Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) | Part 2

So… If you read my previous blog post you’re aware that I’ve been a constant struggle with Postpartum Anxiety (PPA)… Well, let’s just hop in and pick up with what happened next after I came to terms with the fact that I did in fact have PPA. Initially, I think I was kinda just numb, or rather, in disbelief that I was dealing with “mental illness” or a chemical imbalance of some kind. First, I thought it was something just temporary. Something I could quickly shake off. But, unfortunately it turned into more. I was going to therapy on a bi-weekly basis, and things seemed to be getting a “little” better…. But, I still couldn’t shake the anxious feeling. After weeks and months of therapy, my therapist suggested that I see a Psychiatrist… Now this is where I was like so, does this mean I’m REALLY CRAZY?! Lol… And the answer was YES… But, hey that’s ok!

My first psychiatry appointment was NOTHING like what I had expected. I originally thought that by the end of it, I’d be in a straight jacket and off to the “looney bin”… Lol but it was the complete opposite! The psychiatrist was calm and patient while she worked with me to unpack what I had experienced that lead me to needing to see her. She was witty and down to earth. I honestly didn’t feel like I was talking to a therapist at all but rather a “new friend”.

Upon the conclusion of this therapy session she advised that she would like for me to start taking medication to assist with regulating the anxious feeling I was having. Initially I was apprehensive to taking medication. But, quickly got on board after having yet another anxiety attack that week. She started me on 10mg of Lexapro and 10mg of Xanax, to be used on an as needed basis.

Now, I too, thought that taking the meds would be a short stint and not something that 4 years later I’m still taking off and on. I had to wean myself off when we decided we wanted to have Kelsey. I went the whole pregnancy with her practically batty because not only was I dealing with anxiety but, the ever-changing hormones that come along with creating a human. OH JOY! So, I knew that after her birth at some point I’d be back to my anxiety meds again, I just didn’t know when!

I breastfed and pumped with Kelsey for about 6 months when my milk supply started to dwindle… And then I started back with a company that I worked with in MD…. And that my friends is when the anxiety started to rear it’s little UGLY head again! Smh. Now, mind you at this point I was working from home full time so, you’d think I would’ve been living the dream, right? Yeah… LIES! Lol that job had my so stressed out, I wasn’t eating, sleeping, some days even bathing trying to keep up with the UN-realistic “requirements” (more like SWEATshop mentality) of the job. I would finish tasks and attempt to bask in my success all to have more piled on me. You see, sometimes being good at your job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when people feel like they can just use you.

Daily, I felt like I was walking on eggshells. To the point that my anxiety was so HIGH once again that I started to feel like I couldn’t drive again to pick up the kids after work… But, this time I didn’t have my mom there to support me. She was miles away in Maryland, while I was here in Florida struggling. Not only was work hectic but, my husband, Josh, was working on his masters so, he spent lots of time at the office getting homework done because being home with a toddler and a baby is distracting, PERIOD.

This had to be one of the hardest seasons in my life. I knew I needed help and where we live in Florida, doctors tend to prefer the “retired” patients. I’m sure that’s probably because they go to the doctors more frequently and therefore, are more cost effective than a 30+ year old woman who only went to the doctors for physicals, once a year, and maybe another time if I got sick. So, I had NO therapist, NO general physician for months… And at the same time I felt like I had NO HOPE.

After months of battling, my husband’s job had a health fair and he found a general physician who was closer to his job (about 35 mins away from our house) but, was accepting patients. So, what did I do? I put on my big girl panties, and I drove down to the doctor’s office. Praying, crying and completely losing my cool for the 35 mins it took me to get there because my anxiety was so bad.

FINALLY, I found relief. My doctor prescribed my medications and within about a month, I was almost normal.

Now, ya’ll that was almost 2 years ago because Kelsey is 2 now…. And I’m still struggling! Lol.

What’s the lesson today? Seek HELP immediately when you don’t feel like yourself. Don’t wait until you go batty like I did. Don’t make excuses. And check on your friends and family, who just might be struggling in silence.

~ Peace, Love & Light

Everyone has graduated…. So, why can’t I?!

It’s Graduation Season!! And while I’m always happy and proud for those around me who are walking across the stage, deep down I’m crying because I haven’t graduated from college…. this has been a 16 year journey for me to complete my degree and I’m still not done!! Y’all pray for me.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been wanting to complete my degree FOREVER! It’s been a long and tenuous process where I’ve encountered various roadblocks and sometimes my own self sabotage but, I do want to finish. My husband recently graduated with his Masters degree and that once again sparked my interest to complete my degree. Plus, we decided when we originally moved to Florida that I was supposed to go to school full-time and stay at home with my son but, life happened and (including me FAILING as a stay at home mom, which is a story for another day) I ended up going back to work full-time so I stopped taking classes.

