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A Proper Diagnosis: The Road to Recovery

I’ve been pretty open and honest about my experience with depression and anxiety during my first pregnancy and during my second pregnancy. It’s been cathartic for me to share my journey, but also really awesome because I know I’ve helped some other women out along the way. I know this because they’ve reached out to me and thanked me, which was so brave! It’s because of those people and their kind words that I’m able to keep on sharing so others can read through my experience, see themselves in my story, and maybe get some answers to some questions they’ve had, or even get a proper diagnosis like I finally did.

The first time I really felt depressed was when I was 17 and I had just moved out on my own. I would have daydreams about driving off the highway and crashing my car on my way to class, wondering if anyone would even notice or care. This was the first of many times in my life where I would attempt something new, not enjoy it/lose interest, and feel like a complete failure. This cycle has been playing out for years and years and years and it wasn’t until very recently that it become clear that this wasn’t just a flaw in my character, but rather a really common disorder that I had no idea I had been living with my entire life.

Lets back up to the feelings of depression and anxiety. Since I was 20, I’ve been taking medications to help ease those feelings, and they worked, somewhat. I was certainly less depressed and less anxious, but still not living my best life. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my second child when I started receiving really amazing care at the children and women’s hospital in my city and I was given a whole new diagnosis. Sure, I was depressed and anxious but the underlying reasons for those feelings was because I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Say what? When my psychiatrist told me this I was so shocked. I mean, surely she was mistaken. But she wasn’t.

I was under the impression OCD looked a certain way because I’d only seen it portrayed in movies and TV one way. But there’s a type of OCD called Pure-O where you have these really intrusive obsessional thoughts. Here’s an example of an intrusive thought I have quite often. When my husband says goodbye before leaving for work and I wish him off to work, tell him to be safe, and that I love him, the second he shuts the front door I think back to what was the last thing I said to him in case he dies on his way to work and that was our last exchange. and instead of just leaving that thought there and thinking about something else, I’ll create this entire narrative about how I’ll be a widow with two kids. I let myself wander down this really unhelpful path.

One of my favorite quotes from one of my therapists:

There is no such thing as good thoughts or bad thoughts. All we have is thoughts and some are helpful and some are unhelpful.

With the help of my psychiatrist, we found the right medication that actually helps me with the real problem, which was these scary and unhelpful thoughts, and it was these thoughts that caused me anxiety and depression.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.

This journey has been like peeling back an onion — each layer that gets peeled back reveals even more.

The intrusive thoughts were all but gone which meant the anxiety and depression lessened considerably. But then I started noticing other aspects of my life that weren’t improving and becoming glaringly obvious as other aspects of my health improved. For example, I could stand in the kitchen and look at the sink full of dishes, go to wash them. But then I’d see something else I needed to do and start working on that, meanwhile the dish water is getting cold and the dishwashers half unloaded and the washer has wet clothes in it that I forgot to switch to the dryer last night and the garbage needs to be emptied and then I remember that thank you card I need to send, an appointment I forgot to book and my to-do list is growing and I can’t seem to focus on one thing long enough to finish a task. In these moments I feel like I’m spinning in circles but going nowhere.

I had all but accepted that this was just who I was. This was part of my character. That I just wasn’t cut out to be an adult. I would go to the store to get a specific thing and leave with everything but that one thing I needed. Then I’d beat myself up about forgetting something so basic. I would cause myself to become depressed and anxious over these things that felt out of my control. I was trying so hard to stay on track but nothing worked. It didn’t matter how many reminders, day planners, calendars, and to-do lists I had. I couldn’t get my s-h-i-t together.

But then a friend posted an article on Facebook about Adult ADHD in women. As I was reading this article the tears were streaming down my face. WHAT? Who wrote this? How do they know exactly what I’ve been through? But then I was confused because I thought ADHD was for hyperactive little boys.

What I didn’t know is there are different types of ADHD and girls don’t get diagnosed like boys do because boys generally have the hyperactive ADHD while girls trend toward inattentive or impulsive. I fall somewhere in the inattentive zone and I can see so much evidence of this behavior all through my life.

For a moment I was really sad. I thought about all the time I’ve lost and how much of my life I’ve spent beating myself up, calling myself a failure, starting things and never finishing them. But then I became so happy. Happy that I finally have some answers. Finally able to start living my life and enjoying it. The way I felt before was that I was just getting through life but never really enjoying the journey. The journey was agonizing and arduous so why would I enjoy it?

