How to Survive Flying with a Baby

I’ve been absent from the blog this past week, as you may have noticed. But I’m baaack! The reason for my absence is that we we traveled to California to visit my family, which was a blast! After my experience, here are my tips for flying with an infant! (Little man is 9 months old at the moment, so that is what I am drawing my experience from currently!) So let’s jump right in!

Clothes for the baby

Bring extra, for sure! Prepare for any possible disaster! On the way back, we had a major poop explosion once we had landed. As in the up-to-the-shoulder-blades-down-to-the-ankles kind of explosion! While it was a disaster, thank goodness it wasn’t on the plane! We had 3 extra outfits because I figured there was no way we would possibly need that many, but 2 didn’t seem like enough. Be sure to bring a plastic bag to contain possible poop explosions as well. I also like these for the changing tables. Also bring them a light jacket just in case they get cold.

Clothes for you

What should you wear? Something light weight, one layer if you can manage it. If you are concerned about being cold, bring a sweater or hoodie but something that has a zipper or buttons because it is much easier to take on and off. On the way to California, I was wearing a sweater that I couldn’t take off and I was so hot! It is surprising how warm you can get holding a baby. They are adorable little heaters! I also recommend a long shirt so that you don’t need to worry about pulling it up or down to maintain your modesty. With carrying a baby around, it will probably ride up, so the extra fabric will come in handy! Also, wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off. This is always a good idea for going through security, but when you are trying to wrangle your little munchkin…it’s just one less thing to worry about.

Food for the baby

Our little guy isn’t eating anything other than mushy baby foods and formula yet. We LOVE the little grabbers that have baby food in them, they are AWESOME and super convenient. I would still have them wear a bib while they eat those to avoid them getting food all over their clothes.

Disclosure: These are affiliate links. This means that if you click one of the links and purchase something, I will get a small commission at no cost to you. I only recommend products I use and love! This helps me keep my blog going.

We also love these for storing pre- measured formula. They are much easier to use and way less messy than a tupperware container.

We weaned at 6 months so we were using formula for the trip (You can read about my breastfeeding journey here), but while I was breastfeeding I really loved this nursing cover. It is super awesome because it wraps all the way around.  It allows for more modesty than the traditional over the front apron style ones. No one can see your back when you pull your shirt up, and a flailing baby can’t flash your boobs at everyone. (Plus it doubles as a car seat cover!)

As for food for you…it’s vacation, treat yourself! (Treat. Yo. Self. Best show ever!)

Entertainment for the baby

You know that thing that calms them down, that entertains them for forever, and they can’t get enough of? Bring it! For my little man, that is books, and his stuffed owl. He also really loved the safety booklet!

Don’t bring toys that roll away if they are dropped. If you do, save those for the wait at the airport, and don’t get them out on the plane.

Loading and Unloading

If you drove yourself and need to park your car, and if you are lucky enough to have come with someone else; one of you should drop the other off with the baby and most of the luggage. The other one should park the car and walk over or take the shuttle back to meet you with the rest of the stuff. If it is just you, don’t be afraid to ask for help! The employees are mostly utilized for security, but they are more than willing to help you as well. Chances are they will offer if they see you struggling, but you don’t need to wait for them to volunteer to help you out. You will likely need some assistance, so don’t be shy about asking for it.

Checked Baggage

Most airlines will allow you to check one stroller and one car seat per child free of cost. We checked the car seat with the rest of our checked baggage, and they allowed us to check the stroller at the gate, just like they do with wheelchairs and walkers. This was nice because we could use it in the airport! We put the baby’s clothes in my husband’s suitcase, and his miscellaneous baby supplies in my suitcase. This was easier than paying for an extra bag, or carting around an extra bag at the airport.

Security

Everyone looooves going through TSA. It is definitely an even extra dose of fun with a baby. (Be sure to read the previous sentence with heavy sarcasm and eye rolls). They will need to check all of the baby’s food that will be on your carry on, so have it easily accessible in your bag so you can pull it out. Baby food/formula/breast milk is exempt from the standard limits for liquids.

You may need to have a birth certificate for your child if they are young enough to be seated on your lap for the flight. Children under the age of 12 do not need to remove their shoes or jackets while you go through security. They do need to be taken out of carriers while you walk through the metal detector. I definitely smelled poop in my little guys diaper on our way in, so I just pressed on and changed him once we had passed all the way through.

