Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. So let’s talk about my mental health! 😬 

I talked about it before, but I had some major anxiety and depression after Bruce was born. I went to therapy and it really helped me understand a lot of things about myself. I learned how to cope with my anxiety and manage my moods. But it opened up some things in my past and helped me realize that I had been living with anxiety for years and I wasn’t coping in a healthy way. 

My anxiety started when I was a teenager. My parents split up and I didn’t know how to cope with that. I became emotionally shut off and I never let anyone see anything but happiness. I believed that if I cracked just a little and showed some type of vulnerability, people would be able to hurt me. I had friends but I always felt like they were around because of my older brother. When people showed the tiniest interest in me, I felt like they were just trying to get my walls down to use it against me. Looking back now, it’s so exhausting to be so damn guarded all the time. I was only 16! Of course I had all the normal insecure teenager bullshit but on top of that my anxiety about people and my family had me fucking wrecked.

I am not going into details about some things that occurred in my life that caused my anxiety to heighten just yet. Maybe in another post. Some of it is just too personal to dive into with strangers. Some of it is just bat fucking shit crazy! But I had been living with anxiety and had no idea. I would have anxiety attacks and I thought that it was normal. I used to grind my teeth in my sleep and have nightmares about my younger siblings all the time. After having Bruce, I was experiencing these crazy feelings and they felt familiar. When I finally shared everything with my therapist, she helped me see it all. I had been dealing with anxiety as a teenager and eventually I was able to numb myself to it but I never dealt with it in a healthy way. So when I became a mother it came flooding back to me. I finally had a name, a reason, a cause, for why I was having a hard time mothering my sweet boy. 

So with the help of therapy, I’ve been able to manage my anxiety without medication (for now). Of course I have some rough days when I can’t leave my apartment and I lay in bed with some heavy doubt and worry. But I finally know what’s going on and fight it. It’s so important to take care of your mental health! Talk about it! Let’s break the stigma! You’re never alone. See a therapist. Take the medication if you need to. Write in a journal. TALK! I honestly can’t say it enough. I wish that I talked about how I felt when I was a kid. Instead I resorted to unhealthy coping mechanisms and that’s resulted in a lot of unresolved issues that I had to confront at 27! So one more time just in case you missed it. TALK ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. You always have an open line here! 🖤✌🏾

Heigh Ho! It’s off to work I go...

A mom friend once mentioned that she was going through some financial struggles and she felt like she was the only one. To her, the rest of us seemed like we had our shit together. I felt bad that she thought she was alone. I understand that we always want to put our best foot forward and on social media we love to share ONLY the good. But when you become a single income family, your financial priorities definitely shift. 

Before I gave birth, the plan was for me to go back to work full time. A little background for those of you who don’t know. I was working at Starbucks as a supervisor. I had a plan to finish my development into a management position. That job was my baby before Bruce. I worked really fucking hard and I loved what I did. Of course after Bruce was born, my “passion” for that job totally disappeared. I didn’t want to go back to work, I wanted to stay home. But could we financially make this happen? After spending a lot of time researching child care and budgeting out the costs, it didn’t make sense for me to continue to work at a job that I no longer loved, to pay for the child care I would need to stay at said job. So after my maternity leave, I turned in my letter of resignation and gave away my aprons. 

Okay fast forward to now times. Unfortunately for us, Tyler was laid off from his job. Let me tell you... this shit is so scary. The company he worked for was being absorbed and they needed to downsize. So he knew that it was coming and we were able to prepare as much as we could. But we had to come up with a contingency plan if he wasn’t able to find a job soon enough. I knew that I would be eligible for rehire at Starbucks and I knew that I made enough working there to cover us for a while. Money would be really fucking tight but I knew we could make it work. And now she’s back at Starbucks full time, slinging beans and kicking ass. It’s hard to get up at 3a and leave Bruce. I miss him all day long. But you know, a momma’s gotta do what a momma’s gotta do.

Anyway I just wanted to share that. It doesn’t matter what shit people post on IG or what they may look like when you see them. They have struggles too. You are not alone when it comes to financial struggles, body issues, PPD, or having an annoying ass husband. Reach out to your friends and talk. You never know, she might be going through the same shit as you. 🤷🏽‍♀️

shirt- @herlittlewolves  

shirt- @herlittlewolves  

Insomnia is a B*TCH!

