“Maybe yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe…”

So, it has been almost 5 months since I have been back to work full time and being a mommy of two. It has been a rollercoaster of days where I have to accept that I cant get it all done. Days where I have to say, “Welp, its a Marco’s Pizza night” because I cannot imagine making dinner; and be ok with that. Days where I’m like you know what….you need a good cry because hubby isn’t getting home till after 11 PM, Gabby doesn’t like carrots and refuses to eat, and Gracie got into trouble at school for scratching…..and be ok with crying. Then there are days that I pat myself on the back when my routine goes by without a hitch. When Gracie comes home with a good report, and when Gabby FINALLY slept in her bed. On another note, There has been a lot of acceptance on my part. Body acceptance. Lack of sleep. A lot of being nice to myself and coaching myself that I am enough. I am enough for my kids. I am enough for my husband. I am doing all I can.

But….

I haven’t felt sooooooo isolated in my life. Like I find myself alone a lot. I’m not quite sure of the culprit. I know that everything is adjustment and time is essential through transitions, but my GOSH! I know that I am in a different plane in life than say some of my friends, but it feels that I have “lost” that girl friend connection. I am not sure if its because people don’t want to “barge in on my “fairy tale” which is far fetched .” Or if its, ” She’s married…she doesn’t need me anymore.” I can say that’s farthest from the truth. I still NEED my friends. I STILL need to feel like the vibrant me. I still need to laugh. Get dressed up for a girls night. Now this can all be what’s inside my head, but this is the way that I feel. Sometimes things can be rough and my husband can only understand so much….and take so much. Though I know that its his role; I feel bad dumping on him. So, selfishly I keep it inside, and I know from experience that eventually it will all come out.

Maybe this is what 31 is…..being home….with the kiddies…working till I am beyond exhausted…dreaming of vacations with my husband….praying for at least a date night with my husband without the SWAT phone ringing. Maybe….yes

…..maybe no….

maybe

maybe

 

 

“Say a Little Prayer For You”

I looked at myself in the mirror today and decided to actually say some positive affirmations to myself. I told myself “You are doing the best that you can,” “You are a great mommy and wife,” “You are strong” “You are still beautiful” “You’re a great Social Worker”. I said a couple of other affirmations that I can’t remember, but you get the jest. I was telling myself all things that were true, but for the life of me I HAD to remind myself. As I was looking at myself in the mirror I noticed that it was hard to watch. It seemed as if it was hard for me to smile, but eventually I was able to get a glimmer of a smile. Lately, there has been this dark cloud that seemed to be over my shoulders no matter what I tried to do. I have not had the energy to do the simple things. All I could do was care for my babies and that’s it. Thank God for that little bit of energy. I only had the energy to meet their needs, and this is no way to exist. Granted I am proud of myself for pushing just enough to get them fed, dressed, held, read to, taken to daycare, etc. I was unable to cook, unable to clean, unable to sit up without crumpling over. I cared very little about my appearance. In fact, I cared for much of nothing to include eating.

So, back to this dark cloud….This cloud made me feel so overwhelmed with just breathing. I did not want to speak to anyone, but I made myself mumble things to my poor husband. I sat and compared myself to every mom that I saw on social media smiling with their newborns. I compared my post partum body to all the women on IG and on television. I wondered why I cannot be like them. Why am I wiping tears while I clean bottles? Why am I dreading waking up AND going to sleep? I imagined that I had to be the worse mom on the planet, and there was no way for someone to convince me of anything different. I prayed often for strength, peace of mind, and energy. When I spoke to family they asked what I wanted for the holidays and I simply stated, “prayer.” To me that was the most important thing that someone could do for me and it seems to have paid off.

And then poof, one day it seems that the cloud has dissipated. The sky is gray at times, but the cloud wasn’t in sight. I could breathe a little. I would like to think that it is due to the massive amounts of prayers I have prayed as well as prayers on my behalf. When I sit and think though I believe it’s due to acceptance.  I finally admitted to myself and excuse me for what I am about to say, but THIS SHIT IS HARD…..but it can and WILL be done. It is HARD, but (postpartum depression) PPD won’t always be a factor. IT is EFFIN HARD and it’s ok….because that’s my truth. My life has changed drastically and I am currently going through a transitional phase physically (my hair is still falling out and the baby weight has yet to remove itself) emotionally and somewhat spiritually, but it will all become my new normal. Being a new wife, mommy of two babies, a caregiver, a full time social worker, grad student and wearing all the hats that I wear will just be my new life. I had to accept that there is NO BALANCE. With that I had to humble myself and realize that I could not finish school right now. I fought myself on this and made up reasons why I should just try to just get through the semester. But with humbling yourself comes great sacrifice and I made the call last week. I told my advisor that I was not willing to put my 4.0 in jeopardy, and most importantly my sanity.

