A few weeks ago one of my good friends threw me a little gender reveal tea party. It was a chilly snowy day so sitting around chatting with girlfriends was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. I was happy to announce that we are expecting another little girl.
So far this pregnancy has been quite similar to my first. Morning sickness all day, anxiety, and depression. It’s been difficult but every time I see Em I’m reminded of how much it’s all worth it. This time around I was aware of the beginning signs of anxiety and depression so when it started I was able to treat it early. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about the all day morning sickness but keep a positive attitude.
This past week has been pretty tiring. I haven’t been feeling well and my husband has had to full days work for the past 7 days. He finally gets a day off tomorrow and I’m SO looking forward to it. Many times this week I’ve found myself trying to relax in a few minutes (because a few minutes is all I have!). One of my favorite ways to do this is to listen to music and by “listen” I mean reallylisten.
I start off doing this by laying on my back in my bed or on the floor. I pop in my headphones (to cancel out all other noise),choose my music, press play, and rest my arms with my palms up beside me. Then I start to listen to the music I’ve chosen, and here is what I mean when I say listen.
I begin to pick apart all the instruments being played and attempt to follow their patterns. I also pay attention and reflect on the meaning of the lyrics. I do believe that music can reach our souls, and I love when music feels in sync with my heart. Did you know that different people are calmed by different types of music? I enjoy almost all types of music, but for this exercise I usually enjoy music with a 3/4 beat (like a waltz, coincidentally my favorite type of piano music to play), strings, and melancholy lyrics.
Whenever I finish this exercise I always feel a little more calm and rested. I’ll leave you with 5 of my favorite songs (and why) to do this exercise with but I suggest you also find music that works for you if you decide to try this out. And let me know what you find! I’d love to know as I’m always looking for new music.
Nude – Radiohead Strings right away, followed by a base guitar. This song caught my attention right away. There’s so few lyrics, it leaves you with a lot to think about.
Broadhurst – Little Lover I just recently came across this song. I like the sound of Nick Broadhurts voice and right at 2:07 you can clearly hear that 3/4 beat. Again, there’s not many lyrics but unlike Nude I don’t find the message hard to decipher.
Foals – Spanish Sahara I can’t get enough of this song. I love how it evolves, and for myself the lyrics really touch the heart.
Bjork – All is full of love I’ve always had a little spot of love for Bjork, her music is too beautifully original to ignore. Stings and gorgeous lyrics, this song had me right away. (Death Cab for Cutie has even done a cover of this song).
Glass Animals – Gooey This last song is another that I just recently came across. My husband thinks this song is “weird” and I’ll agree to some extent. The lyrics include things like “woozy womb”, “peanut butter vibes”, and “tipsy topsy smirk”. I enjoy following all the different layers of this song, it’s interesting and new (to me).
With Christmas coming up there have been a lot of crafts being made here. Tonight I’d like to share a quick little DIY on how to add some sparkle to some pinecones. I got my white tipped Pinecones from Michaels and picked them because they were the only ones I could find! It’s wild how quick Christmas crafts are flying off the wall at Michaels. Onto the DIY.
Pinecones (plain, painted, etc.)
Using the paintbrush, brush glue along a pinecone. I find getting glue on only the tips work well. It’s nice and quick too since you just have to run the brush along the pinecone. In my opinion, too much sparkle on the pinecones makes things look a little crazy. Do what you feel is right for you though!Sprinkle Epsom salts over the pinecone. I did this over a box to catch the extra Epsom salt. I was generous with the Epsom salt and when a lot had gathered on the bottom on the box I rolled the pinecones in the Epsom salt as well. Shake out the extra Epsom salts from pinecone (into the box too!) and let dry.
Repeat with other Pinecones! That’s it! It’s really that simple. I used the pinecones to make some ornaments but you can use them in many Christmas crafts. Happy crafting!
My maternity leave is coming to an end soon and I can’t help but feel a sense of impending doom. My husband and I decided that I’ll go back to work part-time but part-time already feels like too much time to be away from Emma. I surprised myself when I realized I wanted to stay home full-time. I didn’t always feel this way. Once upon a time I dreamed of being a successful career woman that would never become a stay at home mom.
I finished university in my early 20’s and went on to become a cytotechnologist. I started studying for the CFA but quit when I got offered a job as a clinical trials coordinator. The job as a coordinator took me to Berlin, San Francisco, and Toronto in the span of one year. I was learning a lot and exploring life as a scientist outside of the lab. This was what I dreamt of right? After a few years of working as a coordinator I took a position back in the lab as a manager. I didn’t stay in that position for long as I became pregnant with Emma soon after.
Fast-forward to now and I don’t feel any push to have an amazing career anymore. At the same time I don’t feel like I’m giving up an amazing career (or the possibility of one) either. Regardless of how I feel, my decision seems to be judged. These are the various responses I’ve gotten from people when I’ve told them I’m going back to work part time:
“You should be the only person who takes care of your children.”
“Part-time is good, that way you can still have a career when Em grows up”
“You spent all that time in school, and you’re just going to give it up?”
“What if your husband leaves you? That’s not enough money to live.”
“If you’re not home full time your children are going to grow up with different morals.”
Has anybody else heard these comments? I can only imagine the extremes if I choose to stay home full time or work full time!. Honestly, when it came time to make the decision regarding my career none of those comments played any importance. I made the choice with my husband based on what was best for us as a team. I feel like as mothers we are constantly judged by the decisions we make. I have the same amount of respect for the stay at home mom as I do for the working mom. It shouldn’t matter how much, if any, we choose work when our maternity leave ends. The only thing that should matter is that our decision is what works for our families. This is what my heart tells me is right.
