Just Talkin’ Tuesday: Reflections


Everyone seems to take time at the end of the year to look back toward events which transpired in their lives. While it’s important to look back to remember the past, it’s also important to keep your eyes on the road ahead of you. You are where you are. Not where you have been, not where you will be when your journey is done.

Rather, you are where you are in this very moment.

Part of recovery involves realizing from where you have come and to where you will go as you heal.

Today, I challenge you to not only look back at the past year but to look forward to the coming year.

2011 is YOUR year. It’s a year during which you can make the best of anything heading your way. It’s a year during which YOU advocate for yourself, don’t take no for an answer, set small goals to reach recovery. You can do this. You can.

I know you feel alone. I know you’re scared. I know you feel lost down there in the dark.

You’re not alone down there.

No matter what your story, no matter what your history, no matter what you think is holding you back, we have all been where you are. We have all felt that something holding us back. We have ALL felt swallowed by the bottomless black pit filled with Postpartum Mood Disorders.

We care. We are many. We care. Let us care. Lean on us when you hurt. Lean on us when you don’t hurt. Lean on us when you can’t get up. Lean hard. We are here. We are love.

Now that you’ve gone through an entire box of Kleenex, I would love it if you would share your hopes for the next year. Keep them small and achievable. But keep them filled with hope.

Let’s get to Just Talkin’.

Just Talking Tuesday: The Elephant in the Room


There may be an elephant in your marriage or relationship if you have been diagnosed with a Postpartum Mood Disorder.

Maybe you do not want to talk about it.

Maybe he does not want to talk about it.

You are both scared.

You are scared you might be permanently broken.

He is worried he has lost the woman he married.

Fear is a powerful motivator. Sometimes it leads us in the wrong direction. It can leave us away from those we love and the support we need.

So we grow silent with each other. Short, rude, snide. Judgmental, even.

With each other and quite possibly even with our children.

Silence is nothing more than taking your problems and shoving them in a pressure cooker. Eventually it will explode. Explosions are messy, non-discriminatory, and only serve to create additional trauma for you and those who love you.

Humans are not telepathic. If you need help, ask for it. Accept it. Don’t judge or nag how the person helping is doing the task. Unless the manner in which they are doing the task will harm someone, sit back and enjoy the break.

Your loved ones cannot help you heal unless you share with them what is really going on. There may be reasons for you to keep it to yourself – maybe they would judge instead of help. If their response is negative then revisit the relationship after you have healed. Right now, you need to focus on you.

Don’t keep your feelings to yourself because your husband has been at work all day and deserves to come home to a happy home. You’ve been working all day too. Instead, take 10-15 minutes to check in with each other when he gets home. You get 5 minutes, he gets 5 minutes. If you can take longer, do so. But while the other person is talking, you do nothing but listen. No talking back or interrupting.

Another great suggestion from @notsuperjustmom at Twitter is to hold hands if you feel a fight suddenly coming on. You can’t fight if you’re holding hands.

Have you talked about the elephant in the room? Has it been successful? What strategies have worked for you? Is your elephant still stifling your relationship? What challenges do you face? Share with us. Someone may have a suggestion that might just work for you.

Let’s get to just talkin’!!!!

Just Talkin’ Tuesday: How can you tell when “normal” is returning?


Every Friday, I am the volunteer on duty for Postpartum Support International’s warmline. (That’s right – you can call for them for help and I’ll actually call you back on Fridays! It’s staffed every day of the week by amazing volunteers though!) A few months ago, right after I started volunteering, a woman named Joan phoned the warmline. We talked and she used the term “Warrior Mom.” If you read Katherine Stone’s blog, you know that’s how she refers to Postpartum mamas. I asked Joan if she read Katherine’s blog. She said she did. Somehow we ended up talking about my blog as well. Turns out she reads mine as well. By now, we were both practically in tears. I had never spoken to someone who actively read my blog before. To hear the emotion in her voice as she talked about how much it meant to her truly blew me away. Joan and I have kept in touch via email since then. It is with her permission I share her story with you.

