Monday, January 27, 2014

Learning How To Dive In....Again (Getting Your Sparkle Back After Postpartum Depression)

by Sarah

Life requires effort. It really does.  Yes, sometimes it requires little effort to find happiness in your day.  And yes, sometimes it requires a lot of effort. There certainly are quite a few trials and tribulations we must all go through, but there are so many beautiful moments. There are many, many more to come, too. 
No matter where you are in your life right now, finding happiness always requires one thing: diving into everything life is requiring of you in the current moment.

Life requires you to invest time in taking care of your body, your surroundings, your relationships, and most importantly, your thoughts. Life requires you to show up.  And lastly, the happiness  you need out of life requires you to do the things that make you uncomfortable, like problem solve, face your fears, and to be one of the souls who lives on this earth who never gives up (even when feeling depressed and miserable seems like the only option you have).  

I almost feel uncomfortable talking about postpartum depression, but with the hope that it will maybe touch someone else's life, I feel that I have to.  After giving birth to the most beautiful baby I could have ever asked for, I was hit with the “baby blues.” 

I had a very painful recovery after giving birth, as I’m sure all women do, and I couldn’t get myself to eat, drink, or sleep. I had a long labor that lasted well over 24 hours and I was awake for most of the day before that.  Immediately after giving birth, I realized I wouldn’t get a good night’s sleep for weeks.  On top of all of that, I have to admit that I hated breastfeeding at first.  I had taken classes on the subject, read books, and felt like it was what my body, as a woman, was designed to do, so I felt so empowered in my choice to breastfeed.  When it came down to it, however, it felt like torture and I felt awful that I hated it so much.  My baby wanted to nurse constantly.  He didn’t even waste time with the “breast crawl.” It hurt to feed him. It hurt to wear nursing bras. It hurt to shower...the water hitting me felt like knives on my sore nipples. I just didn't know who I was since life had changed so much and all I wanted to do was sleep so my body could heal.

But, even though all of those factors were probably leading to my "baby blues", I was still so obsessed with my little man. I loved dressing him in all of his new outfits. I even loved just staring at him. And, I still felt empty. Drained. More emotional than usual. I felt like I had lived through the best day of my life and nothing else could ever live up to it (I now know that is completely false! haha). I couldn’t stop crying. I was a hot mess-- I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t pee without swearing, I wanted to cry all day long, and I felt SO guilty for not being happy. I felt even more guilty for wanted to give up on breastfeeding right away.  (New moms: don’t be scared, I now love it and it is a part of my life, and the pain of breastfeeding peaks during the first week and then you get used to it!)

I now know that after you give birth, your hormones take a nose dive and it is completely normal to feel the “baby blues.” Plus, sleep deprivation would make anyone lose it.

However, the baby blues only last for two weeks.  After that, you’re in postpartum depression territory.  I had such a beautiful pregnancy and felt so powerful that I made it through giving birth that the two weeks of postpartum recovery really saddened me.  I felt like I had failed in some way.  I have the most beautiful, healthy, happy baby so when the failing and guilt feelings never went away after two weeks, I knew that I, unfortunately, had postpartum depression.  I couldn't shake the feeling of being a failure. I couldn't keep the house clean. It hit me that I didn't have a beautiful baby bump anymore--I had a chubby belly with dark stretch marks. The thought of losing the extra baby weight made me feel so overwhelmed. I went back to work immediately after six weeks only to have a hard time focusing on both a new baby and work.

After a lot of research, I decided to begin taking Zoloft and continue breastfeeding. (Studies show that Zoloft leaves almost no trace in breast milk.) When it came down to it, I knew that I had nothing to feel depressed about and that it was a true imbalance (which is a little scary) so I decided to treat it right away, even though I had previously been against taking medication for depression. I realized that my baby needing a healthy and happy mother was more important than the trace amount of Zoloft that might show up in my breast milk. My doctor was very compassionate and gave me the smallest dose available.  I caught it early enough that it never got out of hand.  

It has gone away for the most part now and I have been able to stop taking medication, almost five months later, but I still wish that I could have been happier during such a happy time.  It still lingers, though, and some days, I have to really push myself. As new mothers, it can seem like everything we do is judged by all of society and it can be discouraging. You think you're doing everything the best way you've researched only to hear another mom did it in some other, more expensive, more organic, way.

But, I do it. I dive into everything that pops up. I force myself every day to be the “posh mama” that I am capable of being, that any mother is capable of being, because I know that my little man needs a strong mama.  I try to work out as much as possible, which to be honest, hasn’t been a whole lot because I feel like I am always breastfeeding because it really is the best medicine.

