Monthly Archives: July 2008

Sharing the Journey with Alison

Alison has been a regular reader here at Sharing the Journey for quite some time. Over the past few weeks we’ve really gotten to chatting off blog and I asked her to share her story with you. A mother of two who bucked the odds with her second child (quite unexpected) and also faced high risks during the same pregnancy, she is now working on a counseling degree in order to help other women struggling with PPD. Her story is an inspiration and I am honored to share it with you here. (By the way, if you like what she has to say and want to keep up with her, Alison has her own blog, Mountain Mama)

Would you share your PPD Story?

I’m not completely sure where it starts. I guess there’s a chance I could have had mild PPD with my son, our first child, in 2005 but I’m not really sure. I went back to work pretty quickly and I was surrounded by family and friends when our son was born. We were living with my parents waiting for our house to be done and we had visitors probably every weekend and sometimes during the week, as well. I remember having a few break downs but other than that it was nothing like when our daughter was born.

I think I was depressed even before we conceived our daughter and found out about being pregnant. I was dealing with major medical issues and we had been told that we were infertile, most likely not able to have more kids any time soon. I began radiation and after the first dose, and a number of negative pregnancy tests- including a blood test, we found out we were expecting. That set off an extremely high risk pregnancy as well as a premature birth. I was in doctor’s office’s at least once a week and I was on high doses of medication. We found out about halfway through the pregnancy that the medication I was taking was slowly strangling the baby. I was taken off my medication and within two weeks put on strict bed rest- with a two year old at home.

Our daughter was born about 5.5 weeks early and was pretty perfect! My time in the hospital was ok. My mom spent time with me when she wasn’t watching our son and our neighbors stopped by. That was the extent of our visitors and I think that’s where the real part of depression started to kick in. Plus, I still had my medical condition to deal with and all of the hormones. I felt like there should have been more attention paid, by my family and friends, to the fact that really we had just given birth to a miracle baby. That really upset me.
As the weeks went by I became more and more sad and reluctant to do anything. I was just completely out of it. It was easier to let my son watch TV all day and lay on the couch than it was actually get up and do anything. I remember one night being at my parents’ house and my father and uncle were arguing on the phone about care for my grandfather, who was sick. My father said something to my uncle to effect of, “Well, do you want to put him in handcuffs and drag him to a nursing home?!?”

And I lost it. The argument upset me but all of a sudden everything was just so overwhelming. I had two kids. I was living in a place that was away from everyone and everything I loved. And I felt very alone.

My husband was wonderful. We were not nursing and he would get up with the baby and feed her. He was great with our son. He was doing all that he could to support me but he was lost, too. My parents were unbelievably helpful, especially my mom. I had the support it was just hard. I knew in that moment, sitting on the floor of my parents’ living room crying as I put my newborn in her car seat, that something was very wrong.

I was seeing my doctor for a four week check up and I decided to talk with her about it. We talked about my depression and the crying and sadness and feeling overwhelmed. We talked about PPD and the likelihood that I was experiencing it full on and then she recommended talk therapy and prescribed and anti-depressant for me. I was apprehensive about the medication but filled the script anyway. I began therapy and my therapist came to the same diagnosis, PPD. I found that I was more comfortable in therapy without the medication than with it. I talked with my doctor again and I tapered off the meds and continued in therapy. I terminated therapy due to insurance problems but I had accomplished a great deal while there. I learned coping mechanisms. I talked out many of my issues and I was able to lay a lot of it on the table! I still have my days where I’m depressed and get down and just don’t want to do anything or be with anyone but it is nothing as it was before. I worry about the idea of having another baby and being confronted with the PPD again but I know, and my family knows, how to recognize it and help me through it.

How has experiencing PPD changed your life?

Immensely. There is so much that I never realized about PPD before this experience. I never realized how much it can affect the lives of everyone around you, not just the individual. I never realized how debilitating it can be. I never realized how absolutely scary it can be!

As a result of my PPD and getting help for it I’ve decided that I want to dedicate my career, my counseling career, to working with women and families who are dealing with PPD as well as pregnancy, fertility and other postpartum issues.

Having lived with the disease I have learned how to recognize it and help others. I have learned how to be more compassionate and understanding. And I have learned how cope with it and get through it and come out stronger.

What effect did your PPD have on your husband? How did he handle things?

