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Game Plan for Avoiding Postpartum Depression.

Postpartum depression is something that affects from 1 to 7 of women after childbirth according to the American Psychological Association. 

One of the best moments of my life was when I held my little girl for the first time! At first, I was in shock and the next moment I fell in love. Also, when I looked into my husband’s eyes, I feel even more in love with him.

This has been one of the biggest transitional periods of my life but, it is worth every second!

In a way I feel as though I am going through a grieving process. I am letting go of the life of just my husband and me. Now we share our world with our new little girl, Ada.

I have gone through a lot in my life, which means several transitions.

-I left my old unhealthy life of using, to getting clean and finding a new way to live.

-I learned how to step out of physical and emotional isolation and went from hating myself to loving myself.

-I learned how to develop healthy relationships with others and maintain a life that I enjoy living.

These are all examples of significant transitions that I went through. But, none of these seem as big as the one that I am currently experiencing. Don’t get me wrong, I am so in love with this little girl that we brought into the world, and motherhood is simply amazing.

baby.jpg

My husband and I have waited a long time to meet her and she is everything that I could have ever dreamed of! That being said, our lives completely changed the moment she was born.

Now I am going through strong emotions and almost everything makes me cry. I have been able to laugh through most of these moments, which is extremely important. This lets me know that everything is truly okay and that I don’t need to let these feelings take over. With all of this there is definitely some fear that I feel.

I knew this event would change a lot of things for us. The other night I cried as I told my husband that I missed going to bed at the same time, as we take shifts so that we can both get some sleep.

Later I was able to laugh at myself! It is such a small thing in the grand scheme of everything.

I confessed that I was scared for when he goes back to work. I feel fear of course that things might be too hard by myself. Keeping myself accountable for my feelings and sharing them with him has helped me a tremendous amount.

Deep down I know that I can do this, that I am a great mother. I know that everything will be just fine when I am home alone with Ada. Sure, there are going to be some rough days but, I have more support than I could ever ask for.

So now I feel that it is important for me to have a plan in place so that I do not fall into postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is something that affects from 1 to 7 of women after childbirth according to the American Psychological Association. And this is not a state that I will be falling into!

Without a game plan I will lack structure, balance, and accountability. These three things have always been important for me to maintain a healthy balance in life. I have come up with a few things so far to help me obtain this goal.

1. Keep talking to others- because this gets the fear and anxiety out of my head. This allows me to receive feedback from others. It also allows other people to know how to be there for me. I need to let others know what I need right now so that they know I need their help.

2. Believe in myself- because this helps to eliminate self-doubt. I know that I can do this and that I am not alone. I am a good mother and that Ada has all that she needs. When things get tough, believing in myself will help me to see the other side.

3. Getting to meetings- because this has always been one thing that helps me to maintain consistent balance in my life. I can go there and share how I am feeling and I always leave feeling better than I did when I got there. I cannot use Ada as an excuse for not being able to get to a meeting!

4. Keep breathing- because this is something that helps me to relax. When I forget to breath I become wound up and I have no release of negative energy. Taking deep breaths keeps me in the moment, which is exactly where I need to be.

5. Enjoy the current moment for exactly what it is– because this allows me to stay away from falling into depression. When I focus on the current moment I am not worrying about everything else.

6. Making time for Travis and myself- because it is important for us to have our time together. Although every moment we spend with Ada is wonderful, we still need to have our moments together as well. Our date nights will still exist!

So far, I feel that I have come up with a great plan for myself. Making a practice out of it is the next step and positive results will come because of this, without a doubt.

If you are finding yourself in a similar position, first of all please find your supports. Don’t try to deal with this process alone. If that means professional support and finding the right medication, then go that route as well!

Well, that is all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed what you read. Please feel free to share this post with others. Have a good day!

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Relationships : About Contribution, Not Management.

By: Travis Hagen

Hey everybody, thank you for stopping in to My Life Experiment.

As you may have noticed there will be a new author making contribution to My Life Experiment, my wife Casey Hagen! When first starting My Life Experiment I wasn’t aware that this would be a thing that would come to be. Though when the idea came to try and get Casey on board with contributing, I immediately knew it was a solid gold idea!

Casey and I come from similar life paths, in that we have lived through the pain of addiction, have rocked it in recovery, and way more often than not have been strongly supportive contribution to the fulfillment of each other’s ambitions.

Dock photo

What has worked so well in Casey and I’s relationship is that we have our own personalities, our own friends, and our own recoveries. I don’t feel the need to attempt to micromanage Casey’s life, and Casey has been able to do the same for me. Thank god!

