Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Really Good and Active Day & #Postpartumdepression Progress

I had such a good day yesterday! I am so proud of myself for the steps I took getting back to the old me. I am finally seeing progress.

I was productive around the house in the morning with cleaning and doing laundry and all of the usual daily tasks. That might sound trivial, but for me that’s progress because lately I hardly have the energy to do ONE of those things at a time.

After lunch and baby’s first nap, I decided to just stroll around and get some extra steps in. I pushed the stroller and we kind of wandered around aimlessly. The weather was BEAUTIFUL. Baby girl just loves going on walks.

I stopped at the library and went to the baby book section and even let baby girl out of the stroller to crawl around. We looked at books and I even let her touch them. I have been a little ocd about her being around germs, thanks to the postpartum depression. I finally decided to let loose and let her be a child—I can’t keep her in the house forever! I can’t deny that I kept thinking about all of the germs that she was probably coming in contact with.

At the library I did feel a little anxious. I remembered to take deep breaths and I was ok. And there was no one even around. It’ll get better, I’m sure.

I also stopped at a coffee shop and got myself an iced coffee. This involved interaction with people, so yay for me—even if I felt uncomfortable, at least I did it.

My mom arrived for the week later in the afternoon so I got to enjoy lots of chatting with her (and listening to her chatter- ha- hi mom!). After supper, we went for another walk.

And guess what…


I did it! I got more than 10,000 steps yesterday! Yippee!!

Wouldn’t you know I stepped on the scale this morning and wasn’t too happy with the number I saw, but I reminded myself that it’s not about the scale. I made great progress yesterday with being active and that’s what counts most!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 1 of One Little Change per Week #wycwyc

Now that I have seen a glimpse of good days and more energy, I want to put those times to good use so that I get the most out of the days when I feel good. Although not every day has been a good day, I’m getting far more glimpses of the old me and that in itself is encouraging and inspiring to me. Postpartum depression WILL NOT last forever, despite what it felt like just a short while ago before I reached out for help. 

I finally feel ready.

I finally feel ready to start making changes to take charge of my health and my life again. But at the same time, when confronted with the task of making an overhaul to my life, I felt overwhelmed at the thought of it all. And so I decided that I would make one little change each week until I’m back to where I used to be and even farther along than that (someday).

I want to be realistic with my expectations and the goals that I set for myself. I am not going to go from my highest weight back to my lowest weight in one day. I’m also not going to go from no exercise to running 5Ks in one day, one month, or maybe even a year! It takes time and I am acknowledging that. There’s no rush, but it must be done.

This week, I want to start moving more. I will be flexible with this. My ultimate goal would be to get 10,000 steps per day. That will be doable if I add in a walk to my day, but I understand that some days I may just try to get my steps in by simply moving more: walking around the house instead of sitting, parking farther away from the store so that I have to walk (if I go out and about), or even climbing the stairs a few times (goodness knows I do this a million times at nap time already…).

Hubby and I committed to working out together a minimum of 3 days this week. The weather is supposed to be in the 60s and 70s this week so it’s a perfect time to get started. If we’re not able to go outside for a walk, we will workout together inside. It’s motivating to me to have a workout partner!

I meant to weigh myself this morning but I forgot. Oh well. I’ve been checking in on my weight all of this time and it has remained pretty steadily at the same weight. Isn’t it amazing that I could gain a bunch of weight while constantly trying to diet and then I stop dieting and I maintain my weight? Just insane how that works. I know I probably shouldn’t say this, but why couldn’t I be the type that LOSES weight when depressed? Instead, I GAIN! Bummer. But it’s not a laughing matter as I know it is very serious for those who start losing weight when depressed.

I am going to continue to be patient with myself. What you can, when you can (#wycwyc), right? As I am still recovering, some days I simply may not have the energy to do more than rest—and that’s ok. My counselor tells me I need to accept that as ok and not that I’m being “lazy”. Postpartum depression (and all mental illnesses) is an illness and when we are sick, we need to rest. But as I mentioned, I want to take advantage of these moments of energy that I have started to get again! Yippee!

Do you have a small change that you could make this week? What is it?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Feeling the effects of #postpartumdepression

Yesterday I posted that I was feeling better. I was hopeful that it would last forever but I knew realistically that probably wouldn’t be the case since that’s not how recovery from postpartum depression works.

By afternoon yesterday I started to feel drained again. But not in the “I’m tired and I need a nap” kind of way. This exhausted feeling associated with PPD is different and also carries along with it other physical and emotional manifestations.

I feel anxious, although I have no reason to be anxious. My body feels shaky. I feel short of breath—like I need to yawn but can never quite get that full and satisfying yawn. My eyes feel heavy. My shoulders feel tense. My heart pounds in my chest so hard that I feel like it could be seen. My stomach feels nervously upset. I start to fidget. 

