Monthly Archives: October 2012

JaimeQuote

Postpartum Voice of the Week: @jamesandjax’s “Ghosts That We Knew (Hope in the Darkness)”

This past week there were several powerful posts about PPD. The writing these days is not only prolific but profound. It’s encouraging to see so many new voices growing and fearlessly sharing their journeys.

The post which caught my attention this week was over at Jamie & Jax’s place. She wrote a piece in which she used music as the inspiration, “Ghosts That We Knew” by Mumford & Sons to be precise.

I rarely listen to new music as I get stuck in my own rut because of my OCD. But I decided to find the song on Spotify and give it a whirl.

I cried.

The song is so perfectly fitted for #ppdchat, as Jamie points out –something another Warrior mom, Lindsay, mentioned to her. I haven’t listened to the song since the other day because it’s that powerful.

The lyrics that got to me the most?
Slam into you right at the start of the song. I was a blubbering mess for the rest of it.

The first few lyrics are:

“You saw my pain, washed out in the rain
Broken glass, saw the blood run from my veins
But you saw no fault no cracks in my heart
And you knelt beside my hope torn apart”

These lyrics truly embody the spirit of #ppdchat. We see the cracks yet we still love and support one another without judgment, without hesitation, and with compassion.

Thank you Jamie & Lindsay, for bringing this to “light” and for being such amazing members of the community –together, we are a light which will never rest, never fade, and always be brightly shone upon the path of those who follow in our path.

Go check out her post and the video for the song here.

Whatever Wednesday: Please Move the Human Crossings

This post is inspired by a YouTube video featuring an audio clip of a woman who called Y94 in Fargo, ND. Her rant? Deer crossings in high traffic areas and the refusal of the Department of Transportation to move them to “lower traffic areas.” She’s written letters too.

I reached out to some deer in the ND area and shared Donna’s thoughts with them. They agreed to talk with me. The following is a transcript of our meeting, held deep in the forest, in an unnamed location.

“Wow. So this is nowhere near any type of civilization. Is this how you prefer to live?”

“It’s how we’ve always preferred to live, actually, since before that nosy Columbus popped over here and dragged the rest of Europe with him. Sure, we had the natives to contend with but hey, let’s face it – horses? Distant cousins and not given to mowing us down like the SUV’s and 18-wheelers of today.”

“I noticed on the way here that the Interstate divides the forest for quite some distance. Has this had any effect on nuclear families and their ability to stay close?”

“Of course it has. When the Department of Transportation came in, they didn’t ask us to relocate, we didn’t receive any government funding or consideration. We just woke up one day and BAM. Huge concrete path in between us and our loved ones. Families have been split up for generations. Remarriage, mourning, confused fawns, and don’t ask me about the Great Crossing of ’67.”

(Please note at this point, Rudolph’s eyes watered up and he turned away from me, his voice breaking.)

“Now I have to ask – what’s the Great Crossing of ’67?”

“This story has been handed down for generations, a warning, if you will. A number of us gathered together to talk about reunification with those trapped on the other side. We decided to watch traffic patterns for a few days, get the lay of the Interstate before crossing, you know. Scouts took shifts in trees with binoculars and reported back to those in charge. Once we thought we had established a pattern, we gathered together at the edge of the road, you know, where a sign with a deer stood. We assumed it was safe. There was a huge group of us, hundreds, if not thousands. The first wave, at least 100 deer, tentatively stepped out onto the hard black river. Headlights, a whole herd of them, appeared suddenly out of nowhere, speeding toward us. The first wave froze, the second wave rammed into them, and the third wave jumped over them. The headlights tore through all three waves. The carnage……..” his voice fades, cracking as tears slip down his tawny cheeks.
(I hand him a hanky, he wipes his eyes and blows his nose.)

“Far worse than Donna’s mere three car accidents, then, eh?”

“Far, far worse. Speaking of Donna’s car accidents, does she perchance drive a Red Honda?”

“I… I don’t know. She didn’t say in the recording.”

