Whatever Wednesday: Things I’m Afraid To Tell You


In 2011, I dove out of my life, headlong into a brand new one. I still have no idea where that life is going but I can tell you that it’s been a hell of a journey.

There were days when I wasn’t quite sure who I was. Days when I fell apart and didn’t want to get out of bed. Days when I reached the bottom, wanted to delve even further, and never come back up for air. There were days when I didn’t want to breathe. Days when I sat, for what seems like forever, in front of my netbook, begging my brain to cooperate so I can write something for this blog. Yet nothing comes so I write for other websites about non-postpartum issues.

After all of this, I finally know who I am. I like who I am.

Here’s the thing I’m afraid to tell you and afraid to tell myself but I’m going to say it anyway – I have no idea how to merge who I used to be with who I am now. I’m at a crossroads, foot firmly on the brake, unable to move forward in any direction.

Frozen.

Do I need to merge the woman I used to be with the woman I am now? Is it necessary for me to move forward? Has the merge already happened as I have grown over the past year? How do I continue to do what I do here as a single woman and no longer an active full time parent? Am I still qualified to provide advice and support? Are my experiences negated now that I have stepped out of the very life which caused them?

These are the thoughts which race through my head. The thoughts which give me reason to stop and wonder about the very future of my blog….about my future. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I fought for my identity as me. Now,  I fight as me for my identity as a mother.

I have no doubt that the future which awaits me is filled with joy, happiness, love, and peace. A future in which I will no longer be lost to myself or to those closest to me. It is faith which has carried me this far and faith which will carry me until my days in this world are done. This is all I know, all I need to know. Learning to fully trust faith, to fully trust the plan laid out for my life, however, is the challenge I face now.

I am learning to lean hard on God with every day. In His time, I will understand and find my answers. Until then…I will wait, with joy in my heart, clinging to hope and fighting the ever closer creeping fear with fierce prayers emanating from my very soul.

This post written as part of a movement, Things I Am Afraid to Tell You. I realize it’s supposed to be more of a list, but this is how mine came out and I am okay with that.

You can find more brave bloggers sharing what they’re afraid to tell you here.

Seeking guest contributors


Due to a personal situation, I am currently unable to blog here at the moment. I am hoping to get back to blogging soon.

In the meanwhile, I would like to continue sharing stories and experiences of Postpartum Mothers (and fathers) here at My Postpartum Voice. Over the past four years, I have worked tirelessly to reach out to those who are struggling in an effort to help them feel as if they are not alone. While there is four years of material here, new stories and new perspectives are always welcome and may reach someone I may not be able to reach myself.

If you are interested in writing for My Postpartum Voice, please email me at mypostpartumvoice(@)gmail.com. I never edit for content, only for grammar and spelling. I believe when you are writing about your Postpartum experience, it should be in your voice, your words. I also never limit the length but prefer most pieces to be not much longer than 800 words. If your story is longer than that, it’s fine, we can certainly post it in sections. Topic is completely up to you but absolutely must relate to the Postpartum Mood & Anxiety experience in some way. Tips, personal stories, research, opinion, etc. – all welcome. Humor too – I’m a big fan of laughing your way through the darkness.

Also, you are more than welcome to submit anonymously. I realize that the Postpartum journey can be frightening and you may need to share but not wish to do so publicly. I will absolutely respect your wishes in this area and work with you to ensure your privacy is protected.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope that even if you are not ready or able to share a story, you’ll pass this on to someone who may be able to or ready to share theirs.

Thank you for reading, for supporting, and for sharing.

And the 2010 Postpartum Voice of the Year is…….


Background created by Billy Alexander; sourced from: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1284532

I am so very excited to announce that Kimberly, of All work & No Play Makes Mommy go Something Something, is the 2010 Postpartum Voice of the Year.

Kimberly’s writing about her journey through her battle with PMD’s has been absolutely astounding. With each new post, she allows her readers into her world with a breathtakingly raw level of honesty. Through it all, even when she has felt like giving up, she has found solace through sharing her journey with us. We have all rallied around her when times have gotten tough and celebrated when they’ve been good.

Today is one of those days where we get to hoist Kimberly onto our shoulders and carry her around for a day. Today is Kimberly’s day. Heck, it’s her YEAR.

Congratulations to one of the most amazing women I have had the good fortune to come in contact with over the past year. You are truly an inspiration and a shining light for other mothers. YOUR words speak volumes when they sit alone in the dark, searching for hope. You totally rock.