Joan emailed me today to ask a question of me. As soon as I read it, I asked her for permission to post her words to my blog. She agreed and I hope y’all will provide some good feedback for her current concern. Without further ado, here’s Joan’s email:

Hi Lauren:

I hope all is well with you. I have contacted you in the past, and I hate to be a burden, but was wondering if you could shed some light or your perspective on something I have been thinking a lot about lately. During the recovery process, how does a mom know if she is getting “better” versus the normal adjustment period to motherhood. PPD/PPA throws you all off and it’s hard to remember what “normal” is, especially when nothing is normal anyway after the birth of a baby. I have started a new med (2 weeks in – gradually increasing and so far – knock on wood- no weird side effects) and I know I need to be patient with it for sometime still, but I’m stuck in that conundrum. Is this PPD/PPA or is this a normal feeling? I think when you become a mother you give up so much naturally of yourself and you become someone else (for example I will forever be Joan plus J’s mom plus working Joan plus friend Joan, etc. etc. ) and need to merge all of those identities together. It’s hard when PPD (and the darn anxiety that about kills me at times) makes life so unbearable at times. It would be hard without the evil beast mixed in to straighten that all out in my head.

If I can ask, what were signs for you that things were returning to “normal”? Or, is there a common theme amongst survivors about when they knew that they were beginning to get well? I have read a lot of blogs, but am looking for any kind of advice if you are willing to share with me (if you don’t mind).

Any words of encouragement/advice/insight you can provide are always appreciated! Thanks for everything you do!

Warmest Regards,

Joan

My husband and I cajoled each other about our “new normal” after the birth of our second daughter. NICU, Cleft Palate, crash course in at home neo-natal care, both of us on antidepressants before it was all said and done, yeah, there was no going back to our own normal life. Hell, I think Normal may have even sprouted wings and flown to Jamaica. Not that I blame it at all, just wish it had offered a ride or at least one last romp before bailing.

I know my new normal settled in slowly. At first there was a routine of what I did when I first got up in the morning. Then I would add a new thing the following week. I stopped obsessing about how much milk I pumped because instead I was munching on chocolate. I began to think of pumping as me time instead of “I have to do this” time. I had more days of happiness versus irritability. I began to realize slowly that a bad day did not mean a downward spiral. I knew my signs and triggers and more importantly, I knew how to stop them. The world around me seemed to brighten. For me, recognizing my arrival at better involved my ability to take better care of myself WITHOUT guilt or anxiety about those around me not being able to function if I did take time away from them to do so.

What did “better” look like for you? Do you still struggle with adjustment to motherhood? What’s the most challenging for you as you journey/journeyed to better? Let’s get to Just Talkin’ and help a mama out in the process!

Just Talkin’ Tuesday: Revisited


It’s been a heck of a week around here.

Yes, I know it’s only Tuesday!

Is it Friday yet?

I’ll be leaving in a few minutes to finally go have an abscessed tooth removed. The prospect of a visit to the dentist office has never excited me so much before today! I have been in bed due to this tooth since last Wednesday. Like I said, rough week.

So, rather than writing a new Just Talkin’ Tuesday (which I’ve been unable to do because you see, I have been clinging to the ceiling in pain), I thought we could revisit some of the more recent posts instead.

Here are the five most recent Just Talkin’ Tuesdays. Feel free to jump in and share your thoughts on one or all of them!

Just Talkin’ Tuesday: Let’s talk about sleep

Just Talkin Tuesday: Surviving a Bad Day

Just Talking Tuesday: Did you have Postpartum Depression support from your Mom?

Just Talkin’ Tuesday: How do you Mother yourself?

Just Talkin’ Tuesday: The WE factor in Postpartum Mood Disorder Recovery

Just Talkin Tuesday 07.13.10: Surviving a Bad Day


Everyone has bad days. But when you’re depressed, a whole bunch of bad days get strung together. Then you start to heal. And then WHAM. A bad day pops up out of nowhere. It’s not quite relapse but it sucks nonetheless. Even those of us who are recovered still have sucky days. We may be recovered but we are far from perfect. Far far far from perfect.

I know typically this is a longer post but frankly, it’s been a rough day here and I’m about to fall asleep. I spent the better part of the morning at the pediatrician and lab with my 6 year old daughter. We’re now waiting to see if she develops a rash to determine a diagnosis. I’m praying the rash doesn’t show up and the symptoms are just an unlucky combination. Somehow I’ve managed to hold it together and I totally credit the hell I went through with Postpartum Depression for allowing me to make it through this day intact. Exhausted, but intact.

I looked forward to sitting down on the couch and just vegging out tonight, listening to some music, and hanging with the ladies over at #PPDChat on Twitter. I needed it tonight.

What are some things you do to help yourself get through a tough day? Have you learned your triggers yet? Are you able to cut it off before it gets going? (If you’re not, that’s okay – everyone is at different stages of recovery!) What gets you to calm down?

Let’s get to just talking ladies!