Often times, I wish I could have better relationships with certain people in my life. When a friend doesn’t call me for weeks (or even months) my feelings are hurt; and I feel unloved and rejected. You know how the old saying goes… Don’t worry about what other people think about you. Instead of trying to disprove the latter statement, I have recently learned to embrace it.
There’s no question that subconsciously we place expectations on other people. Personally, I try to live up to the Golden Rule of Treat Others the Way You Would Want Them to Treat You. Because of this *lifestyle* I super glue expectations to people, only to feel disappointed when they don’t meet them. For instance, I like to send friends and family random, sweet and/or funny texts/pictures every so often. It’s my way of saying: Hey You! I’m thinkin’ bout ‘ya! Thus, my Golden Rule alter ego expects So-&-So to do the same every once in a while. And if they don’t, I feel like I’m no longer important to them.
Now I have come to realize that these kind and thoughtful gestures may not be in So-&-So’s personality. But just because they didn’t act the way I wanted them to, doesn’t mean I should assume they don’t still think about me, or appreciate me any less. Furthermore, I shouldn’t even worry about why So-&-So doesn’t call me anymore, or write on my Facebook wall. These expectations I place on people are binding, and leave me feeling frustrated and sad. Letting go of the strings has helped me see what is really important…
I feel good about myself when I shoot So-&-So a thoughtful text. Trying to wish someone to be different or change is not going to make me feel any better. I wish some friends from college would call me when they’re in town so we can get together and catch up. I wish I had a closer relationship with some family members. I wish. I wish. I wish. 
Through prayer, and a lot of reading and thinking, I’ve learned to let go of these wishes demands. Would it make me feel good if I had these better relationships? Yes. Do I need to have these better relationships in order to make me feel good? No. It is not necessary for people to acknowledge me. Obviously I think it’s undesirable, but it’s not terrible. No one can determine my happiness. Only I can.
We tell ourselves we’re supposed to be appreciated for what we give to others. But true giving doesn’t need acknowledgement, or anything in return for that matter. All that is important to me is how God views me. Now that I have stopped wishing for people to act differently, or in a particular way, I actually feel better! I’ve trained my thoughts to accept that I do not have the power to change others. & just because So-&-So doesn’t do what I *expect* him/her to do, doesn’t mean I don’t like So-&-So for who he/she is!
Do you place expectations on other people? How do you deal with the disappointment?
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The following was written exactly one year ago today…

January 19, 2011

I’m really trying to have a positive outlook on this whole situation. My group therapist really said some insightful words to live by. He said that just because we lack the motivation doesn’t mean we can’t do it. In other words, just because I may not feel like doing something, it doesn’t mean I can’t. I have to make the decision to get my BUTT UP!

He also shared that driven people do what’s best regardless of their feelings. I know that getting up and doing the things that make me feel good, are what’s best for me. I need to try to do better in order to feel better.

It’s going to take time and practice, but my mood WILL catch up and get better. And most importantly, in order to gain momentum in my recovery, I have to GET MOVING!!!

My group therapist asked me today about how I can turn my struggle into a positive thing/outcome…

My hope is to be able to help other women going through Postpartum Depression. I don’t think women are well-enough informed; are confused, lost, and/or ashamed. Often times they’re alone, too. After I come out of this, my plan and goal is to write an article about my experience and send it out to parent/family magazines in hope that someone will publish it.

I’d also really love to be able to talk to expectant mothers at their prenatal classes. I think raising awareness is highly important. I wish there had been a woman to do that for me. I might have gotten help sooner.

I think there’s a big stigma about PPD. Women don’t want to talk about it because they feel ashamed, and like they’re crazy for these illogical, but very scary thoughts. If gone untreated, PPD can worsen and become dangerous. most of the time, women with PPD need medication and psychotherapy [talk therapy]. There is no shame in this treatment.

My current state is kind of an oxymoron–I’m hopeful, but frustrated. I have read and heard that this will pass and get better, but I have a hard time believing it some days. I’m having a difficult time accepting that it’s going to take time. Normally I’m very patient, but not with this. I keep telling myself this is happening for a reason–I just need to keep moving to get there. And just like car headlights only show us what’s 160 feet in front of us, somehow we always make it to our destination. Safely. 

