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How do I deal with anxiety over SIDS?

Anxiety-SIDS

I don’t think I have postpartum depression, but since I’ve had my baby I have out of control anxiety. I can hardly sleep because I’m so afraid of SIDS. I obsess over thoughts of accidents and disasters and losing my baby or my husband.

Is that normal? How do people cope?

First of all, can I say, welcome to motherhood! I was one of the first people in my group of friends to have a baby-and I remember getting asked a lot “how does it feel.” To me, it was best summed up by this quote:

“Making the decision to have a child — it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
Elizabeth Stone

I felt like I could never be in charge of my own happiness again because a little human held all of it in his tiny little body. With that overwhelming love, came an even more overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety.

There is a certain amount of anxiety that comes with parenting, especially when you are a new parent. You are completely, 100% in charge of the well-being of another human being. Anxiety is a natural response to protecting your child, and making sure they are safe. New research has actually shown that post-partum anxiety is more common than post-partum depression, so you aren’t alone!

While it is totally normal to have anxiety after having a new baby, this anxiety should start to subside over time-if it doesn’t, that is a red flag that there may be more to it. If you find that your fears are irrational, damaging or all-consuming, check with a doctor. He may talk about medication with you, or refer you to someone who can help you with coping methods.

If you are generally able to rationalize your thoughts, but are having a hard time getting sleep-I would highly recommend investing in a baby sleep monitor.

I slept horrible when I had my first baby-and I totally blame the fact that I was so paranoid about SIDS, that I was waking up constantly just to check on him. I wish I would have invested in a monitor so I could have gotten more sleep. Sleep is the key to feeling good in the first few months of having a new baby. If I could re-do anything with my first little guy, it would be buying a sleep monitor, HANDS DOWN.

Here are a few reputable sleep monitors:

Angel Care: The Angel Care monitor is nice because it comes with a video monitor as well-which is huge if baby is in another room and you like to check in. The monitor is nice so it can go under the mattress-so you don’t have to constantly charge a sock or readjust. It’s also a pretty good price at about $100, considering that you will pay the same amount for a video only monitor. (It also has a 2-way communication feature which is awesome.)

Snuza: The Snuza is a clip on device that goes on your babies diaper when they sleep. It senses abdominal movements, and vibrates if the baby isn’t having enough in a certain period of time-which generally is enough to rouse the baby. After 3 attempts, it will alert you. Keep in mind this is NOT a good option if you co-sleep because it picks up other people’s movements, not just babies. It also is priced at around $100.

Owlet: The Owlet is the option we personally went with. I liked the fact that I would get notifications on my phone, as well as on a monitor that was next to my bed. So if I ever woke up in the middle of the night, I could look at the soft green light and know all was well. We really liked the portability of the Owlet, and took it on vacation with us a few times. My only issue with it was that I constantly forgot to charge it, or my husband would leave it in our babies pajamas when he changed him and it would get lost. There is also a little bit of a learning curve (we got several false alarms in the beginning.) The price is higher than most at $300, but was worth all of the extra sleep and peace of mind we got!

If a brand new monitor is not in the budget-check your local yard sale pages. I have seen a TON of these for sale second hand, and many are in great condition.

Let me know if you have any questions, and most importantly, get some sleep and enjoy the ride!

M (1)

 

 

 

 

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I need help…but we can’t afford counseling.

Counseling (1)

 

I need help. I have begun to realize that my mood changes radically. I feel stuck in my life and like I have no motivation to do the things I like anymore, I feel tired all the time, I feel like my life is really worthless. I don’t find fulfillment in anything, not even my marriage. I don’t ever want to have intimacy with my husband anymore. I am deal with anxiety that just swallows me everyday. I am really struggling, I am wondering if this is depression and what I can do about it? We can’t afford counseling right now, but I would be willing to save for it long term, I just don’t know why I am feeling like this. I just want to be happy.

On our page we see a LOT of posts and questions that come down to one basic thing-someone needs professional help, but they can’t afford it. I did some research on different options to make counseling affordable.

Before I get to my list, I do want to bring up one thing-budgeting. In my opinion, there are very few things more important than your mental health and well-being. Make sure your basic needs are met (food, shelter, clothing, gas for your car) and then figure out how you can make room in your budget for counseling. If 10 counseling sessions (at $50 a piece) are what it takes to save your marriage, make you feel better, or move you forward, it is TOTALLY worth it. I don’t know anyone who would say “$500 wasn’t worth saving my marriage.”

