If Postpartum Mamas Banned Bossy


“Shhhhhhh. Don’t talk too loudly and don’t let anyone hear you.” the woman whispered as they chatted in the vestibule at church. Her companion had just expressed concern about a young new mother in the congregation who looked a bit exhausted that morning as she wrestled with her six week old and two year old toddler.

She patted her grey curls and adjusted her purse as she glanced around and leaned in to speak. “Don’t say anything but I heard from Ethel that she’s struggling with…” she lowered her voice to barely a whisper “that postpartum depression stuff.”

Her companion gasped and put her gloved hand over her mouth.

“No… not that. Why, in our day, we didn’t have that sort of thing. We just made do. These new age mamas and their excuses not to do the work mothering requires of them. Why it just makes me so angr…” Susan wagged her finger in front of her mouth as the bedraggled topic of their gossip approached.

“Well, hello there, Beth! Just how are things with you these days? And ohhhh… look at the new little one! Isn’t she just precious?” Beth sighed, glanced at the baby then back at Susan. She forced a smile and said “Just fine, come on, Ethan. Let’s go find Daddy.” As they started to walk off, Susan made a knowing eye contact with Joan, motioning after Beth, as if to say “I told you so.”

They stood there for a few more minutes, dissecting every aspect of Beth’s behaviour, dress, and choice of clothing for her children but not once did they discuss how they could help Beth as she learned how to navigate her way through this brand new motherhood of two children. Instead, they simply stood aghast and whispering at her apparent failure, ignoring all the signs that something was amiss.

Sadly, this still happens to many mothers. We are judged. Discussed. Analyzed. Dismissed. All because so many fail to discuss what is actually going on inside our heads. Because not enough of us get BOSSY about it.

What if, when Beth finally heals, she grabs the bull by the horns and starts a support group at her church? What if she dares to get up in front of the congregation and admits to her experience and educates those sitting there? What if she dares them to do more for new mothers and therefore changes the lives of new mothers touched by this church? But if we ban bossy, the Beths of the world won’t do this because well, they’ll be sitting down and not doing anything to blaze a path because SHHHHHHH. We dare not be bossy.

If I had not been bossy with my maternal medical care, things would have gone unnoticed. Hell, even though I was bossy the first time, I still went untreated because I was seen as “wrong” even though I knew myself better than anyone else. My “bossy” hormones should have slid magically back into place at four weeks postpartum so it wasn’t possible for me to have PPD. Shame on me for daring to say anything about not feeling well and daring to expect the doctor to actually, oh, I don’t know, DO SOMETHING. I slinked away, disappointed at not receiving help and resolving to stand up for myself down the road if necessary even if it hadn’t gotten me anywhere the first time around.

I got bossy the second time around too after my docs scheduled me for an induction WITHOUT MY CONSENT after noting that my first baby had been “big” at birth (she was 8lbs 3oz, thank you very much.)

What would happen to women, to all the progress we have made in the birthing world – hell, in the postpartum world, if we banned bossy?

There would be no Katherine Stone.

There would be no #PPDChat.

There would be no ample supply of kick ass doulas.

There wouldn’t be a chorus of PPD advocates or breastfeeding or formula feeding advocates. Or Attachment Parenting advocates. Or…. do I really need to go on?

What about NICU Parents? Where the hell would they AND THEIR CHILDREN be without the bossy trait?

Bossy is necessary.

Bossy saves lives.

Banning bossy is akin to telling someone to sit down, shut the eff up, and take whatever life shoves their way. Maybe that’s not what this campaign is about, maybe it’s about taking charge and finding a more positive way to spin it but dammit, no one gets to tell me what word to use to describe myself.

Words are powerful things. They incite strength, they spark revolutions, they can make us cower or they can give us power. But the beauty of words is that WE get to decide what they mean to us, not those who are spewing them at us. We define them. We can take them and twist them into the most beautiful and amazing things ever seen by mankind. It is up to us to choose how to process that which is spoken to us, about us, by us, and for us.

No one should ever put bossy in the corner.

No one.

Instead, we should grab it by the hand, drag it out to the dance floor, and flaunt that baby like there’s no tomorrow. Own it as if we are in the spotlight with Patrick Swayze himself, getting ready to dive off the stage into his arms.

The idea that we are to ban this word to encourage young girls not to be afraid of being “leaders” scares me.

Are we really empowering girls by doing so or are we further protecting them from the big bad world out there waiting to swallow them whole? Bossy gets you places. Bossy starts inside, it drives us forward, and it ENABLES us to be leaders. Not the other way around. If we ban bossy instead of embracing bossy, we are further shaming the word and the attitude. Hell, motherhood alone requires a certain level of bossy, does it not? As does fatherhood.

I am bossy.

I am not afraid to say no.

I am not afraid to stand up for my beliefs. I am not afraid to stand up for others and the rights they have. I am not afraid to tell someone “No, that’s not right. This is the truth, and you need to listen to it.” I am not afraid to protect and defend mothers who suffer from Perinatal Mood Disorders.