I suffered from depression in college and I really worked hard to overcome it, so it really felt like a setback to deal with it again, this time completely out of my hands.  It did make me realize what I was dealing with sooner and treat it right away. I think it’s important to realize that it is an imbalance and that it really isn’t your fault if you, perhaps, are dealing or have dealt with this, too.  Women seem to share every detail of their pregnancy and new baby’s life, but postpartum recovery seems to be something that everyone forgot about.  I felt like recovering was a thousand times worse than giving birth and I had put so much planning and effort into the act of giving birth.  I felt like a failure that I couldn’t breeze through the recovery with grace.  I wish someone would have told me that it is a nightmare to recover but that  is normal! Being a brand new mother is a brand new experience and it isn't going to be a comfortable, smooth-sailing time.

Our bodies are amazing to create little human beings and it is OKAY if you don’t have a perfect pregnancy, labor, birth, or postpartum recovery.  It’s hard work! Yes, it is okay.  As long as you are making sure your baby has everything he/she needs, you are being the perfect guardian for that little baby.  And, that should be it.  No mother should ever have to feel anything negative, especially like they have failed,  about their birth experience. Regardless of what happened, it’s all okay.  Motherhood has softened me in so many ways.  I have so much more respect for other mothers & my own mother.  I see life as a more precious thing.  I have so much love in my heart for my baby that if I had to deal with postpartum depression for a few months after his birth, I’m okay with it, because I know my love for him cancels it out.

If you are or think you might be suffering from postpartum depression, know that it is perfectly okay to go get help so you can get back to living your beautiful new life! There is no need to feel like a failure for asking for help or talking about it with someone who can help.  Being a new mother is a beautiful thing!

**I know that I have been slacking on my “Posh Mama, Zen Baby” series, but I needed a few months to myself to spend time with my little guy and give him the attention he deserves.  I also just didn’t have it in me to write for a while. But, now you are going to get sick of my new mama blogs because I have a lot to share! Hehe.  

“When you cop to your shortcomings...
-you become accessible. Humanity is charming.  What, you’re not superhuman? Well then lets’ be friends.
-you make space for other people to perform, shine, and operate from their true strengths- a living inspiration.  
-you foster teamwork and collaboration.
-you get the benefit of other people’s greatness.
-you create a genuine connection.
-you get help.  People support you.
-you actually don’t have to do it all.  Go figure.

-you give yourself permission to pursue your genius.”

--excerpt from Danielle Laporte's The Fire Starter Sessions

Image Credit: Pinterest

Friday, January 17, 2014

"Wicked" Now On Stage at the Benedum Center

by Sarah & Rose

The New York Times has named Wicked “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster” and Entertainment Weekly calls it “the best musical of the decade.” Now, Wicked, the untold story of the witches of oz, has come back to Pittsburgh with much anticipation.  We were able to catch the show last night and the performance was simply magical.

Allison Luff plays Elphaba, who at first glance is simply the “wicked witch of the west”, but throughout the story, you see she is much more.  She is the outcast in all of us; the girl we root for; a girl who was simply misunderstood. In the guise of “the green girl”, she is a character that all ages can relate to in some way.

Gina Beck plays Elphaba’s polar opposite, Glinda, who is perfectly ditzy and acts as a reminder of how silly popularity can be.  The girls become best friends but have to pretend that they are still polar opposites as life gets in the way of their friendship.  The musical follows these two girls as they go to school together in the land of Oz (before Dorothy) and how they grew to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

The music is to die for.  And although I would have loved to see Kristin Chenoweth & Idina Menzel perform “Defying Gravity” & “For Good”, Allison Luff & Gina Beck belt it out just as powerfully. There is something about the music from Wicked that makes you feel empowered  and inspires you to be yourself.

Wicked, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and PNC Broadway Across America, will be on stage at the Benedum Center until February 9.  For more information and to purchase tickets (starting at $39), please visit The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's website (or click here).

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Best Dressed: The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards

by Sarah

Every year, after the holiday season wraps up, it's always exciting to see what the stars wear during award season. For the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards, a good amount of new-comers & a few baby bumps spiced things up a little. Jennifer Lawrence & Margot Robbie were my top choices for best dressed for the evening, but here are some others who made my overall list.  

Amy Poehler, who hosted the evening's event alongside Tina Fey, looks fab in this 
Stella McCartney gown.

I just had to include this photo of Chris Hemsworth, simply because....well, it's Chris Hemsworth. A pregnant Elsa Pataky looks gorgeous, too!

The Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke looks amazing in Proenza Shouler.

