Love and the Postpartum Body

I love my stretch marks. I am not kidding around. I do. I love them. In fact, I would even go as far as saying I love yours too. I love stretch marks. I love the beauty in them, and it makes me sad that more people don’t see the beauty in them as well.
It makes me sad to hear you say that you wish you could get rid of them. It makes me sad to hear you say that you will never be able to show your tummy in public again. It makes me sad to see you so self conscious of them. It makes me sad that society tells us that stretch marks are imperfections. Blemishes. Seriously? How is the evidence of something so amazing a blemish?

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My belly right now, 4 months after giving birth to our fourth baby

It makes me sad when women are comparing their stretch marks and its a competition to see who has the ‘worst’ marks. Using words like bad, horrible, disgusting to describe stretch marks makes me see red. We should admire each others stretch marks the way we admire each others hairstyles. Everyone’s marks are as unique to them as their hair is.
Stretch marks are beautiful. Every single one of those lines on your body is beautiful. The ones on your arms, your boobs, your belly, hips, thighs, calves… Each and every one of them.

Stop fretting about getting your ‘pre baby body’ back. You won’t. You can’t. Your body, like your heart, will never ever be the same. You can lose the weight, you can tone the muscles, but your body will forever be changed. Forever. Embrace it. Accept it.

Those stretch marks are like laugh lines. They tell your story. They tell of the love that grew within you. Look at them and remember. Remember the wiggles, the kicks. The first time you heard that sweet sound of your babies heartbeat. Remember the first time you seen that little alien looking thing on the ultrasound screen.

Those marks tell of your body growing and accommodating a little human. They tell of the amazing thing your body created.
I beg you, please stop looking at your stretch marks in disgust. Stop viewing them as something to be hidden or modified. Stop searching the internet for ways to get rid of them. Stop viewing other women’s stretch marks enviously or in pity. Embrace the beauty. Please.

Love, hugs, and more to come later
Lynn

Wait… what’s the date?

Anyone else notice that October is almost over? Anyone else caught totally off guard by this? Or is just me? It could be me. 

The last couple of weeks, I have been feeling like myself again. The new birth control pills combined with the multivitamin, combined with being more active combined with a very in depth conversation with hubs have all created a more normal feeling Lynn. It’s a great feeling. I have been more productive, more hands on with the boys, a better wife. You know. Just better. Then I noticed Christmas is coming. And Bitter Lynn started showing herself again. 

It’s not that I don’t like Christmas. Quite the opposite. I absolutely love and adore Christmas. I love Christmas shopping (I already have all my lists made, and a good chunk of the shopping done, and the stuff I am making homemade is almost done too!) I love wrapping presents, I love donating whatever I can, I love the stories (ALL holiday stories.) I love decorating, I love being with family, I love the lights, the food, the ambiance of it all. I seriously LOVE Christmas. 

It’s the family part that I am struggling with. This year is going to be the second year in a row that we can’t go to Winnipeg to celebrate Christmas with my family. (It’s a $3000 trip, and we just don’t have the money after already having made two trips out this year) And for me this is really really hard for a lot of reasons. 

First off, it’s my family. My parents, brothers, aunt, uncles, grandparents, cousins etc that I won’t get to see and celebrate with. I am very close to my family and me living out here has been hard. I hate not being able to spend the holidays with them. 

Now. Staying in New Brunswick shouldn’t be that bad. Hubs family is all here. But, if you remember, they tend to pick favorites among my kids. (You can read about that here if you missed it) And I hate it. Alex’s birthday is 4 days after Christmas. He is going to be three guys! THREE!!!… Anyways. His birthday is 4 days after Christmas and last year he got some of his birthday gifts with his Christmas gifts. This pisses me right off. His birthday and Christmas are TWO DIFFERENT HOLIDAYS. But that isn’t really my point. If the people who didn’t acknowledge Nick’s first birthday are going to acknowledge Alex’s third birthday I am going to lose my mind. It’s not that I don’t want Alex to be celebrated, but I want ALL my kids to be celebrated by their family. It’s not about the birthday gifts. It’s about acknowledging your grandchild. (Or niece/nephew) Have I mentioned that none of Hubs brothers have met Zoey? Yea. Why do I want to spend the holidays with these people? Unfortunately, I have no choice but to put on a smile and pretend it’s all rainbows and butterflies. I got my way with not seeing his family at Thanksgiving and I am not even going to attempt to dissuade Hubs from seeing his family at Christmastime. It’s not like we actually see them Christmas Eve or Christmas Day anyways. They are far too busy those days for us.

I am trying not to let those feelings overpower the excitement I normally have about Christmas. After all, Alex is old enough now to REALLY GET IT and Nick is getting there. And it’s Zoey’s first Christmas! Our home is going to be full of warmth and love! And Christmas crafts!! We just did some pretty awesome Halloween ones that I am going to post tomorrow or the next day!

