Postpartum Voice of the Week: @MammyWoo’s “Radio Silence”

Earlier this week, @MammyWoo messaged me to let me know she submitted a blog post for consideration this week. I could not wait to read it! Then life happened and I did not read her post until this morning but my sense of anticipation was dead on because the post is amazing.

In it, Lexy is amazingly honest about her experience with Postnatal Depression. She describes waking up to discover that indeed, morning has arrived and is not two weeks away as she wishes. Her 1 year old pokes and prods her to play, but she is unable to respond.

Once again, she’s stuck in Radio Silence, unable to talk, communicate, play, reach out. She’s trapped. “All the little men that live inside my body making things work (I was never very good at biology) have gone on strike and normal service delivery is brought to a complete halt.”

I especially love her reference to being a Postnatal Zombie. It’s so true that when you are in the depths of a Postpartum Mood Disorder one feels like a Zombie. Mindless, numb, drifting dangerously toward nothingness. For some, that numbness is solace. For others, it is a tailspin toward panic. If you feel you are trapped in Postpartum Zombieville, there are some tips for you here.

I remember that numbness. It did not hit me after the birth of our first daughter but it slammed into me during my second pregnancy. There were so many days when I would lock my daughter and I into her room, get her toys out, and then lay on the couch against the wall, staring up at the ceiling. Our 18 month old daughter excelled at independent play not because she was independent but because I was incapable of playing with her. I lacked the motivation to drag myself out of bed and certainly lacked the capacity to be imaginative enough to get down in the floor and pretend a bunch of blocks were involved in a tea party with Princesses. So many days spent on that couch without energy to do anything. Scared that if I did get up and do something it would end tragically. So I stayed. On the damned couch.

All I wanted to do, all I could do, was lay there. Listlessly. Mindlessly. Hopelessly. I did just enough to get by but not enough to thrive. She seemed happy enough. I justified my actions with her increased independence. It’s good for a kid to learn independence at such a young age, right?

Once I had our son though, and managed to have a pregnancy and postpartum without mental health issues, I became angry. I realized that all my “Radio Silence” had done was distance me from my daughters. To this day, I have a closer bond with my son than with his sisters. It is certainly not because I love them any less. It has nothing to do with their abilities as daughters but rather, everything to do with my illness after giving birth and during my pregnancy with our second daughter. I failed them. I failed myself. I failed my husband. I failed. (Hello, Postpartum Guilt. How you doin?)

Turns out these days that I did not really fail them. Both our daughters are brilliantly independent, wickedly smart, and hilarious little girls. They are full of sass, spunk, and determination. I don’t know that my issues with mental health affected the development of those skills or not. I like to think they would be the same way even if I had been a happy healthy mom when they were brand new to the world. Bottom line though, eventually I got help and got well. I may not have bonded with them when I should have but we are bonded now. I cannot change the past but with every new moment and opportunity I can change my future. I can change their future. It is a fine line to walk though because it is very easy to want to over-do it and make up for my past failures which is a dangerous slope down which to slide.

Enough about me though.

Lexy, oh sweet Lexy. I know you feel alone there in your Radio Silence. So many of us have been where you are now. We know how unquietly quiet it is there. We’re there with you, ready to listen. You’re not worthless. All you have to do is let us know you need us and we’ll be right there. Ready to listen, encourage, support, whatever you need from us, we’ll be there. You are not alone.

Go leave her some love and support.


A Valentine’s for Postpartum Depression

Dear Postpartum Depression:

When I first laid eyes on you, I’ll admit, I wanted to run away. But I couldn’t. Instead I found myself lashed to the couch, unable to move.

You scared me with your moodiness, your dark huddling corner filled with horrific thoughts.

I hated you.

You made me a horrible person, filled me with a guilt which could not be contained by anywhere on Earth. You questioned every little thing I did, filled even the most simple of actions with doubt.

And I let you do it.

I let you make me believe I was imperfect. That I had failed. That I sucked. I was inferior. You made me feel inferior.

And I let you.

I gave my consent and I let you.

But then, oh, then.

The day came.

I woke up and saw what you had done to my life. To me. To my husband. To my children.

It had to stop.

You weren’t going to get my kids.

So I took a deep, sharp breath.

I called for help as you went hunting for newer mothers on whom you could prey.

I found help. Finally.

Step by step, fistful of dirt after another, I climbed out of the hole in which you had buried me long ago.

The first rays of sunlight washed over my face. I could smell the grass. See beautiful bright flowers. Hear the birds chirping.

Oh how I reveled in that day. Reveled.

But then…

then you shoved me back into my dirty, dank, and dirty hole, refusing to let me stay in my sunshine.

Once again, I took a deep, sharp breath and fought my way back to the top.

I need to see the flowers. I needed to feel warm sunshine on my face. I needed the rain to rinse you away.

As I surfaced, storm clouds brewed in the distance, the sky grumbling. I knew I had angered you. But I no longer cared. I stood up strong and brave on the greenest grass I had ever seen. You raced toward me, determined to knock me down again. I still stood strong. Even when you knocked me down, I got back up. Every time.

For you see, I am not alone.

I have God. He knows how big my storms are. Do you know how big He is?

I have friends who will not let me falter. I have an amazing husband who will bolster me when I need it the most.

I have love. I have knowledge.

Even more dangerously, I know I can beat you because I have done it before.

Even if you’re not Postpartum, I know you’ll be back. I know you will always hunt me. I stand ready to kick your ass time and again.


This Valentine is not for you, you vain prick.