I think it scared my husband. He didn’t know how to handle it. Once I began getting help for it I think he felt as if a weight had been taken off his shoulders. He saw me suffering and dealing with these emotions and had no idea how to deal with them or his own. I think it was hard to see it especially during a time when I should have been ecstatic to have a new baby.I saw the full effect of the entire experience on him months later. He came home from work and shared a story with me about one of his co-workers. This co-worker and his wife had just had a little girl about two months earlier and his wife was having a really hard time. Her emotions were all over board and she would go from happy high times to very low, angry, depressed, jealous times. My husband happened to witness a phone call between his co worker and his wife where this man became really angry and ended up hanging up on his wife. My husband stepped in and asked if he was OK, did he want to talk, etc. His co worker went on to talk about how since the baby had come his wife was “crazy”. She was either crying or angry all the time, jealous of silly things, and really just unhappy and unmotivated. Pat, my husband, asked if she had talked to a doctor or anything like that since the baby was born because it sounded very much like the beginnings of what we had been through after our daughter. Pat talked to his co worker about recognizing that it’s really hard on his wife when she’s home all day with the baby and dealing with recovering and healing and getting hormones “and crap” in check and he’s at work. Pat later found out that his co worker’s wife had decided to start seeing a therapist and they were talking a lot more. She had needed someone to talk with about her feelings after the baby was born. I really saw that Pat had understood everything that had happened at that point when he reached out to help a friend who was in the same place that he had one been.

What is your favorite thing about being a mother?

It has to be the smiles and the laughs. When my kids smile at me and laugh, it makes everything else take a back seat. Knowing that those smiles and laughter came from love and from my husband and I is just so special. Watching them experience things that create smiles and laughter is incredible, too. Every single day they discover something new and exciting and every day there is more to find joy in. I think that is just so special.

What do you find most challenging in motherhood?

Everything…can I use that as my answer? I don’t think, for me, it’s balancing work and kids and family and school. I think it’s the constancy of it all. It never stops. I never get to not be mom. Yeah, I can go out to dinner or a movie with Pat or with friends. Yes, I can hire a babysitter and do something. But there never comes a point where I will not be mom. I have other roles and other parts to my identity but I am always mom. I’m not saying I’m unhappy about that but I think that sometimes the enormity of always being mom can be a lot. It’s wonderful. But sometimes I just want my kids to forget the word mommy for 5 minutes.

Taking time for ourselves is one of the most invaluable gifts. What do you do with time you have to yourself?

Time for myself is a precious commodity. Lately, I’ve been much more conscious of taking serious time for myself where I don’t do work or classwork but try and do something that I actually enjoy. I try to exercise. I’ll go to the movies by myself, which is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be! I’ll go and see friends that I normally would have to take the kids with me to see. I’ll go for a walk. Or really I’ll just go to the supermarket or Target and wander around. Just getting out of the house or even on another floor separate from the kids gives me the time I need.

Based on your experience with PPD, do you have any suggestions for improvements to the way things were handled with your case? In your opinion, should anything have been done differently?
Oh YES! I live in NJ and while I think we have made great strides to help those suffering with PPD we are no where even close to getting it right!! I was given a questionnaire within 24 hours of giving birth that was supposed to evaluate my depression. It was a joke!! Things like that should be handed out at the baby’s weight check or at an OB visit or even mailed to the patient. My hospital had no problem sending me a survey about their care performance, they should be able to send out one about depression and PPD. I wish that someone had come to talk with me in the hospital. I’m talking about a professional counselor. I understand that PPD symptoms don’t really show up for at least one to two weeks, if at all, but I feel like if I had been educated about it I would have felt more comfortable with it. Even to hand out fliers or a fact sheet. Just something to let me know the warning signs. Something I could give to my parents and husband to let them know what to look for. I just think there needs to be more education and awareness to rid our society of the stigma and also to help women and families understand that they are not alone and it’s OK to ask for help!

Do you feel that because of your experience those around you are now more educated regarding PPD? Any plans to help other women in need in the future?

Yes, absolutely. See the second answer for more details on my plans!:)

Here’s a chance for a shameless plug. Tell us all about your blog!

My blog is not so much about PPD but about me being a mom and all that comes along with it! It’s www.mommountain.blogspot.com and it’s really a chronicle of my life with two kids, working full time and getting my counseling degree. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s sad, sometimes it makes you think and sometimes it’s me just venting. It has been a great outlet for my thoughts and feelings and has really helped me to express myself in ways that I never thought I could. It was a great piece of my therapy that has definitely helped me continue to get better.