Last night while sleeping, I felt my heart pounding in this really strange way—pounding very hard and fast in my chest and in my head. And then all of the sudden, I took a big gasp of air and woke up. And that was it. It scared me, but I went back to sleep. It made me scared that I will die in my sleep.

And then I start to wonder if some of this is caused by my medication and I’m thankful that I have an appointment with a psychiatrist next week who will be an expert about things like that. And just yesterday morning I was wondering if I should cancel my appointment because I was feeling so well.

But I also wonder if something like the sleep episode could be caused by sleep apnea because of the extra weight I have put on. And that is just extremely depressing and scary if that’s the case. But that was only one time that this happened like that. I don’t snore, although I have woken myself up with a snort before. Goodness, that even makes me sound like a pig! ha

Today, I just feel a mess again. I wish I could metaphorically go down to the basement and access my electrical box. I’d flip quite a few switches and be so happy when I’d see the lights turn back on in each area of my life. I’d flip the switch on this postpartum depression, my anxiety, fatigue, my weight, and my motivation. And just like that I’d be my old self again—smiling, happy, motivated, eating right, exercising and meeting goals—but also enjoying this time of my life that is supposed to be so happy because I now have a beautiful baby girl.

Imagining being my old self with the addition of this precious gift of a child makes me feel hopeful. Can that ever happen? Will that ever happen? I hope so.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Feeling better #postpartumdepression

Baby girl seems to be doing better but tires out faster than usual. She slept from 8 p.m. to 9:15 this morning! She has done that a few days this week, which is just a crazy long time for her to sleep. Last night was the first night that I didn’t have to sleep in her room. She did wake up at 10 p.m. and cried—when I went in there she started coughing and then threw up all over me and herself. That’s three times she has vomited this week. Poor baby.

And oh my goodness, I’m still feeling pretty good! At the end of the day I get kind of irritable, but that could just be because I’m tired and then everything annoys me—but it’s also something that started happening with the postpartum depression and I think it’s more than likely that.

Yesterday I had more energy than I’ve had in a long time. I swept and cleaned the floors, did laundry, baked cookies, finished photos for a project, and even baked a meat loaf for supper. Usually after I’ve gotten out of bed, fed the baby and eaten breakfast, I collapse in my chair completely exhausted while baby plays. This morning, I felt kind of bored sitting there—like I wanted to do something and I actually had the energy to! Now that is a huge step for me and it’s really reassuring to me that I am going to get back to my old self.

It’s just the strangest thing that this just sort of happened all of the sudden. Anyone else with postpartum depression out there who noticed such a drastic change suddenly with the right dosage of meds? So strange how that works.

I also have not left the house since Saturday and I typically do a lot better when I don’t leave the house (which is a problem). So we’ll see how things go when I leave the house—although I’m not sure when that will happen because baby is still infectious with a few blisters.

I actually have been thinking about what I want to do for a healthy eating plan and to get back on the health and fitness track. This is the first time that it hasn’t seemed too overwhelming for me to think about. I know I need to get this together for the sake of the whole family. I have my FitBit now so I will probably go that route—but I always think about Weight Watchers when I need to begin again…even though I have tried and failed at that a million times.

Ugh, I am just so frustrated that I spent so much money on my FitBit and it doesn’t track my steps when I’m pushing a stroller or a shopping cart. Seriously?! Does anyone have any tips or tricks to how to get around this? Maybe if I carry it in my pocket or something?

Well, there’s just a little update of randomness for anyone who is still out there reading. Smile

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It’s been a little crazy around here

Life has been a bit crazy since Friday night. On Friday, I had a doctor appointment where I told her that I wasn’t seeing too much of a difference from the medication I am on for postpartum depression. She referred me to a psychiatrist because she doesn’t feel comfortable working with the medication at this point and would like me to see someone who specializes in them.

Hubby wasn’t able to go to the doctor appointment with me. When he’s there I am more relaxed and feel more comfortable—with him not there, I felt like I had to stuff everything inside and put on my face and make it through. Not that it’s a bad thing, just that I tend to be left feeling exhausted. Maybe it’s just because I feel like when he’s there, I can lean on his strength instead of being strong by myself which, at this time, is hard for me.

So at the end of all of that, I just had a bit of a melt-down—hence my post, Climbing. I felt so incredibly low and hopeless. I found myself on my knees sobbing and praying harder than I have ever prayed before, trying to find comfort. And I did find it. I felt like God was telling me that he is working a work in me and to let him mold me. In this time, I have found more comfort in hymns than anything else—a line will come into my mind when I need it the most and I find encouragement there. But ultimately, maybe someday I will understand and this experience will have made me better.

Saturday was fairly uneventful. I felt nervous to leave the house to go run errands, but I had to go to the pharmacy so there was no way around it. But I did feel better for going out of the house.