The Actual Flight

We brought a blanket, because our baby goes to sleep more willingly if I cover him with a blanket. We also brought lots of binkies, because he loves his binky and it really helps baby’s ears pop with the changing altitude. Plus if one drops, (airports are definitely not the cleanest…) you have extras! Feeding them a bottle works to soothe their ears as well.

When I was a kid, my parents would give us lollipops to suck on during the flight to help our ears. For older kids that is an option!

There you have it, my tips for flying with an infant! What have your experiences been with traveling with babies? Let me know in the comments below!

When You Hate Someone (And you have no idea why!)

Do you ever meet someone, and you just don’t like them, or even hate them? You can’t put your finger on it, but there is just something about them that doesn’t sit well with you. (Credit for the lovely photo below goes to my fantastic friend Davina!)

I am a big believer in the fact that we are in charge or our own happiness, and that includes how we perceive the world, and our interactions with others. This is the same reason why I try not to let it bother me when someone treats me poorly, because it says way more about them than it does me. But guess what this means? If you meet someone and you don’t like them, it is very possible that it is on you.

Here are some reasons why you might be feeling negatively about someone you have just met!

Transference

Let’s start with a complex one. Traditionally, this is a word used to describe when an individual in therapy starts redirecting feelings they have with someone else to their therapist. (And for your own edification, counter-transference is when the therapist feels these complicated emotions towards a client) However, this isn’t an experience exclusively found in therapy. If unconsciously you associate a certain person who you have a complicated history with towards another individual, this can occur in daily life as well. They may look like them, sound like them, have similar mannerisms, or maybe the way the make you feel about yourself reminds you of that
individual.

If you find yourself disliking someone and you aren’t sure why, consider the possibility of transference. Is there someone in your life that you have complicated or negative feelings towards that reminds you of that individual? You could be experiencing transference. Once we recognize transference occurring in our lives, we can begin to work through it.

Your own mood

Are you tired? Are you hungry? If I am tired or hungry, EVERYONE is aggravating. An example of this in my own life, I was at a small conference in Boise last year, and I was very pregnant and very sick. I just wanted to go home, and one lady just kept talking and talking…and I was dying to go home and sleep in my bed and take a soak in my bathtub. (And go to the doctor because I was miserable).

This year I traveled to the same conference and I was dreading seeing that lady again. She was there again, and guess what? She was perfectly pleasant! I would even go so far to say she was charming. That was with me expecting her to be the most annoying person on the
planet. I went from dislike (hate seems like a strong word in this situation) to liking her as a person and respecting her as a professional. Our mood can influence our opinions drastically.

Prejudices

This one can be all over the map, including reasons as heavy as racism or gender, and as trivial as the type of car they drive or the color of their hair. These can be preconceived, or even from a bad experience with a person who possessed those characteristics.

Sometimes a person can give us a bad experience, or maybe you were taught a certain thing in childhood about a group of people, and were maybe even taught to hate them. Do all you can to recognize your prejudices, and check them at the door. (And don’t pick them back up on your way out!)

Pet Peeves

We all have them! Maybe it is people who chew loudly, or who don’t leave the room to take a phone call. But we can’t let them define our perceptions of those around us. It’s definitely not fair to formulate an entire opinion of someone based on one annoying habit. You might miss out on an amazing friendship!

Intuition

Sometimes you can’t put your finger on it, and there isn’t an official reason that you just don’t feel right about someone. In your gut you feel uneasy, and uncomfortable. That is your intuition! There have been many times that my intuition has been spot on about someone, good and bad.

As a religious person, I refer to this feeling as the Holy Ghost. You may refer to it as your gut instinct, or any number of things. A few months ago, my husband and I both (separately) had a negative feeling about someone, and later it turned out we were dead on. They were bad news!

Truly, not everyone is going to like everybody. Not everyone has to love each other or be best friends. But let’s be adults about it, and if it is somebody that you see on a regular basis…it’s probably in your best interest to work through it so you don’t drive yourself insane. I also remind myself that it is not very Christlike behavior to dislike someone, and especially to hate someone.

What reasons do you usually find that you don’t like/hate someone? Have you had an experience where you initially disliked someone and your first impression was way off? Let me know in the comments below!

What You Need to Know About Trying to Induce Labor at Home

After my due date came and went, I decided it was time to bring out the big guns and try to induce labor on my own! It was July, I was miserable, and I just wanted that baby out of there! Here is what I tried, and the results! I am not a medical professional, and I recommend speaking to your provider before trying any of these.