“If she does, she killed my cousin Louis –smashed him to a pulp. And my Uncle Dasher too. I don’t even want to discuss the hell she wreaked on my Aunt Catherine. Do you know Aunt Catherine can’t even graze by herself anymore? No – we had to rig a wheelchair just so she could haul herself around. The worst part? She can’t just go to the bathroom like she used to with that thing on. It requires regular cleaning. Do you have ANY IDEA how difficult it is to haul a deer hooked up to something like that in and out of a river multiple times a day? Look at these guns I’ve developed just helping her wheelchair stay clean!”

“Wow. I can’t begin to imagine. Nice guns, by the way.”

“Thanks.” He sniffles slightly, looks around nervously.

“Something wrong?”

“You weren’t followed, were you?”

“No, I took all the precautions you mentioned, left my car a mile away from the entry point, parked in a well-lit parking lot, walked in circles for 30 minutes, Gangnam Styled for 20, then hop-skipped-jumped for 10 toward the entry point before donning my ninja gear in a phone booth to slip away. There’s no way I was followed.”

“Mmmk. You know, with the advent of PETA and environmental gurus, we thought we’d be protected from the horrors of vehicular homicide. But alas, we are not. That’s what it is though – vehicular homicide. Why isn’t anyone doing anything about this? Instead, they’re putting up signs telling us we can cross, luring us into believing these particular spots are safer than all the others and then BAM. Mowing us down. Sure, we procreate like rabbits –well, almost– have you seen those little bastards get it on? Christ I’d give anything to have a libido like that. Anyway, I’ve digressed. It’s entrapment -plain and simple- Government endorsed entrapment ending in vehicular homicide. I’m not even the slightest bit apologetic for damage done to any cars. They encroached on our territory, not the other way around. Hell, I don’t see anyone apologizing to US for all the homicide and “population control” you people seem so keen on with our kind.”

“How do you feel about Donna’s request to move the Deer Crossing signs to lower traffic areas? Do you think this would be best for all parties involved?”

“I think it would be very helpful for all involved, but quite frankly, we can’t all read the signs. Most of us can, but some of us are just, well, plain stupid. We’re animals, yanno, and we’re not meant to read signs. And the Great Crossing of ’67 taught us not to trust the signs which is why we rarely cross in herds any more, but rather in single file, waiting for the one deer to cross before venturing across the road ourselves. Then there’s the issue of freezing when we see headlights. That too, is a remnant of the Great Crossing of ’67. A genetic form of PTSD, if you will. So you see, it’s really not our fault that we don’t move when we see a vehicle coming. It’s inbred fear of the ineptitude of humanity and their vehicles. Damn Henry Ford and his ilk.”

“How has the introduction of cell-phones affected the rate of “vehicular homicide” among your kind, if you will be so kind as to elaborate. Do you have that information? Any aggregated data?”

He holds out a hoof. “Does it LOOK like I’m capable of using a keyboard?”

“My apologies. Forgive me. Let me re-phrase: Has there been a noticeable increase in loss since the advent and popularity of cell-phones?”

“Across the board, yes, there has been. People are stupid enough behind the wheel as it is but they’re even more idiotic when they have a cell phone. Amazingly enough, the advent of Starbucks has saved lives because caffeine, as I’m sure you know, allows your kind to stay more alert. Although there have been a few instances when the blended caffeinated goodness in that green and white cup has been so orgasmic that the driver to loses control and mows a few of us down but overall, Starbucks has been good for the our increasing survival rates.”

“Last question – if you could tell Donna one thing, what would you say?”

“Oh, that’s simple. Please move the human crossings to a lower traffic deer area. We were here first.”
(Author’s note: There’s been an update from Donna – it’s a MUST LISTEN.)

ErikaQuote

Guest Post: Erika Pearson Krull – Ripples of Postpartum Depression

I met Erika online through Katherine Stone over at Postpartum Progress. We were asked to participate in a Mother’s Day Rally together. From there, we kind of clicked as we both have had a similar experience with one of our children and occasionally lean on each other for support in that department. And then there’s our passionate love of college football. I’m humbled to have Erika writing here today about Postpartum Depression. She addresses the after-effects of PPD with power and eloquence. I hope you enjoy her piece and have a wonderful weekend!

