#PPDChat 08.24.2015: When Rage Appears

ppdchat-08-24-15Rage.

Quite possibly one of the symptoms rarely discussed among women who struggle with Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders.

I’m not talking anger. I’m talking all out rage. The kind that swallows you whole – the kind that turns Bruce Banner into a green smashing machine known as Hulk. Blinding, numbing, all-out rage.

For me, there was rarely a clear trigger. It just built upon itself, like a runaway Tetris game clogging up the screen.

Tonight, we’re going to talk about rage. How common it really is for moms with a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder, how to recognize it, how to cope, and most importantly, how to keep the Hulk from smashing into your life.

See you tonight at 9pm ET on Twitter!

#PPDChat 08.17.15: Creating Your Village

ppdchat-08-17-15A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, mothers had help. Entire villages came together to support a new mother after she gave birth. Not one mother was left to her own devices to earn her “brand new I can do all this on my own because I’m a badass” badge. Nope. Not one.

Today, however? Particularly here in the United States, where we are LAST for Maternal Health in developed countries? Dude. Don’t even get me started.

Where is all of this coming from, you might ask? A few weeks ago, I had an interaction with an elderly couple out at a local festival with their granddaughter who was young enough to still need a stroller. Grandpa was trying to fold the stroller up as they waited for their transportation to arrive. He held his granddaughter in his arms and struggled with the stroller with his free arm.

I felt his pain and offered to hold her, if that wasn’t a weird question and it would be okay.

Grandma chimed in and said “Oh, no, it’s not – in our generation, we wouldn’t even think twice about it, plus you have a child with you,” as she motioned to my fiance’s daughter.

I felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks.

We wouldn’t even think twice about it….

When did we START thinking about the awkwardness of asking for help? Why did we stop? When did it become NOT okay to accept the help of those around us? Why must we do motherhood on our own? To prove we’re all badasses who can do it all? How’s that working out for us? (It has never worked out for me).

I need my tribe. Even if they’re online. I need SOME sort of a tribe to keep me going, to share my struggles and my victories with – exactly what this post, It Takes a Village to Raise a Mother by Annie Reneau at Motherhood & More says:

“No one understands the challenges of motherhood like other moms. No one can help a mom who is having a fragile, frazzled moment better than a mom who understands being fragile and frazzled. I adore my husband, and he’s extraordinarily supportive, but there are some things he just can’t “get.” So when I need mom commiseration, I talk to my mom friends. Sometimes the sweetest words a mother can hear are, “I feel you, sister.” Or “Yep, me too.” Or, “Let’s have some coffee and regroup.”

Motherhood. It isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s also not meant to be done alone.

Join me tonight at #PPDChat as we explore the nuances of our village, why they’ve disappeared, and how to step out of our comfort zones to mother each other.

See y’all at 9pm ET!

#PPDChat 08.03.15: Feeding Your Baby

ppdchat-08-03-15Howdy!

It’s World Breastfeeding Week.

While nursing is awesome, it doesn’t always work for EVERY mother/baby dyad. Some moms have physical or emotional reasons for choosing to nurse their babes.

What truly matters is feeding the baby.

So tonight’s #PPDChat will focus on doing just that. Feeding the baby. We’ll discuss all sorts of challenges moms (both nursing and formula feeding) face when it comes time to feeding your baby. I ran the gamut when my kids were little. My oldest self-weaned from the breast at 16 months old, just two weeks before I discovered I was expecting my second. My second was born with a complete cleft palate so I exclusively pumped for 7 months before switching over to formula. My third was diagnosed as failure to thrive at 6 months old because of a stress-related supply issue and was on formula within 24 hours despite the pediatrician’s urge for me to pump. I knew that would not lead good places and formula was the healthier (and saner) choice for both of us.

Feeding your baby is all about making choices that are right for YOU and baby, not what’s right for everyone around you.

Does the baby have to be an infant for you to join the chat? Nope. We know that feeding older kids is challenging as well. Besides, we all know our kids will ALWAYS be our babies, no matter what their actual age.

Join us tonight for an all out love fest for ALL MANNERS of feeding our babes at #PPDChat.

See you on Twitter at 9pm ET!