It’s 1:59am. It’s so damn cold but I’m scared to turn the heater on because of carbon monoxide poisoning and I don’t trust the alarm. So I’ve checked on Bruce four, maybe five, times to make sure he’s warm and cozy. My anxiety has been out of control the last few days. I can’t seem to get a hold on what is triggering it. It could be sleep deprivation, we are going through a rough sleep regression. And of course when my anxiety gets wild, I can’t sleep. Which is why I’m here now.

Hi. So how’s it going? How’s motherhood for all of you? It’s been an adventure here. Bruce just had his 12 month check up. I was really excited for him to see his doctor, I love her she’s the best. Bruce is a solid 21 pounds and 30.9 inches. They measured his height twice because they were surprised at how tall he is. My poor little guy had to get some vaccines. It was tough but he did great and we treated him to ice cream afterwards. When I was a kid I hated getting shots. I would fight the nurses every time. I would scream and cry. My parents could tell you some horror stories about me. They could tell you a lot of terrible things... LOL! My mom told me I was going to get a child just like me. Sweet Jesus, I hope not. I wasn’t a bad kid but I definitely wasn’t an angel. I was free spirited! I cut my own hair, I liked to tell “stories”, and I beat up some kid who lived down the street. But each time (yes it was more than once) he deserved it. If Bruce is anything like me, it’ll be fine! I know all the tricks that I pulled as a kid so I’ll be prepared. 

I’m finally feeling a bit tired now. I’m gonna check on Bruce one last time before I finally retire. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! 

I Want a Puppy

We spent Thanksgiving with my in laws who live in Murrieta. It’s a small suburban town. Everyone knows everyone. They all go to the same church and Starbucks. Tyler and I met, married, and lived in Murrieta. I worked at almost every single Starbucks in the area. So when we visit any location, there’s a 90% chance I will know one person either working or a customer. We decided to head out to a Starbucks where I worked for a few years for some coffee. I get there and of course I know people working and a few customers sitting in the lobby. We have a little small talk and the subject of having a second baby comes up:

“So when are you gonna have another one?”

Okay first, fuck off. Second, you’re assuming I want a second one. You didn’t ask if we wanted a second child. We live in fucking LA! It’s expensive as shit. A second child would be financially irresponsible for us right now. And more importantly, you don’t know someone’s situation. Asking “when are you gonna have another one?” is putting a lot of pressure on a couple. I struggle with postpartum anxiety. Just thinking about having a second child overwhelms me. My sister has two kids and she fucking kills it. She’s amazing but I couldn’t do it. Not like this. My anxiety got me fucked up! There are so many situations a couple may not want to have a second child right away or even at all. So instead of asking “When?”, ask how momma is doing. Or don’t ask anything. Give her a Starbucks gift card and walk away.

Then the conversation of having a second child turns into trying to convince my husband and I that we SHOULD have a second.

“But you HAVE to have a second one!”

I don’t have to do shit, Becky.

“But he’ll be lonely!”

Luckily Bruce has baby friends and cousins.

“It’ll be easier with two because they can keep each other entertained.”

I’m sure it is. But I already said no.

“You’ll change your mind.”

LOL! Honestly, fuck you.

If someone doesn’t offer up the information about having a second (or third or whatever!) child, then you probably shouldn’t ask. If you do ask and they say no, accept that. Don’t fucking ask why and don’t try to persuade them. I think that’s what really pissed me off the most. I said what I said, Gina, now back off. When I get this anxiety under control, and we’re making six figures, AND Bruce can wipe his own ass, OH AND I lose a cool 50 pounds. Then maybe we’ll get a puppy. But we’re good with the three of us. Thanks.

Identity Crisis

I was about 8 weeks postpartum when I looked at myself in the mirror and could not recognize who I saw. My eyes were red and tired. My hair was so matted that when I tried to take it out of the bun, it stayed on top of my head. I tried to run my fingers through it but it wouldn’t budge. I got in the shower and examined the new body motherhood gave me. My smooth skin was gone. I found stretch marks on my hips, belly, and boobs. I don’t know this fucking body. I cried.

