28 September 2012

Post Natal Depression vs. Tiredness

I went to the doctor today. I sat down to say I've-got-another-cold-and-I-need-some-help-please-may-I-have-some-antibiotics, and ended up bawling my eyes out saying I'm-just-not-coping-and-I-don't-know-if-it's-maybe-post-natal-depression-or-just-sheer-tiredness. Oops. Didn't mean it to go quite that way...

But it got me thinking. I have 'flat' days regularly. Sometimes frequently, sometimes hardly ever. I think flat days are to be expected in my line of work. (Mothering pre-schoolers, that is.) However, the symptoms of Post Natal Depression (PND) are:

Physical symptoms such as:
Change in appetite (increased or decreased)
Extreme tiredness to the extent of not being able to perform normal tasks of everyday living
Poor sleep patterns.
Changes in mood
Irritability
Low mood
Tearfulness
Lack of ‘joie de vivre’
Expressing beliefs, such as:
Worthlessness
Inability to cope
Inability to concentrate
Undue anxiety
‘not wanting to go on.’


Now, I know I could check a few of those boxes (except that very last one) on a good day. Quite a few on a bad day! But it strikes me that nearly all (maybe even all?) of these symptoms can be caused by tiredness too. Read the list again, but with the header, "The symptoms of tiredness are:" Do you see?



I think most mothers of young children (and maybe older children too, but I don't have any of those, so I can't comment!) are combating tiredness. More tired than we ever thought possible before we had children. Combine a 24 hour work day and broken sleep, not to mention the responsibility for moulding and shaping a small person or persons, and you have a recipe for at least some amount of tiredness.

Before we go any further, please understand that I am most definitely not saying that if you have post natal depression, you are actually only tired and getting more sleep will help. Apart from that being ridiculous (it's usually very difficult to get more sleep), it's inaccurate. PND is a real and documented condition. 10-15% of women in NZ suffer from depression after having a baby. If you are diagnosed with PND, it is important that you speak with someone who can help you to get the support you need, including more sleep.

For me, these last few months have been difficult ones, as I previously mentioned. Since the first week of July, I have had some combination of a cough/dry cough/hacking couch/plegm-y cough/blocked nose/running nose/gunked-up nose/headache/fever/sore throat, only fully abating for two days or a week before the next lot of symptoms began. I'm not trying to garner sympathy, just to illustrate the state of health in our household this winter!

You know what? Having a cold is tiring! It must be said that I am immensely thankful that my health problems are less than a drop in the ocean of all health problems. I'll take a cold over something like cancer any day of the week and say thank you. But it is tiring. Tiring to care for three children, a husband and a home while still somehow trying to find that ever-elusive 'Me Time' when you are sick and can't rest. And all those things in that list up there? I've felt them. I feel them. Most of the time at the moment. I'm thankful for my experience of knowing that it is all just a stage - the colds WILL pass, I WILL get more sleep (I will!), and positivity WILL return.



Talking with my doctor, we agreed that I don't have PND really. I've just been sick and staying up too late. But it frightens me how close to actual clinical depression that sheer tiredness can come. It really has hit home to me that taking care of yourself doesn't only involve eating right, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly (all of which I suck at as well), but prioritising sleep as much as you can too. I've always known that, but it's like the Lack of Sleep Fairy just struck me over the head with her This Is Unhealthy Stick. (She's not a very nice fairy, all in all.)

So where to from here?

I'm going to set myself a night time routine that involves switching off the TV or packing up my sewing machine at 8:30/9pm, have a quick tidy up to be ready for the next day, brush teeth etc, a little time to read in bed (one of my favourite things to do!) and lights off at 9:30pm. 10pm at the latest.

Sleep's important. I want to do the best I can by my family. Being tired robs me of the wonderfulness of where we are right now, where we'll never be again. These years are short, and I want to enjoy them.

Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep... You truly are my friend.




(If you're still with me at this point I commend you for your fortitude in getting all the way to the end!)

27 September 2012

Today I'm...

... rejoicing over my found earring!

On Tuesday night the end of the world began to approach with the discovery that one of my favourite-earrings-ever had fallen out of my ear!


Exhibit A: The lost earring

But this morning as I sat down to feed the baby (not really a baby, but he's the youngest so we'll cling to that disillusion for a little longer), I looked to the floor and there it was! My prodigal earring. Welcome home!

... trying to conquer ANOTHER cold.


There has been much of this - lounging about it pill-y track pants. And washing. Always lots of washing.

I feel like I've been sick since the beginning of July. Actually, that's probably not that far off the truth. Frustrating. I've been trying to keep this one at bay with high doses of Vitamin C and echinacea, but no joy. Tomorrow I'm going to the doctor to request some antibiotics. (You should see the amazing green boogers I'm blowing out. Looks disgustingly like pus. Too much information? Maybe...)