Saturday night, baby girl woke up in the night and when I rocked her back to sleep I noticed that she felt very warm. I took her temperature and it was 103. She had a temperature all day on Sunday and just wasn’t herself, but by Sunday night she was the worst. She woke up in the night and cried for almost an hour. Hubby and I felt so helpless and didn’t know what to do because the usual things weren’t working.

I ended up calling my mom and my sister and having a complete melt down telling them I didn’t know what to do. Apparently, the pediatrician doesn’t have a number to contact after hours, so I was sent to a triage nurse. By then, baby had stopped crying and fell asleep in hubby’s arms. I held her and slept with her all night.

In the morning, she started to get a rash with little blisters. At first I thought they looked like chicken pox, but I called the doctor on Tuesday and she guessed it is hand, foot and mouth disease. I’m not 100% sure that’s what it is, but maybe. She’s on the mend, but isn’t quite her energetic self yet.

Poor baby! You just feel so helpless when they are sick. This was her first sickness, other than a minor cold. I guess we survived! Fevers seem scary but I guess that’s just the body’s way of fighting off infection.

Other than my moment of losing it on the phone with my sister, I feel like this experience made me feel a little more confident as a mother. I was able to care for her and she is comforted by me and comes to me for comfort. I’m doing the best that I can.

I am also wondering if my general feeling of not feeing so incompetent is an indication that I am on the mend too. Fingers crossed. Knock on wood. Throw salt over my shoulder and all of that jazz. Maybe, just maybe! We will see.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Climbing #PostPartumDepression

I’m scaling a cliff without a harness and nothing to catch me if I fall. All that propels me are my own bare fingers and shoeless feet. Above me is a blue sky with an occasional wispy white streak of a cloud. All around me is still and my body feels cold.

I’m shaking, but my fingers clutch to the rocks above me and my toes wrap around whatever foundation they can find. The rocks begin to crumble and fall down to the depths below.

I try to take a deep breath to steady my grip, to quiet my mind, to stop my body from shaking. I must let go of the crumbling rocks and find the strength to pull myself up farther before I fall. Letting go to rise further takes incredible courage and while I don’t feel like I have it in me, I let go because I must.

I push off forcefully with my feet and breathe with relief when my fingers find a new nook to hold onto. I’m steady again. I look up at the sky and am blinded by the bright rays of the sun. I feel their warmth. I feel at peace, but only for a brief moment.

Suddenly and without warning, the rocks beneath my feet fall away and I’m left hanging by one hand—holding on for all that I’m worth. It’s desperation now and the innate will to survive.

And then I look up and see two strong arms reaching out for me. I quickly grasp the hands and I’m pulled up, my body scraping along the edges. And then I rest, curled into a ball on the very edge—completely drained of all energy.

When I awake, I am alone again. I look up and see that there’s still more to climb. It’s either up or down because I cannot stay on the small ledge forever. With shaky, yet renewed, strength I stand and begin to climb again, fingers grasping the crumbling rock and eyes locked straight up at the warmth of the sun.

Friday, March 20, 2015

#XOVoxBox from @Influenster Review

I am excited to share the contents of my first Vox Box from Influenster with you!

After receiving notification that I’d been selected to receive the XOVoxBox, I waited and waited, for what seemed like an eternity, for it to finally arrive.


And when it finally arrived, I couldn’t wait to open it to see what was inside.


How fun—everyone loves to try new things, especially when they’re free!

Let’s start with the John Frieda Beach Blonde products.


From the name, you would think that it’s specifically for blondes, but it’s not. I’m brunette and I used it. I am a big fan of John Frieda products—I use their Frizz Ease product and my favorite shampoo is Brilliant Brunette.

I loved the smell of this shampoo and conditioner—it smelled like spearmint and it made washing my hair feel like a spa experience. Ultimately, I like the Brilliant Brunette shampoo and conditioner better because it works better for my hair.

I was also sent the Sea Salt Spray and John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment. The Sea Salt Spray smells fantastic and beachy. I will admit, these two products are not ones that I would use simply because I tend to wear my hair up (hence not needing the beach look), and because I am incredibly low maintenance and do not blow dry my hair as is required for the volume treatment. But, if that’s your thing—check these products out!

I already blogged about Adore Me and the nightgown that I love—that was part of this XO Vox Box. This was one of those products that I received at just the right time because I needed to feel pretty.

My absolute favorite product from the XO Vox Box is the Colgate Optic White Toothbrush + Built-in Whitening Pen and the Colgate Optic White Express Toothpaste.


I took before and after pictures to see the difference—and there really is a difference! I noticed a difference after just a few days. Please ignore my crooked teeth—I’ve always hated my crooked teeth!


I am a huge coffee drinker and I was feeling down about my coffee stained teeth—no more!

What I love most about this product is that there’s no applying whitening strips and leaving them on. All you do is brush your teeth as normal and apply the whitening gel with the whitening pen and leave it on. That’s it—you just go about your day as normal. This was a huge confidence booster for me and I highly recommend this product.