Want to read the piece she won this fabulous award for? You can read it right here.

To all the finalists of the Postpartum Voice of the Year, know that beyond a shadow of a doubt that your words too, are making a difference. Your story speaks to mothers who are in the SAME place as you. They will find solace in your journey. A solace which may not exist anywhere else for them. I cannot stress how important this is – every woman with Postpartum deserves a soft place to land. All of the finalists and nominees are amazing. The compassion I know all of you have in your hearts amazes me every week. The community we build through our words is limitless, priceless, full of hope, full of love – full of all the things we WISH had been there for us when we fell – or WAS there for us when we fell. It’s filled with all that it should be and so much more.

I am humbled by your audacity and courage on a daily basis.

Don’t ever stop speaking up, reaching out, and inspiring hope.

Congratulations, Kimberly. As @earthXplorer would say, ROCK THIS DAY!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Whatever Wednesday: Questions from Twitter


I decided to take questions from Twitter today. Only the first 5 responses though so as not to overwhelm myself. In no particular order, here are the questions and their answers.

1) @ksluiter asked: I want to know about succesfully weening to get pregnant or staying on meds while pregnant.

Staying on meds while pregnant was a decision I struggled with when I became pregnant with our son. The pregnancy was not planned so I skipped over the whole “weaning to get pregnant” concern and skipped straight into the “should I stay on my meds while pregnant” arena. This is most definitely a decision which should be made with the help of a medical professional. There were a few things which helped me make my decision a little easier:

a) Moms on meds when pregnant and then go off their meds during pregnancy face a higher relapse rate for mental health issues (specifically Postpartum) after delivering.

b) Baby has already been exposed to medication for 4-6 weeks by the time you realize you are still pregnant (unless you weaned beforehand) Going off meds cold turkey will affect baby as well as you.

c) High levels of stress/depression cross the placenta as well and can inhibit fetal growth and spur premature delivery. Given that my 2nd daughter had indeed been born nearly 5 weeks early, I was not interested in going that route again.

Bottom line here: This decision is an intensely personal decision. Talk with your doctor. Research. Know what you are comfortable with doing.

Couple of great resources for this are: Pregnant on Prozac by Shoshana Bennett and also Otis Pregnancy (also has a Twitter presence: @OtisPregnancy) Check them out.

2) @invisibledaddy asked: what’s the closest experience you’ve had to ppd besides ppd itself, to help us get a sense?

Wow. I had to really think for this question. I think the closest experience I have had to PPD happened my junior year of college. Within 19 days between February and March, I lost both of my grandfathers. This left me with no grandparents. The subsequent grieving process I went through was extremely similar emotionally to how I felt during Postpartum Depression. My grief was a very physical grief and that’s where it differed from my Postpartum. It also differed in that I wailed. A lot. Quite often I would wail and scream myself to sleep. I struggled with anxiety attacks as well, something I did not experience during Postpartum. I also thrashed and hit. It took me a very long time to recover.

The most important difference here is that people expect you to grieve when you lose a close family member or friend. When you have Postpartum, there is an element of guilt and shame accompany the disorder with which you struggle. Why? Because you have a baby. You SHOULD be happy. Even those who experience the grief of miscarriage or losing an infant within the first months of life experience this as many around them will tell them awful things such as “Well, it was never a REAL baby” (miscarriage) or “He/she wasn’t here very long so the pain will fade quickly because you didn’t have a lot of time to bond.” Acerbic comments such as this are extremely unhelpful and only serve to expose the ignorance of those offering them. (FYI, for a great website about miscarriage and infant loss, I highly recommend the folks over at Grieve Out Loud.)

Another thing I experienced with Postpartum that not many associate with it was intense anger and increased irritability. Many associate crying as one of the major symptoms. While it is a symptom, it is not one that every mom will experience. Many moms instead become very overwhelmed and as a result, develop what I term “explosive” personalities, blowing up over the smallest perceived injustice or high expectation.

3) @MamaRobinJ asked: How about blogging about PPD. How much detail do you think people should offer? What’s too personal?

I have a few personal rules I stick to when blogging about PPD. The primary goal is to keep from endorsing specific medications as I feel that is a discussion best left between physician and patient and to keep from triggering others.

