I have a great interview for you all today! I *met* Katie of Loyal, Loving, Learning in one of my online writing classes and was immediately drawn to her fresh writing style, warmth, and of course, I just think her blog name is the cutest. Katie is an incredible writer, teacher turned stay-at-home and shares her story struggling with postpartum depression. Read on for Katie’s “Your Lines!”
Can you tell us your “two lines” story? How did you find out you were becoming a mother?
At the time, I was working as a full-time nanny to two year-old twins, when I left work early to squeeze in an appointment at an urgent care clinic for (what I thought was) a bladder infection. I matter-of-factly did the ‘ole pee-in-a-cup act to reassure the doctor I was not pregnant, so she could move forward with her diagnoses. I patiently sat several feet away from the tech that was elbow deep in urine samples. The last thing on my mind was: Could I be pregnant? After all, I was on The Pill. No worries, riiiight?? Who knows how much time had passed before I noticed the tech look at me, then at a cup, then back at me, then back at the cup again.
Strange, I briefly thought.
Then she went on to ask me, “Did you know you were getting a pregnancy test today?”
“Yeah. I have a bladder infection and the doctor just wants to rule out a pregnancy.”
Tech looked at the cup again. Long pause. “Well, you’re pregnant,” she (very) hesitantly says.
WHAT?!!?!! And I kid you not—I actually said to her: “That’s not my cup.”
She reassured me it was; and after challenging her one more time, I figured she had done this a time or two.
As she was drawing my blood, she reluctantly asked, “Is this a good thing or…?”
As a twenty-three year-old, only less than a year out of college, there was a whole bunch of madness going through my mind. I vaguely remember telling the nurse it was OK because my boyfriend and I had been in a relationship for a few years, were living together already, and planning on getting engaged “soon”. I’ve always wanted to be a mother since as far back as I can remember; and I had often pondered what my reaction would be like if I “surprisingly” got pregnant. I naively imagined it wouldn’t be all that bad. HA! Here I was, sitting in an urgent care clinic, my skin boiling with nervousness and fear. The first person I thought of was my oldest sister-in-law. She has struggled with Stage 4 Endometriosis for years now, and was desperately trying for a second child, while Fertile Myrtle over here gets pregnant NOT trying to get pregnant.
While some young girls may have wondered, why me? I didn’t even question that. I’ve always been a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. Cliché, I know, but God always has a plan for us.
What has been the best part of young motherhood?
The best part is the energy! My daughter is on the run now, so being able to keep up with her is super important to me. Plus, when Emmy (and hopefully other children to come) is graduating college, my husband and I will be in our forties. We’ll still have so much life ahead of us, and many years to spoil (and keep up with) grandchildren!
I used to think I’d be married at least a year before having children. I wanted to spend that first year of marriage with just my husband-building our relationship, and making newlywed memories. It’s not easy watching those around me experience carefree, newlywed bliss. As the first of my hometown friends to have a baby, many adjustments have been made to my relationships. Some have strengthened, while others have fallen by the wayside. I can no longer spontaneously pick up and meet friends for drinks. I need notice to call up a babysitter. There are times when I feel left out, too. Yes, I’m a mom, but I still like to have fun! I still want to go to concerts, or house parties, or wine rooms!
Describe a typical day in your life (details, please!):
I set my alarm out of arm’s reach for somewhere between 5:15 and 5:45 (usually closer to 5:45, if I’m being honest). I brush my teeth, splash water on my face, pee… TMI? 😉 After preparing a cup of tea with honey à la zombie-like style, I sit down at my computer. This is my time to accomplish all sorts of tasks—whether it’s writing, addressing birthday cards, paying bills, swooning over home tours on Pinterest, making my To-Do lists, creating Honey-Do lists, checking emails, mapping out my agenda, etc…. The point of this time is to complete necessary (and sometimes unnecessary) “little things” with absolutely no interruption. (A mother’s dream!)
Eventually, I’ll get hungry enough to fix myself something to eat. Generally breakfast entails oatmeal with flaxseed and raisons; or yogurt with flaxseed, granola, and a banana. (You said details, right?) A little Today Show to make sure the world isn’t ending, and then one of two things happens:
1. A sleeping baby will allow me to throw myself together: get dressed, ‘do’ my hair (or whatever that means these days), and put on makeup.
