Monthly Archives: April 2011

Finding your heroes

Today, over at Living Self-Care, Diane Sanford is talking about heroes. She emailed me earlier this week to let me know that I will be one of the women she would be mentioning. The email had me speechless because I honestly don’t think of myself as a hero. For me, what I do on a daily basis, is simply me doing what I wish someone had done for me when I was struggling. I wake with a very humble goal each day – to help no less than one mother. Since I started this work, I’ve exceeded my goal every day. I don’t intend to ever stop.

Thank you, Diane, for your own dedication to Mothers everywhere. You too, are a hero.

I also have some things to say here about heroes. I hope you’ll go check out Diane’s post as well as read my post here.

Everyday our lives are touched by people who are heroes.

Most people think of big heroes – people who have saved lives, rushed headlong into danger to protect others, or done something beyond miraculous to help another person.

Thing is, sometimes, a hero is created through a series of small actions for several people. Or even just a small action for one person. Sometimes a hero is simply someone who has shown us how to do what we do and is filled with passion for their purpose in life. Or sometimes a hero is simply someone who has bravely fought against every odd and won. Heroism is not necessarily doing for others. Sometimes it’s surviving despite the odds being stacked against you.

I have a lot of heroes right now.

Some of them would probably claim they haven’t done anything to deserve to be my hero. But they have done so very much.

My heroes are all the women who have fought Postpartum Depression in any shape or form. They don’t have to be survivors yet. They don’t have to be bloggers or even on Twitter. Because the moms I know who are Postpartum Depression fighters are some of the strongest, passionate, dedicated, amazing, brilliant, compassionate, and mind-blowing women I know. To face Postpartum Depression is to face a true beast. The battle is long. It is exhausting. But still, they stand, taking everything this beast has to give. They fight, through insomnia, through anxiety, through depression, through intrusive thoughts, through psychosis for some, through PTSD. They fight for their family, their children, themselves. They are phenomenal.

Who are your heroes? What did they do to earn the title? Have you told them lately that they’re your hero?

An Angry Sea

For so many the sea can be a source of calm, peace, relaxation, meditation. It is in the sea that many find their anchor. I am one of those people. I grew up at the beach as I noted in a post from the other day. The sights, smells, and feel of the beach trigger so many wonderful memories often locked within my heart. Memories which are the foundation of my life.

But even the sea, the tranquil sea, gets angry.

Today is one of those days.

A storm system is traveling through the area. Filled with lightning, thunder, threat of tornado, the clouds are moving swiftly over land and out to sea. As a result, the ocean is reacting to the forces placed upon it by nature.

Soft and gentle waves are replaced by short and choppy waves as far as the eye can see. They crash harshly onto shore, pulling more sand angrily back out to the depths of the seabed with each new crash. A red flag declaring no swimming is raised tall in front of the lifeguard stand. No one is meandering along the beach except for a few brave souls.

So here we sit, waiting for the storm to break, the rain to fall, and planning alternate activities for the family so as to maximize our last day here at the beach.

And that’s when it hit me.

That this, this storm, this angry weather, is just like a Postpartum Mood Disorder.

Sure, we can predict to whom it MAY happen.

We can identify the jet streams which may swoop it into the lives of certain people. Identify the environmental factors which ripen the possibility of occurrence. But until we get pregnant or give birth, we don’t know if it really will happen to us.

Then when it does, we seek shelter. We make alternate plans. Hopefully we have an emergency kit ready to go in our shelter which should include a list of resources to which we can turn if the waves of emotion get short, angry, and choppy. If the waves decide to reclaim us bit by bit. If they do, we hedge ourselves in until we can heal, seeking respite from the very storm which threatens to tear us apart.

Just as we sit to wait for a storm to pass, we also must wait for a Postpartum Mood Disorder to pass. Some storms pass through quickly, a mere blip, other storms linger and take days to pass. Of course, a Postpartum Mood Disorder takes longer than days to pass – for some it may be months. For others, it may take a year or more. Again, this is in direct relation to your risk factors, level of support, contributing circumstances, proper professional care.

We may feel helpless as the storm whirls around us. But we are not as helpless as we believe ourselves to be in the midst of this vortex. Others always stand ready to come together as a community to support us, to join hands with us in this shared experience.

We must also remember our loved ones become trapped in this vortex with us. They too, need support, love, and understanding.

As I sit and listen to the angry sea, I find peace in knowing that soon, this too, will pass. So the angry waves crashing upon the shore bring solace and strength. The sand will one day be replaced, the beach will grow stronger, and once again, we will play in the waters of the ever-changing sea.

Know too, that one day, your Postpartum Mood Disorder will pass, and you, you will be stronger, able to play in the ever-changing sea of your life.

Respite

Today, for the first time in years, my toes and the Atlantic Ocean made contact.

I grew up on the Jersey Shore (NO, not THAT Jersey Shore – mention it again and I’m a send someone with a whole lotta vowels in their last name your way) just mere seconds away from the ocean. I suffered from perma-tan as a result of spending almost every waking minute on the sands of the beach during summers at my grandmother’s house.

We had a routine – we’d hang out, then eat cream cheese and jelly sandwiches on toast while watching The Price is Right (with Bob, not this new guy, Drew). We’d pack up the station wagon after the show was over to glide the 5 measly blocks to the ocean. Hot metal car seatbelts do NOT feel good against young skin, lemme tell you what. Then, we’d slather on sunscreen and go running smack dab into the ocean.

The afternoon always passed too quickly in squeals of delight, screams of fear after stings of jellyfish, and whoops of joy as huge waves carried our brave bodies toward shore, hurling us unfailingly into the hard sand underneath the soft water. We’d laugh, get up, and run smack dab back into the ocean all over again.

The grandmother with whom I spent all that time with at the beach, at the Atlantic Ocean, is now a part of the ocean. She passed away well over 10 years ago and her ashes were spread in the Atlantic.

Today?

Today I said hello.

Tomorrow?

Tomorrow I will run with glee smack dab into the ocean to give her the biggest damned hug of my life.

I am home.