Archive | January, 2010

The spa episode

31 Jan

I’ve mentioned my sig-o in other posts but thought it was time to dedicate a post just to him. He knows that I have this blog but isn’t allowed to read it, so he’ll never know he got his own post…but I think he deserves it anyway.

Now sig-o is a good guy. He’s charismatic to the power of 10. He’s a guy everyone loves. And he’s been very supportive as we deal with this postpartum depression. But it wasn’t always that way.

All I can say is that before I started getting treatment — that is, before a doc validated that I was going through something more than just being stressed out at work and more than being worn out — he was totally whack. We weren’t communicating, we bickered all the time, and he was just plain stupid. I mean it. I very nearly strangled him one day and that was the beginning of my breaking into pieces.

Picture this. It was a Wednesday and I was teleworking that day. The babysitter was at the house watching the baby and I took breaks to nurse (always quicker than pumping!) in between meetings and conference calls. I had a couple of deadlines in the afternoon. Sig-o decided he would go to a coffee shop to work on some stuff since he was having a hard time concentrating at home. I bid him farewell and kept on working. During an excruciatingly boring conference call, I ran around and did some laundry and fixed dinner and asked the babysitter to do a couple of things before she left. It was her day to leave early, and before leaving, sig-o promised he’d be back in time to take the baby so I didn’t have to worry about those deadlines. 2pm came and went and no sig-o. So I call and call and call and no answer. By 3pm the nanny left and still no sig-o. So now I’m trying to get a crying baby to sleep, the dog needs to go out and it’s raining, and sig-o still won’t answer his phone. FINALLY he calls and says “OMG I didn’t realize what time it is — my brother invited me to lunch and I lost track of time. I’m on my way home right now and I’ll be there in 15 minutes.” 30 minutes later he shows up and whisks the baby off and seems annoyed that I’m exasperated with the baby and pissed that’s he late.

I finish my work for the day, exhausted, and collapse on the living room floor. He comes downstairs and we have dinner and afterwards he tells me, “You seem really stressed out. Why don’t you take Mommy night today and go out.” I mumble back something about being too tired to go out even, and then he says, “No, you should really go out. Why don’t you go to the spa? That would make you feel so much better. That’s where I was today — it would really help you.”

Now just imagine footage of a nuclear bomb going off and a mushroom cloud, because that’s all I could see in my head. I wanted to kill him. Lucky for him that I was holding the baby and there was a counter between the two of us because I could so easily have strangled him right then and there. THE SPA? Are you shitting me? I’ve been busting my ass all day and I feel like shit as it is and you’ve been at THE FUCKING SPA? I was so furious, so enraged, that I literally couldn’t say anything. I just handed him the baby and left the room, shaking. He was still standing there looking dumbfounded, like “was it something I said?” Later I managed to say, “I thought you went to lunch with your brother today.” He says, “Yeah. We ate at the spa.” Grrrrrrr……

That little episode landed us in a few sessions of couple’s counseling and was the beginning of my unraveling. Things went downhill quickly from there and when I finally reached out for help he was surprised that things were as bad as they were. And he didn’t even know until recently just how bad things were. Since that time, though, he’s been a saint. I can’t ask for anything more…he’s been really helpful.

So I guess there are a few morals to this story: 1) Men are just stupid. 2) Really. They are. 3) Even if your sig-o is totally whack, too, there’s still a chance that he’ll turn it around and be the great guy you know he is.


Down with rubber duckies

30 Jan

Had a bit of a meltdown this evening over a rubber ducky. Yep, Ernie’s best damn friend got the best of me. I usually think they’re great — in fact, we have a whole song about a pirate ducky that I made up for z-baby — but not tonight.

Sig-o is working a double shift today and I knew it wouldn’t be an easy day. So I planned ahead and scheduled time outside of the house to go walking to get a change of scenery and let the world entertain z-baby for while. Things were going fine. Then my suegra called (mother-in-law). Just to check on me. So I told her the truth. “You know, it’s a bad day, but we’re at the mall walking since it’s raining and that helps some.” So she and my sister-in-law invited me to dinner, which was very nice and a welcome reprieve. I let them fight over who got to hold the baby and who got to hold him down in the high chair while I munched away. I didn’t feel like being alone at the house so I invited them over…but they didn’t come. Now, usually I would think I’d narrowly escaped a natural disaster, but I really did want them to come over tonight. So I got in my car with a screaming baby who finally fell asleep three blocks from the house.