I will be bossy about Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders until the day I die.

No social media campaign (or anything else for that matter) will ever change that.

Let’s not ban bossy.

Let’s make some noise…and make some history while we’re at it.

Because “well-behaved women seldom make history” yanno.

Here’s to all of us bossy women – rocking the world, taking names, and kicking ass.

Stay bossy forever.

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What Would Your Trophy Say?


“It’s psychotic. They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity.”

~Mr. Incredible, The Incredibles~

Ah, good old mediocrity. The goal for which everyone aimed, right?

Not really.

In the sixth grade, I completed in the school’s spelling bee. If memory serves correctly (I’m getting old and yes, there is truth to the old adage that brains stop working as well once you hit a certain age), I won the class competition which is what placed me in the school’s bee.

I won the school’s spelling bee.

Don’t ask me what word I spelled to win because I don’t remember.

I remember, however, thinking winning was kick-ass, especially because I was one of the younger kids in the school. I beat the older, (and I thought smarter), kids that day.

I did not make it past the county spelling bee, however, despite studying my ass off. The other kids there were simply better at spelling than I. (I know, completely shocking, right?)

I have the trophy stashed somewhere, probably in a box long gone, to be honest. Who knows. It is a symbol of victory, of not settling for anything but the best.

I also played soccer as a kid. Our team did not win a lot of games, we definitely did not win regionals or go to any sort of championship. At least, I don’t remember us doing so. Know what we all got at the end of the season? A tropy. For mediocrity.

That trophy, while pretty, is completely worthless. Sure, it has my name on it and is a symbol of a lot of physical exertion over a few months, but meh. There is no victory attached to it therefore it means nothing.

We do not need to reward people for mere participation. For just showing up. Awards are meant for people who go above and beyond expectations, who fight like hell to do their very best and dedicate their lives to be the very best they can be at what they do.

Trophies don’t go to people who half-ass it. At least, they shouldn’t.

I think anyone living with a mental illness who battles through their days just to survive, however, should have a damn trophy. Because that? IS HARD WORK. Getting out of bed, doing what needs to be done, making plans, living – that is damn near impossible for someone with a mental illness. Doable, but damn near impossible without an extreme exertion of energy, both physical and mental.

It is a well-practiced tango between mind and body – convincing the brain to properly control the body to do what it needs to in order to accomplish the most base tasks like eating, showering, cleaning, etc. Same days? It’s more like the hokey pokey – you put the left arm in, you take the left foot out, you do the hokey pokey and you shake it all about. If you’re lucky, you fall asleep and start all over again, praying that your mind & body are back in sync the next day.

If you created a trophy for yourself or someone you loved who struggled with a mental illness to inspire/empower them, what would it say?

Tell me down below!

I’m gonna have to give some thought to what mine would say. Stay tuned for that update!

When Spam Happens


Spam.

It’s not just a delicious canned meat (yes, I said delicious. YUM!). No, if you’ve been on the Internet for any amount of time, you’re familiar with the other meaning of Spam. Unwanted contact from marketers for anything from a request for a link share or the darker side of spam, such as the seedy overseas national with a ton of money to send you if you’ll just please share all of your personal information with someone you have never met. (Don’t do that, by the way – just don’t.)

I have seen an increase in what I consider to be “spam” hitting my inbox lately, particularly associated with this blog. Usually I delete and move on but occasionally, I respond with a polite no and even more rarely, I respond as I chose to do yesterday.

Until yesterday, the emails which annoyed me most were of this nature:

“Hi! I’m Patricia and I’m a hard-working mom of a wonderful kid who is blah blah blah blah and blah blah blah…was reading your blog…blah blah..noticed you had a broken link… blah blah…while you’re fixing your broken link, would you mind adding my link as well? I put a lot of love and hard work into….”

Wait just a damn second.

I’m all for bloggers working together and letting each other know when a link isn’t working. I am. That’s awesome. That’s called friendship. But…when you’re tossing it in there to add your link and I don’t even know you?

SPAM.

I checked the link out, (I know, I know, don’t click the links!) glad I decided to do so. The link, while presenting decent information, had NO sourcing for said information, no credit for any of the pics used on the page, nothing. Total hot mess. You would think after one email it would be over, right? (I deleted it, didn’t respond). But no. I received at least two more emails from this person, the third one practically demanding I respond because I hadn’t responded yet.

I received another email like this from what appeared to be a different address but I am pretty sure it was the same person. That, or there’s a disturbing new trend in the spam world of “Hey! I’m trying to be friendly and help you but oh, by the way….”

No. Just no.

Fix the link if it’s broken (it was, through no fault of my own – the website I’d linked to had changed the page URL), and move on. Delete, delete, delete.

Then there are the fabulous people who email things like this:

“HEY! We’re having this awesome contest and if you’re one of the first 25 people to blog about our recommended topic, you’ll get on our front page with a link and a bio! Oh, and by blogging about said topic in 200 or more words, you’ll earn a chance at a grand prize of 1k or other smaller prizes! DO IT!”

