Monday, May 4, 2009

14 Days

14 days ago I made a pact with myself that I was going to do something for myself without any one person’s opinion. I was going to take charge of what is valuable and precious beyond words, which I felt like was suffering for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on: my mental health. 14 days ago I made the difficult decision to begin taking anti-depressants. I struggled for months over this. This was the third time I had talk to my physician about it, and the third time I had received a prescription for them and the first time I went through with it and began taking them.

I think my reason for being reluctant was my own person history with anti-depressants, namely Paxil. At the tender age of 17 my doctor, who only spoke with me for about 5 minutes, decided to place me on Paxil and Xanax. I continued taking Paxil for nearly 5 years when one day I just thought to myself why am I still taking these? It had become more habit than anything. My life was in order by this time. I wasn’t partaking in activities and surrounding myself with people who added to the anxiety and depression I was suffering from, so I thought Why the hell not? So I decided to give it a go. I quit cold turkey*. What transpired from that pronouncement was a week long battle of detoxing from a substance I wasn’t even aware I was addicted to. I laid helplessly, crying, day in and day out, I was plagued with chills, vomiting and dizziness. I was stunned at what this drug had done to me. I swore then that I would never, ever take such a drug again.

Fast forward 2 ½ years. Throw in a marriage, then a baby, and I started to feel the way I used to. I wouldn’t necessarily define it as “depression”, but more my inability to cope with certain emotions, such as anger and irritability and feeling overwhelmed. Most of all I felt lost. I felt lost in a world where every mother was happy, had perfect little babies, except me. What was wrong with me?

Like I said before, I had consulted my physician two times previously and they agreed that my taking the anti-depressants would be the best scenario for all parties involved. But as soon as I left their office I would change my mind. I think part of it had to do with the fact that I breastfeed Vincent. I became paranoid that the drug would get to him through my milk and he would become dependent on a seritone booster and that I was paving the road for a life of depression for him. But I think, more than anything, it had to do with feeling defeated. I kept telling myself I could get through it, I could handle it. Everyone else does.

14 days ago I had enough. I knew something wasn’t right. I could feel it deep in my bones. This was something I could change. Something I could help. I can be better for my son. I can be better for myself.

I didn’t tell anyone in my family that I was beginning to take the pills, because I wanted to first see if they noticed a difference in me. No one has said anything but that probably stems from fear they may jinx it! But more important, I have noticed a difference. I smile more. I appreciate life more. I become less frustrated and overwhelmed. I am better for it. I am a better mom for it. I have taken other approaches to building up my mental health as I do not want to rely on a pill to “make me happy”. I have ditched the junk food and made it a point to exercise every day. And I quit those nasty cigs!

I cannot feel defeated over this. I am not weak because I started taking anti-depressants. I am strong for admitting to myself that maybe I could use some help. I am strong because I say fuck the judgment and fuck what people say. I am doing this for us. Us.

You and me, babe. Always and Forever.

* All medical professionals will strongly advise to not stop taking these types of medications abruptly. It can have serious complications. Do not stop taking anti-depressants without consulting your physician.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tender, Love & Caress

Vincent has been having one hell of a time with his top teeth. They appear to be killing him from the inside out, which consequentially makes my heart feel as though someone is puncturing it with a sharp knife. Last night seemed to be exceptionally challenging, getting him to sleep that is. I tried nursing, I tried letting him cry, I tried rockin’, rollin’, whatever, it wasn’t gonna happen. I was dumbfounded. I decided to try to lay down with him in my bed and let him nurse that way; sometimes he will fall asleep that way. No such luck. He flailed about the bed as if he was wrestling an alligator, all the while huffing and puffing, crying and staring at me like why aren’t you helping me mommy? Oh my. This is my heart…in pieces on the floor. For real. What happened next was quite possibly the most touching moment I have experienced with my son throughout his whole (almost) 12 months of life. He lifted his small face up in the air, the room was dark but I could see his silhouette with the light of the monitor. Then he took his hand and found mine. He, with such a sense of desperation, placed my hand on his head. I began the gentle caressing of his head, my lips against forehead, running my fingers through his funky little hair. And that was it. The crying stopped and the eyes closed. Within seconds he was asleep. It was the most kid-like thing he has ever done. Please just rub my head. What a lover.

