Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"No Noise in the Library"

Today felt extra special for me. Christian (my 2yr old) and I were hanging out by my mother’s house and after a long game of bouncing on imaginary trampolines and climbing imaginary stairs, (to my relief) we took a walk to the imaginary library.

Now, this imaginary library is a spot that we visit quite regularly. What was different today, was that we spent about 45 minutes there. This came as quite a surprise to me since we have never really stayed in this library for more than 15 minutes, being the quiet place that it is.

Needless to say, we went about it as we normally would. He mouthed that we were in the library then declared, “We have to be very quiet, ok, Mommy? We cannot be loud”. He proceeded to ask me which book I wanted to choose and after he denied my first two options, he conceded to my final request.

This book, Home: A Collaboration of Thirty Authors & Illustrators (Reading Rainbow Book), is a collection of poems and short stories that he has apparently come to love. I was directed to read the first story in a whisper. At first, my whisper was too loud and I was warned that I had to lower my voice before I was sent out of the library. I, finally, “caught” the right pitch and we moved through at least four poems and two more books, completely, forgetting that we were in a fake library!

The whole experience had become too eerily real for me and I decided to become the defiant, loud kid in the building that day. I started making unexpected slips into a loud voice which my child thought was hilarious. He kept warning me that if I was not careful, I would not be invited back to the library. I was laughing so hard at his stern reprimands that he finally submitted to the hilarity of the situation and became a defiant, loud kid himself. Unfortunately, as a result of our behavior, we both got thrown out of the library!

Ah well, I am sure there are more libraries in this town!

Psst!! What imaginary games have you and your little one(s) been enjoying? I would love to here. Feel free to share here...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Treating Depression Naturally...?

I know that a lot of new moms who suffer from post-partum depression can find it extremely challenging to carry out their normal routines on a daily basis. Here are a few tips that I have employed myself, over the years, to help regulate and eliminate episodes of depression.

I have been increasing my omega 3s by adding fish oil, flax seed, olive oil, garlic and more walnuts to my diet. Studies have shown that consuming foods rich in omega three fatty acids helps to treat or eliminate a whole host of disorders including depression. Adding freshly ground flax seed to my meals seems to be one of the easiest ways for me to tolerate flax because I don’t really taste it. I sprinkle it over cereal; I mix it in with extra virgin olive oil (first cold pressed) with rice dishes, as well as, pasta dishes. As for the fish oil, I add it to fish dishes because I hate the smell! Adding it to cooked fish cuts down on the whole “fishy” effect for me. Walnuts, I have found, are an amazing addition to oatmeal. I just crush the nuts and add raisins and maple sugar to the oatmeal. It is scrumptious. Just merely mentioning garlic here, is almost pointless to me, because it is my number one super food! I make hot water brews with garlic by soaking freshly crushed garlic in hot water for about 5 to 10 minutes and the result is simply magical; adding a clove or two to freshly made carrot juice disguises its pungent taste but is just as effective for me. I feel the best when I have had the juice on an empty stomach.

When I feel myself sliding into a depressive state (most times I can tell when that is happening before it actually descends), I push myself to execise. I go for a walk outside, or jog on the spot at home if it is too cold outside. I sometimes just find a fitness program on a cable channel and throw myself into it. By the way, I hate any type of exercise that is not walking, running or dancing, but when it comes to breaking “the blues” anything goes! I get easily bored so I mix it up. I may spend 5 minutes dancing, then jumping jacks, then push-ups or sit-ups. I used to do yoga stretches and it really helped to relax me, make me feel clear and positive but I soon felt sleepy after my workout. Now, I don’t do it anymore unless it is before bed time. Overall, exercise really works for me.

Practicing positive speaking and thinking has just moved me into a new level of existence, so much so, that I cannot even remember when was the last time that I actually had any lengthy struggle with depression. I have started to encourage myself daily and at nights before I go to bed. This way, the last thoughts that I have are pleasurable and relaxing. I normally wake up with a “good enough” attitude to face the day and its challenges. When the challenges do come, I find little ways to talk to myself (out loud). Every time I walk by a mirror, I tell myself encouraging thoughts like, “You are special; I love you for who you are; I am glad that you choose to be patient with yourself and others, etc.” Little things like these have really helped me to stay afloat.

For safety reasons, it is advisable to never undertake any self-treatment program without consulting your physician. Many of them are now more willing to discuss the use of alternative medicine in their treatment plans. All the best…

Monday, March 23, 2009

Choosing Happiness!

I am enjoying the sense of hope and purposefulness that I am experiencing, now that I have reminded myself and accepted that when I choose to be happy then I end up being happy. When I choose to be in a bad mood then it follows that I get grumpy.

After a month of significantly challenging days, I finally had a breakthrough. My son had been particularly whiny today due to of lack of sleep and after many attempts of trying to soothe him, he persisted in being that way. In the midst of the charade, I took a phone call. Upon realizing that there was no way that I was going to hear my friend above all the crying and whining, I wondered (really loudly), " how do you get someone who is choosing to be miserable to stop being miserable?" In the instant that the thought appeared, I immediately, reflected on my own state over the past few days.

I have been spending the last few weeks feeling tense and anxious about the dawn of my Dad's birthday (February 26) and the anniversary of his death (March 16). After struggling through each day, the "inevitable" bad mood finally descended. My numerous attempts at encouraging myself to feel better always ended up with me thinking that my Dad really should not be dead, he should be alive; He should be alive so that we could do this or that we could do that, etc., etc. Hence, the sadness progressed. I didn't want him to be dead, I wanted him to be alive.