If you had a chance to give an expecting mom (new or experienced) one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

Questions like this are so hard for me. I’m not sure. I guess it would be to do your very best to see the positive and the light in the situation. Ask for help and when it’s offered, and you’re comfortable with it, take it. We do not have to be supermoms. Motherhood is not about doing it alone and making it happen on our own. It was more than just us making us mothers and now we need to realize that getting support from those around us is still just as important and necessary.

Solar Eclipse Live Webcast Link

Live Webcast of Solar Eclipse in China August 1, 2008

Click here to view the Live Webcast

I know it’s not PPD related but I’m sure there will be some fantastic images as a result. I would have put this up as my Friday Soother however; the Eclipse occurs at 630a EDT according to the website so I thought I’d give y’all a heads up so you can make plans to get out of bed and watch. I’m hoping to be up to watch and may even get my girls up to watch as well. We can all post our oohs and ahhs as we groggily sip coffee!

Correction to MOTHER’S Act Update

Apparently I missed an important fact last night – Motion to proceed to consideration of measure was withdrawn in Senate. (consideration: CR S7554) Click on S7544 to read the text of the proceedings as they played out yesterday afternoon on the Senate floor.

At this point in time, I am not sure what this means for The MOTHER’S Act. I am disappointed in the situation and sincerely hope that this will not dampen the drive for this bill that has been building for so long now.

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.

The MOTHER’S Act Update

As most of you are aware, The MOTHER’S Act is now included in S. 3297, the Advancing of America’s Priorities Act. This Act was discussed on the floor of the Senate today with a vote taken regarding a motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to consider S. 3297. Basically, this would put a time limit on the consideration of a bill or other matter to avoid a fillibuster. If invoked, cloture limits discussion of a particular matter to only 30 additional hours, however, in order to be invoked, three-fifths of the full Senate or 60 total votes must be cast in favor of this. Cloture failed to pass just shy of the 60 votes needed – 52 were in favor, 40 were not, and 8 (including our two presidential candidates) did not vote.

The Senate will reconvene in the morning at 9am EST to further discuss S. 3297. You can watch live on CSpan 2. (Believe it or not, my daughters actually watched this with me this afternoon for more than 15 minutes! That seemed to be the tolerance level at which they started whining and fussing for me to turn on Diego. I managed to squeeze in another 5 minutes though)

The 40 Senators who voted Nay are listed below. If any of these Senators are yours, please email them, call them, let them know that they cannot let the MOTHER’S Act be held up any longer – we need this bill!

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)

Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)

McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Wicker (R-MS)

Busy Morning already!

645a – wake up, Chris leaves for work.

646a – restroom

650a – take dogs outside

7a- back inside to fix Cameron’s bottle, realize Charlotte needs to be cleaned up b/c of poopy

705a  – finish cleaning charlotte up, warm up Cameron’s bottle, go to get Cameron.

706a – Cameron is soaked in pee and full diaper includes poopy.

707 – rush Cameron to bathroom with Alli opening doors so I don’t have to touch the pee pee.

730 – finished with Cameron’s bath, new diaper, feeding him his bottle in living room as the girls watch The Upside Down Show. (TUDS)

745a – Cameron finishes his bottle and spits up. Fun. He’s particularly fussy this morning – who wouldn’t be after waking up soaked through in pee?

8a – TUDS finishes and we move to Cameron’s room. Run to get fresh sheets, make his bed, lay him down. He’s still crying but we go to fix breakfast. The girls are swarming now, I think they wanted to climb up me  or something.

830a – finally get to sit down to eat breakfast. Kashi’s Mountain Medly Granola is YUM.

9a -Finished with breakfast, girls play with play-doh and I clean up the kitchen, get laundry going, dishes started, trash bagged up.

930a – sitting down to watch Monsters, Inc. as I work on the computer.

Was supposed to walk this morning but given the unexpected turn of events, did not get a chance to do so – and now it’s nearly 80 degrees here. Planning on doing some Pilates once everyone is down for nap to make up for not walking.

Right now, I’m just grateful for the calm.

Proper Homage to a Tragedy?

Just a warning that the following may be a bit rough for those of you who are still in the throes of PPD.

On July 25, 1946, in Monroe, GA, a tragedy occured. Two couples were ripped from their vehicles by a group of unmasked white men, attacked, killed, and lynched. This incident is known as the Moore’s Ford lynching and apparently for the past three years in Walton County, GA, at the location of this horrific event, there has been a staged re-enactment which is sponsored by the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials. One of the women was seven months pregnant when she was brutally murdered and this year they gave her unborn baby a name – Justice.