Spicy food

My hubby and I went to a very authentic Mexican restaurant, and I asked for extra jalapeños on my torta. When the waiter brought out the food he told me he wasn’t sure if I was serious, so he put them on the side. So I squeezed all that would fit on the torta, and ate the rest of them. I explained my situation to him, and he asked when my due date was. I gave him the pregnant lady stare and told him “5 days ago”. He wished me luck.

The result: Heart burn. Lots and lots of heart burn. And diarrhea. So definitely not a success. But I succeeded in scaring a waiter and impressing my husband with my jalapeño eating ability, so there’s that.

Laxatives

I drank grape flavored store brand laxative. It was gross. I recommend chugging it as fast as humanly possible, so it spends very little time in your mouth. The thinking behind this is that if your bowels become irritated, they can stimulate your uterus into contracting. It is the same principle as drinking castor oil.

The result: Very bloated feeling, then diarrhea. So not a success. But I had been backed up, like many pregnant ladies find themselves so it solved one of my problems at least.

Walking

I walked so much during my pregnancy. Or rather, waddled would be a more accurate discription. It didn’t do anything for me. Some people have found success with this.

The end result: Nope. Nothing. It was suggested to me that maybe this one only works to induce labor for those who don’t walk through out their pregnancy. Something to think about. But here’s a cute picture of my walking buddy rolling in the  grass!

 

Stripping of membranes

For the record, this HURTS. My doctor didn’t even offer it up, because she is a very nice lady and didn’t want to cause me pain. Even when I asked she asked me if I was sure. But I was willing to try basically anything, because I really didn’t want to have to go in and be induced.

The result: I passed the mucus plug the next day, so I was super excited. But a week later I found myself in the hospital to be induced, with no signs of labor. So definitely not successful for me.

Pregnancy Tea (Red raspberry leaf)

This one has mixed data in the internet-sphere. Some say it can induce labor, and others say it simply tones your uterus to make your contractions more efficient to speed up your laboring time.

The result: For me, regular drinking of this tea did not induce labor. There is no way of knowing if it resulted in a shorter labor for me. I labored for 12 hours and then gave birth to my little cutie. So that was my experience.

Crying desperately

Why am I still pregnant?? Gahhh!!!

Eating everything in sight

This isn’t really a solution, but you are pregnant! Do what you want!

Its a personal decision to decide how to proceed. Prayer is a great way to help you choose how to proceed.

The end result of trying to induce labor

A week after my due date, I chose to go to the hospital and be induced, and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. (Aside from our 5 day NICU stay due to low oxygen levels) He was 9 pounds even, 21.5 inches long. So for me, induction was the right call to avoid a c-section. Because who knows how big he would have been if would have waited!

What were your experiences with trying to induce labor? Let me know in the comments below!

The 8 Types of Difficult Bosses (And how to deal with them!)

Difficult bosses are the worst!

This is a post I’ve started and stopped many times, because I was concerned about rocking the boat. Here it is, the different types of difficult bosses and how to deal with them (Which sometimes includes leaving your job!) I’m very lucky to have a fantastic boss now, but I wasn’t always so lucky. (And neither were the people who helped me compile this list!) Having a stressful work situation is awful, because we spend a huge chunk of our time in the workplace. Also, when someone does something that jeopardizes our livelihood, it feel personal. It is seriously the worst!

I’m not writing these to be mean to anyone, they are simply for informational purposes to help others. And this was a very cathartic experience for me. Here we go!

 

The Pedestal Smasher

Your boss gives you praise, that seems undeserved. You do your job, but you aren’t sure it warrants all of the adoration you are awarded. But who can complain about being adored? And then suddenly, they push you off the pedestal and take a sledge hammer to it. This may be due to you making a mistake, or possibly just because they decided they don’t like you anymore. This can be confusing, stressful, and downright scary.

Solution: Talk to your boss about what went wrong. It is quite possible that it was a misunderstanding, and this could be repairable. Keep in mind that this behavior is characteristic of a borderline personality and if you talk and things do not get better, do what you need to for you (including finding a new job).

The Scapegoat Creator

Everything is always your fault. If anything goes wrong, it must have automatically been due to something you did. You will find yourself making more mistakes, because everyone is breathing down your neck. Almost everyone does worse under this type of pressure! Anything you complete, no matter how perfect it is, is never good enough.

Solution: Define your job expectations. Determine what is being asked of you. Arrange a time to discuss how you can improve your job performance. By discussing your actual work performance, you can discover what you can improve, and hopefully improve your relationship with your boss. This will in turn improve how they view you and the way they treat you. Do what you need to for you!

