Thwarted Plans

When things don’t go as planned.

So often we make plans, and somehow, we’re surprised when these plans are thwarted. Whether by our own decisions or the result of someone else’s decisions, things don’t go how we thought they would. Either way an unrealized dream or an unexpected change in our path can be very upsetting, sometimes heartbreaking. I have realized that the source of my depression lies in this space. Whether my father committing suicide, and changing the course of my childhood, or the choices I made in my early twenties as a result of so much anger and confusion that led me to drink and drive and put myself and others at risk, to becoming a mom and not immediately falling in love with being a mom and my new baby that I couldn’t wait to meet.

Dreams and Depression.

This last week I was hit with a smaller version of that, something that would forever change things. For the past year I have been working hard to get in shape and attempt my first sprint triathlon. As part of my road to recovery after my third round of depression, my therapist and I had talked about my dreams and things that I wanted to do. Part of what makes a dream a dream, is pursuing something you thought you never could. Competing in a triathlon is definitely one of those.

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How fitness affects our body.

I’ve never been athletic, I’ve never played in sports, but I’ve loved to swim, and after I gave birth to my son I began running. My pregnancy with my daughter was one for the books. It put me through the ringer, and I spent 16 months in physical therapy with limited abilities to work-out. After I finished my PT, I decided working out had to be a priority not just for my physical health, but my mental health. I know that not being active during that time definitely sustained if not worsened my depression. I needed to set a goal and baby step my way there. I spent 9 months working my butt off, getting in shape and making my health a priority. When I finally felt in shape I began running and the first time I ran I had a terrible knee injury and spent weeks with a swollen knee. I brushed it off and visited the chiropractor and thought surely there was a solution and I just needed to baby step my way even in running. I tried running again and the same thing happened, a swollen knee, that left me hurting and day to day activities were painful. Finally, I got up the courage to make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon and what he told me was gut wrenching. He said Sara you have the knee of a 62-year-old and you can never run again. You need to change your entire work-out program, you need only engage in low-impact activities, limited squats, and lunges.

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My anger could lead to more depression.

My world was rocked. I haven’t cried that hard, been that angry in a long time. I yelled, I screamed I hit the wall, both literally and figuratively. How could this be? In the past year I have changed my life drastically, put my health as my number one priority, worked hard, and made life long changes. I was devastated. I could see the fear in my husband’s eye, he was scared this would send me back…..back there. You know the lowest of low. Hopelessness. While things weren’t going how I planned, I rejoiced in my external anger. I know that may sound silly, but my anger was a victory. A victory that I was expressing not repressing my emotions.

I could see the fear in my husband’s eye, he was scared this would send me back…..back there.

I was deeply disappointed, things WILL forever change, but I’m still determined to reach my goal, it may not be on my timeline (my 40thbirthday), and yes, it may be different, but I can still fulfill it.  I now begin a new journey of pursuing fitness with an injury and getting to focus on my favorite part nutrition. This mama loves to be in the kitchen. So, while I won’t be competing in this year’s Spa Girl Tri and there will need to be adjustments in my work-out routine, I’m not giving up or throwing in the towel. The road did not end it just took a new turn.

Here’s to seeing where that turn will take me,

Sara

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

 

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

 

My first attempt at a Vlog, (yes that is a word), sharing a little bit about my journey with Hope and Laughter, and the things that I have struggled with whether through faith, writing, fitness, diet, pretty much all of it.

 

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Am I not enough?

Why did I need help? What was so hard? The puzzling looks on their faces haunted me, and the guilt ate away at me. Why couldn’t I do it? Why was it so hard? Why could these other mom’s do so much and why could I only do so little? Why did I need a break from my kid? Was there something wrong with me? Did I not love my kid? It’s amazing the guilt we carry, and the judgment that we feel for doing what’s best for us because it doesn’t fit into the little box that our world has told we must fit into.

