Health, Mental Illness, Motherhood

Living with PPA

I have struggled with an anxiety disorder since I was in 5th grade. Over the years, I have been able to find ways to cope with the overwhelming fears. After Finley was born in May, I realized my anxiety was back full force. When I talked to my doctor about how I was feeling and all the fears I was having, she diagnosed me with Post-Partum Anxiety. It has not be an easy past three months with PPA. I have felt so out of control with worries about everything. I can’t seem to turn my brain off, especially at nighttime. Which causes me to have bad insomnia. Exhaustion on top of all the stress and fear, makes my anxiety worse. It is an ugly cycle I cannot seem to break. My fears range from “is my toddler getting too much screen time and not enough socialization with other kids” to “what if something happens to one of my boys, and I have to bury another child?” This anxiety makes me feel like I am failing as a mom to my children, because I cannot give them my full attention, while having these crippling fears. I am plagued 24/7 questioning whether my boys are getting the short end of the stick, having me as their mom. I realize I am being harder on myself than I should, but that is all part of this disorder. This post isn’t like my other posts, where I try to inspire others. Instead, I wrote this post to try to find another way to heal from my PPA. While writing and talking to others about my anxiety has helped some, I still feel irritable and stressed all the time. I pray daily for these worries and fears, and I hope soon I will be able to get back to my normal self. If you have struggled with Post-Partum Anxiety or Depression, what are some ways you have been able to cope? Leave me a message in the comments with some tips!

Love and blessings,

Molly

Advertisements
Health, Mental Illness, Motherhood

Feeding the Soul

Do you ever feel as if your well is completely drained or has a slow leak? That you haven’t had a moment to yourself? For me, my life revolves around my husband and kids. Though I do not regret it for a second, I do become mentally and emotionally drained if I haven’t found some time for myself. That time to “feed my soul,” if you will. No matter if you have children or not, everyone needs some time to refill their well. Even if it is only thirty minutes a day, I try to take some time to do something I enjoy. As a mother of a toddler and a newborn, these thirty minutes usually occur after both boys are in bed. Despite being physically exhausted, I know if I don’t do something to make myself happy everyday, I will struggle emotionally and mentally. It isn’t healthy being physically, emotionally and mentally drained, especially for someone who already suffers from depression and anxiety. While I can’t help the physical exhaustion ( it comes with the territory of having kids), I can do something about the mental and emotional exhaustion.

Some of the ways I “feed my soul,” are by:

1) Making lists while taking a bath (might sound strange, but it relaxes me)

2) Reading a book on my e-reader (it might take me two weeks to start and finish one, but I love getting lost in a book)

3) Drawing in my sketch pad or working on decorations for Aidan’s upcoming birthday

4) Blogging (Obviously)

And lastly

5) Yoga or going on a nightly walk

These five interests allow me to not only have a moment to myself, but de-stress from the drain of motherhood. For a while I felt empty, because I wasn’t taking time for myself. A good friend of mine reminded me, that if you do not take care of oneself, you will start to struggle with the relationships that truly matter to you. She was absolutely right. After a few weeks of feeling emotionally and mentally drained, I made more of an effort to take that precious time for myself. Both my husband and I have noticed, that I am much happier and less anxious when I “feed my soul.” I urge everyone to take at least thirty minutes a day to care for your mental and emotional state. Pick up a new hobby or go sit in a quiet room with a book. Find some way to refill your well. You deserve it!

Love and blessings,

Molly

Aidan, Family, Fatherhood, Finley, Motherhood

Life Changes

To say my life has changed these past six weeks is an understatement. I have had to relearn how to care for a newborn, while chasing after a rambunctious toddler. As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, add in Nathan starting his new job as a principal. While Nathan works a nine hour day, my day consists of about 20 diaper changes, 10-15 toddler tantrums, 8-12 feedings and lots of snuggles between the two boys. I have never felt so exhausted, yet so happy in my life. While this season has been filled with lots of changes and we have had to quickly adapt to them, our family continues to be blessed. In the span of one month our lives got a whole lot crazier.

