This happy green dress (also available in black) looks great — not only is it machine washable (and tumble dry low!), but it has long sleeves, a high neckline, a modest hemline, and it’s available in sizes 6-16. It’s $75 at 6pm.com. Ellen Tracy Sleeved Pebble Knit Sheath
Love the dress, although it looks like it would be too short on 6′ tall me.
Also wanted to say that I love the new setup of the site with the daily posts, Kat.
And finally, this is a long-shot, but has anyone here ever been tested or developed celiac or hypothyroidism (or some other disease/condition similar) as a result of pregnancy? I have an appointment with my doc on Friday morning, and I’m fairly confident that I have celiac disease (my sister has it, as well, so I’m familiar with the symptoms, etc). My symptoms didn’t arise until after I had my second son and in my internet research, it looks like post-partum hypthyroidism is actually common, as well.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism early in my first pregnancy. I’d actually been tested for it about a year before that and was negative, so I’m pretty sure the pregnancy triggered it, although I guess I’ll never know for sure. We (me and my endocrinologist) thought it might go away post-partum, but it did not, although my synthroid dose went way down and has actually stayed down into my second pregnancy. We keep a close eye on it during pregnancy and post-partum, and once I reach a steady level, the idea is that I’ll only need to check it once a year.
Hormones are crazy. I don’t see why celiac disease wouldn’t be triggered by pregnancy as well, or maybe the symptoms just became more apparent.
hoola hoopa says
Complete anecdata, but that’s kind of what you’re asking for: Celiac’s runs in my family and a couple of female family members have been diagnosed around typical childbearing age – regardless of whether or not they ever have children. So it could be coincidence. Then again, pregnancy does crazy things and I could believe it affected your immune system.
Great dress – and now that I’m not pumping anymore, it would be good for work.
PPD Anon says
Threadjack, sorry. I’m a lawyer at a large firm and have been back from maternity leave about 3 months, and I just got a call from HR asking me about my low production. There are some structural reasons I’ve been struggling (not enough workflow, learning to manage part-time status, etc), but a big part of the reason is that I had pretty bad anxiety during pregnancy and I’ve been struggling with post-partum depression. My first month and a half back from maternity leave I didn’t finish a number of projects because…I just couldn’t. My office is a disaster, my time entry has been horrible, and I’m struggling to consistently show up at the office on time even with a reduced schedule. While pregnant, I started avoiding projects with work providers who triggered my anxiety, and my workflow took a nosedive several months before the baby was born.
A few people at the office know bits and pieces, but I’ve been trying to just keep my head down and hope that I’ll have enough time for the psychiatrist and my therapist to get me safely on the other side of it. I don’t know what HR would do if I told them what has been going on; I’m concerned they’ll ask me to drop to an even lower part-time status, which would make it hard to justify the cost of childcare to my husband who keeps talking about me being a stay-at-home mom. I think being a stay at home mom would be the worst thing for the PPD right now, and longer term I do want to keep working, so my needs right now are just a temporary bridge across a scary pregnancy and post-partum time….
I’m trying not to beat myself up over it, but I’m just feeling so much guilt and fear. And yes, therapy and meds have taken the edge off, but it’s been a slow process. So my question – what would you tell HR and what would you expect them to do about it?
Anon for this says
I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. Honestly, I would tell HR about it. You can protect yourself under the ADA by doing so and trigger the company’s responsibility to work with you. If you’re at a large firm (and HR is already calling about this, so they know *something* is up), your HR department should be knowledgeable about disability accommodations. Likewise, this helps explain missed deadlines and work not being done that should have been done.
I know people think this would hurt a career, but if it’s either working with HR about it or going to an even-more parttime or SAHM status and potentially aggravating PPD, take the lesser of two evils for your mental health.
