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‘Round Here

Remember when I talked about posting more often? Haha. Ha.

Not that you care.

Today, I’ll tell you, the infant stage is not my favorite, though it’s precious. I feel tired. Shocker. Even when my mom visited us for a week and did all the work and the cooking, I still felt tired. While she was here, I was working on a post about sleep routines and tricks . . . not for babies, but for me! I had written a lot of disjointed sentences, and stared at them thinking I’d now be able to reorder and weave them together logically like I’d do when writing a paper in college, but—no good. Lesson: Obviously I wasn’t sleeping as well as I thought and should’ve been napping at that moment.

Anyway, it was nice to look at this picture of Mama Rote and me back in the day:

Christmas mom and baby Josie

which called to mind this picture of Mary Tobin and me from the fall:

#sundayfinest 10.6.13

A post shared by Josie Ortega (@josieortega) on

which reminded me that this is merely a stage and everyone’s going to grow up.

I had my six week postpartum check up (actually at eight weeks because I failed to make the appointment on time) where the midwife and I talked for awhile about postpartum depression. I was surprised that she said 80% of mothers get it (at some point and to some degree)— it’s wildly undiagnosed and untreated. (From a quick google search, maybe it’s that 80% of moms have baby blues, which goes away two weeks or so after birth. Whatever the case, her point remains.) My assignment on that score was to walk outside in the sunshine for at least half an hour each day to help my Vitamin D levels.

My friend Anna Kate wrote about postpartum depression awhile ago, and I thought I’d chime in too, to help battle the stigma. (Tell the stories!) For me, pregnancy through now—Inez is almost three months old—has felt like one big extended PMS: I cry easily, am extra irritable, have more “down days” than usual, have moments when I really feel like I can’t do it. But I’m never to the point of wanting to harm myself or my family, which is why I think this subject is so tricky, so often undiagnosed and untreated. I know that I’m not feeling 100%, but I don’t know where the line is between normal tiredness and true depression.

Wherever you might be on that spectrum, for anyone feeling down (winter blues! hello!), I thought the acrostic NURSE on the postpartum depression info sheet was helpful:

  • Nutrition (Stop eating garbage. Have a glass of water.)
  • Understanding (Acknowledge how you’re feeling; have supportive people around you.)
  • Rest (Easier said than did.)
  • Spirituality (Take deep breaths; connect to God/your higher power.)
  • Exercise (Ummm, sure.)

So, to sum up, I don’t have answers. The above list won’t solve everything; excellent medications are also available. Talk with someone and try to figure it out. But right now, at least, this gray area is my story and I’m sticking to it.

If you’re blue these days, I’m wishing tons of laughter and endorphins your way! Take care of yourself. xo

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12 thoughts on “‘Round Here

  1. One significant indicator that sadness has turned to depression is when you feel like everyone would be better off without you. It’s not a threat of suicide…some of us never get there. But it IS the heartfelt conviction that we are the problem and if we were just out of the picture everything would be fine. You don’t want to harm anyone…just not exist. Harder to diagnose because it’s a turning inward, not outward/behavioral. Medication is a wonderful option.

  2. Hang in there Josie! My wife and I welcomed Jonas, our second, home on October 18th. There were som real tough days for the first several months. The lows were low, and we were exhausted. But it has truthfully gotten better everyday. Stay positive and focus on the blessings (not easy always, admittedly) and you ‘ll be looking up soon.

    • Thanks, Greg! Good to hear from you. Congrats to you and Jodie. I know you’re a great dad!

      On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 10:29 PM, tell me a story wrote:

      >

  3. Regarding laughter and endorphins: some doctors say that watching funny movies and cartoons can be good for healing from serious diseases. Maybe that could be helpful for baby blues. Someone should compile a list: Movies Guaranteed to Make You Laugh.

    • I think we need to distinguish between the blues (snap out if it! Watch a funny movie!) and depression. The latter is something that medication (Prozac, etc) can do wonders for because it’s a chemical imbalance and not just a lousy day….

  4. My initial thought was to message you, but the point of your post is to have an open discussion, so I would say a couple of things 1) clinically, the def of baby blues is lasting 2 days – 2 weeks postpartum whereas PPD doesn’t usually even start until closer to 2 weeks and lasts beyond that. If you are 3 months out and still feeling “off” I would feel confident classifying that as PPD. 2) PPD doesn’t have to mean that you want to hurt someone. That actually is closer to post-partum psychosis which is another extreme. I know I thought to myself at one point “you know, those commercials always say that you should talk to you doctor if you’re having thoughts of suicide, but they don’t specify if that means that you’re thinking about DOING it, or just thinking about it in general…” ummmm, trying to distinguish between those two things is a bad sign!!! (I can look back now and laugh. It was NOT funny at the time). 3) Another thing I was dealing with at the same time with Nikolai was D-MER. It’s something that I’d never heard of before, but after experiencing the same feelings minus the depression with Tristan, I looked into it and even brought some literature to my OB. When I showed him he looked at it and said “Wow! Thank you! I have women come to me complaining about this all the time and I have no idea what to tell them.” and he’s amazing, highly experienced, and one of the most recommended OB’s in this area. http://d-mer.org/ Understanding what was going on made a huge difference. These issues are near and dear to me, and I try to check on all my friends after they have kids to try to normalize it and reach out to them as a resource. I’m glad you’re making this a more public issue. <3

  5. Josie, my graduate work included some research on latest therapies with postpartum depression. I experienced it 26 years ago when Rachel was born. My goal is to help those who never say a word, because those stats tell you that more probably deal with it and are sub-clinical. Love the acrostic. Exercise is hard to fit in for a new mom; one thing in the literature is that shows promise is any type of creative activity– painting, sculpting, sewing, music, etc. this is shown to elevate mood . Also mentioned is light therapy–similar to what people with seasonal affective disorder are prescribed. So I think sunshine is important. Hugs to you and your girls and the encouragement you are. Love your blog.

  6. Great discussion here- never heard of d-mer Julie. And Kristi, the point about the literature suggesting entering into a creative activity elevates mood is very interesting. Thank you, Josie- seems that we need to be talking about this!

  7. I think Kristi could mean that Josie needs to keep blogging; it’s creative!
    And Greg is a bold man to weigh in on a ‘woman’s topic.’
    Also, I just intended to say that laughter to help with production of endorphins could be another tool in the box, not the only tool in the box. But I do like the list of tools: music, sunshine, movement, laughter, rest…

  8. Pingback: Friday Favorites: 3.21.14 | Elizabeth Robertson Williams

  9. Pingback: What worked for me in 2014. | tell me a story

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