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How did you manage postpartum with POTS?


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Tsampa, a DINET forum member, asked this question embedded in a separate thread. So that she gets more responses, I have re-posted it here for her.

BTW, Tsampa is Swiss--her first language is French.

Katherine

Hello,

I have a question for women who have pots and who have a baby.

I want to have a baby but i don't know if I would be able to occupy to the baby because I'm always very tired.

in the morning i could not wake up at 6 because i don't feel good.

I want realy a baby but I am posed a lot of question.

please help me.

thanks

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Morgan, I hope you don't mind -- but I just opened and read your reply and thought it was lovely ... (Thanks for the encouragement! it means a lot!) ... so I highlighted your text and then hit "control c" to make a copy of it, and then "control v" to paste it here, and voila!

The following is from Morgan:

Ling, you can have too much sex.. just so you know, having it a lot doesn't give the man's body enough time to restock, if you know what I mean. Many people think that having constant sex is helpful, when in fact it can make it harder to conceive, because the sperm doesn't give replenished. Sorry, if that seems a little graphic, but just a fact of life.

Merrill and tsampa, I was pretty ill when I had both my boys and working 32 hours to 40 hours a week, most of the time on night shift. Taking care of children when you are healthy is very difficult, let alone when you are sick. But I can tell you, the fortitude comes from somewhere deep inside where that mother instinct is, and you just do what you have to do.

When I look back, I often wonder how I did it, but I guess I did all right because both of them have turned out to be good, caring men. I sometimes think when kids are raised around a chronic illness, especially men, it tends to make them more compassionate, as opposed to people who've had no exposure to the struggles some of us face.

I just want to reassure you that the mothering part of us is stronger than any chronic illness and I've never regretted my decision to have kids, and deal with illness and them. I hope that helps a little. morgan

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And this was my own reply to Tsampa's original post:

That's a great question, tsampa ... it's true that many conversations have focused on how to get through pregnancy, but what about the REALLY tough part: raising a child? Especially during the first few years, when they need us for everything and demand so much energy? I'll be adopting this year--and even though I'm able to work full time now, I'm sitting most of the day. Spending all day with a baby will be a real shock to the system (as it is even for people without pots/dysautonomia). Any tips?

m

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Merrill - Congratulations on adopting a child!!! Thats such wonderful news :)

I had posted in another topic about possibly adopting in the furture if I find trying to concieve a child will be too difficult.

I wish you the very best :)

Morgan: my husband was raised with a mom with a chronic illness and I truly believe that is why he is the caring and understanding husband he is to me now....he understands the adversity someone who has an illness faces and the ups and downs b/c he grew up with it.

So I am sure your children will go through life with that same understanding outlook.

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Thanks Merrill! I appreciate your doing that. I am soooo illiterate with a computer. Never worry about things like that, I don't get ruffled very easily and always appreciate help! :)

I think you are right Jenn, You just see a difference in people raised with adversity, they become more caring and understanding, and are much more willing to compromise as a rule.

My son says he needs to marry a nurse, so he will have an understanding wife. But really I think all you need is someone who's seen the effects of chronic illnesses, especially baffling ones like this.

Children are very resilent and quick to learn. Compassion is always a good thing for them to learn and what better way than through a loving parent that is ill.

I wish you all the best in your endevours! I'm glad I'm past it, but loved it when I was there. But then our babies remain our babies no matter how old they get. morgan

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The post partum part was probably the EASIEST phase of motherhood for me. I would have to say it's those tween years 7-15 when they need to be driven to soccer, after school programs, PTA (as if I ever did PTA), field trips, group projects and the like.

But the baby stage ... this was easy. I nursed all three of my children and we had a "family bed" when they were nurslings. So all I had to do was roll over and nurse -- no need to even fully wake up. I had changing wipes etc. right by the bed as well. So unless *I* had to get up and pee I could do everything right in bed. We had a large king mattress right on the floor we had toys and snacks all within reach. It was a 24 hour clock -- we slept, ate and played as we felt our bodies needed.

For me it was a terrific way to handle my POTS (ofcourse we didn't call it POTS then) and being a Mom.

Eventually all the kids weaned and wondered off into their own rooms and beds. I know have three amazing and very independed, caring and loving kids. They all know Mom can't do some things, but we spend QUALITY time together and isn't that whats it's all about?

Good luck finding solutions that work for you and your own unique circumstances.

EM

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thanks for your answer.

