Postpartum Voice of the Week: Afterbirth by @angiekinghorn


Music. The way feelings sound.

The above is a quote featured in a picture I shared at my Facebook account not too long ago. I believe in it, strongly. Music, for me at least, is one of the most powerful ways to enhance or change mood. It’s powerful, all-encompassing. Hidden in the beats, rhythms, and lyrics of certain songs, there are memories. Some blissful, others haunting and terrifying.

I blogged about overcoming the haunting memories which Linkin Park’s album Reanimation held for me. It’s the album I listened to as my then 9 day old daughter had major surgery for the first time in her life. It was while listening to this album I first slid under the waves of the sea of Not Okay and wanted to stay there, drowning in my terror at the hard swirling around me. It took me five years to listen to the album in it’s entirety.

Yesterday I read Afterbirth over at Angie Kinghorn’s blog. In it, she recounts how a specific song, “Lines Upon Your Face” by Vertical Horizon, holds similar memories for her. Angie writes, “I’ve tried playing it in small doses to get used to it, musical allergy shots, if you will, but the violin pulls my heartstrings out and flays them bloody every time.” 

Unlike me, she didn’t play this song purposely, it simply happened to play on her iPod as she sat in the dark in the nursery after a traumatic birth, her father in pain in his illness, and the fear it brought forth within her soul.

With each verse, she swirled deeper into the darkness, just as I did while listening to Linkin Park. The darkness was comforting for me, but for Angie, it broke her wide open, shattering her into pieces, ultimately leading her to the realization she needed help.

I’m listening to the song Angie listened to that night in the dark right now via Grooveshark. I understand how it could break someone apart.

Go read Angie’s post. Show her some love for sharing such a powerful experience with the world. It takes courage to fight your way out of the dark but it takes even more courage to share it as Angie has done at her blog.

Dear #PPDChat Army: An Open Love Letter


Dear #PPDChat Army:

You are the most amazing moms in the entire world.

Your heart, your fire, your compassion, your wicked strength, your wisdom, your drive to not let anyone else suffer alone is mind-boggling.

This week, one of ours struggled publicly. You didn’t run away. You ran toward her. You held her. You listened. You reached out. For her. For yourselves.

So many of you dove into her maelstrom right along with her. You were there for her when it mattered most.

At the closing of every chat, I always say that help is only a tweet away. To use the hashtag and an army will be at your disposal.

This week?

You proved it beyond any reasonable expectation.

This week, you were an army. This week you bonded together, rallied around one of our own. This week you brought tears to my eyes. To the eyes of everyone involved. (HUGE thanks to the BAND for giving our mama a safe place to vent)

Thank YOU.

But now, now that she’s safe, in the hands of professionals and hopefully receiving the care she so desperately needs, we need to focus on ourselves. Turn the army toward ourselves.

When we support others, we often push aside our own fears. We push aside the scary, the hard, the sad, the bad. We suck it up because we don’t want the one to whom we’re reaching to think we are anything but strong.

It’s okay to exhale.

It’s okay to cry.

It’s okay not to be okay right now.

It’s okay to collapse.

It’s okay to say “Hey, #PPDChat? That was hella hard and I need support.”

We will be there.

It’s what we do.

It’s who we are.

It’s how we run things.

We’re strong, each and every one of us.

We’re beautiful, each and every one of us.

But we’re fragile too.

Together though?

As an army?

We are unstoppable.

We are here.

Together.

You, just like her, are not alone.

If you feel triggered by this past week, USE the hashtag.

I promise, an ARMY will be at your side instantly.

Because that’s how we do it.

I love each and every one of you so much it hurts.

You all ROCK.

Today, the #PPDChat Army walks into a hospital


Today, one of our own is taking a deep breath and walking into a hospital.

She’s not going alone.

We are all going with her. The whole #PPDChat army. Because that’s what we do… we go wherever we are needed. Today, we are needed at a hospital.

Pam, we love you. All of us. We are proud of you for taking this step. Proud of you for the courage we all know too well required to take this step. We know those doors are heavy, frightening, and full of all we don’t want to admit is wrong with us. But you are not pushing them open without us. We are all there, helping you push. Helping you heal. You’re not alone. You are loved. You are supported. By the Army. By the Band. You ROCK.

