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Friday, August 19th, 2011
Photo explanation at end
ARRGHHHHHHHHHHH. I have 3 babies in my life: Fia, the one in my belly, and my computer. (Sorry Wayne, not feeling the love right now. You ate Fia’s turkey today).
With Fia, my husband and I were trying to have a baby. In other words not using protection. But with the other two I admit I’m at fault. I’m bad at protecting things/using a back up method. At least when it comes to computers and ovaries.
I was on my computer 4 nights ago when it started acting funky. I told my husband I needed to back it up. (Hasn’t happened since January.) But did I? No. It’s one of those million things on my “if I just had 10 minutes” list that inevitably doesn’t get done. I am sure many of you moms can relate. Then we kick ourselves because in the end, we spend far longer fixing what we didn’t do on the list that has now gone to sh-t. Like my computer.
On Wednesday I posted a blog about taking antidepressants when pregnant. It got amazing responses. I was sitting down reading them that night when bam. My computer just stopped working. That stupid little wheel that I already have anger issues about just kept spinning. I hate that thing. I shut the system down and it never came back. Just the wheel, taunting me: Hahaha. I told you so.
I had to book a sitter, go into the Apple Store yesterday only to be told the hard drive crashed. Everything was G-O-N-E. It will take $550 to try and recover my data. I go back to my “if I just had10 minutes” list and fume.
I left them with the computer to fix, and explored other options for my hard drive recovery (more time spent). Found someone who can do it for less. Wish me luck.
Booked another sitter today to pick up my “like brand new” computer. Brand-new sucks when you’re dealing with losing all your data.
Add up the subway, cab fares, time wasted, sitter fees, data fees and I’m well in the hole for those f–king 10 precious minutes.
But hey, I have a new blog post now. In fact, this is the only thing in my word documents. How sad. But it’s a start.
P.S. I’m writing this sitting inside a car repair shop somewhere in Brooklyn. I am trying to learn my lesson. That “maintenance required light” that keeps coming on in my car? Deaing with it. Now. But it’s taking much longer than 10 minutes. Bleh.
P.P.S. The little Italian man who I asked to take this picture had clearly never operated a camera before. We tried 6 times to no avail, and then this. He was so sweet though…..
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations | Tags: advanced maternal age, AMA, conceive, depression, drugs, due date, new baby, pregnancy, taking antidepressants when pregnant, to do list
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
Enjoying the beach with my baby
I take antidepressants.
I will continue to take them through my pregnancy.
I took them while pregnant with Fia.
I can’t believe what you just revealed. Hurry. Duck and run for cover!!
No. I’m not going to. It’s time to get this conversation on the table.
You sure? You will be nailed to the cross on this one. Judged and deemed unfit for motherhood.
I don’t believe that. I think women are terrified of talking about this. I think many will feel relief that I’m admitting my own dirty little secret. They may carry the same secret. And it’s okay.
Do what you will but don’t say I didn’t warn you…..
Alright, it’s out there. And I’m not shying away from it. It is my truth.
In my post about my dying mother, I mentioned her bipolar disorder. I breathe a deep sigh of relief that I don’t have that. But I do struggle with depression. And anxiety. For years I just “dealt” with it. With herbs and holistic medicine; with therapy and exercise; with meditation and yoga. Didn’t matter. Nothing changed how my chemical brain worked. I still do all those things, but now I take a small white pill everyday.
When I began taking it I felt this huge cloud lift. I felt less anxious. And far happier. I didn’t become an emotionless zombie. I became much more present in life–not in my head.
I went off of them a few times to see if perhaps I was “cured.” It can happen. Not me. That familiar dark cloud would start to drift into my periphery and I knew the storm was coming.
When I got pregnant with Fia, I struggled with my decision to stay on my meds. I even tried to wean off again. I felt the pit coming almost immediately. So I made my decision and stuck to it. I had to stop googling all the horrible things people talked about. I know it’s a risk. So is breathing the polluted air of NYC. So is going through the x-ray machine at the airport. So is my secret love of Taco Bell’s #3 with a diet Pepsi.
