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Monday, January 28, 2013

Guest Pinning for Erin MacPherson author of Christian Mama's Guide Book Series

I know I don't have a whole lot of you reading, but I wanted to let you know that I will be making a very small claim to fame as I was invited to guest pin with my friend Erin MacPherson who is the author of Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby and several brand new and wonderful books in her series of Christian Mama's guides coming in April 2013.  Erin is the mother of three beautiful children and her books provide encouragement and humor to Christian mommies everywhere.  I'm thrilled to be able to add some of my Spring ideas to her pinterest sight and to recommend her wonderful books and blog to all I can.  Check out her books April 2013 and be sure to ask your local bookstores to order them and carry them.  Also check out her blog at www.christianmamasguide.com and her pinterest sight with MY guest posts from Feb 2-9 at http://pinterest.com/emacphe/spring-fun/


Blog Revamp (Proverbs 31)

Some of you may have noticed reading my post yesterday that I have completely facelifted this blog.  After attending Winter Jam with my church family and husband I realized that I needed a makeover not on the outside but on the inside as well.  I want my words and info posted on my blog to reflect Jesus in my life and what He is doing for me and my family.  So for the rest of this blog's life it will be posts of me trying my best to please the Lord by being as close as I can be to a Proverbs 31 Woman.  If you have never read this scripture, it's worth checking out.  I'll post it at the bottom for you to enjoy.

Anyways, sometimes as women we try to measure ourselves up against other moms and wives.  We try to be the best at crockpot meals, or dinner ideas, or we try to always have the most fun crafts or the best ideas for snack time.  I have an amazing friend who has so much talent in baking and crafts.  If I tried to compare myself to her as a mom I would fail miserably every time.  I've learned that instead of feeling sorry for myself I need to embrace the fact that she is my friend and she's here to teach me her fun ideas and encourage me to do my best.  Rather than be jealous or covet other women, we have to learn to model our behavior after our prime example in Proverbs 31.  As long as what we do is to glorify the Lord, it doesn't matter if we're excellent cooks or our kids have nationally acclaimed preschool worthy activities to do daily.

Don't beat yourself up for allowing them to watch a little too much Nick Jr.  Don't tell yourself you aren't a good enough mommy if you occasionally need a nap while your child is playing.  If you don't always serve the most healthy meals for their lunch it's not the end of the world.  If sometimes you just don't want to clean up the mess left from a craft project or you would rather not get out all those manipulatives and learning toys today it's okay.

We are not going to be perfect.  If we were what need would we have for a loving Savior?  He expects us to do our best to serve Him and through that our family is also taken care of.  He never asked us to wear ourselves to the bone being the "parenting magazine" definition of mom.  We aren't supposed to be experts to the world but rather just experts in our own home.  No matter who you are if you are trying you are already an expert in your own husband and children.  You know them more than anyone else does and I bet that they appreciate all the things you are doing for them more than they can say.

Who does your son go to when he falls down? Usually it's mom.  Who does your daughter cry to when her heart was broken for the first time.  Usually mom.  Who does your husband come home to after a bad day and just stand in the kitchen hugging for several minutes.  His beautiful wife.  So don't compare yourselves to others.  Don't try to measure yourself to their level.  Do YOU, Be YOU, and serve your Father to your best.  And if you want an example to follow look to Proverbs 31 for that example and not to other women around you.

Hugs and love to all you moms!

The Virtuous Wife

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.


P.S. I am going to try to have a friend of mine guest post on here with information on her excellent exercise programs.  I believe the scripture states we are to strengthen our arms, meaning exercise and take care of our bodies.  I would like her input as a fellow Christian and a wonderful personal trainer so stay tuned.

P.S.S. I also wanted to mention the title of this blog. Proverbs 31 Woman in a "Girl Power" world.  I really believe we live in a world that is more about us having power over men or equality to men.  I think this takes our focus from being the best God made us to be and puts it on being better than others.  We are amazing as women but we were created by God as a "helpmate" to men.  We were not designed to be above our husbands, nor better than them.  We are their helpmate, companion, to be loved and cherished but not to be the authority, leader, or the power holder.  Not saying women are to be abused, or that men can wipe their feet on us at all here.  Just that "Girl Power" to me isn't the type of woman God wants  for us.  He wants us to shout "to GOD be the glory" not messages that the glory should be ours to own.  Live your life as a reflection of Christ in you.  We are not powerful, God is powerful through us and in us. I hope that makes sense to everyone.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Battle with Postpartum Depression and OCD

