Sunday, September 20, 2009

If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

I never knew this phrase to be true until I became a mother. As much as I wish it weren't true, I know that if I keep myself in order and happy, the rest of my family is happy too. I also know that if I'm in a bad mood, so is everyone in my house. So fortunately and unfortunately, (depending on how you look at it) I have a large affect on my family.

I have gained a deeper understanding of this truth over the past few months. I haven't blogged about it, because I felt like if you don't have anything good to write, don't write anything at all. But the truth is, we all have trials. I want my kids to know that they happen to all of us, we can learn a lot from them, and they can make us stronger, better people if we let them. Also, if I can help another woman who is struggling too, all the better.

Some women have a hard time with pregnancy, others have a hard time getting pregnant, and others have a hard time with newborns. I am in the last group. I don't know if it's genetics, or bad luck, or if I'm supposed to learn a lesson, but both of my children have had moderate-severe acid reflux. The first few months are the worst, and fortunately, this time, I knew what the problem was and sought medical treatment instead of letting it go and thinking "it will get better on its own." Anyway, this time, I also came down with postpartum depression and I have never dealt with this before. I was afraid to share this because it is such a private thing for many women, but I felt I should share it. I have always been a happy person, upbeat, and optimistic, sometimes to a fault :) I very rarely cry (only 2-3 times in each pregnancy) and I consider myself pretty stable emotionally. Lately, I have been crying almost every day, feeling hopeless, and quite grumpy to be around. Needless to say my house was not a happy house for a couple months. The worst part is that I felt out of control, and I couldn't think postive thoughts and snap out of it. No gratitude lists or happy songs or massages could break this pattern. So, I came to the unpleasant reality that I had postpartum depression.

The truth is it's very common for women because birth hormones, breastfeeding hormones, the lack of sleep, caring for a newborn, and no alone time with your spouse is very taxing on a woman...not to mention the guilt associated with not spending much time with your older kid(s). It's a real problem that affects women, no matter what their background.

All of my friends know I am a gung-ho naturalistic kind of person (some would say "part-granola" :) and always look for the natural solution to problems. I started with taking herbs, but that didn't seem to be enough. So I went to my naturopath and chiropractor about it, and they both said I might have some mineral deficiencies after the birth and possibly due to nursing. The minerals mentioned were iron and vitamin D as the main ones, and others too. I was taking a good mineral supplement before, but I switched to a new mineral supplement specifically for moods from my chiropractor, and voilĂ ! I was back to myself in less than 8 hours! I am so glad I didn't go to a "regular" dr. who would put me on anti-depressants. Who knows what future problems that would bring...

So now I am officially back to myself! And wouldn't you know it, but everyone in my family became simultaneously happy again too...