Hello, new style icon. The Wolf of Wall Street's Margot Robbie may be new to the scene, but she owns it in this Gucci dress. My favorite part of this look are the emerald green heels she's wearing, which seem to make the dress just pop. In my opinion, she has the best makeup & brows of the night. She looks beautiful!

How cute is Kerry Washington, embracing her baby bump?! I am loving this white Balenciaga gown; it is very classic and appropriate.  I'm usually always impressed with Kerry Washington's style, so it's no surprise that I love her maternity style, as well.  She even told US Weekly that her baby bump was her "date for the night" and "her favorite little accessory."

I'm not sure if I love or hate Emma Watson's Dior gown (paired with satin pants), but either way, I can't get enough of it.  

Girls' Allison Williams looks stunning in this Alexander McQueen gown, 
paired with Jimmy Choo heels.

Finally, my favorite look of the evening was the gorgeous, quirky Jennifer Lawrence
in a Dior Haute Couture gown.  I've just been in love with how she can pull off a pixie cut.  

Image Credits: MTV Style (Emma Watson), Getty Images

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Posh Mama, Zen Baby": Baby's First Fever!

by Sarah

Noah turned 4 months old this past Tuesday ( I can hardly believe how big he is getting!) and with that came his second round of vaccines at his check-up. He breezed through the first set of vaccines at 2 months, but as the doctor warned us, with the second round, he became very fussy and had a fever that kept him up all night last night.  Our pediatrician informed us that since the baby has already had Round 1 of these shots, the second time around, his body will recognize the vaccines and want to fight them off more. Hence, a fussier baby and a fever. 

As a new parent, everything is scary, fun, and exciting. I remember being pregnant (and overly emotional) thinking about how safe my baby was inside my belly.  I knew that once he came out, he would be subject to things like colds, getting his feelings hurt, feeling pain, etc.  I know that all of it is part of the human experience and that babies are pretty tough, but as a mother, you take on all of your child’s pain while still dealing with all of your own pain.  So, anytime your baby feels sick, it can be very stressful.

It is SO important to trust your intuition as a parent, but also be willing to be accept that you are not in control.  There is so much advice and so many people who are eager to give you their input that you need to drown all of it out and just listen to your baby sometimes.  
There have been very few times that Noah has stayed up all night crying (the only other times were when he first came home from the hospital) and refused to nurse (no matter what is going on, he’s always up for some breast milk).  It was his very first fever and his little body was so warm. He is normally such a relaxed, happy, and curious little boy that seeing him so miserable put me into stress-mode.

I knew I had to wake Dan up and have him soothe Noah as best he could while I called the doctor's office. I called at 3am and after answering a thousand questions, the nurse on duty at Children's Hospital told me to bring him to the ER, with no other advice.  Noah had just fallen back asleep in his Dad’s arms and I knew in my gut that dragging him out of bed, strapping him into the carseat, and waiting around in a brightly lit, germ infested ER was NOT what my baby needed (in this situation-- if I thought it was necessary, I would absolutely, 100% be there.)  So, we decided to give him some children’s tylenol and let him sleep.  

This was what my baby needed.  Within a few hours, his body cooled down and he woke up to nurse, which was a very good sign.  When he woke up in the morning, he needed another dose of tylenol and some extra time on the boobs, but he was back to his cooing, smiling self.  

Moral of the story: listen to your baby and trust your motherly "gut" feelings.  I also have to say that I am so blessed to have a partner in parenting because while I feel like I can soothe Noah most of the time, sometimes he needs his Dad.  Last night, I was so overwhelmed and worried about Noah that I needed someone to step in.  Dan woke up and gave him Tylenol and then rocked him to sleep on his chest.  It’s just nice to know that when one of us is overwhelmed, the other can step in.

Men can come in handy sometimes...

TIPS: Always have baby Tylenol on hand.

Always have a thermometer on hand & don't be scared to use it rectally. I took an infant care class while pregnant at Shining Light Prenatal Education and Deena told us that taking a baby's temperature rectally may be uncomfortable for you (it is a little strange at first), but the baby doesn't even realize what's happening!

Never be scared to call your doctor, no matter what time of day it is.
Trust your motherly (or parent) intuition. You (and your partner) have a bond with your baby that no one else does. Trust it.

While I am not a doctor, what worked for my baby after his 4-month shots was: baby Tylenol, plenty of fluids (or extra time nursing), and quiet time to nap as much as he needed.

Give it a little time. As I mentioned, I called in the middle of the night and I was told to go to the ER. I waited until morning, however, and called my regular pediatrician's office and they told me to just administer the Tylenol and monitor him for a day.

Try not to worry! I keep reminding myself about how many times I was sick as a child and it helps.

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