Milestones


This year has been a year full of milestones for our four year old daughter.

She blew out the candles on her birthday cake for the very first time. She belly laughed for the first time. She is thriving in an all-day pre-k full of absolutely normal kids her age. We understand almost 99% of her speech these days. Life is good.

Today, a milestone happened for us in the car.

When I walked in to pick her up from pre-k, she grinned widely, jumped up, and ran over to hug me.

The last time I picked her up? Tears. Total meltdown. Temper tantrum complete with thrashing in the floor. She is accustomed to her father picking her up and had not been informed about the change. She was NOT happy. Today she was happy to see me. We started last night to explain to her that Mommy would be picking her up from school to take her to a doctor’s appointment.

I had a snack waiting in the car. Once strapped in, I got her settled with her snack, got the tunes going, and off we went.

Halfway across town, as she snacked and I chowed down on Peanut M&M’s, a favorite song of hers came on Pandora.

I turned it up, she squealed, and we sang as loud as we could together.

Then, it hit me.

We?

Were a mother and daughter rocking it out in the car.

Just an average, everyday Mom & daughter totally grooving together.

I had to stop singing because I started crying. Furiously blinking back tears so she wouldn’t see me and swallowing my tears so I could sing with her again, relishing the normalcy of the moment.

My four year old and I did not bond when she was born. She was born with a condition known as Pierre Robin Sequence. At just 9 days old, she had major surgery and was in an induced coma for a week as the swelling went down from her surgery.

When she was 56 days old, I was hospitalized.

When she was 7 months old, I stopped exclusively pumping and stopped resenting her for all the issues she brought into my life.

When she was 3 years old, she had to have another surgery and I was forced to return to the same hospital she was at for her NICU stay. We bonded that week, the two of us, and have been growing closer ever since.

But today? Today was really the first time I felt that miraculous mother/daughter bond with my daughter.

I cried not only because it had finally happened but because it took nearly five years to happen.

You know what though?

TOTALLY worth the wait.

Humbled: Seems I inspired a PSI Fundraiser in TX


Back in August, there was an email to a Postpartum Mental Illness group of which I am a member. This email stood out. It was from a Dad. He sounded desperate. His daughter was struggling with Postpartum Depression. His words echoed with concern and worry.

Despite that I was at Wal-Mart, on my cell phone, and had screaming kids in the backseat, something told me to respond right then and there. My husband was with me and I asked him to drive so I could respond. By now, he was very used to this scenario.

In responding to this Dad, I identified myself as a Postpartum Support International Coordinator and offered to email off group with him. We began to email privately within 24 hours. He opened up completely to me and I referred him to Coordinators in TX but let him know I would remain available for any questions he had as the situation proceeded.We continued to email back and forth for a few months. At one point, I had not heard from him in a few weeks and he popped into my head so I emailed him to see how things were going. This is the way things went between us.

This father was James Stanley.

Turns out he’s on the Diversity Council for Luminant Technologies, a subsidiary of one of the largest Energy Companies in Texas.

So moved by my compassion, James approached Luminant Technologies about a fundraiser for PSI.

It’s in August.

I have been oh so humbled by all of this. I did nothing beyond what I do every day and what I wished someone had done for me. James told me this fundraiser is the least he could do. It’s SO much more though. So very much more.

Each day, I arise with thankfulness in my heart for having made it so far. I wake with a simple goal – to help just one mom or family understand or get help with a Postpartum Mood Disorder. Since I’ve started reaching out, I have never failed. This is a daily goal I never intend to lose.

You can read his story at Postpartum Progress.

I’ll be in Texas for the golf tournament.

The best part? I get to meet James and his wife. And THANK him for his very compassionate heart.

According to the post at Postpartum Progress, here’s how you can help sponsor this event:

Luminant’s Sandow/Three Oaks Diversity Advisory Council 2nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, August 7th at the Golf Club Star Ranch in Hutto, TX (near Austin).  The entry fee is $75 per player and $300 per team if you register by July 27th.  The entry fee includes lunch, golf cart, range balls and drink coupons.  Mulligans can also be purchased.  Prizes will be awarded to top finishers, and random drawings will be made for additional winners.  To learn more or to register, click here.  You can also contact Debi Mikulencak at 512-446-8992.

