Health & Wellness

I’m Unimpressed with Young Living Essential Oils

It happened to me. Young Living Essential Oils happened to me.

So, I have been dancing around the idea of looking into trying essential oils for headaches. I had no idea how they were supposed to help, but I was, and am, willing to try most anything to alleviate my headaches. I was invited to an *exclusive* Facebook group to test oils. I received my ultra special sample from my Young Living peddling friend and I was sold. The beautiful marketing materials and intoxicating scents of the tester oils bolstered my whim to invest in the Premium Starter Kit.

$200 Later

Yep, you read that right. Two bills to begin a “path to wellness” for my family and me. In addition to the $160 kit with 10 oils and random samples and sharing crap, I splurged for the 2 day shipping, bringing my total to a whopping $200. I had some REALLY high hopes for these mystical oils.

Five Days Later

I’m not salty about it or anything, but my pretty expensive starter kit with added *2 DAY SHIPPING* came 5 days after ordering. So, this time period includes a weekend, and I understand the delay that way. I just thought that the whole 2 Day thing meant “2 days regardless of regular business days” ….because $25 should get me that, right? After 5 days of checking the shipping status online, I finally got the knock that I had been waiting for: the Premium Starter Kit had arrived.

I was still pretty enamored with the Young Living Lifestyle and though I definitely am not motivated to, I entertained the idea of actively selling oils for a hot minute. This is the new Avon lady, I thought. The 3 and it’s free and career path informational materials are somehow disarming and alluring. All of the carefully crafted Multi Level Marketing ploys had been effectively deployed on me. These oils and supplements, presented as affordable luxury, were wellness items that our families deserved. If I really loved my family and wanted to provide for them, Young Living was the answer to every prayer.

But wait, there’s more

The Essential Rewards program is a monthly automatic shipping order that you select and can “cancel at any time” but accrue spendable points at higher and higher rates the longer you have an active subscription. The believers make it sound design like a commandment, a true necessity to have a monthly qualifying ER order. People love showing pictures of their free items they used points to receive.

Fellow down-liners via the Facebook group page for our “organization” under our ultimate sponsor or whatever it’s called, are constantly testifying the blessings of the Essential Rewards programs and sharing pictures of their “free” items. In reality, you have to order hundreds of dollars of inventory, whether for yourself or actually customers, in order to enjoy the benefits that include complimentary product.

I signed up for ER in a moment of particular weakness and quickly realized my error. I signed into my virtual office and tried to cancel my ER order. Make all product quantities 0? Nope. Change delivery date? Won’t go through til next time. Ugh! So much for cancel anytime. I called the customer service number and felt like I had to justify my cancelation reason and why I was missing out on this great opportunity. It was more like trying to cancel cable than a shipment.

Back to the kit

I chose the Desert Mist diffuser in my PSK because it was the cutest in the pictures, but it also has variable diffusing strengths and up to 10 hours of run time. In real life, it’s pretty cheap looking, like an oversized votive candle with a blow hole. If it didn’t have the cute Morroccan Trellis design, I wouldn’t use the decorative cover at all.

Lavender is the Young Living star oil and the only one I used at first. I was having a really difficult time finding diffuser blend or any other recipes that used ONLY oils from my ultra special Premium Starter Kit. I always seemed to be missing one or two components to a recipe, usually tea tree and lemongrass. I quickly ran out of lavender, lemon, and Citrus Fresh oils making cleaning products and defusing, which is all I really wanted oils for. I had been watching the prices of the oils I’d run out of and the monthly PV promos to feel out a right time to buy the oils I actually used. Ads for ArtNaturals oil and diffuser sets kept popping up in my Facebook news feed, on Pinterest, and even in my room at my mom’s house. She got her ArtNaturals oil and diffuser set on Amazon, but was nonetheless happily diffusing lavender and other various oils in her room with no quality issues.

Quantity and Quality

One day I saw that ArtNaturals was having a BOGO diffuser sale. Maybe this isn’t really a sale and I am once again fodder for marketing executives, but I had to check out this mysteriously affordable company. In 5 minutes of browsing, I found a 16 oil (singles) and Bluetooth diffuser PLUS second Bluetooth diffuser for $60 😲

I knew that I had been had. Instead of shelling out $75 to re-up my Young Living supply, I made off with 2 Bluetooth clock 400ml diffuser units and 16 oils. Damn. By shopping around for 5 minutes I could have saved $140. I reassured my self that the *nice* or expensive oils would surely be more effective than their cheap peer.

