kingdomupforsale asked: Hi...I read your post about the Paragard and copper toxicity. Yes, this does exist...I had a lot of the same symptoms as you did, my hair fell out, I gained 40 pounds, low blood pressure, anemia, I could go on and on. When I went to have it removed, I explained to the NP all the symptoms of copper toxicity, but she didn't believe me. It took me two weeks to have mine removed, which was yesterday. I'm really hoping that I start to feel better, & I hope things work out for you as well.
Holy crap, girl! I’m so sorry to hear that and I’m SO glad you got it taken out. It’s been a few months since i had it taken out and things are getting back to normal. While I miss the protection it gave us, it was SO NOT WORTH the pain or the constant hormone swings from never ending periods. You did the right thing for your body and your sanity! Take care of yourself! Good luck and keep me posted!
To be told:
"You have to accept that the little guy is here. And you have to respect that as long as you are all alive, Kevin is going to have a relationship with him - and the ex."
Is extremely difficult. Especially from Kev’s mother, who loves me and wants me to be happy and wants our relationship to be strong and healthy.
This is hard to hear…because I’m afraid that sometimes I don’t.
I wonder who else experiences this denial (and occasional wondering what life would be like if their stepchild didn’t exist in your relationship)?
Feeling this way makes me riddled with guilt. I know that I can’t talk to my friends or Kevin about it because they don’t understand. You know, the old “you knew he had kids when you started dating him.” Well, yeah, I totally did. But did I know how it would feel once we got into the old, knitty-gritty day-to-day? No. I had no idea what it would be like to move in with my significant other and his child. It’s impossible to know what it will feel like when all the chips fall. When everything comes together, from all the parental dynamics and ex dynamics and when your stepkid is yelling and scowling at you all the time.
The little guy was talking in his sleep the other night and hearing him, I woke up and had a revelation. What if I felt pride that he was my stepchild? It was a small thought, but something totally clicked in my mind because of it.
Action steps :
- Keep reading.
- Keep talking to Kevin.
- Be patient (with the little guy, Kevin, and MYSELF).
- Journal, journal, journal.
- Find a good couple’s counselor (who knows about step issues!)
- Ponder acceptance, and find the small moments that make me grateful and proud.
Geez, ya’all. This is tough. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been having a really hard time with all this.
I feel jealous and threatened and negative and angry all at the same time.
I was totally going to write a whole post about how hard it’s been and how upset I feel…but instead I picked up The Happy Stepmother and started reading where I’d left off. And, wouldn’t you know it, Rachelle Katz had a lot to tell me about all these negative thoughts. First of all, check out this quote that totally broke through the resentment I had been feeling towards the little guy:
I reminded Natasha that love is an emotion that you feel for some people, but not necessarily for others. Love can’t be force. If it exists, that’s wonderful, but if it doesn’t, that’s also acceptable, as long as you provide kindness, compassion and respect. No more and no less should be expected of you. When you remove expectations that you must love your stepchildren, it may be easier just to be nice to them - and in a genuine way. This can lead, eventually, to love. Remember that there are no wrong feelings - just potentially wrong actions. It’s okay to feel angry toward your stepchildren, but it isn’t fair to act out your aggressive feelings on them, or openly express dislike or disdain. As justified as you may be for having angry feelings, it is never acceptable to act on them. It’s just not right to be unkind or hurtful.
Dang. How’d she know?? I guess this means I’ve got to stop doing all the little passive aggressive things I have been doing lately to communicate to Kevin I feel resentful.
This book is revolutionizing how I’m feeling about being a stepparent. Seriously. Get. It. Ican’t wait to share more about this book when I’m through with it.
Hey! I got a bang!
It’s hard to be a young stepparent. And I don’t mean by age alone, although clearly age plays a role in ‘being young.’ But I know plenty of people way younger than me who have figured life out way more than I have. When I say young, I mean still figuring out their relationships to themselves (their new adult bodies and minds) and the world (school, jobs, friends, family) while trying to grow as a partner and a stepparent at the same time. You know who you are - you’ve heard the phrase “youth is wasted on the young” one too many times and so you’re totally freaking out that you are going to waste all your time and then be old and die without ever having fulfilled all your wild dreams of young adventure? And, in the midst of totally freaking out about that, your stepchild is screaming at you that he hates you and wishes you didn’t live with his daddy and so you have to also think about how you might be totally f**ing up this kid because you fell in love with your partner, and, oh yeah, he’s mad at you too because you didn’t XYZ today like a good and supportive partner would have done for the person who washes your dirty underwear.
Whew. It’s a lot.
