Since I wasn’t sure this year, what this web site would become, I was very careful in how I presented myself. When things weren’t going so well, I focused on presenting myself as doyenne of fun.
That was only sort of true.
Recently I was asked for advice on how to manage having two babies very close in age. What came out of my fingertips was a veritable volume of describing the pain I felt in 2010. Since writing that email, I feel that I need to be a little more honest about what went on this year.
See, way back in 2009, I felt a lot of anxiety with Dottie’s pregnancy. My hormones just kicked into a strange gear and I cried every day, sometimes for hours. My doctor told me this was normal. Just hormones! And those Just Hormones resulted in a whole 10 months of weeping.
But hey, we all endure for our babies, I just thought that when she was born, the weeping would cease.
Instead it just got worse.
While nursing I’d kick into a depression so bleak, I sat, tears streaming while I stared at the blank tv. I’d hand the baby over to James for crying breaks which lasted for hours.
This happened for the first eight months of Dottie’s life, because, breast is best!
(I just mistyped that as breast is beast, so you know where I’m going.)
My doula informed me that sometimes, the hormones related to breastfeeding can exacerbate depression and anxiety. That information isn’t readily available because (naturally) it’s important to encourage all mothers to nurse.
So for EIGHTEEN SOLID MONTHS, I cried every day.
Mostly, I cried in the shower.
Or whenever I was awakened.
Or before I fell asleep.
Or always in the car.
Mostly, I cried.
Oh, what? I had you all fooled with my parties and entertaining articles and fun?
I’m sneaky like that.
Let’s just say that instead of taking care of myself (failed resolution for 2010) I tried to make extra money and launch a new career. That was stupid. I had two children under two. I should have tried to save money or just wait or take a nap.
Why am I writing all of this now?
Much like my post about my miscarriages, I like to tell you about problems after I’ve worked through them, rather then while I’m in the thick of them.
This may change next year, I’m not sure.
The debilitating depression and anxiety stopped three days after I stopped breastfeeding. My doula was right. I wish that someone had told me about that before, I wouldn’t have gotten to the (very scary almost irreversible) point that I did.
That said, I had some professional success this year. Attending the EVO conference was a boon, a chance for me to feel like an adult again, in a supportive and stylish atmosphere.
The Mighty Summit was amazing, and allowed me to feel like I wasn’t the only person in the world with challenges and successes. I can trust people.
I kicked out another big bunch of web sites and paid off my credit cards.
I wrote for Serious Eats, an amazing web site, and I hope they’ll have me back once I finish getting my mental house in order.
But I put too much pressure on myself this year.
I had two children under two.
I should have taken more naps.
I know the life coaches and inspirational people might not agree with me but if anything, I want to tell Helen Jane of 2010 that there was always time.
You’ll get to it.
It doesn’t ever have to be right this minute.
Life is short, yes, but not if you can’t enjoy it.
Take a nap.
Doodle in your journal.
You’ll get there.
Resolvations for 2011?
We already signed up for a weekly CSA, so that’s in the works.
Pay more attention to my dog.
Be kind to myself.
I know I wrote that last year, but we’ll just add this to the list for the rest of my life. I’ve printed out a quote from my favorite Julia Cameron that says, “Treating myself like a precious object makes me strong.” It’s true.
Fire up Cheesewhizzes.
Out of all the partying, I neglected this little club the most. And it’s my favorite. Funny how we do that.
I know it flies in the face of conventional blog wisdom (ha! like there is such a thing! ha!), but I’m keeping helenjane.com ad and sponsor free for goofy memes, Nablopomo and personal stories.
But I’m launching a commercial venture this month. It’s almost there, all the home entertaining tips, all the how-tos and party info I’ve gleaned over the past many years of welcoming people into my events. I can’t wait until it’s done. If you care about that stuff, the recipes and fun, you can go there. It’s going to be pretty.
But I’m taking my time, because I most certainly need a nap.
Happy 2011. May it be safe, fun and filled with adventure.
I can’t wait.