At the end of autumn we got several beautiful squash that I didn’t recognize in our CSA box. They were long and thin, varying in shades of yellow, orange, or green, with darker lines outlining the indentations between their gentle ridges. After a bit of research, I discovered that these were called delicata squash, and that you can even eat the skin of the delicata because it’s so, well…delicate.
While I found all sorts of recipes for delicata squash on Pinterest, I decided to start by simply roasting one with some of my homemade seasoning salts. Roasting a new (to you) vegetable is a great way to try it for the first time. You get to experience the flavor and texture of the vegetable, and can then better understand it and how it might work in other recipes. This was my plan for the delicata squash, but we ended up liking this method so much, that we did the exact same thing with all 10 squash that we ate!
The past couple of weeks, I haven’t much felt like cooking, but seeing the pyramid of delicata squash in a bin at the grocery store, reminded me how good they are. So I had to get one and share this recipe with you.
The reason I’ve been struggling to cook, and haven’t had a post up, since sharing the Snowman Cheeseball with you on Christmas, is that I have been dealing with postpartum depression.
I’m nervous even posting this, because everyone and their mother seems to have an opinion on postpartum depression, or depression in general. But I try to live a very transparent and open life, and believe in keeping it real here, just like I try to in person.
I do hope that anyone commenting would be respectful and encouraging, because I don’t feel like I can handle anymore guilt. Yep, turns out that’s one of the symptoms, which is what finally helped me figure out what was going on. I thought I was simply going through survivor’s guilt, and maybe sadness from my Grandmother’s passing. Plus, of course, the basic exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed that every new mom faces. I just kept telling myself that everything I was feeling was normal.
Then I started having days that I didn’t want to get out of bed, or I would call Eric at work and start crying that he needed to come home because I just couldn’t take it anymore. That would be followed by all consuming guilt because I have an incredible, adorable, amazing little baby boy and the most supportive husband you can imagine, and I was obviously taking them for granted by wanting a break from my life.
After a morning at church of repeatedly responding to friends’ greetings of “how are you?” with “I really don’t know. I think I’m broken or something”, I spent the afternoon rocking Corban, crying, and praying. Then it suddenly hit me. Look up the symptoms of postpartum depression. “But I can’t have postpartum depression. He’s almost a year, that’s too late.” But again I felt this overwhelming need to look it up.
So I googled it. “What are the symptoms of post partum depression?” Turns out, I fit every single one I found. Depression during pregnancy? Been there, done that, wrote the blog post. Binge eating, or not eating? Check and check. Unable to sleep? Yes, to the point that I was getting 1-3 hours a night. Feelings of guilt? More than I could keep up with. Feeling inadequate to take care of baby? So much so that especially difficult nights found me screaming for Eric to take him away. (Wow, that’s really hard to see in writing).
Let me take a moment to clarify something. I HAVE NOT HAD THOUGHTS OF HARMING MYSELF OR MY CHILD. I am SO thankful that I do not have postpartum psychosis, which is different and even scarier. But I have been so overwhelmed and sleep deprived that I am sometimes incapable of rational thought. It’s been really hard to realize that there are days that I cannot make myself believe what I know to be real and true, over what I’m feeling. I’ve never had that experience before and it is a big black hole that sucks you in and seems to go on forever.
Now for the good news, because you know I always try to focus on the positive.
I saw my doctor, who also had me see a naturopath, and am trying some new prenatal vitamins with a lot more iron and higher doses of other nutrients as well. We also started using techniques from “The No Cry Sleep Solution” to help Corban go to sleep more easily and sleep longer through the night. They were working really well (until we all got gastroenteritis and Corban got two ear infections in a row!) and I now feel hope for more sleep in the future. In addition to better sleeping habits, I also find that exercise makes a big difference. I try to exercise at least three times a week (which only happens when everyone’s healthy) and find that it can really affect how I’m doing emotionally.
Finally, I am not staying silent about this, and the support I am experiencing has blown me away. The women of my Mops group have been helping with meals, childcare, words of encouragement, and housework. So have family and other friends. Every time I talk to someone (and by that I mean someone who is emotionally safe and encouraging) about what is going on, I feel like the depression has less power over me. It seems a little more manageable.
I’m not out of the darkness yet, in fact it’s been pretty hard this week (although I feel amazing right at this moment, since I just got finished with a massage and facial for my birthday!!!), but I absolutely see a light. I even feel a renewed sense of excitement over my hobbies, which I hadn’t been interested in for a while. I know I’m going to make it through this, and a big part of that is because of the wonderful support system I have around me. So thanks to all of you who are a part of that.
I’m really curious, have any of you every suffered from postpartum depression? How long did it last? What helped you through it?
- 2 delicata squash
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Wash and dry the squash. Cut them into 1/2 inch wide rounds, and cut each round in half.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil, and then the seasoned salt.
- Spread squash in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time. Squash is done when it is very easily pierced with a fork and brown around the edges.
Approximate cost/serving: I've been finding the squash for less than $2 this winter, so this ends up costing me about $1 a serving.
Vegetarian/Gluten Free: This is both, and vegan as well. Just make sure, if you're using a store bought seasoned salt, to read the label as some contain gluten.
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.