It's just too hard to care for three children, a husband and a house when you are not at 100%. These last few months have been pretty tough actually.

... contemplating sewing.

I have some lovely nieces who need some birthday presents. I really want to sew them something pretty to wear, but it's been hard to find the time or energy (see above).

Funny story: I did sew a dress for one of the nieces a month or so back. I always make things way too small (like Rosie's dress for Elliot's party, which she wore that day and not again because it's too small!), so I made sure to make it roomy. Turns out I was TOO generous. It would fit an average adult, not a 7 year old. My bad.





... listening to my baby play in his bed.

He's been tired and out of sorts for most of this week (thank you, Teething Monster) and yet today he's decided that instead of doing this...


... he will do this instead.


Just as well he's cute, right?

21 September 2012

My, How They've Grown

Seriously, when did my babies grow up so much?



How did they get to be children already?



(Okay, Tristan still counts as a baby... But he just born last week, wasn't he..?)

Weren't they all so little just the other day?



Like this?


Napping with my 3-day-old baby girl


1.5 year old Elliot 'helping' Papa build the new deck




I can see my children growing before my eyes. Can't we just stay here a while?

19 September 2012

WW: Brief Encounter

*Sorry about the different sizes of all the photos today. I just can't figure out enough HTML or photo editing to get it to sit right. Bear with.*

Brief Encounter is the name of my fabulous new dress. The amazing Nin of Sailor Spy (our previous Wardrobe Wednesday hostess) is a New Zealand fashion designer.

From her blog:
Her style is about lasting quality pieces, made locally with unique design elements and gorgeous fabrics. [She] designs pieces that look good whatever your lifestyle in which you feel beautiful, unique, classy and sexy.



This beautiful dress certainly fits those criteria. I am a busy mother of three pre-schoolers, certainly not either a stick figure or glamorous model, however, wearing it makes me feel feminine, lovely and classy while still being comfortable enough to chase a baby, change a nappy or read a story to a pile of kids.

Nin's clothes are everything she says they will be: beautiful, unique, classy and sexy. Go and have a look at her shop and follow her blog to stay up to date with her new looks.

Today, Mr 4 helped me with my photos. This is the first one he took...



Yes, upside down.

The rest were the right way up, but I ended up needing to resort to the self-timer again. We'll keep working on Elliot's photography skills...



My jewellery is facing the right way today! I'm wearing my go-to earrings - the leaves, and one of my favourite (though not particularly baby-friendly) necklaces - the moving, sparkling fish.



Missy Moon (a.k.a. Rosie, 2-and-three-quarters) wanted to show off her ballerina buns today, so she joined me for a few pictures. I think she's pretty cute!



My outfit breakdown
Dress: Brief Encounter - Sailor Spy
Swing cardi: Millers
Singlet: Jay Jays
Leggings and earrings: Postie
Shoes: Farmers
Necklace: Lovisa

Rosie's outfit breakdown
Woollen poncho: Alpaca wool, from Ecuador (via Auntie Heidi, via Uncle Marco visiting my own husband (though he wasn't even my boyfriend at the time!))
Top and skirt: hand-me-downs! (Fabulous things, hand-me-downs.
Tights: Farmers
Shoes: borrowed

And that's my picture-heavy WW post for the week! Wardrobe Wednesday is a lot of fun - if you've got a blog and a camera, I encourage to to join in. You don't have to have an amazing wardrobe full of amazing clothes. Apart from this dress, nearly my entire supply of clothing is from stores that are el cheapo because out of necessity, money is the biggest factor for me when choosing new clothes. So all you need to have is an outfit that you wouldn't mind being seen in public in (I don't post my Wednesday afternoon outfits!), and you can join in! We'd love to see you!



PS: Stay tuned for my new Adoption Journey tab up top too. Hopefully I'll finish that later today or tomorrow. I'm so excited for tabs!

14 September 2012

Today I'm...

Today I'm hoping to get a few productive things done. This week the house has been mostly under control, which frees me up to do a few other bits and pieces.

Elliot is at kindy until 3pm, and I usually find it easier to get jobs done when there's only two kids at home with me. Though, Master E is a very good helper and we do miss him when he's not with us.

Today's list looks like this:



Rosie was taking off her jacket after we'd finished playing at the playground this morning and as she had her buttons undone but her arms spread out at her sides she said, "I'm a butterfly!" I've been thinking I must make some wings for her one day soon (Hello?! She's MY daughter after all, and I used to live in wings - both as a child and an older teenager...), so today's the day! I'll try and squeeze in a superhero cape for Elliot too, I think.

Right I'm off to get started on my list. First thing? Good music.

Ciao lovelies!