The re-enactment is a “call for justice” for the case as it is still unsolved despite intense investigation and discovery of a potential lead just this past year. The publicity surrounding this event has caused additional leads to crop up and I sincerely hope they catch the guilty parties.

However, I do not agree at all with how they are commemorating the event. Is it necessary to recreate such a horrid crime? Why not do this with all crimes? Where would it stop? I understand the need to remember and to pay homage to the tragedy but is this the proper manner in which to do so? As I read this story in my local paper last night, I could only shake and hold back with mighty strength my anger and utter disbelief that this had occurred not so far away from where I now live. It certainly struck a chord and continues to do so. My heart goes out to their families and perhaps this is a way for them to seek closure – who am I to judge in what manner they choose to do so? And judging I am not doing – I am merely voicing my opinion that this is a very unusual manner in which to pay homage to the demise of these two couples. Let them rest in peace. Release the information, hold a poetry reading or a choral concert – don’t re-enact the crime. Attract the bees with the honey!

New Support Group in Maryland

Please share this with any women you may know in Maryland:

A new support group is starting in Gaithersburg, Maryland!

Starting on August 14th, the group will be held monthy, on the 2nd Thursday of each month, from 6:30 – 7:30pm.

Contact Maryland PSI coordinator Sara Evans at sarajevans@gmail.com, or at 240-401-8045 to register for the group or to learn more.

Sharing the Journey with Adrienne Griffen

Meet Adrienne Griffen, an amazing woman, mother, PPD Survivor, and fellow PSI Coordinator.

Adrienne has been volunteering with PSI for about as long as I have and is located in VA. She recently launched her own non-profit, Postpartum Support Virginia.Not only is she one dedicated woman, she’s from my home state, VA. Gotta show the love, right?

Her first postpartum experience was awesome – she even held a dinner party for 40 people when her new daughter was just three months old! (YOU GO GIRL!) It was with her second child that events quickly spiraled out of control and Adrienne found herself struggling for someone, anyone, to listen compassionately to her and show her the way back out. Finally her husband located a physician who specialized in women’s mood disorders. Adrienne began to recover having finally located the correct help. Her third pregnancy was a lot like mine – she stayed on her meds, educated her doctors (even received an apology) and received a screening questionnaire at her 6 week checkup. (By the way, HAVE you written or called your Senator about the MOTHER’S ACT yet?) Impressed with how far the medical community had come, Adrienne felt great and was now fully dedicated to improving things even more. Read on to find out more…

Just like me, you’ve been driven to help other Moms struggling with PPD through an experience of your own. Would you mind sharing that experience with us and why it inspires you to help other mothers?

After my second child was born six years ago, I had a fairly significant episode of postpartum depression and anxiety. I knew something was wrong because everything about this birth and postpartum period was the opposite of my first experience with childbirth two years earlier. My second delivery was rather traumatic (emergency C-section); my second baby ate more, slept less, and cried more than my first; I had a toddler AND a newborn (which I believe is the hardest stage thus far of parenting); I was totally sleep deprived; and I just couldn’t imagine how I was going to survive the next 18 years until this baby went off to college, never mind the next 5 minutes. Compounding my misery was the fact that my next-door-neighbor had just had her second, and my sister just had her fourth, and they made it look so easy.

The hardest part was finding help. Despite realizing that something was terribly amiss, I couldn’t find the help I needed — or at least the help I wanted. At my 6-week postpartum, I told the OB/GYN that I wasn’t feeling well, and without any discussion she offered me Prozac. When I called the Behavioral Medicine branch of my HMO, I was hoping for a verbal hug from someone who could reassure me that others had felt like this and that help was available. Instead, I was told to call back during normal business hours, overheard the intake nurse tell her supervisor I was “homicidal”, was told that they would report me to Child Protective Services if I had hurt my children, and was charged two co-pays since I saw a nurse AND a doctor. The psychiatrist recommended sleeping pills — I wasn’t sure if he meant for me or for my baby. I called mental health providers but couldn’t find anyone accepting new patients. I called about support groups, only to be told that they were now defunct. I saw a psychologist for several months who never understood how desperate I was. I felt like I was banging my head on a brick wall. Finally, when my son was six months old, my husband located a psychiatrist who specializes in women’s mood disorders and gave me the reassurance and care I needed.

I vowed during this time that I would someday do something so that others could find help more easily. This isn’t rocket science. PPD is relatively easily diagnosed and treated. The hard part is getting information to new mothers and connecting them to health care resources.