We are able to have all of these things be separate, but still come together on enough things so that our relationship isn’t left to be too needy.

I don’t know about you, but I can get the feeling of suffocation quickly in any relationship! Without necessary space I am likely to freak out. I tend to be a bit of an introvert as I discussed a couple of posts back. That and I have had ample problems with other people’s expectations, and with those I perceive to be authority figures.

I remember one time when I was cleaning the fridge back at our old apartment. As I was cleaning, Casey walked by and said “Great job babe” or something similar. My immediate response was “you’re not my manager.” It was pretty funny to me, but I think it took Casey a little for bit for her to have the same sentiment for the comment.

Just so you know, I don’t believe my wife is my manager.

I have given ample thought to this situation and here is what I am concluding. Some unresolved stuff in me thought that she was trying to condition my behavior… So, I revolted!

I imagine this feeling is common place in relationships that require this amount of time to be spent together. Or maybe I am just justifying my behavior 🙂

Despite occasional revolts from feelings of being controlled, thankfully Casey and I have worked well together! But it isn’t controlling each other that has helped our lives together grow so rapidly.

We certainly push each other, encourage each other, and compliment each other! We understand that in order to have a happy relationship, we need to change, grow, and find success in new territories.

Casey knows that my success is her success, and my clean fridge is her clean fridge. And most of the time, I stay reminded of the very same thing!

Team Players!

We understand that we are a team. We realize that the team needs the fridge to be cleaned, the litter boxes to be emptied, the dishes to be done, and so on and so forth with the never ending list of responsibilities there are to take care of.

Even though sometimes innocent comments about my cleaning performance can be viewed as attempts to condition my behavior, it doesn’t really matter because that is all part of the process.

To be in a healthy, intimate relationship, we must allow the other person to leave their mark on us. They need to know that their needs, are needs that not only they care about.

Now does it really matter that compliments may be a great way to make it more likely that someone will behave the way I would like them to? When it comes to having a healthy relationship, of course not!

Casey isn’t making me be in my marriage, nobody is making me show up to weekly baby appointments, and cleaning the litter box. Nobody is forcing Casey to make any contribution to My Life Experiment blog, or any of the thousand contributions she has made to my life.

We choose to be in this relationship. And we choose to make it a healthy one. Both individually and mutually making contributions to each other!

A big reason I have been able to keep my end of this relationship healthy is because I have kept my own mental and emotional health in check. This has come from me showing up for my personal recovery.

Another great tool I have is the Therapeutic Writing Guidelines we have developed. This writing process has made huge contribution after huge contribution to my recovery. If you would like to obtain a printable copy, go ahead and join My Life Experiment’s email list on the side bar! You will get a printable Therapeutic Writing Guide, as well as receive our new blog posts directly to your email.

Thank you very much for stopping in to My Life Experiment once again or for the first time. We appreciate you all for supporting this family endeavor!

Preparing for Fatherhood.

Seven P's

As I have said in several of my posts on My Life Experiment, I am soon to be a father for the first time! The reality of this new girl coming into the world is sinking in deeper every day. She already has a room in our new house and has a name, Ada Ray.

I am immensely excited about this new challenge that is coming, but I also feel a large space in my mind that doesn’t really know what is about to come. I take this feeling of empty space in my mind to mean that I have preparations to make. I like a saying I heard when I was in Culinary School. The saying is called “The 7 P’s”, which stands for Proper Planning and Preparation, Prevents Piss Poor Performance. The last thing that is needed here is piss poor performance, the stakes are too high for anything but the best.

Recently, I picked up a book called Hacking Fatherhood: Preparing For Success In The Biggest Role of Your Life“. Up until now it has been a nice read, but I will let you know more later! I can already feel that it is filling up some of that void in my mind. But it is a vast space, and one that will could very well always be there!

For some reason I do not have much of a fear of messing this situation up. There is angst though. This angst is fueling my experiment of gathering new finances and information. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be intensifying my knowledge quest to help fill this blank space in my brain that is begging for information! I am committing to read a parenting type of book per week, until the little one arrives! When I finish each book, I will let you know what I think of it by giving a little review.

This little girl that is soon to arrive has sparked a lot of responsible action in our household and I am digging it. I remember when I was in college. Having a deadline was great for helping me get my stuff done. Though in the beginning I would wait until the last minute to get my assignments done and cram for tests! By the end of my college career I learned to get started on my assignments and test studying earlier, not saving all the work until just before the deadline. I am grateful I learned that lesson because frantically rushing to prepare for our girl at the last minute, sounds like a horribly stressful time!