I was blown away at how hard being a mom is and how much work and most importantly how restricting. At the time Mark and I lived downtown and went on dates every weekend, and walked anywhere and everywhere. All that changed when I had Zeke, I learned the importance of drive-thru’s and that carrying that huge car seat everywhere was literally a pain. I needed a babysitter to get my hair done, and needed to check with Mark’s schedule for a girls’ night. The days of my independence were gone.

I needed a real break, but I was terrified to admit it. I mean I quit my job, I didn’t work, I was now a stay at home, bringing no money to the table, and I needed a break? This was embarrassing and what I felt like was a complete reflection on me and my inadequacies. By the time Zeke was nine months, the ddoctors finally realized I had post-partum depression and out of that Mark and I agreed to get me some help. Fortunately, I had a friend who only needed her nanny a couple of days ago, so we did a nanny share. Four hours, two times a week. It wasn’t a lot but it changed my life. I was able to run errands, in half the amount of time, I usually did. I had time to do things like Bible Study, and have lunches with friends, I developed a whole new set of friendships because of those few hours a week alone. I was a better mom for it. I was happier and nicer, and couldn’t wait to come home to Zeke. The best part was Zeke loved his time with Marcie, and Marcie became a part of our family. The way she played with Zeke was amazing, and they played non-stop. He was just as excited to see Marcie come over as I was.

At the end of the day we have to realize that what works for us as individuals, helps us be better mom’s, wives and friends. We can’t allow our insecurities to prevent us from doing what’s best. We can’t allow the judgment, or the shame we feel because of how others react determine our choices. We have to take control of our lives and our families lives and do what’s best for them, not what looks good to everyone else.

The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8(NLT)

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It’s More than Just the Baby Blues…

Close to 1,000,000 suffer from postpartum each year and that’s only the reported cases. Close to 10% of women don’t even report feelings of postpartum because of fear or shame. In fact, more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses this year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. (postpartumprogress.org, http://postpartumprogress.org/2011/02/how-many-women-really-get-postpartum-depression/).

So with all these statistics out there, how come no one talks about it? I was diagnosed with  postpartum depression after I had my first child and it was gut wrenching and heartbreaking. I think the biggest struggle was the fact that it went undiagnosed for so long. There is so much emphasis on the care of the pregnant mom and the unborn baby, but as soon as you have your child, the care becomes virtually nonexistent. You see your OBGYN two weeks after delivery as a check in, but let’s be honest, who is thinking clearly at this time? No one. I didn’t sleep for 72 hours after I had Zeke. I was hyped up on adrenaline and anxiety. I had no idea what I was doing. The reality is no one has any idea what they are doing, but very few will admit that. All the sudden you are responsible for this tiny human being, that you know nothing about, that cries A LOT that needs to be fed constantly, and demands all of your attention. Even if someone tries to explain it to you, you just don’t get it until you experience it yourself.  The transition from working full time and being quite independent to quitting my job, feeling very isolated and now responsible for a whole other life who I didn’t really feel connected with was much harder than I thought.

Many doctors chalk up how you are feeling to baby blues, lack of sleep or hormones. The reality is if you don’t feel like yourself, and your baby is more than two weeks old, go and talk to a doctor. I had a history of depression, which my doctor was aware of, and I was still told that I didn’t have it. Well newsflash I had postpartum depression and unfortunately I went undiagnosed for close to nine months. I went to several medical professionals before someone really listened to me and heard me out. The thing I learned from this whole experience is the only who will fight for you is you.

You aren’t the first mom, who hasn’t immediately taken to being a mom, postpartum or not, you aren’t the first mom to struggle, you aren’t the first mom to feel alone, you’re not the first mom to say this is a lot harder than I thought it’d be and nor will you be the last.

I had the opportunity to speak about my struggles with postpartum depression through an amazing organization called http://www.fearlessmom.com I shared my story, in a roundtable discussion with a therapist who specializes in anxiety and depression as well as the head of Fearless Mom and another mom.

I hope this talk sheds some light on what you are going through or what you have overcome, and please if you know someone who you think needs help, reach out and encourage them. We are all in this together.

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