See ya Later, Someday

This past Sunday when I opened up my personal Instagram, literally every post had something to do with the tragic, sudden death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. I honestly do not have much of an opinion on Mr. Bryant himself. Obviously I do not know him personally and as far as the NBA goes, I’m more of a 1990s Chicago Bulls (aka Michael Jordan) fan. Either way, a tragedy is a tragedy and they occur every day all over our country and the world. The only difference in the tragedy that occurred outside of LA on Sunday and every other tragedy is that the victim and their family are not usually of celebrity status. However, because this tragedy is high profile and all over all of my media outlets for the past several days, it has been a reminder that life is indeed short. Nothing new though, right?

Meet my new motto: Someday is today.

If you are anything like me, you have lots of ideas/items/plans, etc. that you have collected and put aside for someday. Until this latest motto realization, someday did not seem to have happened yet. So even though I have experienced sudden death in my own life, it’s almost as if I was selfishly hoping for someday to walk up to me on the street, wave enthusiastically, and announce its arrival. News flash: after a good 18 years of adulthood someday has not appeared. Weird, I know. Interestingly, today does keep appearing. So I have determined that it is time for me to focus on the today that keeps showing up and let go of the someday that has not shown up even once.

It is going to take many baby and possibly bigger sized steps for me to fully embrace today. Honestly, embracing the today is so out of the norm for me that it feels uncomfortable. Sure, over the last several years and my mental health training, I have spent some time working on mindfulness and being present in the moment. But fully running up, greeting, and hugging the today in my life has never happened. Today’s baby step was to challenge myself every time I thought that I could put something off to be dealt with later. I didn’t do too bad.

What I did today instead of someday:

  • cut back slightly on my sugar intake
  • carried items downstairs that I had been ignoring
  • wrote this blog article

What I did NOT do today instead of someday:

  • laundry
  • laundry
  • laundry

As you can see, these are very small baby steps…. and it isn’t rocket science… but it is different for me. It did make me feel more empowered to keep taking steps torward truly living for today. No matter how small those steps are, I am grateful for the reminder and the opportunity to live another day and focus on the someday that is actually disguised as today.

Expectations or Lack of

I did it!

The last couple of days I have been experiencing heightened anxiety, and/or increased depression. When more significant changes in my mood occur, it makes me stop to look and see if I can identify a catalyst. It’s been the holidays. For many people, that can increase their mental health symptoms. Overall, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on understanding my typical symptoms during the holidays, so I didn’t think that was the problem. It is the first year that I have had kids in school full time, and so winter break time is new, along with the anticipation of returning to school and a routine. So I thought maybe that was playing into my increased symptoms. In reality it probably was, but it didn’t feel like the catalyst I was looking for. So I kept soul searching, and by golly, I think I figured out a big underlying issue that is affecting my overall mood recently. Expectations.

Expectations (or lack of, as the title suggests). Now, I could write articles and articles about expectations, and I’m sure this will not be the last on the subject. But for this instance, I want to share my most recent realizations surrounding expectations. So here it goes.

For as long as I can remember, from the age of 3 or earlier, I have dreamed of being a mom. Becoming a mother was my biggest life goal. Yes, I know that can be considered “old fashioned”, and yes I know that it’s not that “hard” in most cases to become a mother. I know I have accomplished other great achievements that others only dream of in the realms of education and such. But honestly, all I ever wanted was to be a mother. Good news: as of January 2014, I’m a mother of two beautiful, smart, funny, and incredibly wonderful girls. In the simplest of conversations, mission accomplished. Check. I did it. I became a mother.

So now what?

Well, my expectation of myself and the continued dream was to be able to stay at home and raise my children until they became old enough to attend school full time. I would nurture them in the best way I knew how in order to attempt to counterbalance some of the less desired nature characteristics that could sneak up if not attended to. I would show them what unconditional love is, create an environment for healthy brain development, healthy attachments, and optimal growth. Good news: as of August 2019, my two pride and joys entered the world of full time public school. I did it. (We did it. I am grateful for my husband working hard so I could stay home. I’m not intentionally leaving him out, but this is my blog.) Another check mark on the list.

So now what??

I DON’T KNOW! !!! !!!

