speak. Oh and they depended on me for absolutely everything.

Now the dynamics have changed again. I have it even more.

I don't have the answers, that's for sure. I don't even have a solution. I felt obligated to talk about it and share my story. Just to let one person know, they aren't alone. It's OK to feel what you are feeling. Just recognizing that you feel these things is half the battle. But don't ask me where to go from here because I pretty sure my compass is broken.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

In the News

This week I shared a few posts on my facebook page in an effort to spread awareness. While they didn't make the official blog post, and my days got a little off, they will be stories you will hear about in the news, etc. So I kinda feel like I am still in the #31for21 running... lol

The first story is about a photographer who has a nephew with Down syndrome so she decides to take some photos of kids with Ds to show that they are happy. She also photographs them for free of charge. Seems sweet.

Today Show story of photographer taking pics of kids with Ds.

The story of Domenica Lawson. She wrote a letter to a numb-skull ex-reality star that basicly said her life was worthless and that people with Ds should be "put down" -like sick animals. If you see this so called celebrity's picture, you may share her sentiments about her as it also crossed my mind. She clearly has some self worth issues and thinks her opinon is valued. Jokes on her. Domenica is also the god-daughter of Princess Diana and penned quite the comeback to this jokester.

Have you heard about Jasmine's Bunting Company? She is an entrepeneuer that started her own sewing company and she makes some pretty sweet stuff! Check out her site and her story here.   The best part of her biz.. she has people working FOR HER that also have special needs. Sweet! Way to go Jasmine!

I feel like I know Penny Becker personally. I read her mothers book when I was a new mom to my LB. But, I do not actually know them in real life. However, Penny wrote some deets down for all to read about a day in her life. Check it out here.  You can also read her mom's blog here.

Hope you enjoyed some of these fun reads!

I know I did.

Until next time..

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Teachable Tuesday: Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Week 2: Preferred Language Guide

There is a new guide out and it's published by the NDSS. I couldn't explain it better myself so please check it out.

DO NOT SAY DOWNS. Please. Thank you.


Until  next time..

Wordless Wednesday: Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Week 2

Halloween 1

Halloween 2

Halloween 3

Halloween 4

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dear Mother With a Pre-natal Diagnosis.....From a Mom in Year 4

You're probably googling the heck out of everything... looking for any sign of normalcy you can relate to right now. If you are anything like me, you can barely see the computer screen through your tears much less the keyboard.

I am sure there are a lot of pages that you are finding that scare the pants off of ya, and then there are some that may not be so nice. There are the cute kids, the adults that are doing amazing things, the model, the actor, the restaurant owner...

You may be thinking that the babies are so stinking cute... you can't even tell that some of them have Down Syndrome.

Then there are the page about what to say, what not to say. How to describe this diagnosis.. what does that mean? How will it affect your kids that you already have, that you will have or that you want to have? Wait, should you even consider more kids...

What kind of life will she have? Will people be mean to her? What will she look like? Will she look like me at all?

At least that's what I did. Those were only some of my thoughts.

My 2 biggest forms of advice -

1- stay off the Internet until you have completed #2. You can get back on, but you need to do this FIRST.

2- meet someone with Down syndrome. Meet a young kid. A baby. Ease into this new world with baby steps. They are much easier to digest something new than to dive into the deep in with your clothes on.

Now, back to that Internet rule. You can get back on, but only AFTER you have met a baby/kiddo with Ds. You see, you will find them adorable and maybe you will see that these kids are just like any other kids. They are babies and they like to play and chew on things.. they have stinky diapers and wet kisses just as all babies do.

Now that you have eased into this world a bit, the Internet can be your guided resource of information. But be prepared, there is SO MUCH incorrect info out there. Its really sad. But its reality. Then you can seek the parents and a network that will work for you in obtaining info. Sure, doctors will give you the info they have to.. but its the people that live it - you need to meet.

It's the people that write blogs, that go to events in your area, that have walked in your shoes, that you wanna know. They will get you through the scary times. They will show you that its not as bad as it seems. They will tell you all the hoops and loops to jump into and through. They will guide your storm covered ship into calmer waters. This group will be your friends and your allies.