I’m sorry you’re going through this, and glad you’re getting help. I hope it gets better soon. I have no personal experience with PPD, but it’s a recognized medical condition and I believe if you are diagnosed and being treated, your job should be protected (maybe I am naive, though?). I would be very honest with HR. Mental health issues are a big deal in my organization and there is a lot of outreach and training to let people know that it is OK to seek help and that they will not face negative professional consequences for it. One of my good friends suffered PPD for a few months and reasonable accomodations were made for her to continue working. I hope your organization is similarly supportive, and that HR works with you to bridge these dificulties.
Ugh, I say shame on HR for bringing this up. You’ve been back from maternity for three months. Three months! I think a little compassion is in order while people make the transition back to work. I think it’s entirely normal to feel out of control with a disaster of a desk, no energy, and struggling to get to work on time when you’ve only been back for three months, and that’s without PPD. I was a total disaster during those first few months, and I can’t imagine how awful it must have made you feel to be formally criticized by HR about it.
And I’m glad to hear that you’re getting medical help for your anxiety and PPD. I hope you start feeling better soon.
Thank you, CHJ and OP.
Good for you for seeking professional support and advice here as well. I can’t speak to PPD specifically, but my husband has juggled episodes of depression while working. Honestly, each company he worked for handled it very differently. I would think that if HR called to talk to you about your productivity, perhaps they are already suspecting a medical-type reason, rather than having your supervisor talk to you about it as a performance issue. If you have FMLA time left, (meaning you didn’t use up your yearly allotment for maternity leave) you would qualify for that protection; same for short-term disability coverage if you have it. Given that you’re already in treatment, hopefully your HR dept. would recognize that you’re trying to make progress and give you time to do just that. My husband’s situations have called for anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months of leave/reduced time, with a return to work plan outlined the way a good maternity leave should be. HR may say something like, “We typically do X weeks for depression” or such; ideally, dropping to a further part-time status would/would not be considered at the recommendation of your physician. And if you do go further PT, it should not be an open-ended plan, but rather have a specific ramp back up date, again agreed upon by your doctor.
I think this is the “know your office” component of the issue. There is still a lot of stigma out there around mental health, but also a lot of understanding. Best wishes to you and keep us informed.
Anon for today says
I’m going anon for this, but chances are someone will recognize me from other things I’ve posted here. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I’ve been somewhere similar, although in my case I was able to just barely keep it together enough to not completely crash and burn for a few months at work. Eventually though, it caught up with me, and I wound up taking FMLA time off to deal with the fact that I basically had a total breakdown – it took everything I had just to get out of bed and get to work, let alone actually do any work. And I was full out hiding in rooms with doors I could lock (I didn’t have my own office) sobbing fairly regularly at work. I was pretty borderline PPD for a long time (and have a history of depression and anxiety). For me, what tipped it over the edge was when I weaned – I went into a total hormonal tailspin. It was like my worst day of PMS emtion wise, x20, every single day for weeks.
I have to admit, when I went to see a therapist about it, she kept asking “are you sure you really want to be working fulltime? Because it sounds like you don’t”. And I kept telling her I had to work fulltime, to pay for our family’s bills and to have medical insurance. But basically, once I went back to work, everything broke down, and I was given the option to quit, be laid off or be fired. And that really hurt. For a long time.
But somehow, I managed to get it back together (somewhat). I was able to get unemployment to help with some of the bills. We were able to get insurance coverage through the healthcare market. And I was able to get a scholarship to keep the baby at daycare to keep his routine consistant. Now I work parttime in a different industry, and while it isn’t great, it goes a long way toward keeping me sane. Taking birth control pills continuously helps. So did finding an antidepressant that works for me and didn’t just make me crazier. So did exercise, when I could make myself do it. But I still have “blue” days, although they aren’t quite as deep navy-to-black as they once were.
Long story short, and not to make it all about me – you’re not the only one that’s been there, and you’ll get through this. Ask for help, and do the best you can every day. And I’m thinking of you and pulling for you.
So many hugs. Thank you for sharing your story, it’s so easy to feel like I’m in this alone sometimes. And good to know about weaning; I was wondering if that might cause a hormone crash.
