I have been thinking of a simple way to celebrate my birthday here on the blog and it didn’t hit me until this past weekend. What about a balloon release? How COOL would it be to have random purple balloons with messages of hope from women with Postpartum Mood Disorders sealed up tight inside floating all around the world on my birthday? That would rock my world. And there’s no telling how many lives it would touch. Even if it’s just the life of a pine tree, it would still be awesome.
After a couple of rounds with Postpartum, I have learned to never take a celebration for granted nor to let any bad memories associated with a certain day ruin it. It’s become very important to me to re-frame the special days in my life. Nothing specifically bad happened on my birthday during my Postpartum years but I sure wasn’t interested in doing anything awesome on those days. I am sure it bummed my husband out because he (and the kids) would get super excited, want to get me a cake and I’d be all “Meh.” That sort of mood will kill a celebration before it even gets started!
So this year, I’ll be buying some purple balloons, taking the family to a local park, and letting them go. (The balloons, people, not my family!) I may even let the girls write their own messages in their balloons. This year? I’m taking my birthday back and paying it forward at the same time. And you’re invited!
All you have to do is go buy a purple balloon or two or three or more. Then write a short message, preferably on paper that won’t pop the balloon once inflated, insert the message, blow up the balloon, and tie it off. If you’re not feeling particularly creative, download a 5 x 7 pre-designed postcard. All you have to do is write. You can even write a message with permanent marker on the outside of the balloon if you want. It’s up to you if you want to include an email address. All I ask is that you include the phrase “This is part of the 1st Annual Postpartum Awareness Balloon Release for My Postpartum Voice” and my blog’s URL on your note. I’d be interested to see how many women or families find the balloons!
I’d love to see photos of your creations and notes as well! There will be a post up on Sunday afternoon that will include photos of my own balloon release. There’s a Flickr group just for this event so you can upload your photos there too! (Or you can email them to me at mypostpartumvoice(@)gmail.com and I’ll upload them!)
So please join me in celebrating my birthday on Sunday! I’d love to have you there!
Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark.
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.
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.