Postpartum Depression Resources for Military in the KMC

When you’re military living overseas, it sure can be overwhelming– the culture, language barrier, and of course the normal stressors that go along with being so far away from family and close friends.

When we moved to Germany almost one year ago, I was in the throws of struggling badly with postpartum depression. We had two kids under two and I had a really tough time adjusting to living overseas, so much so that it affected me as a wife and a mother. I quickly became so depressed that I would lounge in my PJs all day, sit my boys in front of the TV, and just pray that frozen food or cereal would be okay for dinner that night.

Deep down, I knew I was struggling, but I didn’t even know where to begin to ask for help.

Unfortunately, mental illness such as postpartum depression, is viewed as a stigma… which is also a wide range of reasons why moms don’t speak up about struggling with postpartum depression.

I talk about just a few of those reasons in this previous blog post.

Mental Health Resources for Moms in the KMC

 

After going through my own bumpy ride of PPD, I realized how difficult it can be to access resources when you really need them the most– especially when you move to a different country.

Luckily, being in a military community, resources for mental health can be obtained through a variety of channels as well as connecting with amazing and supportive people. With the help of  Kelsey W. Hurlburt, Resource Coordinator in the Kaiserslautern military community, I have listed the various resources that can be helpful for those who may be suffering with postpartum depression…as well as other mental illnesses.

 

 

 

 

KMC PPA & PPD Resources

Emergency Numbers:

                Germany Emergency Response*: 112 (fire & medical), 110 (police)

Veterans Crisis Line* (available to dependents 24/7):

From DE #: 00800 1273 8255

From US #: 1-800-273-8255 (opt 1)

From DSN: 118*

 

Live Chat: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

US National Suicide Hotline* (24/7):

00-1-800-273-8255

Hospital Services – Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC):

GPS Address: Dr. Hitzelberger-Strasse, 66849 Landstuhl

LRMC Info Desk (24/7):

CIV: 06371-9464-4100

DSN: 590-4100

 

LRMC Emergency Room:

CIV: 06371-9464-6322

DSN: 590-632

 

Mental Health Services:

Landstuhl Behavioral Health (LRMC Ward 1C, directly above Family Practice)

CIV: 06371-9464-5847

DSN: 590-5847

Hours: Walk-in M-F 0730 – 1630, after hours go to LRMC ER to access on-call social worker

Landstuhl Child & Family Behavioral Health (LRMC Ward 1D)

CIV: 06371-9464-6311

DSN: 314-590-6311

Ramstein Mental Health (RAB – Bldg 2121, 3rd Fl)

CIV: 06371-46-2390

DSN: 479-2390

Hours: 0700 – 1630, walk-ins OK, after hours call will auto forward, request to be connected to on call mental health provider

 

Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC)

                Ramstein:

CIV: 0152-2421 1233; 0152-0266 3352; 0176-6933 3243; 0151-5674 8179

Hours: M – F 0800-2000

 

 

KMC Mental Health Resource Guide

Confidential services (no records kept), not intended for emergency/life threatening situations, general counseling only

Army                    

Landstuhl Post: 0152-2479-2650

Pulaski Barracks/Daenner Kaserne: 0170-369-3292

Rhine Ordnance Barracks (ROB): 0175-601-1985

Sembach Kaserne: 0175-792-3332

 

Military One Source*

Live Chat: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/confidential-help

24/7# CIV: 00-800-342-96477

24/7# DSN: 800-342-9647

 

Ramstein Chaplain

DSN: 480-6148

CIV: 06371-47-6148

Hours: 0730 – 1630, after hours call will auto forward, request to be connected to on call Chaplain  (walk-ins welcome)

Landstuhl Chaplain (Bldg 3764, 1st Fl, Between 4 Corners Info & Dining Facility)

DSN: 590-5713

CIV: 06371-9464-5713

Hours: 0800 – 1600 (walk-ins welcome)

 

                Parent & Outreach Services (Rhine Ordinance Barracks, Bldg 162)

CIV: 0611-143-541-9066

DSN: (314)541-9066

Hours: M – F, 0800 – 1700

*Indicates US-based service, not located in the Kaiserslautern Military Community

 

If you reside in the KMC, please share this so the respectable resources can be easily obtained to other mamas that may be struggling in silence.

 

If you are military in a different area, whether it be overseas or state side and if you would like to contribute to my upcoming Postpartum Health Military Resources Guide, please fill out the form below.

 

Remember mama, even in your darkest days, you are NOT alone. There is a tribe of mamas out there that know what it’s like and can offer you an abundance of support. We can get through this together!

