31 December, 2010  |   24 Comments

2010 Recap, 2011 Resolvations

Hand-wringing
Usually this is post, year after year, is a list of what I completed, accomplished or made.

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.

I threw two unbelievably fun Adventureparties, an activity that I hope I see more of in my future.

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.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
You’ll get there.

Resolvations for 2011?
Eat healthier.
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.

Launch HJEntertains.com
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.

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24 thoughts on “2010 Recap, 2011 Resolvations

  1. 1

    I’m wishing you a better year, with less tears and more naps. Take good care of yourself. Excited to read more from you this year.

  2. 2
    Amanda says:

    I had a feeling all was not swell…but I am thrilled you are feeling better and I wish you a calmer, nap-filled 2011! Xoxoxo

  3. 3
    Sarah Brown says:

    Lots and lots of love to you, girlie. You are doing a great job.

  4. 4
    Meredith R. says:

    Love you, lady. The Internet is always here, both to squeeze you and to be wowed by your talents. Just let us know.

  5. 5
    wishful nals says:

    sending you loads of good vibes in this new year. wishing you only the best! xo

  6. 6
    agirlandaboy says:

    Here’s to you getting everything you want this year, but, more importantly, also getting everything you need. You deserve to be happy.

  7. 7
    maile says:

    I can relate so much. 2009 was my crying year. It wasn’t because of hormones. It was because I thought the world could only spin if I was holding it on my shoulders.

    I think we all do that, don’t we? And it’s so much unnecessary (crushing) pressure. I hope you really do allow yourself to rest. And nap. And zone out. And watch trash television. Or whatever. You so deserve it.

    Hope our paths cross again in 2011. xo

    p.s. Looking forward to the new site!

  8. 8
    Helen Jane says:

    I agree Maile, I certainly had people in the wings eager to help but thought I had to do it all myself.

    Accept more help in 2011! That’s a good one!

  9. 9
    Sara says:

    Thanks for this. Been there. Best wishes!

  10. 10
    Roxanna says:

    HelenJ! I so wish we had known each other in ’09. I too had a baby, and my days were very similar to yours. It was very scary. But I understand. Like you, I don’t like to share until I’ve worked things through. How silly of us, when we’re surrounded by so much love.

    Big hugs to you XOXO

  11. 11
    Deanna says:

    This business of motherhood is hard. Sometimes the school of thought that says “If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything at all” isn’t the right way to go. As an anxiety sufferer, I’m coming around to this truth myself. Letting the right people know you’re having a rough go of things can help make it better. (Thank God for awesome husbands and amazing sisters!)

    Wishing you great naps and success in 2011!

  12. 12
    Deanna says:

    That should have read,

  13. 13
    Jane Gassner says:

    We all have our own ways of dealing with stuff. Whatever works…

    …and can’t wait for the new site.

  14. 14
    may says:

    i’m there, right now.

  15. 15
    JenB says:

    Maybe I will resolve to check in more often to see if you are getting some help and taking a nap. You are amazing. You had a helluva year. I’m glad you made it out awesome. xo

  16. 16
    Erica Lucci says:

    I think it’s awesome you opened up and shared this. We don’t expect you to be perfect and are totally OK with the ups and downs. I’m really glad you’re keeping this site personal.

  17. 17

    I notice you mentioned specifically feeling depression while breastfeeding. I don’t know the details of your situation but I thought you’d like to know there’s a name for that: dysphoric milk-ejection reflex, or D-MER. (here’s more info: http://postpartumprogress.com/for-moms-who-feel-bad-before-breastfeeding-this-may-be-why) You mentioned being upset at other times as well, and feeling anxiety both during pregnancy and postpartum. Please know that postpartum anxiety is almost as common as postpartum depression, and it is fully treatable. Anyway, I’m sorry you had such a difficult 18 months and I wanted you to know about D-MER in case you didn’t. You’re not alone.
    – K

  18. 18
    Holly says:

    Three cheers for telling the truth! Thank you!

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  21. 21
    Danielle says:

    Wow. I just found your blog and it has been great for me. I’m in the same boat. Terrible time with the latch on for my son and began exclusively pumping immediately after birth. After pumping every 2-3 hours daily for 6 weeks straight, my anxiety about pumping is debilitating. So thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. It’s so much appreciated.

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