But with my newfound inspiration, I decided to follow the yellow brick road once again to complete my degree…. So, let me tell you where it all began. I graduated from high school in 2003, I come from a family where NO ONE has graduated from college yet so, I can honestly say we knew much of NOTHING about the process of applying to school, getting scholarships, or financial aid. So, my mom and I went on this journey together, exploring the unknown of college. My father died the summer before my Junior year so, it was just her and I at this point. My older siblings had already moved out, they’re 14 and 15 years older than I am. So… I ended up attending Carlow College in Pittsburgh, PA. It was like the one application that I completed because we didn’t have much money for college applications and if I recall correctly, it was FREE to apply to this school.

While I did get financial aid and some scholarship money for school, no one explained to me that the costs of going to an out of state PRIVATE college would be WAY more than what it would’ve been if I had just stayed local and maybe did a community college or state school. So, I was there for my freshman year and fall semester of my Sophomore year and then I had to go home. My mom had been trying to pay the balances leftover from each semester and we just didn’t have enough money. So, I went back home, started working and put school to the side. It hurt and quite honestly SUCKED to see friends who were only home for summer or spring breaks and then would skip off to college while I stayed behind to work and help my mom take care of our household.

Eventually I made the decision that I was ready to go back to school for about 2 years after being home. So I enrolled and took a few classes. And this cycle of taking classes and then taking breaks went on and on for years. I’d have to take breaks from school for different reasons, but mainly because sometimes I’d have to get a part-time job in addition to my full-time job to help out when needed at home… and I look up 16 years later and here I am. 34, DEGREE-less and trying to figure out the next steps for my career and life in general….

Well, I’ve enrolled in college again. I’m scheduled to graduate in 2020. I have 8 classes to complete and… for added pressure my husband decided to delay walking at graduation to 2020 so we can walk next year at the same time (romantic, right)… lol more like stressful because now I really have to graduate! Lol.

So… what’s today’s lesson? Be the “little engine that could” and eventually you’ll achieve your goals… whatever they may be…

Now if you’ll excuse me I have some college algebra to finish! Lol

~ Peace, Love & Light….

declare it with khadijahrbz

Ya’ll!!! My first podcast interview is LIVE!!! I’m so excited! I honestly never would’ve thought that I’d start this blog, let alone be interviewed!

I’m SO EXCITED! Can you tell?!

Click the link below and Tune In as a share a little bit about me and how the blog started! https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/declare-it-with-khadijah-rbz/id1456696948?i=1000440539751

Also, if you’re looking for support or assistance with Mediation please check out Khadijah’s website: https://khadijahrbz.com/… She’s AMAZING!

Others say I’m beautiful but, sometimes I just don’t feel it…

So, as we close the month of May which is also Mental Health Month, I wanted to talk about something else that we as woman, mothers, wives, SUPER heroes (as we’re sometimes seen) experience…. Self Esteem & Image issues!

I know for me I started to doubt the beauty of my physical appearance when I entered middle school. I literally remember walking into 6th grade orientation where there was a room full of students already and being laughed at by a bunch of girls and boys because I didn’t dress like them. Talk about a way to start school! Sheesh! Middle school was probably one of the worst times in my life. Let me give you some backstory… So, I went to a predominately “white” school where I was a minority. The majority of my friends were white, my family actually used to teased me because I talked “white” or proper according to them. But, I did really well in school and I had a lot of friends, just not a lot of friends that looked like me.

When I transitioned to middle school, the demographic was completely different. There were WAY more kids of other nationalities including African American (which is what I am, if you haven’t noticed already… lol). So, I was a fish out of water. This was not at all what I was used to experiencing. I was teased because I didn’t sound like the other black girls… I was teased because I didn’t dress or wear my hair in more current styles like theirs. I was EVEN teased because I sat completely straight up at the lunch table when other kids preferred to slouch. This practically went on for ALL of my middle school experience.

I remember none of the boys liking me. 1. Because I didn’t look like the other little black girls and 2. Because I didn’t have a body like the other girls. I was what you’d call a STICK…. Lol. Undeveloped, no breasts, no big butt, nothing… I literally remember the boys pointing to poles outside and would be like who does that look like???? KIM!! And start laughing…. And when you combine being skinny with already being awkward because kids thought I acted like a white girl, it was a complete nightmare.