Z-baby had been breathing heavy all day so I surmised that he must have a massive boogie up his nose and decided to give him a steam bath to try and loosen up the monster boog. We headed into the bathroom and I let the water start to warm up and then I realized that the fireman ducky that supposedly protects the baby’s head from faucet doom had to come off to pull up the thingy to turn the shower on. This is a forever annoying task, but not a hard one. So I don’t know what came over that f’ing duck but he would NOT come off. I started pulling and twisting until I actually turned the faucet head and then I just started yanking as I cussed a blue streak at the poor guy (the ducky, not the baby, who was across the way in the bathroom playing with a flash drive he confiscated earlier in the day). My dog just stood there looking at me with her ears up and head cocked, like she wasn’t sure what had gotten into me or where this was going. I stopped just short of yanking the whole thing out of the wall because I realized that would really send me over the edge. I thought about calling sig-o and asking him to come home early, that I give up and need some help. But just then the little pecker popped off the faucet and all was well. We finished our steam bath, and I felt a small sense of accomplishment since I gave the baby some kind of bath and could truthfully answer “yes” when tomorrow sig-o asks me if he got a bath last night. Guess that’s cheating, but who cares.  Only the baby, the dog, and that f’ing duck know the real truth.

Static guard for babies?

29 Jan

You know that stuff you can spray on your clothes so your skirts don’t cling to your legs? Do they make that for babies? I’d so buy it in bulk right now if they did. For real. I mean, I’m an advocate for attachment parenting and all, but sometimes it’s so exhausting and I just need a break. Little z-baby won’t let me out of his sight, I can’t walk away from him, I can’t turn my back to him…cling, cling, cling.

This has been going on for a while now. I try to wear him, but he’s such an active little guy that’s he’s not always cool with that. But it’s not just mindless activity — no walker or  johnny jump up for this kid. It’s all about exploration (with me near, of course) and getting into everything. And I mean everything. We call him “el pulpo” (the octopus) because we’re sure he can’t be doing all that he does with just two hands. Just a typical almost one-year old, I’m sure, but the cumulative effect on me is that, well, I’m just plain worn out.

And today sucked. I spent half of it on the phone dealing with all the stuff I didn’t want to deal with — insurance, work, mortgage. And sig-o did not get the job we thought he had in the bag. It’s rainy and cold and I just feel like crap today. I even cried today, which is saying a lot because I’ve been this stone-cold vacant blob for weeks. Real tears. I couldn’t believe it. So with all of that, the cling has just been too much today. Sig-o is working a double shift tomorrow so I’m home alone all day with baby and not sure how I’m going to deal with the cling tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get some rest tonight and we’ll get out of the house and spend part of the day out and about. That should help some. Ah, time’s up — the cling is calling…

My kind of prayer

28 Jan

Sig-o had an interview this week in the city we’re trying to relocate to. He thinks it went well, and we’re hoping to find out something tomorrow. In the meantime, we had several hours of driving to talk and clear our heads and come to some decisions. For example, I decided once and for all that I am quitting my job. Putting in notice very soon. That’s huge. I feel at peace about it — it’s the right decision.

Now, don’t think I’m not nervous about what’s to come and how we’re going to pay the bills — I am. So I decided it’s time to have a little talk with the universe to release some of this anxiety and appeal for their guidance. It went something like this…

To all the goddesses, gods, beings, and spirits in this world and beyond… to my higher self, my teacher guide, and the universe… I call upon you all to thank you for your guidance and protection and to ask for your assistance once again.

Today I let go of the job that was making me miserable, the fear that kept me there so long, and the relationships that I felt I needed for security’s sake. I’m so proud of myself for doing something I should have a long time ago. I know you’re all probably smacking your foreheads and saying, “Finally! She finally got it!” So, yeah, I may be slow, but I’m still proud. Thank you for your patience and unwavering guidance through this process.