I’m struggling with whether the medication is high enough or necessary or not the right drug… I don’t know how to explain this, but it seems like I don’t know how “low” I am until I get a few more weeks under my belt and can look back at it, which isn’t all that helpful? Like, immediately when I went back to work I felt 100% on top of the world and when I explained that to my psychiatrist, she suggested cutting back the dosage (we didn’t because I wanted more time to transition back to work). In hindsight, I was actually at about the lowest point I’d been since pregnancy, but it’s taken almost 2 months to realize that.
I realize you’re probably condensing details for the sake of brevity, but finding the right drug and dosage is a HUGE part of managing depression. If its not right, call your psych and adjust as needed. Rinse and repeat – my DH has tried most every drug on the market at one time or another. Also, others close to you can be helpful in accurately gauging how high or low you are. Depression puts your perceptions all out of whack, so it makes me a smidge nervous that your psych took your own personal assessment at face value (unless you have a long-standing relationship with this provider, and she knows you at your own level of “normal” pre-PPD). I’ve talked to my DH’s psych and HR departments in the past as needed, to help fill in relevant details.
Yes, I’ve had the same concern. Both my psych and my therapist seem to think that I’m doing much better than I feel like I’m doing, so I was hoping they were right and then HR called. My therapist and I have had some long conversations about the disconnect between my perception of my functioning and his perception, and I think he and my psychiatrist have talked about it (I consented to consultations between the two of them). So I don’t think my psychiatrist is basing that off just my own assertions, but I do feel sort of baffled by the whole process.
HR isn’t necessarily moving at the same time-line. Chances are that they are finally reacting to what has been happening over the past few months, not what you did this week. If you are comfortable sharing some of this with them, that you are having trouble and you are taking steps to fix this, that may take some pressure off.
I wasn’t diagnosed until months after I returned to work, and I wish I had been more proactive about getting the help I needed and possibly even letting work know. Just keeping my head down (bc I was overwhelmed and embarrassed) was not helpful to my career.
Also, talk to your husband and explicitly tell him that staying at home isn’t a solution for you. Perhaps you could work with your therapist to find things that he can do that are helpful. It may be something pretty small. For example, it stressed me out when DH asked me what to dress the baby in because it was just one more overwhelming task for me to deal with. Once he got the message that I truly didn’t care what the baby had on, as long as it was weather appropriate, that helped. I know that sounds trivial, but my suffering was in the thousand little pressures I faced every day.
Anon for today says
Just for an FYI, weaning made me personally go into a tailspin, but I do know other moms that actually felt much better emotionally after weaning, and taking breastfeeding/pumping off their plate. So if you are still nursing, don’t think that you can’t wean if you want to because it will make things worse – you should be aware that it might make things different, but not necessarily worse.
Along the same regards, if there are any medications (antidepressants or otherwise) that your doctors are hesitant to prescribe because you are nursing, the infant risk hotline is a great resource – they actually do studies on how much of medications are excreted into milk and therefore what the actual risks are, since many newer medications have little to no info on whether they are safe to take while nursing. I called with every medication my doctor recommended – the phone number and link are here: http://www.nctba.org/breastfeeding/new-hotline-tells-moms-which-meds-are-safe-for-breastfeeding
Last, don’t forget that your psychiatrist sees people at their very rock bottom. If you are dressed, walking and coherent, you may be doing better than a lot of his patients. So yes, be glad when they tell you how good you are doing, but be honest with them about how close or far you feel from your lowest low or your baseline normal. Feeling not miserable is a start, but keep going to get back to good, if that means adjusting dosages, medications or other parts of your routine. Not sure how much of a placebo effect it was, but I also found continuing to take prenatal vitamins, as well as some extra vitamins I was low on (in my case, by my blood work, iron and Vitamin D) also helped boost me up a tiny bit – and every tiny bit helped.