If you have any ideas for Preschool/Toddler friendly Christmas crafts I would LOVE to hear them! (I can’t believe I am calling Alex a preschooler!)

Love, hugs and more to come later!
Lynn 

It’s been awhile… here’s why…

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I can’t even begin to explain how much coffee I have had in the last week or so. Coffee soothes me. It wakes me up, it calms me down. It’s my addiction. Here’s why.

When it rains it pours. This seems especially true right now. I keep meaning to post, but then when I start writing it all comes out sounding so negative that I don’t want to post anymore. Well, today I decided to post anyways. And if it sounds super negative, oh well. It’s my life.

Now I know that some people have it way worse than I do, and I count myself lucky that I have the things I do, and that my life is as great as it is. This is not a woe is me, pity me post. It’s just how my life has been lately.

First off, after I had Zoey, my Dr put me back on the birth control pill I was on after Nick since it was so effective after having Nick. Turns out, it wasn’t so effective this time around. It was making my postpartum depression and anxiety worse. I didn’t even realize that it was having a negative effect on me until I was taken off of it. (I was taken off of it since I was getting a period every 2 weeks lasting 10 days and then, since I was off it for 10 days before starting a new one, I noticed how much more stable I was feeling) I am desperately hoping the new pills work better with the postpartum than the other ones did. I need to be on the pill!

On top of dealing with hormones and emotions, I switched the kids over to cloth diapers. Now, getting started costs money. So I needed to start small. I had a friend who was selling 21 diapers, I didn’t have the money upfront to buy them but her and I worked out an agreement so that I could get them from her and pay her back over time. So right now I have Alex and Nick in cloth 99% of the time. (The other 1% is when the laundry isn’t quite done and I need to stick them in a disposable for a little bit) I have to do diaper laundry once a day right now to keep up with them. And I can’t wait until some more of my diapers come in. Zoey is still in disposables 100% of the time. One, because I don’t have enough cloth for 3 of them. And two, because I bought her a giant box of diapers and I don’t want to lose money on them so we figure we might as well go through them while we are waiting for the rest of my diapers to come in. I am loving the cloth diapers, even though it is a little more work. Nick’s rash has cleared up and hasn’t come back! This is super duper exciting to me. But this is where the one thing after another comes in.

I was in the basement on Monday doing laundry and I could hear what sounded like water running. This was confusing to me, since my washer was done and I was moving stuff to the dryer and to hang. I looked around and there was water running out of a pipe. (most of it was being caught in another pipe, for some reason there was an inch between the two pipes but I knew it shouldn’t be going through that fast as I would’ve seen it at some point in the last 2 years.)

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It was 9 at night on a holiday. So we decided it wasn’t an emergency and we would wait until morning to call housing. So the next morning I call housing and the plumber comes out and fixes it. Then I continue doing laundry. My dryer decides that the vent on the back is going to come unattached and not blow the air out of the house anymore. /sigh/ So I send Hubs down and he fixes it. Then it comes off again. So we go to the store and buy some metal thing (I wish I could explain it better… it’s almost like a zip tie only metal with a screw) like this:

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Yes I did need to Google that. So anyways. We got the dryer fixed. And it didn’t come apart again. But guess what? I went downstairs last night to do laundry. And there was a puddle of water under the washer. Seriously. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. It was 930 at night and Hubs said he would deal with it today.

On top of this. My kids have decided they don’t need to sleep. At least not at the same time. Zoey fights going to bed until almost 11, Alex wakes up at about midnight and is up constantly until almost 4 and Nick gets up for the day at 530.

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Love, hugs and more to come later!

Lynn

Helloooo Anxiety!

So I am sitting here on the couch while hubs puts the kids to bed and Zoey sleeps about 3 feet from me, thinking about doing laundry and I can feel my anxiety levels rising. Sounds kind of silly that my anxiety is rising over laundry, but let me finish and it will all (with any  luck) be clear that it’s not the laundry making me anxious, it’s the sorting and getting rid of stuff that is.

Zoey is officially out of her newborn sized clothes. And into 0-3 month sizes. So while I am folding laundry, all of her NB stuff is going into a box to be dropped off at a friend’s house tomorrow. Her stuff is going to a good home, I am not worried about it being taken care of. There is really no sentimental attachment to any of it. Most of it she only wore once. But. It means I am never going to dress any of my babies in those itty bitty clothes again 😥 (I don’t know if I mentioned it, but Hubs is going for his vasectomy in August, and barring some absurd twist of fate, we are done producing offspring!) My babies are growing up fast. And that makes me sad. I want to hold onto her

The real anxiety strikes though when I am boxing up my maternity clothes. I have pre pregnancy clothes that fit me (most of the ones from pre-Zoey do and some are even getting too big on me!) So it’s not that I won’t have anything to wear. But.. has anyone ever notice how awesomely maternity pants hide the little bubbly pooch of stretched out skin that tends to just muffin top with normal pants? Am I the only one self conscious enough to even notice? I know that I should love my body for what it is, and what it has done, and most times I do. In fact, I even joined a Facebook group dedicated to loving the postpartum body! And, as people keep pointing out to me, I am only 1 month postpartum and I can’t seriously expect to have my pre-baby body back. But for some reason, having people be able to see that my body isn’t perfect is causing me a lot of distress. It seems like such a stupid thing to get anxious about, but it seems like there is so much emphasis on how we look that I can’t help but have it consume me.