Once I was sure he was asleep, I slowly took my hand away from head and backed myself up so I could better have a view of his charming, tiny face. I used the glow of the monitor to lay there in complete and total awe. I stared deeply at him. I stared at him in a way I haven’t in a long time. I saw the fragileness in his hands, the life in his breathe. I breathed him in, all of him. I wondered what kind of man he would grow to be. I saw life 20 years from now, him grown and me, well, still young. I allowed myself to feel everything in that very moment. The purity of our love. Like nothing else in this world.

** This photo was taken when Vincent was one week old. I would love to post a recent photo of Vincent in sleepy town, but I wouldn't dare click a camera in fear of waking the beast, the cute beast**

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mommy and Me Drop Out

I have been contemplating whether or not I will re-enroll in Mommy and Me Classes. I began attending when Vincent was almost 4 months old; this was a time of transition as well as trouble for me. I was awkwardly adjusting to my new role as a mother; a new mother to a colic baby no less. My days were spent frazzled and unkempt, often walking up and down the street with my screaming infant in a sling. Looking back, it almost makes me want to cry because it was, literally, hands down, the most trying time of my life. Through all the turmoil I had endured in my young life, this was the tip top of the meltdown moment. I had felt lonely and isolated, as my husband was working very long hours on top of a very long commute. Most days he would come home to find that Vincent has already been put down for the night, so I was factually raising Vincent on my own Monday-Friday. I joined Mommy and Me classes with the hopes of regaining a sense of normalcy in my chaotic life. I wanted, so desperately, the opportunity to sit down and talk with other moms, listen to their own personal struggles and realize that I wasn’t alone. Unfortunately, mostly all I learned from the other moms in the class was that a.) I was the only discontented mother in the world or b.) damn, people know how to put on a happy face when their inside world is crumbling around them.

I will never forget the day when I just blurted out “I’m not that happy”, followed with “and my doctor prescribed me (GASP) anti-depressants”. I could feel the look of pity and confusion in their eyes before I even glanced back up at them. Maybe they weren’t just putting on an act, maybe they were that happy that I was just a freak who couldn’t get her shit together, because the look on their faces showed genuine disbelief that any mother could be unhappy in her role. Mind you, I was the youngest woman in the class, by quite a few years too. Although we never spoke of our ages, it was obvious. Can I say that without sounding rude? Sorry, but true. I was married at 23, pregnant at 24 and a mom by 25. Maybe these women felt perfectly content with their new mommy name because they were older, had experienced more of life and were completely 100% ready to settle down and do nothing but that. I, on the other hand, was struggling and still do struggle sometimes with the concept of growing up too fast, saying goodbye to the freedom I once had, the rebel wear I wore so fucking well. Do I feel like I have missed out on some grand parties, unforgettable concerts or long days at the beach to be at home with my son? Sure, of course, although the latter has always been and will continue to be more worth it than anything else. But I had very limited freedom with my no bottle-taking mama’s boy. Even though Vincent was a planned pregnancy, I was incredibly na├»ve about what having a baby was really going to be like, so I was shocked at the level of responsibility and dedication it took.

After my “Hi, my name is Emily and my doctor thinks I’m depressed” speech at Mommy and Me, my sister called me Debbie Downer and we had a good laugh about it. I eventually stopped going because I felt I just wasn’t vibin’ with the other moms the way I had originally intended to. But after a months-long absence from the Mommy and Me world, I am thinking about making a comeback. Vincent is almost a year and I really do see him wanting to play and interact with other children his age. There is only so much I can give him here alone with him all day. Plus, I don’t think I’m too much of a Debbie Downer anymore. I can chat it up with the best of them, swapping funny stories about playing peek-a-boo and our baby’s first word, or the way Vincent is obsessed with having his butt sniffed. Yes, he loves it and he laughs hysterically when you put your nose near his butt. He is mature beyond his years, let me tell you! I’ll always keep it real and bitch when I’m having a shitty day and they can stare at me as if I’m a blood sucking alien from a planet far far away, but I think it’ll be good for Vincent, and in turn, may be good for me, and in turn may be good for my husband. Happy Wife, Happy Life, as we like to say.