Next up, Skinfix Hand Repair Cream.


I used this product after washing baby bottles because my hands get dried out. It really helped, but I am not a fan of greasy lotion—which I found this to be. I shared this with hubby, who suffers from dry cracked hands from working outdoors in the cold, and I noticed an improvement. I also shared this with my mom, who liked the product too. It just depends on your tastes. If you have very dry and cracked skin, I would recommend this.

I was also sent Tide Pods with Febreze.


I cannot use scented detergent because of asthma and allergies, but it worked out well because my mom has been visiting off and on lately and she was able to use this to do her laundry. She liked the product and enjoys the ease and convenience of just throwing a pod into the wash machine.

I was also sent a coupon to Lands End, but I didn’t find it to be worthwhile to use. I found a lot of cute clothes, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.

If you are a Lands End fan, I can share the deal with you!

Receive $25 OFF when you purchase $100 or more at Lands' End!

Promo Name: VOXLOVE

Unique Pin: 146497

Codes are valid through March 25, 2015 - so get shopping!


So there you have it! I can’t wait to receive my next Vox Box!

You can sign up to become an Influenster and receive your very own Vox Box! Sign up here!


I received all of these products for free for testing purposes.

Become a Reebok Affiliate

Are you a blogger or website owner who loves Reebok? Are you looking for ways to monetize your site? Become a Reebok affiliate and start earning commission!

It’s very easy to apply and even I was approved to be a Reebok affiliate—so you can too!

Join the Reebok Affiliate Program

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Separating #PostPartumDepression from Myself

Yesterday, I talked about the thoughts that go along with postpartum depression that leave me feeling like I am constantly being judged by anyone and everyone—which is irrational, but very real to me.

Depression is such a challenge because it is hard to differentiate thoughts as “your own” versus thoughts that are a result of depression—it’s hard to explain and maybe you can’t understand that until you’ve been through it.

And so, I have mentioned in the past that getting a diagnosis of postpartum depression was a relief to me because I finally realized that I hadn’t just become this horrible person, but there was a reason for the way I was acting, the way I am feeling, and the thoughts that I have. It is still a struggle to accept that it is postpartum depression affecting me physically and emotionally and not some weakness on my own part—it’s a really strange experience to have all of this going on inside your own mind and body and yet be able to differentiate what’s normal and what’s not.

The counselor advised me to view postpartum depression as separate from myself. I could even envision postpartum depression as a shape or an object if I wanted to, like a dark cloud. At this point, I don’t feel the need to let the postpartum depression take a shape, but it does help me to view postpartum depression as being separate from myself.

Granted, this is not a process that happens with the flip of a switch and it will take time for me to be able to identify the thoughts caused by postpartum depression, swap them around to be more logical vs. completely emotional, and not feel guilty for them-- because they are caused by the postpartum depression and not the “real me”.

I was also told to ask myself, “am I going to let postpartum depression rule me or is the “normal” me going to rule again?” It all leads back to the need to build myself up again—to be the strong person that I was before postpartum depression started attacking me and destroying me without my knowledge of it.

But it’s extremely helpful to be able to envision postpartum depression as being separate from myself and helps me to understand that it’s not MY fault that I am this way, it’s postpartum depression’s fault and I’m going to kick its butt! One day at a time, of course—postpartum depression is a pretty powerful enemy, but I am confident that I’m more powerful than it is. It’ll just take a big fight on my part.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Constantly Feeling Judged #PostPartumDepression

I felt discouraged after my counseling appointment yesterday. It wasn’t until later that I realized maybe my discouragement was occurring for exactly the same reason that I feel so overwhelmed and anxious lately and my counselor had literally just explained how to work through those feelings.

Maybe I didn’t feel so much discouraged as I felt extremely challenged. She asked me questions yesterday that I could not answer and it made me feel hopeless and like she didn’t understand me and thought I was really messed up--until I had a sleepless hour this morning thinking about it.

We talked about how I can’t shake the feeling that everyone is always looking at me and judging me—while I didn’t go into the specifics with her, I will here. From day 1 at the hospital, I have felt like everyone looks at me and judges me as not knowing how to be a mother and as fat and disgusting and of course that makes me a horrible mother also. There are a MILLION thoughts that go along with those two basic foundational thoughts.

I felt crazy expressing those feelings. Like how just going for a walk is nerve racking even though no one is even around—I imagine people are watching me and doubting my every move like I am an incompetent mother. Sometimes I want to close the shades because I am convinced all of my neighbors think I am lazy and worthless (and of course a horrible mother). And then you can imagine how trips to the store or to church are so overwhelming because this is my thought process.

