#PPDChat Topic 02.25.13: Outta Steam – Coping on the Hard Days


ppdchat-02-25-13Motherhood, heck, parenthood period, doesn’t come loaded with sick days or days off when the going gets tough. No, we have to steel ourselves to push through it. Sometimes we soar right on through whatever is flung in our direction and then there are times when we feel we fail miserably.

It’s not easy.

With a Postpartum Mood Disorder on board, it gets even muckier. We barely have the energy to fight that in addition to taking care of our children, let alone tossing anything else on top of the flames. So how do you handle it when a tough day (or days) hits when you’re struggling? What if you get sick? What if everyone is sick? Or there’s an emergency family situation? Or..the list could go on.

Today’s chat will focus on these situations. Feel free to join us to vent, share tips, or just hang out. We don’t promise to instantly cheer you up or fix all the tough in your life, but after today’s chats over on Twitter, you’ll know you aren’t alone.

See you there!

 

 

A Postpartum Valentine


February.

A sparkly, shiny, red month filled with nearly naked flying toddlers armed with arrows.

What’s not to love?

Sure, there are regular every day people who moan about Valentine’s Day because they won’t have anyone with whom to celebrate.

rottenecard_33445963_b54n9nhfv8But then there are those of us who do have someone to celebrate with –or are single moms with children old enough to celebrate plus a new baby –and a Postpartum Mood Disorder.

Ugh.

Who has time to put energy into telling someone you love them just because Hallmark says we have to do so? Why this day instead of that day? Just…ugh.

With a new baby in the house, chances are both of you are exhausted. Nobody is sleeping, you want to scream at the world or are worried about everything BUT pulling an awesome Valentine’s Day off. Because let’s face it, when the nearly naked toddler in your life is busy screaming about needing to eat or refusing to cooperate with potty training, the last thing you want to do is make a gazillion Valentine’s with glitter because it will get all over ALL THE THINGS.

I think Susan over at Learned Happiness nailed it in her post for today.

They’ve been celebrating it all month.

Then she points out the bonus of 50% off candy on February 15th.

What’s happier than half-price chocolate? (Okay, half-price wine but I digress).

Today, I want you to give yourself a Valentine.

Do something, anything, little or big, whatever is in your budget, for yourself.

Because today, you matter too and you shouldn’t have to wait today (or any day) for someone to show you how much you matter or are loved.

It starts inside you.

Your Valentine to yourself might just be the pick-me-up you need right now. Plus, you know yourself better than anyone.

Or…wait until tomorrow.

Because you know, all the good stuff will be on sale, as Susan so deftly pointed out.

That’s really winning.

In the Aftermath of Tragedy


There was an event this morning, as I’m sure many are already aware – how could you not be? You won’t find a link to it within this post. It is horrible, and people struggle to make sense of this senseless tragedy as the news races across every platform to which I (and you) belong.

People sharing every shred of new information as the media spoon feeds it to us, commenting on how the media should be handling the situation, what could have been done to prevent it, quarterbacking the chaotic mess from the safety of their living rooms, coffee houses, and wherever else they may be. For some, it may be their job. For others, they may simply be newshounds obsessed with over-sharing the hot story of the day or the moment. For others, they may have followers in the area or live there themselves.

For those of us who struggle with things like OCD which sprung up after childbirth, a disorder of which harmful thoughts toward our own children is a hallmark, days like today are HARD. For those of us who struggle with any sort of mental illness and are triggered by disaster or tragedy, days like today are damn near impossible.

I just spent 45 minutes cleaning the bathroom. Why? Because ALL that was on my timeline at Twitter and Facebook was in regards to the events at an elementary school today and I couldn’t cope with every shred of information overwhelming my otherwise cheery feed. I needed today to be happy. Selfish of me considering it’s horrible for so many in that town?

No.

It’s self-protective.

In this day and age, when we have the most access to information, we also have the MOST CONTROL over what comes into our lives, into our digital lives. If we can’t handle it or we find ourselves triggered, turn it off. Walk away. Go do something productive. Don’t let the chaos swallow you whole.

This is a lesson I learned nearly 5 years ago when, after watching a live car chase, the man responsible exited the vehicle with an infant in one arm, a handgun in his other hand. I don’t know how it ended by that image is forever burned on my psyche.

I have a fast and hard rule – unless it affects me directly, I don’t watch or read the news. I haven’t intentionally turned on a network based news broadcast in years. If I watch anything political, I watch CSPAN. Why? Because I know that I am easily triggered.

If you’re active on Social Media, as I am, please ask yourself before you RT every bit of evidence/news regarding an unfolding story –

  • What’s the point of this RT?
  • How will it help my followers?
  • Do they need to know this?

If you have followers in the area in which the situation is unfolding, then yes, share. I RT’d a lot of information regarding Sandy and resources – even though Sandy was and still is somewhat triggering for me. But if the event will only serve to potentially trigger my followers (most of whom follow me for my PPD work), I don’t RT it. Not because I want them to be in the dark, but because I don’t want to add to something which may already be triggering for them. Instead, I let them know that I am aware of the situation and I’m available to talk if they need. Then I suggest they @ or DM me – because I’m not going to be active on Social Media once an event like today’s blows up my timeline.