I ask for your continued guidance as we have some big changes on the horizon. We’re waiting to hear about sig-o’s job interivew. Is this the job for him? Is this the direction we’re supposed to be going in? We came up with a plan today in case this works out and it seemed almost too simple, where it seemed nearly impossible just the other day. So please let the result be the right thing for us. If it doesn’t work out we’ll know that there is a better option for us that’s still out there and that you will guide us in that direction. I promise to be as open as possible to hear and see what you’ve got to say, and am open to any serendipity you may have in store for me. I trust in you and I’m handing over my fears and anxiety about the future. I’m replacing them with peace that all will be well, abundant, and in our best interest. Thanks in advance.

PS: 10-4 on the message about managing money. I’m working on it!

Another peek inside my head

26 Jan

Last week I posted about “transition me,” the right-now me that’s wedged between shedding the old and piecing together the new. A recent reader’s comment about ledges (What tipped the scales?) made me realize just how far I’ve already come in such a short while.

So here’s my ledge update: I no longer lust. I do, however, find myself tip-toeing around them. Not because I feel the gravitational pull I did only mere weeks ago, but out of … respect … for their potential. Sounds odd, I know. It’s not fear, but rather a keen sense of what (so easily) could have been.

So what is going on in my transition me head?

  • There’s anxiety. Mainly for good reasons though. Major life changes, so anxiety is par.
  • There’s some obsession. I’m still obsessing some about all the bad things that could happen to the baby — falling off a balcony, rolling down the stairs (what a minute, he already did that!), getting burned in the kitchen while I’m cooking (this is a newer one), being in a car wreck (this is an old one resurfaced) — but they send me into panic attacks less and less.
  • There is still some cutting. I still have random flashes of me getting cut by all kinds of sharp things. And when I have flashes of the baby getting hurt, it’s worse. Like I’m trying to interrupt and stifle those thoughts and images by inflicting harm on myself, though just in my head.
  • There’s some avoidance. I really, really don’t want to deal with my short term disability and some related leave issues for work. So I haven’t. Which is bad and only getting worse by the day, but I just can’t bring myself to deal with it for some reason. Maybe it will be easier once I decide once and for all what I’m going to tell my bosses…if I’m coming back or not. The fact that I can’t deal with any of it is probably a good indicator that I’m not ready to be back at work.
  • There’s a hint of libido. Nuff said.
  • There’s forgetfulness. Still forgetting to do things, where I’m going when driving, and conversations I’ve had. Forgot an appointment today with my therapist. Forgot a class I had signed up for. This is really, really not like me. But I’m not even that worried about it because…
  • There’s still a vacantness. I’m starting to get used to it now. I feel more nonchalant than I think I have in my entire life. It’s not apathy, but a recognition of the fact that “there’s nothing I can do about it now so why worry about it and in the grand scheme of things how much does it really matter anyways?” The problem with this is that nearly everything is on the same level. Missed an appointment? Whatever. Didn’t give the baby a bath again today? He’ll live. Co-worker still missing in Haiti? Bummer. And this last one really bothers me. Both in my head and heart I feel for her and her family, yet I can’t fully feel the pain I know is there. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s more than I could handle right now. But it sure makes me feel like an insensitive jerk.
  • There is some joy. Thought I’d end on a happier note. There actually is some joy. Watching z-baby take those first wobbly steps is sometimes more than I can take. And I as find my way through this muck, I feel stronger and more and more proud of myself. Some days still suck (that’s why I didn’t post yesterday). But some don’t. And for now, that’s joy enough.

Flux-ier than ever

23 Jan

For an anxious type A, I’m apparently pretty lax when it comes to my own schedule. I feel like it’s in constant flux. By nature I’m a night person, but that’s changed since the bambino gets up at the crack of dawn. Perhaps I exaggerate, but not by much. So now that I’ve been taking a break from working outside the home, our routine and schedule is flux-ier than ever. Like the researcher I am, I’ve searched and read all I could about stay at home moms’ schedules. They’re so shiny, so perfect sounding. But I gotta wonder — are they real? I mean, I crave routine but even I can’t imagine abiding by some of these timetables. Is this just a passing thing for me or have I always been like this? I think I’ve always been like this. And with the baby, it’s easy to just fall into a loose pattern guided by his hunger and oh-so temperamental appetite for sleep. Of course, I’m struggling to keep up with the housework, but let’s face it — sometimes it feels huge to just get dressed, brush my teeth, feed the baby all day, and get him down for naps. Monumental. I can’t tease out how much of that is the depression and how much of it is just being a mom who is tired because her now 11-month old still eats through the night. Yawn. At least with treatment I’m sleeping in between feedings rather than staying awake with my mind racing through who knows what thoughts and scenarios all night long.

