Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Today, I'm kind of a Mess

A New Addition

It's been awhile since I've posted - months, in fact.  And that, in itself, is testament to how well I've been!  A lot has happened.  The biggest change in our lives is our 10-and-a-half-week-old baby girl, born mid-July.  This was not an easy pregnancy (morning sickness, multiple scares that she was going to be born prematurely), but we made it to 36 weeks and 4 days with an overall healthy baby.

Through all of that, I really did well mentally.  Even with the stress of the baby potentially coming early, taking things very easy to keep the baby in as long as possible, and getting admitted to the NICU for jaundice a day-and-a-half after we'd been released from the hospital.  Still did fine.  Adjusting to a new baby?  Fine.  Sleep deprivation?  Fine.

The Stomach Flu

But when I came down with the stomach flu yesterday, I did not see the mental struggle that I've had today coming.  After sleeping for most of 15 hours (I have a very supportive husband), I got up for a bit this morning to give my husband a break.  I tried going back to sleep, and that's when things started to go downhill.

I did my morning prayer (I'm still trying to pray only three times per day to combat compulsive behavior) and gave in to asking God for forgiveness compulsively.  Again.  While this was frustrating, the tears didn't start until I checked Facebook before trying to fall asleep and read a detailed update from a mom with a gravely ill child.  I was immediately emotional.  I started thinking about other emotional things - my sister moving away, how maybe I hadn't dealt with the last 7-and-a-half weeks of my pregnancy, how the 10-week mark when I crashed after having my last baby just passed on Saturday, how I can't go back to that place again, how my kids are so beautiful...emotion overload.  Somewhere in the middle of all of that, I made the decision to get up and take a shower to reset and refocus.  And in the shower, I had another obsessive thought (because giving in to compulsions just feeds the OCD wolf).  Thankfully I didn't give in to the compulsion to pray this time, but it still made me sad.

Bottom Line

Today I'm kind of a mess, and that's okay.  I'm having strong emotions and thoughts that I know are part of the OCD.  Instead of beating myself up, I need to refocus and relax - show myself some grace.  Today, while I'm recovering from the flu, is not the day to figure out my OCD.  It's not the time to think through why I'm feeling this way or to focus on those emotional things I was thinking about before.

Instead, I want to laugh.  I want to enjoy my kids and husband.  And I want to be grateful for all that God has blessed me with - a husband who stayed home from work today to take care of our kids while I recover, a 6-year-old who keeps giving me hugs to help me feel better, a joyful 4-year-old, a 2-year-old who can't have enough books read to her, a newborn baby who is beautiful and healthy.  And most of all, a God who sustains and saves me with His grace.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Yep, It's Morning Sickness

 Before I started having babies, I wanted four of them.  My husband (wisely) wanted to take things one kid at a time.  When he told me during my last pregnancy (#3) that it would probably be our last, I cried.  I wasn't ready to be done.

And then...10 weeks after baby #3 was born, I mentally crashed.  After coming through that valley, I decided that my body and mind were done, and that I would enjoy my three healthy, beautiful babies that we already had.  I told people that we were totally done.  I donated most of my maternity and baby clothes.  No more breastfeeding!  And finally, everyone was sleeping through the night.

At the end of November, my pants started to get tighter, which was really weird because I had started eating incredibly healthy (Eat to Live), I began to wonder.  Heartburn led to a dollar store pregnancy test which led to a digital test which led to blood tests at the doctor, and the answer was always the same: PREGNANT.

Please don't misunderstand me; babies are such a miraculous gift.  Even though this baby was not in our plans, it was definitely in God's, and we are very, very grateful.  This baby will be a much loved part of our family.  But...pregnant?!  A recurrence of postpartum depression is a real possibility.  And I'm nervous about managing four kids.  And I'm pretty sure I'm going to decline the offer of that leadership position I was planning to take in our homeschooling group.  And SLEEP.  And breastfeeding.  And, just...all of it.  It's overwhelming.

I've had OCD/anxiety/depression for long enough that I can recognize the signs of a coming valley.  And I was experiencing those signs (see this post) even a few weeks before the tests came back positive.  So I've been really on my guard these last few weeks, because I know that feeding the wolf just makes it grow.  The bigger it grows, the harder it will be for me to crawl out of the valley.  So I'm doing what I can to cope and manage it well.  Exercise (not easy with morning sickness),  Rest.  Connecting with friends.  Continuing counseling.  Exposure Response Prevention.

Pray for me, friends.  We've got quite a journey ahead.