But, today, as I thought about how I could help my son feel better, I started to work on how I could help myself to feel better. I thought about ways that I could extend the good feelings that came with our father-daughter relationship beyond the boundaries of death; ways that I could keep alive the happy times that we spent together. As I pondered those moments, I started to break out into smiles and then laughter. My mood began to change and I remembered that if I kept my mind in a place of thankfulness for the times we had together (good and bad), then I could maintain a posture of happiness each day. I like how it feels when I choose to soothe myself, much more than when I am making myself sad and, as a parent, it is really important for me to continually practice and develop great habits that my child will inevitably model.

All the best...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Multiple Novice!

We have all been given very good advice but one never follows them when put to the test. For me I had to rely on books and the internet because there was noone in my immediate circle who had ever had twins. My first few days home cannot be described with one word because there were so many issues that I had to contend with.

First, I had to leave my girls at the hospital for two days. This was a very emotionally draining experience because although I knew they were alive, I felt otherwise because I was leaving the hospital with an empty womb and no babies.

Second, I was going home a baby myself in need of a babysitter. I was in a lot of pain both physically and emotionally. It was hard for me to accept help from anyone to do the most basic task but I had to swallow my pride when I could not take the first step to rise from my bed.Giving someone control of me was one of the hardest thing I had to do during my recovery process.

Third, I had to deal with going back and forth to the hospital for feeding and bonding. As much as I looked forward to it, I dreaded the times when I had to leave. I was also in so much pain because I did not take my medications when I went to see them because I wanted to be alert.Thank God they only spent two days.

Their first night home was a very joyous occasion for me because now I had babies.My aunt was here and I felt more comfortable with her than I did with my other caregiver.Even though I was in need of care myself I felt I had to have the reigns about the girls care so I stayed awake longer than I should and I took my medication only when the pain became unbearable.I look back and see what I could have done differently but I would not change it if I had to do it over.


The baby slept all night!

I remember getting home with Jaedon, settling in and going to bed,well, wanting to. First, let's hope the baby would go to sleep. At 2 days old, he did sleep quite a bit, just not all in one shot. Aha! Finally, he's asleep. I put him in his bassinet....on his belly, or on his back? the books say on his back.... let's try that. Wahhh! His arms shoot out to the sides, his legs stiffen. OK, that didn't work. Walk, walk, walk,...he's asleep. Let's wait a bit. Ok, let's put him down. Maybe on his side this time. Ahhh! He's still sleeping. I head over to my bed and try to settle in for the night. It took me a while to find a comfortable spot, to quite my mind. It has been an eventful 2 days, with sonogram, hospital stays, induction.... I'm not sure if I had been asleep a minute when .."Eh, Eh, Eh....Waaahh!!!" I get him, put him on the breast. To prevent jaundice, he should be fed every 90 monutes. In 10 minutes, he's sleeping again. It's now 1 in the morning and I haven't slept yet. I had a sinking feeling, a premonition of things to come.

Ok, so now I know how to put him down, I put him in his bassinet and get into bed. My body relaxes and I sigh in relief as the quiet continues. But the red light from the digital clock is bothering me. I throw a shirt over it. Sleep, at last. Then, "Eh, Eh, Eh, Wa, Waaah!" It was exactly 90 minutes from the last feeding, 2:30am, and 15 minutes of sleep under my belt!

This continued until morning when my darling husband woke up, looked at the sleeping baby in the bassinet and exclaimed, " The baby slept all night!" A description of my thoughts in that moment are for another posting.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reflections of a New Parent

Welcome to the wonderful world of "newbie" parenting. Take a walk with me...

You have come home from the hospital with that cushy, little bundle in your arms and feeling zero percent capable of keeping the perfect little one alive for more than a day. Well, maybe, you were more confident than I was that first day. Surely, I thought, there was no way that my child could survive if I closed my eyes for longer than 30 seconds, so I didn’t - for more than those thirty allowable seconds.

Very soon I figured out that, at the very least, I had to eat. After all, I couldn’t breastfeed without having fully nourished myself, right? Yeah, I know, that should be easy because I could take the baby to the kitchen with me. Then again….no….because, God forbid, that in my drudged state I forget to turn the stove off, or I spill something that causes a fire and I am too groggy to react quickly enough; the baby would surely die from smoke inhalation. Nope! Absolutely, no eating was allowed.

Oh, and what about taking a shower? I had to do that! After being in the hospital for one too many days: cringing quite often at sharing a shower which one too many people had used, I was longing for the frills of my clean, warm and cozy bathroom. Hmmmhhmmm. That thought, however, was short lived. Since I wasn’t able to figure out how to eat, how exactly I was going to figure out taking a shower.

Well, after the first few months of barely surviving, having ignored all the great advice of friends and family, not to mention all the thousands of books and articles I read on preparing for my newborn, I was fully converted. Too cranky from having very little sleep, too hungry from having very little food, too dirty from having too few showers, I finally asked my mom to prepare a meal for me. I allowed someone else (Dad) to look at the child (without closing their eyes for thirty seconds, of course) so that I could sleep for a few hours, because there must be somebody else in the world that has done this before and knows how to look after a baby.

For goodness sake, don’t be like me! You cannot do it on your own. Ask your family and friends for help, especially, those first few weeks after the baby is born. They expect you to. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child.
A person soon learns how little he knows when a child begins to ask questions.-- Richard L. Evans

Affirming words from moms and dads are like light switches. Speak a word of affirmation at the right moment in a child's life and it's like lighting up a whole roomful of possibilities.-- Gary Smalley