Monthly Archives: September 2013

#PPDChat Topic: Like A Butterfly: Transformational Power of a Perinatal Mood Disorder

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Today, we’re focusing on the ways Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders change us. Many of us know all too well the amount of energy it takes to fight through to ourselves during a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder. As someone who is now able to look back at my experiences instead of being caught in the midst of it, I see how that fight changed my outlook on life as well as changed almost everything inside me. While I have been remodeled, some of the old me remains. Isn’t this the way with all trauma and substantial life experiences? We are constantly growing and changing as life ebbs and flows through us, are we not?

The 1:00pm ET chat will be a prelude to tonight’s chat with @WalkerKarraa regarding the amazing transformational power Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders have in the lives of the women who experience them. I hope you’ll join us as we casually explore and discuss the ways PMAD’s have changed our lives during the afternoon chat.

Then at 8:30pm ET, Dr. Walker Karraa will join us. I am excited about her joining #PPDChat as a guest, particularly on this topic as she has been talking to several women about this very thing, allowing her amazing insight into the overall transformational power of PMAD’s in our lives.

To say I am excited about today’s topic would be a huge understatement. I cannot wait to discuss this with y’all!!! For more information about Walker and today’s topic, go here.

See you at 1:00pm ET and hope you will join us at 8:30pm ET as well!

Question From A Reader: “Will I Ever Feel Like This Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me?”

A reader emailed me earlier this morning to thank me for my “fabulous blog.” But she also had a question about her current experience with her journey through Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders.

Below is her question and my response:

Her Question:

“I’m over three months into recovery – having therapy and taking anti-depressants. Although I have much improved – I’m more bonded with my son, my sleep and appetite is better, my anxiety attacks are reduced etc – I can’t help wondering if I’ll ever feel that true elation, true joy that despite everything becoming a mum is the best thing that’s ever happened to me?

Should I still be hopeful that this will come as part of full recovery or should I be finding a way to accept that although, I now know I love my son, life is always now going to be a little more miserable?”

My reply:

“Sending hugs, first and foremost.

Second, I’m glad to read that your symptoms have lessened just three months into your recovery and you’re feeling more bonded with your son and your appetite and sleep have improved as well. Those are HUGE things.

Think of recovery this way – first, we have to take care of the essentials – the basic things which keep us going – like eating, sleeping, etc. After those things have sorted themselves out, we can then focus on secondary things, such as mood, etc. Mood can absolutely disrupt the primary but as we heal from mood issues, we must heal the primary first.

It took me a long time to get back to being able to truly feel elation and joy, but that journey and the length of it is different for every person, just as physical recovery is different for every person.

Just as with a broken bone or a severe injury, there will always be a “scar” or “phantom pain” but eventually you regain full use of the complete spectrum of emotions, even if it takes some time.”

Add your thoughts, experiences, or support below. Time to rally!

Celebrating Through Giving Back – Today’s Spotlight – @PostpartumHelp (PSI)

Shortly after I decided that I needed to reach out to other mothers as an advocate, I found Postpartum Support International. I ordered the manual Jane Honikman had available through the site about how to organize. She was an angel and shipped it to me before receiving the check for it from my mother (we were struggling at the time and it was a gift my mother decided to provide to me – bless her).

Shortly thereafter, while forming my own in person support group, I also became a Co-Coordinator for the state of Georgia. One of my first calls landed me on the phone with Jane because it was such a doozy and I had no idea what I needed to do – I handled it wonderfully with her support. Jane is warm, caring, and makes you feel at ease instantly. When I had the chance to meet her in 2010, it was all I could do not to cry – you PSI Coordinators know what I’m talking about. Because of this fabulous woman who has walked in our shoes, has hurt, and has decided that NO ONE ELSE SHOULD HURT ALONE, is why PSI exists today.

Without early support from PSI, from Jane, Wendy Davis, and other coordinators who at this point are far too numerous to name (waves at Heidi Koss and Diane Ashton, two very early allies), I would never have started down the road to advocacy. They nurtured an early advocate and provided sage advice along the way.