The Bully

This boss is downright mean, and sometimes even abusive. As a result, you feel unsafe, scared, and depressed and anxious about anything work related. They may have even recruited other people in your workplace to bully and mistreat you as well.

Solution: Try to talk it out, attempt to come to an arrangement, but if all else fails, find another job. Life is too short to work for a bully.

The Bully Enabler

This boss isn’t actually mean, they just allow someone else to be mean. The bully was either given authority, or simply took it. This boss is either apathetic, clueless, or lacks the courage to stand up to the bully. It’s hard to say which one of these reasons is worse, and it could be for more than one of those reasons.

Solution: Bring this to the attention of your boss. It is quite possible that they weren’t aware of the behavior. Attempt to arrange some mediation, with your boss or HR present, but if you need to, get the heck out of there!

The Disorganized

This boss neglects to plan ahead, and you find yourself being asked to do rush jobs and last minute tasks, or needing to work long hours to accommodate their lack of organization. It’s exhausting! And avoidable.

Solution: Define job expectations. If you can anticipate what you will be asked to do in the future, you can save yourself a lot of headache. Let’s say there is a monthly presentation, find out what you need to do to prepare. Maybe there is an upcoming audit, ask what you can do to get the paperwork ready. By taking initiative, you are asking your boss to look ahead and become more organized, which is turn will alleviate a good portion of your stress.

The Lassiez-Faire

This boss doesn’t care at all what you do. They are burnt out on their job, they are lackadaisical, they are apathetic. It can be confusing, and when employee evaluations come up you are unsure as to what you will be evaluated on because you don’t understand what is expected of you. While it sounds nice in theory, it is very unsettling.

Solution: Again, define your job expectations. Sit down with your boss and have a discussion. This could be an opportunity to take on some new projects, and implement some new ideas. Some very exciting opportunities await you in this situation.

The Avoider

This boss is even worse than the lassiez-faire. They simply won’t answer your questions. Even worse, they may even get frustrated with you for not knowing the answers, even when you attempted to gather information before.

Solution: Do your best to contact them through various mediums, (phone, email, face to face, handwritten notes, instant messaging if your company has it) some people are more successful with certain types of communication. Go to someone else if you simply can’t get a hold of them. As a last resort, talk directly to your boss’s supervisor, and they can give you some clarity.

The Upside-down

This boss’s priorities are upside down and topsy-turvy. The way they choose to spend company money and company time is very odd and inefficient. It actually undermines the processes of the business. An example of this is that money is spent on non-visible unimportant items, and very little money is spent on items that attract new customers. Their processes are confusing and strange.

Solution: Truly, it’s not your business, so it is not your call. Do feel free to discuss your ideas with your employer if they have an open door policy and they are approachable. It could be possible that
their processes are in line with the mission or vision that they have for the company. However, if the difference in priorities is moral and non-negotiable, consider changing your employment.

The Friend-Pretender

This type of boss is friendly at first, and and you are able to have open and honest discussions. You feel that you have found a friend in the workplace. Suddenly, everything you have shared is used against you and you are completely betrayed. You feel foolish for sharing with them, and they may even use gas-lighting to make you feel like you are the one who is crazy.

Solution: If it is at all possible to rectify the situation, by all means have a professional open discussion. However, this type of difficult boss is also indicative of borderline personality disorder, so be aware of that. And if you choose to continue with employment under this boss, keep them at arms length.

All in all, respect yourself enough to do what you need to for you. Healthy people leave bad situations when they are non-reparable, and when they are damaging to their quality of life. Life is far too short to be miserable in a job. What have your experiences been with working with difficult bosses? Let me know, I love to hear from readers!

7 Tips to a Harmonious Baby-Puppy Relationship

There are two different types of dog families. Those who have dogs before babies, and those who have babies before dogs. We belong to the first type with our little puppy.

We’ve had our little fur baby Maggie since a year into our marriage. She was our first child. When my sweet hubby was still working night shift, we decided a dog would be the perfect companion for my lonely nights. We were right. She was my cuddle buddy, and made those nights enjoyable, and she helped me feel safe.

 

Fast forward to 3 years later. We decided it was time to expand our family. We were blessed with a healthy pregnancy and we were incredibly excited. However, I was very nervous about the impact it was going to have on our little fur baby. I love her so much, and while I was almost completely sure that she and the baby would get along, there was still a part of me that was worried. Because if the baby and dog don’t get along, you don’t get rid of baby. It is a clear choice as to what has to happen. But moments like this made my worries melt away.

