motherhood · Uncategorized

Toxic Positivity and Parenthood

As parents, we often get a lot of unsolicited advice. We are told that what we’re going through right now isn’t that bad, and oh but wait, it’s going to get worse when your child is such and such age. The thing is though, that is not usually comforting and it usually doesn’t help the situation. We used to hear the phrase “it takes a village” in reference to neighbors, friends and family helping to raise kids and teach them. It is not like that these days unfortunately for many people. People may think they are supporting you when they are actually doing more harm than good.

Toxic positivity is an obsession with positive thinking. It is the belief that people should put a positive spin on all experiences, even those that are profoundly tragic. Now, you might ask yourself, “self, what is wrong with trying to look on the bright side and see the good in any situation?” In theory, nothing, but in reality, there is not going to be good in every situation, and it can make your feelings and emotions feel unseen. You may feel as though you need to pretend to be happy even when you are struggling.

It is frustrating and demeaning to be told in the mist of a toddler tantrum that it will only get worse as they get older, or at least they are having the tantrum at home and not at school. Comments like that are toxic positivity. The comments make you feel like you shouldn’t be feeling what you do, and if you do, what’s wrong with you? In the midst of an experience when you need actual support, hearing comments like that can be so frustrating. It makes you not want to confide in someone any longer because all they do is invalidate you.

Some other examples of toxic positivity might include: telling someone who has suffered a miscarriage that at least she knows she can get pregnant, telling someone to not be sad over a death of a loved one but to instead cherish the time they had with them, telling someone that things could always be worse, just move on, etc. Toxic positivity even includes phrases like “you’re doing a great job”. That doesn’t seem like it would be toxic but if you’re explaining to someone that you feel overwhelmed and like you’re drowning and failing, hearing “you’re doing a great job” is glossing over everything you just said about how you feel and once again invalidating your feelings. It is putting the situation in a box and putting a bow on it and calling it a day. This action shows that it is easier to just tell someone they are doing a good job than actually listen or try to help.

I’m a mom of two. I have a 3 year old and an 8 month old. I also have postpartum depression and anxiety. Toxic positivity I have experienced has included being told that I have two beautiful and healthy sons, why am I depressed? It is comments like that, that make parents feel like what they are feeling isn’t valid, and may even need enough to discourage said parent from seeking help by way of therapy or medication. That’s not the case for me as I tell anyone and everyone I have PPD and PPA. You can read more about my experiences with PPD here.

Positive thinking is not a bad thing, I’m not saying that positive thinking is toxic positivity. It’s not. Positive thinking can go a long way and be very helpful. Having a positive mindset can help you reach goals by giving you motivation and understanding.

A lot of times, people may not even realize they are promoting a toxic positivity environment. They might believe they are just sharing positive thinking. For example, if you’ve heard the phrase, “good vibes only”, it is essentially discounting any other “vibes” and saying there’s no space for them. That isn’t realistic and by promoting that type of mindset, it’s discouraging to both parents and children alike; as well as people in general who are not parents.

The Daily Positive says that toxic positivity interferes with the progress in your life. Healthy Positivity inspires purpose in your life.

If you’ve experienced toxic Positive, which many of us have, did it affect your progress with whatever situation you were in? What type of response did you give when exposed to toxic positivity? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments or feel free to DM me on Instagram.

Much love, Stef

#postpartum #toxicpositivity #postpartumdepression #postpartumanything #anxiety #motherhoodblog #thebevinsclan #parenthood #ittakesavillage #unsolicitedadvice #parentingexperiences

motherhood · Uncategorized

Transitioning from Cosleeping to the Crib

At therapy last week, we discussed and made a plan to get both kids out of our bedroom (and bed) and get Sawyer to his crib and Colt to his toddler bed. We started that very afternoon. No one was getting restful sleep and I was feeling so incredibly touched out. I needed some space. It was really getting to me that I had no personal space and no time to myself and was making my anxiety worse.

It’s been almost a week and Sawyer has slept for 2 naps a day and each night in his crib. The first few nights were good, then for about 2 nights he was up almost every hour and a half and let me tell you, that was rough. I am so used to co-sleeping and just nursing Sawyer back to sleep that for me to get up out of bed, go upstairs, and then nurse him and then transfer him to his crib, it’s a whole process. Last night was great though! I believe it’s because I was doing some research, etc. on how many hours a day an almost 8 month old needs to actually sleep and I came across an article that said how many hours a day should be nap time and if baby naps, then xyz is bedtime, if baby doesn’t nap, it’s early and you’ll put them to bed at xyz time. So yesterday we did the naps based on how many hours he should be napping and then he was in bed 3.5 hours later after his last nap and it was WONDERFUL! He woke up a few times and was a little fussy, but not crying and fell back to sleep within a few minutes. Around 1am he was a little more fussy so I got up and went upstairs to nurse him and was able to get him transferred back to the crib without him waking and then he didn’t wake up again until about 5:30am. So I’ll consider that a huge win.

