My Second Pregnancy And Postpartum Anxiety

second-pregnancy-postpartumI tried to come up with a clever title for this article, but I just could not seem to fit the words together in a rhythmic way. I want to share with you how I am feeling about enduring my second pregnancy and how I am feeling about postpartum anxiety.

My first child will be turning two in November. Being a mother is incredible and every bit rewarding. I love watching my son master new skills and gain a wider vocabulary. The joy I have received from mothering is indescribable. However, despite the joy that has swirled around in my heart, I have also battled a force I was not prepared for: postpartum anxiety. For nearly 9 months following the birth of my son I experienced the worse case of anxiety I have ever dealt with. It was dark, it was dreary, it was horrible.

I had prepared myself for depression and what some call the “baby blues,” but I had no idea that some women can experience postpartum anxiety. I was paranoid about everything, I feared everything, and I lost more sleep than the normal new parent, because I thought death was impending. This problem negatively affected my marriage relationship because I didn’t fully comprehend all that was going on with my body. That uncertainty made it very difficult for me to think about my husband’s needs, and it also made difficult my ability to keep my attitude in check. We fought often.

After a few doctor visits I finally found out that my thyroid played a huge role in the anxiety I was experiencing. {I talk about that in an article titled: Living With Thyroid Problems.} I praise God that my body finally balanced itself out, with only a few lingering effects that still rise up from time to time.

What I endured through those first 9 months of postpartum was enough to keep me far from ever thinking about having another child. But then, as time went on, a desire in my heart for another child grew wildly. I tried to push it away, in fear of experiencing another rough recovery, but God kept bringing it back with a gentle reminder that He wants me to trust Him with every aspect of my life.

Well, in August I found out that my husband and I are expecting our second child. We both are over the moon for the opportunity to extend our family. Although I have joyfully embraced this second pregnancy, the thought of postpartum anxiety has definitely crossed my mind more than a few times. And each time I have to remind myself that God is in control and that I need to trust in Him. My fears are based on “what if’s,” circumstances that might happen but are not guaranteed. What I need to have is faith, confidence that no matter what happens God is going to help me through it.

I also wrangled up a friend who is going to walk through my pregnancy and postpartum recovery with me. Someone who I can talk to about all that I experience so that I do not get sucked back into the darkness that is anxiety. I am also very blessed to have a husband who is willing to be patient and share encouraging words with me, also reminding me to trust in God every step of the way.

I am curious to know if you ever experienced postpartum anxiety or depression and how you felt going into a second or more pregnancy? Let us all learn from each other’s experiences, please share in the comments!  


– Jennifer Smith   Unveiledwife.com

Creating Digital Free Zones in Your Home {giveaway}

Creating Digital Free Zones in Your Home

It’s Saturday and you know it’s an ideal day to ride bikes together, or visit that new museum the kids have been talking about.  But the day gets off to a slow start.  The kids flip on the TV after breakfast and you end up watching a movie.  After three hours of watching television, you feel lethargic and it seems like way too much work to get everyone out the door.

What happened to your Saturday?

Your plans for a great day out got hijacked by the convenience of staying in.  The remote control was just seconds away but the new museum was a whole twenty miles away.  Turning on screens – whether it’s the phone, computer, tablet, or TV – has become a default activity for many families.  It requires no extra effort and is as ingrained as brushing one’s teeth in the morning.

Maybe your weekend is too packed with activities and sports for hours of TV watching.  But on weeknights, instead of reading together or doing a family activity, each member of the family retreats to their own gadgets to be entertained or catch up on social media.

Have you ever heard the phrase, environment is stronger than willpower?

That’s true when it comes to eating (it’s hard to have willpower in a bakery) and it’s also true when it comes to screen time.  If we say to our kids, “We should not spend so much time on screens,” but we have screens accessible from any room in the house, we are setting our kids up to fail.

It’s awfully hard to resist play a favorite video game when the tablet is just two feet away on the countertop.  It’s like trying to resist eating sweets with a big plate of freshly baked cookies sitting on the table in front of you.  That kind of tempting environment would quickly drain a person’s self-control, regardless of willpower.