How about no? And how about I send you an email that reads a LOT like this:

Hi, Rex.

Thank you for your terribly considerate email about your upcoming contest at your website. Really.

There’s nothing I would love more than to write an absolutely meaningless post about a cheap Mother’s Day present that’s 200+ words long because I’m a “Mom” blogger and covet a chance at entrance into a contest for 1k and other smaller prizes.

My blog has depth. It conveys hope and inspiration to mothers who have been through hell. The last thing I want to do is toss them a bone with a post that means absolutely nothing to me (and therefore will mean nothing to them). It’s not what I do and if you were at ALL familiar with my blog, you’d know that.

Here’s the thing, Rex.

I’m a writer.

Not “just” a blogger.

My writing isn’t free.

Want a post on my blog?

It’ll cost you $2.00/word. At 200 words minimum, you’re looking at least $400.00. Sure, a chance at 1k would more than cover my fee, but it’s not a guaranteed 1k, now is it?

And let’s not forget the chance at being featured on your home page if I’m one of the first 25 respondents. Exposure. YAY. I get that on my own. Probably not at the level you’re offering, but hey, I’ll take it because it means something.

I’m not a numbers girl. Never have been, never will be. I’m an “engagement value” type of gal unwilling to sell out space on my blog for some sort of cheap chance at money and exposure. If I wanted a cheap shot at money, I’d play the lottery. Less work is involved.

This is the problem with the world today, Rex. People think bloggers will work for free, for scraps from the table. Newsflash. We don’t. Some of us may, but the more savvy of us refuse to sit on the floor waiting for someone to toss us scraps like “exposure” and “a chance at a prize.”

All the best with your contest. I won’t be entering.

I have better things to do at my blog, like save lives and bash stigma in the head.

 PS. This response is a minimum of 350 words. To whom should I send the bill for $700?

I tweeted about this situation yesterday. The above email is how I decided to handle it. I wrote it, held it for a bit, then sent it off. Why? It’s a waste of energy some will say. But for each non-response they get, they don’t get the idea that bloggers are no longer willing to work for a “chance” at a prize. Maybe some are willing to do that – I’m not. All I want is for companies to simply respect what bloggers do and to genuinely check out the websites to which they pitch their ideas and campaigns. If it fit with the mission and general goals of my blog, I may have considered it. But this? Fits of laughter then anger.

The take-away from this post?

  • Recognize Spam as Spam.
  • Delete it if it’s inconsequential.
  • Respond if you feel it’s the proper thing to do.
  • But above all, laugh at the idiocy of it all, and then move on.

Spam is the underbelly of the Interwebz. Occasionally it deserves a post or two about the dangers of it or the ridiculousness of it all, but mostly, it deserves to stay in the dark corners of the Interwebz, barricaded away from the rest of all the good out there.

Take Your Award and SHOVE IT


I received an email this morning informing me my blog had been chosen, after careful review by a panel of expert judges, for “excellence due to the contribution its top editorial offers the depression world.”

I’m already skeptical because well, I don’t know the sender.

Then, the second paragraph begins and it gets better. Oh yes, it does.

The award comes from none other than an online pharmaceutical company.

RIGHT. Like I’m gonna link to an online pharmaceutical company from THIS blog because yanno, I have no ethics and it’s clear this is now a marketing ploy to gain more consumers and yadda yadda yadda.

But then, oh then, I decide to go check out the website with my “award” on it. It’s there I find this lovely little nugget once I get to the listing of my blog:

First of all, and correct me if I’m wrong but…when you’re giving someone an award (unless it’s a Roast on Comedy Central), it’s a bit “off-putting” to insult the person to whom you’re giving the award, yes?

Also, there’s a reason my blog is plain visually, thank you very much. It’s because here? Here the WORDS are what matter. Not the graphics, not the bling, not the whatever the hell else this person obviously requires of a blog in order for it not to be “off-putting.” For the record, that header up there? I designed it myself, as is the case with most of the graphics you find throughout my site. And no, I’m not a professional, don’t claim to be but I have been paid for graphics in the past and frankly, am of the school of “less is more.” Clearly this person is of the school which thinks “more is never enough.”

I don’t care if your website has been featured in a zillion places with a zillion readers and endorsed by organizations with a ton of credibility. You clearly don’t give a flying eff about anyone but yourself and increasing your bottom line. Also? You didn’t read much of my blog because if you had, you would know I call people out for this crap – marketing ploys which prey on those with mental health issues ALL.THE.TIME.

So no, I don’t want your stinking award. I don’t want the insults associated with it and I am quite comfortable with the appearance of my blog right now. Yeah, it *could* be organized a smidge better and I am working on that but hey, let’s not get ugly.

My blog has ALWAYS been plain and ALWAYS will be thus. I’m not here to showcase bling. I’m here to provide a safe space for women who feel like I did after I had my girls. To welcome them and let them know they are absolutely not alone. There is nothing off-putting about that, thank you very much.