Welcome, Olivia Grace!

I am SO excited to welcome my new niece, Olivia Grace, born on October 16.  She lives in Virginia right now but I will be seeing her for Thanksgiving AND Christmas this year!  To celebrate her birthday, we are giving away a Bumble Dot PlanetWise wipes pouch in “her” colors, gray and yellow, filled with product samples.

To enter, comment and give me your best guess on her birth weight.  (She is 2 days old in the photo.)  The closest guess wins.  If more than one person guesses the correct weight, winner will be drawn by a random number generator.  Giveaway closes Saturday, October 20, no earlier than 9 pm.  (But if I get sidetracked you might be able to sneak in an entry after 9.) Good luck!

CONTEST CLOSED.  Congratulations, Kristen Jones, you won!  She was 8 lb SEVEN oz, but you and Jennifer were the closest so we randomly picked a winner between the two of you.  Please email admin@babiesbottomsandmore.com to let me know if you will come pick up your prize during our open hours (Tuesday 10-2 and Saturday 11-3) or if you would like it shipped (and if so, I’ll need your address.)  Please email before Tuesday or we’ll pick another winner.  Thanks!  -Elisa

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Depression, Part 2

I hadn’t intended to publish this right away but I’m afraid that if I wait I will forget or second guess myself and not post it, so here goes.

 

Following up on our last blog post, maybe you have never been depressed but someone you love is.  Have you ever wished you could understand a little more about what they’re going through?  I spoke to several moms about their experiences and have compiled their answers here.

What were your symptoms?  How would you describe the feeling of depression and/or anxiety?

 

*I’ve been depressed since childhood, though not treated medically for it until about 14 years ago but was off my meds for a couple of years before I had kiddo number 2 in 2005. Mostly mood swings and anger and never really feeling happy. When it was really bad in 2005, it was 8 months after I had my son before admitting something wasn’t right with me. When I was crying for no reason in the car because a song came on the radio, or feelings of wanting to walk into the path of an oncoming bus and not wanting to feel sad anymore I knew that wasn’t normal “baby blues”.

 

*My symptoms were entirely physical.  I was extremely fatigued – even going up a flight of stairs exhausted me – had lost my appetite, and my hair was falling out much more than it should have been.  There may have been a hormonal component since it all started right around the time I experienced an early miscarriage.  My emotions didn’t really surface until a few months later,  in counseling.  Up to that point I had just felt numb.

 

*I just felt overwhelmed and cried a lot, over little things.  Like I showed up at the wrong school to register my oldest for kindergarten, and broke down sobbing in the car for about five full minutes.  I had a close friend at that point who had been through depression herself and knew what to look for.  She shared her concerns with me and I was able to take action before I became nonfunctional.

 

What kept you from either realizing that you were depressed and/or seeking treatment?  What were some hurdles you had to get over?

*At first I honestly did not know what was wrong with me.  At first I thought it was all in my head, or thought the fatigue was just because I was lazy.  When things got worse, I started to worry that there was something seriously wrong with me and was scared to go to the doctor and find out what it was.

 

*It was hard for me to commit to counseling.  I had to find (and pay) a babysitter, spend an hour each week, and pay for that too.  I felt like I was draining my family’s resources when I should have just been able to snap out of it.  It took courage for me to go on the medications my doctor recommended too.  When you’re already depressed, it’s easy to think there’s no point in taking the medications because they won’t work anyway.  And when you’re anxious, the potential side effects can be really scary.  And then there’s the stigma of being on medication, like it’s for people who can’t handle reality, like it’s the easy way out.  Let me tell you, anyone who says it’s the easy way out has never tried it.  Finding the right medication and the right dose through trial and error, slogging through the early weeks of side effects while your body gets used to it is not easy.  It’s a sacrifice I make as I fight for my health and for the well being of my family who deserves a healthy mom.

 

*I can’t say I have had many hurdles other than my own procrastination and self talk of that it is my imagination or it will get better.

 

What was most helpful to you in accepting that you were suffering from depression and making the effort to get treatment? (Friends, family, things you read, certain ideas?)