Insurance: This is the first option that comes to mind, because it’s the most obvious. If you have health insurance, find out what providers they cover, and what your copay is. You can even use a health savings account to pay for any sessions. If you don’t have health insurance, ask your employer for a book of benefits. Many employers offer benefits called EAP’s (employee assistance programs) that aren’t well known-like counseling hotlines. Some insurance providers even have free “ask a doctor” chat features. If you don’t have insurance or aren’t working, even Medicaid insurance covers community counseling.

Cash: If you don’t have insurance, or have a very high deductible, I would recommend asking  for the cash price. Many healthcare services (not just counselors) steeply discount their rates if you pay up front, at the time of your session. Along with this, some counselors do have sliding scales, where they charge a co-pay based on your income, so what you pay for services is tailored to what you can afford.

Colleges: If you are a college student, take advantage of all of the awesome services colleges provide for their students. One of these services is in-house counseling. Generally the student can go by themselves, or with their spouse, and you will have access to a professional, licensed counselor for free. This also applies if you or your spouse work for a college. Even better, they work with mostly college aged young adults, so they have a ton of experience with issues young adults face.

Churches: If you are religious, check to see what counseling services are available to you. Some churches have their own form of counseling services (like LDS Family Services) and some will help pay for you to go to counseling if you cannot afford it. Church counseling can have pros and cons. Keep in mind that if you go to a church sponsored facility, you may get a lot of advice that is targeted towards your spiritual well being (like prayer or scripture recommendations.)

Self-Help: If you are in a position where you cannot afford any form of counseling, or a co-pay, I would highly recommend pursuing self help. This is an especially good option if you are aware of your specific weaknesses and mental health needs. There are so many books on everything from anxiety, to relationship rescue, to depression-and they can be extremely valuable. Local libraries often have these books in stock, and if they don’t, they will order them in for you. There are also a lot of free podcasts, apps and Youtube channels that focus on self improvement. I highly recommend Ted Talks.

 

Resources:

NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness): They can direct you to free or affordable counseling and support options.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration): A comprehensive national organization who can help you find low cost and affordable mental health options.

 

Have you used any of these services in the past? Have you used a service I didn’t mention? Please let me know!

M (1)

Uncategorized

What Do I Do Before I Have Kids?

What Do I Do

“With my anxiety I have had the hardest time with getting the courage to start working again. I don’t have to work, but I don’t know what degree I want to get, so I’m stuck at home with no kids. I’ve been developing hobbies, but I feel guilty for not working or going to school. My husband is doing both full time and it hurts to think I’m not pitching in. The reason I am hesitant getting a job is that I am so hard on myself. If I make a mistake, it ruins my whole day because I’m worried what my boss or manager would think. I forget things easily and my logic skills are awful. Crowds also get to me. I’ve only worked at fast food restaurants that get so busy, and I haven’t tried other types of jobs. Another reason I’m not going to school is because I feel like it’s almost time for me to become a mom, but what the heck do I do in the meantime??”

Anxiety can be a very hard issue to deal with-especially when fear of the unknown is involved. That being said I do think there are a few directions you can go.

School: Contrary to popular belief, schooling doesn’t have to be something you do ONLY if you have a specific direction in mind. Do generals. Get an associate degree. Take some classes in things that interest you. They have classes on everything from social media to blogging to pop culture. You can learn how do use photoshop, get better at public speaking, or learn job skills. A class can be something that interests you, and it might even point you in the right direction for a career. Keep in mind that these courses don’t even have to be in a traditional campus-they can be fully online and done from home.

If traditional schooling isn’t for you, you might want to consider a trade school.  You can go to a school that is online, or in house, and learn all of the skills to get a job. A lot of these schools also set you up with an externship, or provide real life practice, so you can see the job in action before you take the step to work there.

If you are looking for an online program, or work from home options, I HIGHLY recommend Career Step. They offer a lot of programs in the medical field, and they have a few options where you can work from home after you graduate.

Working: If school isn’t something you want to pursue right now, I would recommend getting online and checking local job listings daily (I really like Indeed.com) If money isn’t the big drive, look for something that you feel like would be fun or interesting. Check with friends for entry level positions at places they enjoy.  Working with people you are comfortable with can even help ease some of the anxiety associated with doing something new. When someone hires you, they KNOW you aren’t going to be perfect. They know you are going to require training and time to get good at what you do. As long as you are willing to try, and make an effort to ask questions and improve yourself, you will be just fine.

Volunteering: If you decide against school, and working, I would highly recommend volunteering your time. I think this not only gives you potential job skills (in a situation where you don’t have to worry about being criticized) but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment. Sites like VolunteerMatch  allow you to choose things you care about, and will find places in your local area to give back.