One way you can help your child practice self-control with screens is by creating digital free zones in the home.  Here are a few ideas to choose from:

Make your child’s bedroom a digital free zone.  Don’t place a television in your child’s room.  Collect all devices such as phones and tablets at nighttime for safekeeping.  Set a time such as 7:30 p.m. to gather up all portable electronics.  Be purposeful to do this for one month; after that time period, it will become an automatic habit that is easy to perform for the whole family.

No phones or screens allowed during mealtimes.  Family meal time is a powerful time to regularly connect emotionally with your child.  Don’t allow digital distractions like answering a text or watching a television show in the background rob your family of this quality time.  If your child is in school, they are probably spending more hours a day away from you than with you.  With limited time in each day, meal time with your family becomes even more important.

Car rides are for conversation, not for ear buds, movies or video games.  How many times have you seen parents in the front seat of a car and children in the backseat either watching a screen or using ear buds?  That commute is a gift – time alone with your child in a busy world – don’t waste it by letting your children zone out with their devices.  Use your drive to talk about the day.  Or you can turn your car into a mobile university by listening to audio books or podcasts together that would be a positive influence.  My family has thoroughly enjoyed audio books about missionaries like Bruchko by Bruce Olson and God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew.

Schedule your child’s free time with non-screen activities.  Every day your child can engage in healthy activities such as play time, reading time, homework time, conversation time, and physical activity.  If your child doesn’t participate in a sport, make sure to set aside time for outdoor play.  If that’s not possible in your neighborhood, you can create an indoor gym with stations for jumping jacks, push-ups, sit ups, etc.  Insist on a daily reading time and get your child books from the library that will interest him or her.  If kids can get in the daily routine of reading, doing homework, playing, and exercising, then screen time can be scheduled in to become a part of their life, but not the main part.

What digital free zones and times have worked well in your family?  

Blessings,

Arlene

Based on the book Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane.

Arlene Pellicane 600x600jpg Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife.  She has been featured on the Today Show, Family Life Today, K-LOVE, and The Better Show.  She lives in San Diego with her husband James and three children.  Visit Arlene at www.ArlenePellicane.com for free family resources including a monthly Happy Home podcast.

Today we are thrilled to give away 2 copies of Arlene Pellicane’s new book Growing Up Social!! Enter to win in the rafflecopter below!!

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5 Reasons to Create Traditions in Your Family

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I LOVE family traditions.  I love to create new ones and enjoy ones from the past!  There is something wonderful recalling traditions I have celebrated as a child and/or as a mom!  They can be anything you do consistently to celebrate an event, season, or just about anything special.  Sometimes we think about the holiday traditions such as cutting down a real tree every Christmas or a fun grill out with family on the 4th of July but there are other fun things when you think outside the box you can create as well.  For example:

Your family’s favorite pot of soup cooked on the first day it snows!

A pumpkin patch visit during the month of October!

A photo session of the family in the same place every year wearing the same colors (You will see the family grow)

A themed party for a holiday – An example would be a Thanksgiving feast all done up with things from the Pilgrims and Indians.  Homemade butter and a great story by the fire!

A special DVD or CD played the same time of the year

Back to School Celebrations with a special breakfast and new school supplies

Buying a new ornament for the tree every year

I know if you brainstorm you can think of something special to do with your family for a tradition!

There are 5 great reasons to celebrate traditions in your family!

  1. Traditions create wonderful memories – Traditions can create very memorable memories.  I know growing up as a little girl, there was nothing that excited me more than a family tradition that was coming up.  I would get the calendar out and mark all my special days that would be coming up on The New Year! I know my children also get excited when we are about to celebrate a tradition in the family, I know they will remember them always.

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. Charles R. Swindoll

  1. Intentional parenting at its best – Traditions cause you to be intentional.  You spend quality time on making them happen and while you are making the special memory with your kids, you can’t help but give them quality time.
  2. Helps you connect with your family on a deeper level – Traditions help bring out great conversations, food, laughter and a lot of togetherness!  Many memories your kids will have about aunts, uncles and cousins come from traditions.  The family usually bonds during these times like no other!
  3. Helps you pass down family values and your legacy – Traditions are a great way to pass down what is important to you.  An Advent Tree, thankful jar, church traditions, and sharing your faith often come from these special times and days. The Old Testament often talks about traditions and passing on a heritage to their children.
  4. It gives Your Family a Sense of Belonging – It is wonderful to have a sense of belonging somewhere. There are too many people in our world that have no one to love them, no one to belong to and we are very blessed to have family(even if sometimes it don’t feel like it) Children need this sense of belonging, especially as they go out into their world and face hardships!