Another big change lately is that my sig-o has moved back into our bedroom. We slept in the same bed for about 2 months after the baby was born. Then baby-z and I started co-sleeping full-time and I couldn’t deal with his snoring and off to the office he went. Now nine months later and he’s back. Still snores and that’s an issue, but we’re doing better than before. In fact, before treatment, morning time was hell for me. I dreaded waking up and just wanted to sleep forever and not have to go to work which was making me miserable. Now, I think the morning is my favorite time. I wake up to a smiling baby and drowsy sig-o who is warm and wants to cuddle. I don’t fret about all the things that I don’t want to do that day or can’t bear to face…the days are just blank slates that the baby and I fill up according to our whims. So damn the schedules, because I don’t think it can get better than that.

On the dharma of change

22 Jan

Ok, so not to beat a dead horse, but my anxiety is way up regarding work and upcoming changes. I tried to work through some of this in therapy this week and basically came to this conclusion: I should be feeling anxiety about all of this change! It’s normal. Leaving work, becoming a stay at home mom and not the primary earner, renting/selling house, moving to a new city, finding a new job for sig-o, finding a new place to live — these are some rock-your-world kind of changes, and they’re happening all at once!

I recently read an article on the dharma of change (also from my therapist). It says (and I’m heavily paraphrasing) that all change, even for the better, has a dark side to it and you have to be prepared to deal with that. Change is a normal life cycle, and just as there is newness and birth in change, there is also death. That darkness, that death, while not easy, must also be embraced. I really like that perspective and am working on embracing my own dark side of change while celebrating and moving towards the new. The article also suggests that there are three questions one should ask themselves when contemplating change. Here is the gist of the questions and my own responses:

  1. What is your motive behind the change and is it wholesome? I’m talking about two major changes. First is leaving work and becoming a stay-at-home mom. My motives here are to spend more time with my baby, leave an unhealthy work environment, and attend to my family’s overall well-being (not eating out, exercising, etc…). Second is a move to another city to be closer to my mother. I want the baby to have the opportunity to grow up close to a grandparent (we do live by my sig-o’s mother now) and I’d like to live close to my mom again. It’s a different level of support that I could really use right now. I’d also like to move the family to a smaller town and slow down a bit, which is possible but hard to do in a bigger city. So are these motives wholesome? I think so. Each of these changes are moving me closer to my authentic self and away from destructive patterns and unhealthy relationships (no regrets because I learned big lessons there, so I don’t feel like I’m just running away from something…).
  2. What are the expected effects of this change? I expect to have the time and space to heal from this postpartum depression and get some additional support from my mom that I just don’t get from my in-laws. I expect that with a healthier me, we’ll have a healthier family. I expect to wrestle with a significant identity shift as I make this work to home transition. And I expect that the cut in income will be a challenge but not impossible. We agree on what’s important — the fam, not things — and I think we’ll feel better in the long run. I also think that this move and change will help with sig-o’s ego since he struggles with not currently being the main breadwinner of the family. Well, here’s your chance! So overall, I think the good outweighs the challenges to these changes.
  3. Are you going about the change in a healthy way? This one is trickier for me. Who’s to say? I think we are since we are giving attention to our motives and have set our intentions. I’m trying to acknowledge and embrace the darkness so that positive change will dawn. But beyond that, I’m not really sure how to answer this question. Logistically speaking, making these kinds of changes all at once is messy so it feels like we could be doing a better job at it, but I’m not sure that’s totally possible or that it should even be a goal for us right now. We have a little bit of money stashed away — not much — and expect some more from taxes. So we could use this as a cushion to get us through this bumpy time, or I could keep on working (albeit at an expense to my health) and save all of that money as a down payment or something. I feel guilty if we aren’t saving it for the future, but I’m torn because I also feel grateful that we have this cushion to get us through this bumpy time. Is this a test from the universe to see how committed I am to this change? Am I willing to let go of that money and my fears to achieve the changes I’ve set out to make? Is that part of embracing the darkness? Let the old fall away to make way for the new…

Note: Here’s a link to a similar article by the same author (I want to give credit where credit is due). Enjoy!