Seven months postpartum and I’m still not sure who is staring back at me. I don’t fit my pre-baby clothes anymore, so I bagged them up and gave them away. I want to go shopping since I only have maternity shirts and leggings in my wardrobe. But I’m not sure how to dress this new body. My old body loves crop tops, dresses, and high waisted pants. I don’t know this body. I torture myself by looking at pictures of the body I had before I was pregnant. I decide to go online shopping because being in a store gives me anxiety. But of course I don’t know my size now and I have to guess. I look at clothes that are different than what I would gravitate to, and I hate it all. I get frustrated and buy some jeans and a couple t-shirts and hope for the best. I get them a few days later, and I hate the way the jeans fit. So I send them back and I cry more. 

I don’t know if this is how becoming a mother is supposed to make me feel. I feel vain for being so wrapped up in my body image. I feel lost because I don’t know who I am anymore. And I am lonely because I don’t know if anyone will understand me. Motherhood is so strange. There is so much strength and power in being a women. I created and continue to nurture and protect this precious little life. And still, I am completely lost and unsure of myself. 

Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

In July 2017, my husband and I moved from the small town where we met, to LA County. I was excited, but leaving our friends and family was hard for me. Being pregnant can get isolating. Sometimes your friends aren’t in the same place you are in your life journey so it can be hard to connect. And for me, not only were most of my friends not ready to have kids but I was moving a couple hours away from them so I felt pretty lonely.

After I gave birth, the only socialzing I did was with my husband and on social media. I was starting to get weird. So I looked for local mom groups to become a part of but they were like not what I was looking for. There was one that you had to pay a membership for… You want me to pay to meet with other women to bitch about our kids? Nah sis. Then there was one that seemed cool but I didn’t feel like I had anything in common with them. They had more than one kid and they seemed like real adults, ya know? Like adults who can take care of plants and eat real meals instead of In n Out 3 times a week. I wasn’t ready for that. One day I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw this ad for an app called Peanut. I’m not sure why I tapped on it but I ended up downloading it and creating a profile.

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Peanut is an app to meet other Moms. It’s very similar to Tinder. You can find mothers close to you. You can set up a filter to see moms up to 25 miles from you. You can use the filter to find moms with kids in the same age group as yours. Instead of swiping left or right, you swipe up to “Wave” to a momma or swipe down to skip. If you swipe up to a momma and she swiped up to you too, then you guys are a match! (Like Peanut Butter and Jelly! So cute!) When you create your profile you can pick 3 traits, they are called Packs, to describe what kind of momma you are. There are traits like Strictly Organic, Beer Buddy, or Mom Boss. (Mine are: But First Food, Powered By Caffine, and Beer Buddy. DUH!) You can see what traits moms pick and swipe up based on that. You can fill out your occupation, write a cute little bio and add photos. The app also has a message boards section where you can talk about motherhood, pregnancy and other women/mom things. One thing I super liked on the messgae boards was the Local section. You can read post from other mothers who are local to your area. Some moms posted when they were going to Disneyland and if other moms wanted to meet. Another mom posted about having a bunch of used baby clothes in my area and offered them up to anyone in need. It’s such great way to connect and reach out to other women. And since I was new to my area and a new mom, this was my fucking life line.

This is my profile.

This is my profile.

Super basic bio.

Super basic bio.

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The most awkward thing about the app is actually trying to break the ice with someone. There were many times I started conversations with a mom and they would talk for a little and then ignore me. Straight up motherfucking ghosted! Or what would piss me off the most was the one word answers. Like I’m trying to connect with you here and you are either not interested or you’re really boring. So I would stop replying. It’s hard to get your personality across to someone online. I feel like my sarcasm and transparency didn’t come off the way I intended, so that was probably why no one wanted to be my friend. Oh well! Those bitches missed out! I’m such a good ass time. But I finally met some cool women who wanted to meet up and be mom friends. The first meet up is always nerve-wracking. It’s like first date jitters! It’s so weird! “Shit. I hope they like me. I hope I don’t say anything stupid or offensive. Fuck. I said something stupid. Back pedal! Back pedal! Too late. Wow they invited me to the next meet up. I guess I wasn’t that lame.” We’ve met up a few times at a park. Bruce gets to socialize with other babies and I get to talk to real people! It’s a win win!

This is the message board page.

This is the message board page.

When you match with a mom!

