Friday, January 2, 2015

12 in 2014

Because I only ever do linkups. And this is just pictures, not links to popular posts like other fancy people are doing. My kid doesn't sleep enough for fancy blogging.


I should really put one of the very pretty pictures of Tad's baptism here, but it's my summary post and I'll do what I want. ;) January was when I really started to feel like we might be okay. My SSRIs had started to kick in and Tad had finally started to follow a curve on the growth chart after falling down it like a stone in the first 5 weeks and I finally got a rogue piece of zombie placenta dealt with. 

Babywearing was a huge, huge part of the general feeling better. My postpartum anxiety was so bad that I'd feel like I was going to have a panic attack every time I held the baby--or was in the same room, or thought about him. It was bad. Babywearing was my version of exposure therapy, like people do with phobias. Gradually, having him sleep peacefully next to my heart while I walked around doing whatever helped me grow accustomed to him--helped me fall back in love with him.


I started cloth diapering even though the one-size pockets were still comically large on my 10-pound baby. More importantly, I started processing a lot of my feelings about the whole postpartum experience. Very few people got it. I stopped talking about it (due to people not getting it) but didn't really stop processing. I thought it would never feel better. (Almost another year later, it still hurts, but it is better. I can now imagine someday being okay about how it all went down, even if I'm not yet.)


I started to feel like things were actually going in the right direction as far as balancing motherhood and the rest of my life went. Scott started going into the office regularly again instead of working from home most of the time, and (thanks to the wonder of babywearing) I could buy groceries and do chores and check Facebook. I had friends. I started weaning off the aforementioned SSRI. (I had logical reasons for this.) Tad was old enough that he could interact with us and play with his toys and roll around on his little play gym mat for a while. There were still many, many bad days, but I figured there would be fewer bad days as we went on.

(This was not entirely true. Looking back, I think 3-6 months might be my favorite baby age. Around 6 months we got hit with teething/mobility/separation anxiety and it hasn't let up since and to be honest I'm not much more competent at life than I was when my baby was 3 months old. *sigh*)


I had a quiet blogging month. I was dealing with SSRI withdrawal and the baby's tongue and lip tie revisions (which were about 50% successful, ultimately) and I think I was just kind of burnt out on talking about my troubles.


...and then I realized just how good I'd had it in the springtime. May was a busy, busy month. Scott had schola practice (they were singing for high school graduation), we celebrated our first Mother's Day with an extrauterine baby, Tad started crawling and got his first tooth and STOPPED SLEEPING EVER. (Now he walks and has ten teeth and still doesn't sleep.)


Tad started solids and learned to sit up without support and I attempted to cope with his sleeplessness by learning back carries. It didn't really work well. (We had a few passably good attempts, like the one above, but Tad got bigger and wigglier before it really clicked for me and eventually I abandoned the effort.) I went back to therapy, having weaned completely off those SSRIs and not wanting to go crazy again as a result. I also attempted to start exercising regularly, which didn't really pan out. I was constantly exhausted but also started to feel nostalgic for Tad's newborn days and sad about how fast he was growing up.


I obsessively documented every bite of food that crossed my child's lips. He still wasn't a big fan of solids at that point so it wasn't actually very hard. I also went through another round of Processing My Feelings about the whole early postpartum period. I still didn't feel better. I started trying to pray again.


Tad decided he liked food. I decided I didn't need to document every bite that crossed his lips. We did a lot of babyproofing. Tad learned sign language.


I was hormonal and crazy (in spite of the baby's still-constant nursing). The baby started actually talking. We discovered that we could keep him entertained at Mass if we brought books.


We started hunting for a new apartment. I had a few nervous breakdowns and Scott sort of took over the apartment hunting. He ended up finding us a very awesome place. I started using the term "high needs" in reference to the baby.


The baby slept so terribly that Scott hid the leftover Halloween candy from me in the hopes that Tad would sleep better without any trace caffeine in his diet. (I found the candy eventually but still rationed it out.) We had sickness and birthdays (at the same time) and waited forever for our new apartment to be ready. Then we moved all our worldly possessions from Point A to Point B in less than a week. I had a few more nervous breakdowns, but at the same time started to slowly feel like I was moving on from how traumatizing the end of 2013 was.


I had a doctor's appointment and went on supplemental progesterone to hopefully solve the pesky problem I was having of spending a week out of every month wishing I could step in front of the nearest bus. (I didn't tell you about that, did I?) We had all sorts of unexpected financial windfalls, including an incident wherein the car broke down but didn't actually cost anything to fix. We celebrated Christmas. We were sick pretty much the entire month and had all sorts of stressful stuff happen that I'm not even going to go into right now.


I wish I had a cute conclusion for this post. I don't. It's been a really hard year. There have been some awesome moments, but the year overall was full of being completely exhausted and having to actively manage my fragile mental health and basically just surviving. Here's hoping that I'll have better things to say about 2015.

Edited to add: See Dwija for more photos. Duh.


Melanie Bettinelli said...

This takes me back to how hard Bella's first year was. It was so very tough. She didn't sleep. She was high needs. I can see that now that I have a reasonable sample size to compare her to. I agree that 3-6 months is a sweet spot. I do think it gets easier. With Lucy 18-24 months has been dreamy. Except for bouts of teething and sickness, she's sleeping and playing on her own without needing to be held all the time.

I hope and pray that it gets easier for you. May 2015 be 100% easier than 2014!

The Sojourner said...

Thanks. :)

I was just remembering the other day how you told me a few times that the baby swing saved your sanity when Bella was wee. I was so sad when J outgrew his swing. I still miss it. (It lives in my parents' attic now.)

Melanie Bettinelli said...

Yes! Being too big for the swing is a sad thing.

Sheila said...

What a rough year. I sure hope this coming year is better.

I have a friend taking progesterone for just that problem and I think so far it's helping her. Good luck with that.

The Sojourner said...

Thanks. :)

Nora Roisin said...

I don't know where to say this, but Tad is looking so old now. Some of the pictures make him look like a four-year-old- at least his face does. ^.^ I like hearing about different things he's learnt, and it's nice that you pay so much heed. Some mothers pay attention to other things, or something. I suppose it's your personality. But I like it, for a change.

The Sojourner said...

He does look so old! And I am glad you enjoy the tales of his doings. :)