We all seem to be handling the changes differently. Nathan as always, handles anything thrown his way with ease and grace. He is such a wonderful father to our boys and has been a big help to me around the house, despite working a new job. Aidan is 100% toddler. He goes from being extremely affectionate to his little brother, to wanting anything Finley is using. Aidan is definitely having to learn how to share toys and mommy and daddy’s attention. While it hasn’t been any easy adjustment for him, he is an amazing big brother to Finn and absolutely adores helping his “bubba.”

Out of everyone, I think I have had the hardest time adjusting to all the changes in our little family. Since I am a stay at home mom, I am with the boys 24/7. It has not been easy trying to balance raising a toddler and a newborn, while trying to keep the house running. I have had to change the expectations I have always set for myself. Rather than keeping an immaculate home and having a gourmet meal on the table, my focus is making lasting memories with my boys. I have also had to learn to be more patient with Aidan, as he adjusts to these changes as well. Each day has its own personal challenges, but I know God would not have given me anything I couldn’t handle.

While these changes haven’t been easy, they have been full of adventure and joy. Our family has truly been blessed these past six weeks. I am one lucky woman to have three such wonderful guys in my life. I cannot wait for Nathan and I to watch our two little boys grow up and see all the other changes God has planned for us!

Love and blessings,

Molly

Aidan, Creating Memories, Family, Motherhood, Pregnancy

A Momma’s Struggle

While it might be the pregnancy hormones talking, I have become more emotional as my due date draws near. It has finally hit me that not only will Nathan and my life change forever, but our sweet Aidan’s too. His whole world is about to be knocked upside down. Going from being the only child to a big brother will be a huge adjustment for him. Aidan is going to have to share mommy and daddy’s attention, learn to be more patient by waiting his turn and learn to love this little brother who is about to invade his domain. As excited as I am to bring another little boy into our family, it makes me sad to think my one on one time with our bubba is almost over. It will never just be mommy and Aidan again. Finley isn’t even here and I am worried about Aidan feeling neglected or not loved. I am scared of Aidan resenting the new baby or even me, because he isn’t getting mommy’s full attention. I am saddened, because it has just dawned on me that my baby boy is growing up and is no longer my 6 Lb 6 oz little guy anymore. Changes have always been a struggle for me, but this change above all will be one of the hardest. I will always cherish the time Aidan and I have had, just the two of us. I look back on these 19 months of being a stay at home mom, and they have been the best months of my life. While we are all going to have to make adjustments when Finn arrives, I will strive to let Aidan know how special and loved he is. Our sweet boy stole my heart from the moment I laid eyes upon him and that will never change. I know these next few months will have both ups and downs as we become a family of four, but I am looking forward to seeing Aidan in action as a big brother. I know he will end up loving his baby brother with all his heart and they will become the best of friends. Until Finley makes his appearance, I plan on having some special outings with Aidan and making our last few weeks super special. If you have any suggestions on fun activities a very pregnant momma can do with a toddler, please comment below. I am going to end this post and sneak in his room for the second time tonight and watch him sleep!

Love and blessings,

Molly

Motherhood, Pregnancy

Pregnancy Survival Kit

I am currently in my third trimester of pregnancy, and let me tell you I am definitely counting down the weeks till Mr. Finley arrives. While I feel very blessed God has given me another chance at motherhood; pregnancy and Molly Wilkerson do not mesh well! From the all day morning sickness both first and second trimester, to the daily aches and pains as my body grows, I am ready for baby boy to be here! Looking back these past (long) 31 weeks, I realized I would not have survived my pregnancy, without ten essential things. Here is my list of must haves to get through pregnancy!

1) Preggie Pop Drops! A friend sent me these in the mail during my pregnancy with Aidan. They were a life saver. For some reason, my babies make me super sick during the first twenty weeks of pregnancy. I am talking all day nausea and vomiting. These pops allowed me some relief. You can buy them in bulk on Amazon.com.

2) My second go to during pregnancy is Burt’s Bees Mama Bees Belly Butter. I absolutely adore the smell and the shea cocoa butter. It helps prevent stretch marks and soften your skin. I use this every morning after I shower. Buy a tub off Amazon as soon as you find out you are pregnant. The expense is worth it and your skin will never feel so soft again!