Thoughts on Warrior Mom Con

This time last Friday, I had just rolled into Boston via Amtrak. I thought I would have to wait until I got into Boston to find other Warrior Mamas but no.. there was one right there on my train. During a stop, she meandered up from her seat and sat with me for the remainder of the ride. Despite never having met in person before, we sat there and chatted as if we were the oldest of friends as she worked on a blog post and I finished knotting, bagging, and labeling the huglets for the conference. It was fantastic.

Then, we got to Boston, dropped our luggage off at our respective hotels, and headed to lunch for the early bird arrivals. Again, all people we had never met in person before, but once we were together, it was like sitting with old friends.

Shared experiences, man, they’ll do that to you.

The entire weekend was full of love. Hugs. People you didn’t have to explain yourself to at all because you KNEW they got where you had been, where you were going, and why. Because they too, had been on similar roads.

Unfortunately, I missed Saturday afternoon sessions because my body crapped out on me at lunch, forcing me into a much needed nap back at my hotel before my live #PPDChat session at 4pm. I didn’t feel guilty about it, however, because as anyone who is familiar with my work knows, I emphasize self-care. Walking my talk is extremely important to me. I will not ever be the kind to tell someone “Do as I say, not as I do.” Nope. Not me.

Our #PPDChat session was intimate, but awesome. We closed with a fantastic meditation suggested by one of the attendees – perhaps you’ve heard of it: (language warning, because obviously)

Despite missing the afternoon sessions, I got so much from the conference. Surrounded by a mass of women who cared so much about their journeys and about the journeys of those around them was sheer magic.

There’s so much more I could write – and will write – but for now, I need to go sit down and continue recovering from the insane pace of my life over the past two weeks.

Suffice it to say that I am not a conference person, primarily because I’m an introvert and travel is draining. But this one? This is one conference I want to have a permanent spot at because it was so very fulfilling.

#PPDChat 06.15.15: Warrior Mom Conference Chat!

WMC2015 PPDChat AnnouncementTonight, we will be chatting with Susan Petcher, Conference Director for Postpartum Progress’s Warrior Mom Conference, the upcoming first ever patient centered maternal mental health conference. The conference spans two days – July 11th & 12th and is being held in Boston, MA.

Tonight, we will be focusing on the Homestead Warriors (HSW) aspect of the conference, with the Warrior Mom Wall as our central topic. What’s the Warrior Mom Wall, you ask? It’s an art display featuring artwork by YOU, yes, YOU, including messages of inspiration, hope, and compassion. Your stories, in art form. The deadline for sending in your piece has been extended to this Friday, June 19th. So get your artistic mojo going! Details on where to send it can be found here.

Be sure to join Susan and me tonight on Twitter for an exciting chat!

See you there!!!

#PPDChat 05-18-15: Quotes to Live By

ppdchat-05-18-15We all have them – little quotes or sayings we keep near to our hearts. Words we use to lift us in the darkest hours.

Tonight, let’s share them with each other.

What quotes did you find most helpful as you worked through your Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder? How did you discover it?

See you on Twitter at 9pm to talk all about the quotes!

The Magic of Listen To Your Mother

My journey to Listen to Your Mother started three years ago, on a whim of filling a bucket list item – auditioning in The City for something.

I sent an email off to the good folks in NYC for an audition slot. I got one. J and I went into the city. I read, full of fear and nervous energy. We ate, then wandered a smidge, and drove home.

I wasn’t chosen.

So the next year, I emailed Northern Jersey. I drove over by myself, auditioned, and drove home.

I wasn’t chosen.

Then, this past year, instead of emailing for an audition, I emailed to see if it was too late to submit to be a HOST.

Ann connected me with Kirsten Piccini of The Kir Corner. I reached out to Kristina Grum and we added her to our hastily pulled together application on the last possible day.

Then, we prayed.

We were approved as a new city and we held our show this past Sunday.

I started this journey on a whim, full of nervous energy, determined to live outside my comfort zone.

This past weekend, I flew well beyond my comfort zone and read to a nearly packed house after working tirelessly with Kirsten and Kristina to bring together an amazing cast and show for the Lehigh Valley.

There is a magic to Listen To Your Mother, one which lives deep inside the heart. It’s a magic found in the words of stories of mothers, it is magic centered in the hopes and dreams of those who are falling toward the ground and building their wings as the earth rushes closer to them. The magic – it is enduring, it is powerful, and it does not end when you take that bow at the end of your show and the applause fades away.