It’s been such a journey to get to this point and I know it’s just beginning but I have to say it’s such a wave of relief to know I’m on the right path, surrounding myself with the right information and learning lots of new skills to help me cope with my new diagnosis.

The moral of my story is if you think something is going on, trust your instincts. Talk to your doctor and keep digging. My doctors were never wrong. I was depressed and I was anxious but that was just a symptom of a much bigger issue.

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: All photos c/o Morgan Webb Photography

Mom

Spring Beauty Picks

I recently did a massive makeup purge, restocked my must haves and also picked up some new products that I am really loving. With the warmer months coming I wanted to add few key things to my beauty routine that are waterproof, light, and protective.

Here’s what I got:

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil

If I do nothing to my face, I at least do my brows, and boy what a difference! One end of this pen is the color, and it’s super light and easy to blend and build up. The other end is a spoolie so you can get that brush out your brows and blend the color in until it’s nice and soft.

Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream

When the weather heats up, I turn to a nice creamy foundation that’s light and has a good SPF in it to block out the sun’s harmful rays. This foundation is buildable, which I love, but one layer gives the perfect sheer coverage I like to have day to day.

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

This is my first time trying this one, but I’ve tried lots of other mascaras by Benefit and none of them have disappointed. It’s good stuff!

Smashbox Always SharpWaterproof Kôhl Liner

I’ve been searching for an eyeliner that doesn’t rub off throughout the day. Once this one dries, it’s not going to budge. I went with gray because I wanted to try something a little different. I usually go for brown.

Dr Roebucks Face

A major part of my self-care routine is washing my face at night and putting on a nice moisturizer before jumping into bed. The smell of this one is so luxurious. I love how thick it is and how when I wake up, my skin feels nice a dewy and ready for the day.

Loreal Colorista Semi-Permanent Color

If you’re anything like me and DIY hair dyes scare the living daylights out of you, you’ll love this stuff. I think I’m going through a mid-twenties life crisis or maybe my rebellious stage is just really late! I have been having a blast putting in pops of colors into my hair. At least once this summer I want to do a whole head of this pink, because YOLO. and I’m on maternity leave!

See anything you want to try?!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure policy here.

 

Baby, DIY & Home, Recipe

3 Easy Toddler-Friendly Popsicle Recipes

Healthy popsicle recipes that are sure to delight everyone this summer! Perfect for toddlers and teething babies, but still yummy enough for mama!

I’ve always loved giving my toddler smoothies. They are such a wicked way to make sure they get all their fruits (& veggies, too!) without them even realizing it! Plus we always have lots of fun creating new flavors and Oliver loves having a say in what we throw into the blender. With the warmer months coming (I swear they are coming!) I see lots of smoothies in our future. But another fun way to have our smoothies is frozen in popsicle molds! YUM!

Another fun way to have our smoothies is frozen in popsicle molds! YUM! Jam packed with fruit and real ingredients, these are some of our favorite popsicle recipes that are sure to cool you down in the hot sunshine. My advice is to have these outside, because of the STICKY MESS! Our popsicles are reserved for an afternoon hangout on the front porch or a post-park treat on the deck.

I’m also going to be busy making these to have on hand for Elliot who will be able to start baby-led weaning in June when he’s 6 months old! He’s also teething like crazy so it will be a yummy way to soothe those little gums while getting some nutrients and cooling down.

Chocolate Fudge

1 Cup of yogurt 

1 Scoop of Chocolate Protein powder

1 TBSP of Peanut Butter

Mix everything up in a bowl using a spoon until it’s a pudding consistency. Scoop mixture into a popsicle mold. This recipe makes about one popsicle in the molds I have, which are on the larger size. Freeze in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours.

Pineapple Coconut

1/2 Cup of Frozen Coconut

1/2 Cup of Frozen Pineapple 

1 Cup of Coconut Almond Milk 

1 TBSP of honey (optional)

Blend in blender until nice and smooth and then pour into a popsicle mold. This recipe makes about one popsicle in the molds I have, which are on the larger side. Freeze in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours.

 

Mixed Berry

1 Cup of mixed berries (I use a mix of blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries)

1 Cup of Coconut Almond Milk

1 TBSP of honey (optional)

Blend in blender until nice and smooth and then pour into a popsicle mold. This recipe makes about one popsicle in the molds I have, which are on the larger side. Freeze in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours.

If you try one of our favorite popsicle recipes, make sure to let us know! Tag me on Instagram so I can see what you made. and if you discover a fun new concoction, let me know! I want to try making as many new recipes this summer as we can!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. Please see full disclosure policy here.