 

Health problems sometimes have lingering effects long after treatments are given. For example, I know personally that once you get bronchitis you have a much better chance of having asthmatic symptoms every time you get an upper respiratory illness or the humidity changes a lot. I never had a problem with this until my daughter shared her bronchitis with me a few years ago. I haven’t gotten bronchitis again, but I can’t get too far away from its affect on my life ever since.

The same seems to be true of postpartum depression for me. Between 2000 and 2003, I had postpartum depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (like PMS with depression symptoms) following two of my three pregnancies. I eventually got treatment before my third pregnancy, but I still feel the lingering effects of those two problems at times.

During my periods of depression, I had the typical symptoms – crying, low self-worth, negative self talk, withdrawal, etc. Now I find that my anger can burst forth more easily than it used to. When I might have turned inward during my depression, I now turn outward. That’s not an entirely bad thing because my emotions aren’t bottled up. But it can go too far more quickly than I want to admit. I get mad at the dog, my kids, my husband, myself, and so on.

The bigger problem is that this gets noticeably worse during my premenstrual time. Still. After nearly ten years. And I’m using a birth control pill that has helped control the symptoms. I haven’t been honestly depressed in almost a decade and I yet I can’t escape its long term effect entirely.

My point is that in order to get your best quality of life after dealing with depression, you need to really understand how it can affect you after you’ve handled the major symptoms. The stigma surrounding mental illness can be disheartening and confusing. Get it treated, but maybe don’t talk about it so much after that. Or better yet, just get it fixed and don’t pull anyone into an awkward conversation about it. You don’t want to look too selfish or get too much sympathy. Or be seen as incompetent or untrustworthy. And geez, it’s been years, why aren’t you over that?

Here’s the reality – the sooner you treat it the better. And it’s never too late to get treatment because late is still better than never. I firmly believe I would have fewer problems with my long-term effects if I had gotten treatment within a few months instead of waiting nearly three years. The depression would have had less time to make a deep impression on my mind and body. But still, treatment made a critical difference in my life. I don’t truly know how I’d be living if I had to try digging out on my own.

Here’s the good news! These lingering effects don’t necessarily have to make you miserable all the time. I don’t have many conversations about these issues now. I do speak to my doctor at times when my symptoms needed better management, and I find it very helpful to write articles like this or do some public speaking about postpartum depression. I’m also able to handle those tough emotional moments in the moment and recognize what I need to do from there. I don’t allow myself to make my depression history an excuse, but I do recognize the roots of my emotional issues.

Many many women get through postpartum depression and recover well. But it’s realistic for some recovered women to feel ongoing ripples at times. It doesn’t mean you didn’t do a good job of getting through it or that you are broken as a person. That’s just depression for you. It’s a serious condition and requires treatment like many other health problems.

You probably wouldn’t beat yourself up because you had to use a nebulizer years after getting a bad case of bronchitis. You need to give yourself the same break after dealing with postpartum depression. Find what works for you to handle those emotional moments, the negative self-talk, the excess anger, the regrets, or whatever makes you feel stuck again. Develop good self-care habits like regular meals, frequent exercise, lots of social support, and other emotional outlets. When something comes up, you’ll be well-equipped to handle it.

Take care of your mind and body, learn how to recognize your needs, and keep moving forward each day. By the way, it’s mid-October and that means cold season. I’ll be going all out to keep germs away from my lungs, and to be kind to myself when they sneak in anyway.

Erika Krull is a freelance writer and part-time therapist in central Nebraska. She has been married to her college sweetheart for 17 years, stays busy raising three energetic girls and a bouncy puppy, and is still learns so much every day. She writes for the Family Mental Health on psychcentral.com and does local public speaking events about postpartum depression upon request.