I think you have several options, but before you go any of those directions, and before you start to have kids, I would highly recommend counseling. I think that counseling has such a negative stigma attached to it, and it isn’t negative at all. It is a way to improve how we think, how we treat ourselves, and how we associate with others. If you can get your anxiety issues sorted out, and learn some coping methods, you might find that the idea of school or work no longer stress you out-or that you are ready to take the next big step in life.

 

M (1)

 

 

Uncategorized

Finding Hobbies To Find Yourself.

what-do-you-do-for-fun

 

“I love my husband but some times I have felt like I have lost who I am since we have been married. Like I don’t do any hobbies or any thing I’m just a wife and mom. Not that that’s bad but I want some thing for my self. My hubby has a bunch of hobbies but I don’t anymore. What are some things that you do just for you or just for fun.”

We nurture things that define us, and kids and marriages take a LOT of nurturing to stay healthy. So it’s totally understandable that when you are alone, or feeling like you need something for you-you feel lost. It’s because you haven’t nurtured the hobbies or parts of you that make up who you are. You become, in a sense, your relationship and your status as a mom.

The problem with this, of course, lies with finding a balance. Between nurturing our relationships and our kids, while still nurturing ourselves. It’s isn’t bad to be a good wife and mom. It isn’t bad to lose ourselves in the service of others. And if you are stuck on the idea that having hobbies or looking out for you makes you selfish-quit it. It actually does the opposite. It makes you a better wife and mother.

For me, the idea that I should just go out there and find a hobby has always felt very daunting. Like there are little hobbies out there hiding from me that I just haven’t found yet. My husband is GREAT at hobbies. He has too many. He could spend his entire day completely absorbed in his hobbies. Me on the other hand-leave me alone for the day and i’ll probably binge watch Gilmore Girls and take 2 naps. I enjoy those things. They help me to reset. But are they hobbies? Probably not.

I think there is a great rule of thumb when it comes to finding hobbies:

Find 3 Things You Love.png

 

One To Make Money: I think anytime you can have a hobby that makes money, all the better. My husband, for example, loves to play guitar. He could play for hours a day. So he started teaching lessons. He doesn’t charge an arm and a leg, and he’s good at it. Which attracts more students. Now i’m not saying everyone has something they are fantastic at that is teachable-but there are ways to turn what we love into making money.

BEWARE: If you post on social media that you are looking for something fun to do, that makes money-you are going to get all of the MLM pitches in the world. I’ve seen a lot of women I love and respect thrive off of them, and really find themselves. But the ones who do well-do well because they are passionate. They love makeup. They like working out. They enjoy making healthy meals. They are great at social media. They make it into a hobbies-and the income follows. I don’t believe people in these companies do well because of the product-they do well because of their passion and persistence.

Is there a job you have always seen yourself in? Something you like to do? I’ve always loved to write. I like social media. I’m interested in a little bit of graphic design and being able to put my thoughts onto something physical. So I started writing in a blog a few years ago, and have played around with them off and on since.

If you are interested in a specific field-look for a part time position. Do an externship (unpaid) or see if they have internships available.

Take photos for friends and family. Learn to edit them.

Go back to school part time and take some classes you like or work towards a degree.

Teach a class. Piano. Guitar. Art. Fitness. Social Media.

Take a class. Music. Art. Self Improvement. Learn to Braid. Or do Makeup. Learn to sew.

Babysit. Paint. Bake. Draw. Socialize. Edit. Mystery Shop. Do surveys. Start an Etsy store.

 

One To Keep You In Shape:  

My husband LOVES working out. He could do it for hours on end. He misses it when he doesn’t do it everyday (which is insanity to me) -he even does it on vacation.  But part of why he loves it, is because of what his workouts consist of. He does martial arts classes-something he has enjoyed since he was a kid.

Finding a hobby that also keeps you in shape, has so many benefits. And it doesn’t have to focus around going to the gym.

If you are like me and love reality tv-only watch it from the treadmill.

If you like to socialize, invite someone on a walk with you.

If you use to dance or do cheer-leading in high school-try Zumba.

Like to listen to music and stay up with the newest hits-try a Water Aerobics class-you’d be surprised at how fun these can be.

Gardening. Rock Climbing. Horse Back Riding. Wii Fit. Geocaching. Tai-Chi. Canoeing.

Wanna spice up the bedroom? Or just do something really out there? Try a pole dancing class. (I’ve even seen underwater pole dancing.) Burlesque. Hip Hip Hop-anything that catches your eye.

