The Annual Calendar, The 10 Month Fog, and Postpartum Depression

toddler feet

In 2005, I started making calendars for the grandparents (and for ourselves) every Christmas. It’s this wonderful, neck cricking tradition where I pour over all of the photos from the year, trying to pick only the 20 or so best ones. I always end up in a very melancholy place while doing this because looking at the moments that are gone and the children that just keep growing is terribly sad to me. I know. Perhaps this should not be, but I can’t help it. I look at these fun old moments, and my favorites really aren’t calendar worthy, so I choose the ones that look like calendar pictures.

This year Amy is in charge of the calendar for that side of the family. She has asked me for six or more photos. Well, you know I can’t narrow it to 6, but I did my best.

For some reason, as I went back over these, this one memory stuck in my head, so I feel like I should share it.

I was sitting at my 6 week postpartum appointment, (14 months ago) feeling much better than I’d felt in…..well, 6 weeks. I had finally started taking iron pills again, and it was making a world of difference.

The midwife and the doc-in-traiing-of-the-day gave me the good ol’ postpartum depression questionnaire.  “Do you have feelings of hopelessness?” “Do you want to hurt yourself?” “Do you feel depressed?”  etc. etc.

I answered the questions as truthfully as I could, while still trying to maintain my integrity…..can’t be done….

She looked at me, wearing my biggest, brightest April smile, and she said, “Well, you failed the quiz, but you look okay. Are you okay?”

“No, I haven’t really been okay,” I told her, “but they sent me home from the hospital with no iron pills, and I was too far gone to understand the mistake and fix it. So I have four small children, I’m breastfeeding, I’ve been in pain, not sleeping, and I’m anemic. Who wouldn’t be depressed?  I’m just so incredibly tired, and I’ll be fine now that I’m taking iron again.”

My midwife also had four children, so she got it. We agreed I’d be fine, and that there was no way around the funk.

I wasn’t totally fine until THE WEEKEND. What happened on THE WEEKEND? Nonna came and weaned John David to bottles for me. She sent me out into the town while she stayed home and fed JD.

It was the strangest experience. It felt like leaving your house and forgetting your left arm. I jumped at the sound of every baby. I cried sometimes. I felt like I had done something terribly wrong, and I should run home and feed my baby! I was a little bit nuts!

I tried to enjoy it, and I did, but it was all so strange. My hormones were out of control. It was an experience I cannot describe. Eventually, we got him completely weaned, and suddenly it didn’t matter if I forgot my iron pills that day, or if I took only one instead of two or three. (I had a serious anemia problem).

I’m always telling postpartum women to not forget to take their iron. Ha! They probably think I’m crazy because not every woman needs them.

So most of the photos I chose for the calendar were from after the fog lifted. It was a 10 month–oh yeah–10 whole months– fog of crying, breastfeeding, dreaming about laundry, trying to get 4 small children out the door to take the kids to school or wherever. It was a year of learning how to multi-task, learning to accept my messy house, apologizing to Betty who was probably the only cleaning-lady in the neighborhood that knew and understood I could not get it all de-cluttered before she got there.

No, I don’t even have a cleaning-lady now, but I do hand out chores to the kids like candy.

It was a beautiful year, and it was the most stressful year I’ve ever been through, which is saying a lot considering all the year-long and half-year deployments we’ve weathered.

God got me through. Should I have been medicated?  huhuhuhuhuh uh-huh. Yeah. Definitely. But I really wanted to breastfeed my baby. Why? I don’t know. I can’t explain it. The same reason I want to do every little *best* thing there is to do. I like to drown myself in self-inflicted-pressure.

Am I okay now? Absolutely. I am more than okay. I am happy, blessed, and thankful. My house is still messy, but see, I’d rather have a fun blog and lots of children than a perfectly clean house. I was the girl that snubbed home-ec class (jokes on me) to take band and honors classes. My heart will never really be in the housekeeping. It’s important to me, but it’s not my gift, that’s for sure.

I love how God gives us all different gifts. We all complement each other, and that is how it is meant to be.

Amy, let me know if you have any trouble down loading the pictures from here.

daddy love all 4 bros familycloseup bundled up snow family

(There are also several great ones on the About Us page that we could use for the calendar.)

This one is my favorite, Amy. It was taken by a really sweet friend in Virginia, and it reminds me of a super fun phase of our life. I want to go back, but I know the right thing to do is to make this place happy too. I think we’re doing a good job of that. This is like a two-year vacation at the beach, really. Then it will be off and away, to where– we do not know yet.

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”   John 3:8

What do you think about when you look at your past year?


  • Great Idea – You have plenty of activities to create this fun Calendar:)

  • Amy

    Thanks! I can download them from here, no problem. I actually was hoping to get at least 1 per month from you (not just 6), so no need to limit! Also, I don’t know what month any of these are from, so could you send me that when you get a chance? Thank you! I’m also curious whose little toes those are in the first photo. Looks a lot like I’m afraid my feet will look in a couple of weeks!

    • I don’t know what month any of them were. The family ones were May, but feel free to put them in any old warm month. The snow one would be good for wherever you need a winter photo.
      . I found that I was able to choose much better pics if I could choose from any month rather than October to October, and so forth. I didn’t take any very good photos at all for some months. I will pick some more photos then. I have a good Easter one on the About Us page that will work for whatever month Easter is –or just spring–however you want to do it.

    • Oh! the little feet were Daniel’s about a year ago. I just love them.

  • Thanks for sharing this. I really struggled the first 6 months. It’s only been recently that I feel like I’ve come out of the fog. And I never took iron! I wonder how much it would have helped or why it wasn’t recommended?! Anyway, it helps so much to know that not every mom had an easy time–it seems to look easy for everyone but me. Sometimes! Beautiful pics!!!

    • Remember the iron tip for the next baby. You never know. One/day might help a little. They only push that if you actually test anemic on the blood tests, which I always do. I had to take enormous amounts, but for a healthy person one/day would do it. Glad to hear you have already come out of your fog!!

  • Those are fantastic photos and a powerful story. I’m so glad you got your iron! I did try to vote for you but don’t know how (I clicked on the link but then it seemed like chaos….). Perhaps you could leave a note about how to do that. 🙂

  • queenmommyjen

    So sweet April and I get you. I am fine-ish, but with 4 kids there is never a moment, even a happy one, where I just don’t feel plain tired and exhausted and worn out! Love your scripture at the end.

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