Monthly Archives: August 2012

My Postpartum Voice goes Zeen

I joined a new Beta site this past week. Darren Rowse, over at ProBlogger recommended checking it out.

I received my official invite last night and spent the morning playing with it. It’s a neat site, allows you to aggregate content from across the web, social sites, and beyond into a neat “zeen” (that’s hipster for magazine, I think).

I produced a Zeen focused on “Celebrating Postpartum Voices” this morning. The theme is “A Retrospective of Postpartum Voices of the Week.”

You can check it out here.

Postpartum Voice of the Week: @ksluiter’s “heavy alphabet soup”

It’s been awhile since I’ve done this but this past week, I read a post worthy of being highlighted as Postpartum Voice of the week. In fact, it’s inspired me to dive back into blogging here – I’ll be somewhat changing direction but it’ll still have the same Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder focus. More about that in an upcoming post though. For now, I want to simply highlight this very deserving post.

Kate Sluiter blogs over at Sluiter Nation and has been doing so for 5 years now. Her writing is amazing regardless of the topic but when it comes to her experience with Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders, it’s phenomenal. Kate is an open book, bravely sharing her experience after the birth of her first son, during her pregnancy with her second son, and now, after the birth of her second son.

Last week, Kate hit publish on a post entitled “heavy alphabet soup.”

It’s a MUST READ for any parent with or married to a partner with mental health issues. She is brutally honest, transparent, courageous, and personable in this post.

My favourite part of the post is here:

“I still feel very angry that I have to deal with this at all.  I don’t want it.  Any of it.  I don’t want to be on meds, not because I don’t want to be better, but because I don’t want to have all these letters.


I know they don’t define me.  But they are part of who I am. They are part of my biological make up.  They are chemical imbalances in my brain.”

Amen, Kate.

In writing these two paragraphs, especially the last one, she clarifies something very important – mental illness/letters do not define us. They are a part of us yes, but they absolutely do not define us.

Go. Read her post, “heavy alphabet soup.” Leave her some love.



We begin to wear a label at birth. Before birth, actually, if an ultrasound reveals our gender.

Boy. Girl.

Our first label determines what colour clothing our parents buy for us, whether or not we play with dolls or trucks, whether we play football or take high tea with stuffed animals, you get the idea.

Then there’s school.

Gifted. Not gifted.

Let’s not forget all the labels leveled upon us by our well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning classmates.

Slut. Four-eyes. Dork. Dweeb. Jerk. Moron. Faggot. Fat. Ugly. Cheater. Bastard.

Gorgeous. Wonderful. Fabulous. Bright. Intelligent. Honest. Promising. Compassionate.

We, as humans, crave labels. It’s what helps our world make sense.

Girl. Sister. Woman. Girlfriend. Fiance. Wife. Ex-Wife. Aunt. Artist. Writer. Mental Health Advocate. Multiple episode PPD Survivor. Christian. Music fanatic. Bacon fanatic. Football fanatic. F1 Fanatic. MotoGP Fanatic.

The above labels have described me, somewhat, at various points in my life. Sure, there are several other labels I’ve worn over the years but I choose not to claim them anymore. Some labels just never felt completely comfortable yet they were tossed in my direction anyway, and I was forced to wear them, much like Ralphie was forced to wear that horrendous Pink Rabbit costume in A Christmas Story.

One of the biggest labels tossed my way was that of “Co-dependent.” It jumped in my lap at my first meeting with my ex-husband at our Recovery group. He’d just admitted to an narcotics addiction and we were scrambling to save our marriage. According to the Recovery group we chose, any spouse of a recovering addict is automatically a “co-dependent.”


It felt like a wool sweater, to be honest. Itchy, uncomfortable, and impossible to ignore even once the fabric was removed from my skin.