When you match with a mom!

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Now all you moms, not just new moms, any mom who needs a tribe, download the Peanut app! Do it. RIGHT NOW! It might be hard to connect with other moms at first, but don't give up! Your perfect mom gang is out there! 

https://www.peanut-app.io/?_branch_match_id=576054530504850117

I'm a Cow

I love breastfeeding. I knew I was going to do it when I found out I was pregnant. Like duh, I knew it was good for mom and baby and it’s fucking free! But it wasn’t easy when we first started. It hurt. My nipples were cracked and bleeding for about 2 weeks. My shoulders and back were sore in places I’ve never felt before. And when my boobs were engorged, LORD! I will go on record and say that my contractions were nothing compared to the pain of engorged tits. But, I’m fucking stubborn so I kept trying. My pregnancy sucked and I didn’t have the delivery experience I wanted. I wasn’t gonna let bloody nipples stop me from trying to have some control over this. 

Bruce wouldn’t latch right after he was born. A nurse said he was tired from the trip down the vag so I should try in a couple hours. When he finally latched, I was so happy but he felt like he was tearing my nipple off! A nurse helped me reposition him, and showed me the football hold to nurse him. It felt a little better but something was still uncomfortable. Of course I panicked and worried that something was wrong. The pediatrician came in for a check up and she noticed Bruce had a tongue tie. She told us it could make it difficult to nurse. It could be clipped or I could bottle feed him instead but that could still make it hard for him to eat. I wanted this to work. I cried about getting his tongue clipped. I didn’t want that for him. I know it’s a small quick clip and he wouldn’t remember it but I did have him circumcised. (Don’t come for me bitch, it was my family’s decision to make.) It was hard for me to hear him crying after that. It was too soon to be talking about more cutting. So with support from Tyler, I decided that we would make breastfeeding work without clipping the tongue tie. I was gonna make this work. 

Because of Bruce's tongue tie, he wasn't able to latch correctly and I suffered form cracked and blistered nipple and he wasn't getting enough to eat.

Because of Bruce's tongue tie, he wasn't able to latch correctly and I suffered form cracked and blistered nipple and he wasn't getting enough to eat.

The days after bringing Bruce home were fucking dark. I remember Bruce woke up from a nap and he started crying. I knew he wanted to eat but I was nervous. My nipples were so raggedy. They were bleeding and scabbed. My right boob was engorged! I was so scared but I picked him up and nursed him. I sat in a rocking chair and cried. It fucking killed me. My husband is so sweet and perfect. He sat at my feet and tried his best to comfort me while I nursed our baby. We talked about other options if I was going to forgo breastfeeding. I talked about not getting the pregnancy or the delivery I wanted. I felt like I was failing if I gave up breastfeeding. I wanted one thing to go the way I planned but it didn’t look like I was getting that. Before I made my mind up about breastfeeding, I wanted to make an appointment with a lactation consultant.

A lactation consultant is this magical creature who specializes in breastfeeding. They teach women how to feed their babies. They can help with low production, latching difficulties, clogged ducts, and even pumping. I met with one at Bruce’s one week check up. She was this bright women, dressed in a Santa hat and she wore this wild Christmas themed skirt. When she walked she jingled. She was so happy and nice! I needed that, I was feeling pretty low. I expressed my concerns, showed her my engorged tit and cried when she said she could help. She examined my boob and gave me advice on expressing milk when I’m engorged. She showed me the correct way to sit while nursing so my back wouldn’t hurt. And she taught me the best way to hold my baby while I fed him. I told her about his tongue tie and how we were advised to get it clipped. She checked it out and told us it was so minor, he’d be fine without any cutting. So I cried. 