We went on walks together almost every day while I was pregnant. Complete with bathroom breaks for me and the puppy! She became very protective of me during my pregnancy, which resulted in me apologizing to a lot of nice folks when Maggie would growl at them as we walked by. So she definitely knew something was going on with me and that I was vulnerable and in need of protection.

Our first days with our baby didn’t go as planned, with 5 days in the NICU, (which you might already know about if you have read my blog before!) Once he was finally discharged, we were sent home and the dog loved him right away. She wanted to be as close to him as possible at all times (Sometimes a little too close!).

Now that he is mobile, they are even better buddys. They are basically siblings, and their friendship seriously melts my heart.

So with that backstory, here are my 7 tips for a harmonious baby-puppy relationship.

1. Give your dog plenty of attention.

Their life has changed forever with the addition of a tiny human but it doesn’t need to be a bad change. Dogs are incredibly understanding creatures but they do have needs. Make sure their needs are being met, emotional and physical. Make time for you and the dog, still go for walks or whatever you did before the baby came along.

2. Let them get used to each other.

Allow your baby to touch them, and to see the dog up close. At first, our little man didn’t know what to make of Maggie. She was the strange fast moving blurry furball that would lick him sometimes. But now she is his absolute favorite. It goes both ways so let the dog get used to the baby. That means letting them smell them, and be near them. However….

3. Set firm boundaries.

Decide what works for your family. For us, Maggie knows that she can lick the baby, but that his mouth is off limits (which is why she does it when she thinks I’m not looking. *sigh*). She knows she can cuddle him, but she knows not to jump on him. Make your expectations clear to your fur baby. They can’t read your mind!

4.  Faciliate gentle puppy petting.

Babies are grabbers by nature. They yank, they pull, they bite. I show our little man how to use gentle soft hands on our puppy’s fur. I don’t think it sinks in quite yet, but it is still important to me to do this. Eventually he will begin to understand, and we’ll be on the right track.

5. Allow the dog some alone time.

Sometimes Maggie needs a break and goes and lays down somewhere quiet. Other times she wants to be right in the middle of the action. They know what they need.

6.  Don’t let the puppy spoiling stop!

The baby gets new toys, what about the puppy? Make sure they aren’t feeling left out. My mother in law is wonderful about making sure the puppy is spoiled as well as the baby.

7. Give it time.

All friendships take time, including puppy-baby friendships. You can’t force anything, you can only facilitate.

There you have it, 7 Tips for a harmonious baby-puppy relationship! What are your experiences with baby puppy friendships? I always love to hear from readers, comment below!

 

One Choice You Always Make (Every Single Day!)

My husband and I trekked to Boise to a concert this weekend. Eric Church, woo! It was fabulously fun. We blasted out our ear drums and sang our hearts out.

Except for one thing. There was a girl behind us who was INCREDIBLY intoxicated, who kept spilling beer on me. As someone who doesn’t drink (A religious as well as personal choice) this annoyed me even more than it would have your average person.

I was determined to not let it ruin my night, even though it was super annoying and incredibly inconsiderate, and you know why?

I don’t want to give anyone that much power over my life, even just for one night. My husband and I were off for our first whole night away alone since the baby had been born. Why would I give someone I don’t even know that much control?

This was a big deal. I was annoyed, especially when she dumped the entire cup and it made a puddle under my seat. It would have been so easy to get mad and have a crappy night because of it. For one, I didn’t want to get in a fight with a drunk person. That seemed like a bad idea. I had been having a fantastic time before that, so why should I let one drunk girl ruin my night? At intermission, we found out from the guy behind us that it would have been way worse to be next to her, for other reasons.  (And she disappeared, just as I was considering alerting security!)

There’s always something that will have the ability to ruin our day. Maybe there was a piece of hair in our food. Maybe someone cut us off on the highway. The baby spit up on us on the way out the door. There are hundreds of tiny things that can happen in our daily lives that can ruin our day. But really, we choose if we are going to ruin our day or not.  I hate to break it to you, but do you know who controls if you have a good day or not? You!

In counseling sessions there are few things that make my clients more mad at me than when I remind them of their personal responsibility and control over their own lives. It can be really uncomfortable to think about the control we possess over our quality of life. It’s a tough pill to swallow, that we can’t blame other people for our unhappiness.

This is a concept I am still working on. It’s something that I’ve improved at, but still have a long way to go. At the risk of sounding cliche, you control your life and your destiny. And that includes whether or not you have a good day! So choose to make today amazing. (Or not, it’s up to you!)