Now I’m a happy customer

Truly, I have noticed no difference in quality of household products I have made with both brands of oils. Diffusing, I have noticed differences in scent, but ArtNaturals have been effective blends for sleep, allergies, stress, and headaches. The similarity of these oils made my buyers remorse really hit home. I’m a little bitter at Young Living for making their product seem like the moral selection, the choice of mothers who really care.

I have since purchased a second ArtNaturals set with a necklace diffuser because it is SO CUTE! and was less than $20 including 8 oils that I’m chugging through anyway. My house smells amazing, I have been able to stop allergies in their tracks, and I can make surprisingly effective household products for pennies. I really wish I had skipped Young Living and gone with ArtNaturals from the start.

I’m sure there are people ready with their pamphlets and doctrine to change my wrong opinion about the *best* essential oil company around. I know there are an equal number of Doterra fans available to sing its praises and enlighten me as to how DT is truly the superior company in quality etc.

Aside from the loudest names in the industry, there are plenty of quality, affordable, small business essential oil companies. There are so many options available thanks to Amazon, and a quick Google search will reward you with countless blog posts recommending individuals favorite oil purveyors (and a fair amount selling for MLMs). One reason that I like purchasing from ArtNaturals is that they are based out of Glendale, which isn’t far from me!

Whether it’s a unpopular or inconvenient opinion to have, I’m here to tell you that the MLM essential oil companies are not the end all be all in the retail market. What’s your essential oil brand of choice? Why?

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Life With Littles

Cloth Diapering Milestone: Cloth Wipes Rock!

Plus recipe for DIY wipe spray/solution

I started cloth diapering not out of necessity or principle, but out of frustration. For a few days every time there was a poopy diaper, it was a blow out; not just any blowout either. Each diaper failed at the waist in the back and inner legs, getting poo all over.

These poo-tastrophe diapers pushed me over the edge. I was ready to try anything to contain these eliminations. I’d been sitting on a stash of flat diapers and pocket diapers just waiting for a reason to use them. Some washes, a Snappi, and a few YouTube videos later, Porter was sporting a fun cover and *ahem* expertly folded flat diaper, just living his baby life in natural fibers.

Immediately, we used cloth and disposables about equally, but a few days in we were using cloth 24/7. We soon ran out of the regular wipes we always used for diapering. Matt defeatedly offered to run to the store. Ever one to take on unnecessary projects, I proclaimed that I was going to use CLOTH WIPES! Matt had a look of subdued skepticism, but asked if I had what I needed. *Swoon*

A requisite scroll through Pinterest to research bolstered my confidence in my ability to add another layer to my already multifaceted cloth diapering system. Apparently, all I needed were cloths soft enough for baby booties, large enough to cover your hand, but also small enough to store in large sets. Not everyone in the blogosphere insists on using wipe spray, but plenty sites did, so I figured that I might as well make spray and go the distance.

What is wipe spray? This spray takes the place of the liquid chemicals in commercial wipes. I prefer to use a spray and dry cloths instead of prewetting cloths. Some people get really fancy and fold their wet cloths in a way that they “pop” up in succession like traditional wipes in boxes and keep them in wipe warmers. It’s like a spa treatment, not a butt wipe. I have read some experiences with wet wipes becoming moldy if left too long. I’ll pass on that, thank you.

I ended up creating my own spray combination because I had to substitute for pretty much every ingredient the how-to’s recommend. I’ve had great success with my spray. The secret ingredient is Young Living Seedlings Baby Oil. The “calm” scent is heavily lavender and makes a soothing baby oil. I even use it when I get a kitchen burn; it helps pain, swelling, and blistering.

Making the spray is extremely easy, with only 3 ingredients. This recipe makes about 16 oz. You need:

  • 1 16oz spray bottle
  • 2 Tbsp clear baby wash Opaque kinds separate and look kind of like an abandoned science project in this mix.
  • 2 Tbsp Young Living Seedlings baby oil “Calm”
  • 2 cups warm water

Add all ingredients except water into spray bottle. Slowly add water. Put the cap on tightly, give the bottle a good shake, and grab some wipes! If you plan on spraying directly onto Junior’s bum, set the nozzle to mist or wide spray. Nobody wants to be shot in the butt with a spray bottle set to stun. If you are just too extra, you can put your bottle in a bottle warmer or a cup of hot water (or tea or coffee) to warm it up pre-spritz.

What have you used when you’ve been out of wipes? Or even toilet paper?