I prefer of course to adopte. Before I was ill I will adopte because I would give the chance to a baby to have a good life. But in swiss to become the right to adopte it is not easy and you must give medical sertificat that you are not ill.

But I will see if I have a chronic illness if I could.

and i will speak a lot with my friend to see if i coul take care of a baby.

When I take car of the baby of my brother juste a few ours after I'm completly tired. so i must think of that.

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What a great topic :) When I was pregnant the first time, I was absolutely terrified about how I might handle being a mother. Every time I thought about how sick I had been from POTS, I couldn't even fathom how I could care for someone else. However, as Morgan said in a previous post- motherhood is so much stronger than any ol' chronic illness! You will get out of bed each and every day come **** or high water, to care for the child that needs you. It's a very intense need, and the drive to move forward is strong. You will find yourself focusing more on the child than yourself- and I truly beleive that this is a very healing experience.

Like Earth Mother- we also breastfeed and sleep in the same room with the baby, which helps tremendously at the beginning. It allows the whole family to stay well rested and I've found personally running back and forth down the hallway at night to be exhausting which leads to a POTS crash every time. Of course this is a very personal decision among families but for us it made coping with my illness much easier. Now I can stand back and watch as Ethan unfolds into a wonderfully independent and self confident little person.

I do think that the first year was much easier than any other time- so in a sense, with this baby who is due next month I am a lot less worried about that time period. I am finding having a toddler to be much more exhausting and physically difficult than having a baby was. He requires a lot of energy to keep up with, and wants Mom to join in on every game :) We also do a lot of playgroups and activitities which involve a lot of running around every day- but it keeps my mind off my own problems though I do have to take a nap most days to keep up, and I have one or two restful days each week where we watch movies and stay in our pajamas all day.

Overall, I would never change my decision to become a Mom exactly when I did. There are a lot of "unknowns" for sure, but I think that it is a very positive experience. I've really enjoyed watching other women with POTS become mothers (and great ones at that!) during at a time when we weren't even sure if we could. I hope the studies done on pregnancy and dysautonomia continue to reveal positive outcomes so that more women will feel confident in the future about conceiving- and for those who adopt, that motherhood itself will be a rewarding and empowering experience all it's own.

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I can only confirm the great comments everyone has made. Pregnancy was hard for me and post partum very hard. We also did bed-sharing and breastfeeding (the latter for 4 months), which did help with fatigue. Despite all the hardships physically, I would do it all again. Jessica is absolutely right that mothering is so compelling that you find the strength in yourself when you might otherwise think it is not there. I would also say though, that in my case, I really needed someone's help for the first several months on a daily basis. My mother moved in with us.

I was pretty well-recovered from POTS by the time my daughter was a year old, although had and still have challenging POTS days. I didn't find the toddler period as difficult as the first year for that reason, but it is a challenging time and demands a great deal of mental and physical energy. But no one ever said a child should or must be raised primarily or only by one person. If you have a good support network of family and friends, and a husband who can help with child care, it helps you tremendously. It is also positive for a child to have several caring adults in his or her life.

Good luck, tsampa, with your quest to become a mother, and let us know how you are doing finding treatment that will help you feel better.

Katherine

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Bonjour Tampa,

Je parle fran?ais comme toi. Je demeure au Canada et plus sp?cifiquement au Qu?bec. J'ai ?t? adpopt?e ? 2 mois par une femme qui ?tait cardiaque et qui ne pouvais pas concevoir d'enfant sinon elle serait morte durant la grossesse.

Elle a ?t? une tr?s bonne m?re pour moi malgr? le fait qu'elle faisait des crises de coeur ? tous les mois. Je ne sens pas que j'ai manqu? de quoique ce soit ? cause de sa condition.

Elle m'a enseign? la compassion et ? prendre soins des autres. Cela est par la suite devenue mon m?tier. C'?tait une femme tr?s g?n?reuse, vaillance, courageuse et pleine de vie.

Tu peux m'?crire personellement si le coeur t'en dit.

Ernie

English translation:

Hi Tampa,

I speak French like you do. I live in Canada and more specifically in Quebec. I was adopted a 2 months. My adoptive mother had a heart condition wich made her incapable of carrying a child because she would have died during the pregnancey.

She was the best mother for me even if she had monthly heart attack. I never felt that I missed out on anything because of her health isssues.

She thought me compassion and how to take care of others. Taking care of others then became my career. My mother was really generous, courageous, hardworker and full of life.

You can email me personally if you feel like so.

Ernie

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