 

 

A big thank you to KMC Resource Coordinator Kelsey W. Hurlburt for gathering these helpful resources for me.
Continue Reading

To My Wild ONE–Happy Birthday!

My dear friend Emmielley took my little guy’s smash cake photos this weekend and I am in love! 

here are a few….

he DEVOURED that cake!!!

 

 

It’s my BABY’S birthday week– excuse me while I go cry.

17904318_10154508039032671_6766581680100625160_n

Our first time meeting

 

 

 

17951563_10154508040237671_8594724234393343339_n

Close up of that sweet little face…couldn’t be more in love!

 

Seriously, where did the first year go?! It sounds pretty corny but it’s true: kids really DO grow too fast and this time around, I feel like I blinked and my chunky little babe is growing into a toddler!

MAKE IT STOP!!

 

30516687_10155473416457671_379676281492471808_n

 

I’m looking back on all the amazing pictures of my Bubba’s first year of life and man, is it sooo bittersweet. I want him to stay that tiny little boy forever…but I also love watching him grow and learn new things!

 

27971568_10155334403547671_6147712299015078197_n

 

 

29790398_10155459956197671_9038926529615077836_n

 

 

There are a few things that I want to say to my sweet little fiery baby boy…..

here it goes:

Dear Bernard (or Bubba as we mainly call you),

You are ONE!

Welcome to the world of toddler-hood where you will begin to discover even more amazing things & learn so much. You are already the very curious little guy–always searching for a toy to play with or following your big brother around….or pulling the cabinets opened to see what’s inside of them. Yes, you are a very BUSY little boy! You sure keep mommy on her toes! I’m always chasing you around the house and now that your mainly walking, you’re even harder to keep an eye on. But that’s okay. You’re active and healthy and that’s what I need to focus on when you get into EVERYTHING and I feel like ripping my hair out! Haha! But I love you so much. You have taught me SO MUCH this past year about myself and how to be a better person (and a better mother).

You have given my life so much more purpose…I never knew that I needed you until I held you in my arms and stared at your sweet precious face. You complete me. You and your brother fill my heart with so much love that it’s impossible to describe.

You are my soul.

I think of you & your brother as my heart and soul. Your brother…he’s my heart. He made me a momma first…he put real love in my heart…love that I had no idea even existed.

And you are my soul. You gave me life again. You gave me one more reason why I was put on this Earth and that simple reason is: to be your momma.

I love you so much sweet boy and I want to give you the WORLD….but I also know that you will have no problem taking it on! You are destined for AMAZING things…just never stop believing in yourself. Never stop dreaming…never stop striving for what you want in this life and you will go so far.

I’m so blessed, so lucky to be your momma and to be able to watch you grow; to be able to see you learn so much and to discover something new every day. You are discovering this world around you & it’s the most precious thing to witness. It’s also so fun to watch your personality bloom and did I tell you that your funny? You make us laugh all the time! You also have a bit of a temper and you get MAD when momma doesn’t feed you fast enough! You’re just so fun. I love my days with you & I can’t wait to see what this next year of your life will bring!!!

Love you so much precious boy & Happy 1st Birthday<3

 

 

21192131_10154914590352671_1242354485539369824_n19247757_10154698726797671_8712893772090081688_n20637840_10154857639952671_2552922370971591875_n

Continue Reading

15 Things I’ve Learned During My First Year With 2 Kids

My last baby will be turning a whole year-old next month and with that, I would like to reflect on a couple of things.

My boys are 18months apart; so when I found out that I was pregnant with #2 when #1 was just shy of a year old….well, I was kind of scared.

Not scared….more like frightened.

It’s been a bumpy road, my friends; and having “Irish twins” as they call it is certainly not for the faint of heart. However, when it’s all said and done, this past year has been a whirlwind of emotions(happy and sad), filled with joy and laughs. I’ve learned a lot about myself (especially that I’m stronger than I believe) and I’ve been able to function on a lot less sleep than I ever thought possible.

So I wanted to write down some things that I’ve come to learn during this first year of having 2 children.

In case any of of you lovely people are brave enough to venture into it.