*I had a friend who would call or message me once a week with one short message: Depression is not a character flaw. This was so important for me to remember, because I felt like I had failed.

*Once I got a diagnosis and taking meds I read every book I could get my hand on. My mother was no help emotionally. My husband was supportive and still is. I often tell him that he got a lemon when he got me, but he doesn’t seem to mind. Yes there are difficult times, but I know they will pass.

 

How did you treat your depression?  Drugs, counseling, lifestyle changes, a combination of the three?

*Initially just medication, but now I also see a counselor.

 

*I started with just medication and after a few months worked up the nerve to set an appointment with a counselor.  I saw her for about 9 months and she really helped me recognize the unconscious thoughts that were contributing to depression.  And I have to make sure to be taking care of myself or it comes back – time outdoors, human contact outside my house, regular exercise, enough sleep.

 

How did you know you were getting better?

*I remember being amazed one day that I felt happy.  Not for very long, just 15 minutes or so, but it was enough.  My nightmares stopped.  My oldest friends started commenting that I sounded like the old me.

*When I wasn’t crying all the time and actually had desires to leave the house and do something fun, I knew I was better.

 

What do you think are some mistaken stereotypes that exist about depression?

*That depression is just an invention of the pampered Americans and that depressed people just need to “snap out of it” or get a pep talk.  That it’s just an attitude problem and that medication is the “easy way out.”

*A stereotype I had was that after time I will be OK and have no need for meds. I have come to realize that is not true and will always need medication to stay balanced. But I do have times I feel stuck in mud.

Please feel free to share this post with anyone that you think it would help.  It does get better.

Depression, Part 1

This is a scary blog post to write.  I have  a secret, a big secret.  If you knew, you would hate me.  You would think I’m a terrible mother, they’d probably take my kids away, and I would be rejected and alone forever.  And it’s no more than I deserve, really.  I’m a terrible person, a failure as a wife, a mother, and a human being.  Fatally flawed, broken… and no one will understand or offer compassion, because I am the ONLY one, ever, to go through depression. 

 

Yes, I have struggled with depression and anxiety for the past five years.  And what you read above is what goes through my head when I’m depressed, or when I think about sharing my struggles with someone else.  I fear rejection, misunderstanding, condemnation… and so I don’t speak up.  I try to hide it, I say “I’m fine” and hope no one notices.  Then I feel abandoned and like no one cares – but no one knows.

 

But something has changed, and that’s why I’m writing this today.

This summer, I went through an extremely stressful period that triggered a return of my symptoms.  It started off in May with a child in and out of the hospital with mystery breathing problems that were probably allergy induced asthma, and came to a head in early August with the Stomach Bug From Hell.  5 of our 6 family members, plus the in-laws (we shared, aren’t we nice?) were sick on and off for about 3-4 weeks.  Before, during, and after our vacation to the beach.  All of the things I had been doing to manage my depression went out the window.  It was too hot to be outside and get much-needed sunshine unless we were at the pool, but with sick kids I had to stay home.  Likewise with the running 3 times a week that help keep my mood stable.  Healthy balanced meals were out because I had to make soup and crackers for everyone – and wasn’t always able to make it to the grocery store.  And getting out of the house to connect with my friends wasn’t happening either, because I had to keep my possibly contagious kids away from other kids.

 

I began to spiral into depression and anxiety.  I got scared to eat much of anything in case it came back up later so was only eating the caloric equivalent of one meal a day.  I lost 10 lbs in a month, which is not much on my 5’3, 120-lb frame.  My hair started falling out, and the fatigue kept me on the couch for hours every day.  On bad days, I would break down crying 3 or 4 times.  And I started having anxiety attacks, made even worse by the fear that I was really very ill and just didn’t know it yet.

 

It wasn’t until my husband put all my symptoms together and suggested that I might just be having a relapse into depression that I began to calm down.  I talked to my doctor and together we made a plan of treatment that involves adjusting my medication, reading a book called Learned Optimism, and following up with a counselor.