Jess
xxx

12 September 2012

Wardrobe Wednesday

I just could not think of an original title today, so we'll go with the description of today's post: Wardrobe Wednesday. WW is now hosted by the lovely Miriam of Create Hope Inspire, why don't you click over and have a look?

We've had a backwards and forwards day today: Bible study this morning, lunch at McD's with Mum (a treat for the kids. Who am I kidding, for me too!), then trying to organise sending a kitchen sink to Christchurch. I'm not even kidding. Literally, a kitchen sink.

Today's outfit is a simple one: easy to wear pants, flowy top to cover the bulgy bits, swing cardi and some jewellery.



Through the window this morning, the day looked gorgeous and warm. Outside, it's definitely gorgeous, but the wind is FREEZING! I wished I'd worn more than a very thin swing cardi.

My top is from Jacqui E (on sale!) and it was one of my favourite, beautiful things. The photos don't really show it very well - it's a bright navy blue chiffon over white stretchy viscose. I say was... My fabulous man in a fit of wonderful-ness (he has these quite often, he really is very good. No truly, no sarcasm here!) threw it in the washing machine for me, not realising it was hand wash only. Consequently, the proportions of the two layers are now all out of whack and it's not as lovely as it used to be. A little gutted I was, but I didn't make too much fuss - don't want to put Wonderful Man off doing the washing, after all!

After I took and uploaded these photos, I realised the photo I took of my jewellery to showcase my favourite earrings is showcasing it BACKWARDS! Oops. I think you still get the general idea. They are long thin dark gold/brass coloured leaves. The fronts have leaf vein lines. Don't sound like much, but they go with everything! (And they make my hair look good... Always a bonus.)

Speaking of hair...
Lately I've been trying something new: Blowdrying. What?! I know, I NEVER blow dry my hair. Frizz central. Yikes. But, I have found a way to do it well.




I'm enjoying having clean, bouncing hair, styled from the beginning of my day, instead of wet or day-old hair depending on how I needed my hair to look that day or evening. Basically my new method involves flipping my head upside down, using the diffuser attachment and NOT shaking the hair-dryer, just placing it at different points all over until it's all dry. It's the shaking (like hairdressers do) that causes the frizz! Surprise!

Outfit breakdown
Pants: I don't know actually...
Top: Jacqui E
Swing cardi: Millers
Shoes: Hannahs (many, many, many moons ago)
Necklace: Lovisa
Earrings and ring: Postie

Check out the others at


Happy Wednesday, y'all!

04 September 2012

Do you have any questions?



I've mentioned before that to me, being adopted is just part of my story and is completely normal. But throughout my life, my friends have always had questions about it, and I can tell that when all of the sudden 'the right time' pops up to ask some, there is a sense of curiosity and an eagerness to satisfy it that I can see in their eyes. (It makes me smile.)

Let me tell you right now, I have no issues with talking about my adoption. (You've probably figured that out by now though, right?) I do not find it in the least awkward.



I would hazard a guess that most people might think it's awkward for me because it's like betraying my parents by talking about it? I think I thought that a bit too when I was growing up, but now I'm an adult (I know, crazy isn't it?), I understand that for them, all they see is gratitude. Without the selfless actions of my birth mother (B, remember?), they would be childless. Mum and Dad have always been open about where we came from, so when we did have questions, it was never hard to ask them.

I wondered if maybe there are some of you out there who are curious about any particular aspect of my adoption journey so far? Anything I haven't covered? Any random tidbit you wanted to know about?

Leave me a comment here (if you don't have a Google account you can just select the 'Anonymous' option and comment that way. Just be sure to leave your name and/or email address so I know who you are!), or on my page on Facebook.

I'll answer your questions (if there are any!) in another post, so stay tuned.

*****

Previous post in this series:
On First Contact

This story begins here.

03 September 2012

Styling My House: Work in Progress


In my last post I shared a picture of the shelf that is my next project.

This morning I had a few hours completely child-free!!!!!!!!!! (Thanks Glenys!)

So what did I do?

Cleaned my kitchen. Yes I did.

I actually do enjoy cleaning when I can get it finished in one go instead of getting sidetracked by helping the children. Not that there's anything wrong with helping the children (actually, that's more important than cleaning, in my books), but it does mean it takes much longer to finish your jobs!

Anyway, I made a start on my SMH shelf project. My biggest challenge with this one is finding a place for the modem. It needs to be in this area, but it's not exactly very stylish is it?

Here's what I did:


Can you spot it up there?
I positioned it up on top of the kitchen cupboards and then cut up strips of white paper and just wrapped it around the cords, then blu-tacked it to the wall to hold it in place. Quite ingenious, I thought!

That's all I had time for today (need to go get the kids in exactly 2 minutes!), even though I know it's not very exciting. It's kind of like preparing the blank canvas, yes? I have some ideas with what I want to do with my two shelves, I just need to finalise my plans.

Until next time, my lovelies!