What that means to me is: just because I can’t see the end result (my destination), doesn’t mean I won’t get there. I just have to keep driving.

To read about my postpartum depression from the beginning, click here.
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Let’s just get the elephant in the room out of the way:
I’m not a very good blogger
Phew! That felt better.
Now I can move along to what’s been happening in our lives…
In December, we took Emmalyn to her first theme park–Sea World. She loved it!
Okay, so as a Floridian, I should know what to expect from the Shamu show, right
I mean, I should have the common sense not to sit in the “Splash Zone,” right
Ya, you’d think. 
But nope… not this girl
For some reason, I remember the splashes not being so bad, so we all thought we were safe in the last row of the Splash Zone.
The following is a picture of just before we were hit with a frigid tidal wave of icky killer whale water.
 We tried to cover ourselves under my sister-in-law’s jacket, but that was just a big, plain, major fail. Immediately, Emmy started crying from shock. I got all mama bear and stormed out of the stadium, stripped my child down to her birthday suit, and put on her change of clothes. I was furious for a solid five minutes, then decided I was not going to let this ruin the rest of the day. 
I knew then, that soon I’d look back at that catastrophe and laugh about it.
I was right 😉
We had a great time bringing Emmy with us to pick out a Christmas tree. Last year, since she was so tiny, we didn’t even bother picking one out–we just mooched off of my in-law’s tree!
 This was Emmalyn’s first encounter with Santa Claus. Classic right? 
I couldn’t stop laughing!
(I know, shame on me… sorry Em!)
But doesn’t every parent just have to have this picture?!
Emmy was completely fine if we were 2 feet or more away from the Big Man, and kept saying, “Ho Ho Ho.”
Also, in December, I turned the big 2-5!
I pretty much had the best birthday…
All I was told was to dress up 80’s style, and the rest would be taken care of!
Against my husband’s liking, I wore a true vintage getup… my mother’s Jazzercise outfit.
Yes. I went out like this.
I was whisked away by my girlfriends to a Drag Queen show! …something I’ve always wanted to do. & let me tell you… it exceeded my expectations!
I had the best time!!

Emmalyn has been growing so much!! Lately, she’s really been into going to kids’ play places, and story times.
I was so proud she knew what to do with a crayon in her hand. She didn’t even try to color on the floor!
(Like mother, like daughter)
Emmy also looooves playing outside! The cold doesn’t bother her one bit!
This pic cracks me up because I asked my nephew to “Hold onto Emmy.” I guess you can’t expect too much from a 3 year-old 😉
Lots of fun Christmas activities went down this season. We went Christmas trees & lights watching… we gathered family and close friends for caroling, & had a few different rounds of Secret Santa!
Christmas morning brought reindeer pancakes and mini snowmen.
& This little one had a blast opening up her gifts and testing them all out. I’m happy to say, that as a mom, I’m thoroughly pleased with the gifts people so graciously gave Emmalyn. We didn’t get a million-bazillion stuffed animals or super annoying toys!
Four generations, yo!
One of my favorite moments this season was bringing Emmalyn to West Virginia for the first time! She’s met my mom’s side of the family a couple of times, but this was the first time we headed up north to see them.
We (me, Blake, Emmy, Indy, my Mom, my Dad, & their dog, Joey) all hopped in one full-size SUV and drove 17 hours straight to WV.
Thankfully, I remembered to do my snow dance before we left! & I’m super glad I bought Emmy a $10 snow suit from a consignment shop. It was totally worth all ten Mr. Washington’s because this kid l.o.v.e.d. the show! It was so funny to watch her ride on the sled, saying “Weeeeeeee…” all the while.
 Emmy had a blast playing with her cousins Carter & Will on our way back, in North Carolina.
 & she had even more fun riding shotgun in Carter’s new Mustang!!
{daddy can’t believe he let her loose like that!}
I still want to write about Emmalyn’s amazing first birthday party.
…I’ll get there someday! 😉
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