40 Blissful Minutes


I am the first one to say I don’t know how to relax.  I am always “doing” something.  Shamefully, I admit, I sometimes tackle not just two, but three or four projects at a time.  Like at the same time.  Not the best strategy always, but I usually have a lot of pots on the stove, so to speak.  Yesterday was no exception.

It was around 2:15pm. Smack in the middle of O’s nap time.  I was finishing up a project I was working on for Christmas and starting to make a new Chicken Bratwurst recipe with a warm kartoffelsalat for the side.  The contractor who is renovating our bathrooms shows up to do a faucet install.  I figured O would most likely sleep through any noise, as he should have been deeply down by this point in time.  Boy, was I wrong.  One creek up the staircase and O was UP with all capitals and a very loud whine. Our very observant contractor points out, “Hey, the baby’s crying.”  Really? Huh….Gee, I didn’t hear the ear piercing cry….thanks for letting me know.  I didn’t say that….what I said was, “yeah.”

I went into O’s room.  He had only slept for an hour.  There  was no way he was ready to actually get up. I kept the light off and picked him up out of his crib and went to the rocker.  The whole weight of his body draped over my shoulder.  I sat down and started to gently rock and sing to him.  What happened next was such a great gift and it truly brought joyful tears to my eyes.  O fell asleep in my arms.  Now you might think, big deal.  But my O hasn’t slept in my arms for any real length of time since he was an infant.  This was 40 minutes of absolute angelic bliss.  A couple times he stirred only to look up at me with the purest love in his eyes only to then fall back asleep. It was heaven on earth.

I wish that 40 minutes could have gone on and on.  I would have left every project and pot to boil over.  Nothing mattered to me in that moment, but THAT moment.  What a lesson in simply being there.  It is a lesson I needed refreshing in, especially lately.  I let myself become crazed with tasks again.  I feel foolish and well, exhausted.  Time to take it easy again.  Oh my little O is the best teacher!

The only hard thing to swallow about my blissful 40 minutes was that when those times were a regular occurrence, when O was a newborn, I feel like I didn’t enjoy them.  At least not the way I would have had I not had the post partum blues.   It made me sad to think I missed a lot of that time.  I just couldn’t get my head on straight then.  I won’t beat myself up about it anymore.  It is what it is. And I thank God I got through it.   But I can’t pretend I didn’t miss some really special moments.  I guess I should be grateful that I got to fully savor something so wonderful now.  And I am……so grateful.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is messing it up.  Thanks for reading! Xo



Crash Test Mommy


I don’t know how it happens.  It’s like I go from 0 to 60 in a matter of moments.  Everything is going fine, I’m handling the day with O.  I should say, enjoying the day with O.  Ok, I didn’t sleep great the past couple of nights, but I’m tough.  Then I navigate family stuff  i.e. dysfunction,  over the phone while I’m trying to get some exercise by taking a walk.  Then, I make baby food while I figure out what we will have for dinner.  Then I field emails and calls to make our crazy (at the moment) life actually function. Add laundry, keeping our house show ready for prospective buyers,  throw in a trip to the post office,  a stop at the grocery store and a diaper run for fun.  Then O decides not to take a nap, but rather stand in his crib crying until Mommy comes in to save him.  And every whine and whimper sends my head spinning further and further into a place I don’t know how to return from sometimes.

By the time my husband gets home,  I’m feeding the overtired wonder boy in his high chair, while he wears some of his meal, as he has now taken to swatting the spoon away and then crying because there is no food in his mouth.  Of course, I have a large glass of wine beside me.    I swear, O will be a toddler able to open a bottle of wine like a professional sommelier and make a killer dirty martini to rival Dean Martin.  He’s seen it done enough.  I look like I’ve been through a prison camp.  A camp where they dress you in yoga pants and make you wear your hair in a ponytail everyday.  My husband asks me if I’m ok? He is truly concerned.  He takes over feeding our child.  And all I feel is guilt.  Like I have somehow lost the battle of the day.

I then don’t know how to come back? Has that ever happened to any of you? It’s like I don’t know how to wipe the day away  and start over.  The guilt of getting frustrated or of wasting the gift of the day stays with me.  I can’t imagine how my husband could love me.  I’m so so far away from what he signed  up for.  And it seems I can’t handle even the simplest task.  I can’t even keep it together as I write this.  Thankfully, I know this too shall pass and I will recover and become “me” again.    But in the midst of the whirlwind I seem unrecognizable, even to myself.

When I was dealing with postpartum  baby blues, I’d often have the “drive away”  fantasy.  I didn’t  know how many women had this fantasy until I started reading other women’s blogs.  I’d see myself getting into my Kia and just driving away.  To nowhere.  Just to breathe.  Just to feel the wind on my face.  I didn’t know how far I’d go… I always planned on coming back, but in my mind it was the perfect escape.  Now my escape fantasy involves a bath and a nice hotel room.  I fantasize about sleep like it is some elusive unattainable thing.  When I start fantasizing more frequently, I know I am approaching my breaking point.  I am getting close to crashing into the wall.