But, my problem with all this is, I am hearing him cry even when he’s not! It’s the oddest thing and I think a lot of parents can relate to hear phantom cries. I’ll wake up and look at the baby monitor and feel like I just heard him crying but there he is, fast asleep. I know I can’t be the only one. Has this happened to you?

We are going through the cosleeping to crib process earlier with Sawyer than we did with Colt. With Colt, I stopped breastfeeding and we transferred him to the crib at 19 months. Colt did good for about 9 months or so, but when we brought Sawyer home from the hospital last August, all bets were off. Everyone was in mom and dad’s bed. FOMO anyone?

When talking with my therapist, we decided that it’s best to focus on Sawyer first, because with Colt so attached to me, I need Sawyer to be asleep and in a routine before we start working on getting Colt into his new room and into his toddler bed. He’s only taken 1 nap in there so far. We are going to give it maybe 2-3 weeks of Sawyer in his crib and then go from there to get Colt to his room. I’m looking forward to the day when I can sprawl out in my bed and not have to worry about wearing something nursing friendly to bed LOL.

Don’t get me wrong, I love love love the snuggles and cuddles and seeing my sweet boys sleep at night, but at this point, for my mental health, I need some space. Sawyer is doing really well overall with the crib. We have a weighted sleep sack that he’s using and I have it flipped backwards since he’s a belly sleeper a majority of the time, so then it’s the weighted part on his back and feels like a hand there so it’s comforting to him.

I already feel a weight off my shoulders due to the time I gain from not having to contact nap. Like I said, I love the snuggles and love holding Sawyer to sleep, but I don’t want it to be for every nap. If we are home, I’m going to make every effort to make sure he naps in his crib. It gives me time to do things I want to do, like write this blog post. Sweet Sawyer is taking his 2nd nap of the day in his crib right now. And guess where Colt is napping? In our bed with my husband Kyle. Things are changing, and it’s important to remember it’s all a season of parenthood.

Making a change like this is definitely an adjustment, but thankfully so far there hasn’t been too many tears, mostly just whining. I don’t think my momma heart could take tons of crying with this process. I’ll add also that to help Sawyer sleep, the camera for the baby monitor has music playing, I have a fan on that has noise and he also has a sound machine. This is not only for him to be able to sleep peacefully, but with a loud 3 year old and 2 dogs who bark at everything, it’s necessary. I don’t want anyone to have to tiptoe around because the baby is sleeping.

Tell me what you think, did you cosleep? Were your kids in their crib right from the start? I support all parents and know that what works for me and my family may be entirely different than what works for you and yours. Parenthood is about lifting each other up and finding your virtual village to help. Parenthood is HARD.

Much love, Stef

#postpartum #ppd #anxiety #postpartumdepression #cosleeping #roomsharing #cribsleeping #thebevinsclan #therapist #mentalhealthawareness #lifestyleblogger #motherhoodblog #momswhoblog #virtualvillage

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motherhood

My Postpartum Journey

Postpartum is different for each and every birthing person, each and every time they give birth. My recovery from my second pregnancy with Sawyer has been a lot more challenging than it was with Colt after my first pregnancy.

My Postpartum journey has had a lot of challenges this time including Postpartum depression. My pregnancy and delivery with Sawyer was much more difficult and traumatic than my pregnancy, labor and delivery with Colt.

Postpartum depression can show up at anytime following the birth of a child. For some parents, it may be immediately after giving birth, for others it could be months or even years down the road. For me, it hit a few weeks after Sawyer was born and I am still in the midst of it. Having a second baby brings on all the emotions and feelings as it is, but also having postpartum depression just hits different. I opted to notify my PCP and we increased my antidepressants and we are going to check back in a month to see if I’ve had any improvement. I’m also going to start therapy again. These options are what work best for me with my Postpartum depression and it may not be what works for you.

I won’t go into all the warning signs of postpartum depression in this post, I’ll save that for another time. Just know you aren’t alone and so many other mommas and parents are going through it too. Feel free to reach out if you want some peer support 💜

#postpartum #ppd #momblogger #postpartumdepression #postpartumanxiety #mentalhealth #postpartumjourney #motherhood #depression