Crafts & DIY

Transitioning to Tiny

Matt started construction on our tiny house conversion on Christmas Eve 2017. He had originally estimated needing 3 weeks once our tax return came in to fuel the project. Now, mid April we are still finishing painting, laying tile, and installing shelves.

These four walls became our home early March as soon as there was a floor and the door locked. We think we are about 85-90% finished with the *initial* build. We joke that we have to live here for “x” years in order to break even on our investment of time, energy, and funds. Every day we seem to come up with new projects and fixes. We are in it for the long haul.

Big Changes for a Tiny Life

It has been an adjustment to basically halve our living space and confront all my baggage (literally, like 90% of everything we own is mine and 90% of that came with me from high school). It has been easier than I thought to purge 26 years of junk. Most of my stuff has been hidden in closets, under beds, or under piles of clothes for years, so I didn’t miss it.

Some items have been more difficult to part with. Often, it’s a feeling of guilt that makes me question whether or not something should be tossed. I feel guilty for not using the item, guilty that someone gave it to me and now I am getting rid of it, guilty that I’ve neglected it, just guilty.

I read a great quote on Pinterest about sentimental clutter: no one wants the stuff they give you to cause you stress. If my feelings attached to items are negative, why do I want them? My mom didn’t give me this yoga mat so that I could look at it, remember that I don’t work out, feel guilty, and stress about whether or not she’ll know I haven’t used it. An item that was intended to help me relax is now a source of stress. Am I just hanging on to it so I can suffer for her sake? Like I’m justifying its presence and therefore clutter as penance? Suddenly organizing had become extremely introspective.

So far so good

This first month of tiny life has been extremely encouraging, though not easy. The studio-ish nature of our tiny house is not too much different than us sharing a one bedroom apartment. Even sharing a room in our old house, Autumn had a bed but always wanted to sleep in ours. Autumn again has her own bed and a “room” carved out in our tinyness. While her little nook is cozy and on its way to being princessified, Autumn still wants to sleep with Daddy, on the couch, or anywhere but her Big Girl Bed some nights. Not much has changed there.

Some positive changes have come from our new smaller lifestyle. Now, we can’t “send” Autumn anywhere but outside if she is too wound up, which is probably a good thing. Similarly, we can’t “take a break” or “get some space” anywhere but the bathroom or outside. Though it rarely happens, no one is able to storm off and pout. We are forced to communicate more effectively.

Autumn is never physically excluded completely. Her desire to be involved in everything gets met most of the time since she can see what is happening all through the house. Since Autumn can see everything from her bed, we can’t put her to bed and then stay up to watch TV. If we want Autumn to go to sleep, and believe me we do, we also have to turn in at the same time- for a while at least.

Going to bed at 8:30 when Autumn and Porter are sleeping has been wonderful for me! No, I don’t get anything done around the house in the quiet time after they are asleep. I am able, however, to muster more energy and patience during the day to accomplish the tasks I would have slogged through into the night. I don’t need to sleep when the baby sleeps anymore to be able to function throughout the day.

While I am eager to get more shelves and storage established, our first month of Tiny Life has reassured me that I CAN survive in a space without stuff. This transition period has been a great opportunity to purge our belongings as well as identify areas where we can streamline our lives. Even though our living space has been minimized, we are able to enjoy our time together as a family to the maximum!

Crafts & DIY

Knitty Gritty: Cable Knitting Demystified + Pattern

I LOVE to knit! I have been in a good groove where I finish projects instead of starting them and abandoning them after a few days. I have been on a cable knit kick lately. Cable knitting looks impressive and complicated, but it’s really not hard at all!

This technique is a great way to kick your knitting up a notch from basic purl and knit patterns. Cable knitting has many applications from apparel, blankets, and even Christmas ornaments. Cables can be knit flat or in the round (which is ultra convenient because you never work wrong side rows!) making them a go-to for adding texture and flair to socks, which is my personal addiction.

It surprises me how many people are put off or intimidated by cable patterns. Maybe it’s the charts or the addition of a cable needle that seems overwhelming. Reading cable charts is easy once you get a feel for common cable stitches and common symbols used in charts. Additionally, cable patterns can be written out in word form for those of us that prefer text to charts.

My Favorite Cable Knitting Pattern

Let’s check out my favorite beginner’s cable pattern. This pattern is adapted from this blog with corrections made to get the cables right. This pattern is a great starter cable project because it has mirrored cables and repeats throughout. Once you knit the 2 cables a couple of times, you won’t even need to look at the pattern.