Postpartum

Guest Post: @momgosomething – “You Never Know What Lies Behind a Perfect Smile”

There aren’t enough words in the universe powerful enough to explain how I feel about Kim from All Work and No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something. We met on Twitter, through #ppdchat. She’s become one of my friends, even though we’ve never met in person. (God, I love the Internet for that!) She is real, she is honest, and the girl can write. She’s hilarious. Also, obsessed with Chuck Norris, which is just awesome. I’m honoured to have her writing here for Mental Illness Awareness Week. Without further ado, here are Kim’s words.
It was 9 in the morning when she had called and asked if she could come see him. I looked down at my pajama bottoms and the state of my kitchen. Bottles stacked one up against the other waiting to be sterilized, breakfast dishes left on the table, and his swing covered haphazardly with a blanket speckled with spit up.
“Of course you can come over,” I said with an exaggerated chipper tone.
She said in 2 hours.
In those 2 hours I cleaned the kitchen.
I dressed myself, including doing my hair and make-up.
I dressed my son in the finest clothing that was hung neatly in his colour coordinated closet.
I made the beds.
I swept the floors.
I got on my hands and knees and plucked out any noticeable lint and dog hair from the carpet.
I had just finished wiping down the bathroom with antibacterial wipes when the dog started barking at the door.
There she was.
My Aunt held a bouquet of daisies, my favourite, and an outfit for my son.
She immediately swooped him up in her arms and looked me over.
“You look so beautiful. I mean that. When I was 2 weeks postpartum, I was still in the same pajamas I had worn home from the hospital.”
She roamed my house with my newborn son, holding him tightly on her chest.
I watched her anxiously, looking for any indication that she had figured out that there was something seriously wrong with me.
“Your beds, they’re made. Kimbers, your house is absolutely spotless. Did you hire someone to do this?”
I bowed my head, “No. I do it.”
“Kimbers, you should be resting when the baby rests.”
I nodded in agreement.
When she finally left, she told me she was proud of me; that I was “rocking” motherhood with ease.
And as her car pulled out of my driveway, I took a breath of relief.
I fooled another person into believing that everything was ok.
In the days following, I went to great lengths to conceal my internal struggle.
If I looked perfect, if my son looked perfect, if my home looked perfect, no one would know.
It was so easy to hide my internal battle behind the cheerful facades that I had created.
And why did I do this?
Because I was scared that I would be labeled as a terrible mother.
Weak.
Failure.
Monster.
Crazy.
Not to be trusted with her child.
For weeks, and even after my diagnosis, I still kept a perfectly pretty barrier between me and my personal hell.
When I finally admitted to friends and family that I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, they all had the same reaction:
“I had no idea. You looked like you had everything under control.”
Postpartum depression and anxiety does not have a face.
People cannot see it.
What they do see is what is portrayed on television, in the newspapers, tabloids, internet, etc.
They see monsters, psychos, nuts, disheveled, with twitches in our eyes and all the other horrible words and images that are associated with mental illness.
This sort of exaggerated misinformation breeds stigma like a wild fire. This is why so many men and women suffer in silence when they don’t have to.
Just like I did.
That’s why we have to stand up. We have to use our collective voice to teach others about our illnesses.
They need to understand that the way we experience depression looks completely different from everyone else’s.
This was me at 4 weeks postpartum.
 
Can you tell that I was crumbling inside?
More importantly, we need to keep talking to Moms. We need to ask those difficult questions like, “Are you ok?”
Even if they get offended, just ask them.
You never know what lies behind a perfect smile.
You could save a life.
 
Kimberly is a Registered Nurse, Mom and wife to a beautiful 4 year old son. She is a 4 year postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety disorder.

She writes on her personal blog, All Work And No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something.

photo

Guest Post for Mental Illness Awareness Week – @MotherUnadorned – You are NOT a Bad Mom

I cannot simply tell you how much I adore and admire Cristi’s drive to speak up about mental illness. The woman is fearless and is always speaking up or doing something to bring awareness to mental health, suicide awareness in particular. I’m honoured to have her posting here at the blog for Mental Illness Awareness Week. Without further ado, I present Cristi’s amazing post. Read. Take to heart. Share. You are not alone.

 

You are NOT a Bad Mom.

The other day I posted on Twitter:
“Sometimes I wonder what others think of me because of my #mentalillness and then I remember I really don’t care. #stigma is stupid.”

