Not So Terrible Twos

Photo Credit: Stacy Mae Photography

Photo Credit: Stacy Mae Photography

So much has changed over the course of Siena’s two years with us. We have experienced the NICU and I have been dealing with postpartum depression. It is an ongoing struggle. However, I want to share how I have recovered so far. How my relationship with her has evolved. Many of you message me about your own personal struggles. I appreciate it SO much. Since I decided to share the hard times, I feel it necessary to continue to check in. This particular entry to is to give you HOPE.

Most people refer to the two year old mark as , the “terrible twos.” However, Siena was always fiesty, energetic, and just not a “chill” baby. She always had me on my toes, even the NICU nurses described her as fiesty. Therefore, her transition into toddlerhood, wasn’t that dramatic. Does she tantrum? Yes! Does she have mood swings? I can’t remember a time she hasn’t. Each day brings a new challenge, preference, freak out, and learning experience. There are days I am super tired, or want to cry a long with her. But it is different.

I no longer feel this dark cloud over me. I do have sad times, sad days. I now know what true depression feels like. I am blessed to say I believe I have been delivered from this. Now, I am able to tell myself this is not how it is “all” the time. I am able to move on from feelings and not stay in them too long. I practice being grateful for situations rather than annoyed with them. She may be cranky one day. She may give me a hard time in the store, or getting into the car. However, there is a point in each day where I can say I am thankful I am home with her. This truly is just a season of life.

I spend a lot of time laughing with Siena. She is incredibly funny! As they get older their personalities develop and communication becomes slightly easier. This has made a huge difference for me! Although, I will admit her constant “mommy” call can have the potential to drive me up a wall. The fact still remains she has become my little best friend. I am so happy to be in this place with her. Because at the beginning it was a lot of guilt and confusion. I would hold her and cry because I just felt so bad that her mommy was mixed up about things. That was truly how I felt. I no longer feel that way, thank the Lord.

Other things that have helped is the schedule. I feel more like myself now because we are sleeping more. Yes, she requires a lot of energy, sometimes naps are a struggle, and wake-up time is early. But, we have a “night.” There is more of a consistent schedule. I have also been able to let go a bit more and leave the house. My cousins are wonderful babysitters and I no longer feel guilty leaving for a couple of hours a week. This support has meant so much. Even to be able to go out with Brian here and there on a weekend. I work twice a month as cooking instructor. Everything has come in baby steps and has taken longer than most. But I am so thankful for every step. Looking forward to the ones I have yet to take.

I have done things with Siena that used to bring me anxiety and fear. I no longer have this pit in my stomach every time I bring her somewhere. I am now looking forward to the holidays and celebrating with her. When I used to be afraid of this time of year. Even a recent visit to the cider mill proved to me that things have changed. I was excited to go, we had a great time, and my heart swelled spending the time with my little family. Brian and I talked and remembered how I felt the first time we went with her when she was a couple of months old. We took a moment to realize how thankful we are that we are both moving forward.

As I wean off my medication I know there may be set backs. However, I feel so much more prepared and self aware. Please note this came over time. Time I gave myself to heal and learn. I pray not just to be able to get off the medication, but to be even better than I was before. One day I felt God saying to me, why expect so little from me? Do you not believe I am greater? Therefore, I changed my goals. To be even more productive in his will and my family life as I continue to heal.

If you are struggling with a mental illness or postpartum issues, know there is light. I wasn’t sure at first because things had gotten so dark. Not everything is as it was before. It’s not like things all of the sudden snapped back into place or the way I want them. My best “advice” is to not try to get back to normal. However, find your new normal. Start to accept what is different and recognize what is even better! Take steps to get yourself well, whatever that is for you. Make sure to reach out and get the right help and support. I am so glad I did!