Tell us about your organization, Postpartum Support VA. How long has this been in the works and what does it feel like to finally have it up and running?

Postpartum Support Virginia is a not-for-profit organization providing hope and help for new mothers through:

  • support for new and expectant mothers (one-on-one and group support)
  • information and resources for new mothers and their families
  • outreach and education

I think of it as an umbrella covering all the activities ongoing in Virginia dealing with postpartum depression. The website (www.postpartumva.org) lists telephone and email volunteers, support groups, and mental health professionals who treat women with postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders.

I’ve been thinking about creating an organization like Postpartum Support Virginia for about three years, ever since I started to volunteer with mothers experiencing postpartum issues. But with three young children (they are now 8, 6 1/2, and 3) I couldn’t devote the time and energy until now. My approach has been to build the infrastructure first, then put the superstructure in place.

In other words, I’ve spent the last few years laying the foundation — helping other volunteers get started, speaking to maternal/child health care providers, leading support groups, networking with others involved with PPD throughout Virginia, attending PSI conferences. The past six months have been about formalizing these operations — creating a not-for-profit organization, building a website, creating a board of directors. The next few months will be focused on fund raising. Postpartum Support Virginia is still in its infant stage, and I really feel like I’ve given birth to my fourth child.

What do you find to be the most rewarding about helping other PPD Moms and families?

There is such joy in helping these new mothers who are swirling around in the whirlpool of depression and anxiety. To see the change after they get the help they need is so rewarding. In particular, seeing a new mother fall in love with her baby is amazing. And to receive feedback like this email from a mom who attended one of our support groups makes it all worthwhile:

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. The knowledge and encouragement that you all gave me in only 2 visits put me on the path to a better life than I ever could have imagined. I went from the worst time in my life to the happiest I have ever been so I am very grateful. Thank you so very much.”
How did your husband handle your PPD? Any advice for dads struggling to cope with their partner’s PPD?

My husband kept our little family going while I had PPD. He researched this illness and found the psychiatrist who finally helped me. He would come home from work at a moment’s notice when I was falling apart. Whenever I feel guilty about how he carried me through this time, he reminds me that is what marriage is all about. Spouses who see their partners suffer PPD, please remember that this is not her fault, you are not alone, and with help she will be well again.
What is the most challenging thing about motherhood?

The most challenging thing about motherhood is being mentally present for each of my children. They are each so special and unique, requiring different parenting skills from me, that it takes time and energy to give each what s/he deserves.
What is your most favorite thing about motherhood?

The same as all other mothers – BEDTIME! Just kidding.

Three things:

  1. I love making my children smile.
  2. I love seeing the progression towards independence, which is bittersweet but the goal of good parenting.
  3. I love watching the sibling relationship develop.

How long have you been a PSI Coordinator and how did you first find out about PSI?

I have been a PSI coordinator for two years. I heard about PSI from another PPD survivor and volunteer, Benta Sims, who raved about the conference she attended a few years ago. Joining PSI gave me the sense of connectedness and credibility that I needed to do this type of volunteer work.

What do you do when you take time for YOU?

Oh, I take LOTS of time for me to ensure I have time and energy for my family. On a daily basis I exercise and nap — in fact, I have taken a nap virtually every day since I was pregnant with my first child almost 10 years ago. I go to bed at 10:00 every night (except tonight while I am answering these questions!). I see a therapist, go to a chiropractor, get monthly therapeutic massages, and practice yoga. I host coffee once a week with three great neighbors — we solve each other’s problems and keep each other on track. And I have terrific in-laws who take my children for a few days once a year so I can revel in being alone in my own home. This is the best gift ever — and usually when I fall into a novel and read non-stop for two days.

How do you balance motherhood and work?

Balancing motherhood and work is extremely difficult, as most mothers know. I don’t really consider what I do as “work” because I find it so fulfilling — and because I don’t get paid (yet). The way I balance it is being my own boss. I know that at this stage of life I wouldn’t be happy with someone telling me what to do, answering to someone else’s demands or expectations or schedule, and forcing my children into my work schedule. So with my own organization, I can do what I want when I want.

Practically speaking, it means working while my children are at school or at night so I can be fully present for them while they are at home. During the summer I hire a babysitter a few mornings a week to take my children to their swim team or the park while I work from home. I’ve been ramping up slowly, but this year will be a big turning point as my youngest starts half-day preschool.
Finally, if you had a chance to pass on just one piece of advice to a new mom (experienced or not), what would you share with her?

Take care of yourself so you can take care of your family.