As my life has changed, my dreams have changed with it. I said goodbye to a dream or being a working mom without even knowing it. Instead of getting ready to go back to work full time, I’m getting ready to work two and a half days a week. As mothers we’re all just trying to make ends meet and grow a happy family. So while other’s may voice their opinions a little too loudly, lets support each others decision no matter what it may be.
Today I turn 30 and I have no idea how I feel about it. I’d like to say that as I turn 30 I’m more sure of myself but that would be a lie. I’m more confident in some areas of my life, but I’m still uncertain in other areas (ahem, motherhood). At first I thought my birthday would be just like any other day but then friends started to ask me things. “Are you sad to say goodbye to your 20’s?”. “Do you feel accomplished?”. “Are you excited?”. I don’t feel any emotion towards turning 30 but I do feel different. I’m still learning and growing, but here are 30 things in no particular order I’ve learned in the last decade.
God is amazing.
The uncomfortable 40 weeks it takes to make a baby is worth it.
Never think you’re above anyone in any way. Arrogance is disgusting.
Depression is real.
How to spell “v-a-c-u-u-m”.
Time is precious.
People express love in different ways.
Kindness is wonderful.
Follow your heart, even thought sometimes it’s hard to figure out what it’s telling you.
Children really are a blessing.
Diablo 3 is a great game.
How to arrange flowers.
I don’t like travelling for work.
Cats are amazing.
How to salvage all the toothpaste in a toothpaste tube.
Learning to breastfeed is HARD.
My sister is one of my best friends, despite our differences.
When changing a newborn, put towels around the change table to catch flying poop.
How to properly fold a fitted sheet.
I love music, all music.
The meaning of friendship. I have the best set of friends a girl could ask for.
My parents love me no matter what.
China is beautiful.
How it feels to be in love. Really in love.
Finishing university is something to be proud of, no matter what people say about a Science degree!
I won’t be able to get along with everyone I meet in life.
How to use a drill.
I will never not love fantasy. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones. All amazing.
I put off writing this post for a while because I wasn’t sure how to approach the topic of my experience with prenatal anxiety and depression. Or just anxiety and depression in general. When I first started this blog I knew I wanted to share this journey because hearing the experiences of others with anxiety/depression helped me a lot. I hope that by sharing my experience I can help someone else who may be going through something similar. So, here’s my story.
It was 2015 and I was in my second trimester of pregnancy when I first experienced more than my normal anxiety. It started with me being irritable and unable to sleep and then these symptoms progressively got worse. It wasn’t until my husband and I were on a weekend getaway that my husband started to suspect that I was experiencing more than just “regular pregnancy symptoms”. We were out spending a beautiful weekend in the mountains but I was waking up with a jolt every 2-3 hours. I felt scared and worried but I didn’t know why. Up until this point, I had considered all my mood swings, night wakings, and worries to be due to my pregnancy but then my heart started to tell me it was something more. We made the best of the weekend and when we got home we had a talk.
My husband was blunt (but gentle) with me and told me he thought I had an anxiety disorder. This was hard for me to accept. I felt I was supposed to be happy because I was pregnant and I didn’t believe I could have a mental disorder. The word “disorder” was scary on its own. After a long conversation we decided that I should reduce my hours at work to try and relax and get back to being myself. I thought I was going to be on a quick and easy road to recovery. However, soon after I started paying attention to my anxiety, I slipped into depression.
I didn’t know it at the time but anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. Along with being worried and scared I began to spend all my spare time in bed. I didn’t want to eat, talk to friends, or go out. I cried, felt guilty, and battled against intrusive thoughts. I spent a long time in this state before I finally started to heal.
For me healing started with a prayer. I asked God to help me heal and I reminded myself I wasn’t alone. I began to read a self help book, started to see a counsellor and tried medication. I had a large support group of family and friends that held my hand through the ordeal. I started to feel less guilty about my state and started to accept it for what it was. The more I came to terms with my disorder (let’s just call it what it is) the more I talked about what I was experiencing. I started to realize my situation wasn’t all that uncommon. That’s the one big thing I want to get across in this post. If you’re experiencing anxiety and depression (pregnant or not) you’re not alone. Along with that knowledge, I’d like to share three things that helped me the most.
Prayer. I understand and respect that not everybody is religious, but if you are don’t forget that God is with you.
The knowledge that nothing is permanently wrong with you. I remember uncontrollably crying at work (ACK!) when a co-worker told me this. “When people break their bones they go get casts to heal. It’s the same with depression, something is broken and you need things to help you heal.” That advice has always stuck with me because it made me realize that I could be healed. Suddenly the situation it wasn’t a new and unfortunate me, it was just a state that I was in that could be fixed.
Don’t bottle things up, seek help. My family and friends were more than willing to help me but seeking help from a counsellor was one of the best things I did. It wasn’t perfect to start off with. The first psychologist I saw didn’t work out but I fortunately found Shannon from Birth Narratives. I was able to open my heart to Shannon after only one meeting. Shannon was patient, kind, and wholeheartedly understanding. She checked up on me after I had finished my counselling and even after I had given birth. Shannon will always hold a special place in my heart for all that she did for me. If you’re in the Calgary area and are looking for a counsellor to chat about depression and anxiety while pregnant or post partum I fully recommend Birth Narratives. Talking to a counsellor helped me when I felt nothing else would.
It’s already been a year but my experience still seem so fresh. Although the memories bring about negative feelings I constantly remind myself it’s part of my history and who I am today. I hope my story can help someone like the stories of others helped me. Everyone tells you you’re not alone when you’re anxious and depressed. I remember feeling like those words were empty words but honestly, it’s the truth. I was there and I’m still here now, so know you’ve got at least one person with you.
Note: Shannon didn’t ask me to write about her or Birth Narratives for this post. Find Shannon at www.birthnarratives.ca/.