I am not a super woman.  I am just a woman.  I’m trying.  Everyday I try.  That counts, right? My number one concern is that I do right by O.  That I give him everything I can, everyday.  That I teach him what I know and more, to make him a decent kind loving person.  But inevitably, there are days when you are at the end of your rope, and you wind up teaching him something negative.  A curse word you said out of frustration (it only has to happen once) …or how to make a killer dirty martini.  How can you be the perfect mom at every moment?? If you have the answer, let me know.  Until then, I’ll be putting one foot in front of the other.  Occasionally, I’ll take a step backwards…because I’m only human.

Praying for Help


The weeks following coming home from the hospital with Little O, were my bleakest ever.  That sounds horrible, but it’s true.  I knew I had the postpartum blues, but a diagnosis doesn’t  make the day to day struggle any easier, except to know that it would eventually pass.  Getting through those days of tears and self doubt was pretty much the most difficult time I have ever encountered.  I remember,  my husband had to fly up north for a job interview and was going to be gone overnight….about a 24 hour trip.  I was going to be alone with the baby.  Just me.  I was terrified.  I couldn’t tell him not to go.  That I couldn’t handle it. The interview was for a job he wanted badly, and I couldn’t say ” don’t go!” like I wanted to.  So I lied.  I feigned a smile.  “Go. I’ll be fine.”

I remember holding little O, rocking in my nursery glider…crying.  I just couldn’t stop.  I remember trying to quietly cry, because I didn’t want to startle the baby..or scare him.  Could I scare an infant by crying? I didn’t know! I felt like I knew nothing.  I remember feeling hopeless.  But somehow I got through the 24 hours. My parents came to stay with us a couple days later. Instead of relief, I felt stressed beyond comprehension.  My world was completely topsy turvy.  Every reaction or feeling I was having was the opposite of what I was supposed to be having.  I kept feeling like I was spinning. Like I was in a bad dream and I was desperate to wake up. I had such shame.  Such feelings of inadequacy.  I didn’t want my parents to see me like this….I think they thought I was very stressed, but I don’t think they truly grasped how bad off I was, Thank God.

My husband was always trying to get me to take some time for myself…or do something to de-stress.  This particular evening was no exception.  He told me to go take a long hot shower and I agreed.  I remember the scalding hot water running down my back…and the hot tears running down my face.  I was silently sobbing.  Heavy silent sobs.  I wanted to hide.  I wanted to stay in that shower for the rest of my life.  I remember looking up and asking God for help.  Would he please help me..because I didn’t know what I was going to do without some serious celestial assistance.

The next day, again at my husband’s plea…I went to get a manicure.  I remember thinking that a manicure was not going to solve anything…but I would go…maybe it would relax me? My usual guy was finishing up with another customer and he told me to come sit down by them. He was congratulating me on the baby…and asking all about it.  The lady he was working on was nice and started asking me questions too.  I remember telling her that I was having a difficult time. How I just didn’t know how hard it was going to be.  She said sweetly, but very matter of fact, “You just have to hold him and love him.”  Like it was THAT easy….huh.  She told me about her grandchild.  I asked her how many children she had. She said,”two.”  A son and a daughter.  “My son lives in Colorado and my daughter was murdered.”  I was stunned! What?!  “Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry!”  She went on like she hadn’t said something so horrific, so terrifying…telling me about something her granddaughter did recently.  She got up and gave me a smile and said, “Remember, you just have to hold  him and love him.” And she was gone.

My nail guy told me she lost her daughter in a highly publicized school shooting, years ago.  She had since relocated to South Florida.  She had done the talk shows and interviews about it afterwards, talking about gun control,  dealing with the loss and how to move on.   And there I was complaining to this woman about how hard it was to have a beautiful new born baby! How awful of me! And then it hit me.  I had asked God for help…and what I got was perspective. I proclaim that I am a spiritual person, but I am not very religious, per say.  But no one can tell me that God didn’t put me in that seat next to that woman.  Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe.  And my talking with that woman was the mental shift I needed to get me over the bluesy hump.  I can honestly say, that my whole mindset changed that afternoon.  I looked at O  differently after that.  I could see the incredible gift we had been given.  I knew I had to cherish it.  Every time I would feel like things were hard, I’d remember that woman…..and my perspective would shift.  9 months later, I wish I could thank her and let her know the huge impact she has had on my life.  How she helped me so profoundly.  How I follow her simple advice each and every day.  “Just hold him and love him.”  I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again…  You never know from where you will receive help.  It can come from very unlikely places.  In unlikely forms. In the most random person.  In a thoughtful  kind word, a prayer answered,  or a simple piece of advice.  “Just hold him and love him.”


Going Home

The day we left the hospital.

The day we left the hospital.