I really, really don’t think there are enough resources out there for that stepparent. Because I’m positive I’m not the only one! Remember that we don’t live in a world in which everyone follows the formula “first comes love - then marriage - then the baby carriage” because in our world, today, accidents happen. All the time. Young people get pregnant in (and out of!) relationships that aren’t permanent and women aren’t banished to an “out-of-town-aunt’s house” to have the baby and give it up in secrecy. We’re having babies! Teen Mom-style! All the time! And then DWP (dating while parents) with other young people! And the book that should be written for these people should have much, much more practical advice, like:
1. Try to shoot to do your laundry when you run out of underwear. If you have to do it more often than once a week, you might need to buy more underwear. If you’re turning your underwear inside out because you have no more clean underwear, do your laundry more often. Buying more underwear might seem like you’re fixing the problem. And yes, it is a quick fix. But the real problem is not that you ran out of underwear. It is that your mom isn’t here to do your laundry anymore and now you have this other person’s kid running around and spilling chocolate milk and peeing all over themselves and so you guys have to do the laundry more often.
2. Make sure to shower before you go to work. I know that your hair looks way cooler when it has your ‘natural oils’ making it all texture-y, but bosses totally don’t like it when you smell. They said so at your latest staff meeting and you really can’t lose your job because you’re smelly now that your rent pays for the roof over someone else’s kid’s head.
You know?????? Stuff like that.
This book should also tell you how to talk to your friends about being a stepparent! Because, as a young stepparent, you will probably have friends that just don’t understand why you are taking on such a commitment at this-or-that age/stage of life/maturity level. They will probably say something like “HOLY S**T that’s a lot! I definitely couldn’t handle something like that. Want to go dancing tonight?” And you’ll be like “No, Kev has the kid tonight so I’m going to hang out with them.” And they’ll mutter under their breath about how you’re no fun and then they won’t call you the next time they go out dancing. And yeah, totally, this is something happens to parents all the time. But when it’s not your kid that you are making sacrifices for, and when you’re young and imagined your life being far more adventurous and carefree AT TWENTY FOUR YEARS OLD it can be pretty easy for thoughts like “I didn’t choose to have this kid” or “Am I wasting my youth away?” to creep in and resentment to build and your relationship to get rocky and to feel depressed and anxious and overwhelmed. So a book for young stepparents should say stuff like this:
1. GO DANCING WITH YOUR FRIENDS! DON’T SIT AT HOME AND MOPE WHILE YOUR PARTNER PUTS THEIR KID TO BED BECAUSE THEN YOU WILL FEEL WORSE AND BE TOTALLY PISSED AT YOUR PARTNER AND HIS KID AND YOURSELF FOR CHOOSING THIS LIFE! And on your way home, pick up a slice of carrot cake and a bottle of wine and watch a movie and snuggle and, see, you can make compromises and everyone can be happy and have time together.
OK. That’s my daily dose of The Differences Between Young Stepparents and the Stepparents Who All the Books are Written For.
Are you a young stepparent? What does this mean for you? What do you wish a book written for your unique situation offered you as advice?
AH! I LOVE. LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM ALL THE TIME
IT. IS. SO. GOOD.
OK - so imagine if this photo were flipped so you could actually read the title (The Happy Stepmother by Rachelle Katz, Ed.D, LMFT) and also imagine my face looking a little less puffy and asleep…someone had a few (too many) hard ciders after working at the bar all night.
But anyway…now that - YAY!! - my ParaGard is out (read more about this) and I don’t wake up each morning feeling like impending doom, I have started to read the good old stepmothering books again! I have an update about The Career Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Stepmom that I will post soon - I loved!
Here are a few initial thoughts on this book:
The Happy Stepmother fits about halfway between The Career Girl’s Guide and Love Him, Love His Kids. It feels less clinical than Love Him and has a little bit more smooshy-heart-talk than the Career Girl’s Guide. So basically, it is perfect for me! I need a good balance of psychology and cut-and-dry-tough-love-this-is-how-it-is stuff. I’ll give you more thoughts as I’ve got them myself.
In the meantime, try not to freeze to death in this stupid cold that just hit us.
Hey, ya’all. So today, hopefully within a matter of hours, I’m going to have my ParaGard IUD removed. Like so many others, I got the ParaGard because hormonal birth controls were not an option for me and it seemed like a more natural and agreeable option. And, like so many others, I am finding out that I was wrong.
I got my IUD put in about six months ago, everything was fine - aside from the predicted heavy periods and intense labor-pain-like cramps - until the last few months. Remember when I said I had started running and started eating better? I loved running for maybe three months; it became my preferred stress-reliever when stepmom stuff got tough. I was eating well to fuel my new activity and felt energized and emotionally stable. And then I crashed. Out of nowhere I started having no energy or interest in running. Even thinking about putting on my running shoes gave me intense anxiety. Then I stopped eating well, going back to my old habits of french fries, beer and cookies. Then a few weeks ago I slipped into a pretty intense period of depression. I lost all interest in everything I enjoy doing. I was crying everyday, couldn’t bring myself to leave the house without Kevin. Little things like calling a friend or going out to buy toothpaste, for example, seemed so impossible that I felt like giving up for the rest of the day. Woof. It got bad up in here.
