My Struggle With Postpartum Depression

It’s been quiet here for a long time. But, now I’m ready to share why with you.  I have thought about posting, sharing our lives and what is going on with the kids but it has been hard to find the strength, the motivation and yes the time to write let alone do much of anything else.  Life, in general, has not been easy since the twins birth.  Spread thin between two infants in the NICU and two older children at home, a husband who was on short-term disability, all while trying to heal from an emergency C-section that wound up infected before I was even discharged from the hospital.  Struggling to develop a milk supply for my infants was an almost impossible feat, being separated from my newborns and fighting the infection took its toll on me. Supplements, prescriptions, pumping and the constant support of the hospital lactation consultants and my husband was barely enough to help me keep going until the milk started flowing.  Even with all of that support, I have only ever been able to produce enough milk for one of the twins.  Then as if that wasn’t enough to deal with, I developed crippling postpartum depression.

My postpartum depression began when the feeling of mind numbing depression hit me like a brick. It took time & the love of my family to fight my way back to normalcy. TwoKidsAndABudget.com

My Journey Through Postpartum Depression

In August I crashed, mentally and physically.  I have had the baby blues before, I knew what to expect but this was different, this time I had no idea what was happening to me.  The feeling of mind numbing depression hit me like a brick.  My mind was in a 24 hour nonstop haze, I couldn’t concentrate let alone think straight.  People would talk to me, I could see their lips moving, I could hear the words coming out of their mouths, but I could not for the life of me comprehend what was being said. I couldn’t respond or give them the answers they were looking for because I could not make my brain work.  It was very frustrating for them, and for me.  But as hard as I tried, and I did try I just could not pull myself out of that haze.

By the end of September I was spending more and more time in bed sleeping only waking to nurse my daughter and help my husband tube feed our son.  I wanted so badly to enjoy having my little babies home to snuggle and love on them.  To try to commit to memory their sounds and smells because those little babies would be crawling and toddling and going off to preschool before I knew it.  But as much as I tried to make myself be there in the moment I couldn’t.  Not only was I sleeping the day and nights away drowning in a sea of depression I was trying to come to terms that my family was struggling. We were struggling in our health, in our finances, and in our ability to find a new rhythm to our family.  I had never felt so alone, even though I was in a house full of children and my husband was never far away.

One of the worst moments for me was when my oldest son, KC, asked why I slept all of the time.  I could see in his face that he missed his mom….the way she used to be, before the babies came.  Heith tried to explain, and reassure him that mommy was just very tired.  That it sometimes happened when mommies had babies but that it would get better.

Even though I had reached out to my OB for help neither of the medications he had prescribed me were helping.  I was finally sent to my family doctor and a third medication was prescribed, that did help…somewhat.

By the time mid-October rolled around I was also avoiding leaving the house.  I would go days, without stepping outside.  I once went a two-week stretch without leaving the house.  When the twins or the older boys had a school or doctor appointments I would have to force myself to attend them. You see, leaving the house gave me anxiety.  More than once I would have a mild panic attack just walking out the front door.  It took months for me to get past the dread of leaving the safety of my home.  And to be honest this is something I still struggling with from time to time, although it has gotten so much better.

It’s spring again and over the past couple of months I have been doing better and better.  The dark waters of my postpartum depression have subsided and my family is seeing more and more of the mother and wife I once was.  Life isn’t perfect, and I still have days where I struggle but they are becoming fewer and farther apart.

My husband who has always been my rock did his best to support me even though he was also trying to heal from his own surgery.  I truly could not have made it through this if it had not been for his love, understanding and above all his support.  I am truly blessed.

 

The Twins Are Home! TwoKidsAndABudget.com

Our Twins Are Home!

 

I was just 31 weeks & 2 days pregnant when the twins made their debut via emergency c-section on July 19, 2016. Read their twin birth story! TwoKidsAndABudget.com

The Twins Have Arrived!

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Kid Friendly Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is the day we set aside to count our blessings, and enjoy spending time with our families.   One of the many things I love about the Thanksgiving holiday is all of the wonderful traditions.  Unfortunately, most of them focus only on the adults. Creating kid friendly Thanksgiving traditions will help involve all the members of your family in the holiday festivities.  These pint sized traditions will also help your little ones gain a better understanding of what the season is all about, and create many memories along the way.