It is exhausting. And I know it’s not LOGICAL—but at the same time I cannot control it. The thoughts come and I cannot stop them—and I have believed them. Mental illness is horrible in that way—it’s separate from what you KNOW to be yourself and yet it’s all happening within you and it’s hard to tell the difference because well, they’re your own thoughts—even though you know that you would never think them in your right mind.

So the counselor asked me—if Mrs. Green on the corner is judging you and talking about you, what is the worst that could happen? Why would this be such a horrible thing for people to judge you? And I could not answer that question.

And in my sleepless hour, I realized it’s because I do not have much confidence at all. I don’t have faith in myself. I doubt myself. I question my every choice, action and word. I do not value myself or BELIEVE in myself anymore—and I used to. But this mothering thing has thrown me for a loop and it has affected every single area of my life—and I think that is because of postpartum depression and not because I actually am terrible at mothering—that’s the logical response but not my emotional response which believes that I do not know what I’m doing.

The counselor drew me a Venn diagram with logic on one side and emotion on the other—they intersected with wisdom. Depression makes one think with emotion and we fail to see things logically. But if I begin to acknowledge my emotional thinking and try to bring some logic to the thought, I can begin to change the way that I think.

I have a huge task at hand—HUGE. This is going to be incredibly difficult for me but I have to learn to do it and I know that for a while it will take the help of my hubby and my family to stop me in my tracks and tell me that how I am thinking is too emotional and to help me be logical. But I’ve been thinking/feeling this way for 10.5 months and it will take some time to change that again.

My counselor reminded me that as much as I want there to be, there is not a switch that I can flip and be better again. It’s going to take time. I was pregnant for 9 months and my hormones were naturally out of whack, and now I’ve been living like this for another 10.5 months—it will take time to recover and heal. Not to mention, I need to also find the right medication that makes a difference because the one I’m taking doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference.

So, I guess from here on out it’s “Operation Build Alissa Up”, as silly as that sounds. It’s time to build my confidence as a mother and as a person in every facet of my life.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Guilt #PostPartumDepression #PPDChat

I have been struggling with blaming myself. Everything is my fault. Everything.

If baby girl starts acting out, I think it’s because I have postpartum depression and it’s making her aggressive.

I worry that she has something wrong with her and it will be all my fault.

I worry that my having to take blood pressure and asthma medications during pregnancy could have caused her hemangioma. I have no basis for thinking this might be the case, I just feel guilty about everything.

When people don’t understand what I’m going through, it causes rifts—and I feel guilty that this even has to be an issue. I hate that I can’t just snap out of it.

I think that maybe I need to try harder—but I know that I’m giving every ounce of my effort and I don’t have any more strength to try any harder. I’m trying so hard.

I feel guilty that I need help. Why am I not strong enough? Why is everything so hard?

I feel bad that I am not a better wife right now. I feel bad that hubby has to deal with this.

There is so much guilt—about everything.

Sorry to be such a debbie downer—just wanted to get this off of my chest. I’m so afraid that this is my new normal. It just can’t be.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Update on life and #PostpartumDepression

Hello everyone! I hope that you are all doing well and enjoying warmer weather like we are here in Iowa. Could it be that spring is here to stay? I have a feeling we’ll have another big snow storm or two before it’s all said and done.

When I saw the weather for the week, I knew I wanted to get outside and enjoy it. My goal was to go for a walk every day and that sounds reasonable—but it is harder for me to get out of the house sometimes than you might think. It sounds so simple and I will have the best of intentions and then I will start to feel so overwhelmed and that turns into exhaustion and I can’t do anything but rest.

Plus, many times I don’t want to be seen—I want to hide away in the safety of my home. That sounds pretty sad, doesn’t it? I do so much better when I have someone with me—I sure hope that this postpartum depression is the only reason I feel so incapable and it’s not because I actually AM incapable. Sigh.

It’s not that I don’t try. On Monday I went grocery shopping by myself with baby girl. It’s so much easier when I don’t have to bundle baby up. I got a cross body bag so I can easily go into the store without lugging a big huge baby bag. It went really well—but come that evening, I was so drained and emotionally exhausted. It’s like my body reacts to things I am doing unconsciously or something. It’s the strangest thing to think you feel ok and then your body shows signs that you’re really not.

But I have gone for two walks this week, one with hubby and one with my mom, while pushing baby girl in the stroller. She loves going for walks. My mom even bought her some stylish little sunglasses! She did leave them on for the longest time.


Hubby and I have the most adorable baby girl in the whole wide world. Seriously. Can she get any cuter? I just can’t get over it sometimes—she’s so cute! I’m sure all parents feel this way. hehe

At the beginning of my first counseling appointment, the counselor asked me to tell her about the most recent time I’ve felt my best. At that point, I told her it was when my mom was with me at home and we were able to talk and she helped with the baby. It’s good for me to laugh and have someone constantly available for me to express my feelings, worries, anxieties, etc.. I have been so thankful for her help the last few weeks and look forward to her coming again next week. When she leaves I start to wonder how in the world I will be able to do this on my own again? I can do it because I had been doing it for 10 months, but I end up feeling drained, etc. and my biggest fear right now is that somehow I am not capable of this. Please, please, please tell me that it will get better.

