Then & Now: Why I blog turns three


Three years ago and thirty nine or so weeks ago, I was driving home from my therapy appointment for the Postpartum Mood Disorder I struggled with after the birth of our second daughter. It was THE DAY. The trees were greener. The rain drops sparkled. The sun breaking through the grey clouds summed up my mood perfectly. My heart soared. My oldest daughter would soon be three years old. Our youngest had just turned one. I was heading out to a relative’s house for the weekend with my mom, my first weekend away from the kids in a very long… well, ever. The Sunday after that weekend, I would discover I was pregnant with our son. And would totally freak out.

I did not want to go back to that dark place. So I read. Intensely advocated and prepared. Began to blog as an outlet for myself and to help other women.

Little did I have any clue that my first post would lead me here.

To three years and thirty nine or so weeks later. Never did I have a clue that I would interview Karen Kleiman, the author of What Am I Thinking: Having a baby after Postpartum Depression, here on my blog. Her book was what inspired me to begin to blog in the first place as it urged moms facing subsequent pregnancies to reframe them. So I did.

I haven’t stopped yet a nor do I plan on stopping any time soon.

I am ever so grateful for my positive Postpartum experience after the birth of my son. After struggling so hard with the first two, I finally got to immerse myself in the bliss of motherhood. I smeared Vaseline on the lens of my life and it totally rocked. Having been through hell it was certainly even more cherished and certainly not taken for granted.

I remember losing myself in the sweet scent of new baby. I remember holding him close and feeling our hearts beat in sync with each other. I remember him nuzzling my neck as he cuddled closely after nursing. I also remember curling my toes in pain because nursing was rough with him. I remember Thrush. I remember cracked nipples. But mostly I remember all the good stuff.

And these days, he is the light of our lives. Our little boy is a joker, a prankster, a caring and concerned three year old who loves to kiss, hug, and watch Cars. He doesn’t snuggle nearly as much but that’s okay. He will sit down on the couch with his toy laptop and blog right along with Mommy & (now) Daddy.

I am ever so thankful for his presence in our lives. Ever so thankful for his laughter, his camaraderie, his energy, and his caring spirit. Even when things get challenging with him, it is hard for me to keep a straight face. Damn his adorable infectious cuteness.

Who knew that when God decided to bless us with our son, it would also birth in me such a strong advocate for women with Postpartum Mood Disorders?

Thank you, little buddy, for motivating Mommy to put herself out there for so many women. You have no idea how many lives you have helped touch. None.

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~