Quote of the Week

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven;
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

"Truckin'" - Emily Macri

Monday, April 27, 2009

You can take that cookie and shove it up your....

This morning I made the decision to treat myself to a mocha and a pastry at the small hippie coffee shop down by the bay. Vincent has been a bit (I mean, a lot bit) fussy for whatever reason, and a toothache kept me awake last night, so I very much deserved a treat such as that, especially on a cold, gloomy day.

While I was waiting patiently for my mocha to be completed, Vincent was demonstrating a lesser form of patience. He was fussing and trying to wiggle out of my arms. I silently whispered in my head “hurry up, hurry up” but all the while kept a smile on my face and kinda eye rolled like “kids, whatcha gonna with do?” when she turned around to see what all the fuss was about (pun intended). Much to my surprise, the lady behind the counter said “ok, ok…here ya go” and put a cookie my son’s mouth! I had half a mind to pull the cookie out of his mouth and threaten to put it up her anal cavity, but I refrained. Instead I stood there, speechless. This may not seem like too big of deal to anyone, especially people who don’t have children, but let me tell you, it was a big deal to me for a few reasons a.) Vincent is only 11 months old, in my opinion he is not old enough for the type of treat he was offered, and when I say offered I mean forced upon by the hand of a stranger, b.) I do not give my child any unnecessary sugar because he is a hyperactive baby, and I do not need anything emphasizing his already rambunctious behavior and c.) I do not want my son to learn that if he throws a fit for no reason whatsoever, he will be rewarded with a tasty, sugary treat. Even before I had a baby, and I think I’ve made it quite clear how ignorant and stupid I was about the whole baby thing, I always asked the mother quietly if I could offer her child a bite of food. I couldn’t believe this lady took it upon herself to shove a cookie in my child's mouth without so much as gesturing to me if I would be okay with it.

I was disturbed. And I put my change right back in my jeans pocket instead of the glass tip jar on the counter.

I was reluctant to share what I’m about to spill, but here it goes! I am on day four of no cigarettes. My reasons for wanting to omit this information are because my family didn’t even know that I started smoking again, and they still don’t. I guess this will be a true test to see if they really read my blog! Also, I happen to be deeply ashamed about my smoking and I have never openly admitted to random strangers, even some friends, that I smoked. See, I use to be smoker. From the ages of about 13 to 23, I smoked about a pack a day. I know, I know, 13 years old? A little young, eh? Yes! Someday I will both impress and sadden you with my old bad girl antics, when I have 4 days straight to recall it all. You will feel very sorry for my mother, trust me. Anyways, since Vincent was planned pregnancy, I quit smoking about six months before I even started trying to get pregnant, to make sure my body was in tip top shape. And besides the occasional smoke with a cocktail (not while I was pregnant DUH!), I had been a non-smoker, and it felt great. I never ever ever ever thought I’d do back to it.

