Monday, September 30, 2013

The Baby Blues

I haven't had baby girl yet, but today I want to talk about postpartum depression. As someone who has struggled with depression for years, combined with my current status as an expectant mother, my ears perk up a little whenever I hear that phrase thrown around a conversation. Take yesterday, for example.

Yesterday was day two of our prepared childbirth class. It also happened to be our last day, so, technically, I guess we're "prepared". Maybe in the sense of I have a really informative booklet sitting on the table in front of me, but not many other senses. One topic of yesterday's class was postpartum depression; symptoms, treatments, past stigma, and the importance of open dialogue. Consider this post the beginning of my open dialogue. Sure, I've completed the class, but I don't feel prepared for tackling the care of newborn baby, birth recovery, sleepless nights, irritability (mine, Chad's, baby's, all of the above), new schedules (or no schedules), uncertainty, a roller coaster of hormonal responses, and potential postpartum depression.

What is one to do?

Recently, Chad and I were having a conversation about what we would do if we had "lots of money". Somewhere in the banter I said I would throw lots of fun dinner parties. Chad's response? Do it now. Live today like you would if you had "fill in the blank with whatever you feel life would be better accompanied by".

I got to thinking about how I would handle postpartum depression if I find myself in his company. I've read blogs, books, considered natural remedies, taken notes in classes, and-silly enough-worried. (Hence, this post.) As I continue to contemplate whether or not I will take any specific post-birth treatment measures, I plan to take my husband's advice and live today in a way that just might make life better if I do fall into postpartum depression.

1. Spend face to face time with people who care about and love me. Pour into them as they pour into me.

2. Exercise and eat well. (This will start after I publish this post, since I just helped myself to three pieces of chocolate. Hey, we can't all be perfect.)

3. Create and continue an open dialogue where I honestly share how I am feeling. (This counts as a start, right?)

4. Pray without ceasing. If the same power that conquered the grave lives in me, it certainly can conquer postpartum depression. If willing, pray alongside me!

5. Speak life!

6. Reach out to the SO many mothers I know who walk with the Lord and are the brightest lights to their family and children.

I don't know what awaits me following the birth of this wee little one, but her presence-even in the midst of this blog's subject matter-makes me one giddy and excited lady!

If you're a mom, I'd love to hear how you anticipated the potential onset of postpartum depression or walked through it. Heck, you can share it with me at my next dinner party! :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Frolicking in Fields: Maternity Edition

Sorry for the photo dump, but I just love how these photos by Seth Snider-a great friend and talented photographer-turned out! He'll kill me for saying this, but doesn't Chad look incredibly handsome? 

The photos were taken at 30 weeks, three weeks ago, and I feel as though baby girl has grown so much since then! We are so excited to meet her, and so thankful that she is already wrapped in the love of our family and friends.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Is this lap taken?

I was reminded today of how powerful a small, simple act of love can be. My high school student advisory group traveled to our elementary school to promote classroom literacy by incorporating the presence of a therapy dog. Our first classroom visit was to a self-contained, special needs classroom. There were six students in the classroom to my eleven high schoolers. As one high schooler finished up reading a book to the children, one small elementary student slowly climbed into the lap of a high school football player. The football player looked a little uncomfortable at first, but quickly adapted when he noticed how content the young student became in his presence. My heart melted instantly as I tried to savor the full magnitude of that sweet, special moment. The moment itself was short in duration, but the impact it had on both boys was unmeasurable. 

The moment brings to mind the saying, "We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love." It is the Lord's grace, not our own striving, that gives us the ability to do all things, day in and day out, with great love. This is the very lesson I am in the midst of learning; it is not by my own works, but by God's grace that I can be the wife, soon-to-be-mother, teacher, daughter, sister and friend I want to be. In doing so, walking in His grace, loving as the football player showed love, John 13:35 tells us, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sweet Autumn, I love you.

Autumn arrives tomorrow, and I couldn't be happier! I know I am not alone. The pumpkin spice latte following alone has proven this! Our family walk this morning held hints of Autumn's arrival: specks of coloring leaves, a slight chill in the breeze, and sweatshirt donning neighbors. It was nothing short of fabulous. I always hear people speak of their long list of autumn favorites, so I thought I'd share a few of mine, in no particular order. 

Big mugs of warm yumminess. Be it tea, a latte, or plain old cup o' joe, I love early mornings on the couch, yet under a blanket, and warmed by my favorite mug! (I've been good-no more than a cup of anything caffeinated just a few times a week.) Don't get me wrong, I'll take one to go as well. In fact, check out this recipe for making your very own pumpkin spice syrup at home. 

Crisp air. If Anne didn't get it right, surely Fitzgerald did.

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 

The native New Yorker in me loves a good, cold morning! Truly, they remind me of soccer practice as a kid. We'd bundle up in multiple layers and go run around the leaf-covered field. No matter how low the temperate dropped, I'd never wear pants. My father swore that real soccer players (code for European) don't wear pants when they play, so I was prohibited. Autumn also provides the best weather for hiking. Chad, the pup, and I did this quick hike over Labor Day Weekend. The crisp air, if for nothing else, makes the scarves, thick socks, mittens and boots all the more necessary. By the way, have you seen these boots? So romantic.

Pumpkins! The deliberation of picking the best one in the pumpkin patch can be rough, but its presence is always welcome in our home. In fact, Chad especially loves all things pumpkin, so we usually have quite the collection. I wish our mantel was a tad bit deeper so I could do something fun like this nicely decorated one

Comfort food-chili, taco soup, baked potatoes, pumpkin pie, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, without moderation, my waistline would go on and on as well. Especially when I've been wanting to try to make these salted caramel apple hand pies! Maybe the consumption of comfort food inspires me to get out and appreciate the crisp air some more. :)

This autumn is especially anticipated as it ushers in Nora's (yes, we settled on Nora!) arrival. Our baby girl is growing strong and healthy and we are so eager to meet her! I imagine my feeling of having to get so many things (school plans, nursery, my mental state) "ready" before she makes her debut is a common one. For this reason, I'm thankful for the seven more weeks before the 40 milestone, but at the same time I want to rush those weeks along. Most importantly, there's comfort in knowing the more time she bides in my belly, the stronger and healthier she will be. 

What are you looking forward to this season? Do share!