My most recent “best day” was last Saturday. Hubby and I spent the entire day at home relaxing and playing with baby. He has really stepped up his game (which was already good) and helps so much with the baby. I laid on the floor in the sunshine for the longest time while baby played around me. We took a two hour nap while baby napped. That day, I felt really good and I thought for sure that I was better—but come Sunday, I wasn’t. But Saturday was a really good day for me and I tend to feel my best when I have a lot of rest—but that’s just not possible every day of the week and it shouldn’t be a requirement! I’m trying to be patient but I wish everything would hurry up and get back to normal.

So that’s just a little update on me and how I’m feeling. I’m trying to stay hopeful! I have my second counseling appointment and a doctor’s appointment this week.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Using the Five Senses to Control Anxiety and Ease Worries

At my first counseling appointment for postpartum depression, I learned about ways to control my anxiety. We discussed using the five senses to control anxiety and ease worries.

If you are experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, I urge you to speak with a doctor or a counselor. I am not a professional, this information has just been helpful in dealing with my anxiety.

I have found that focusing on the senses helps me relax and take my mind off of my anxiety and my worry.

  1. Sight

Cancun2013 103

This can be a physical object or a color that is calming or soothing to look at, or it can be a memory. For me, it’s a memory of my perfect nap on the beach in Mexico. I use this sense most often when I am trying to sleep but can’t because of worry. I focus on this memory—everything about it: the sun, the breeze, the sounds, the smell, the sand, the crystal clear water, my husband next to me, etc. I envision it in my mind and it takes me back there and it’s very calming to me.

  1. Smell

Scents can be very relaxing. I have quiet a few scents that I enjoy like coffee brewing or the smell of baby after a bath, but my all time favorite is that beachy coconut, cocoa butter smell. I have the ALBA BOTANICA MASSAGE OIL,KUKUI NUT, 8.5 FZ, EA-1 (affililate link) that is the perfect smell. I can rub some on my skin and enjoy the beachy smell and it’s relaxing—and if I’m lucky, I can convince hubby to give me a massage using this oil, which is even better!

  1. Sound

I have always found music relaxing and calming, especially Old Blue Chair from Kenny Chesney’s Be As You Are album (affiliate link). If I am feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed I keep my music handy and let the soothing sounds calm me.

I also find other sounds relaxing like laughter, water running in a stream, and I love the sound of the ocean. I also find the sound of a fan calming.

  1. Taste


This one immediately sent up red flags for me because I am an emotional eater, but I was quickly informed that something soothing for the taste sense should not be food or something calorie dense like chocolate, but should be something soothing like a cup of coffee or tea, drinking cold water, or sucking on a peppermint.

I love to sit down with a warm cup of coffee and simply enjoy it. I enjoy a variety of flavored coffees with sugar-free syrups and half & half. I also love the occasional flavored coffee creamers. Coffee is something I really enjoy and it’s calming to sit down and enjoy a cup in my favorite mug.

  1. Touch


This one took a little thinking for me because I tend to be more internal and physical objects aren’t a big deal for me.  The counselor gave me a stress ball to get me thinking about touch. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I have quite a few things I find soothing to the touch.

The most soothing touch is my husband’s. I love to hold his hand or to have his warm arms wrapped around me. It’s amazing how soothing just the touch of his hand can be to me.

I also love the feel of baby’s cuddles, of fresh sheets on my feet, covering myself up in a big quilt, and the warmth of sunshine. All of these things are soothing to me.


I have found these good to think about and have had interesting conversations with my husband and family about what soothes them.

I challenge you to think about what soothes you for each of these senses—feel free to share in the comments!

Monday, March 9, 2015

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March Date Night

We actually had two dates in one day! Since hubby accompanied me to my First Counseling Appointment, we were able to grab lunch afterwards before he headed back to work. Baby girl was happy to be with my mom—she doesn’t even miss us when we’re gone!


And my mom offered to watch her while we went on another date night—we’ve been lucky with her being around lately! So while Hubby lucked out last month and got to plan a date night out (instead of in), I got to do the same for my turn this month!

I originally planned for us to try a new place for supper but as silly as it sounds, I was simply emotionally exhausted from the day and wanted to do something really low key and “comfortable”. So, I decided on iHop instead. While I was pregnant, hubby and I went to iHop after every baby class that we took—a lot of good memories!

As per our tradition, I started off with a hot chocolate and hubby had a French vanilla coffee.


I had an omelet and pancakes and hubby had crepes with eggs and bacon. This was a carb heavy date—but it was delicious.


iHop was super duper warm inside. It felt like a giant hug in there—it felt so wonderful.

