When a Blog Goes Silent


I’ve been quiet this summer, save for a few posts here and there.

As I’ve blogged before, there has been a lot of change flowing through my life lately.

I’m still running #PPDChat but increasingly quiet on Facebook and Twitter as well. I haven’t had a video chat in what feels like weeks. Between visits with my kids, falling in love, and re-defining myself (again), there’s been a lot of time spent in my head and focusing on what’s really important to me these days – actually LIVING life.

In the dust though, I’ve been ignoring this place, this blog which kept me sane during my pregnancy with my third child and has allowed so many women to feel supported and less alone as they too navigate the trails of Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders.

I’m silent here because I’m not sure what to say in this space right now. I know that working with women through the Postpartum period is something I want to continue doing. But right now, I’m not sure how to fill this space, how to speak about Postpartum Mood Disorders when my experience and understanding of my experience has literally been redefined over a lot of internal re-evaluation over this past year.

Sure, I can discuss the latest news, issues, etc, but that’s what Katherine Stone over at Postpartum Progress is best at and I certainly don’t want to duplicate her work. What I do here is my thing – it’s filled with heart, compassion, understanding, and my goal is to put forth the feeling of the comfort of reading a letter from a girlfriend who GETS WHERE YOU ARE and can assure you that there’s a light at the end of your tunnel. I freeze when I don’t feel as if I am writing with all of my heart. I freeze if I am not giving things my all. I know what it’s like to not get support and don’t want to give you anything but my very best. Because when you’re hurting and lost in the vortex of a Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder, you deserve NOTHING BUT THE BEST COMPASSION I CAN GIVE YOU.

Right now, as I let the dust settle (again), in my life, I hope you’ll be patient and understanding. Know you can find me on Twitter. Or if you aren’t on Twitter, go follow my FB  page and drop me a message there. Or email me. It may take me longer to get back to you via email though, so please be patient.

My words are somewhere out there, my passion is still burning deep inside me. It just needs a vacation as the scaffolding and remodeling continues within.

Here’s to looking forward to a grand re-opening and here’s to hoping that it’s right around the corner.

Friday Soother 1.28.11: Emerson grows a Crocus… and teaches patience


 

"Spring by the Riverside" by Alana@VIsle @ flickr

 

Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

(View the photo in it’s original glory here)

Friday Soother 01.14.11: Tertullian’s Little Red Lamp


“Little Red Lantern” by Martin_Heigan @flickr.com

Hope is patience with the lamp lit.

~Tertullian~

(Find the original Photo here)

My Premature Gift


Today, November 17th, is National Premature Birth Awareness Day.

Hello, my name is Lauren. I am the mother of a prematurely born child.

(Hello, Lauren – that’s your line. C’mon – all together now. Hello, Lauren!)

Our second daughter was born three and a half weeks early after 42 grueling hours of labor. I was not on medication during my pregnancy with her. 30 minutes after birth, the lactation consultant discovered she had a cleft palate. Within 24 hours, she was an hour away at a Children’s Hospital in the NICU while I recovered for another 48. Within 9 days, she had her first major surgery. Within 21 days, she had undergone two more surgical procedures. The first five months of her life saw a grand total of six surgeries. Since then she’s had two more. Our daughter will be four in March and has already had eight surgical procedures.

She drank from a special bottle when she was not being tube fed. I pumped exclusively for seven grueling months stopping only because my mental health depended on me making a very difficult decision. While she does not struggle with basic needs as much as she did, it still takes her longer than usual to chew because her bite is lopsided. You see, her teeth only meet when she grits them together at one pivotal side – the right side. Her speech is garbled. I can only understand 50 – 75% of my own daughter’s speech. (Ok, cue the tears) Do you hear what I am saying? Out of everything my daughter excitedly tries to share with me, I miss up to half of it most of the time.

This past spring she had additional surgery to fix her pharyngeal flap. This flap closes off the airway between her nose and throat. Speech ordered the surgery to help with her nasal emissions. It’s helped some but it’s still an uphill battle given her poorly aligned jaw and all the air it allows through when she attempts certain sounds. And she’s trained her vocal chords to compensate for the lack of a pharyngeal flap. But you know what? She can say “s” now. Perfectly. I can tell it apart from an “F.” And she can blow up a balloon, blow bubbles, and clearly say “Please Push me mommy!” Most importantly, she can now clearly tell me I am STILL her best friend.