It’s for the myriad of women who have stood in the same place I have and not known how to fight back or that they could even fight back. You can fight back. You can win. You’re not alone. So many of us who have fought back are right there with you, beating Postpartum back for you until you can do it all on your own.

You are loved, always.

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Postpartum Voice of the Year Voting: Round I

Welcome to the first annual Postpartum Voice of the Year Awards!

Here at My Postpartum Voice, I believe strongly in encouraging and supporting other parents who decide to share their journeys through Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders. Each week, on Thursdays, I would highlight a different post or submission from around the web as part of my Postpartum Voice of the Week series.

In order to be included in Postpartum Voice of the Year, your post or submission would need to be a Postpartum Voice of the Week. This year there are only 18 entries as the Postpartum Voice of the Week did not start until May.

Next year, I imagine there will be several more entries. Although in 2011, there will be a Postpartum Voice of the Month, as determined by you via voting. Only the Postpartum Voices of the Month will be eligible for Postpartum Voice of the Year in 2011.

This year, there will be voting in three rounds.

All entries are combined in groups of six according to chronological appearance as Postpartum Voice of the Week.

The top two posts will move on to a final round for a total of six finalists.

The finalist will receive bragging rights as Postpartum Voice of the Year, a spiffy badge for their blog, a dedicated blog button here at My Postpartum Voice linking to their blog, and a to-be-determined prize. (I’ll update on that as details are made!)

Beneath the poll below, you will find a list of the posts including a direct link to the post at the author’s blog. If the posts were submissions to My Postpartum Voice, the link will lead to their post here.

If you have been nominated and want to grab a Nominated badge, feel free to email me for it!

I urge you to read each post again before voting.

Happy voting!

Based on a True Story Part I & Based on a True Story Part II by Pamela at 2 much Testosterone

10 questions for a Partner of a PPD Survivor: My Husband by Walker Karraa

Life as we knew it from Carrying Me Through

Label Me & Put me in a box (submission)

Please don’t take my Sunshine away (submission)

The “D” Word by Raising Little Women

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Postpartum Voice of the week: Sue of @SueandFadra at Lives Less Ordinary

As I was clicking through all the Postpartum blog posts from this past week, one stood out.

The sheer honesty, power, intensity, and raw emotion of the writing leapt off the screen at me. I found myself nodding my head several times, connecting with her story. It is a rare thing to find a writer who not only opens up about her experience with mental illness but does so in such a way that she captivates you, drawing you in until it is just you and her words.

You can find her story here.

Sue’s story really started to speak to me when she mentioned her issues with her pelvis. I had similar issues with all three of my pregnancies. It was never as severe as hers but lemme tell you, when your body produces entirely too much relaxin and your hips can barely keep themselves together to keep the baby in, the pain is excruciating. During my first pregnancy, I could barely put on underwear or shoes without weeping from the intense pain. Turning over in bed? Out of the question. I prayed I wouldn’t have to pee in the middle of the night. We had to get a tempurpedic mattress topper just to make it tolerable. And sleeping on my side (ie, on my HIPS/Pelvis) made things worse. My first OB, classic knowledgeable God that he was, simply told me “Welcome to pregnancy.” Sorry dude, but normal pregnancy should not have you in tears as you get dressed. I ended up on self-commanded bed rest the last two months of my first pregnancy because walking around hurt too much. I stayed propped up on the couch with a vibrating heating pad most days and watched TV. It sucked.

My second pregnancy began to head the same way at four months along. New OB this time – I got PT, which helped. Third pregnancy, symptoms showed up at three months. I got water therapy and it? Was a lifesaver. I ended up agreeing to getting induced at 38 weeks because by that time, baby was so low and weighing so heavily on my weary pelvis that I could again barely walk.

Often times, doctors here in the US are misguidedly unaware of this rare pelvic disorder and brush it off as “normal” pregnancy pain/adjustment. But it’s not. And it can disable you for life if handled incorrectly, especially if you have a vaginal delivery and are suffering from a severe case of it as Sue found herself. For most, the pelvic pain does fade after birth but many women struggle with pelvis issues for life. I could feel my pelvis shift in and out of joint after my second pregnancy, especially when driving my car. It was worse after my second delivery. I can still pop it in and out of joint. But lemme tell you, it hurts like the dickens if it’s out. Oh, the burning, the aching… it’s enough to make me want to take a tranquilizer. I am doing much better these days as I’ve been faithful with doing yoga each and every morning. But the issues caused by pregnancy and relaxin will haunt my pelvis for life, I fear. It’s a large part of why I will never get pregnant again. I don’t think my pelvis could handle another pregnancy. Physically and mentally, I am done.

Enough about me though, let’s get back to Sue. This is, after all, her award post! (I apologize for the digression, it’s just so rare to read about someone else who went through similar pelvic issues during pregnancy!)

Sue’s post is entitled “My Voice, My Depression” and with those words, she owns her Depression instead of the other way around. Sue takes back the power which Depression can hold over so many of us.

My favorite passage:

I am desperately trying to get past this time in my life, but I know it will take some time. I have acquired the amazing talent of hiding all of what I have said above from the rest of the word. If you see me on the street you would think nothing but, there goes funny, upbeat Sue. While underneath I an working, fighting and choosing a happier path than I have had the last few years.

These days are hard because I am trying my best to work though them. Emotional work is extremely difficult. It consumes you and can bring your life to a screeching halt.

Sue is in the middle of her Postpartum experience, still struggling, still fighting to escape the fog and the darkness. And yet she has written with such clarity about the journey she is currently experiencing. For that, she is The Postpartum Voice of the Week.

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