This post is part of a week-long celebration of the wedding of a dear friend of mine. I hope you’ll go check out the other celebratory posts too!
“Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us twogether twoday…”
This weekend, a dear friend of mine is getting married. A’Driane will tie the knot with her beloved Bert. I’m honoured to call A’Driane friend. She is a force with which to be reckoned. She is passionate, dedicated, and tenacious. She is fierce.
Like me, Addye has faced her own challenges and is vocal about them. She also knows when to pull away and take time for herself. Getting to know Addye has been a blessing. I am truly excited for her this weekend and am wishing both her and Bert all the best. I will be there in spirit.
Marriage is a blessing, a continuance of the journey of two hearts who have found each other and decided to cling to the other as they go through life. It’s not an easy thing, it’s not a simple thing, but when you find the right person, as Addye and Bert have, it is a spectacular thing. It is worth fighting for, worth aching for, worth rejoicing for, and worth celebrating. That’s where the wedding comes in – the ceremony celebrates love and the joining of their hearts.
As you join your hearts together for eternity tomorrow, may both of you be blessed with all the happiness and tenacity the world has to give. May you lose yourselves in the passion you hold for each other and never forget what it was that brought you together in the first place. May you always love as if you are in a state of perpetual youth. May you always face whatever life throws at you with hands held, looking forward and never back. May you both be filled with continuous awe of the precious love you hold for one another.
May you always hold hands, laugh loudly, love deeply, and above all else, cling to each other fiercely even when times get tough – and cling to each other just as fiercely even when times are not so tough.
Congratulations to you both.
I did something way out of my comfort zone a couple of weeks ago. I went to NYC and auditioned for the Listen To Your Mother show there. I carefully re-worked a piece from the blog, made sure it was under 5 minutes, printed out copies, and then went to NYC with J to audition. I won’t lie and say it was easy. My voice shook the entire time with emotion (it’s a powerful piece) and I was in awe that I was in NYC auditioning, something I never thought I’d ever do.
Why did I go?
Because a few months ago, J bought me a magnet I saw at the local art museum. It looks like this:
It’s so true. Life DOES begin at the end of your comfort zone. Reading things out loud, particularly things I’ve written, is WAY the heck out of my comfort zone. I don’t even read what I write here out loud before I hit publish. The voice in my head reads it for me.
I didn’t make the cut for the show, and I’m okay with that because what’s important is that I still stepped out of my comfort zone.
Now, I want to challenge you to do the same here.
I challenge you to write a piece, maybe 2-4 minutes or so in length about your postpartum experience. Any aspect of it – your choice. No censor either, just raw, honest, and beautiful true stories. Then here’s the even bigger challenge – I want you to record yourself reading it. Video or audio. Whatever you’re comfortable with the most – totally up to you. You can either identify yourself or not, again, up to you. But what is required is the title of the piece at the beginning.
Email it to me at mypostpartumvoice(@)gmail(dot)com. Call for pieces is open until May 7th. I will then get everything gathered together to post at some point on Mother’s Day Weekend. This is a new thing for me and again, is me stepping outside my comfort zone because I’ve never done video before. I’ll be reading the piece I prepped for LTYM on video. (EEEK). They’ll be uploaded to my YouTube channel for the blog (yes, I have one but I haven’t used it… I’m changing that this year) and tagged with Voices of #PPDChat. (If you’re not comfortable appearing on video and would prefer to just submit Audio, that’s fine – that will probably just be hosted here at the blog).
Are you in? You know you’re in. Ready? Set. WRITE.RECORD.SUBMIT.
Let’s bust stigma together.
Today, in 20 minutes from now, where I live, at least, Anderson Cooper airs. He’s doing a segment about Moms & Medication – Mothers who take medication to be a better parent. Anti-anxiety pills, specifically.
I want to be happy they’re covering this but after last night’s initial tweet which has several people I know up in arms, I just can’t. I’m holding my breath and will be tuning in to watch just to see if they cover things properly and make a clear exception that there ARE parents out there who do need medication for mental health issues just to live, not to be a better parent.
Last night, Anderson’s Twitter account for his show tweeted this gem:
Taking mood stabilizers to be a better parent? What do you think of this new trend? Tweet back: #ALParenting
— Anderson Live (@andersonlive) March 3, 2013
If there are parents out there truly doing this, yikes. And if this is just Anderson’s way of spinning the situation into a hype, then shame on them. There are multiple reasons a parent would legitimately need psychiatric medication – not just to be a better parent.
Watch with me, follow along on Twitter (I’m @unxpctdblessing), and follow the hashtag #ALParenting.
I’ll be tuning in and pushing back, using both the #ALParenting hashtag as well as the #ppdchat hashtag. Please join me if you can.
This post will be updated with reactions – and if you write anything or have any comments, please do not hesitate to share them here as well.
Update, after watching the show:
Overall, it went much better than I thought it would. However, as with all discussions about mental health, particularly ones squeezed into short segments and sensationalized for daytime viewing, things did go wrong. Below is a short list of what I was happy to see and then a few things I wasn’t happy to see:
Happy to see:
- Dr. Michele Borba emphasize the seriousness of maternal depression and getting treatment for it. (Also emphasizing that depressed mothers will and should do anything to get help for their illness)
- Emphasis, again, by Dr. Borba, that we, as mothers, need to get to know our hot points, learn how to deal with them, and how to deal with winding down as a family so we pass on practical de-stressing techniques to our children.
- Anderson Cooper emphasize, at the end of the discussion, how important it is that if you have an issue with depression or mental illness, to see a doctor about your issues.
Not happy to see:
- The anti-med member of the panel ask a member of the audience this question: “If your son were to come up to you and say he had a bad day, would you just tell him to take a pill?” The audience member was stunned. Absolutely stunned. So was I. Just because I took medication after I had my children did not mean I only coped by taking a pill. A pill is merely one part of therapy, there are many facets to caring for yourself. There’s a line you can cross into addiction and yes, that is absolutely unhealthy (the anti-med member’s parents had crossed this line), and it doesn’t allow room for healthy coping methods while in the midst of the addiction, but it doesn’t mean you get to toss a blanket of your experience on everyone else. I am sorry that was your experience, but you absolutely do not get to judge me based on that at all.
- Failure to mention mental illness in any serious way until halfway through the segment. Most of the discussion involved the emphasis on “taking pills to be a better Mother.” No mention of diagnosis was made, nothing. I understand privacy but if you’re on a national talk show to discuss taking meds, make sure you mention why otherwise you’re just feeding the stigma that Anderson put forth last night which is Moms taking pills to be a better parent as part of a trend. Postpartum Depression and Maternal mental health issues (paternal too) are not part of a TREND. They happen, they are real, and they deserve honest and informed coverage.
On to this afternoon when Katie Couric will have a segment about Moms and mental health as well. Today is gonna be fun, isn’t it?
Share your opinions below!