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Cable Headband Action Shot

While this pattern is made for a headband/ear warmer, it can easily be made into a scarf or even a band for a hat. (My hair is up in a bun or pony tail 99% of the time, so I like the headband style best.) This is a one skein pattern that isn’t yarn or needle specific. Use what you’ve got on hand.

cable headband chart

Revisions

There are some errors in the chart that are fixed in the following written pattern:
Following the chart as written will probably give you a seed stich border, which is cool if you like that look
The cables are actually 6 stitches, not 5

*I end every row in a K stitch and slip the first stitch of every row to get smooth edges.*

CO 29 st

Row 1: S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, K3, C6L (3 st onto cable needle hold front, K3, K3 off cable needle), C6R (3st onto cable needle hold back, K3, K3 off cable needle), P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Row 2 & 4 (back side): S1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K2, P15, K2, P1, K1, P1, K1, K1.
Row 3 (front side): S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, K15, P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Row 5: S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, C6R (3st onto cable needle hold back, K3, K3 off cable needle), C6L (3 st onto cable needle hold front, K3, K3 off cable needle), K3, P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Rows 6-8: repeat rows 2-4

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Up Close Look at the Cable Pattern

Repeat rows 1-8 until desired length. Seam edges together in preferred method. I pick up the CO row and kitchener stich the seam if I’m feeling fancy. Otherwise, I join the edges in whatever method feels easy.

Helpful Tip

For all cables using a cable needle, a left leaning cable brings the stitches to the front of the work. Right leaning cables bring the stitches to the back of the work. Knowing this little tidbit, you’ll be able to replicate cable patterns you like without needing a pattern and you’ll be able to make your oown cable patterns.

Have you tried cable knitting? Do you prefer charts or written patterns? Share any tidbits of wisdom you’ve acquired in the comments!

Life With Littles

My High-Risk Pregnancy: 1st Trimester Recap

I am now 15 weeks along and in the 2nd trimester (hooray!) of my second pregnancy and first high-risk one. Thus far, I have had a completely different, and rather unpleasant experience than I had with Autumn.

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Sick as a Dog Mom

With Autumn (3 years ago) I was blessed by not experiencing any nausea or vomiting (sorry) until 12 weeks, and then just a few days of discomfort. I spent the first trimester not feeling pregnant at all, except for tiredness and needing to pee a lot.

My luck has run out. I have been ridiculously sick round the clock with this little nugget. When I vomit, I have a seizure (which is not terribly abnormal) so on top of feeling “pregnant sick” I get the joy of also feeling “seizure sick” often.

I had to be seen in the ER last week because I wasn’t able to keep anything down for FOUR DAYS STRAIGHT. IV fluids and a prescription for Zofran has helped me battle this incessant nausea so I can actually eat… most of the time. So far, I’ve lost 10lbs since my first OB visit. No one is worried; I have plenty of extra chub to make up for the loss.

As my doctors and friends remind me, feeling sick is a very reassuring sign that a pregnancy is progressing and hormones are a-working. If I had any doubts that there is really a teeny tiny baby growing in me, they would be quelled by the 5 (yes 5) ultrasounds I’ve had so far.

High-Risk = TONS of Sonograms

Just hearing the little gallop of baby heartbeat on doppler is nothing like seeing your little nugget growing and actually seeing the heart as it beats. While I was pregnant with Autumn, I only had 4 ultrasounds throughout the entire unremarkable pregnancy. Now, as a high-risk mama, I get the FANCY equipment with 3D imaging and high-resolution every single visit.

I’ll admit, when I wasn’t feeling any flutters (they just started, yay!) I would wonder if things were really going OK in there. Having the opportunity to actually see the little nugget at every office visit has been so reassuring through this otherwise uncomfortable and stressful pregnancy.

Waiting for Relief

Now that I am in the “honeymoon trimester” I am anxiously waiting for the relief of my worst symptoms. It is nice to hear from family, friends, doctors, and blog moms that the best is yet to come. At he same time, it’s kind of frustrating to hear the fairy tales of bliss and happiness that I SHOULD be having, while I’m still living on the couch with near-constant migraines, on constant vomit watch, and unable to eat like a normal person.

This Too Shall Pass

I have to remind myself that even if it takes 9 months, I WILL feel better. I have tried several remedies for morning sickness and headaches (thanks again, Pinterest) all to no avail. I have accepted that Tylenol is my friend and use it sparingly. I recently started magnesium supplements, but the jury’s out on its efficacy. I’m still searching for my miracle cure or the magical moment of 2nd trimester relief. I’m happy that my illness and discomfort is all proof that I’m growing a tiny human, which is the best reason to be sick.