 

One To Be Creative: 

I think Creativity hobbies can sometimes be the hardest to pinpoint. I’m terrible at painting. Terrible at knitting. Can’t sew for the life of me. Basically I have no artistic talent. But i’m open to learn.

Bake cookies and learn to decorate them. I’m obsessed with watching these videos.

Do interior design-your house or someone else’s.

Bullet Journal. This can be as extensive or simple as you want. I’ve seen people who get very artistic with theirs and actually find more hobbies because of it.

Paint. Do Watercolors (SO hip right now.) Frame a picture. De-Clutter. Read a book. Make a card-deliver it. Embroider. Make chalk signs. Knit a GIANT blanket. I’m all about hobbies that allow me to multitask while binge watching Netflix.

Plan and host an event: A girls spa day. Cookie trade. Book Club. Bunco. BBQ.

poppies

As a reminder-you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Think about how you spent time before you got married and had kids-and try and revisit that. If you were social, reach out to a friend. If you worked out a lot-get a gym membership. Go see a movie by yourself without listening to your husband complain about chick flicks. Go out for dessert after. If you liked to play Tetris on your computer or play the occasional video game(guilty) DO IT. Wander EVERY. SINGLE. AISLE. at Target. Twice.

Don’t over stress about doing something that perfectly fits in the “hobby” box. If you like taking hot baths with homemade bath bombs and watching the Kardashians while eating brownies you made from scratch (totally random-not from personal experience…) Why aren’t you already turning on the oven??

Best of luck in your new, fun, endeavors.

 

Finances, Uncategorized

Can I Afford A House And School?

can-i-afford-a-house-and-school

“My husband is going into a masters program and at the same time I’ll be entering a program at a different school. My program would be full time, requiring me to quit my job. Here’s my question, when we start these programs we will have to move closer to the school. Have any of you been on student loans and also had a mortgage? We’d prefer to buy a house, because we’ve been renting for so long and want a place of our own, but my husband doesn’t think they’d approve us for both a student loan ($10,000-$15,000) and a mortgage. Has anyone done this before?”

I totally get the pressure of buying a house and not wanting to throw away money. We are in this mode where we think that we have to be making really smart financial decisions in order to have a good, financially safe future. We are also surrounded by people our age, or a little older, doing big things like buying nice cars and nice house-and we feel like we need to keep up. The interesting thing is, if you can be patient and wait a few years, you will probably elevate yourself to a MUCH better situation than you could imagine.

First of all-house prices are incredibly high right now. People are offering ABOVE asking price and ABOVE what houses are worth because inventory is 1/3 of what it normally is. So it’s a seller market-NOT a buyers market. I actually work with people who are in GREAT financial positions right now because they have sold their home at a high price, made a lot of money and are now renting until prices come down again.

With getting back into school, and losing a large amount of income-I would say hold off on buying a home. Is your husband still working? Can you live on his income alone?  It might feel like you are wasting money, but think about it this way. If you wait a few years until home prices come down (which they will) and your income goes up because of your combined educational accomplishments (which it should) you will actually be in a better position down the line to make bigger payments. Bigger payments mean you will pay LESS interest on your loan, which will actually save you money in the long run. A LOT of it.

As an example: If you have a mortgage of $850, in your first payment, only $55 of that goes to principle. $55! So the start of a new mortgage loan is the perfect time to start making extra payments. Anything that you are able to pay extra will be actually contributing to your mortgage instead of just interest. $200 in extra payments will actually be 4x the amount that usually hits your principle balance. So the way I see it, if you can’t afford to waste money on rent-you better be able to afford paying a lot extra on your mortgage payment. Otherwise it really isn’t worth it-and that’s not taking into account taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs.

If I were you, I would rent a cheap apartment, save your money for school and a down payment and not have the stress of a mortgage payments on your back. If you have extra income after that-get a little crazy and go on a fun vacation when you guys are on break from school. There has to be SOME benefit to not working, right?

Uncategorized

How Do Newlyweds Afford Vacations?

 

how-do-newlyweds-afford-vacations

 

The very first question that was ever submitted on our anonymous page, was this: How do newlyweds afford vacations. Isn’t social media great? We advertise our successes and our fun times (like newlywed vacations) and we hide away the hard and difficult times (like the whole first year of being newlyweds that is often times less than “bliss.”

Not only that-but we see people out there, having fun, and we compare our lives to them. Why can’t I afford that? Why don’t we do those things?

It wouldn’t make sense to ask the people we are friends with for tips (obvi.) so instead, we reign in our envy, and ask anonymously.

The majority of women who answered the question immediately went to one thing-debt. If people are having fun, they must have a lot of credit card debt, and they must be paying for their vacation all year long.