Also, #PPDChat Army & The Band? We totally rocked it this week – the love we showed Pam is a true testament to the power of social media – and proof that friendship doesn’t have to just be in person to be real. Thank YOU for helping to save a life.

Go leave Pam some love to read when she returns… read her blog post about checking in.

For those of you reading who are part of the #PPDChat army or the Band or just want to show love, @d20Blonde has brilliantly suggested we send Pam a gift to show her our love. Please find me on Twitter @unxpctdblessing or leave a comment stating you’d like to contribute. We’ll be collecting the money via Paypal. Anything you can spare would be greatly appreciated. Update: A gift was ordered and delivered to Pam today. Thank you to everyone who contributed. I’ll be checking into getting a virtual card for us to all sign for her as well.

My Postpartum Voice of the Week: Bryce Dallas Howard


If you have not taken a few moments to read Bryce Dallas Howard’s piece about her experience with Postpartum Depression in the most recent GOOP newsletter, you really really should. (It’s the third section down)

Bryce shares so openly. She even includes a description about emotions felt as she watched an interview she gave while promoting a film during which she was asked about Postpartum Depression, admitting she was unable at the time to truly put into words how bad things really were.

This time around, she found her words. And folks, she doesn’t mince them or shy away from the intensity Postpartum Depression brought into her life.

One of the most powerful paragraphs Bryce penned: “It is strange for me to recall what I was like at that time. I seemed to be suffering emotional amnesia. I couldn’t genuinely cry, or laugh, or be moved by anything. For the sake of those around me, including my son, I pretended, but when I began showering again in the second week, I let loose in the privacy of the bathroom, water flowing over me as I heaved uncontrollable sobs.”

The imagery of isolation thrusts through her words, leaving no doubt to how alone Bryce felt at the depths of her struggles.

Bryce, thank you so much for your bravery. For being one of the rare celebrities to open up about this difficult path on which so many new moms find themselves.

I love, absolutely love that she also addresses the danger in not speaking up about Postpartum Depression: “Post-partum depression is hard to describe—the way the body and mind and spirit fracture and crumble in the wake of what most believe should be a celebratory time. I cringed when I watched my interview on television because of my inability to share authentically what I was going through, what so many women go through. I fear more often than not, for this reason alone, we choose silence. And the danger of being silent means only that others will suffer in silence and may never be able to feel whole because of it.”

Last but not least, I have to share my absolute favorite paragraph of her piece with you. It’s a retrospective of her experience with Postpartum Depression and speaks volumes:

“Do I wish I had never endured post-partum depression? Absolutely. But to deny the experience is to deny who I am. I still mourn the loss of what could have been, but I also feel deep gratitude for those who stood by me, for the lesson that we must never be afraid to ask for help, and for the feeling of summer that still remains.” ~Bryce Dallas Howard~

Just Talkin’ Tuesday 11.17.09: When did your fog lift?


base photo credit "water droplet with fall reflection" by mahalie @ flickr

All the cliches you hear about not being happy are profoundly true. The grass is a dull shade of green – khaki almost, for me at least. The trees filled with sorrow, the birds didn’t chirp as cheerily, the leaves waved as if mourning, the air filled with the weight of the entire world as the clouds swooped down and swarmed around my mind, fogging my vision of anything in front of me. My grandfather called those infamous fogs “pea souppers.”

I remember the day my Pea Soupper existance finally lifted. It was a bright spring day. The trees stood ready to burst forth brand new leaves still wrapped tightly in buds, rain had rushed through – not drenched us but rather left just enough behind for everything to sparkle a bit. I can still smell the rain of that day if I close my eyes and think long enough. THIS is the day I want to hold close to my heart forever when I think of my PPD.

Sure, I remember the bad stuff. I remember the cold sleep room where I first checked out. I remember all too well the smell of the soap from the NICU. I remember the cold hard plastic and mechanical whirring of my breast pump, the flat pillow at the psych ward. But when I think of my PPD, I want to remember that spring day. The day that not only Mother Nature birthed yet another child of spring but I found myself reborn as a complete person – myself and motherhood all rolled into one – ready to take on the very world which waited at my feet. Had it still been raining I may have pulled over and danced a little jig.

So tell us – when did your fog lift?

Let’s get to just talkin’.