It’s a slippery fucking slope, that nicotine slope! The occasional cocktail smoke turned into the occasional smoke with my friends who smoked, which later turned into the “I’ve had such a crazy, busy day, I need a cigarette to unwind” smoke. The next thing I know, I am buying cigarettes and smoking just to smoke. I was embarrassed. I was washing my hands and brushing my teeth 7 times a day so no one would smell the smoke on me. I found myself watching the clock, waiting for Vincent to take his nap so I could go outside and smoke. I was too busy hoping he’d fall asleep that I wasn’t even enjoying him while he was awake. I got fed up with the bullshit and so last Thursday, I told myself NO MORE! YOU’RE DONE! YOU ARE NOT A SMOKER! YOU ARE A MOM! Not that you can’t be both, and be a perfectly nice mom, but not me. I become agitated and annoyed easily when I’m smoking. I don’t wear it well, plain and simple, and I was pissed off at myself for allowing myself to start down my old unhealthy path. So Friday morning I woke up with the flu. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly!! I felt like such shit, I couldn’t even think about smoking a cigarette without running towards the toilet. So, on Saturday, I was feeling a little better, but still queasy so cigarettes weren’t really on my mind. Sunday, I felt 100% better but I had just gone two days with no nicotine. I told myself, if you can do two days, just keep going! I am nearing the completion of my fourth straight day of not smoking and I feel great. No, I feel fantasical!

I feel better getting that off my chest. Thank you blogosphere! And sorry Mom!

"Ew, cigs are, like, so gross!"

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Who are you calling a wean-er?

Sunday Fun-day. Ok, so maybe we didn't get to do anything "fantasical" as I had originally hoped for, but we did have a good day. I felt expidetiously better today. Brand new. It's amazing, when you are getting over a horrible sickness, it just disappears as quickly as it surfaced and then it's like you can hardly remember how terrible you felt. I had my energy back, my spirits were high, and I was ready for some fresh air and sunshine. And I got both. However, I did get wind, very much unwelcomed wind that seems to be plaguing the central coast. But it barely put a damper on my mood. Anthony, Vincent and I ate clam chowder down by the water at our favorite local spot; he had beer and I had a root beer. In another post, that will be completed in a weeks time, I will explain the reason for my root beer, wait...what was I saying?

Oh ya! After our "beers" and chowder we strapped Vincent in his backpack and we walked the Embarcadero, window shopped, shop-shopped, and enjoyed looking out at the ocean, something that becomes so easy to take for granted, having lived next to it your whole life. But on certain days, days like this, you take it in, enjoy the moment, refresh yourself in its scent. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I had been on lockdown in my 2 bedroom house for over two days and any slight touch of the outside world would have made my insides tingle. Whatever it was, it was a nice day.

I have made a decision today as well. I am no longer planning on putting an immediate end to Vincent's breastfeeding extravaganza. Of course, I don't want a 2 year sucking away all night and day, I have decided that I will not abruptly deprive him of something he loves so much. I have thought long and hard about this. I am nearing his first birthday and I never really thought that I would get that sentimental and sad over his entering his toddler years, but I think I just might. There will come a time, probably much sooner than I realize, where Vincent won't even want to hug me in public or let me kiss those gorgeous Shiloh Jolie-Pitt lips. Right now is the only time for me to enjoy this closeness. Breastfeeding has brought us so close together and I don't think I'm ready to say goodbye just yet.

Check back in a few days. If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm ridiculously indecisive.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sick Days

I am officially gliding down the tail end of a nasty flu bug. Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, I was awoken by an overwhelming feeling of nausea and a 102 degree fever. I hadn’t felt so weak and sick in I don’t even know how long! Luckily, my mom had the day off and offered to take Vincent all day. No one has ever taken Vincent all day long. Although I was relieved by her offer, I thought, NO WAY! Sure, he’ll hang for a couple hours but then he’s going to be screaming for his one and only mommy! Well, I was wrong. He did wonderfully for my mother. Granted, she brought him back home to nurse and so he could nap in his own crib, but he spent most of the day away from me and he was just fine. I know I needed it, and so I was thankful, but it also made me a bit sad. I couldn’t believe he could just go about his day without me, like it was no thing.

Now, today, my husband is home and has taken the lead with Vincent. I feel much better, but I am not 100% and I could probably benefit from a little more rest. But I miss my little man. This is probably the most time I have spent away from him in his whole little life. I am legitimately having Vinnie withdrawals!! Gee, mom, cut the cord….he’s almost one!!