Five Kid Friendly Thanksgiving Traditions

Include Kids In The Preparation.  A lot of the Thanksgiving Day activities happen in the kitchen, and kids are often quickly shooed out before they have a chance to get in the way.  As a busy Mom I have been guilty of doing this on more than one holiday.  However, getting your little ones involved in the preparation is a  great way to create happy Thanksgiving memories. Give your older children the responsibility of mixing ingredients for a favorite family dish, while toddlers can be kept busy coloring place mats for the dinner table.  By including your children you are able to spend more time together.  It also gives you an opportunity to share with them the special meaning behind this holiday.

Create A Thanksgiving Craft.  Making a Thanksgiving craft goes beyond just naming something everyone is thankful for.  A special craft can be enjoyed all season long.  Try creating a blessings tree where each leaf lists something you are thankful for or turn your tree into a fall wreath instead.  Let it hold all of the small blessings your family shares.

You can easily turn a Thanksgiving Craft into an annual project.  Create something that can grow with your family such as a table runner that has their handprints painted on it each year.  You could take it a step farther and list one thing they are thankful for next to it.  This will give you a chance to look back over the years as your children have grown and reminisce over how they have changed.

Take A New Family Photo.  Here in Michigan the fall is a beautiful time of year with the changing colors of the leaves creating a natural backdrop.  Last year we had outdoor family photos taken at a local park and they turned out gorgeous!  This is a great time to have new photos taken and they can even be turned into your holiday cards.

Volunteer To Help The Needy. It can be very hard for youngsters to understand what it is to truly be thankful for the things you have, when you don’t know what it’s like to be a person in need.  You can spend some time as a family volunteering at a local  soup kitchen, or other charity organization.  Our church has a food panty that is open to the public once a month.  We often donate food and our time to it.  Look around your community and see where you can help.

Learn The Thanksgiving Story.  Talk about why we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, and that it is more than just eating turkey and pumpkin pie.  The men and women of the Mayflower struggled to start the colony at Plymouth and their hard work and sacrifice shouldn’t be forgotten.  Once your children know  the story they may have fun acting it out for your family on Thanksgiving Day.

What are some of your favorite kid friendly Thanksgiving traditions?  I always enjoy hearing about how other families spend the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey apple treats a fun & easy edible craft that your toddler and preschoolers will love doing. They also make great last minute Thanksgiving table decor! www.TwoKidsAndABudget.com

How To Make A Turkey Apple Treat

This adorable baby footprint turkey craft is a fun and easy to make craft for babies first Thanksgiving. Grandma live in another state? Pop it in the mail! www.TwoKidsAndABudget.com

Baby Footprint Turky Craft
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Four Tips To Manage Your Holiday Spending

Before the Thanksgiving turkey has even been stuffed the holiday spending season begins.  Over the next two months you will be bombarded day and night with the retailer’s message to buy, buy, buy.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring their own sense of urgency to purchase the big items before it’s too late.  The advertisements dazzle you, and your children, with the promise of the joy that one special item will bring.  It is easy to see how people fall head first into the holiday spending trap every year.  And who can resist those fuzzy feelings you get when watching the excitement and joy your loved ones experience when opening one well thought of gift after another.  After all, that’s what the season is all about no matter how much it costs right?  If you’re tired of falling victim to this holiday disaster, it may be time to learn how easy it is to manage your holiday spending.

 Easy Ways To Manage Your Holiday Spending

Budget Your Holiday.  I know no one wants to think about their budget during the Christmas season.  However, it truly is the difference between starting January off on a great note or on a holiday hangover. I promise nothing will steal the joy from those new holiday memories than opening your credit card bill in January and seeing the pile of debt you have collected.

Make A List. Taking a little time to plan ahead can save you hundreds of dollars every year.  Begin by making a list of all of the family members, friends, and neighbors you would like to give gifts to, and one or two gift ideas for each one.  Remember, Santa makes a list, and you should too.

Shop The Sales. Search the sales flyers, and check out the Amazon deals based on the gift list you have created.  I have started doing more and more of my Christmas shopping online, not only do I get to avoid the crowds, but I can compare prices on multiple sites at the same time.  Finding the best deal has become a holiday game for me.  Remember to stick to your budget.  If the item is too expensive look for an alternative, or simply don’t buy it.   No gift is worth going over your holiday budget.