Do you have any awesome suggestions for general pregnancy malaise? Have you had sickness that went beyond the 1st trimester? How did you cope?

Life With Littles

My High-Risk Pregnancy: Week 4

Change of Heart

After Autumn was born I struggled with Post Partum Depression and began having seizures. I was put on medications, had to stop nursing and lost my Driver’s License. I was devastated, scared, and certain that I would never be physically, emotionally, or mentally ready for another child. I had all but decided that Autumn would forever be a Singleton. Slowly (very slowly) I began to miss the baby days.

At the beginning of this year, Matt and I began discussing the possibility of adding another member to our family, addressing my fears about the potential impact my health and medications would have on a fetus. We were able to separate my irrational fears from the actual medical concerns that surround epilepsy and pregnancy. In March, we decided that we were ready to have another baby, like ASAP.

I was able to go off of my most risky medication and was given some much-needed reassurance from doctors that more than likely I would be able to have a safe, healthy, yet high-risk pregnancy. The odds were in my favor. We were ready!

Big Fat Positive

I woke up on Monday morning feeling off. I had a weird dream (which is especially odd for me since I don’t often remember my dreams) and felt uncharacteristically sick, like I had the stomach flu. Something inside me knew that I was pregnant.

Conveniently I had a pregnancy test in the medicine cabinet. While Matt and Autumn were still waking up, I took the test. I anxiously watched the dumb little windows on the test and had to pinch myself when I saw the oh so faint line in the “Pregnant” window. I double checked the instructions to make sure I read it correctly. I did. I was almost speechless when I showed Matt the test. We had a Big Fat Positive.

We went to the Women’s Health clinic at my doctor’s office to confirm my test results. I was dated about 3 weeks 3 days along, just barely pregnant. I guess I’m really good at knowing when I’m pregnant; with Autumn I knew around 5 weeks. My Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD) was placed around February 3, 2018.

It’s Really Happening

After we told our parents and siblings, there was business to tend to: I need to find a Maternal Fetal Health specialist that accepts my insurance, can see me before my 6 week mark, and isn’t terribly far from our little rural town outside of San Diego. That’s a pretty tall order.

I have been oddly comforted by the annoying queasiness, food aversions, and mood swings (sorry Matt). These symptoms remind me that there’s really a bun in my oven. Since I’ve already been pregnant, I feel way more prepared and ready to face the special obstacles that my high-risk pregnancy carries.

 

Risky Business

All pregnancies where the mom has active seizures (like me) are considered high-risk, as well as pregnancies where the mom is taking medications known to pose a risk to the growing baby (like my mom had with my brother and me). I will be monitored more frequently than “normal” moms, need more invasive tests, and likely not have all the options for delivery that are offered in low-risk pregnancies.

This time around, I am more focused and dedicated to being the healthiest vessel for my little baby-to-be. I need 5 times as much folate as a typical mom, I need to practice the best self-care I can, and commit to regular exercise. Following these recommendations will help reduce risks caused by my medications, prevent seizures, and help me carry to term.

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Heavenly Father cares for all His children, born and unborn

T-Minus 9 Months

Here I stand, at the beginning of a 280 day journey to meeting our new baby. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared. Though the statistical odds of me having a healthy, event-free and full term pregnancy are in my favor, the usual concerns of birth defects and other average complications are always in the back of my mind. I try not to dwell on the negative possibilities, especially those related to my unique condition.

I am doing, and will continue to do, everything in my power to give our baby the best chance at a healthy start. I can only control so many factors and worrying about “what ifs” can’t do anything for me other than stress me out. I am educated about the potential risks of my medications and have considered with Matt what these scenarios would mean for our family. The only thing that really matters is having as healthy a baby as possible and providing the love and care that our baby needs.

 

Health & Wellness

Sunshine After Rain

My Post Partum Depression Story

New & Expecting Mamas, I’m sorry to be another person to cast a dark shadow on the beautiful, bright, Norman Rockwell fantasy motherhood scenarios many of you may dream of sharing with your new bundle of joy(s). We need to talk about the very real, very scary, and for some reason very stigmatized boogie man: Post Partum Depression (PPD).

I’m not here to preach about PPD as a sickness from a clinical perspective, but to open up about my experience, struggle, and journey to health again. I hope that creating more public dialogue about our experiences with Post-Partum Depression, more mothers will come forward to seek early help without fear.