Baby

A Letter to my Pre-Motherhood Self

Photo by Morgan Webb Photography

I can’t begin to describe to someone who’s about to become a mom how motherhood is going to feel. It’s just impossible to predict how it will feel for any given individual. My story has been remarkably normal, and not because it’s been without trials and tribulations. That’s exactly what has made it so terribly normal. It’s normal to have highs and lows. Every emotion & experience I’ve had has been completely and utterly normal. These kids of mine have changed me in ways I didn’t know were possible. Motherhood is a beautiful thing!

Not only is Mother’s Day in the month of May but May is also National Maternal Depression Awareness Month. In honor of this very important topic, I’m sharing a glimpse into my experience with motherhood, anxiety, depression and OCD. It breaks my heart to think of the thousands of women out there suffering in silence. I won’t be silent any longer because by sharing my story I know other women might see themselves in my words and seek the help they deserve.

This post is part of the ECM Media Mother’s Day Blog Hop! Stick through to the end to see all the posts from other east coast bloggers.


Dear Pre-Motherhood Self,

Happy Mother’s Day! You’re going to become a mom very soon. It’s going to be both everything and nothing at all like you’ve always imagined it to be.

You’re going to be amazing, even when it feels like you’re failing miserably. Your hardest critic is going to be yourself, but you’re going to learn how to parent yourself in the process, and you’re going to come out the other end stronger than ever.

There will be days, weeks, and months that feel like you’re just treading water, and I know this sounds scary, but your darkest days are yet to come. It may feel like a setback at the time, but wait until you see what a leap you’re going to make. You’re going to grow and it’s going to be beautiful.

Right now you’re studying up on all the different parenting techniques and figuring out what kind of humans you plan to raise. But what you aren’t preparing for is how these tiny humans will raise you. They have a gift for you and that gift is hope and healing.

There will be times when your world is void of color. You’ll have black days and gray days. But eventually, you’ll have days filled with color again, I promise!

Your children will be the greatest gift you’ll ever receive, and not in the material sense. Your two babies will be the reason you get help. The reason you reach out and access the care that you so desperately need and deserve.

Just relax and just breathe. It’s going to be a wonderful journey. And like every good journey, it’s not about the destination. Everything that is about to happen will happen for a reason. Be strong and please, for the love of god, just hold on.

Love from,

You as a mom of two!

Photo by Morgan Webb Photography

Now on to the blog hop! Check out some of my blogger friends below and see what they’re up to on their blogs for Mothers Day!

East Coast Moms Blog Hop - A Collection of Blog Posts Celebrating Motherhood


Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

 

Baby

Gifts Mom Really Wants

For Her

// Phone Case // FitBit Alta // Art Print // Mascara // Straw bag // Sandals // Lamp // Bar Cart //

 

Maybe I’m the odd one out but I really don’t like getting gifts. They make me feel uncomfortable and indebted to someone, which is NOT the point, I know. But it’s how I feel. It’s also extremely tough for my husband and me to get each other gifts because there’s really nothing we need. Since becoming a mom though, I don’t really spoil myself and I tend to gravitate toward gifts for the kids. I mean, I can justify pretty much anything for them. It’s a little harder to justify a new pair of Birkenstocks for myself or an upgraded FitBit, right? Even frivolous things for the house are harder to justify! I mean, I really don’t need artwork or a bar cart. I don’t even drink! But that bar cart would be totally adorable styled in my dining room! But sometimes you have to just do you for a moment and buy yourself the dang bar cart!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

Baby

In the Trenches with Teething

Bedtime is a special time in our household. Every night around 6:30 pm, we start to wind down with a bath, some stories, and some cuddles. Our boys thrive on routine. But when Oliver started teething, bedtime became harder and it really threw our precious routine out of whack. He was hard to settle and even harder to keep asleep. In the Trenches with Teething | Mommyzoid

That was until I reached out to my mommy group on Facebook and asked if anyone had suggestions for natural relief from teething pain.

Over and over, my mom friends were saying Camilia drops.

At that stage in my mommy career, I’d never heard of it but was game to give it a shot! So I did what any other desperate mom would do — I sent my husband out to the 24-7 grocery store to pick up a package of Camilia. And maybe some chocolate for me.

And it worked. Both the Camilia and the chocolate!

In the Trenches with Teething | Mommyzoid

I twisted off the top of the little tube and started squirting it into his mouth and within no time I could feel his whole body relax and he just melted into my arms, finally able to get the rest he needed. Which meant the whole family could sleep again!