There just aren’t enough hours in a day to achieve this unrealistic goal of “balance”. I remember my frat brother texted me congratulating me on giving birth and he asked how I was doing and what I am looking forward to with my two girls. I happily told him I was waiting on BALANCE….and he laughed at me and told me “good luck.” I stared at my phone like….”how dare he ruin my idea.” I was still adamant that it can be done because I “thrive off having balance” and what do you know….I started to decline…..I was failing to thrive. So, now with my acceptance which was a stage in the grieving process I feel like I can do it. I can do what I can do and there is nothing else to it. I may not be able to scratch off everything on my to-do list, there will be times where I will just shed a couple of tears just because, and there will be times where I am so exhausted I cannot breathe…but I will keep breathing. I have been thanking God for this feeling of peace. I have even taken to social media to ensure that I thank my followers for their kisses to the sky in my favor.

 

There’s an Aretha Franklin song called “Say a little prayer for you” and it has been so evident in my life right now. The important goal is to not forget to pray now that I feel better; But to charge myself to use that same diligence and “Lord…..I Need You” passion to ensure that I keep him first. It was hard for me to write lately because I didn’t want my writings to be woe is me, but I hope this helps someone going through this same or something similar. The clouds must dissipate. The sun will shine again. And prayer truly works.

 

*hums “Say a Little Prayer for You” *

“Thirty for 31”

The dreaded journey of turning thirty wasn’t so bad. For me, turning thirty was an accomplishment. It was a reminder that I had successfully been through so much and that God didn’t forget me. I got married a month before turning 30, and never looked back. Little did I know that I would experience most of the months of being “dirty thirty” pregnant, moody, and depressed. Granted I welcomed the change of scenery of my new home, I was ecstatic to give birth to my honeymoon baby, and managing all the hats I had to wear. I learned in this short year that I don’t wanna HAVE to be super woman. I don’t want to be viewed as someone without balance. I literally worked to the day I gave birth. I was worried about work crap when my baby and I both needed an emergency C-section. Throughout the year; I looked around and saw overworked and unhappy women because we feel the need to wear the “Cape.” I looked in the mirror and saw myself….exhausted with bags under my eyes trying to turn in an assignment and maintain the 4.0. I decided that I didn’t want to be only identified by my struggles. Yes, I overcame my struggles, but I am NOT only my struggles. I am a walking testimony. I didn’t WANT to be on #teamnosleep…hell I need my sleep! I learned that I wanted a positive work life balance. I want to be a present mommy/wife and career woman, and with faith I believe this is possible. Which is why I had to make the rough decision to sit out of school for another semester. I cried….and cried when I realized my graduation date would be pushed back. But I knew I needed balance. I had to be mature about where I was in life, and what was more important to me. The positive work life balance I yearn for is closer as a result of my recent decision. I just gotta figure out HOW! How to balance it ALL. I didn’t want to sacrifice peace and wellbeing to be seen as Superwoman even though I married Captain America. I just want to be Erie…..simply Erika Nicole. I am longing for 31 to get here so I can apply the lessons I have learned.

In fact, I am somewhat looking forward to turning 31 next month. It will bring yet another year of growth and blessings. If you have been keeping up with my writings; the past couple months have been rough on little ole me. When I take into account all of the changes that I physically, emotionally, and spiritually went through recently it would obvious to feel where I been coming from. Lately, my daily mantra of “Just breathe Erie” has been coming in handy. Anxiety is such a dreadful emotion, and for some reason there is the thought that one can control the anxiety that seems to creep from the back of your neck to the tips of your toes. For record, the only thing you can do is …breathe. Breathe through the anxiety even you cant remember how to breathe during the moment. Yea, you can pop a Xanax or khlonpin, but you still gotta breathe…slow your heart rate down and remember that God will get you through the moment……and that it will all be over soon.

I for one feel pretty ….ok today. I showered (yall this is like therapy for me), put my hair in my pig tails, put on my day jewelry, and waited for the babies to get to nap time. Ahhhhh Nap time. A part of me wanted to nap right with them, but instead decided to embrace these rare moments of solitude. I dusted off my laptop, sent my husband to the gym, “put them babies” in their respective cribs, made a cup of pumpkin spice tea in my “Im fucking Fabulous” mug and decided to vent-write.