Beyond “Baby Blues”

Seriously ladies, babies are exhausting! Even the most energetic and resilient moms will have moments where they feel overwhelmed and exhausted, especially at 2am when Jr. just won’t stop crying or feeding. “Baby Blues” are temporary and maybe a trip to Starbucks with a friend, or letting Grandma get her wish of an afternoon with the new baby “So you can sleep, honey,” can help relieve your exhaustion and fortify your spirits.

PPD is so much different. When your crying just won’t stop, you always feel desperate, inadequate (though all mothers feel inadequate periodically), never attached to your baby, empty, numb- not feeling anything at all. These are all indications of PPD, though many other signs can identify this complex condition. Most seriously, anger and suicidal ideation can manifest in Post-Partum Depression. These are never symptoms to ignore. Seek help immediately if this describes you.

Precious Moments Lost

Autumn was born in October 2014. Immediately she had problems nursing. This was a crushing blow to my hopes for motherhood. The only thing that I wanted to do was nurse Autumn for the first year. Everything else I would play by ear. The entire hospital stay was a nightmare of painful feedings, unhelpful lactation consultants, and a feeling that Autumn was someone else’s baby that I was babysitting. *Red Flag!*

Things didn’t get any better when we got home. Her feeding problems persisted and it seemed like she nursed around the clock, but was never satisfied. My nipples were wrecked, she wasn’t getting as much milk as I was making, and I still didn’t feel like a mother. At her doctor’s appointment, she was checked off as gaining weight OK, but I didn’t feel like I was adequately providing for her needs. She cried ALL. THE. TIME. I felt so out of touch with her and hopeless.

I couldn’t handle it. Like, I literally dreaded the days that my husband worked night shifts and I had to brave the seemingly endless nights of painful feeding, constant soothing, screaming from her, tears from me alone. Who was I to complain? Innumerable mothers had valiantly swallowed their discomfort for the sake of their precious bundles of joy. Why couldn’t I buck up and take it like a mom? I felt so ashamed at my feelings of displeasure, borderline unloving, and straight up misery that I didn’t say anything and refused to acknowledge these true issues for months. Months of bonding, joy, and love with my baby were lost because I hid my depression.

Getting Help

After I went back to work, things didn’t improve. As a direct service worker for adults with disabilities, I worked very closely with medical and psychological professionals. After leaving a shift with a client who had a history of severe mental illness, I decided that I needed to get “checked out” for Post Partum Depression. (I think this was March 2015!)

My doctor’s visit wasn’t scary, shameful, or awkward at all. My doctor, (who is now my primary doctor, how cool!) a mom herself, was very compassionate and open about the prevalence of PPD. She did give me a bit of a finger wagging for not coming in sooner, but a concerned, loving one. I was so relieved to have more understanding, hope, and a reason for my feelings. medication and counseling were the best options for me and they helped immensely.

It’s a Journey

Since my original diagnosis of Post Partum Depression, I have “graduated” to Major Depression. That just means that my symptoms didn’t end after the technical Post Partum period. I’m ok with that. I am not ashamed; it’s just a sickness that needs treatment just like my epilepsy. I don’t love being on a bunch of medications for seizures and another for depression and anxiety, but I am beyond grateful to be in a place where I feel love, joy, connection, motivation, and like my daughter’s mother and my husband’s wife.

Power of Prayer

I can’t meditate. I just can’t not “talk” in my mind. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) and having a personal communicative relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is deeply important to me. Prayer has become my meditation- meditation where I can talk.

I don’t ask to be “healed” in prayers, but I tell Heavenly Father what I’m feeling, the pain that I’m going through, and the anxieties I have. I try to focus on scriptures that empower me and remind me that through Christ’s Atonement He not only saved us from sins, but He felt every pain and affliction we have and ever will experience. Knowing that I am not alone in my pain nor talking to a “brick wall” is some of the best (and free) therapy ever.

Sunshine After Rain

Mama’s new, again-ers,  empty nesters, and everyone in between: let’s not continue to stigmatize and hide our individual stories of depression and mental illness wellness, post partum or otherwise. Speaking up and letting others know that they are not alone can create a closer community of sisterhood, healthy mother-baby relationships, and increase early access to behavioral health.

Take heart, the rain never lasts forever. Even the gloomiest places get pockets of sunshine. Love yourselves, love your babies and families, and know that you are never alone.

Wishing you joy,

Leah