Had I really become a co-dependent? Is that what my life had been reduced to while I wasn’t watching? How could I be a co-dependent when, in all honesty, I truly had NO IDEA the extent of his use? Was I still responsible for his behaviour? Had I enabled it? Condoned it? How could I have enabled or condoned it if I was unaware? Did his lack of control truly feed a need within me to be the “strong” and “responsible” one?

Yet, there I sat. In a single group of combined women, addicts and “recovering” co-dependents, forced to introduce myself as a “grateful believer in Jesus Christ and a recovering co-dependent” if I chose to speak at a meeting.

I cringed EVERY TIME I SPOKE THOSE WORDS, “Recovering co-dependent.” Denial? Maybe.

Maybe I was co-dependent and so far gone the label was like dunking my head in cold water, thus explaining the uncomfortable nature of even discussing the possibility.

But, I think, what bothered me, was that without even knowing my story, without hearing anything about how we landed in group, I had a label affixed to my soul, a label I then felt forced to use for the remainder of my time there.

What if, what if we refused to label others without hearing their story first? What if, even then, after hearing their story, we still refused to label others and instead allowed them to choose their own labels? Eventually we grow up and are able to dress ourselves, right? Why can’t we also label ourselves if we so choose?

People with mental illness are not crazy. They’re simply people who face more daily challenges than the rest of us.

People with cancer or any other illness/physical ailment? The same.

Your skin colour is different than mine? You’re still a person, right?

Gay? Still a person.

A bigot? Still a person.

Buddhist? Still a person.

Christian? Still a person.

Muslim? Still a person.

Breastfeed? Still a person.

Formula feed? Still a person.


Not a parent? STILL A PERSON.

Bottom line?

People are people.

We are not our gender, our sexual preference, our colour, our experiences, our talents, our gifts, our illnesses. WE.ARE.PEOPLE.

You are me and I am you.

End of story.

My goal is not only to live…but to do so unlabeled.

I dare you to do the same.



When a Blog Goes Silent

I’ve been quiet this summer, save for a few posts here and there.

As I’ve blogged before, there has been a lot of change flowing through my life lately.

I’m still running #PPDChat but increasingly quiet on Facebook and Twitter as well. I haven’t had a video chat in what feels like weeks. Between visits with my kids, falling in love, and re-defining myself (again), there’s been a lot of time spent in my head and focusing on what’s really important to me these days – actually LIVING life.

In the dust though, I’ve been ignoring this place, this blog which kept me sane during my pregnancy with my third child and has allowed so many women to feel supported and less alone as they too navigate the trails of Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders.

I’m silent here because I’m not sure what to say in this space right now. I know that working with women through the Postpartum period is something I want to continue doing. But right now, I’m not sure how to fill this space, how to speak about Postpartum Mood Disorders when my experience and understanding of my experience has literally been redefined over a lot of internal re-evaluation over this past year.

Sure, I can discuss the latest news, issues, etc, but that’s what Katherine Stone over at Postpartum Progress is best at and I certainly don’t want to duplicate her work. What I do here is my thing – it’s filled with heart, compassion, understanding, and my goal is to put forth the feeling of the comfort of reading a letter from a girlfriend who GETS WHERE YOU ARE and can assure you that there’s a light at the end of your tunnel. I freeze when I don’t feel as if I am writing with all of my heart. I freeze if I am not giving things my all. I know what it’s like to not get support and don’t want to give you anything but my very best. Because when you’re hurting and lost in the vortex of a Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder, you deserve NOTHING BUT THE BEST COMPASSION I CAN GIVE YOU.

Right now, as I let the dust settle (again), in my life, I hope you’ll be patient and understanding. Know you can find me on Twitter. Or if you aren’t on Twitter, go follow my FB  page and drop me a message there. Or email me. It may take me longer to get back to you via email though, so please be patient.

My words are somewhere out there, my passion is still burning deep inside me. It just needs a vacation as the scaffolding and remodeling continues within.

Here’s to looking forward to a grand re-opening and here’s to hoping that it’s right around the corner.