I am the mother of a beautiful, healthy and loving one year old little boy.  He is the light of my life down to the root of his name in Italian meaning "light".  For the first 10 months of his life, I battled something called postpartum depression and I didn't even realize I had it.  This is my story:
I had a unique case of PPD where I was never sad, crying, or down, but rather I would have rage and anger. I would scream, curse, punch the walls, throw things, have trouble not tensing up and squeezing my baby when he was fussy, didn't have control over my temper and had to put him in his crib and leave so many times, I would yell at him and feel like the worst person on the planet. I hated my husband, literally hated him. Everytime he tried to help with our son I would feel like he was a threat and get mad at him if our son cried. We were headed for a divorce because I couldn't stand him and thought he was the problem. I was afraid to be alone with my son because I would be so angry. I didn't want to ask for help because I didn't think anyone would care or want to come over and help me. I didn't tell anyone how I felt because I was afraid of CPS or loosing my son. I knew I loved him and when he was happy or sleeping I was great with him, when he wasn't sleeping well or fussy I would loose it. I felt like a horrible person, a terrible mom and wife, wondered what i signed up for because I always thought I wanted a baby. I also knew deep down that I was OCD and prone to depression, I knew that I probably had a risk of PPD but kept listening to others that God would bring me through this and that I didn't need medication. Mind over matter they all said. I come from a very wonderful Christian family but they don't believe in doctors and medicine as much as that God will just fix you. So anyways it was about 10 months after my son was born before I finally reached out to my sister in law who put me in touch with her friend that had PPD. Through emails and constant checking up on me when I got quiet and didn't answer her she finally helped me to stop being scared of medication and doctors and I sought help. My first doctor prescribed zoloft 25mg but I was too afraid of it and never picked it up. I tried physical activity and getting out more but fell back into my hole of jammies and hermitting away from others. Finally I decided to take my medication after another horrible outburst where my husband admitted he was afraid of me. I started them and switched doctors to my friend from church. She took me on as a new patient and helped me boost up to 50mg and within a few weeks time I felt so much better. I am myself again. I love my husband again to the point that our chemistry and romance is blazing again. I love my son and have FUN with him and am patient with him all the time now. I even feel good enough to watch my friend's 3 month old with no worries about harming or getting angry. I feel amazing. I got some new clothes, changed my hair do, learned to do my makeup really good, ext. I feel like a new person. I get out more, enjoy friends and other people, and I love my life again. I want others to know that you are NOT alone, and that doctors are here to help not harm you. You are NOT crazy, and you are NOT doing this on purpose. It's NOT your fault. and you don't have to live in PPD you can get better and live a normal life again. Hugs and love to all. Please message me anytime you need me. I am here to help!
  I would also like to talk about my current situation as well.  I have recently weaned my son and noticed some hormonal shifting.  I am afraid of having to increase medication at about the time I was hoping to start to try to wean off of it.  It does feel like it's a never ending battle with this illness.  I don't like still to admit that I can' control my own brain.  That I can still have those terrifying mood swings also scares me.  I'm afraid to have another baby because I don't want to go through all this again once I finally if ever get off these medications.  Another struggle is the fact that I have such a heart for those with autism and other types of disabling mental conditions.  But I wonder how much I can help someone else when I battle my own mental health.  I want to also mention that previously I battled OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder.  I have mostly beat it, but will always struggle it and have to fight it.  It bothers me to no end to hear someone claim that they are OCD so flippantly like it's just something you are if you like to be organized or things may annoy you slightly if they aren't in their proper place.  That's NOT obsessive compulsive disorder.  That's being anal retentive or possibly if it's really a severe problem of organization and order you may have OCD personality disorder but not the actual OCD.  The real OCD struggle is actually having something that you obsess over to the point that you have dibilitating and life altering compulsions that you don't seem to be able to mentally overcome or not do them.  Mine are very personal, I don't think at this time I will go into detail about my compulsions because they are so private and personal.  But just know that my obsession was to be relaxed and to be able to enjoy myself in an activity be it eating a meal, watching a movie, ext.  I didn't want to have to get up in the middle of something to use the restroom.  So my compulsion was bathroom involved and it would sometimes leave me feeling like I was chained to the bathroom unable to leave it for long periods of time no matter how much I wanted to be done.  Basically my mind kept telling me I wasn't doing the rituals right or that I wasn't finished and if I didn't finish I wouldn't be comfortable later on.  So I would repeat and repeat my rituals until it felt normal and I was able to finish and leave.  It was making people late for movies and making my date (husband now) wait on me at dinner until his food was cold.  I have since been able to mostly beat and fight off my OCD.  I still have moments when I am tired or stressed out that I can't completely block it out, but through a show called the "The OCD Project" and helpful tips from the therapist on there I realized that I could get past this.  I will always battle it, it will never be gone, but I'm winning this battle through Jesus Christ and constant mind over matter battles.  I have been able to mostly stop the rituals in the bathroom, but I do still have some of my rituals in other life situations.  If you notice closely I have a compulsion to "smell" my drinking glasses to make sure they are clean enough.  I also wash my hands repeatedly when I feel dirty from anything.  I also have a showering ritual that I don't have to do perfectly, but usually do some combination of it to feel comfortable.  I also have to have my bedding a certain way in order to feel comfortable and sleep well at night which I'm sure has annoyed my hubbie all our married life, but he's tolerated much worse so he deals.  
So I want everyone reading this to hear my story and be aware of the reality of mental illness.  It's a hard struggle and it's not something that many of us are willing or able to talk about freely.  I want to share in hopes to support and encourage others to seek medical help if they feel like they are struggling with PPD or OCD.  These are not easy to overcome on your own, sometimes impossible.  You are NOT alone and you can get better and have a normal life with therapy, medication, and a lot of support.  I am here to support, encourage and listen.  Please feel free to message me or contact me if you need to talk.  Hugs to all the tough mommies out there!
Much love,
Rachel D.