I seriously thought about keeping a pair or two of maternity pants, but I can see my husband being curious about why I did, and somehow I don’t think my explanation about feeling too fat for normal clothes is going to cut it for him. (Don’t get me wrong he is an awesome guy, he just isn’t really into letting me allow my anxieties to control me, which I can rationally say they would be if I continued wearing maternity pants when I don’t need to be) I guess I can take this as extra motivation to eat healthy, exercise a little more, and drink more water. And of course, continue trying to embrace the pooch of stretched out skin as a memorial to the amazing things my body went through to bring my 3 gorgeous babies into the world!!

Love, hugs and more to come later!

Lynn

The Postpartum Life

This post is one I have been thinking about writing for a few days. I quite honestly don’t know where to start. After giving birth, your body changes. Fast. Drastically. In a big way. It’s overwhelming. It’s scary. It’s depressing. 

After I gave birth to Nick, Hubs went right back to work. He wasn’t going to take any parental leave. I could handle two kids on my own. It couldn’t be that different from having just Alex. I was wrong. Within a month Hubs was home with us. I couldn’t do it. (It takes a lot to admit this) Anytime the kids cried, I had anxiety attacks. If only one of them cried, no problem. But put them together and I shut down. Hubs came home one day to find the three of us sitting on the floor in the playroom crying. He’d noticed that there was something off with me since I had the baby, he just wasn’t sure what. He went on parental the next morning to give me the support I obviously needed at home, and sent me into my Dr to talk about what was happening. The Dr diagnosed me with mild postpartum depression and moderate postpartum anxiety. Hubs and I did some research, we talked, and we coped with it. I started taking birth control to help regulate my hormones. I started going out once a week to interact with people. I had an amazing photographer take boudoir photos of me (amazingly it helped. A lot. I started feeling better. Then we decided we wanted another baby.

When we made the decision to have a third baby, I was excited. I couldn’t wait. Things were going so great with our family, but I felt like something was missing in our lives. Once we made the decision we wanted another baby, we knew that we needed to talk about what we could do differently this time around to make the postpartum period easier. We talked for a long time about the circumstances around Nick’s birth. We realized we had a lot of negative people in our lives. I decided I needed to get those people out of my life. So I did. Anytime someone was super negative about our situation (for example, criticizing our choice to have a third baby) I removed them from my Facebook. I got my friends list down from over 200 people to 70 people. We were excited to be expecting Zoey and my pregnancy progressed.
Throughout my pregnancy, there were a few ‘episodes’ when I would have anxiety attacks, but overall I was controlling it well and I was optimistic that things were going to be better. I was over it. It went away. Turns out depression and anxiety don’t really just ‘go away’ they are always there. In the background. Watching. Waiting. For the opportunity to present itself. When I had Zoey, I felt great. The delivery was easy compared to the boys, my recovery was fast. But my body. It was so so so so so different. Even more different then when I had the boys. The stretch marks. The saggy-ness. It was depressing. I know that it won’t look like this forever, rationally. But my rational self is on a shelf that I can’t reach right now. Leaving me very irrational. Leaving me feeling anxious about things I shouldn’t feel anxious about. I know I don’t need to worry about what my body looks like. Stretch marks and saggy-ness is to be expecting after having a baby, especially after having 3 back to back babies. I mean, I’ve already lost 30 lbs. I am doing good for having just had Zoey 3 weeks ago.
My body isn’t the only thing causing me anxiety. There are other things too. Things that, rationally, I don’t need to be anxious about. But I can’t control it. At all. It consumes me. So it’s all I can think about. But I don’t doubt my parenting. I know I am a good Momma. I doubt how great of a wife I am being lately. I doubt a lot of things about myself. But never my role as a Mother. That’s gotta be an improvement right?
I am going to see the Dr later this week. I know there is something wrong and that I need help. Hubs and I have talked about it. And now I have made it even more real by writing it here. The reason I wanted to write this, is because after I had Nick and was going through this originally, I felt alone. Anxiety and depression seem to be taboo topics to talk about. They shouldn’t be. They are real. And the people who feel them are real too. And we all deserve to be listened to. I don’t feel so alone now, I have found a support system. And that helps. A lot.

Love, hugs, and more to come later

Lynn