i made it

[Warning: TMI, the reals, and not-so-rainbows ahead. Proceed with caution.]

When I hit my personal rock bottom earlier this year, I wrote this little note in my planner so I could look back and realize that everything’s so much better now.

You made it

P was 12 weeks old.

– It had been 11 weeks of a constant reflux nightmare. Two solid months lying awake at night either researching things we could do to help P or worried sick that she’d choke during the night,

– Having to quit breastfeeding, even though I loved it and omgitwasactuallyWORKING this time around,

– That one time I went to the Emergency Room on Christmas night where they told me I had prolapse and some other issues (later I would find out that it was a normal degree of prolapse that is expected after birth that, thankfully, resolved itself)

– After starting physical therapy for my other issue, I found out I’d need repair surgery. I wasn’t stitched properly (just writing that makes me cringe), so I was unable to heal. It needed to be redone or I would have to deal with a lifetime of pain and “unusualness” down there. Surgery when P was 5 months old was less than optimal, and I had to take an extra 6 weeks off of work teaching classes.

I did everything I needed to do for work and my family, but often felt like it was the bare minimum I could muster. I forced myself to be motivated when I wanted to lie in bed all day.

I forced myself to shower and dress myself, when I couldn’t care less about hygiene or anything that didn’t resemble sweatpants.

I forced myself to eat, even when nothing sounded good and the stresses and worry in my mind made everything unappetizing. 

I forced myself to get outside and move, when for the first time in my life, I hated exercise. I hated the gym. I didn’t want to be anywhere I’d see someone I know and have to put a smile on my face and create something that would hopefully sound like normal human conversation. 

It was when I found out someone very close to me had cancer. (Thank god, it was removed and she has healed beautifully.)

It was one thing after another,

Each time, I thought, “ok, I can handle this,” then something else would pile on until I finally sat sobbing in my therapist’s office, she told me, “you don’t need to suffer anymore.”

I felt like a failure.

I did so much to try to keep myself from feeling the same way I did after Liv was born… and here I was, feeling so much worse, and under a black cloud so strong my chest would ache. It hurt to feel this terrible, and hurt even more when I felt the guilt of wasting our last baby’s infancy feeling as sad, anxious and worthless as I did. 

I was prescribed antidepressants, came home to a much-needed hug from Tom, sunk into the couch, and wrote the above note to myself. I added the happy face last, hoping when I saw the smile almost a year later, I wouldn’t have to wear a fake one anymore. 

As someone with no foresight whatsoever, I needed to remind myself that this would all eventually end, and that when we got to P’s first birthday, I’d be worlds away from where I was then.

It’s weird because learning of my family member’s cancer snapped me out of my depression -I was more worried about her, and about P, than I was about myself- and it was when I wrote a majority of this post. I wrote it with hope, and the fuzzy confidence that things would change and would eventually be better.

For a long time, I used this blog as my escape from what I was feeling, and while I couldn’t write about everything, I yearned to hear your stories of coming out of the other side. I wanted to avoid turning this fun and positivel blog into a negative space or a place to wallow. So instead, I used it as my escape. It was one of my many life rafts in the dark ocean in which I felt I was surrounded. It was my chance to focus on the good in life, read your uplifting comments and funny stories, and distract myself from everything that was going on. It was during a constant barrage of OB/gyn, pediatrician, Urogyn, acupuncture, therapist, and physical therapy appointments.

Having this blog made me feel a tiny bit of normalcy when everything was shrouded in the scary unknown. (At the time, I still didn’t know the degree of prolapse severity or what they would do to repair my stitches post-birth. Apparently this is common when you push out an almost 11-lb baby in 4 minutes after 24 hours of labor… I had no idea this was even a thing. Now, I feel a thousand times better after my surgery, and I’m so thankful for an awesome surgeon who wanted to remedy the issue. I have heard so many stories of women who were told to “deal with it” even though they were in physical pain, suffering through each day.)

So here I am.

My girls 2

I made it.

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Comments

  1. You are amazing!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. It came at just the right time as I’m 3 months postpartum with my first baby and have a prolapse that has me in a very scared and dark place. Especially after having lived such an active life prior to delivery, I certainly didn’t expect this. Your story helped me see that I’m not the only one out there experiencing this and it will get better as I work hard to care for myself well. I’ve actually been doing most everything you mentioned having done (pelvic PT, Hab-it, massage). Do you mind sharing what herbs/supplements you used?

    Again, I appreciate it and am encouraged to know that eventually I’ll make it too. One day at a time. 🙂

    • Fitnessista says:

      i’m so so sorry to hear you’re going through this. when i first started with the prolapse situation, i googled and googled, and cried and cried. it can feel so isolating because no one talks about it. the good news is that you’re SO EARLY postpartum. you have plenty of time to make a potential full recovery, and it sounds like you’re taking amazing steps to get there. i’m not sure of the severity of your situation, but keep in mind that most women can heal postpartum, and that you’re learning strategies in PT that will protect you for the rest of your life.
      for herbs, i take a mix of things (including chaste tree, chamomile, aswaghanda, etc that my naturopath prescribed), but i think that aloe vera and collagen and really wonderful for internal healing (which i’m also taking).
      hang in there. you will make it and all of this will be behind you <3

  3. Transparency is always what I love and admire bout you and this beautiful blog space! Because Real life happens!!!!! And you are an OVERCOMER! So glad to have you in my life as blog friends even though we have never met. I too, as I have told you, battled with depression, ocd and anxiety earlier this year- I reached out to you and you replied. It was because I knew you shared on the blog that you were seeing a therapist, that gave me the courAge t opp seek out a therapist also! I’m forever grateful and in a much better place as I write this. Thanks Gina, my life is touched because of yours.