2. Sleeping Beauty awakens from her slumber.
Lately, scenario #1 has been a frequent occurrence, as Emmy has been sleeping in until 8:30-45. Should scenario #2 transpire, I get Emmy dressed, fed, and we “play makeup” in her room.
From there, I hope to get out of the house—whether it’s grocery shopping, going to the park, or meeting a friend for lunch. If it’s a Wednesday, we have music class at 10. Emmy loooves her some music! On Thursdays, I teach two dance classes to 3-4 year-olds, so we have a babysitter come watch Emmy. Next week, we’ll be starting swim lessons again. The lessons are ten minutes a day, five days a week. Preparing, commuting, swimming, and changing will take up a good chunk of our morning. I like having a set schedule (most of the time) because it holds me accountable of being productive.
Noon is usually lunchtime for the little one. If I’m lucky, I can scarf down some food, too; or else I will have to wait until naptime. Emmy is at the stage where she wants anything and everything I’m eating! Anywhere between 1-2, Emmy lays down for a nap. It all just depends on if we’re out running around or not. I’m so blessed to have a child that doesn’t have any problems sleeping. I can say, “Okay, it’s night-night time,” and Emmy complacently sits on my lap to read a story. Sometimes she’ll fall asleep right away, and other times she’ll lay awake for an hour before actually falling asleep. Either way, she’s in her room resting, so I’m happy J While Emmy is napping, I’ll either eat lunch if I haven’t already, read, mess around with chores, or take a little snooze myself!
Depending on what time Emmy falls asleep, she may wake up anywhere between 3:30 and 5. Then, it’s snack time. On Mondays, I take her with me to the gym so I can go to Pilates. More than once I’ve been called out of class to come get her because she won’t stop crying. (We keep trying, though!) On Wednesdays, my mom and dad come over to babysit so I can go to either yoga or Pilates. Other days we’ll either stroll to the park to swing, or play in the backyard.
Dinner is usually around 5:30-6, followed by a little quiet playtime, then bath. Bath time is my favorite time of day. There’s nothing better than singing songs, splashing water, laughing, and loving on a clean and fresh nakey baby 😉 More of my favorites include reading books, singing even more songs, and saying our prayers as a family. Emmy has even learned to clasp her hands together when we say “prayer time.” Precious!
After the bambino is in bed (around 8:30pm), my husband and I finally get to eat. I really don’t enjoy eating this late, but if Emmy were to go to sleep at 7 every night, my husband would not get to spend much time with her. Making this small dinner sacrifice is worth it to me. By the time I’m finished eating dinner, all I want to do is curl up on the couch and watch my TV shows. Which, BTW, I watch waytoomuch of!
My brain completely shuts down around 10:30, and I become utterly helpless. No joke. After a shower, I like to read in bed, and then I’m out for the count!
You’re very open about your struggle with post-partum depression—can you tell us a little bit about your journey?
Being hospitalized for PPD is so surreal. Here I was, a new mommy, (my biggest dream EVER!) and I hated 99% of it. That’s not how I imagined motherhood. I’ve posted several personal journal excerpts on my blog to share with mothers and non-mothers what I went through. I’m not the first person who has experienced such traumatic PPD; and unfortunately, I won’t be the last. At first I felt so ashamed to wish I could ‘disappear’ from my daughter; and return when I felt better. I felt so guilty for praying to have cancer as an alternative, or even wishing I would die, instead of dealing with motherhood. But I couldn’t control any of these negative thoughts. PPD is so hormonal. The only thing I had control over was getting help. My experience was so severe, that I needed medication. I know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of—and I also know that I’m definitely not the only one. I feel proud to share my story and experiences. Many people in my life had no idea what I was going through. When I began writing about it on my blog, I received numerous kind and encouraging email, praising me for being so strong.
What do you think the biggest misconception about PPD is?
Personally, I think the biggest misconception is that you can just “snap out of it.” Those words should never be said to a new and (super) emotional and hormonal mother. There’s no “snapping out of it” in PPD. There’s no “mind over matter.” Now, that I’m on the other side of it all—yes, I can control my thinking. But it took intensive therapy for me to learn to do so.
What are your hopes for your journey as a writer?
My greatest hope for my journey as a writer is to eventually compile a memoir of my PPD experience. Whether it ends up getting published or not, I will still write it. A long-time ambition of mine is also to write and illustrate a children’s book.
Love, love, love! Thank you so much Katie!! Good luck to you on your writing dreams! I know I’ll be following your journey! 🙂