Truth is, most of the time I honestly don’t care if others have an unfair opinion of me because of my mental illness. But that is a truth for me born from living with and learning to accept that my mental illness is just that, a REAL illness like any other medical condition. Others’ opinions and stigma are born from ignorance.

It’s not my fault.
It’s not a weakness.
And it needs real medical treatment.

But I know that for many who are blindsided with postpartum depression, OCD, anxiety or psychosis, it’s not that easy to brush off the stigma. Especially when you’ve never experienced mental health issues.

You probably don’t understand what’s happening.
Maybe right now, today, you’re feeling like a bad mother.
Maybe you even feel like a bad person because you’re having “intrusive thoughts” of running away from your family or hurting yourself or your child*.

I want to tell you.
You are NOT a bad mother.
Your thoughts and feelings DON’T make you a bad person.
And, you are NOT alone.
You just need a doctor to treat your medical condition.

I’ve been there myself after the birth of my 2nd child. I felt hopeless and wanted to run away as my 2 year old’s relentless jealousy surfaced. I felt like I couldn’t handle my life, my kids, my home or myself.

It was all falling apart.
I was falling apart.

But I asked for help because I knew I needed professional treatment.

And so do you, right now, if you’re struggling.

You need REAL medical treatment for this often temporary, but very real illness that affects so many women (and even men on occasion.)

I am going to say it again.
You are NOT a bad mother.
You are NOT a bad person.
You are NOT alone.

So many moms have been where you are right now and WE are here with open hearts and open arms to help you find your way. There’s no stigma with us. Just love and support and help.

If you’re here reading Lauren’s blog you probably already know about the beautiful gift of #PPDChat on Twitter and #PPDChat Support on Facebook. If you don’t, I encourage you to check them out. Social media can offer such an amazing support when we feel alone, at home, and haven’t yet been able ask for help in person.

I also encourage you to visit Postpartum Progress for loads of information and resources for perinatal and postpartum mood disorders.

If you’re struggling or in crisis, the Lifeline hotline number 800-273-TALK is always available to you. And Befrienders.org offers a list of hotline numbers worldwide.

There are so many women who have been where you are today and have made it through.

There IS a happy ending with the right help. I promise you.

This is your health, your child, your family, your life. You all deserve the happy ending. And stigma really truly is stupid. Please don’t let it hold you back from finding yourself again.

You are NOT a bad mom.
You are NOT a bad person.

You are LOVED.
You are BEAUTIFUL.
And, you are NOT alone.

Cristi Comes
Wife. Mom. Me. Advocate for mental health & suicide prevention. Attachment parent. Survivor of mental illness & PPD. Jewelry designer. Motherhood Unadorned Blog is motherhood naked, plain & uncensored. On Twitter @MotherUnadorned, on Facebook at Motherhood Unadorned

*If you are having such intrusive thoughts, please contact your doctor immediately.

 

IMG_3061

Guest Post: Amber Koter-Puline’s “Banding Together Over Books – The Warrior Mom Book Club”

Continuing this week’s theme of celebrating National Book Month, Amber Koter-Puline of Beyond Postpartum shares about The Warrior Mom Book Club. It’s worth checking out! I thank Amber for her dedication to families struggling with Postpartum Mood Disorders. She truly is an inspiration on so many levels! Without further ado, here is Amber’s guest post:

 

This summer I began hosting a new feature at Postpartum Progress: the Warrior Mom Book Club. Even just since 2007 when I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety, so much more information, education, and just plain old sharing around women’s mental health has occurred. From books on personal accounts of postpartum depression to the plethora of rockin’ blogs written by Warrior Moms, we have no lack of reading material right at our fingertips.

I don’t know about you, but with so much out there I often have difficulty choosing what to read, especially since I’m a married WAHM of two young boys. I just don’t have time to keep up with all the blog posts, and my stack of books waiting to be read is enormous (both on paper and virtually on my Kindle list).

As members of the Warrior Mom Book Club, we read and have casual talk about what we’ve read, in the midst of our busy lives. We read books about postpartum depression and related illnesses — approximately four books per year — and as a group we do a review after reading each one, which I then write up for Postpartum Progress so that everyone can read it there.