Yesterday’s diet consisted of two popsicles and 6 Advil, so apparently, I am making up for lost time by stuffing my face with everything from French toast to Nachos. I would like to write more but what I really want to do is go lay on the couch while Anthony has Vincent on an outing. I am hoping to feel even better tomorrow and do something fantasical with the fam….hopefully!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ignorance Is Bliss


Anthony: Hello

Me: Hi.

Anthony: How is your day going?

Me: Oh, fine, I guess. But your son is the most stubborn human being I've ever encountered! I mean, it's like, he refuses to wear hats, refuses to wear bibs and stains all of his clothes, refused to take a bottle, screams bloody murder when I change his clothes. I mean, really, he has got to be the most opinionated, stubborn child in the universe!

Anthony: Gee, I wonder where he gets that from?

Me: I know, right?!

Secret Mommy Woes

I have come to the distressing conclusion that I will have a five year old boy who will wake up numerous times a night to crawl into bed with mommy and suck on her boob. Who will follow me around, tugging on my pants leg, begging for a boob. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I am no where near a future where my boobs belong to me, and only me, and are no longer the object of desire for anyone – well I guess maybe my husband, but I’m guessing that once these bad boys are no longer filled with ample milk and in turn become deflated water balloons that sag towards my belly button, he will not be quite as interested in them as he once was. Here’s to hoping!

I am at an absolute loss of what to do with this whole weaning thing. Where do I even begin? I’m done. I am 100% done with this breastfeeding thing. Don’t misunderstand me; it has been an extraordinary bonding experience. There have been countless smiles and giggles when I look down at my son, sucking his little heart out, with those huge eyes staring back at me. It has been a marvelous experience, one I will always look back on fondly. Blah Blah Blah. But I have been exclusively breastfeeding for nearly a year now, with no bottle breaks, and I am spent. I am ready for a night away with my husband to a romantic hotel. I am ready to go out to dinner with my girlfriends without having to worry that my child is at home crying, feigning for a nursie. I have given up a lot to be a breastfeeding mother, and I do not regret it, but I am ready to have that little part of me back. I vow to make this happen. But again, I don’t know where to begin! Any advice is warmly welcomed! This is one of the few times where I ask for advice, so if you have any, I’m all ears!

Another secret, looming fear I have is that my son will never walk. Yes, I know he is only 11 months old and it is universally acceptable for children to not walk until they are even 15 months old. But I can’t help it! I’m worried my son will be 2, crawling around on the floor looking up at everything around him and not being a part of that great big world up there. Of course there is that hidden rational self somewhere deep down in me that knows he is completely normal, but my typical irrational self can’t help but wonder “will this child ever walk?” It doesn’t help when every Joe, Moe & Sally that I see in the grocery store always manages to mention “oh, so he must be walking now.” Well no, apparently my 11 month old non-walking son is just plain slow. Thank you. I used to be guilty of this kind of shit, too; always asking people if their baby was crawling or talking. But before I had Vincent my knowledge of babies was, well, non-existent. I had never changed a diaper or babysat once in my life. So when I asked the lady with a 3 month old if he was saying mama, or the lady with a 6 month old if she was walking, I probably came across as more ignorant and stupid than offensive. But I’ve made a secret promise to myself to never ask a mother if her child is doing this or doing that, because if any mother is like me, and they have to say “no, he doesn’t do that yet”, it deep down makes them feel like shit. So for anyone out there reading this, whether you have children or not, just don’t ask! Let them be the ones to proudly announce to everyone, even strangers at the grocery store (because they will) “My son is walking!! My son is talking!! THANK THE MOON AND THE STARS MY CHILD IS NORMAL!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Food for Thought

Regardless of how often I may bitch/complain/vent what-have-you, sometimes it takes one story to put it all in perspective. While browsing through other mommy blogs today, I came across a gorgeous mother of three, who had the tragic experience of losing a baby. Her story was beyond gut-wrenching & humbling. Sure, there may be tough days that come along with motherhood, but you have to remember those small little things, that somehow make it all worthwhile....

like our evening baths together. Something I'll always fondly look back, always remember, always cherish, no matter what.