3) Since this is my third pregnancy, it is natural for my body to start dealing with aches and pains sooner than the first go around. I invested in the Babo Care Maternity Belly Band around 20 weeks, when my lower back and pelvic area started to ache. Lifting a twenty-five pound toddler doesn’t help! This band, along with daily yoga and stretching has brought me relief. I bought it on Amazon for around $20. (Can you tell I love Amazon) My OBGYN recommended buying this and I love it!

4) We all deal with cravings during pregnancy. Mine started when I got over my aversions to food and could actually keep more than a saltine down. Naturally, my cravings are for sweets. I have craved cookie cake, donuts and jelly beans during this pregnancy. While these are not healthy snacks, I allow myself to satisfy the craving every once in a while. I definitely do not believe in the “eating for two” statement and would like to avoid putting on 50 extra pounds. My go to healthier stash of snacks has been, fresh grapes, vanilla wafers and fruit smoothies. Definitely keep a snack on hand that satisfies your craving.

5) Another essential for surviving pregnancy is a nice selection of yoga pants or maternity leggings. I am lucky enough to be a SAHM, so these have become my everyday ware. When nothing fits and regular pants aren’t comfortable anymore, buy yourself some stretchy pants! My favorite maternity leggings are the Secret Fit leggings from Motherhood Maternity. While they are pricey, they are well worth it in the long run. They are comfortable and are made of great material. You definitely want to be comfortable during your pregnancy! Shout out to Dad and Debby for starting my addiction.

6) Every woman has heard the complaint from their baby doctor, “you aren’t drinking enough water!” I am not someone who can just keep chugging water. To satisfy my doctor and keep baby healthy, I will do it, but with a little help. A few weeks ago I bought the Fit and Active Water Enhancer from Aldi’s. Ever since I started adding it to my water, I noticed I was drinking more. It is zero calories and comes in different flavors. My toddler even likes it!

7) Like I said earlier, pregnancy comes with lots of aches and pains. I use Calgon Lavender and Vanilla Epsom Salt for a relaxing bath, after a long day of chasing a rambunctious little boy. You can find different scents and types at Walmart. I prefer lavender, because it helps me to fall asleep easier. Epsom salt is a great way to relax sore muscles. Now that I am in my third trimester, I take a lot more nightly baths using these salts. Tip: Have your phone nearby to play music or in my case, call your husband from the living room to help you out of the tub!

8) Speaking of husbands, put them to work. With all the back pain I have been fighting, I have needed a nightly back massage. Nathan has been great about massaging my back when I am really hurting. Put on your favorite show and have your man massage those achey muscles. Just be prepared for a little complaining when he has been massaging for more than ten minutes!

9) Pillows, pillows and more pillows are a must have during your second and third trimester. When you start getting that big old belly and it is hard to get comfortable, it helps to be surrounded by pillows. I currently sleep with five. Two pillows under my head, one between my knees and a pillow for my back and stomach. I have friends who have bought those huge pregnancy pillows to sleep with, but I am rather picky when it comes to pillows. I like a certain firmness for different placements. That’s why I end up with five pillows every night. The more pillows the happier the momma! (Never heard that saying? Well I just made it up. But it’s the truth!)

10) My last and the most important essential to surviving pregnancy is support. Pregnancy is a long journey with lots of ups and downs. Whether it is your first time carrying a baby or your fifth, it is not the easiest 9-10 months of your life. I know I would not be able to get through those long months and even after baby is born without the support and love from my family and friends. Just last week my wonderful in-laws took my son for the day so I could catch up on sleep and get over a nasty cold.

My dad and step-mom are always just a FaceTime call away to offer advice, send love and make me laugh.

Two of my girlfriends Kayli and Jessie are always sending me texts asking how I am feeling and how my appointments went. Finally, my rock and the biggest support is Nathan. He has been a comfort to me despite my raging hormones and complaints. (I have really low pain tolerance.) He takes care of our family despite his exhaustion from working two jobs. Without this amazing support group, I don’t know how I would handle bringing another child into this world. If you choose one item to survive pregnancy, let it be a great support group. They will always be there to help and shower you with love and kindness.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and I hope you find comfort during your pregnancy. It is an amazing and life changing journey, despite the aches, pains and weight gain!

Love and blessings,

Molly