Baby Lo’s Nursery

We recently bought a house and moved Lo into her very own nursery. Since her last room was barely larger than a walk-in closet, I took my time and had a lot of fun as I designed this room. I knew only one thing when I started: I wanted it to be BRIGHT!

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I chose a regal gray crib and dresser and accented with teal and pink colors. I found beautiful wall decals on Pinterest, and they are the focal point of the room, on the vast wall next to the crib. They were so easy to on and they are incredibly vibrant!

I added a pink shag rug from Target, which she loves to play and crawl on when she’s in her room. I also peppered the walls with wall decor and black out curtains from Target, bought during an impulse shopping trip early in the decorating process. They fit so well with the look I was seeking, it all just kind of came together in the aisles of the big red bullseye (doesn’t that always happen at Target?!)

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I snagged this white Pottery Barn changing table for $15 on an online yard sale. The convenient shelves hold pajamas, diapers, shoes and hairbows in teal and white striped storage boxes. Her toiletries, diapers, wipes and other such items are stored in the IKEA cart, which I assembled without the wheels.

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I hope you gleaned some nursery inspiration from Baby Lo’s nursery! With such a feminine and versatile look, she’ll be able to use this room and the look for years!

Link to the Half Order of Pink, Teal, Coral Graphic Flowers -Wall Decal Home Décor by Urban Walls” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Wall decals here!

Link to the crib: Graco Solano 4-in-1 Convertible Crib and Bonus Mattress, Pebble Gray“>Graco Bryson 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, Pebble Gray

Link to Dresser: Storkcraft Crescent 4 Drawer Chest, White“>Storkcraft Crescent 4 Drawer Chest, Grey


The War: Light

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This is the third blog post in a 5 part series called, The War. I invite you to read, empathize, understand, and share my story with others: new moms, especially. I am not ashamed of what you are about to read, but the stigma of post partum depression is very real and polarizing. Start the discussion with others. Join it if someone shares theirs with you. You are not alone.

Part One: Breaking Point
Part Two: Darkness

I can’t say that the sun shone for me in full force that first day I started feeling better. In fact, I was wary of it because of how dark I felt just twenty four hours before. About two weeks after beginning my medication, I started to get my mojo back. I was being creative and laughing at the nuances of life again. All of these things that I had forgotten were a part of my soul were starting to emerge again. Color returned to my face and people commented that I looked better. Happy, even.

During my time off, I had tried to be gentle with myself. I rested when I felt tired, and I went on walks with Lo around the neighborhood, and I ate what I wanted, and I took every single appointment with a therapist I could book. Because I needed accountability and reassurance. I needed to be told that I was going to be able to handle life again, even when I didn’t believe it to be true.

I asked for help from friends. I indulged in retail therapy. I cuddled my fat dog in bed, for lazy afternoon naps. I gave my mind a much-needed break. And what I found from this time was that I hadn’t been ready to go back to work at 9 weeks postpartum. I relished the time with Baby Lo now, 5 months old, smiling and laughing and cooing “mama”, napping on my chest, smiling at me with her beautiful blue eyes. She was much more therapy to my soul than anything else I encountered. She got me through it.

And for weeks of soulful rest and carb-eating and sunshine and fresh air, I started to feel incrementally better. I had energy! I could take on the day when I woke up in the morning. I looked forward to going back to work.  I could make logical plans without feeling utterly exhausted or overwhelmed; I believed that I could complete everything that I set out to do. I didn’t dread the night anymore. When Lo cried, I felt calm, rational and I could hold her and comfort her and tell her that it would be okay- because for the first time since she was born, I didn’t want to join her in crying hysterics.

And I shared my story. I told everyone who asked- friends, family and people on Facebook. I wasn’t looking for pity- I was looking for camaraderie. I knew I couldn’t have been the only one going through it: and I was right! So many people messaged me and commented and told me that they, too had dealt with perinatal mood disorders- anxiety, depression. Many had stories so close to mine- and they even said that they were afraid to talk about it out loud, just like me! I found a tribe of people, who I didn’t even know, who wrapped their arms around me in my time of need- who, in some ways, know my struggles better than my friends and family. Thank you, MLPC, for being there for me when I shared my story with you. Listening to your stories and hearing your words of encouragement helped me more than you’d ever know- and encouraged me to write this blog entry with such candor.

I still have days where the darkness seeps in, and I have to be kind to myself on those days. I have to know that not every day is going to be like it was before I became a mama; I’m not the person that I was before. And hopefully, someday I’ll be able to be better than I ever was.


The War: Darkness

dealing-with-1

This is the second blog post in a 3 part series called, The War. I invite you to read, empathize, understand, and share my story with others: new moms, especially. I am not ashamed of what you are about to read, but the stigma of post partum depression is very real and polarizing. Start the discussion with others. Join it if someone shares theirs with you. You are not alone.

Part One: Breaking Point

I arrived in Kansas City with Adam and Lo with little fanfare. I didn’t tell people I was coming back because I just wanted a few days to catch up on sleep and adjust to my new medication. I’d be back to new and I’d go home to conquer my life again in just six days.