 

  1. Going from 1 to 2 kids is a hard adjustment. I heard it before I even got pregnant and I’ll sit here and tell you now: it’s not a lie…adjusting from 1 to 2 kids is really rough. I went through a real emotional period right towards the end of my pregnancy where I felt sad about my oldest not being the only one anymore. It eventually passed but those first couple of weeks adjusting to two little kiddos was hard!
  2. One of them will always need something. In the throws of having a newborn and a toddler, there is a 100% chance that one of them will ALWAYS need something; a midnight feeding, a diaper change, a snack, another feeding, a consoling hug because they are frustrated…SOMETHING.
  3. Poop. Poop every-where. Twice the diaper-duty and twice the amount of poopy diapers. Thankfully, one is potty-trained but it was a real shit show in the beginning. (no pun-intended)
  4. They will never be happy at the same time. My boys are like yin & yang; when one has a good day and is happy, the other has to balance it all out by being pissed off at the world.
  5. They will keep passing colds to one another for pretty much the whole winter. It’s almost a fact that when child catches a cold, it will be spread to the other one. And it will just keep happening until it’s eventually spring-time. Runny noses. Forever.
  6. Hand-me downs are the BEST thing since sliced bread. The best thing about having 2 boys is the fact that my youngest gets to wear all of his big brother’s clothes. ($$$ saved) Let’s face it though; even if I had a girl she would be rocking baseball onesies and dinosaur pants.
  7. Leaving the house to go ANYWHERE will take twice as long. Forever late.
  8. The house will NEVER be clean. When you clean up one child’s mess, there will most likely be a mess from the other child. Embrace it. You have 2 kids now so people sort of get that your house will be a crap show.
  9. They will never sleep at the same time. It will take MONTHS before both of them get their naps in sync and even then, one of them is always bound to wake up earlier than the other.
  10. You will never be caught up on laundry. For some reason, adding an extra kid to the mix means 20x the amount of dirty laundry. You will never get it all done. Laundry. Forever.
  11. You’ll find yourself a lot more “chill” the second time around. Oh, you fell down? Get up, you’re okay. You bumped your head? You’re fine. Food fell on the floor? Just eat it. Way way wayyyy more laid-back with the second baby.
  12.  You’ll find yourself taking less baby pictures of your newborn. I’m so guilty of this….but I just didn’t take *as many* baby pics of my 2nd as I did with my 1st. (Now I know why my parents have more pictures of my older sister than of me). When your juggling two kiddos, life is chaotic! Granted, I still have a lot of him but looking back at his first year, I really wish I took more.
  13. Those car grocery shopping carts at the store are life. And when there’s one available, you know it’s going to be a good day.
  14. The first year (the 2nd time around) it will literally fly by. So enjoy it! Embrace the crazy. It won’t last long.
  15. I’ve learned that my hands are full….but my heart is fuller. There will always be enough love, enough kisses and enough hugs for my 2 boys.

<3

Continue Reading

Before & After: What Having Kids Did To Me

I recently came across an old picture of me from a few years back. Let me tell you…the world always has a way of humbling you.

I was in my early 20’s and about 50 pounds lighter. This was BEFORE I had my babies. I was skinner, well-rested & actually had the time to care about my appearance.  I mean, I actually had the time to selfie. Obviously, time & babies will change a person. I’ve lost a lot of sleep in the course of 2.5 years.

My before picture was taken in spring 2014. Since then, I’ve moved four times (two times internationally), had two healthy baby boys, and gained around 45-50 pounds.

I’ve seen something a little while back about parents posting their before & after photos detailing how parenthood has changed them.  So, I decided to take an after picture of myself; for sheer amusement and torture, and did a side by side comparison.

 

 

28468348_10155368649507671_7205501099480870843_n

2014 & 2018.

You guys. Time really sucks.

 

Granted, on my before, I was getting ready to go out and had my makeup and hair all nice…you know, because I didn’t have children to run after. And on my after, I was only on my first cup of coffee and my eyebrows haven’t been touched in like 5 months. Anyway, you can clearly see the difference that only 4 years have done. 4 years. 2 kids. And battling postpartum depression. This is what it looks like. #nofilter

Perhaps someday I will get back to my before picture…back to my before weight. That would be amazing. In reality, it will probably take years….so for now, I’ll enjoy my babies while they’re still babies. This is real life, you guys. No nannies, personal trainer or someone to do my makeup. It’s all me. Au-naturel. I better learn to embrace it because I still have many years of toddlering to get through.

 

 

Continue Reading

This was fun but…can I hand in my mom card now?

I’m going to be very honest in this post & let it all out.

I’m failing as a mom. There, I said it.

