post partum

Hey! I Biked!

It’s only been like 13 months!

The last time I was on my bike was at the beginning of August last year. I think I was like two months pregnant by that time and even though I wasn’t really showing yet, it was definitely getting harder to bike to work like I had been doing. Morning sickness sucked. Then on the ride home my heart rate was getting too high and I just had to take too many breaks. Then my back went out…so biking was pretty much over for the season.

I thought about getting on the bike this summer but I never did. Honestly I don’t know that my core/back was strong enough postpartum until now. I’ve been doing a lot of PT exercises and core exercises to strengthen my back and things have gotten a lot better.

Anyways, Sunday instead of swimming I went for a bike ride. We had plans to go to Michael’s mom’s house for brunch and I (thankfully) got a chance to sleep in a little bit so I didn’t have time to swim.

I got my bike down in the garage and dusted off the cobwebs (seriously, a lot of them) and both tires were flat. I pumped them up and let it sit for a bit while I got dressed and ready to go to make sure that they held air ok before I went out.

Another plus side to wearing a cycling bib instead of shorts? They fit even if you are 20 pounds over your ideal weight!

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It was a little chilly but once I got moving and out of the shade it was the perfect temperature. I biked the route I take into work.

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I got stopped by the train for a few minutes but other than that I didn’t need to make many stops. I was surprised at how easy it felt being back on the bike (other than the saddle, of course). Perhaps the walking/jogging I’ve been doing lately has gotten me back into shape for cycling.

I didn’t go as far as I had wanted to go before I had to turn around. It was getting late and I still needed to go home and clean up and get Logan ready for brunch. So I turned around and went back the same way. And I was surprised, again, at how easy it was going up the killer hill home.

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It doesn’t look like it but this hill is really long, slow and at a constant incline. It’s not incredibly steep but it’s steep enough to get your heart pounding and it’s a constant uphill climb so you never get to coast or really take a break. But this time it was incredibly easy for me to do.

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It was a fantastic little ride. I went pretty hard for my first ride back because I was so short on time. I wanted to get my calorie bang for my buck.

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I was glad I got in a good workout in the nice summer weather. We aren’t going to have many more of these kinds of days!

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After that we went to brunch. There was a lot of tasty food for brunch. Michael’s mom made a cheesy potato casserole, an egg and meat breakfast casserole, fresh fruit, deviled eggs and blueberry scones.

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And I had my first Bloody Mary in like a year and a half. 🙂 Yay for brunch!

Logan did great for his first brunch outing. And we got to show him off to some friends and family that haven’t met him yet.

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It was a really good day and a good distraction for me. Monday is the first day of daycare for my little man! So the bike ride and brunch were good distractions … at least until the afternoon.

I’m hoping I can go for a few more bike rides before the weather turns poor. I don’t see myself biking to work this year, though. There’s just too much stuff I have to take to work in order to pump. But by spring next year maybe I can get back into it!

Self-Care, Anxiety and Post-Partum

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life. I’ve taken medications on and off, I’ve been in therapy. After years of therapy and reflection I believe that my issue is mainly anxiety, not depression. While they can go hand-in-hand, anxiety seems to be my biggest problem. I’ve had a lot of therapists over the years, and different types. I’ve gone years without therapy or medication. I know that exercise helps a LOT with the issues I have.

The most recent time I was seeing a counselor, I really liked her a lot. She’d also lost a lot of weight (like 80 pounds I think?) and for the first time I was able to work through some body issue stuff that most people, and most counselors, can’t relate to. She understood. She was great! Then she went out on maternity leave and I had the option to see someone else but decided not to. Of course, she decided not to come back so I couldn’t see her anymore anyways if she came back. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen a therapist and decided it was time to go back.

The search for someone new began.

This part sucks. Big time. Like I said, I’ve had dozens over the years. I moved, insurance changes, therapists leave, etc etc. So I am well-versed in the “find a new therapist, give them the cliffsnotes version and see if we’re a good match” routine. It still sucks. I hate starting over.

This time, I was on a mission. My focus was not going to be body issues or other issues I’ve discussed in therapy in the past. This time I had something very specific to discuss: post-partum depression (PPD).

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Knowing my history with anxiety and depression, being off medications for a year and a half, not knowing what it would be like after the baby arrives, I knew it was good to find someone to talk to NOW and make sure I’m on the right track. I felt like it was better to be prepared. Know the warning signs. Learn some coping skills NOW. Try and avoid what may (or may not) happen.

