Life After NICU

Struggling Through the Winter Blues

About a year ago I was just finishing my first month as a stay-at-home-mom. It was new and exciting and I loved every bit of it. And I still love being home with James. I feel very fortunate to have this time with him. He’s growing and changing all the time and I get to witness it all first hand. It’s definitely been an amazing experience, but I’ve met a few unexpected challenges along the way.

More RunningLast spring and summer we stayed busy. We filled our days by going to the zoo, the arboretum, and parks. We had therapy appointments and transition meetings to prepare for school. We created a sensory friendly play area in our back yard and spent countless hours playing in the water and mud. We had playdates with our preemie friends. We travelled and spent time with family. Then winter came. We hoped this would be the winter we could stay busy and keep our normal routine, but that hasn’t been the case. The ICU at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas has been filled with children fighting RSV, Flu, and pneumonia. We decided, with the help of some very trusted people, to keep James home and do whatever we could to keep him healthy.

Deciding to keep James home was clearly a good decision for him. This is the first winter that we’ve had no trips to the ER and only one sick visit to the doctor’s office. For someone with lung issues and a weak immune system, I call that a huge success. But, spending the bulk of my day with  someone who’s vocabulary consists of about a dozen words, without the outlet of playdates and activities in the community,  has been challenging. My husband has been home much of the winter, but I’m sure he’d agree, I’m no picnic to be around when I feel isolated.

Admittedly, much of the isolation was my own doing. The winter blues, a funk, depression, whatever you want to call it, it set in pretty hard. It’s not only a product of being a stay-at-home-mom; people from all walks of life find themselves struggling this time of year. It makes the simplest of daily activities feel overwhelming. Countless things I didn’t even attempt to accomplish because the thought of trying to complete them seemed impossible. I’ve had moments (probably more like days, weeks) of great frustration. It’s been a very trying season, and I’m thankful to finally be coming out on the other side.

I’m thankful to my husband and my mom who have had great patience with me, even when I didn’t deserve it. I’m thankful to friends who have kept in touch when getting very little in return. I’m thankful for the amazing little boy who calls me mom, who kept me laughing and smiling when I wouldn’t have otherwise.

We’re all busy, but when people you care about start to fade from your life, peek in on them once in a while. Chances are there’s more going on than you realize, and you could be the one who’s helping to hold them up.

2 thoughts on “Struggling Through the Winter Blues

    • Could not agree more. I will do whatever I need to do in order to keep James healthy, but the mental toll is tough some days. I got so far away from myself, not sure I’m all the way back yet, but I’m trying. At least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel now. Hang in there!

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