What I will say is more studies need to be done so women can have the facts. For a variety of reasons, there is just not a lot of conclusive data out there on taking antidepressants while pregnant. As an article in the NYT points out, pregnant women often aren’t part of drug studies. Therefore, a lot of the data is inferred, not proven. And even the most ardent studies have holes in them. I have an excellent OB and psychiatrist, both of whom agree: going through my pregnancy depressed and dark is far more dangerous than sticking to what works. (Also, during my pregnancy with Fia, we moved to LA for a bit. I saw 3 different OB’s/specialists. They all had the same unanimous opinion.)
What is proven is that some people have chemical imbalances. It’s in their genetic makeup. And sometimes medicine is the only thing that works. Yet when taking those meds, the judgment from others can be severe. I guess that’s why women like me don’t disclose this. But today I’m feeling brave.
So there you have it. Anyone else out there who wants to talk? I’m here.
Side note: I was recently informed about a study being conducted at Columbia University Medical Center exploring some of the issues around antidepressant use during pregnancy. If you are interested, and live in the NYC area, you can contact the study coordinator, Michelle Gilchrist at (212) 851-5175 OR email@example.com.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Must Read | Tags: addiction, antidepressants, anxiety, bipolar, blogger, death, death of a parent, depression, drugs, genes, genetic defects, genetics, mom dying, pregnancy, taking antidepressants when pregnant
Monday, July 11th, 2011
As she lay dying, I spoke to her on the phone. I told her that it was okay to go. That she would live on through me and Fi.
I told my mom’s sister how much Fia loves sautéed spinach.“Your mom loved that growing up. We’d call her Popeye,” she said. I cringed. Dear lord, please give Fia the good genes from her. Like love of spinach and not crack.
It’s not that my mom didn’t have some amazing traits. In her early years she was smart and beautiful. Kind and colorful. But that was then. In her darkest days her childhood friends would shake their heads and tell me, “Everyone in high school wanted to be Suzy Newlon. Such a shame.” We’d all look down and mumble awkwardly in agreement.
Five decades of alcohol and drug abuse—including picking up a crack habit when she was 62-years-old—a few suicide attempts and a clear-cut diagnosis of bipolar—didn’t really give her a fighting chance.
One recent Christmas she went around her Florida condo complex with a 20-foot ladder. She climbed up the trees and spray-painted the coconuts red. It was an instant hit. On another Christmas she tried to kill herself by jumping off a parking garage.
I truly believe some people are born to conquer addiction while others are just born to stay addicts.
Last year at 64, her life had become desperately depressing and tragic. I rarely spoke to her. Neither did my siblings. But then a miracle occurred.
She had an intestinal rupture and went septic. Almost died. Ended up on life support. And while her health slowly deteriorated, her life got surprisingly better.
For the next 11 months she was mostly confined to a hospital bed. She had psychiatrists who tweaked and tweaked her mental meds. She had hot meals and an entire staff at her beck and call. She was the queen bee and basked in her royal treatment.
“I love it here. I can order a milkshake at 3 in the afternoon,” she’d tell me in her southern drawl.
The next day she would complain that the chicken was dry.
“Mom, this is a hospital, not the Four Seasons,” I’d remind her on the phone.
“I know that, but how hard is it to cook chicken right?”
I’d roll my eyes; secretly glad she was even complaining. In the past, depressive days meant curling up “in the ball” on her couch and refusing to speak to anyone.
At least now we knew where she was and that she was safe. It was also finally safe to bring Fi down to meet her. A hospital—germs and all– is far more sterile than her living conditions had become over the years. And I knew what I was getting: glimpses of the mom I had in childhood; when she was a superstar. Cool, fun, unconditionally loving.
Over this past year almost every trip down she was alert and attentive. She couldn’t get enough of Fi. This is a woman who had missed so much of my life. My wedding, my pregnancy, the birth of my daughter. We were both getting a second chance.
She would tell me how much Fia reminded her of me when I was little. I’d relish the stories. And feel relief that (so far) it seems Fia has much more of me in her genes than her grandmother. I can only pray the ones she does have from either of us are the good ones.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Losing a Parent, Must Read | Tags: addiction, bipolar, death, death of a parent, depression, drugs, flowers, genes, hospital, life support, lilac, lilacs, Losing a Parent, losing mom, mom, mom dying, traits