Do I agree with this? Sure. At least, to some degree. I think a lot of newlyweds make bad financial decisions when they are just starting out. A lot of them have extra cash from the wedding, and having two incomes to work with, and only one set of bills, can sometimes give people the feeling that they are invincible when it comes to money. Combine that with a little bit of naivety, poor money management skills and pressure to be the CUTEST couple on the internet, and its easy to put yourself in debt.

I honestly believe that so many newlyweds are trying to have what their parents have worked their entire lives for, immediately after marriage. This applies not just to vacations, but to homes, cars and jobs. We spend like we are established, but we aren’t. So yeah, I believe some people put themselves into excessive debt for vacations (and other luxuries.)

But don’t get too excited, or quick to point the finger. The fact of the matter is, some people are better at budgeting. They would rather save money and eat Ramen than eat out, and would rather drive an older, paid off car than to make a car payment. I have friends that would sell their left kidney before they went out to eat on a Tuesday night. They would rather spend their money elsewhere.

All that aside. Some people just make more money. They have less bills, or they make more sacrifices. They have chosen to stay out of debt, live in their means, and prioritize vacations. Some of them don’t have kids. They have two forms of income, no debt, no daycare and nothing tying them down. And that’s fine. I think being a newlywed would be one of the BEST times to travel. No extra expenses for kids, no need to find an extended babysitter and you aren’t limited to kid friendly destinations.

On top of that, some people are really good at finding deals. They use credit card points to travel, and watch for cheap flights all year long. Then when something comes available, they can jump on it.You can find some crazy good deals for around $1500 right now. I really like to use this site. For $125 a month-you can totally afford to take one long vacation a year.

Basically, if going on vacation is a priority-make it happen. Get a part time job, look at jobs that pay more, start sticking to a budget, or look for deals on vacations.

And if you go…take me with you.

 

newlywed-vacation

 

Uncategorized

Why Anonymous?

ames

 

This blog started like every other brilliant idea-a girl fight on the internet.

On any given page, if you wanted to ask a more private question-or you didn’t want people to know who you were, you had to submit your question to an admin.  I messaged an admin on one of the pages, and suggested that an option be created to give women the ability to ask truly anonymous questions. That didn’t fly. I got a lot of excuses ranging from “it’s too hard” to “we want to pray for the women struggling so we need to know names.” When I volunteered to handle the anonymous posts, I got shut down. So naturally, I grabbed an equally outraged friend and we created something brand new-a purely anonymous wives page.

That one event almost two years ago turned into a Facebook page with nearly 1000 followers, and over 3800 anonymous posts. 3800!

I’ve learned so much in the years since this page was created-and I wanted to share some of those things with you.

When Someone Feels Comfortable Asking Questions Anonymously-They Realize They Have A Lot of Questions. 

Some things go beyond “girl talk.” Beyond “ask your mom.” We all have questions about our marriage, friends, parenting styles and bodies that are a little embarrassing. We don’t want those that are closest to us to view our spouse of other families members in a negative light. So we hold it in and we start to feel like we are the only one going through things. And when we find an outlet to ask these questions, we start to realize that we aren’t alone.

Nobody’s Marriage is Perfect.

Seriously. I was one of those wives who was always comparing herself to other wives. Comparing my marriage to other marriages. “They are so lucky they don’t have to deal with _______” or “I wonder what it would be like to never have to worry about _____.” I felt this way because even in my closest friendships, I rarely heard the negatives. On social media, I always saw praise, but never saw anyone going through real struggles. I thought I was alone. And then I saw the questions. And a lot of them were the same-we would get new members and the same questions would cycle through. I was suddenly grateful for my husband, my marriage and my problems. It was really eye opening.

quote

When You Stop Feeling Alone, You Realize Your Problems Are Manageable. 

It really is amazing how when you  no longer feel alone,  your problems don’t feel so big. So many women were talking about real issues-infidelity, pornography, marriage counseling and insecurities. And even bigger-other women were coming forward, non-anonymously, to share their stories and offer support. I honestly believe that with social media, a lot of us have developed a Snow White mentality-if there’s something wrong, we didn’t find the “right” prince charming. Instead of working on our marriage, we assume we are in the “wrong” marriage and think of divorce as the only option.

It is my honest opinion that our little anonymous page has saved good relationships and pushed bad ones to end. It has brought people closer, and in some cases, it has pushed women to make hard decisions-and realize their worth. This page has generated friendships, created camaraderie, and blurred the lines between how we portray ourselves online, and what we struggle with behind closed doors. 

So basically we are changing the world. Anonymously-of course.