I was able to continue breastfeeding! My nipples healed but they are not the same and I’m still trying to come to terms with that. That’s okay. I did have some issues with forceful or overactive let down, which is when your milk comes out too fast. Bruce would pull away because the milk was going down so fast and I spray him in the face. It was funny. I figured out a better nursing position to help with the letdown and started pumping regularly (I hate pumping). Then one fucking great day I woke up and felt a sharp pain in my right armpit. Whatever. No big deal, it’ll pass. Nope. It got worse throughout the day. I couldn’t lift my arm and I felt a huge lump right on the side of my boob. So I googled all my symptoms and found out I had a clogged milk duct. There are so many things that can cause a clogged milk duct. Sleeping on your stomach, a nursing bra that doesn’t fit, the baby not latching, all kinds of stuff. Google it. It was a combination of sleeping on my stomach and Bruce having a hard time latching. If you don’t unclogg the duct, it could turn into an infection caused mastitis. There are a few ways to unclog it. Feed or pump that tit girl until you feel like it's empty! All day long I nursed Bruce from my right boob but it didn’t unclog immediately. I took a warm shower and massaged my boob. It fucking hurt, but after that I nursed again and it unclogged! If you ever get a clogged milk duct and you start to have flu like symptoms, go see a doctor. You could have mastitis. (Tit is in the word mastitis lol)

A clogged milk duct causes inflammation and could progress to mastitis.

A clogged milk duct causes inflammation and could progress to mastitis.

Then cluster feeding happened. Cluster feeding is when your baby will nurse and nurse and nurse for-fucking-ever. It will typically happen in the evening time and they might get really fussy. Bruce would latch for a few minutes and then he would pull away and cry then do it all over again. It was super frustrating and exhausting. I was starting to feel crazy. I wasn't sure if there was something wrong with me or what! But it's totally normal. Cluster feeding helps build your milk supply and Bruce started to sleeping in longer stretches. When he would get fussy in the evening, I knew it was time for his little nursing session. So I would turn all the lights off, make sure my bedroom was the perfect temperature, get my computer, queue up a Harry Potter movie and started our little bonding moment. Tyler would stay in the living room and watch TV while we had our cluster feeding marathons. Then he would come to bed when Bruce would settle down and fall asleep. Cluster feeding was really hard at first but when I found out what worked for us, it became a great time for us to bond and watch Harry Potter together. Cluster feeding only lasted about a week and a few days. Don't worry mommas! It's not forever! (Let me know if you want me to go into more details about how I dealt with cluster feeding and milk production!)

Breastfeeding was rough in the beginning but once I found my groove it worked for me. If you’re breastfeeding and you’re finding it hard or painful see a lactation consultant! I cannot advise that enough! They are magical, really! But if you’re feeling like it’s not for you, don’t trip! You have to do what's right for you and your family. Yo, as long as your baby is healthy and fed, you’ve made the right decison sis! 

Lol censored my tit! 

Lol censored my tit! 

As you can see, the tongue tie is not an issue for Bruce. 

As you can see, the tongue tie is not an issue for Bruce. 

You're One Bad Mother...

Hey! This is weird. Okay, I’m not a writer, so bear with me. I had my palms read on Mother's Day and the psychic told me I have a story to share. I thought that was funny because 2 days before I decided to start a blog about my pregnancy and motherhood. During my pregnancy, I turned to mom blogs to find women who might be having a rough time like me or moms who would give me a glimpse into the life I was about to step in to. But I couldn't find anything that really spoke to me. I was looking for the real nitty gritty. I wanted the fucking dirt. After talking to my sister and a couple friends, they convinced me to be that voice. So here I am!

I’ll start with introducing myself. I’m Cheyenne, I’ve lived 27 years on Mother Earth. I have an awesome son named, Bruce and a pretty okay husband named, Tyler. Reader beware, I have a potty mouth and I won't censor myself completely. I am honest and transparent. I felt like that was something lacking in blogs that a lot of women like myself might want. Currently, my 5 month old shit monster is screaming at the top of his lungs with a huge smile on his face. He’s doing it on purpose to annoy me. I know he is. He has my personality and I would do something like that. And he just shit… God, it stinks.

So welcome, hello and whatevs. I can't wait to share all my horror stories (and fun ones too) with you! I hope you find some comfort in them knowing that you are not alone or maybe you can have a few laughs at my expense. No big deal.

I know that sometimes when we are venting to people or even our partners we have a little twinge of "mom guilt" telling us that we are wrong for complaining. So I want to say something that I think is really important for us, moms, to remember:

Stop feeling like you have to preface every complaint or frustration with, “Don’t get me wrong, I love my child…” because you don’t. Like, BITCH, we know you love your child. Shut up and complain about them because I know it’s not fucking easy and I see you girl. 

This momma like beers with her babe!

This momma like beers with her babe!