I wanted to do something fun for a date night activity so I chose something that hubby and I would do periodically when we were dating or if we were on vacation. As our date night tradition goes, everything is a surprise—so I told hubby what turns to make to get to our destination, which was the mall.

When we walked inside, I told him that we had to take the glass elevator down. Of course, I told him we had to share a kiss in the elevator—it was a date after all! He was afraid my plan was to ride the carousel, which would be a really fun and I wish I had thought of that, but he would have been embarassed! hehe

And so we walked through the mall and then I told him we had to take the escalator upstairs. He got a laugh out of my trying to trick him by taking him to the lower level via the elevator and then back to the upper level via the escalator. So mysterious.

The final destination was the arcade. He was pretty excited. We had $20 to spend—which turned out to be a bit much, but we had fun.

First stop was Skee Ball—my favorite!


They had all kinds of games at this place. It was fun competing against each other at the two player games. We had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun.


They even had “bowling” with these tiny bowling balls.


I’m pretty sure we were the oldest people in the place—there were mostly teenagers. But it’s always fun to feel like a kid again.


By the time we got home, my mom had baby girl asleep for the night. It was fun to have a few care free hours together as a couple. We’re learning how important date nights are—whether it’s at home or out!

Hubby’s turn for April! I can’t wait to see what he plans.

Friday, March 6, 2015

First Counseling Appointment

As part of my recovery plan, I agreed to see a counselor. It didn’t take any convincing because I already knew that I needed help in any way that I could get it. I know that I need the tools to deal with the thoughts, emotions, and feelings that I have been having—and so it was the right step to take.

Today was my first appointment. Of course, I worried about this appointment and was very nervous going. Hubby went with me and that made me feel a lot better to have his support. (How did I get so lucky to find such a man?)

My doctor said she would research to determine which counselor would be the best fit for me and I think that she did a great job. I really liked this counselor. I felt comfortable and she was very understanding.

I am really happy with the way the appointment went. One of the most impactful parts of today’s session was how she validated how I felt. When I explained my thoughts and feelings, she explained that they were all a part of postpartum depression. It helped me to accept the fact that I have postpartum depression—something I have really struggled with. (I wanted to blame it on myself all of this time as some weakness or failure on my part.)

I feel like she handed me a lot of tools. Two of which were physical, but most were tools in the figurative sense. I feel better equipped to approach all of this, and now it just means putting these tools to use.

After I explained a general idea of my issues, she explained the way that the brain works when we are anxious and explained the importance of getting enough oxygen to the brain. She handed me a pinwheel and told me to hold it at arms length and blow. When we are anxious, it’s hard to breathe out enough air to make it turn. Sure enough, I couldn’t make it turn the first time. I realized how I don’t breathe deeply enough when I am anxious—and apparently that can affect the brain and certainly doesn’t help any of the issues. This is just an example of one of the tools.

At first, I felt ashamed that I was going to a counselor. It seems that there is a stigma about mental health and mental health professionals. But after going to this appointment, I realize how beneficial this will be for me. It is so important that I learn how to deal with everything so that I can live a happy life. It’s just so important that I don’t want to risk not going. 

Yesterday was one of my worst days yet. I felt so hopeless at the end of the day. I don’t know if I have ever cried so hard or seen myself look so horribly sunken. And so I am grateful that this appointment gave me hope. The counselor told me that it will get better. I just need to hold on until it does get better.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Postpartum Depression: Not Good Enough

I wish babies came with a manual, maybe then I wouldn’t have to feel like such a failure sometimes.

I know I’m not a bad mom—I take the best care of baby as I know how. She is safe, happy, and healthy. But I just can’t shake the feelings that I’m not doing enough, not doing the right things, not being enough.

I read books about babies, search online for the answers, take advice from whomever gives it—but it’s just not enough. No matter how prepared I am on being a mom, I can’t seem to feel like I’m a good enough one.

When things are going smoothly, I feel alright—like I’m doing something right. But we all know that life doesn’t go smoothly when you have babies or children. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s part of the territory, but I am no good at it right now.

Like last night, I was up a few times in the night because baby girl was crying. I would hold her and rock her until she was asleep and put her back in her crib. It kills me that I don’t know what’s wrong with her when this happens. Sometimes I know it’s teething, but I don’t think that was it last night. And I just don’t know what to do to help her except just rock her and hold her. I don’t know how to make it better. And I feel guilty for feeling exhausted and frustrated. I feel like that doesn’t make me a very good mom.

I hate that I don’t have the answers for a lot of things, like why she won’t settle down to go to sleep for her naps when she’s tired. I worry and worry.

I worry that I’m not feeding her a varied enough diet—it’s not that I don’t try, it’s just that she often won’t eat my homemade purees like she used to and it’s hit or miss. I worry when she won’t drink much of her bottles that she won’t get enough nutrients. I worry that she’s not getting the benefits of breastfeeding. For everything that I am, I do not want her to become like me and have a weight problem and I worry that I won’t/don’t know how to make sure that doesn’t happen.

