Gone Coastal

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's a Nephew!

Congrats go out to the Bear's brother and his wife on their second son, who arrived early this morning. A little early, but we saw them on the weekend and I think his mom would consider that right on time!


Monday, February 19, 2007


As I said in my last post, we were on the mainland this weekend. We were there to see off some friends, the last couple from our MAF candidacy class to head out to the field. Walt and Ev Driediger are headed for Botswana this week to begin a four year assignment. They held a send-off event - a Flight Fiesta - on Friday night at their home church near Chilliwack, and commissionings at both services. We went to the Fiesta and their Saturday evening service. We had the chance to meet the family they're leaving behind, including four married kids, six grandkids and two more on the way.
Walt is an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, and will be helping to keep the planes in good working order and possibly taking part in training nationals. Ev is a nurse, recently retired, and hopes to become involved with the extensive HIV/AIDS ministry. Both were involved in the ministry of the Christian Motorcyclists Association (there were a lot of CMA jackets and vests at the Fiesta). They'll be working with one of MAF's partner organizations, Flying Mission. And we are a part of their team, supporting them both with finances and with critical prayer support and encouragement. That's a role I've begun to appreciate the significance of as I've connected with the others already in the field. The power of an encouraging word from home, a reminder that they're not forgotten after the send-off, is huge.
Walt and Ev will be leaving early Tuesday afternoon and travelling for nearly two full days to Gabarone. If you find them on your heart, say a prayer, but I encourage you also, if you know of folks in the field, maybe people you prayed or encouraged before they left or are supporting financially, lift them up, too. And I challenge you to let them know you're still with them. Send them an e-mail, or better yet, a real letter or package by snail mail, something they can hold in their hands. Even if you don't hear back, it's worth the effort.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Night Out Without

That's right. Without T.
We're on the mainland this weekend, staying at chez mom. Which meant when we got home last night around T's bedtime but having not eaten yet ourselves, we could tuck her in and zip out for dinner by ourselves, knowing Mor-Mor was there to watch over her.
It was our first dinner out just the two of us since she arrived and it was well worth it, even if it meant starting formula prep at eleven when we came home and having her wake up hungry (she never wakes up anymore 'til morning) when I came to bed and feeding her not one but TWO bottles before she was ready to sleep again.
Thanks, Mom!

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Post-partum review

I go to a 'Baby Talk' session at the local health unit on Mondays. It's mostly a chance for moms to get together and compare notes, facilitated by a public health nurse, with different topics. Last week they had a guest from the Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children, speaking on self esteem, for both parents and children. It was all moms and babes this week (no dads), and we never actually got to discussing the kids.
We were listing some of the things that defined us before starting families, and the mom next to me brought up mental stability, a reference to postpartum depression. I turned to her and quietly said 'Thank you.' I spoke with her briefly afterward. She had experienced PPD requiring medication with her first child. Thankfully she had fared much better with her second, who is just a little younger than T. Though I'd shared some of my experiences here, it was the first time it had come up among the moms I've met here. In the general chatting that always follows, I added two more moms to that list. A significant number in the group I spoke with, but none of us had known about the others.
One mom who lives up the street from me, whom I'd got to know a little, had just recently realized that she had been suffering because she started to come out of it. It took a week of feeling somewhat good and 'normal' again for her to recognize where she'd been. And I hadn't recognized it in her.
I was well aware of the 'phenomenon' of postpartum depression. There was info in our prenatal class materials, in the Baby's Best Chance book from the government, in the hospital, from the public health nurses. All the bulletins speak of the statistics, what it means, when to call someone. But there was nothing about what anyone would or could do if you did call. I recognized it in myself as being more than just the 'baby blues'. Mostly because I'd been there before. Not postpartum, but depression. As a teenager I went through a long period of deep, suicidal depression. The packaging was different, but much of the emotions were familiar. I felt worthless. Unlovable. Helpless. Alone. Instead of hanging around the junior high band room after hours, I'd be early for every doctor's appointment, and take T to the health unit to weigh her, clinging tight to even the subtlest word that I was okay and meeting muster. I'd log in to the work system regularly so as not to let go of my former world and identity, or miss any opportunity for a social connection.
As a teenager, I reached a point where the mere fact that I was still alive was evidence to me that this God I'd been getting to know had other plans for me. That was the big hand up that started my climb out of the mire, and set me on a path to following Christ. This time, one thread I was able to hang on to was the knowledge that, no matter how ill-equipped I was, this little life in my arms was dependent on me, and faced with that I looked back on the promises I'd been given before we embarked on the path toward parenthood.
By God's grace, this was not a long journey. Weeks of dark days became days with dark hours, and slowly, weeks with not so shiny periods. But as hard as it was, I also learned from it. As I came to God in prayer for strength and comfort, he'd lift me up and show me what I'd carried into the pit. I saw pride, a feeling that I was above depression and the things that came with it, and therefore above others who continued to struggle with it. Being in that place also reminded me of the irrationality of depression, and the way it distorts your perception, filling me with grace for others who struggle around me.
This excellent post at Rocks in My Dryer provides a description of that author's depression as a wilderness experience. I really appreciated her perspective, as did the thirty-some readers who posted comments, who knows how many more from the silent majority.
I've written this post because of the women at the mom's group who went through their postpartum alone, thinking they were the only one, or at least not knowing who the other statistics right beside them were. But I also hope it will give other Christians cause to examine our perspective on depression, especially amongst other Christians. I still have rough days, times when I fight back the tears, but now they're in proportion to the challenges of being a new parent. I pray that I'll not forget what the Lord has done in my own wilderness.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Small Victories