The Journey of Self-Acceptance: Tips to Work Towards Loving Yourself

Let’s talk about something that most of us struggle with: self-acceptance. People can tell when you are being yourself, they trust you more, and they feel more at ease with you. Anyone can tell from a mile away if you are being insincere. (Below photo credit goes to the fantastic Katy Cooper photography!)

A big step to genuineness is being comfortable with who you are. Self-acceptance and self-love are concepts that most of us struggle with. It’s hard to love ourselves sometimes, but if we don’t we find ourselves in a difficult and sad state of mind.

Self-acceptance can be broken down into many categories, but we’re going to focus on two of the big ones. Your personality and your physical body.

I spent a good chunk of life trying to hide my true self, at least from the majority of the world. The scary thing about this blog is that these inner thoughts of mine are all over the internet for anyone to read, and my true personality is all over it. The epitome of vulnerability! But it is very exciting to have the opportunity to share my thoughts, and hopefully help people and influence them for good.

Think for a second, what makes you, you? What makes you special and different from those around you? If you are struggling to come up with answers to this, ask someone who knows you well.

I am a major dork, with a corny sense of humor! (But if you follow this blog, you know that already!) I’m easily distracted, but a very deep thinker. I’m reserved with those I don’t know, but with those I know and trust I am a serious chatterbox. I’m still learning to be proud of who I am.

What physical traits of yours set you apart? Which ones do you love, and which ones are you not crazy about?

In middle school, I would straighten my curly hair, I would wear thick foundation that covered my freckles. I wore far too much black eye liner, and I tweezed my eyebrows into oblivion. I did this because that was what I thought I needed to do to be beautiful. But when I look back at pictures of myself back then compared to now, I don’t look like myself, and I definitely didn’t look beautiful. I was taking what made me different and hiding it.

These days, I wear less make up than I ever have in the past. My freckles show, and I rarely straighten my hair. I’ve embraced a more natural look. Some of this is due to being a working mom and not having much time; but most of it is due to being happy with who I am, and not feeling the need to change everything about myself. (So here’s a cheesy selfie!)

What does this mean for you?

This doesn’t mean I’m against doing what you need to for you to feel beautiful (I regularly color my hair, because I like too!) But make sure you are doing it for yourself, and not for anyone else. You live in your skin, and the people around you don’t. This isn’t a debate about whether overweight people should strive to be healthier or accept themselves as they are, let’s please not fight about that. 🙂

Take some time, ponder the questions above, and we’ll talk more about this next week!

5 Tips for Coping with Change (For Those who HATE It!)

For someone who doesn’t care for change, I’ve done a lot of it in the past year! I started a new job. I had a baby. So my home life and work life are completely different! Instead of going home from work and relaxing, I’m wrangling an adorable little chunk monster! And my house is full of baby gear and baby toys! I also cut my hair short…which I hadn’t done in 8 years! (Postpartum hair loss is something else…am I right ladies??) Here are my 5 tips for coping with change!

1. Accept that change is a part of life (This is a BIG step towards coping with change appropriately) 

It happens. There’s no stopping it. You aren’t alive if everything is staying the same. It’s a tough and painful truth of life. As I sometimes say…suck it up buttercup!

2. Understand that some change is good.

While my world has been flipped on its head by our new addition to our family, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I mean, look at that cute face!

3. Understand that some change is bad, and that sucks!

The loss of a loved one, a natural disaster. An event that takes something from us, whether it be something physical, emotional, any kind of loss or other unwanted experience. It is ok to grieve that change, because not all change is positive. Allow yourself to grieve. It is necessary sometimes! One of my petty changes I don’t care for is the stretch marks I was gifted with after being pregnant with my 9 pound cutie! But he is so worth it.

4. Realize that not all change is within your control.

As a control freak in some aspects, it can be wonderful and also stressful for me to realize that I don’t control everything. It can be very freeing and a huge step towards coping with change appropriately to understand that some things are outside of your control. Not my circus, not my monkeys! 🙂

5. It’s ok to miss aspects of how your life used to be.

And don’t feel bad about trying to recapture some of what you miss, as long as you are still moving forward and not living in the past. In fact, if you can figure out exactly what it is and bring some of it back, that’s awesome!