It’s there, in the pictures, in the new friendships, in the new avenues opened to you when you are surrounded by amazing and driven people you meet through the entire process.

After our show on Sunday, I ran into a woman who auditioned for us but we ultimately had to turn down as her piece didn’t fit the arc of our show. I hugged her just as tightly as any of our cast – and she hugged me right back. THIS is part of the magic.

Life beginsThe magnet I bought before my audition in New York has brand new meaning now.

Because now? My comfort zone has been stretched and I have a LONG way to go to reach the life outside of it.

Here goes nothing.

 

#PPDChat 04.27.15: PPD & Friends

 

ppdchat 042715

Tonight’s #PPDChat will be hosted by the fantastic @DonutsMama.

She’ll be addressing the topic of PPD & Friends. It’s an important one as PPD not only changes us, but it also changes friendships – for a variety of reasons.

Friends may not understand what we are going through and not know how to appropriately reach out. Or they may be nervous about now being friends with someone battling a mental health issue. Or, in a worst case scenario, they may no longer want to be friends with someone who has a mental health issue.

There is also the other side – that of ourselves. We become enclosed in a bubble as we battle for our sanity and are not capable of reaching out appropriately ourselves. Then, as we begin to heal, we find the rubble which exists beyond our borders and are overwhelmed with how to proceed. Particularly for those who battle against anxiety, the prospect of making new friends or setting out to be in public is absolutely overwhelming.

Join @DonutsMama as she discusses the very important topic of PPD & Friends tonight at 9pm ET on Twitter. You don’t want to miss it!

#PPDChat 04.20.15: #ToNewMomsWithLove – The Love Letter Project

PPDChat Love Letter Project Guest Announcement II

Earlier this week, I happened to cross paths with Fiona McGlynn on Twitter through one of the #PPDChat/ #PND Mamas. After checking out her profile page, I was thoroughly intrigued. She is associated with a group called “The Love Letter Project”. This month, in cooperation with Healthy New Moms, they are encouraging people to write letters #ToNewMomsWithLove.

Fiona started The Love Letter Project after receiving this advice: “If you want to be passionate in life, consider the greatest challenge you’ve faced, and help the next person to overcome it.” Since 2013, she’s been doing just that, both through the website and through her book about divorce, written for children.

I’m thrilled to have Fiona joining us at 9:00pm ET this Monday evening to talk more about the project, about herself, and let you guys know how to participate.

If you want to get a jump start, though, you can click here for the details. Letters are due by April 25th!

In the meantime, I’m gonna go get started on mine as I listen to the traffic drift by outside.

See y’all on Monday night for this lively chat!

Follow along LIVE:

 

#PPDChat 04.13.15: Finding Rays of Sun

Finding Rays of Sunshine: Thinking Positively in the DarkIt’s tough to be positive when surrounded by dark, wrapped in fog. It’s tough to see the sun and embrace the warmth it offers when you all want to do is cover your head with a blanket and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

It is perfectly okay to wrap yourself up in that blanket and stay in a cocoon for awhile. But eventually, just like the caterpillar that transforms into a beautiful butterfly, you will have to emerge into life.

Baby steps.

Join me tonight at #PPDChat on Twitter as we navigate how to step out of the dark and foggy night into the sunshine. I’ll be talking about a few methods I have used for myself, all of which incorporate together nicely:

List of three: listing three things for which you are grateful in the morning before your feet hit the floor, and then listing three things which made you laugh/smile in the evening before bed.

Five Senses Self-Care: listing all five senses, then five of your favourite things for each sense and incorporating at least one thing from each sense into every day living. Also involves posting this list in a main area where members of your family are able to see this so they know what you need.

Daily Self-Care Time Out: Dedicate at least 10 minutes a day to YOU. Self-care does not need to be tedious or long. It can be as little as the routine of preparing a favourite tea, sitting in the sun, taking a hot shower – whatever soothes YOU.

I’ll see you tonight on Twitter at 9:00pm ET to discuss all of this and more. Oh, and you can follow along right here as well! I’ll be posting the live Twubs feed right before chat starts!

Meanwhile – get a jump start on the self-care today! What WILL you do for YOU today? Let us know tonight at chat.

Me? I’ve got some awesome chocolate in the pantry that needs devouring.