You know that uncontrollable gut wrenching baby cry from teething pain that you can feel right to your bones? That was the end of it for us. As in, we had no idea Oliver’s teeth had popped through until we saw them or felt them. There were no tears and no drooling. Just smiles!

In the Trenches with Teething | Mommyzoid

Now that we have our second little bundle of joy, we aren’t scared or worried about teething. In fact, he’s already starting to show some early signs of teething and you better believe mommy is armed with her Camilia.

We actually gave him his first dose of Camilia this last week because the drooling has really started to pick up. He loved it! Knowing that this next stage won’t be anxiety inducing but instead filled with laughter and smiles has my mommy heart so excited. Bring on the teething, I say!

In the Trenches with Teething | Mommyzoid

I remember how helpless I felt as a first-time mom, unable to soothe my baby who was clearly experiencing some unreal pain. I don’t know who cried more, him or I! It was such a relief to find a product, thanks to the recommendations from other moms, that was just as effective as it was safe for our little baby.

What has been really neat was after we tried Camilia we started exploring the rest of the homeopathic products Boiron makes like their children’s sugar-free cough medicine and even their adult products for cold and flu.

Anywhere we can substitute in something that’s more natural, I’m all in! And if it means bedtime is easier and we all get a little more sleep, well…it’s win-win.

In the Trenches with Teething | Mommyzoid

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid


This post is part of the WildCreativeCo.com and Boiron Canada #BoironBaby sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

Baby

Spring Inspired Looks for the Littles

There’s something about spring. Everything is feeling new again. Flowers are starting to pop up. Birds are starting to chirp again. It’s really quite a beautiful season to watch unfold before your very eyes.

Spring always feels like the perfect time to inject a little color back into our homes and wardrobes. There’s nothing I love more than getting Oliver a few new T’s and some shorts for the months ahead. If you’ve ever put a toddler in a snowsuit then you know how wonderful it is to throw on a T-shirt and shorts on your kiddo and head out the door. Pure bliss, I tell ya!

Here are a few of our favorite wardrobe pieces this spring! I can’t wait for the temperatures to go up so the boys can start wearing them.

Spring Inspired Looks for Littles

Flower Sleeper // Popsicle Slip Ons //Mint Sneakers // PJ Short Set // Lemon Rain Jacket // Chambray Dress // Mint Shorts // Stripe Shirt

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure policy here.

 

Baby, Mental Health, Mom

Self-Care for Moms

If you’ve been following along with me through my second pregnancy and post-partum, you’ll know the general theme has been self-care. That has taken all kinds of forms from massage and chiropractor to a weekly group therapy session and exercising. Before becoming a mom, everything I did was self-care. My free time was filled with doing things that I enjoyed doing and I never had to schedule in “me-time”.

The notion of self-care may seem foreign to a new mom so she may need a little nudge in the right direction and Oh Mother Care Kits could be that nudge. Oh Mother Care Kits is a Canadian Subscription Box and the brain child of creator and curator Nicole Landry, a mom herself, who knows just how important self-care is for us moms and how a care package in the mail can make a new mom’s day week.

“I wanted the package to feel really personal, like every item was hand selected by a mom friend”

All the items in the kits are hand picked by Nicole. She says her goal is to have each package feel really personal, like every item was hand selected by a mom friend. Which is exactly how I felt when I opened my very own spring kit. Inside was filled with natural and fresh products from Canadian makers for me to pamper and spoil myself. Every item was just so pretty! I value attention to detail and I love pretty packaging. The fact that each item was visually pleasing was such a perk!  

I ran myself a nice warm bath and poured in the sea salts which filled the room with the most divine citrus scent you’ve ever encountered. I made myself a piping hot cup of tea that had rose petals in it and busted open a yummy sea salt chocolate bar that I didn’t have to share with anyone! I cranked my favorite tunes, turned out the light and soaked to my heart’s content. After my at-home spa session, I was busy searching out all the new brands I’d been introduced to through the Oh Mother Care Kits and seeing what other goodies they make. A lot of these artisan-made products I would never have found if it wasn’t for all Nicole’s hard work in searching out and testing market-fresh products from across the country!

Oh Mother Care Kits is the perfect gift for a mom friend or for yourself. There are three options: quarterly subscription, annual subscription or a single box. Nicole also filled me in on some exciting new one-off boxes she has planned like the New Mama Care Kit and the Soon To Be Mama Care Kit, which will be a little more tailored to the needs of a woman in that stage of the game.