Tests are scary and so are statistics. It's really not healthy to worry about things you can't control and statistics are one of those things. They usually don't come out as you anticipate them to either. That's called the lotto and its hard to win, believe me.

But one other word you should look up is

Unconditional love.

Because that is what you are about to embark upon. That's what you will get whether you give it or not. From your baby and your new friends.

Don't be scared, the hard part is over. The wait. Now you can learn, rejoice and celebrate the new baby you have been blessed with.

Until next time...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hey Soul Sista

Sisters wasn't in our equation. Well, the 2-legged kind weren't anyway. Technically, this momma wanted another kid and for it to be a boy so we could be done. With 2. Then we had another girl. So I was getting used to the fact that we would have 2 girls.

Low and behold, 4 years later - we have 2 more sisters. Mommys dreams of a son are no more.

And I wouldn't change a thing.

I have heard many stories over the last 4 years, some good and some bad, about siblings and how Ds will affect them or has affected their upbringing. I shiver at the stories that I've heard where the sibling is resentful or frustrated by the parents ways of handling the relationship between the person with Ds and themselves. They have almost felt that they weren't valid because the parents focused on the person with the disability and less on the one without. Or they were forced to care for their sibling with Ds.

Then there are the ones that its just life. Its been a part of their upbringing and friends, relationships, etc. have been established because of this community they have always been a part of.

A friend of mine recently described it... its just been weaved into every discussion we have ever had. It wasn't just a single discussion.

Until the last couple of weeks, we hadn't really had much discussion about Ds with Ash. I wasn't sure if we should sit her down and have a "talk" or just start adding in some dialogue as we engaged her in the various events and activities. She did give us a few questions as to why we were doing all these walks for LB. So the other day, I casually mentioned it to her. That LB has Down syndrome and that sometimes it takes her a bit more work or time to learn some things. Or that it can cause her to not always have as many words as she does.

This seemed to sink in a bit with her. Like she had a bit of a light bulb moment. I have noticed her being a bit more patient with LB lately or maybe I am just hoping that I am seeing that. She has never been mean to her. She just gets really irritated that LB doesn't have the best communication skills or that she doesn't play with her like she wants her to. Typical for her to have at their age level but the mommy in me wants everyone to hug and play nice, all day long.

My hubs and friend tell me I am being paranoid and that they will love each other unconditionally. And I know they are right. I am starting to see it from both sides. But like I said, I would like to see more interaction between them.

I am also always looking for moments and ways to teach Ash about differences and kindness to others. She has a pretty broken filter most days so I'm pretty cautious about her engaging others in public. You just never know what she's gonna to say... LOL!

Now LB and Lilli-pad, they are peas in a pod. Well until Lilli pulls LB's hair. Then its on.

 Seriously though, my thought process when having them all so close, was so that they would be close. So that they could learn from one another and have each other when J and I are gone. I want  them to be aware of LB's struggles and triumphs as she will be of theirs. I want them to WANT to be a part  of her life as well as those in our Ds community's world. I don't want them to become jaded or uninvolved with a world they are going to grow up in. I want them to become advocates and cheerleaders for the entire special needs community.

Because I want to raise my girls with compassion and empathy. I want them to be kind and joyful; loving and caring. I want them to know unconditional love both from getting it and giving  it. I want them to feel the true connection to their sisters as they would with any friend and then some. I want them to become soul sisters.

Until next time..

Friday, October 9, 2015

Down Syndrome Creed


My face may be different but my feelings the same

I laugh and I cry.  I take pride in my gains.

I was sent here among you to teach you to love,

As God in the Heavens looks down from above.

To Him I'm no different; His love knows no bounds.

It's those here among you in cities and towns

That judge me by standards that man has imparted

But the family He's chosen will help me get started.

For I'm one of His children so special and few

That came here to learn the same lessons as you.

That love is acceptance; it must come from the heart.

We all have the same purpose though not the same start.

The Lord gave me life to live and embrace

And I'll do it as you do — just at my own pace.