We began the club with Adrienne Martini’s awesome book, Hillbilly Gothic, which I first read when my first son was about two and then again for the club, three years later. I have to say I enjoyed it as much, if not more, the second time! In case you didn’t get a chance to read along with us, you can check it out on Amazon.

Right now we are reading The Ghost in the House by Tracy Thompson.  It’s a really eye-opening account of maternal mental health and its impact on the entire family from both a genetic and environmental perspective.  While the Book Club is currently closed because we’ve already begun work on it, you can still order a digital or paper copy HERE or do what many savvy mamas did with our previous read and order it from your local library.

The review of The Ghost in the House will probably be up at Postpartum Progress in November and then we’ll announce our third read.  Right now we plan to read Sleepless Nights by .  You are welcome to join us for that one.  Once the announcement is made, you can just email me at atlantamom930@gmail.com and join the Facebook Group “Warrior Mom Book Club” which becomes secret while the discussion is happening to protect the privacy of the participants.

We have nearly 50 moms who have participated so far and I look forward to growing the group as the selections change and time goes on.  Here’s what a few moms have to say about their experience as members of the WMBC:

“Being a part of the bookclub has helped me give words or describe some the aimless thoughts/feelings that I had, especially in the deepest part of PPD/OCD/Anxiety that I was unwilling or more likely, unable to speak about, name, and come to terms with.” ~TM

“I have found it invaluable to read these books. I had not read any of the ones that we have read while I was going through my struggle with postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression. Reading and reflecting on the books is helping me continue my recovery process. The book club offers me the ability to read other’s perceptions of the books as well which allows me to take different messages and incorporate it into my own recovery.” ~Jennifer Pody Gaskell



”Being a part of the WMBC has been like a life raft for me. I live in area of the country with almost no PPMD resources and no in person support group. This book group has enabled me to feel part of a community of amazingly strong and courageous women (authors and fellow readers). Reading these works has also assisted me in gaining more knowledge about PPMD, which has helped me tremendously in making sense of my experience and continuing my journey to wellness and health for me and my family.” ~Becky Ruess

I hope that reading can be a cathartic experience for you, as well, regardless of whether you join a book club, read a book with a friend, or on your own.  Reading is one of the few self-care activities that I prioritize and tends to be a great source of enjoyment and escape for me.  I personally have found that reading a combination of fiction, non-fiction (self-care/help), and faith-oriented books allows me to balance and blend my reading hobby in a healthy manner.

Thanks, Lauren, for inviting me to write about the Book Club!

Take good care,
Amber Koter-Puline
Beyond Postpartum

Mom and wife.  PPD Survivor/Advocate. Yoga lover. Oh…& coffee, bacon & prayer. Amber also blogs at atlantamom.net- a site devoted to information, inspiration, and networking opportunities for all moms in the Atlanta area.

 

Ivy Book Cover

Guest Post: Ivy Shih Leung – Why I wrote my book

Ivy Shih Leung is a fellow PPD Blogger and someone I consider to be a friend. She’s had a rocking journey through PPD as well, but her path is unique. Ivy is ferocious, fearless, and doesn’t mince words. I asked her to write this post as part of this week’s theme focusing on books about PPD. Ivy’s book, “One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood: Infertility, Childbirth Complications, and Postpartum Depression, Oh My!” can be purchased through Amazon. The link is not an affiliate link of mine so I don’t stand to make any money off of your purchase. Read on for what motivated Ivy to share her story.

 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Lauren, for letting me share info about my book to your blog readers! I would like to share how fulfilling an experience writing this book has been for me, what factors motivated me to write my book, and what I hope to accomplish with my book.

 

Writing my book has not only been an amazingly cathartic experience, it has turned out to be one of the most fulfilling accomplishments of my life and a tremendous confidence builder. Writing this book has boosted my self confidence in such a way that negative thoughts and attitudes of those around me— people who are competitive, jealous or just plain mean-spirited—no longer have the same crippling effect on me as they had before I finished my book. About a decade ago, I remember telling a former manager (who was, quite simply, a totally callous and condescending jerk): “There’s nothing more satisfying than being creative and seeing the fruit of your labors,” while he just sat there and gave me this “I don’t give a damn” look. Well, eat your heart out!

