One thing I constantly need to remember is I am susceptible to postpartum depression/anxiety. I struggled after both girls so I am constantly reassessing where my mental game is at. I learned the second time going through it, there are preventative ways to help myself. I am also on medication to help but on top of that I found running and writing to be my therapies that help me cope. Writing this blog post is actually me coping with the last week and half of craziness. So I need to keep assessing where my head is at and yes slow down I know. The only things we are doing outside of resting are prior commitments (like my book event) that I felt very important to still do, but I AM slowing down (this is for the grandmas out there)
So back to the question how am I coping? Well the most honest answer is it changes Moment by moment. Sometimes I feel strong and like I am handling this all really well. Sometimes I feel like a failure because I can't give my baby what I am 'supposed' to be able to give him. Sometimes I can remind myself that God has got this and I can believe it, sometimes I try and control it all myself and fall flat on my face.
The situation with Matthew is ever changing. Each feed brings new victories and new challenges it's hard to keep up. Last night I couldn't get him to suck anything and had to feed him through a syringe, today he is willing to nurse and take a bottle, so the unpredictability can be frustrating.
One thing I can say is this whole situation is supposed to teach me patience. This is a long journey. It's taken so long to even know what's wrong but is going to take longer to reteach everything and get to where we want to get. It takes daily exercises, massages and training with very little results, on top of nursing then bottle then pumping to make sure he's fed and my supply keeps up. Oh and there are two crazy sisters running around completely out of there routine. We live in this instantaneous culture where we want instant results and this situation is the opposite. It's one step forward and 2 steps back each day and I am learning that my patience is being tested and hopefully will grow out of all this
What I have started to do is recognize the Small victories. This morning I got to shower and get out all the spit up out of my hair. That's a win. I get to sleep in some days or have naps. Win. We finally are on the right track, win. As long as my focus can stay on the positives I am hopeful I can get through this without falling into negative thoughts and the dark cycle that can bring.
I have GREAT support
My dad has been with us this whole time helping with the girls, letting me sleep in, even rented another car so I can get around to places I need to be.
I constantly have friends and family checking in, asking if they can take the girls, asking how they can help, I even have a friend who might drive 3 hours just to pick us up from the airport at 10pm just so I don't have to take a cab after travelling.
People keep asking how I am doing away from home and how it must be hard. The truth is Canmore is where I had my other 2 babies, I actually know these dr's and hospitals better than Ontario. In this situation I probably feel more comfortable here than home in terms of all the appointments and stuff. Of course being home brings a certain level of comfort and of course having my husband with us would be amazing but over all I am not struggling with being here while this is all going on because of my level of comfort with where I am. Maybe if I was on a vacation in a new area I would feel differently but right now I'm glad this is where I am.
So all in all, we are all hanging in there. There are forsure harder moments, moments I could do better-especially with my girls, moments where I need to let myself feel, moments where it's hard and moments where I see small improvements towards our goal. It forsure hasn't been an easy time trying to figure this all out, but I am very thankful for the friends and family supporting us in SO many different ways, that I know whatever the outcome, it's all going to be okay. Whether we figure this all out and one day we are exclusively breastfeeding again or if we totally give up and use formula, the most important thing is Matthew being fed and me keeping my mental health positive.
And the good news is that at the end of this, I will likely be a qualified lactation consultant!! 😂