PSI operates a very large net of volunteer Coordinators, all of who go above and beyond to help the families reaching out to them. The world is a phenomenally better place because of these men & women manning the front lines.

I always refer to PSI for information and support. Go check out their website for information, to locate a volunteer near you, to volunteer, or even to donate to support what they’re doing to help families.

Thank you, Jane, Wendy, and all the past and future Presidents of PSI. Because of you, lives are saved and will continue to be saved. Don’t stop fighting the good fight. We are not alone because you have lit the path for so many and it will never stop shining.

 

Celebrating Through Giving Back – Today’s spotlight: @postpartumprog

HI!

Today’s the day, my birthday.

I’m highlighting Postpartum Progress today. But I thought that was just a blog, you’re thinking. Nope. The awesome Katherine Stone has turned her work into a non-profit which is making a lot of waves right now. It’s been inspiring to see how much they’ve managed to do so far with the base Katherine developed through her blog. I know they’re gonna go places and make a helluva difference in the world.

I LOVE the description of who they are:

We are catalysts. We are champions. We are instigators. We want change as soon as possible and we’re going to make it happen.”

Go over to the non-profit site here. Check out what they’ve been up to and possibly donate or even volunteer. She’s building an army of Warrior Moms. Go be one.

Keep up the fabulous work, Katherine. Proud to know you, and blessed to be one of those in the trenches with you as we fight against the stigma and misunderstanding of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. Keep rocking, lady.

Announcing #PPDChat Guest for September 30, 2013 – @WalkerKarraa

PPDChat Walker Karraa Announcement

I am so excited about this upcoming chat with Dr. Walker Karraa. She is quite the force to be reckoned with in the Perinatal Advocacy world. If I had to pick one word to describe her, I would probably use “firecracker.”

I met Walker in 2010 (yes, yes, there’s a repetition to that this week, I know!) at the PSI Conference in Pittsburgh. We hit it off quite well. One of the things I love about meeting other advocates is how fearless we all are in discussing the nitty gritty about the Mood Disorders we fight to help others with every day. Why are we so fearless? Because we have been there and it is something we live and breathe. Telling our stories is how we live our lives now because we know that every time we tell it, one more person may be reached.

Another thing we have realized is the transformational power of Perinatal Mood Disorders. It changes you. I am grateful for my experience because it allowed me to grow in ways I may not have grown were it not for my fall from grace. In falling to the depths of hell, I managed to touch the very height of heaven on my way back up.

Dr. Karraa has been researching this general idea for over a year now and I am thrilled she’s joining us on Monday to discuss this with our community. I sincerely hope you will stop by and share your story with us – how your journey through a Perinatal Mood Disorder transformed your life. By the way, it doesn’t have to be for the better, everyone has a different story and there is VALUE in every single one, happy ending or not.

WalkerBio: Walker Karraa, PhD is a perinatal mental health researcher, advocate and writer. She is currently regular perinatal mental health contributor for Lamaze International’s Science and Sensibility, Giving Birth With Confidence, and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Midwives Connection.

Walker has interviewed leading researchers, clinicians, and advocates such as Katherine Wisner, Cheryl Beck, Michael C. Lu, Karen Kleiman, Pec Indman, Liz Friedman, and Katherine Stone. Walker was a certified birth doula (DONA), and the founding President of PATTCh, an organization founded by Penny Simkin dedicated to the prevention and treatment of traumatic childbirth.

Walker is currently the Program Co-Chair for the American Psychological Association (APA) Trauma Psychology Division 56. She is writing a book regarding her grounded theory study on the transformational dimensions of postpartum depression. Walker is an 11 year breast cancer survivor, and lives in Sherman Oaks, CA with her two children and husband.

 

Celebrating through Giving Back – Today: The Postpartum Resource Center of NY

Welcome to Day 3 of Celebrating through giving back. You can visit Day 1 and Day 2 by clicking on them.