If asked what motivated me to write my book, aside from my personal goal for over a decade of wanting to create a piece of work I could feel proud about, I would answer in the following chronological order based on the circumstances that presented themselves:

  • The 2005 infamous words “There’s no such thing as a chemical imbalance” were my initial trigger. Tom Cruise is a name that resonates negatively the most, I think, among moms who have experienced a PMD and thus realize how idiotic his infamous words were. If it weren’t for him, I’m not sure my creative juices would’ve flowed the way they did. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that I write the most passionately and words seem to flow more naturally and quickly when I am angry.
  • I needed a means to release pent-up anger, emotions, thoughts and feelings. Starting in June 2005, my manuscript became my journal that enabled me to release and process pent-up anger, emotions, thoughts and feelings, as well as keep track of the chronology of my experiences. In February 2009 I decided to try to reach a wider audience via my blog before my book was done. It’s at that point that I realized there are many more moms who have experienced, or are in the process of experiencing, a PMD than I had previously realized.
  •  I wanted to help other moms feel less alone in their experience. Remembering how alone and anxious I felt during my bout with PPD, I wanted to share my experiences to help expectant mothers become knowledgeable about PMDs so that, if they succumb to a PMD, they won’t be totally caught off guard. Being ignorant about PMDs causes unnecessary fear, anxiety, guilt, and inability to appreciate one’s baby for the mom who succumbs to a PMD. For example, insomnia after the third week postpartum is a common first symptom of PPD. Since my blog is hit numerous times each day via Google and other search engines using words relating to insomnia in the days and weeks following childbirth, to me that means that there are many moms out there who are going through what I went through, in terms of insomnia as one of the initial symptoms of PPD. Had I known about PPD and its symptoms BEFORE my daughter was born, I would not have been as scared as I was as to why I had insomnia and couldn’t sleep even though I was exhausted beyond words and even when my baby slept. My fear would not have escalated into full-blown anxiety attacks. I would’ve recognized other symptoms like loss of appetite and quick weight loss. As soon as I started to have insomnia, instead of merely taking the Ambien prescribed to me by my OB/GYN, I would’ve immediately known to question it as a sign of PPD and gotten the right treatment then, and I might have been able to prevent the panic attacks from ensuing. As they say, hindsight is 20/20….but at least now I can help other moms know that insomnia is an indication that they need to seek medical and/or mental healthcare right away.

I find that, and I’m sure others will agree, pregnancy books and magazines focus too much on how moms can quickly get their pre-pregnancy figure, weight and libido back—things that shouldn’t really matter but somehow do—and not enough about the silent epidemic of PMDs experienced by as many as one in eight new moms, plus child-care complications like colic, eczema, and cradle cap that add to the anxiety levels of first-time moms.

So, I wanted to write a book that would let me share the following with other moms (and their significant others and loved ones):

  • Just as the title suggests, my journey to motherhood, comprised of infertility issues, childbirth complications, and postpartum depression (PPD).
  • Practical tips from what I learned from my journey, including things to know/do to minimize risk of a postpartum mood disorder (PMD) before baby arrives and things to know/do if a mom were to develop a PMD.
  • My experience with child-care complications like colic, eczema, and cradle cap, so new moms wouldn’t be as anxious and in the dark as I was on how to cope with these types of issues.
  • The biopsychosociology of PMDs—as there is a biological, psychological and sociological element to PMDs—including a brief introduction to the biology of the brain and reproductive hormones (to debunk the ignorance behind the expression “there’s no such thing as a chemical imbalance”), as well as PMD symptoms and risk factors (nature vs. nurture).
  • Info on how to get help (medical, mental, social) and the kinds of help available (e.g., doctors and medication, therapy and therapists, postpartum doulas/baby nurses), including the historical perspective of social support and why it is so crucial, yet lacking, in the early postpartum weeks.
  • How far we’ve come in the past decade and how much further we need to go to improve postpartum experiences, reduce PMD rates, improve public awareness and combat stigma, and improve patient experiences with medical/mental healthcare professionals.