And here lies the catalyst. Yes, I do know that my parenting job is not over. It will never be over. I get it. For the most part, I know what I signed up for. What I don’t have is a predetermined expectation, from a younger age (maybe even my 3-year-old self) to tell me what I should be doing to feel somewhat successful. And for whatever reason, this lack of expectations has left me feeling anxious, depressed, lonely, frustrated, lost, and even silly. I mean really, I have plenty of adult responsibilities to tend to. It’s not like I’m bored. Again, in the simplest of terms, it’s more like I have accomplished all of my self expectations at the age of 36. So why don’t I feel more free? Why aren’t some new expectations that my older and somewhat wiser self can determine coming to mind? Why am I sitting here feeling completely lost in a very tiny corner of this world surrounded by my dreams come true? Why do all of my ideas that do come to mind seem like a bad fit?

I obviously don’t know the answer to these questions. However, I do know that even if I have somehow accomplished my one and only true goal in life by the age of 36, I’m not giving up. I’m going to keep on searching for the next goal or expectation that feels right for me. I’m excited to talk about this with my therapist. Although, the more I think about it, the more I think that this is what “they” have been meaning all of these years when “they” talk about “finding yourself”.

Here’s to a new year, same old me, whoever that is.

My Soap Box on Infant Prematurity (Part 1 of 3)

Yesterday was World Prematurity Day. Don’t you just love that there are so many “official” holidays these days to honor and remember different experiences in our society? I do. World Prematurity Day is one of my favorite days to look back on social media memories, because there has been a post for every year since our twin girls were born. This year’s post included this caption: “Happy World Prematurity Day! I’m not much of a planner, but from the day they existed in this world these two have shown me that things rarely go as planned even if you expect them to. Being pregnant with twins was and still is the biggest surprise of my life (I had assumed/planned on just one babe at a time). Going into labor at 33 weeks a day after the doctor said everything looked great was not in the birth plan. Nevertheless, we survived both unplanned events and our lives are definitely better from them. There is never a dull moment in our house. I haven’t been bored in at least 6 years. And for that I am forever grateful.” Ain’t that the truth. Here’s the sweet picture that I included of the babes:

The pictures of them sleeping are when they are in the NICU. The picture below that of them being goofy was taken by the hubs earlier this fall on a Daddy Adventure Day. So what does World Prematurity Day have to do with Mental Health (keeping with the Manic Monday theme)? Well, let me tell you.

As mentioned in my Facebook post, Blondie and Brownie were born the day after a routine doctor’s appointment AND an ultrasound. Both the doctor and the ultrasound tech said that everything looked great and that we should have no problem making it at least until the minimum goal of 34 weeks. Little did any of us know that the next day, at 33 weeks and 3 days gestation, our two little babes would decide that they were ready to come to the outside world. I’ll spare you my birth story for now, but there’s a lot of important lung development and such that is happening around 33+ weeks gestation. 33 weeks and 3 days meant a guaranteed NICU stay. It meant an ambulance ride for me to a higher level of care hospital. It meant lots of medicine given to me as quickly as possible to slow down labor. Our girls were determined to make it out on that day, so when my water broke right before midnight, I knew they were going to be in charge of the situation. 33 weeks and 3 days meant no beautiful chest to chest bonding time post birth. It meant my babies being whisked away without me even seeing them to be intubated and monitored in a NICU isolette. It meant hearing my husband yelling across the room “come on baby” while no one would answer my questions of “what’s wrong with my baby?” It meant giving birth to two beautiful girls, not getting to see them, and then being rolled to my own recovery room. That is where I was told to rest and that the babies would be just fine. So there I was…. a brand new mom whose birth plan went completely out the window, who gave birth but besides for a brief glance at Baby B had not gotten to see her babies, who had very little explained to her about how the babies were doing, supposed to rest because I was exhausted and I had just given birth (twice) after all. I laid down and tried to follow directions, all while the nurse was coming in every hour or so to check my vitals. My body was so exhausted that I did sleep for a couple of hours. It couldn’t have been too long, however because at 6:30 AM I was waking up the hubs and demanding he take me to my babies….

And this my friends, is where it all begins. What is “it”? My journey with postpartum depression (PPD) is “it”. Now that I laid some of the foundation, join me for part 2 tomorrow where I give insight into what it’s like to be in the NICU.