That is all I have for today, come on back to My Life Experiment, there is more to learn every single day!

Raising the Family’s Means.

This My Life Experiment blog is all about setting off on new experiments to develop habits that will ensure that I continue growing in as many aspects of my life as I can. So far, I have shared about my Compliment Experiment, Gratitude Experiment, and Meditation Experiment! At this time, I have some ideas for what my next life experiment will be, but I have not gotten it locked down yet. In the mean time I have had a concept on my mind that I want to explore here, so let’s explore!

For this post I need to talk about striking a balance between two very related topics. The topics are “living within our means” and “taking manageable risks.”

First let’s talk about what it means for me to live within my means. What are my means that I am supposed to live within? My best understanding of the topic, is that my means are simply all resources that may be available to me in the present moment. So financially my current means would be the income of my family, and even funds that others may have committed to offering. So basically, whatever I can get my hands on!

It’s in the financial world that I typically hear the “live within your means” story. Which to me is about spending resources that I currently have, on things I really need. And of course, not the opposite, spending resources I currently don’t have, on things I don’t need.

This Life Experiment of mine has brought me into a good deal financial debt these days. I graduated from University two years ago, and my wife and I recently bought a new house after finding out our first baby was on her way. Tie that in with student loans for my wife as well, and that says that we have quite a lot of debt. Some might say it is irresponsible to take on this much debt, or any debt at all. I don’t see much of a problem with it though.

I don’t have a problem with my family’s current level of debt because it is manageable and accumulated for good reason. I love to learn, and I feel the only way I could have gotten the type of education is through sitting in front of Professors and having imposed deadlines on the work I did. We decided to buy a house because we knew there was a baby on the way and felt like securing a place we could more comfortably grow our family in. And any credit card debt we have is paid off quickly so that we get rewards, instead of accrued interest! The decisions we have made so far haven’t saddled us with debt, but we have made decisions that would challenge our current financial and non-financial capabilities for years to come!

For my life experiment, challenging my current abilities is one of the most important things I can do for myself. And for my family for that matter! I believe the only way to expand my current means is by challenging myself, by taking manageable risks! Now don’t get me wrong here, I can challenge myself too much, but then that risk isn’t very manageable now is it. To now get loans on two cars and load up our credit cards to spruce up our beautiful new house, in my opinion would be completely irresponsible.

I don’t know about any of you, but if I do not take enough risks, this life experiment of mine can get excruciatingly boring! There is simply far too much energy inside of this body of mine. This energy is chomping at the bit to find its way into the world, and sometimes if it isn’t able to come out very soon, that will have consequences on my mental and emotional health. Meaning that my tendency towards depression and crippling anxiety starts nipping at my heels, which I cannot stand. I must keep moving, and that means raising the quality of my standard of living! So I am happy student loans were available when I wanted an education, and that a mortgage was available to get a house. Because I don’t think I would be patient enough to save up and pay out of pocket!

Raise those means!

Since making the massive decisions of having a child and taking on all this new debt, the way I go after money has changed drastically. My tendency had been to get comfortable at a job and not try very hard to advance. After realizing the direction my family’s life was taking, I immediately applied for a new position at my company. I got the promotion which eventually didn’t work out, but the point is that I took the big risk! The risk ultimately did pan out though because I gained respect from the company for taking on a tricky responsibility and will be in the running for future opportunities.

I have also been looking for new ways to earn from all sorts of different areas that I was not willing to try before, or even realized existed! I began playing with some stocks, taking surveys online, looking for online freelance work, and of course starting this blog! While researching and developing these new methods of making extra cash I am gaining a wealth of new information that is making my future look damn good!

It is safe to say that my current state is “HUSTLE MODE!” I am hustling more than ever because the stakes are higher than ever. My HUSTLE is to make sure the new risks we have taken to increase the means for our growing family, are manageable! I don’t know where this hustle is going to take us, but it sure is opening a lot of new beautiful and exciting doors!

Thank you for stopping by! And please remember that the views expressed here are my own personal interpretation and are not meant to be taken as simply the way things are! If you found the ideas in this post to be helpful, feel free to use them! Also if you found these ideas to be helpful, please share them on your social media to help me grow this HUSTLE of mine! Thank you all of taking the time to check out My Life Experiment, I have nothing but love for all of you!

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