Sharing details is good to an extent. That said, if you have a piece you are posting to your blog that a new mom may visit, always ALWAYS warn at the very beginning of the piece that if someone is in a fragile state, they should probably skip the post and come back when they’re feeling a bit healthier. I’ve taken to posting music videos via YouTube at the beginning of posts I think may trigger someone. Katherine Stone, author over at Postpartum Progress, has a symbol she posts at the beginning of potentially triggering posts. We all have our own methods but we all keep in mind the fact that the people reading our blog may not be in the same mindframe we are now.

Another thing aspect of sharing details is that in writing your own story, you may feel drained. It may drag up some of the same emotions you had when you experienced while in the depths of PPD. Be prepared to deal with this. Sharing is therapeutic. But it can also be exhausting. Share at a pace which is healthy for you. Your mental health is far more important than indulging the curiosity of your readers.

Too personal for me is:

  • Naming the Psych Hospital I spent time in
  • Naming any of my Physicians
  • Naming any of my medications

Even with HIPAA, for me this is a privacy issue and one that I will not disclose under most circumstances.

If I do disclose my medication, I am very careful to say that it is what worked (or didn’t work) for me. All treatments/therapies work differently for different people. It is important for us to respect the journey of others toward wellness.

4) The good folks over at @bandbacktogether asked: “why did you start to blog?”

The best answer to this question is back at my very first post in May 2007. But, for the sake of posterity and saving you a click and a ton of reading (and the horrificness of my first ever blog post), my husband and I found ourselves quite unexpectedly pregnant after a very nasty episode of Postpartum OCD (and probably PTSD due to my daughter’s NICU stay). Once the pregnancy test lines turned pink and I dug myself out of bed after reading Karen Kleiman’s “What Am I Thinking: Having a Baby After Postpartum Depression,” I decided to start a blog in order to “reframe” my pregnancy as Karen suggested. Little did I know something I started for just for me would still be around nearly four years later and evolved into what it has today – including #PPDChat at Twitter every Monday at 1p & 830p ET.

5) @TouchstoneAZ asked: “Have you seen any correlation between when period returns pp even while bfing and PPD?

When I asked for further clarification, she stated she was asking about mood and period. If I’ve understood her question correctly, I think she’s asking about increased issues with mood during PMS after an episode of Postpartum. SO many mothers (including myself) struggle for a long time with increased mood issues during PMS after a Postpartum episode. I get increasingly irritable, cranky, and just all around grumpy. I was on medication for PMS prior to pregnancy for my PMS. In fact, I remember reading research stating that women with PMDD (or severe emotional issues during PMS) are at a slightly higher risk for developing PPD. I can’t find the link at the moment though as my kids are on day 3 home from school for snow and frankly, my brain is fried. I’m also defending my laptop from my three year old as I type this so .. when I find the link, I’ll update this answer with it, I promise.

 

This was fun! I may have to do this again next week! If you liked this feature and have a question about my experience or anything Postpartum related, please either @ me on Twitter (I’m @unxpctdblessing) or email it to me at mypostpartumvoice(@)gmail(dot)com with “Q&A submission” as the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Postpartum Voice of the Year: Round II


Welcome to Postpartum Voice of the Year Round II voting.

The first round winners will not be announced until the Final Round of Voting.

As with Round I, this poll includes 6 Postpartum Voices of the Week posts. The top two will be included in the Final Round of Voting.

After this week, there will be a third round of voting prior to the Final Round of voting.

The winner of the Final Round of Voting will be named the Postpartum Voice of 2010. There will definitely be a badge for your blog (if you have one) involved. Not entirely sure what else will be involved as of yet but I’m working on it.

The Final Round of Voting will begin on January 23, 2011 and end on January 30th.

Postpartum Voice of the Year will be announced on January 31, 2011.

I urge you to visit and read each of the entries prior to voting.

Happy voting and sharing!

(FYI, if you are a nominee, email me @ mypostpartumvoice(@)gmail.com for a  nifty Nominated badge!)

Nominee Post Links:

My Voice My Depression by Sue @ Lives Less Ordinary: http://tinyurl.com/23mbyg8

Unplanned by @whodemis: http://tinyurl.com/2g4qrkw

PPD by Stacey @ Maternal Ramblings: http://tinyurl.com/32cmoaa

What if I have PPD & I don’t want to take meds? By Kate Kripke: http://tinyurl.com/37nqlu5

I’ve got 99 problems but a mommy ain’t one by @HeirtoBlair: http://tinyurl.com/38fvwk6

The Bucket by @makemomgosomething: http://tinyurl.com/25aub8t