To say that I felt I was not ready to leave the hospital is an understatement. I couldn’t have been more unsure of myself or my state of being. All I could think about was the staircase in our house that I would have to climb. How would I do that with the baby? I was just starting to get out of bed with less pain and I still had 11 staples across my stomach. These people were on crack. I couldn’t go home! My insurance said I got 5 hospital days for a c-section. Well, the hospital really didn’t care what my insurance said. They needed the room. So after three days they sent me home. Now in hindsight, it was probably for the best. I did manage physically, better than I thought I would. And “having” to do more probably made my recovery that much quicker. But boy, my head was NOT wrapped around being at home with the baby yet. I needed help. Didn’t they see that? I felt completely inadequate for the job that lay ahead. All I knew is that I wanted to cry. And then, I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t know how much my hormones would spike and fall. I didn’t know just how that would affect me. And mix that with feelings of guilt, because how could I not be elated? How could I be sad? What was wrong with me? I tried to put on a good face, but I was terrified. I can’t imagine what my husband was thinking? He must have been completely freaked. I was the one who was supposed to have it all together. And here I was falling apart.  He didn’t know what to do to help me. Neither did I.

Each day and night, it got worse.  I couldn’t stop crying.  Somewhere in my head, I knew this behavior was ridiculous, unfounded, down right silly.  But the louder voice in my head kept saying, “What have you done?”   I had given birth to this child who needed a mother and I didn’t think I could do it.  No, I knew I couldn’t.  I was doomed.   I remember my husband giving me a list of phone numbers of help lines for women with postpartum issues. I remember feeling so ashamed. Why couldn’t I handle this? I am a Type A woman! I am organized, educated and in control!! I had planned everything. And nothing was going to plan. I finally got the courage to call…and there was an answering machine. A flipping answering machine. I remember when the beep came, I didn’t know what to say….and then it hung up on me. I thought. Well, there you go. Figures. The next day (at my husband’s plea) I called the nursing line at my doctor’s practice. The minute I began to speak, I broke down.  I told her I just wanted to go somewhere and figure it all out. I told her the baby might be better off with someone who knew what they were doing. I have to tell you, it’s not easy admitting any of this, but I didn’t know that I could feel so messed up. It was not on my radar that I could be hit with the “baby blues.” Well, the nurse must have thought I was ready to jump off a bridge. She had me see the doctor that afternoon. When Dr. Singer walked in, he held my hand and simply said, “How are you doing?” I broke out in tears and told him of my plan to get away for a bit and then come back when I was ready. He smiled at me. He said, “You want to come back.” I said, “Of course.” He said, “You’re gonna be just fine.” He then explained to me what was going on hormonally in my body. How the “baby blues” are real. How if they last longer than 6 weeks….it could be postpartum depression,  but he was betting, based on my effort to look presentable that day, it was most likely temporary. He also told me that because I was older, the entire recovery would take longer. Everything. Body and mind. I chose to not use any medication, because it can take up to 6 weeks to even take affect. No, I decided to ride out the “blues” and see where that would take me.

Of course you know, they have all these classes to take when you are pregnant.  Childbirth classes, Infant Care classes, Infant CPR, Breastfeeding 101.  We took everything that was offered.  To be honest, besides the Infant CPR class…they were all pretty useless to us.  What we really needed was a “Surviving the First 2 Weeks at Home with Your Newborn” class.  Like a Baby Boot Camp.  What to expect those first couple weeks and how to deal with it.  They could run a few random scenarios with you, and throw in some variables like hormonal mother, baby losing weight, and oh, it all happens on zero sleep.  If one more person said to me, “sleep when the baby sleeps!” I wanted to hit them in the face. Hard.

It isn’t even possible to thank my wonderful husband enough. He must have been wondering, “Where is my wife? Where did Mares go?” He is not only an amazing father (born to do it)..but a loving, caring and supportive partner. He didn’t know what each new day would bring, as I fumbled around trying to find my footing as a mother. But he has never given up on me. I also had help from my best friend, Jo, who came to stay with us before the baby was born. He cooked, cleaned and took care of us. He was a link to reality and remains a true godsend. And my husband’s mother, who saw me at my worst and lent me a life preserver each and every day. I don’t know how to thank them, except to say I love you all.  I truly don’t know how any woman who has the postpartum blues gets through it without help.  Your impulse is to try to hide it, because the shame is so heavy.  If I didn’t have help, I don’t know where I would be…most likely half way to Arizona, living in my Kia, hating myself for running away.  I’m here to tell ya, these “blues” are real and very scary.  If you have had them, you know what I am talking about.  And if you are living them now, get some help. Talk to someone.  Anyone.  You never know from where you will receive help.  It comes in many shapes and sometimes in the most unlikely forms.  But above all, don’t beat yourself up.  Know, this too shall pass, and you will feel better.  🙂

Next post, I’ll tell you about my breast feeding fiasco, as I like to call it. I think that lent itself a great deal to my wounded state of mind. Until then, keep up the good fight. And remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she’s screwing it up. 🙂 xo