While in the NICU she underwent genetic testing to locate a potential cause or additional factors for her isolated bilateral complete soft and hard palate (that means there was NO palate up there on either side, hard or soft. Hard is when you put your tongue straight up. Soft is when you slide it back towards your throat.) But there was no additional genetic reason. She was diagnosed with isolated Pierre Robin Sequence. This more often than not occurs in boys, not girls. We hit the jackpot.

Despite all of her hardships, all of her struggles, all of the things she will face as she grows and has to overcome new challenges and issues, Charlotte is one of the happiest people I have ever met. Her goal in life? To make us smile and laugh. All the time. For real (to steal a phrase from her).

I went through hell with her. Emotionally, physically, every kind of -ally you can think of. I was there. Gripped on for dear life. Looking back, I know I was depressed during my pregnancy with her. Weighed down with an unresolved postpartum depression from my first pregnancy. Cleft defects often happen within the first 6-8 weeks of pregnancy. Before I even knew I was pregnant our angel was already awaiting us with a huge surprise all her own.

Where am I going with all of this?

I’m filling you in on how hard it is to be a NICU parent of a premature baby. What kind of challenges we face. How it doesn’t all end when we step out of the sterile nursery where our children spent their first days, months, or possibly year. We worry when things come up – anything – about it being related to something that happened at birth – is this because of such and such? She’s got a cold. How will this affect her airway? Should I let her sleep on her back if she’s so congested? What if she stops breathing? And so the monster is fed.

But on the flip side I am truly amazed at how often I manage to deny the monster his food. How often I am able to keep a cool head and maneuver my way around the big issues. I remember time B.C. (Before Charlotte). I would watch shows filled with parents of special needs kids. Amazed I would wonder where on earth they found the emotional stamina to wake up in the morning and face another day knowing the challenges that lay in store. But they did and I do. I look forward to her giggles. I look forward to her playful eyes, her hugs, her kisses, her tantrums, her excited babbling when her bus is about to arrive. And sometimes I want to cry. But mostly I want to rejoice. God has gifted me a perfect Angel and one day, in HIS time, I will understand her perfectly.

A Gift


One of my volunteer positions is with the iVillage PPD board. (shameless plug, I know, I know!)

For quite some time now, there has been a woman posting there who has truly been struggling and I have been doing my best to be there for her and direct her towards help. Tonight she posted the following and it touched me – made my heart soar. We cannot fix anyone but ourselves but we can reach out and touch the lives of others – even when we feel that we are not and have let them down. Please don’t ever forget that –

Here’s her post:

Lauren, you are a sweetheart and this board is lucky to have you!!!  It sounds as if you have helped many, many people overcome their bouts with ppd and you are truly a blessing to them and to anyone whose life you have touched.

Here is the story…  it is of an urn.

Edward Fischer writes in Notre Dame Magazine (February, 1983), that a leper in Fiji followed the leading of his twisted hands. He became an internationally known artist. “My sickness I see as a gift of God leading me to my life’s work,” he said. “If it had not been for my sickness, none of these things would have happened.”


As a young girl, Jessamyn West had tuberculosis. She was so sick that she was sent away to die. During that time she developed her skill as a writer and authored numerous novels in her lifetime.


That great author Flannery O’Connor suffered numerous ailments — lupus struck her at 25 and she walked only with the aid of crutches for the final fourteen years of her life. She noted, however, that this illness narrowed her activities in such a way that she had time for the real work of her life, which was writing.


Some people succeed in spite of handicaps. Others succeed because of them. The truth is… our problems help to make us what we are. Those who suffer often learn the value of compassion. Those who struggle often learn perseverance. And those who fall down often teach others how to rise again. Our troubles can shape us in ways a care-free existence cannot.


A story is told of an Eastern village which, through the centuries, was known for its exquisitely beautiful pottery. Especially striking were its urns; high as tables, wide as chairs, they were admired around the globe for their strong form and delicate beauty.

Legend has it that when each urn was apparently finished, there was one final step. The artist broke it — and then put it back together with gold filigree.


An ordinary urn was then transformed into a priceless work of art. What seemed finished wasn’t… until it was broken.


So it is with people! Broken by hardships, disappointments and tragedy, they can be either discarded or healed. But when mended by a hand of infinite patience and love, the finished product will be a work of exquisite beauty — a life which could only reach its completeness after it was broken.


If you feel broken remember… you are a work of art! And you may not actually be complete until the pieces are reassembled and bonded with a golden filigree of love.