Today, we’re celebrating the Postpartum Resource Network of New York. Run by the incredible Sonia Murdock, the Postpartum Resource Network of New York has been making a difference for families in the state of New York for quite some time. According to the website, Sonia Murdock and Emily Sampino started the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, Inc. when:

“… in 1998 after they each experienced gaps and recognized the needs in education, treatment and support services regarding postpartum depression/psychosis.”

Since then, they’ve grown from dreaming about fixing the gaps & support services to actually doing it on a daily basis. The Postpartum Support Network of New York offers a helpline and provides referrals to help & support groups. They are also intensely involved in advocacy for the increase of care for women and families in the state.

Go check them out. If you’re local, you can join or volunteer. Every bit helps to fight the stigma and this is one organization that really packs a punch.

 

Wordless Wednesdays – Happy Kitty

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Meet our cat. She is all sorts of hilarious. At our old place, she was not a happy cat. But here, because we are able to open the windows and keep the blinds open, even at night, she’s able to do what she was born to do – be a cat. Enjoy the fresh air and keep an eye on things, especially at night. These are a few shots I snagged of her last night during a rare moment of her hanging out in the window. She usually sits on a table we have right next to the window for her.

I call these “Happy”.

(And yeah, yeah, yeah… I know, this isn’t wordless. But really, are any of these things every truly wordless?)

I’m linking up with 5 Minutes for Mom today. Go check out some other “Wordless” Wednesdays. 😉

Celebrating through Giving Back: Today – Postpartum Support Virginia

If you were around for yesterday’s post, you know that I’m celebrating my birthday week by shining the spotlight on various amazing Perinatal Mood & Anxiety non-profits. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Postpartum Support Virginia.

The founder, Adrienne Griffen, I also met in 2010 at the Postpartum Support International Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Adrienne, like all of the PSI volunteers, is full of passion for helping women & families through their fight with PMAD.

She’s done quite a bit with Postpartum Support Virginia and I would urge you to go check out their site to see what they’ve been up to and what they have planned. They’re located in Northern Virginia. If you’re an athlete, they are planning to participate in the 2013 Marine Corps 10k on October 27th. Find out more information & sign up here.

If you’re not athletically inclined, visit their primary site here and nose around to check out their mission, their services, and if you’re moved to do so, make a donation to support the difference they’re making in the lives of women & their families in their area.

Keep up the great work, Postpartum Support Virginia!!!

#PPDChat Topic: Nitty Gritty – Ins and Outs of Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders

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Join us today on Twitter as we get nitty and gritty with the signs & symptoms of Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders. Have questions about just what goes on inside a PMAD? Catch up with us at 1pm ET and 830pm ET on Twitter using the hashtag #PPDChat. See you then!

Celebrating Through Giving Back – Today: Tree of Hope Foundation

Hi, y’all!!!

This week includes my birthday. I want to spend the week highlighting non-profits who are doing a heck of a job to support families struggling with Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders.

Today, I’m highlighting the Tree of Hope Foundation. I met Pamela Moffit in 2010 during a Postpartum Support International Conference. We hit it off fabulously. She’s full of life but very, very dedicated and passionate to ensuring women do not face the same fate as her sister-in-law and niece, Mary and Caroline. In 2004, Mary ended her life and her 5 week old daughter’s life as well. It was this tragedy that provided the seed for the Tree of Hope to bloom. (You can read an article about this here)

Pamela works tirelessly to save just one person, a personal goal I also share with my work, a goal all of us who work with those who fight have – just one person. Then once we’ve done that, we go back to that very same goal. It’s a simple goal but it’s more than we were doing before and it makes a difference.

Right now, the Tree of Hope is doing a LOT of fundraising. In honour of my birthday, I’d ask that you go visit their site, nose around, get to know what this awesome non-profit is up to, and maybe even donate if you can afford to do so. If you’re in metro-Detroit, you can also volunteer. Raising our voices decimates stigma but funding organizations who are in the trenches makes a REAL difference in REAL lives.

Thank you, Pamela, and Tree of Hope, for rocking it in Michigan and making a difference in your surrounding community. Keep up the amazing work, one woman at a time.

ATTENTION: The annual fundraiser is just around the corner on the 11th of October. If you’re in the area, GO! You can register here.