Tuesday, September 24, 2019

I have an Autoimmune Disease but I live like I don't?

I was listening to a podcast the other day by EYK. Martina was talking about her chronic illness, chronic pain, and also chronic depression, and how she has to make sure she modifies her life so that she doesn't shut down. She described the steps she takes to cope with her chronic illness and how she builds a ladder so she can function as well as she can in everyday life.

I have chronic gut issues. I have not slept through the night (except one time) since my daughter was born. I have some serious autoimmune diseases that I deal with on a daily basis, and yet, I realized as I listened to all the things Martina and her husband do to help her through her day--I try and live like I have no health problems. I put a lot of pressure on myself to maintain a normal life. I don't cut corners or modify my life with my autoimmune diseases and fatigue in mind.

This is perhaps the stupidest decision I have ever made in the last 7 years I have been actively battling against my autoimmune issues (and 4 years of limited sleep, with first Reuben and now Rebekah).

I will tell you that realizing and verbalizing this has taken a load off my shoulders. Now instead of saying "I am too tired" to go out when my husband asks, and feeling guilty about it, or pushing myself to go out because I don't know how to explain the complex reasons I feel I can't, I now say "I didn't sleep well last night because the baby woke up a lot and for my mental and emotional health I am going to stay home so I don't add more to my plate".

This has created worlds of positive communication in my marriage. I never knew how to say that last sentence or even put it into words until I listened to Martina say basically the same thing. My husband and I used to argue a lot because he would want to go out on the weekends but I would be so tired after a full week that I didn't want too. But I couldn't tell him why I didn't want too because I was so exhausted and didn't know how. This lack of information baffled my husband and usually he could push me to go out, thinking I needed motivation or encouragement. Thus I would go out and our excursion would be fun, but I would completely crash the rest of the day and sometime even the next day. I would have crippling anxiety and depression due to ignoring my bodies natural cues not to overexert myself. And my husband would be, in these times, forced to carry the majority of the childcare. 

I have two young children, one who still does not sleep through the night. I have serious autoimmune and food issues. And I need to start living like it. I need to say no. I need to take my limitations in hand as I make goals. I need to rest. In this season it is okay not to push myself and I don't need to feel bad about it.

I've made some changes the last few days and it's been refreshing. I feel slightly energized instead of drained all the time. And it's nice for me to be able to communicate why I can't do something and to loose the guilt attached to not maintaining "normal".

I'm not normal. This is my season and I need to adjust to it.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Adventures in Sleep Training

If you have read my blog you will know I make children that don't sleep. I have a few rare friends whose kids were sleeping through the night by 2 months. Taking a very nonacademic statistical analysis of half my friends shows that most kids sleep all night by eight months, with a few stragglers around 12-13 months old.

Becky is 20 months old. Reuben himself slept through the night around 2.3 years old when we night weaned, but I thought he was the anomaly because of his horrible allergies. (He also regressed to no longer sleeping through the night when Becky was born for twoish months so that was, as you can guess, just wonderful)

Most people who I tell of my sleepless woes seem to blame my parenting. But I know several moms who do almost the same thing I do--(by this I mean attachment parent and bed share) so please don't blame my parenting style for the no-sleep offspring problem. I had another friend tell me my kids don't sleep because I nurse; like breast milk is keeping my baby awake. I had make a visible effort not to roll my eyes at that one. 

Anyway, everyone thinks they have the answers for me. But the thing is each child is different. Doctors say sleep is developmental like walking and talking. Each kid hits this milestone at a different time when they and their bodies are ready. I can create nice sleep-inducing environments with blackout curtains and white noise machines and wear out the children with various outside activities, but I simply can't make a child sleep.  

I've learned to let go of my sleep expectations. I have come to an understanding that if my kid sleeps, great, and if not--I can be okay too. My child's lack of sleep does not mean I am a bad parent. I can let go of my feelings of frustration and shame that I can't get my child to sleep. If someone else's child is sleeping though the night it does not mean they are a better parent than I, just like when another's baby walks sooner or talks sooner. It's just developmental. I also had to learn to lower my expectations and my ability levels when I have not slept well a few nights in a row. I stay home. I cook easy meals like tuna and peanut butter and jelly. We do more television time. It was hard for me to learn to take it easy when I have not slept--I am a type A machine sometimes and can feel a lot of guilt and stress over "letting things go". I'm learning that I need to rest first, and worry about cleaning and cooking second on days I am tired.

Conversely, I am of the mind that babies sometimes need to be taught to sleep through the night. Sometimes they just are not learning it on their own and need some nudging. At 20 weeks I tried sleep training Becky by night weaning her, but I woke up at least every 45 minutes for about three days and that was not sustainable. I couldn't function, I was having anxiety and depression. I knew I needed sleep and thus, after a week's break, my husband took over training Becky while I slept on the couch. It took me one week to learn to sleep all the way through the night by myself again, after 21 months of waking up at least 3-5 times a night. 

Also, holy engorgement. I've had two plugged ducts due to night weaning.

But I finally feel human again! It took Becky seven days to learn to sleep through the night. The first time she did it was last night and unfortunately my husband and I did not get to enjoy deep sleep ourselves, because hubby has food poisoning and I was up helping him, or being woke by him. Poor husband. Now both of us are tired with hyper, well-slept children.

I am praying that Becky continues to sleep through the night and that my husband and I both can rest, too. The sleep adventures of raising small children are definitely some of the most difficult times I have encountered in this parenting journey. Through it all God has taught and stretched me like no other. He is good, and my blessings still abound even in this tired season.

So, when did your kids sleep through the night? 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

More Gloves

I'm going back through my "old" knitting tutorials and remaking things so I can update the pictures. Better pictures, more customers. Honestly, some of my project and pattern photos are so bad I have almost just trashed the whole tutorial! These must be fixed!!

First project done. The Quick Fancy Gloves have been knit in bulky knit-picks wool and photos have been taken! You can buy this pattern if you are interested on Ravelry here!

I know I am not a "legit" photographer, but even I can take simi-good photos. And it is a skill I need if I am going to try selling things online! Any and all tips are appreciated.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Our Morning Basket

Our morning basket changes, well, every morning. But here it is: what is in our preschool Charlotte Mason morning basket this week! I also go into a full tour of our homeschool shelf and some of the books we are using for our year zero.

Friday, September 6, 2019


The second blog post I chose to turn into video is this one. Making these is healing for me, in a deep, unfathomable way. I planned out six--and I look forward to the next project. This one is about purpose.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


I wanted to attempt to turn some of my blog posts into videos. This is my first try. It's this blog post (called Motherhood Needs) made into a film. I have named it "space".