And then last Thursday I started my second period this month. Since having the ParaGard in, having one period a month has been enough to knock me out for weeks. Between the cramps and the heavy bleeding, my hormones and energy levels have been all over the map. So when I started bleeding again, I was just miserable. Not to mention I had a minor cold for about a week prior to starting my period. Friday night I was supposed to go to my friend’s show, and had asked for the night off of work, but when it came time to go I was having such an intense emotional breakdown I had to take a long, hot bath (something I never, ever do) just to calm myself down.
Saturday morning it was all over. I bled SO MUCH. Like, SO MUCH. Way, way more than I have ever bled before. I completely lost control of my body and my emotions. My body was completely drained, I went numb and lost all color in my face and hands. From the moment I woke up I was weak and weeping from the intensity of how depressed and fatigued I was. We got donuts for the little guy, I was crying in the car on the way. We went to the grocery store (Hurricane Sandy preparations) and I was crying walking around the store, going to the bathroom, and in line to check out. It was here that I had a wave of suicidal thoughts - that I told Kevin about in the dairy aisle. I just wanted to be dead so I didn’t have to feel the way I was feeling anymore. I cried hysterically in the car on the way home, with the little guy totally freaked out in the back and Kev terrified in the driver seat. We got home and Kev called my health provider who had inserted the IUD (I was hyperventilating and writhing in pain in our bed) and they told hime to take me to the ER right away. He had to dress me and guide me to the car, I was so weak and disoriented. I became delusional in the car on the way, thinking that my teeth were made of wood? And panicking that something was terribly wrong with me and that I was dying.
They gave me an IV and told me that all my levels were normal (“you’ve got blood to lose,” they kept saying, as if I had just come in for a heavy period or something). Instantly with the IV fluid and the pain medicine I went back to normal. Kev said that color returned to my face and hands, and my eyes stopped being “glazed over.” They checked on the IUD and told me it was still in place, asked if I wanted them to remove it (I told them I needed to think about it) and sent me home.
So, days later, I have again had some of the worst depression and anxiety of my life. Hurricane Sandy happened (no damage to our area, thankfully) and since then I have again found it hard to leave my house, felt devastatingly hopeless and intensely angry all the time. Kevin (who has been so patient and understanding, even when I was yelling at him in a hormone-charged rage) begged me to try and go for a walk or jog, which I did, and still came home and cried in his arms. Today I googled “hormone imbalance caused by ParaGard” and, lo and behold, all these stories and symptoms of Copper Toxicity came up. And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve got almost all of them. Hair loss, acne, extreme fatigue, depression, anxiety (“fight or flight” that causes me to jump out of my skin at the most minor things, someone saying “boo” or sneaking up behind me, for example), the list goes on and on.
I called my doctor and they are going to try and fit me in today. I’ll let you know how it goes. If you have experienced anything similar, I hope you feel better now. I’ll leave you with some nice photos so you can see that there have been nice moments within the last few weeks, too:
No, it isn’t Christmas, but he loved the idea of having a toy train in his room. He wanted it so badly he even carried it to the register himself (despite the fact that the box was about as big as him!).
….Because the internet was down in our apartmentbut then it came back up and I was still taking a break. Out of fear. Because I got it in my head (the people who put it there had only the best intentions) that if Kevin’s ex got ahold of my blog, she would “start a war.”
One more time: A war would be started because it would be discovered that I am referring to myself as a stepmom to this woman’s child.
OK. Let’s walk through it together.
So Kevin and I started dating almost seven months ago. But I knew all three of them since the little guy was a baby, like three years ago. It was pretty well established that I got along with all of them from the start. On the periphery, absolutely, but I’m talking about as a manner of establishing character. I’m no psycho - and having already known the little guy for a while helped Kevin introduce me as his ‘special friend’ sooner than what would have probably been recommended.
So the introduction happened in that manner because Kevin and I became super close super fast, and I decided right away that I was in it for the long haul. At this point, a proposal is more than just on the table, it’s a given.
And now here we are! Living together and all. When the little guy is over our house, three to four nights a week, we all spend time together if I am not working. I’m no mother, but if another woman was spending so much time with my son, I would hope that she had the best intentions. In my opinion, that would include: a) plans to stick around; b) an understanding of the challenges parenting involves, for them and for me; and c) holding the little guy’s needs as the highest priority.
But sometimes we respond with ego rather than logic. And maybe that’s the fear in Kevin’s mind. I wouldn’t blame her if she got upset about my blog. I’m not going to go into an “I Hate the Ex, She’s a Bitch” rant. Because that’s not helpful and won’t resolve the issue here. I’m just hopeful that she would understand the why's behind it - that I need an outlet to work through these fears, ideas, and questions all clanking around in my brain. And I need support from other people experiencing stepmotherhood! If this is my future, I want to be prepared!
Anyone else received these warnings? Or had these fears? How do you deal with “the ex” in your own blogs?