 

So you want to know what changed?  As I continued to try to keep Babies Bottoms and More open during this several week ordeal, there were times when I would have a panic attack in the middle of store hours.  A few times I realized I was acting very strangely and felt the need to explain to people in the store what was going on.  And you know what?  Not once was anyone upset, impatient, condemning, or even indifferent.  EVERYONE was gracious, compassionate, and encouraging.  A few women even contacted me via email or text later in the day and shared with me that they were so glad I shared what was going on with me, because they too struggle with the same things and frequently feel like they are the only one.

 

If this is you, if you feel like you’re the only one who understands what you’re going through, if my story sounds like yours, please know that you are not alone.  Depression does not define you, and it is treatable.  It doesn’t mean that you have a character flaw, it means that your brain is not working right, just like if you are diabetic it means your pancreas isn’t working right.  And there are lots of ways to treat and manage depression.

 

Here is an article by the Dallas Association for Parent Education about Postpartum Depression: http://www.dallasparents.org/depression.html

If you want to find a counselor who works on a sliding scale, you can find one through Catholic Charities.  They serve people of all faiths (or no faith) and didn’t even ask my religion when I called – and the counselor they connected me to was actually Jewish.  Catholic Charities of Dallas can be found at www.catholiccharitiesdallas.org and phone numbers for specific locations are here: http://www.catholiccharitiesdallas.org/who-we-serve

If any of you have other resources you’d like to share or words of encouragement for anyone reading this who might be struggling with depression, please share in the comments.

We need to watch out for each other.  The second time I went through depression (there have been three) it was not nearly as bad as the first because I had been spending a lot of time with a friend who herself had been through depression and knew the signs, and she noticed that I was exhibiting symptoms of depression – AND TOLD ME.  I was able to get help months earlier than I otherwise would have, and get better much quicker because she was watching out for me.

 

If you are depressed or even just having a bad day, please know that you can come by the store even if all you need is a hug and don’t need to buy anything.  We are all moms and we’re in this together.

October Giveaway

Congratulations to Taylor E. who won the Jellystone Chocolate Bar teether giveaway for September.  This month we are giving away a brand new product that I am so excited about… a Ju-Ju-Be Be Quick wristlet!  Yes, you can win your very own Ju-Ju-Be bag this month!

We’re giving away this bag!

The Be Quick is a surprisingly roomy wristlet perfect for YOUR stuff, that can be worn on its own or slipped easily inside your diaper bag.  Because of Ju-Ju-Be’s antimicrobial agION lining it can also be used as a wet bag in a pinch.  When unzipped, the wristlet loop is big enough for me to slip over my shouler and wear like a purse.

Here’s my own BeQuick in Pretty Tweet, just to give you an idea of how much can fit in one of these amazing bags!

The Be Quick is loaded with Ju-Ju-Be’s unique features including:

*Rhinestone on the zipper (who doesn’t love a little extra sparkle?)

*Light colored linings so you can find what you’re looking for

*Antimicrobial lining

*100% washable!

*Heavy-duty metal hardware

In stock now, and more coming next week!

And at just $18 (if you don’t win, or don’t want to wait… or if you do win but want more than one!) it’s an inexpensive way to treat yourself and add a pop of color to your life next time you stop by the store.   Want a bigger bag?  Or as a friend of mine says, want a bag so big you could take a nap in it?  Come visit the store to see the convertible messenger bag/backpack the Ju-Ju-Be BFF or the purse that’s really a diaper bag, the HoboBe.  We can also special order any Ju-Ju-Be product for you.

Another shot of the one YOU could win… isn’t she pretty?

Three ways to enter:

1. Fill out an entry form each time you visit the store this month.

2. Add the item called “monthly giveaway” to your cart with any online order this month.

3. Comment here and tell us, besides your phone, keys, and wallet, what is one thing you always keep in your purse?  Mine is nail clippers.  When my fingernails get too long they drive me CRAZY!

 

Be sure to follow us on Facebook to stay updated with new products, sales & specials, and extra entries.  Today, for example, the first visitor to the store during open hours got a bonus giveaway entry.  https://www.facebook.com/#!/babiesbottomsandmore

And in case you were wondering, no, I was not compensated in any way for this post and I provided the item for this giveaway at my own expense.  I just love it THAT much and wanted to share it with all of you.  🙂