My husband I used to go basically everywhere together, and that stopped when the baby was born. I would stay home, and my husband would go do whatever needed to get done. (Because seriously, it is such a hassle to bring a baby anywhere!) I realized this, and while it was way more convenient to divide and conquer, we started doing that again! We brought the baby (and his thousands of supplies) with us! And I am so happy with this decision and the time together that we reclaimed.

Childless Hailey disappeared forever 8 months ago, and sometimes I miss her. Mom Hailey is very different, but she is way better than Childless Hailey in many ways. She is more patient, more relaxed (about some things!) and she is for sure less selfish! (Ok, are you over me talking about myself in the third person? I’m done!)

What have been your experiences with change, and coping with change? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

If you want to read about the biggest change I have ever experienced, click here!

Everything’s Perfect and I’m Still Sad: My Experience With Postpartum Depression

I alluded to my postpartum depression in a previous post about breastfeeding, but I thought it was important to give this more discussion. I’m making myself pretty vulnerable here, but it needs to be talked about more. So here we go…(And the below photo credit goes to the fantastic Katy Cooper Photography)

 

What I was experiencing:

I didn’t feel like myself, and I kept thinking it was going to pass, that I needed to sleep more, and I would get on top of that feeling and finally feel rested. Somehow I just couldn’t shake the way I felt. I was always tired, always feeling down, incredibly irritable, and I knew something wasn’t right.

 

I felt like all I ever did was drive the baby to daycare, drive to work, go to work, come home, and go to bed. And I felt like I needed more time with the baby but when I got that time I didn’t want it, I didn’t feel attached to my child. Sometimes I thought about hurting him. And even though I would never do that, it made me feel like a terrible mother.

It occurred to me that I had been getting more than enough sleep for weeks, and adequate nutrition, and I was still extremely fatigued. At the worst of my depression, my husband was doing EVERYTHING, the cooking, the cleaning, and most of the care for our baby. He is amazing, and I felt terrible for putting so much on him. He didn’t complain once, and took such wonderful care of me and our baby.

 

The breaking point:

One morning, I had dropped the baby off at daycare, and I started driving down the country road that takes me to work from daycare, and I contemplated driving down it as far as it would go and never coming back. Just running away from everything.

 

 

This alarmed me, because I felt like everything was almost perfect and I was unhappy for no reason. I love my husband with all my heart, our marriage is wonderful even with all of the life changes we have experienced with having a baby. Our baby was a very happy little guy, and was sleeping through the night regularly. I love my job, it is a good fit for me and I love my coworkers. We were still struggling with breastfeeding, but I had accepted the fact that it was necessary to supplement with formula for my sweet boy to get enough to continue to thrive (If you missed that post you can read it here). There wasn’t anything that logically should have been making me feel the way I was feeling. So what was wrong with me?

What I did about it:

I realized that how I was feeling wasn’t normal, and I didn’t need to continue on feeling the way I did. I told my husband that I had been feeling depressed and I asked him what he thought. He agreed that something wasn’t right. I also asked my mom what her experiences were after having a baby, and she told me and also asked me about what I had been experiencing. After I told her what was going on, and she agreed that I needed to see a doctor.

I made myself an appointment to see my doctor, and told them on the phone that I thought was experiencing postpartum depression. They made me an appointment for the next day. My husband knew I was apprehensive about going, and came with me.

 

 

At the doctor’s appointment:

I was a wrec, and I had talked myself out of everything in the waiting room and had convinced myself that I was making a huge deal out of nothing. I was grateful I had Jeff there with me. My mother in law watched the baby for us while we went.

The doctor asked me about my symptoms and agreed immediately that I was depressed as well as anxious. They completed a blood panel to see if anything was wrong physically, and everything came back normal. The doctor recommended a medication to treat both depression and anxiety.
I told the doctor that I didn’t want medication. She asked me why, and I was unable to provide a good answer, other than “I don’t need it” (Which was NOT true). She reminded me that I didn’t need to take it forever, and that most people who choose to take SSRIs short term do better when they take them for at least 6 months and then gradually taper off of them.

My husband reminded me that if I were to talk to someone in a counseling setting who was experiencing what I was experiencing, that I would recommend they see a doctor and get some medication. He was absolutely right, and for some reason it can be difficult to allow ourselves to admit that we need help.

 

 

What happened afterwards:

 

I took the medication as prescribed. After I had taken it for a short while, I began to feel more normal. I actually felt rested, and I felt attachment to my baby again, and the thoughts of harming him passed. I hadn’t realized how irritable I was until I started to feel normal. For me, it was absolutely what I needed and it felt wonderful to feel like Hailey again, and not the strange, angry, tired, sad shell of myself that I had been.