It can seem a little strange at first to do these things for ourselves. We may feel like we are being selfish or neglecting our family. After all, as a mother, we constantly are putting others needs before our own. One of my favorite quotes sums up self-care perfectly: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Every time I have a pang of guilt for doing something for me, I whisper that little mantra to myself. I’m the best mom I can be when I take the time to take care of myself.

If you want to give Oh Mother Care Kits a try for yourself, Nicole has provided me with a coupon code to save 10% on your first kit. Use ZOID10 at checkout. Visit www.ohmother.ca to get yours today!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: I was provided an Oh Mother Care Kit for the purposes of this blog post. View my full disclosure policy here.

Baby, Mom

Say Goodbye to Ugly Nursing Bras

OK, so picture this: you’re going out for date night with the hubby for the first time since giving birth and you’re stoked to be back in a cute dress. But all your nursing bras are fugly and milk stained and sexy is not a feeling you get when you put them on. I hear ya, ladies. My selection of nursing bras was looking a little bleak, too.

Confession: I was rocking the same old nursing bras from TWO YEARS AGO. Guys, these bras are OLDER than my toddler. Ugh. So I think it goes without saying I was desperately in need of new nursing bras for this go around. I was approached by Hot Milk Lingerie and I am so thankful they sent me two of their amazing bras — the Forever Yours in Tigerlily and the Vitality in grey. Two amazingly comfortable bras. These bras are such good quality! You can really feel it in the material and the design. It just FITS. I’m not sure what took me so long to get myself into a really good quality nursing bra. It’s such an important time to be taking care of your breasts, too. Plus these boobs are housing my son’s food. I would wrap them in solid gold, if I could!

Speaking of fit, this is the first time I’ve ordered a bra online so thank god for their fit guide!

I’m so stoked that Hot Milk Lingerie has offered to give one of my lucky readers their own Forever Yours bra in Tigerlily. Hop over to Instagram and make sure you follow me (@mommyzoid), Hot Milk Lingerie (@hotmilklingerie), like the photo on my Instagram and tag some mom friends to let them know about the giveaway! That’s it!

And once you win you’ll be able to rock that first post-partum date night in style. Or look #OnFleek when you’re lounging with your littlest bae.

Now, what are you waiting for, GO ENTER!?!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post is sponsored by Hot Milk Lingerie. Please see my full disclosure policy here.

 

 

Baby

Cloth Diapering our Newborn

We loved cloth diapering Oliver so much, we decided to do again this time around! Oliver has been out of diapers for a while so we are having to kind of re-learn everything all over again but it’s a lot like riding a bike! It all comes back quickly. What I’m finding though is since I’ve been a little removed from the cloth world, I’m enjoying seeing all the new products and features from our favorite brands!

Charlie Banana was always one of our favorite brands with Oliver and I was so excited to see that they launched a new insert! Their Deluxe Fleece Top Insert can be laid directly on top of the fleece lining of the diaper shell. Guys, do you know what this means? It means that when it comes time to change the diaper, you just have to take out the dirty insert and replace it with a clean one because the fleece on the diaper shell doesn’t get soiled! It’s genius. This means LESS laundry. Less to wash and less to dry. #MOMWIN!

I’ve always loved the inserts from Charlie Banana and have used them religiously! I find they are super absorbent and lock in a lot of pee but are still quite slim and trim, which means we get less bulk with equals pants fitting better! Yay!

One of the reasons I was initially drawn to Charlie Banana was their one size diapers with their bra strap-style adjusters instead of rise snaps on the front of the diaper. This was one of our favorite features for Oliver. Personally, I’m not a fan of rise snaps because I find they always come undone when I’m snapping the diaper onto the baby.

With this innovative bra strap-style adjuster, you’re able to fit the same one-size diaper on a newborn and a toddler. Now, how practical is that? One diaper can last you for literally years. In fact, my newborn is wearing diapers that our toddler wore. Talk about savings.

How cute is this new print! It comes in pink, too. It’s a favorite of mine.

I’m loving the changes Charlie Banana made to their inserts. They took something awesome and made it even more amazing. I love the options it gives us and the laundry it saves. Also, it means less wear and tear on the diapers, too! All around it’s a great change.

Are you planning to cloth diaper or are you a seasoned vet when it comes to fluff? Here’s some posts from our first foray with cloth: 5 Reasons We Love Charlie Banana, Cloth Diapering: A Dad’s Point of View, & Cloth Diapering at Daycare.

If you have questions about cloth, feel free to contact me either in the comments or on social media. I’d love to chat cloth and help you answer any of your pressing questions you might have!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post is sponsored by Charlie Banana. Please read my full disclosure policy here.