It’s not that I have all bad days or that I can’t keep myself together. My family didn’t even realize that I was struggling so much until I finally admitted it myself and started talking about it. I hope that people can’t see my struggles with being a mom, but I always think the worst. I feel like everyone is looking at me and judging me as not knowing how to be a good mom—but I am trying my hardest.

I know I should be focusing on recovery and the light at the end of the tunnel, but I can’t help but see the darkness right now. Sometimes I just don’t know if it can get better and feel like somehow all of this is my fault.

I am trying to build myself up to be strong again, but something will happen and I crumble again. I have felt like I needed to cry for days, but the tears just didn’t come. Instead, I started lashing out at my husband again. It’s like these feelings need one outlet or another—I prefer that outlet to be tears. Finally, I hit the breaking point again today and the tears came—and they felt like they’d never end. I know that sounds sad, but it is a relief to me and I feel better already.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Two Months Later: 2015 Resolutions Check in

Here we are at the beginning of another month which means it's time to check in with my 2015 Resolutions. A lot happened in February and the month seemed to fly by. I found out that I had postpartum depression and that kind of changed everything for me.

I have been trying not to stress and to learn to relax a bit—eliminating some things from my life that caused me to become stressed and anxious. So here’s my check in!

image_thumb5Lose Weight I am down a little over a pound from the beginning of the year, so that is a loss. Due to everything I have going on right now, I’m not actively stressing out over this—but plan to.
image_thumb7 Exercise Regularly This is something I really need to start doing so that I can reap the benefits, but I’m also working on not stressing out about everything and that includes exercise at the moment.
image_thumb5 Be Present (unplugged) I’m definitely doing better. I quit Facebook and this has done wonders for my stress and anxiety level. I still like to pick up my phone a lot though!
image_thumb5 A Single Step (towards being a writer) I have made numerous steps this year—not big ones, but steps anyways. I started writing more this past month.
image_thumb8 Make New Friends This isn’t a good time for me to tackle this one because of the postpartum depression issues.
image_thumb8Budget Fail. But we’re getting back to it.
image_thumb5 Purge I didn’t do much, but I did clean out the medicine cabinet and got rid of expired items.
image_thumb5 Blog More The good, the bad, and the ugly—for better or worse, I’ve bee blogging about it.
image_thumb9 Read More I really love reading and I’m sad that I can’t seem to take the time to do it! It’s not that I’m not reading anything at all—I read my bible, blogs, a baby book, etc. But I want to read a book from front to back.
A Better Me
Last month, I wrote that I felt like I had become the worst me yet. I am happy to say that I figured out why that was and am getting help for postpartum depression. I have also been trying to be kind and do kind things when I have the opportunity—this makes me feel good too.

Last month I had accomplished 6 items and that’s the same as this month—just different ones. By the end of the year, I will tackle them all!

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015


You can find AJourney2Thin on Instagram and follow along with me there.

I hope to use Instagram to share some of the day-to-day things that go on here at the A Journey to Thin household. Remember back when I posted picture posts daily? Well, I don’t have time for that right now—but Instagram makes it a little easier to share some!

My Instagram followers have been getting a sneak peek of some of the items that I received in my XO VoxBox from Influenster. An official review will be published on the blog soon!

Follow me and say hello! I’d love to follow you too!

Monday, March 2, 2015


I obtained a VIP membership to Adore Me as part of the Influenster program. I was sent a free product of my choice. All opinions here are my own.

When I started browsing Adore Me to decide if I wanted to join to receive a free product of my choice, I made up my mind when I saw they offered really cute plus size lingerie. All of my plus size ladies out there know how hard it is to find cute, plus sized lingerie!

I chose the Lolie (Plus), which is this beautiful scarlet color. (images below from Adore Me site- unfortunately, I do not look like this beautiful model- haha)

It’s a gorgeous nightgown and it makes me feel pretty when I’m wearing it too. The fabric is so soft and it’s super comfortable.

The Lolie (Plus) is available in sizes XL – 3XL. I ordered the 3XL and it fit me well.

Adore Me also offers regular sized lingerie and swimwear. They have some really cute items!

The only thing that I dislike about Adore Me are the terms. Adore Me is a membership program and the idea is to pick out lingerie each month to be shipped to you. I love the idea—but I don’t think I need (or can afford) that much lingerie. You have the option to skip a month or go on a Payment Vacation for 2 months. If you do not skip the month, you will be charged a $39.95 store credit. However, it is easy to skip the month, you just have to make sure you do it between the 1st and the 5th of each month. Ultimately, I would like to be able to choose when I place an order vs. having to make sure I skip the month, etc.

Where do you buy your lingerie?


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