I remember even family friends used to tease me. They’d pick up two drinking straws and say that’s how skinny my legs were. One time they even threw some straws out of a car on a group trip and said they were throwing me out the car… Talk about cruel. I’m sure they were just poking fun but, kids are impressionable. Especially middle school kids.

In turn, I had like no self confidence at this point. So much so, I allowed kids to bully me, take my lunch money, and any other stuff I might’ve had that could be of value. I was so afraid to say or do anything in retaliation and I felt so low. I never really talked about it with family, I just kinda lived through it. I became ok with being invisible to everyone else because if I was invisible at least no one would bother me. I graduated middle school feeling like a “nobody” and unattractive. So, I could honestly tell you I wasn’t looking forward to high school if it was going to be anything like what I had just left.

To my surprise, high school was completely different! I wasn’t ever Prom Queen but, I was accepted and a few boys found me to be cute so, I felt a little bit better about myself… Lol. I ended up doing cheerleading and dance, which helped to get my out of my shell. I also, had a different circle of influence because most of my classes were honors or gifted and talented so, I made friends in those classes and they seemed to be able to relate to me more.

But, I can say that even as an adult I still struggle with my self esteem. I don’t always feel like I’m the “prettiest girl in the room”. I have a mom bod now… Lol and hey it comes with the territory…. Every now and then I can feel myself slide into the slump of the 6th Grade Kim, where I’m just not too sure of me… In those moments I have to remind myself that there’s only one me… I’m not perfect but, who is? But, today, I am loved and accepted for who I am and that’s enough for me…. And eventually I’ll get back on my treadmill so, I can be a MILF but, today I’m okay with my muffin top… Lol

What’s the lesson for this blog? Sometimes it pays to be nice to others. Compliment another woman if you like her shoes or her bag…. You never know, that might’ve been just what she needed to smile.

Peace, Love & Light….

Babies are cute… But they come with HEMORRHOIDS!

Pregnancy takes a COMPLETE toll on your body! There are so many things that happen during pregnancy that no one talks about and that I wish someone had told me because HONEY I was unprepared! Lol. One thing that’s very common for women during pregnancy is HEMORRHOIDS! If you don’t know what they are, hemorrhoids are veins in the rectal wall that swell from straining. The reason why this is so common for pregnant women is because they tend to experience constipation at some point during their pregnancy for one reason or another.

Honestly, I always thought that hemorrhoids were something that old people had…. But, the reality is up to 75% of people will experience hemorrhoids at some point in their life! And well… If I’m completely truthful I thought I WOULDN’T get them just because I wouldn’t! Lol… But, that was a LIE!

I had friends who had experienced them during pregnancy but, I really believed that because I had Caleb 2 years prior (and didn’t have this experience) my pregnancy with Kelsey would be a breeze and I wouldn’t have any complicated experiences but, boy, was I WRONG! Lol.

During a routine check-up towards the end of my pregnancy with Kelsey, I remember telling my doctor that I noticed I had been a bit uncomfortable whenever I tried to go #2 and she said very casually, “Oh, you might have hemorrhoids.” And then she proceeded to check me, which if I may say so, is the most awkward version of a physical you’ll ever have! Lol. I’ll leave out the details because I think I’ve embarrassed myself enough for one blog! Hahahahaha!

Almost 2 years later (like last week for real!!!), and I found myself back in the doctor’s office because I felt the same discomfort and low and behold these unwanted visitors are back again… Hopefully with a little bit of meds they’ll be gone and maybe for good. But, only time will tell… In the interim, I’ll just drink lots of water, eat as much fiber as I can, and sit on my donut pillow!

Peace, Love & Light…

I Miscarried…

December 2012 I miscarried…. My husband and I got married in November and while we hadn’t planned to have children so early in our marriage we were super excited when I went to the doctors in December and found out we were pregnant! We just had a rough couple of months before getting married so, besides being newly married this baby was a silver lining in a cloud.

You see on October 23, 2012, I was admitted to the hospital. I hadn’t been feeling well for a few days and I got to the point where I was having a hard time breathing and I was experiencing pain in my chest. Upon my arrival to the hospital, I was rushed to an ER room and then for a CT scan and MRI… All to find out that I had a pulmonary embolism or, in layman’s terms, a blood clot in my right lung. I was then told that had I not made it to the hospital when I did I would’ve possibly lost my life. SCARY, was an understatement…. I had NEVER been sick, stayed in the hospital overnight, no broken bones, nothing.