I know very little about PPD. And I find that in my reading, not a lot of people talk about it. I don’t know why. It seems like it’s a common occurrence.

“Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms for depression, but they also include:

  • Trouble sleeping when your baby sleeps (more than the lack of sleep new moms usually get).
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby.
  • Having scary or negative thoughts about the baby, like thinking someone will take your baby away or hurt your baby.
  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby.
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom, or ashamed that you cannot care for your baby.

According to a CDC survey, 8 to 19% of women reported having frequent postpartum depressive symptoms. (CDC)”

I’ve seen stats that are kind of all over the place but the general number seems to be between 11-20% of women suffer from PPD. Reading more into it, I feel like what *I* personally need to be more aware of is Post-Partum Anxiety. Considering that anxiety has been my biggest issue (far over depression), it stands to reason that this could become an issue.

Something that I’ve found disappointing with the blog world is the lack of disclosure and the sugar-coating of things. Blogs I loved to read…I ended up feeling disappointed because they’d have a baby and everything would be portrayed as rainbows and sunshine and everything was PERFECT. Then, sometimes (but not always), they’d share months later that things weren’t the perfect portrayal they presented. They struggled. Baby was tongue-tied and couldn’t breastfeed, everyone was suffering stress and exhaustion, mom suffered from PPD, etc etc.

I just wish there was more of a community, more transparency, more honesty. I feel like women are expected to be perfect, not complain about anything…when the reality might be very different and wouldn’t it be NICE to be surrounded by people that understand? And have been through it? Can relate? Can assist? Why isn’t there more of a community??

Anyways…I saw a new therapist and discussed my concerns with her. I really like the new person I’m seeing. She’s a behaviorist and with just a few sessions I already felt like I understood how to “fix” anxiety better with HER than any other therapists I’ve seen.

My post-partum plan:

Of course this is just a plan, it may or may not happen. But it’s my goal, at the very least.

  1. Take a shower and get dressed every day.
  2. When cleared by my doctor, get back to exercising when I can. I know myself and I know that physical activity helps with my anxiety. Even if it’s just taking the little boy and Bella outside for a walk every single day, I need to do something.
  3. Continue going to therapy and learn coping skills for my anxiety.
  4. Self-care!
  5. Get out of the house, see friends and family, do outings! I know myself and being cooped up in the house will make me a little crazy. 🙂 I get stir-crazy after being home sick with a cold for a few days!
  6. Learn to ask for help, and accept help when it’s offered.

 

I talked to a friend recently who suffers from debilitating anxiety. I understand that my anxiety is not a panic disorder (like hers is) and that I do already have SOME coping skills that help me with my anxiety. I’m doing okay–is my anxiety conquered? Not by a long shot. But I am managing it. Anyways, my friend is in cognitive behavioral therapy and she had a fabulous suggestion that she’s being doing for her anxiety. When the panic and anxiety starts to take hold, she closes her eyes and tries to name 5 sounds she hears in that moment. She said it’s really helpful to get her to focus on something else, calm down, take the rising panic out of the anxiety and try and re-focus her energy and mental thread. I’ve tried it and it works!

I really struggle with vague “just try to refocus your thoughts” kind of advice, which is why some therapists have just not worked for me before. I don’t do abstract. Don’t just tell me to be “mindful” tell me what that MEANS. Tell me what it LOOKS like to be “mindful.” So I tried my friend’s advice and I liked it. Trying to name 5 sounds I hear in the moment of anxiety is a good distraction.

self-care
Self-Care

Self-care is kind of a popular buzzword these days but it really is important. In the past self-care for me looked like this: spending time with friends, working out, treating myself to a pedicure, getting regular massages (thank you insurance!), having downtime to read and watch Netflix, cuddling with my fur-babies.

I’ve started keeping a list of things I want to do. Here are some ideas I found on self-care.

80+ Self-Care Ideas

Seven Types of Self-Care Activities for Coping with Stress

134 Activities to Add to Your Self-Care Plan

You Just Had a Baby

 

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I’m so excited about the baby’s arrival! I want to BE PREPARED the best I can so I can enjoy every second of this amazing journey we are about to go on.

Do you have any advice or can you relate to this? What helped you?