This week has left me broken. I’m at the end of my rope & I don’t know what to do. My boys, whom I love dearly, are leaving me burnt out. My toddler, who is a very sweet & kind soul, is leaving me doubting whether or not I’m doing this mom-thing the right way. I feel like I’ve lost my way with him. I don’t know how to handle his tantrums, his outbursts, or his demands. I feel so annoyed at every little thing he does and jeez…doesn’t that make me sound terrible? But I’m being completely honest right now so pardon me because I don’t believe that there’s ANY parent out there that doesn’t get slightly annoyed or frustrated at their children from time to time. And if you tell me otherwise, well quit blowing smoke up my butt. Anyway, my toddler…. he’s a lovable child but he’s grown insanely jealous lately. He will rip toys away from his baby brother and go up to him and pull his hair for no reason. He will scream when he doesn’t get his way. Yes, these are all toddler-like behaviors but good lordy I was not prepared for it. And he doesn’t sleep. I dread the night-time routine because it feels like a literal torture-sentence having to deal with his little routine quirks – (he needs fresh toothpaste applied to his toothbrush twice and needs two books read…then he needs this night light on…. and this pillow here..now he doesn’t want THAT pillow, he wants the other one…. but wait..he doesn’t want this blanket on but now he does….) And then it takes negotiating and reassurance for me to be able to leave his room so he can go to sleep. Most nights, he will scream and lately I’ve found that Ricky coming up to calm him down really works. And he doesn’t sleep through the night anymore. He wakes up and finds his way into our bed… which is nice until he’s laying on top of me and my legs are numb so I move him over but he wakes up and screams for me to lay a certain way. It’s all very exhausting. He’s extremely needy for me and while it may sound like that’s not such a bad thing, I have to say that a person has their limit on how much they can be touched/climbed on/hanged on during the day. You can say that I’m lucky or blessed or maybe say that I’m ungrateful…and I can’t deny any of that. It’s just hard for me right now and very draining.

There have been days, especially this week, where I’ve lost my patience way too quick; where my voice was raised a little too loud; where I’ve needed to walk away because it was just too much. These days get to me….because at the end of the day, I’m sitting on the couch, kids in bed, and thinking to myself: thank god we just all survived today. we just made it through this day. And I know, oh do I know, that I was just barely skimming the surface at being a mom today. That I met just the minimum requirements of being emotionally there for my kids. I half-assed it. I kept the kids alive & that was it…but it was a freaking marathon. I absolutely believe that my boys deserve the world, and then some, yet every-day, I feel like I’m failing them.

For me, being there is just simply not enough. I want to give them everything I have and the whole nine-yards but most days, I’m just exhausted. And I’m not talking about physically exhausted because obviously two small kids will drain a person; I’m talking about emotionally & mentally exhausted. I’m suffering from PPD and every day is a literal struggle. I struggle to get out of bed every morning. I struggle to make my kids meals. I struggle to get outside to play with them or go on a walk. I struggle to sit on the floor with them & play. I struggle with finding the every-day joys of life. It’s really hard. It sucks. It isn’t fair….but it’s what I have to deal with. I’m struggling with depression & yes, my kids are very much getting the brunt of it. It’s totally not fair to them. Yes, they deserve a mom that is perky, enthused and patient. My husband also deserves a wife that is those things as well. I live with this every-day and the guilt is gut-wrenching. It’s a never-ending turmoil & I feel like I’ll never be better…be good enough.

I completely believe that my depression affects my kids but especially Beaux. I believe that he can sense my feelings and perhaps that plays a big impact on his own emotions/why he acts out. And I have no idea how to make it better. I’m taking the medication, I’m going to the therapist. I have my good days and I have my bad days. I was on the up & up for a while there, but in recent weeks, I’ve been battling the depression HARD. It’s funny because it just doesn’t go away….even on my best days, my depression is peeking around the corner at me, reminding me that life can never be too good.

I love being a mom and I can’t stress it enough how much I love my boys. But it’s hard. SO SO SO OOOOOO hard. I don’t have a village. I live in another country, 1,000+ miles away from any family. I have a handful of friends here that are very helpful & supportive, but I have a huge problem with asking for help when I need it the most (and feeling guilty for throwing my kids onto other people.) Being a mom was so much easier after my first was born. Sure, there were many sleepless nights and breastfeeding woes, but it was just….easy. I could bask in newborn cuddles all day long. I could dress him in the cutest, matching baby clothes and take pictures of him all day long. It was easy. And I thought (at the time) that it was hard. I LOVED being a mother back then. I felt like I gave my 110% every single day. Why is it so hard for me now?

Will it get easier?

Many tell me yes yet, many tell me no. I guess that’s just the life of being a parent.

 

I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone. I know how fortunate I am. I have many things to be happy for. This was a hard week, as I’m sure you can understand. We all feel defeated from time to time and believe that it will never get better. Here’s to hoping that tomorrow is better & sunnier.

Stay happy, my friends. <3

Continue Reading