The Gift Of Experience. Looking back over Christmas’s past, what do you remember most?  I bet it isn’t any gift in particular, but instead the time you spent with those you love.  Instead of spending money to make this time of year special, why not spend a little extra time with your loved ones.  Bake cookies with Grandma, build a snowman, go sledding, or make paper snowflakes with the kids.  Go to your local tree lighting ceremony, take in a free community concert, host a game night with your extended family, or go caroling with your local church. These are all wonderful ways to make many happy and lasting holiday memories without spending a lot of money.

Increase Your Income. If you need extra cash and you’re willing to work for it, there are lots of opportunities for a part time job during the holidays. Businesses need lots of extra help this time of year and often advertise for it.

Managing your holiday spending habits is easier than you think and the holidays will be a lot more joyful without if we’re not weighed down by debt when their over.  Follow these simple steps to keep the joy alive all season long!

Seven Reasons Why You Should Volunteer As A Family

As a mother, one of my hopes is to raise children who are caring, kind and considerate to others.  I see too many examples of kids today who just don’t care about anyone, or thing unless it directly affects their wants.  I know many families are very busy, including my own, often feeling that they don’t have enough time to spend together let along to give it away to someone else.  It may be time to rethink your stance on volunteer as a family when you consider these seven reasons you should be spending time together doing just that.

Seven Reasons You Should Volunteer As A Family

It may be time to rethink your stance on volunteer as a family when you consider these seven reasons you should be spending time together doing just that. TwoKidsAndABudget.comVolunteering Builds Self-esteem.  As a parent, one of the most rewarding aspects of volunteering as a family is seeing the sense of empowerment and self-worth in your children grow.  Allowing your child to use their natural abilities and gifts to help someone in need will not only give them a sense of accomplishment, but build their self-esteem all while helping out their community.

Learn To Show Compassion.  Learning to show compassion and respect from those who are different from us is an important life lesson.  The world and your community is vibrant with different social, economical, religious and even people with physical differences then what your children may be exposed to at home.  Serving others through volunteering gives children the ability to meet others who are much different from ourselves, it also gives them the opportunity to practice compassion and respect for others.

Exposure To The Needy.  Your family may be exposed to a variety of social, economical, and cultural environments that they may not have been exposed to at home.  For example:  working in a soup kitchen your children may have the chance to learn about homelessness, hunger, and human rights all while learning to show compassion to those in need.

It’s A Great Way To Spend Time As A Family.  Volunteer as a family is a great way to spend time together.  Find a cause you can all agree on rather it is volunteering at an animal shelter, working in a soup kitchen or visiting the elderly in a nursing home.  You may find that volunteering is a much better way to connect and build a stronger bond as a family than watching I Love Lucy reruns.

Volunteering Can Be Fun.  I know most people associate volunteering with work.  But it can be lots of fun too.  Playing Santa for the children at the local Woman’s Shelter, putting on a skit for the elderly at your local nursing home, face painting at a church bazaar are just a few ways to have fun volunteering all while serving your community.

Takes Less Time Than You Think.  Unfortunately many families shy away from volunteering because they think it will require a huge time commitment.  The truth is even spending a couple of hours a week can make a huge difference.  In the time it takes you to watch yet another Disney movie you could be handing out meals to the homeless, mowing the lawn for a disabled vet, or keeping a blind Grandmother company.  You may be surprised at just how little time it takes to make a big difference in someone else’s life.

It Changes Lives.  One of the most important reasons to volunteer as a family is that while your actions may seem small, they are actually helping to change the lives of those around you for the better.  You may have the opportunity to show kindness and even respect to someone who hasn’t had that in a very long time.  You may even change the lives of those in your family as your children, and you, grow as a family and gain a giving heart.

As the holiday season approaches and many families spend part of their Thanksgiving or Christmas Day serving those in need take a minute to reflect on the blessings you have in your life.  Volunteer as a family doesn’t have to be a seasonal tradition.  You can help others, touch people’s lives, and make a huge difference in the way your children view the world around them for the better all year-long.

Positive Parenting Through Encouragement, Praise And Personal Responsibility As parents we must teach our children our values before the world does. www.TwoKidsAndABudget.com

Positive Parenting

How To Prepare Your High Schooler For Their Financial Future

High school is the final frontier when it comes to the years your child will spend at home under your guidance.  They are filled to the brim with school work, sports, friends, first jobs, extra curricular activities and other important life lessons.  One of the most important things you can do for your children during these final formative years is to prepare your high schooler for their financial future.

One of the most important things you can do for your kids during their final formative years is to prepare your high schooler for their financial future. TwoKidsAndABudget.com

Prepare Your High Schooler For Their Financial Future Continue reading