    • Fitnessista says:

      it makes my heart so happy that you got the help you so deserve. you can always reach out to me for anything!! sending love to you and all of my best wishes as you continue to feel better and better.
      xoxo

  4. I’m so happy you posted this. I’m 8 weeks postpartum and have to have surgery in a few weeks to fix my tear repair. It didn’t heal properly and now I have a fistula. Its a gross, painful and isolating complication (I can’t find many people out there with a similar issue). I can’t wait to be on the other side of this 🙂

    • Fitnessista says:

      oh man. i’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this. i’ll be sending you lots of good vibes for the surgery. even though it sucks, it will be so good to have it behind you so you can really be on the road to healing. sending love to you.

    • Please check out the Fistula Foundation, a nonprofit out of San Jose….they raise money for fistula repairs around the world, and they likely can provide resources for your information and support.

  5. Thank you for sharing this post! I had a third degree tear and everything healed up fine but the recovery was so long and tedious. So many trips to the urogyn and physical therapist.I was so grossly unprepared for what postpartum recovery and life would be like! Now we are 9 months out and I feel like a different person. It is so nice to hear that other people go through similar things.

  6. Thank you. Your honesty is why I love your blog & have read it for years. Congratulations, you made it!

  7. Amanda P. says:

    I have not been through exactly what you have but 2 years ago, for the first time in my life, I was worried about my own health. I had 2 surgeries in 3 months, spent a night in the ER, Finally came to grips with knowing for sure I would never have biological children and my cat died. I felt the worst physically and emotionally for the longest stretch of time than I ever had. But, I got the help I needed to heal and now 2 years later I remind myself that so much is better now and all of that is behind me. We are resilient. We have made it. So happy for you and your beautiful family and thank you for sharing!

  8. You made it! I was just talking to my husband about this the other day. We had a year full of upheavals, and it was so hard for me especially. I finally realized that we made it through, and it’s amazing how much happier we are for it. I’m so happy for you, Tom and the girls!

  9. Nothing but love and respect to you. Mommin’ ain’t easy (as your shirt says). And we are so hard on ourselves and others. All you can do is your best.

  10. Charlotte says:

    Gina, thank you so much for sharing. I admire your strength, honesty, and openness so much. You are incredible. So glad you are feeling better.

  11. Gina – thank you for sharing this heart felt & honest post. As a mother to a very active 3-year old and 3-week old newborn – things can seem very overwhelming. This post was a reality check of how much I have to be thankful for – my baby boy doesn’t have reflux & I’m healing really well from labor/delivery. You are amazing.. a serious rock star!

  12. I love this! You are so strong! We have to be right?!
    When you are ready I would love to here more about your recovery. I am 6 month postpartum and still cannot run or do jumping jacks. The doctor just told me our baby boy was probably a bit too big for me (7 lbs 8 oz WHAT?) and that I needed to see a P.T. but we do not have one at our overseas location. I also had a stitch come loose but have been told over and over that it was totally fine bc I only had a light 2nd degree.
    I feel like these issues are not talked about and this cannot be ‘just the way it is’.

    Thank you for sharing your story and your heart!

  13. I completely understand why bloggers keep certain things off the blog and usually it’s the not-so-good things that’s kept private. I respect that but I must say, it really does help people when some things are put out there.
    Everyone has hardships of some kind. It’s nice to read about how someone goes through these hard times and comes out on the other side and even becomes a better person because if it. It gives hope to others. <3

  14. Ahhh, thank you so much for sharing! This comes at a perfect time, as I am 7 months potpartum and it just occurred to me that antidepressants might not be a bad idea. Even without extenuating physical complications from birth, the mild depression and anxiety postpartum are their own beasts. It’s so tempting to think it’s better to just get through it, but on the other hand, I want to feel better now! Do you find the antidepressants help? I have an appointment to talk to my doctor next week.

    It’s so helpful to hear about your experience. It’s so normal (1 in 7 women experience serious postpartum depression and/or anxiety), but I feel like everyone hides the tough parts and only talks about the good moments, perpetuating the isolation and confusion. Thank you for sharing (and I’m so glad you’re feeling better!).

  15. You are amazing, honest and just plain awesome. That is a lot of crap to go through and yet, even in a dark time, found a way to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. And now you can look back and say you made it. What a great example you are setting for your girls. I love to read your blog and the positivity it always exudes.

  16. One of the many reasons I love reading your blog is how relatable you are. I truly feely like I’m chatting with a friend. You share things that others may be going through & also provide encouragement & positivity.

    Glad you made it and used this blog as a refuge…thanks for your honesty & always providing a ray of sunshine to others (whether you know you know it or not)….

  17. Christine T says:

    You made it indeed!
    Thanks, Gina, for being such a wonderful inspiration to so many people. I’m so happy to hear you’re doing well! 🙂

    X

  18. Thank you for your continued honesty and transparency Gina! I think so many people are afraid to say how the really feel, or that they might need the help of a therapist. The social media world makes us feel like we need to have this perfect, unattainable life. Thank you for keeping it real. So happy you made it 🙂 There is always light to be found at the end of the tunnel!

  19. This post made me tear up — I’m so, so happy for you and that you’re on the other side of all of that! Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope it gives others feeling something similar hope. You are an inspiration 🙂

  20. You’re brave, inspirational and amazing. <3 Thats all.
    Hugs.

  21. Awesome! We are all glad : )))

    Cecilia from Ecuador

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