Hitting the 31 next month for me will hopefully be a sense of awakening. Walking into motherhood a little more confident, one year of being a wife under my belt, and embracing being a homeowner without feeling like I am behind on everything. Learning how to truly breathe is one of my short term goals along with creating a schedule for myself. I was talking with my mother in law yesterday over a nice glass of red wine and she told me how proud of me she is. I didn’t know that before that moment I needed “mommy validation.” It seems lately I haven’t been as confident as I usually am. As a result, I have been needing more validation from everyone about EVERYTHING. I hate this phase I have been transitioning from. It’s kind of annoying to feel completely and utterly overwhelmed and feeling that you’re doing everything WRONG. I feel as if I put so much pressure on myself to fulfill these roles that I am driving myself insane. Even when I decide to do something for me (leave the house, get some girl talk in, etc)  the mom guilt creeps in which causes me to cry as soon as I leave the home and second guess EVERYTHING all OVER AGAIN. AHHHHH hormones! Mood swings! PPD!

UGH. it’s been rough, but just as always I will survive….I am surviving…and this too shall pass.

*chugs tea, shakes pig tails, checks baby monitor for gracie, sighs and preps for bottle time with nugget*

 

 

These are the Times

There are times when I just want to scream “HELP ME” but then I am reminded how would one be able to do so? How do you help someone who cannot help themselves? Someone who doesn’t even understand why they feel the way that they do. I always knew that one day I’d be a married mom, but I did not foresee how difficult this phase would be. I didn’t take into account that my mental illness wouldn’t just evaporate. I failed to be prepared to have those tough conversations with my husband about those two hard words to pronounce “Suicidal Ideations” In fact, I definitely didn’t prepare myself to be in this position. I realized there is no right way to tell your spouse you are scared to be alone….you simply just say it. Once I told him, I felt a teensy bit of relief…..before the dread came back.

These are the times where I should have so many pictures and short films in my phone from being a hover mom, but that has yet to manifest itself. In fact, most times I can barely remember where I place my phone since my memory is so flighty. I should be carving pumpkins and decorating my home, but instead no matter how much rest I barely receive; I am exhausted beyond belief and cannot think far enough to see a fully decorated home. As a result, my home looks like a glorified apartment. I have been off work for the past almost nine weeks, and I have yet to truly indulge in food and comfort. I think this reason is because I am too busy trying to figure “HOW” I will be able to maintain it all once I go back to work. Especially since I am not maintaining well without the stress of work.  These are the times where I should be giddy as my one year of marriage is upon me in 2 weeks, but instead I am having these tough conversations with my husband to no relief…..

I just couldn’t fathom another day of ignoring my feelings, and dodging my truth…today while I finally remembered to breathe…I chose to be honest….with me.

 

 

Dear Erika….just keep breathing

Dear Erika,

It’s been awhile. You have been on my mind, and I am sure that you have felt alone from time to time. In the middle of the night, when everyone is asleep, and you lie awake contemplating the next steps; anticipating the babies cries and holding your breath because the anxiety is too great. I wanted you to know dear heart; that you are doing the  best that you can. I have seen you look in the mirror and not be amazed at the beauty that lingers. I have seen you lately pause when you accidentally walk past a mirror as if you don’t recognize yourself. You are in there. You are still the loveable you. The life of the party persona lives in you….still. Just give yourself a little more time….I know that it seems like its difficult just to breathe at times and you long for the moment when smile lines will travel across your smile. That time will be here again before you know it. I wanted you to know that It is okay that you initially didn’t want to go to have a picnic in the park, and it felt more comfortable to lie down in bed all day, but I commend you for going any way….for grinning because you couldn’t smile. The look of bliss on your family’s face was priceless and worth it.

I noticed the other day that you jumped slightly when you chuckled as if it surprised you to hear laughter. It’s gonna be ok…I promise. There are people who truly love you that are praying for you when you are unable to. God hears them….and he hears you. Times may seem bleak and filled with apprehension and fear of what will happen next. Just know that this to shall pass. Anxiety filled nights won’t last always, and one day soon you will be able to truly enjoy the moments of your growing babies and loving husband.

You have done nothing wrong for you to feel guilty… mom guilt is irrational. If no one can validate that it has been rough balancing it all…changing medications, trying to feel better all the while trying to not miss precious moments; then I will validate it essentially validating you. Unfortunately, this is the hand you have been dealt. Its perfectly okay that you feel like the bag lady with your sore neck & shoulders from holding all the weight of depression. After all, Someone has to be the voice of others to let them know…that things will get better….just as I am reminding you. Just rest your body, rest your soul…. remember to pray often,  take slow methodical breaths

and remember to  just keep going… keep breathing…simply

keep

breathing

-Erie