So, you can completely understand why this conception was such a BRIGHT spot for us given what I had just experienced…. Now back to the story. So, we went in to the doctors for a follow up appointment from my blood clot and part of the routine is having to take a pregnancy test. I took the test not thinking anything of it, since it was a part of what I had been doing for a few weeks now. But, to our surprise the nurse came in and said SURPRISE! You’re pregnant! Lol, we both looked completely dumbfounded! But, excited nonetheless. The doctor then came in to congratulate us, check my vitals and then suggested that I schedule an appointment with my OB/GYN to further confirm the pregnancy.

I scheduled the appointment with our OB/GYN for a few weeks later. They advised that when I came in for my first appointment they would confirm how far along I was by doing a vaginal ultrasound and check the baby’s heartbeat. In late December, we went in for our first pregnancy appointment. I climbed up in the chair as the nurse prepared for my ultrasound. She began and showed us the yolk sac that our baby would grow in… She moved around to check for the heartbeat… and nothing. No heartbeat. No little butterfly flutters… No movement…. Nothing.

Immediately, another OB/GYN comes in (not my usual doctor) and says we’ll have to terminate the pregnancy…. And walks out. My husband and I sit there in silence as tears began to stream down my face… She didn’t even give me the satisfaction of a proper explanation of what had happened. We were hurt, frustrated, and then INFURIATED. We felt like we were just a medical record to her…. Not people who had just been told our baby didn’t make it. We found a nurse and asked to speak to my primary OB/GYN.

My primary OB/GYN came in and immediately consoled me and I fell completely apart in her arms. She GOT me. She knew that I needed to be held and she did just that for me. And once I was able to collect myself enough to converse, she explained to us really what happened… You see, I just had a blood clot and, therefore, I was on a medication called Warfarin. Warfarin is a blood thinner that is used to treat and prevent blood clots. But, this medication is not recommended during pregnancy because it’s TOTALLY harmful for an unborn baby…. And Warfarin was the catalyst in the demise of the life of our child. She then proceeded to tell us that because I was on this medication, I was unable to pass the baby naturally on my own and that I would have to be scheduled for a Dilation and Curettage (D&C) procedure. Warfarin thins out your blood so much, that had I miscarried naturally I could’ve bled to death… So, here I am again experiencing yet another possible brush with death and dying 2 months after the clot…. What a whirlwind 2012 was.

5 Days Later I arrive to the hospital with Josh for this procedure. My stomach was in knots. I was emotional and felt like at any moment I could burst into tears. The nurses were patient with me while I prepared to do something I never thought I’d have to do. Within an hour, I was laying in a hospital bed awaiting surgery when the doctor comes in… And who’s the doctor scheduled for my procedure? The same one that gave us the bad news with no real regard for our feelings just a few days before. Oh Joy! But, this time she was different…. More sincere. Like God, himself, had FINALLY touched her heart and she remembered that we were patients and not lab projects. She thoroughly explained what would happen during the procedure and what my next steps would be after it was over. Once she was done, she grabbed my hand and held it for a moment, for reassurance I’m sure, and told me she would see me soon in the operating room and that everything would be okay.

The rest of my hospital experience is kind of a blur. I remember being rolled back into the operating room and seeing bright lights but, that’s it… I woke up, groggy, and in recovery. The deed was done. The baby was gone. My womb was empty… I wasn’t going to be a mommy in the coming months….

This loss was hard for not only me but, also my husband. For months, we didn’t really talk about it. Danced around the topic because we were both hurt. We both mourned the loss of this child…. And while we have 2 beautiful blessings in children now, we have never forgotten this unborn baby.

I share this story with you because we just celebrated Mother’s Day and while this is always a beautiful occasion, we should keep in mind that others have had stories and situations similar to mine. I got through mine and I thank God everyday for Caleb & Kelsey but, there are others whose stories are still being written…. There are others who haven’t experienced the joy of birthing their babies for one reason or another… The bottomline is sometimes it’s better to just love and support one another rather than trying to be all in each other’s business when it comes to their journey with childbirth, parenting, motherhood, or adoption….

Peace, Love & Light….

Happy Mother’s Day!

Wishing all of the Mothers, Aunties, Grandmothers, Soon-To-Be Mommies, Mother Figures, Fur Moms and all WOMEN a Happy Mother’s Day.

I pray that this is a BLESSED day for you… That you are SHOWERED with the LOVE you truly deserve.

Peace, Love & Light….

~Kim