To help Luminant support PSI, your company can help sponsor this event.  There is a wide variety of sponsorship options.  To learn more, click here.

Also, we welcome assistance from PSI supporters who would like to donate a gift certificate or gift card from a national chain for use as auction items or prizes at the golf tournament.

James – Thank YOU, sir, for your dedication and compassionate heart. You have humbled me.

And thank you, God, for putting the two of us together. You have truly blessed this in every way possible.

Just Talkin’ Tuesday 04.27.10: How much of your Postpartum story will you share with your kids?


Six years ago when I became a mom for the first time, my mind was certainly not thinking about a Postpartum Mood Disorder. And I was certainly not thinking about having to discuss it with my newborn daughter when her sister and brother were born. Yet there I was – staring down delivery for the third time and the very real possibility of relapsing- and I had these two darling little girls depending on me. Suddenly it wasn’t about me anymore. It was about them. About their security, their safety, their happiness, the very stability of their world depended on how my husband and I explained the possibility of mommy experiencing a Postpartum Mood Disorder.

We did not talk about it a lot when our second daughter was born. At least I don’t remember talking about it a lot. I may have mentioned something briefly but at that point, I hadn’t become an advocate or blogger. I had not educated myself as much as I had by the time my pregnancy with our son. I had not come to embrace the realization that Postpartum Mood Disorder affects the whole family. Once I embraced that fact, I realized there was no way I could avoid having a discussion with our daughters. I should also say that our oldest daughter really saw a lot of strife she shouldn’t have with that second episode of Postpartum. My husband and I would yell and scream at each other with her just in the other room. We were both frustrated, scared, and really not putting ourselves first at all. Postpartum will do that to you – completely consume you if you allow it to do so. Our communication had hopelessly broken down by the time our second daughter came home from the hospital.

Somewhere in the second trimester of my third pregnancy, my husband and I began to talk with our daughters about Postpartum Mood Disorders. We did not use big clinical words even though we don’t believe in baby talking the kids.

We told them that sometimes, after moms have babies, they get sad. And sometimes they get angry. But it’s not the mommy’s fault. Not the daddy’s fault, not the baby’s fault and not the big brother or big sister’s fault. That it just happens. And if it does happen, mom goes to a doctor to talk about what’s going on so she can get help and get better.

Then we brainstormed ways they could help mommy if she got angry or sad after she had baby.

My favorite response was from our oldest: “I could make you happy by tickling you so you’ll laugh.”

That’s my girl – curing Postpartum Mood Disorders one tickle at a time!

I’ve since talked with the girls about what I do and why I spend time on the computer and the phone. I remind them about how some mommies get angry or sad after having babies. And then I tell them that mommy makes herself available to these mommies so they don’t have to be sad or angry alone. I tell them that mommy helps these mommies find the help they need to get better so they can be happy with themselves and with their families. They both seem to understand very well what mommy does and appreciate it.

Making the decision to share my postpartum journey with my kids was not easy. But given my history and the high chance of relapse, we felt we had to share with them what may happen after their brother was born. One day I may share with them this website and let them read everything that happened. I’ll answer any questions they may have. It’s important to me they understand that there is no shame in any kind of mental illness. But until they are much older, I don’t feel they need to know very much. I certainly don’t regret having shared with them what I have thus far. For me, sharing with my kids will be showing them that it is possible to get through the toughest parts of life. I sincerely hope the phrase “I give up” is never in their vocabulary.

So let’s get to just talking. Will you ever share your Postpartum Story with your child? Have you already shared with your son or daughter? What did you tell them? Will you tell them the whole story or just bits and pieces? Why would you tell them your story? Why would you choose not to tell them if that’s your decision?

Let’s get to just talking!

Happy Father’s Day!!!!


Father and son in field

 

A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. 

~Author Unknown~