The first thing I did was give up breastfeeding. While this was such a tough thing for me to do, I knew that I needed to focus on my mental health and it was causing me stress. Pumping and feeding- along with an unpleasant, depression-like milk letdown feeling, had me dreading every session. I cried at the thought of feeding my child formula. However, I knew that my window of opportunity was closing- I was rapidly approaching the point of no return with my mental health and I needed to grab the reins then.

But the new medication was too much; I was given something to bring back my appetite and help me sleep, that left me in a zombie-like state for 20 hours. I went to bed at 8 pm each night, with Adam and the baby following at 10 pm. It wasn’t like me- I’m usually the life of the party! Being with others refuels my spirit, not squashes it.

Lo still wasn’t sleeping, especially in the new environment. She wouldn’t sleep in the crib in our guest room, so most nights we struggled in the dark to make a bottle and squeeze her into the bed with us. Adam and I took turns, but I wasn’t getting any more rest in Missouri than I was Pennsylvania.

We returned home and all of the stressors we left behind came back in full force. I met with a post-partum specialist the first day back. I had chewed my nails down to nubs. I used practically a whole box of tissues on her desk that day.

I remember saying out loud, “I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that scares me, because that’s always been one of my best personality traits- positivity.” She looked at me and said, “You aren’t you right now. Your body and brain are under so much stress, you’re in survival mode.” She was right. But I didn’t feel like I was surviving, I felt like I was drowning.

She rallied the troops. She called my doctor and got me an emergency meeting the next day. She called another contact who checked in on me over the weekend. She encouraged me to call friends and ask for help. She text me throughout the weekend to make sure I was feeling okay, and re-assured me that I wasn’t alone.

This was the lowest I had ever felt in my life. I felt like a complete and utter failure. I had forgotten what it was like to feel good, to feel normal. I stayed in bed or on the couch while the dishes piled up and we ordered pizza. My little girl was the only thing that got me through these dark days.

How could I feel this way? I had a wonderful baby! Smart and sweet and pretty good (even without sleeping much!) It was hard to see Adam, who has always relied on me for strength, to see me like this. I could see the look of worry in his eyes, at one point patting a crying baby and me at the same time- telling us both that it would be okay. He said it to her because he meant it, he said it to me because he hoped it would be true. (More on Adam’s story here).

I became anxious as I got my return to work date. I didn’t want to go back. How would I handle it all again? I couldn’t even handle it while I was off every day, sleeping most of the day and not participating in much life activity. How could I do it all?

And then, one day, the sun started shining for me again. It wasn’t a full on sunshine, but it was enough to break through that cold, hard exterior I’d built around me the last few months. I felt my chest lighten a bit. I could breathe just a little easier.


The Battle

I’m writing this for all the mothers who will come after me, and for all of the mothers that came before me and felt too ashamed to speak up. For fear that it might make them look less capable, crazy, or less of the amazing mother that they are.

I am the mother of a beautiful, intelligent, perfect, three month old baby girl. I am also the wife of a wonderful, caring, kind husband who has epilepsy. I am also a working mom, a breastfeeding mom, and oftentimes, it feels that the entire world rests on my shoulders.

Since having my baby girl three months ago, I have struggled with the upheaval that has become my life. I have all of this energy running through my veins, but I have no motivation to get up. I cry at the drop of a hat, I have panic attacks. The only thing that brings me joy is my baby girl. But there are moments- when she is inconsolable, crying in my ear, that I feel that the world is closing in around me. My breath quickens, I feel sick and sad, I cry with her.

Once I was holding her in the kitchen, singing Baby Beluga to calm her, tears streaming down my face. Adam appeared behind me and took her from my arms, and I buckled over and cried. Why am I feeling this way? How can I fix it? How can I function as the wife, employee, and mother I need to be?

The day I first reached out for help- eight weeks post partum- I was met with odd resistance when I explained my panicky moments. My OB wouldn’t prescribe anything and referred me to a primary care doctor, which I didn’t have since moving here a year ago- I frantically called every doctor, psychiatrist and womens health center I could find, hyperventilating in my car while my baby slept soundly in her seat- tears streaming down my face. “Help me, please. I need to talk to someone.” Each one said the same thing: “We can’t get you in for three weeks.” It was only when I said the words out loud that I knew I couldn’t hold inside any longer, “I can’t make it three weeks. I need someone today.” That I was taken seriously.

When I began to share my story, mothers flocked to me and shared their own post-partum struggles. “It’s normal,” they said. “I went through it too.” In fact, nearly 85% of new moms experience some sort of post partum mood disorder, but we don’t talk about it! We don’t know what to say to each other to help each other out, because it makes us seem less of a “put together” person- someone who is struggling emotionally when they have everything in the world to live for- how selfish can you be, so worried about nothing!

When you’re in the hormonal bubble, it’s hard to see outside the walls of it. It’s hard to explain it to your mom, or your best friend, or your partner. Some days, you just exist. Some days you stare at your computer and do your work and keep your head down, feigning a smile when a co-worker asks how you’re doing. At the end of the day, you race home to see your baby- the only thing that brings you joy. And for a few hours, everything is okay.

We need to erase the stigma that comes with post-partum mood disorders. You’re not alone; I’m not alone. The transition back to work is hard, the transition into motherhood is hard- but so incredibly worth it. I’m a work in progress. I’m a career woman chasing my dreams- while juggling a marriage, a household, my mental health- and my new, perfect, baby girl.