Thank you! My psychiatrist provided me with a website that has some good nursing information, but that hotline sounds great. I love nursing, and the idea of weaning makes me so sad, so I probably haven’t been as proactive on the medication front because I’m concerned that I would have to stop nursing.
PPDAnon, not sure if you are still reading but wanted to share a story. I developed PPD after my first pregnancy but refused medication because I was paranoid. I finally got on medication after weaning, and it helped tremendously. With my second pregnancy, my symptoms started at the very end of my pregnancy, and my OB put me back on the same meds right away. I breastfed for 9 months on a non-breastfeeding approved med, and it did not affect my son in any way. It may help for you to discuss the med issue with your baby’s pediatrician or your OB. They often know a lot more about how a particular med affects breastfeeding than the psychiatrist does. Good luck, you will pull through!
There are two sets of conversations you need to have:
(1) HR – lots of good advice from other posters. If possible, can you couch it as “dealing with a post-partum medical issue, hope to have things back on track shortly, do not require additional accommodation at this time, will advise if you do” – this is in case, like me, you worry about disclosing mental health issues unless absoluately necessary and on your own terms.
(2) Husband – he needs to be 110% in your corner right now. It concerns me that you wrote “to my husband who keeps talking about me being a stay-at-home mom. I think being a stay at home mom would be the worst thing for the PPD right now”- you and/or your psychologist need to explain to him that working is part of your recovery and that if you want to stay home at some point you will raise it will him but he should NEVER bring up the topic again on his own. (added snark: If he wants a stay at home parent so bad – he can do it.)
Anecdote: I work with a lawyer who has three kids. At one point in her career, she was working a reduced work schedule and it actually cost her money to work for a few months (until a second child started kindergarten and childcare costs changed). She basically told her husband that she needed to work as long as they could financially afford it – basically ‘stayactions’ instead of ‘vacations’ if necessary, lots of other things in the budget could be sacrified but working was non-negotiable for her mental health. She did not want to be a SAHM.
It is okay to not want to be a SAHM. I miss my child fierecely during the day but I was at home with her for a year and I know I am a better mom when I’m working and grateful for the time I have with her vs. not-working and resentful that I sacrificed my career.
You make a great point in number (2). If you (OP) think working is important for your mental health, it’s time to make sure that your husband is clear on that and supporting you.
And I’ll say that for the 3 months that I was on maternity leave, I loved spending time with my children. I don’t think I had PPD after my second son was born, but I had a serious case of the “baby blues” (although it could have been PPD and I’m in denial). Going back to work and seeing other people/interacting with professionals on a level besides children was one thing that really pulled me out of feeling “down.”
I am also a better mom because I work. I don’t have it in me to be a SAHM and I’m learning to not feel guilty about that.
Cosign on point number (2). There are lots of reasons to work even if it isn’t a net financial benefit to the household at a certain point in time: Mental health, your own satisfaction, a desire to make a difference in the world, maintaining a continuous work history, adding to retirement savings, keeping your skills up to date, keeping your own source of income in case something happens to your partner (divorce, death, disability, unemployment), etc., etc. Don’t let your husband talk you out of working if you want to continue.
Meg Murry says
And one more point – even if you are just breaking even on the childcare/income balance, taking time off to be a SAHM often means that you re-enter at a lower salary than you would have been at if you were working for those 5 years. So while you may not be getting ahead right now, in 5 year WOHM will be ahead of SAHM, salary and title-wise.
That said, fight for what you want to be. If you want to work and think it is best for you, work. If you think you will be happier part-time, do that. If change your mind and you want to be a SAHM, go for it. You do whatever you works for now.
Call or text your therapist right now and set up a time to talk about this. For me, this would be a trigger. We can come up with the professional side of things, but you need to feel confident and supported going into HR. Obvs. your husband isn’t doing that for you right now. Get a high-five from your therapist, then go into HR and follow the other advice here. You’ll be OK.
hoola hoopa says
Love the concept of Washable Wednesdays!
Cute dress – love the green and the waist detail – but unfortunately I’m an anti-polyester snob.
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