What are some traditions that you celebrate? The holiday season is coming up and the perfect time to start a new one!

This is part of a 31 Days of Intentional Parenting Series I’m doing on my blog Together with Family!  You can sign up for the 31 Days Series to come straight to your email box daily HERE!

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Blessings,

Angela, Together with Family

For My Quiet Child – You are Not Broken; You are Beautiful

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Dear Daughter,

I can hear the sadness in your voice when you come to me at the kitchen sink.

Another girl has teased you for “being shy.” She scrunched up her nose and asked an accusing question: “What’s wrong with you?”

I dry my hands and pull you close. Tears sting my eyes. I rub circles into your back, like maybe I can massage the truth in.

I tell you how I’m so glad God made you just the way you are.

In a world where people are unfriended with the click of a mouse, I want you to know that you’ll never get de-loved by God—or by me. You’re loved because of who you are, not because of how extroverted you are, how smart you are, how skinny you are.

You are loved because you are. Period.

I breathe relief when you tell me how you know it solid: that God made you the way He made you. You know you’re God’s good idea.

But yeah, you’re tired of the expectations of people wanting you to be someone you’re not. Would it be too much, you ask, for other people to see you the way God sees you? Loved and approved, as is. In our house, we call it being “preapproved.”

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In your voice, I hear the voices of thousands of other kids whose introversion is a point of confusion on the playground, in the church, in the classroom.

We live in a world that values the extrovert.

My heart hurts for every kid who would prefer NOT to stand up front to say their lines at the Christmas program. For every child who is presumed to have a flaw if he doesn’t raise his hand with the answer to a math problem.

Girl, hear me now:

Your quiet doesn’t make you broken. It makes you beautiful.

What if the world were filled with only bold extroverts? Who would stop talking long enough to be listeners? Who would be the pay-attention-ers? Who would slow down enough to really see, the way you see?

I wonder, what would happen if all the extroverts in all the schools and the churches would stop long enough to see the truth about the quiet child.

Maybe we would all see an inner peace in children like you, how you have your own beautiful shine.

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Maybe we would all see what a deep thinker you are. Maybe we would learn how to enjoy simple moments with paint brushes and pens. To embrace the quiet.

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My worst fear for us as parents and teachers is that we would accidentally break what God created while trying to recreate you in another image.

We would miss the miracle of you.

A while back, your sister held a microphone confidently at the front of a church, sharing about our trip to Haiti. You sat beside me. I kept squeezing your hand, and pressing my forehead against yours, because I wanted you to know that I am as proud of you as I am of her. You were on that same trip and did some amazing things. You simply don’t enjoy telling a big crowd about it.

I tucked you in that night and told God, out loud, how proud I was of you. (I don’t typically speak for God, but I think it’s safe to say that He agreed with me.)

Daughter, you live life more quietly than your sister and most of your friends, but not so quietly that I can’t hear who you really are.

For instance, I found out how you stuck up for a little boy at recess. Some older girls were calling him names. You told them to stop, but they didn’t listen. So you pulled the boy aside and encouraged him to tell a teacher. Which he did.

The next day, you helped that same boy when he fell off a swing.

Most likely, nobody is going to hand you a microphone to tell that story. And even if they asked, you would probably quietly decline.

And if you did decline the offer? Your mama will be in the front row, with her palm out, waiting to hold your hand in hers.

Love, Mom

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Jennifer Dukes Lee

Jennifer Dukes Lee is a storyteller and a grace dweller, blogging about faith at JenniferDukesLee.com. She is a writer for Dayspring’s incourage.me. Jennifer is author of the book Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval—and Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. Love Idol is for anyone who needs to know that she has nothing to prove, that she is “preapproved” in Christ.

 

 

 Love Idol has sparked a movement of women, declaring they are “preapproved.” Today, Jennifer is giving away THREE copies of her book, along with three “Preapproved” necklaces made exclusively for the Love Idol Movement.

Enter to win in the rafflecopter below! 

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