If you find yourself triggered today as well, know that there is help. Reach out. Talk to someone. Unplug from Social Media and the Internet if it’s too much. Go do a puzzle. Take a walk. Bake a cake. Coffee with a friend. Playground with your kids. Watch a funny movie or some stand-up comedy. Call your therapist if you have to.

Laugh. Live. Love.

Days like today hurt because they remind us of our mortality and how fragile it is – no one wants to be reminded of that. No one wants to have it shoved in our faces.

Sometimes, as hard as they had it, I think our forefathers had it easier because they didn’t get this sort of thing tearing into their day. Sure they lived shorter lives because they didn’t have access to the medical technology and other technology which extends our lives today but you know what?

I’m willing to bet their lives were happier.

If you are in the U.S. and find yourself triggered by today’s events, please reach out to @distressline on Twitter or call their Hotline (1-800-985-5990) or SMS (text TalkWithUs to 66746) operate 24/7 to be connected with a trained volunteer who can talk you through your feelings & connect you with local resources.

Guest Post: Amber Koter-Puline’s “Banding Together Over Books – The Warrior Mom Book Club”


Continuing this week’s theme of celebrating National Book Month, Amber Koter-Puline of Beyond Postpartum shares about The Warrior Mom Book Club. It’s worth checking out! I thank Amber for her dedication to families struggling with Postpartum Mood Disorders. She truly is an inspiration on so many levels! Without further ado, here is Amber’s guest post:

 

This summer I began hosting a new feature at Postpartum Progress: the Warrior Mom Book Club. Even just since 2007 when I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety, so much more information, education, and just plain old sharing around women’s mental health has occurred. From books on personal accounts of postpartum depression to the plethora of rockin’ blogs written by Warrior Moms, we have no lack of reading material right at our fingertips.

I don’t know about you, but with so much out there I often have difficulty choosing what to read, especially since I’m a married WAHM of two young boys. I just don’t have time to keep up with all the blog posts, and my stack of books waiting to be read is enormous (both on paper and virtually on my Kindle list).

As members of the Warrior Mom Book Club, we read and have casual talk about what we’ve read, in the midst of our busy lives. We read books about postpartum depression and related illnesses — approximately four books per year — and as a group we do a review after reading each one, which I then write up for Postpartum Progress so that everyone can read it there.

We began the club with Adrienne Martini’s awesome book, Hillbilly Gothic, which I first read when my first son was about two and then again for the club, three years later. I have to say I enjoyed it as much, if not more, the second time! In case you didn’t get a chance to read along with us, you can check it out on Amazon.

Right now we are reading The Ghost in the House by Tracy Thompson.  It’s a really eye-opening account of maternal mental health and its impact on the entire family from both a genetic and environmental perspective.  While the Book Club is currently closed because we’ve already begun work on it, you can still order a digital or paper copy HERE or do what many savvy mamas did with our previous read and order it from your local library.

The review of The Ghost in the House will probably be up at Postpartum Progress in November and then we’ll announce our third read.  Right now we plan to read Sleepless Nights by .  You are welcome to join us for that one.  Once the announcement is made, you can just email me at atlantamom930@gmail.com and join the Facebook Group “Warrior Mom Book Club” which becomes secret while the discussion is happening to protect the privacy of the participants.

We have nearly 50 moms who have participated so far and I look forward to growing the group as the selections change and time goes on.  Here’s what a few moms have to say about their experience as members of the WMBC:

“Being a part of the bookclub has helped me give words or describe some the aimless thoughts/feelings that I had, especially in the deepest part of PPD/OCD/Anxiety that I was unwilling or more likely, unable to speak about, name, and come to terms with.” ~TM

“I have found it invaluable to read these books. I had not read any of the ones that we have read while I was going through my struggle with postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression. Reading and reflecting on the books is helping me continue my recovery process. The book club offers me the ability to read other’s perceptions of the books as well which allows me to take different messages and incorporate it into my own recovery.” ~Jennifer Pody Gaskell



”Being a part of the WMBC has been like a life raft for me. I live in area of the country with almost no PPMD resources and no in person support group. This book group has enabled me to feel part of a community of amazingly strong and courageous women (authors and fellow readers). Reading these works has also assisted me in gaining more knowledge about PPMD, which has helped me tremendously in making sense of my experience and continuing my journey to wellness and health for me and my family.” ~Becky Ruess

I hope that reading can be a cathartic experience for you, as well, regardless of whether you join a book club, read a book with a friend, or on your own.  Reading is one of the few self-care activities that I prioritize and tends to be a great source of enjoyment and escape for me.  I personally have found that reading a combination of fiction, non-fiction (self-care/help), and faith-oriented books allows me to balance and blend my reading hobby in a healthy manner.

Thanks, Lauren, for inviting me to write about the Book Club!

Take good care,
Amber Koter-Puline
Beyond Postpartum

Mom and wife.  PPD Survivor/Advocate. Yoga lover. Oh…& coffee, bacon & prayer. Amber also blogs at atlantamom.net- a site devoted to information, inspiration, and networking opportunities for all moms in the Atlanta area.

 

#PPDChat topic: Growing Pains – Being a Woman in a Postpartum World