What you should do if you think you are experiencing postpartum depression

1. Make an appointment with your doctor. As soon as possible.

 

2. Tell someone that that you love what is going on, and tell them that you have made an appointment for the doctor. Have them follow up with you after the appointment so that you can’t back out of going.

 

3. Follow your doctor’s recommendations, whether it be medication, counseling, something else, or some combination of those things.

 

4. Attend your follow up appointment with your doctor after time has passed.

 

5. Know that it is ok to accept help. It is ok to need medication, it is ok to attend counseling, it is ok to get the help that you need.

 

I think many women don’t see the signs of postpartum depression or anxiety creeping in because their lives are so different after having a baby, everything is so hectic, your hormones are everywhere, and it’s hard to define what your new normal is. Your life is never going to be the same, but that doesn’t mean you need to be miserable. Get the help you need, and don’t you dare feel guilty about it

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5 Things You Need to Know About Returning From Maternity Leave

I had very mixed feelings when my maternity leave ended and it was time to go back to work after my little man was born. I was going so stir crazy staying home with the baby and I was excited to go back to work, but I was terrified at the concept of having to spend time away from the baby, and even more terrified about leaving the baby at daycare. Of course Facebook was suggesting all kinds of terrifying articles about babies that died in daycare or were mistreated, which did a lot to ease my fears of course!

I was also concerned about doing my job properly without any sleep. My sweet little boy wasn’t sleeping very much. He very kindly started sleeping through the night consistently the week I returned to work. (How considerate is that?!).

 

My first few weeks I came back to work, I came back just two days a week to ease back in. Also, this way we could keep him at home for a few more weeks. It felt almost wrong to not have a baby constantly attached to me, but it was seriously glorious to get out of the house and go to work, and have adult conversations.

 

Those weeks went by quickly. Before I knew it, it was time to take him to daycare. The day before he was supposed to start, my husband and baby got into a car accident. It was very minor, neither of them were hurt, but of course it only exacerbated my fears.
Here is what you need to know about returning to work after having a baby:

 

1. You will probably cry-And that really is ok.

As one of my professional mentors (Marcy!) said to me once when I became emotional after a particularly difficult session with a client, it’s ok to have emotions, it’s ok that things get to you. It’s what makes you a good professional. And (this is my addition) it’s what makes you a great mother.

 

The day I took our little man to daycare for the first timeI was a wreck. I cried when I dropped him off, and the daycare owner playfully told me, “We’ll take good care of him. After all, we are taking care of your two most important things, your child and your money!”. I laughed/sobbed in response to her joke. And I was still a crying sniveling mess when I arrived to work. I was incredibly embarrassed, but my small department was very understanding of my disastrous state, and my boss had wisely recommended that I keep my morning free of client appointments. I recommmend doing what you can to keep your day relatively light when you first return to work.

 

2. You aren’t a bad mother for choosing to work outside the home.

All parents have different needs, and so do children. Do what you need to do for you, whether it be staying home, working, or something in between! And anyone who says different can take their opinions and stick them…somewhere far away from you. 😉

 

3. You might be relieved to be back at work, and that might make you feel guilty.

Do yourself a favor and stop the guilt circle. Again, do what you need to for your family and yourself. While your children need you, they especially need you mentally well. And if that means you need to spend some time away from home at work, that is perfectly acceptable.

 

4. You will be thinking about your sweet baby constantly while you go about your work day.

Gradually it will become easier to stay focused and do your job. You are going to second guess your decision half a million times. And then a million more. There are no 100% magic right answers, read more about that here. The longer you have been back from maternity leave, the easier it will be to go to work.

 

They had told me I could call and check on him when I dropped him off. And boy, I did call to check on him! When I would call to see how he was doing, the answer was, “he is sleeping” or “he is eating”, because really, what else do newborns do? Gradually, it felt normal to drop him off, instead of neglectful and wrong. I knew they would take good care of him, and I was comfortable making it through the day without calling to check on him.

 

5. Wait until you have been back at work for as long as you were gone on maternity leave before you make any big work decisions.

Having a baby is life changing, and you will be exhausted, and your body will be going through crazy adjustments and your hormones will be a mess. After our little man was born, I thought that there was no way that I would ever be able to leave him. Fast forward to a few weeks later, and while I was still concerned about leaving him, for my own mental health I needed to return to work.

 

So there you have it! 5 things you need to know about returning to work! Anything I missed? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you :).