She let me paint this morning! For about an hour her first feed. She won't always go back to bed after the first bottle, and lately it's definitely been the exception. But today she did and I was able to zip downstairs, ignoring the pitiful hounds, and do my homework assignment for my acrylics class tonight.
I warned the instructor last class that I couldn't guarantee that I'd get a window to work at home, and I was starting to think it'd be a self-fulfilling prophecy after trying most of the day yesterday to get back to the workspace (the long lost kitchen table) I'd cleared for our Sunday session. I would've been happy with even an incomplete project, just to be able to apply some of what we were learning, but it's all done.

The paint is drying downstairs, and I think I'll get out of my PJs now before she wakes up. Have a colourful day.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Princess Pout

She's sleeping, out for the night. She did have a refreshing smiley stretch before bedtime, but not before I captured that pitiful lower lip for posterity.


The nap


We'll see how long it lasts. It's been a very long day. T's been unusually hard to soothe. When we got up this morning she was not unhappy, but neither was she at all interested in going back to her crib. We had some floor time and played for awhile, I had my breakfast, and eventually she was ready for another bottle. I was hoping to get a bit more cleaning done this morning, as our Sunday art day was at my place today. But she wasn't content to be in her chair, even beside me as I worked for more than 20 minutes at a time, so most of what did get done was done one-armed with her in the other, fussing. Finally after her third bottle, I did get her to lie in her crib for about half an hour while I cleared off the table for a workspace. I don't think she was asleep for much of it, though.
As for how long it lasted, she's crying again. Sigh. It seems the rest of this will be typed one-handed again.
Today's art 'project' was finger painting, which we had great fun with. The whole idea was to do something to break the mental barrier, because who expects to make a masterpiece with tempera paints on the kitchen table. I'd say it was a great success, because we played with different ideas and made a beautiful mess. Well, I didn't play all that much, because, again, T was only content to watch for about twenty minutes before needing a bottle, a carry or a gum massage. My friend made what we'll call an accidental masterpiece, an eagle in flight that emerged as the happy result of a transfer print experiment.
T took a short snooze after as we walked to La Collina for tea and a bite, but woke up stinky shortly after we sat down (about ten minutes) so we didn't linger.
Her gums have been bugging her, so she gets hungry and cries, but she won't finish her bottle. And I know she's tired because she gives me all the signs, even nodding off while feeding (it was very cute at one feed because she dozed off and dropped her mouth open, I took the bottle away but you'd still see her tongue moving to suck and swallow as her eyes slowly closed.) But she hasn't stayed asleep for any length of time. If she sleeps 'on' me I can't do much in the way of moving without waking her up, which today seems as often as not to trigger another round of tears. If I manage to put her down without starting something she doesn't stay there long. At the moment, she's asleep against my chest, sitting on my arm, which I've managed to prop up on the edge of my drawing table as I type.
We took a walk 'round the block sans stroller about an hour or so ago, which settled her for awhile until we came around the corner towards home again. I can only hope for a slightly earlier night (but still late enough that it doesn't translate into an early morning;). I'm off to try to finish the banana bread I started three hours ago.
I'm glad not all days are like this.
Here's the other masterpiece we produced today, a mother-daughter collaboration: