Category Archives: #PPDChat

#PPDChat 11.16.15: Holiday Survival

PPDChat Holiday SurvivalThe holidays. A time of year when we all celebrate our various faiths. They seem to blend together faster and faster these days, don’t they? Stores putting out Christmas decorations before we have even reached the end of October, seemingly skipping both Halloween and Thanksgiving. What ever happened to one holiday at a time?

Everyone counting down the weekends, the ensuing panic about gift shopping (thank goodness for Amazon, am I right?), and then the logistics of who is doing what where.

It’s enough to exhaust anyone.

The holidays are when our boundaries are truly tested. When our mental health is stretched to the limit for the sake of spending time with family and loved ones because it is expected. But what if you need time to recharge? What if being alone with your couch and Netflix is what heals you? How do you fit in time for yourself if you are dashing to and fro?

Tonight, we will explore how to fit in self-care during the holidays. We’ll discuss strategies to make that get together with your annoying relatives a little bit more manageable. And we’ll also chat about how to keep them from playing hot potato with a newborn little one (because yeah, everyone wants to hold the baby!).

Join us at 9pm ET for a chat that will help you survive the holidays without losing your sanity.

See you then!

{background photo sourced here}

#PPDChat: #EndPPDMyths with @HerStoriesTales

It’s almost here, y’all. Almost!

It has been killing me to keep this under wraps. Hold on to your hats because there’s a lot of info coming your way:

  • #PPDChat Announcement
  • Book Review
  • #EndPPDMyth Campaign

Are you ready? Here we goooooo…..


PPDChat Mothering Darkness#PPDChat:

On Monday night, #PPDChat will be chatting with the fabulous Dr. Jessica Smock from @HerStoriesTales about the upcoming anthology, Mothering Through the Dark. Oh, and some of the contributors might just pop in. So you know you want to be there. Because this chat? This chat is going to be AHMAZING.

I use Twubs to keep up with chat. It makes things SO easy because it automatically adds the hashtag for you. Join our community! All you need is a Twitter account (and Internet)!

I’M SO EXCITEDfor Monday and hope to see you on Twitter at 9pm ET!!!!


Mothering Through the Dark is a vivid and powerful anthology of essays from 35 amazing women writers who openly share their experiences as they navigated the world that is found in the dark valley of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. In the book, not only will you find hope and truth, but you will find candid and bold honesty. Each essay portrays the reality that is motherhood for so many who fight against the vortex of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. It is a book you need to have. It is a book that will make a difference in how women are heard and understood. I love that so many voices I know as well as new voices to me are in this book. I also love that so many more voices are bravely speaking up about these experiences. We will push stigma into a corner, together. I will caution, however, that if you are fragile or easily triggered, it may not be for you. Even though I am nearly a decade away from my last PMAD episode, I found myself immediately sucked back into several emotions because of the transparent and honest writing within the pages of this anthology.

In fact, there was one specific piece that hit me really hard, early in the book. It was during “A Different Shade of the Baby Blues” by Jill Robbins. On page 54, she writes about her reflection in the mirror:

“She had my hooked nose I’ve always hated and she was wearing my favorite purple sweater. But she didn’t look like me.

“She has no joy,” was the thought that rolled through my foggy mind as I studied my reflection.”

I’ve been there, after the birth of my second daughter. To look at yourself in the mirror and not recognize the reflection? Scary. Truly difficult to capture but Jill did it so well here that I immediately saw the reflection in the mirror from the first time I didn’t recognize myself (yes, it happened more than once). But in recalling this, I didn’t find a trigger, I found hope, grace, and a promise that even though I had been there, I knew my way out because here we are. And this is what is so powerful about this book. The moments it captures, albeit dark ones, reflect to us how far we have come since experiencing them. The power therein is priceless.

If you want to help promote the release of the book, you can also join the Thunderclap HerStories has set up. Go here!

Shatter the MythsAbout the #EndPPDMyths Campaign

We’ll be chatting with Jessica not only about pulling the anthology together, but also about the social media campaign they’re running next week to mark the release date of the book (which is Tuesday, November 3). According to their press release:

“The HerStories Project, a writing and publishing community for women, is organizing a week-long social media campaign during the first week of November called “Shatter The Myths.” The goal of the campaign is to end the widespread misconceptions about maternal mental health disorders that prevent mothers from speaking up about their struggles and getting help.”

How can you participate in their campaign?

Follow the hashtag. Share a photo of yourself with a quote that shatters a myth about Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders or empowers fellow fighters, being sure to post it with #EndPPDMyths.


One last thing – even though the book releases next Tuesday, you will have a chance to win it during chat on Monday night! That’s right! One lucky participant will win a copy of Mothering Through the Dark. No pre-registration required. All you need to do is attend the chat (and of course, not be included in the anthology). Winner will be announced on Twitter shortly after chat and will be used to select the winner. If you don’t want to wait, you can pre-order the book here. Did I mention that ten percent of proceeds from this book go to support Postpartum Progress, a non-profit that is making a LOT of waves and progress right now? It’s a win win!

Tessera Chat Guest Announcement

#PPDChat 10.26.15: Talking with @addyeB

Tessera Chat Guest Announcement

I’ve known A’Driane for quite some time and am proud to count her among my friends. We’ve managed to meet in person – once – in the midst of her recent moves away from the east coast.

A’Driane is unafraid to tell it like it is and I love her for that. She and I have similar experiences yet they are also separated by different challenges. A’Driane has created this wonderful space specifically for women of color to come together and honestly share their challenges with mental health issues within their lives.

Why is this so important? Because women of color are consistently at a higher risk to experience depression and various other mental health disorders according to the APA. And yet, research is difficult to find or it is often skewed toward Caucasian women and those who have the means to access care.

Another reason Tessera Chat is so important is because it is often frowned upon to admit to any sort of mental health issue lest you dare defy the “strong black woman” persona found within the African American community specifically. (For a REALLY great personal essay which expounds upon this, go read “What It’s Like Having PPD As A Black Woman” by Tyrese Coleman at Buzzfeed.)

This coming Monday, we’re going to chat with A’Driane about the Tessera Collective and chat. We’ll be discussing how it got started, what it means to her, how it’s grown, and where she sees it going.

I truly hope you will join us for what I am sure will be a very powerful and insightful chat.

#PPDChat 10.19.15: Word Play


Words. They are powerful. They allow us to communicate everything from the mundane to the grandiose. Sometimes, though, words are seemingly too little for situations; not enough for experiences which defy description in any language.

But words have been a form of communication for eons.

Tonight, we’re going to play with words as if we’re toddlers playing with a brand new package of blocks.

Tonight’s chat will be all about what words and phrases inspire us; about the words which keep us going when everything else has us wanting to crawl back into the dark hole from whence we came.

I hope you’ll join us for this playful and spirited chat. See you on Twitter tonight at 9pm ET!

#PPDChat 10.12.15: Gut Check with @PhilStrandwitz

Gut Check AnnouncementHey, y’all!

First, phew! It’s Friday! Another week down. I don’t know how your week went but mine was a chaotic whirlwind from the start. It’s been nice to finally have some relaxation, even if it has been for just a little bit here and there.

I know you’re used to me announcing #PPDChat stuff on Mondays but this coming Monday, we’re going to have a guest, Phil Strandwitz. Phil emailed me the last week of September with an interesting project he’s got going on.

Phil is currently crowdfunding the research he’s working on. And no, this chat isn’t to demand that you donate (although I know Phil would appreciate if you did so), it’s to discuss the research he’ll be doing.

You see, Phil’s project (which you can read more about here) explores the connection between the microbes in our gut with our mental health. It’s a relatively new field but one which is garnering a lot of interest and has already uncovered quite a bit.

According to Phil’s email:

“…we are generally searching for connections between the gut microbiome and psychology. Two of our major focuses are on depression anxiety. If we find there is a link between out gut microbes and these conditions, it would enable us to potentially develop novel microbiome-based therapeutics. This is incredibly important, as depression affects 1:5 people in the U.S., and anxiety 1:10. Incredibly, a substantial portion of people being treated with front-line drugs do not respond to treatment — suggesting we need to understand these diseases and develop new treatments.”

I have been reading some journal articles that Phil sent me and have to say that I’m absolutely fascinated by what I’ve read so far.

I truly hope you will be able to join us on Monday night at 9pm ET to discuss this topic – dig a little deeper with us into the connection between our brains and our guts!

See you there!

You can read the chat here:

#PPDChat 08.24.2015: When Rage Appears


Quite possibly one of the symptoms rarely discussed among women who struggle with Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders.

I’m not talking anger. I’m talking all out rage. The kind that swallows you whole – the kind that turns Bruce Banner into a green smashing machine known as Hulk. Blinding, numbing, all-out rage.

For me, there was rarely a clear trigger. It just built upon itself, like a runaway Tetris game clogging up the screen.

Tonight, we’re going to talk about rage. How common it really is for moms with a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder, how to recognize it, how to cope, and most importantly, how to keep the Hulk from smashing into your life.

See you tonight at 9pm ET on Twitter!

#PPDChat 08.17.15: Creating Your Village

ppdchat-08-17-15A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, mothers had help. Entire villages came together to support a new mother after she gave birth. Not one mother was left to her own devices to earn her “brand new I can do all this on my own because I’m a badass” badge. Nope. Not one.

Today, however? Particularly here in the United States, where we are LAST for Maternal Health in developed countries? Dude. Don’t even get me started.

Where is all of this coming from, you might ask? A few weeks ago, I had an interaction with an elderly couple out at a local festival with their granddaughter who was young enough to still need a stroller. Grandpa was trying to fold the stroller up as they waited for their transportation to arrive. He held his granddaughter in his arms and struggled with the stroller with his free arm.

I felt his pain and offered to hold her, if that wasn’t a weird question and it would be okay.

Grandma chimed in and said “Oh, no, it’s not – in our generation, we wouldn’t even think twice about it, plus you have a child with you,” as she motioned to my fiance’s daughter.

I felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks.

We wouldn’t even think twice about it….

When did we START thinking about the awkwardness of asking for help? Why did we stop? When did it become NOT okay to accept the help of those around us? Why must we do motherhood on our own? To prove we’re all badasses who can do it all? How’s that working out for us? (It has never worked out for me).

I need my tribe. Even if they’re online. I need SOME sort of a tribe to keep me going, to share my struggles and my victories with – exactly what this post, It Takes a Village to Raise a Mother by Annie Reneau at Motherhood & More says:

“No one understands the challenges of motherhood like other moms. No one can help a mom who is having a fragile, frazzled moment better than a mom who understands being fragile and frazzled. I adore my husband, and he’s extraordinarily supportive, but there are some things he just can’t “get.” So when I need mom commiseration, I talk to my mom friends. Sometimes the sweetest words a mother can hear are, “I feel you, sister.” Or “Yep, me too.” Or, “Let’s have some coffee and regroup.”

Motherhood. It isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s also not meant to be done alone.

Join me tonight at #PPDChat as we explore the nuances of our village, why they’ve disappeared, and how to step out of our comfort zones to mother each other.

See y’all at 9pm ET!

#PPDChat 08.03.15: Feeding Your Baby


It’s World Breastfeeding Week.

While nursing is awesome, it doesn’t always work for EVERY mother/baby dyad. Some moms have physical or emotional reasons for choosing to nurse their babes.

What truly matters is feeding the baby.

So tonight’s #PPDChat will focus on doing just that. Feeding the baby. We’ll discuss all sorts of challenges moms (both nursing and formula feeding) face when it comes time to feeding your baby. I ran the gamut when my kids were little. My oldest self-weaned from the breast at 16 months old, just two weeks before I discovered I was expecting my second. My second was born with a complete cleft palate so I exclusively pumped for 7 months before switching over to formula. My third was diagnosed as failure to thrive at 6 months old because of a stress-related supply issue and was on formula within 24 hours despite the pediatrician’s urge for me to pump. I knew that would not lead good places and formula was the healthier (and saner) choice for both of us.

Feeding your baby is all about making choices that are right for YOU and baby, not what’s right for everyone around you.

Does the baby have to be an infant for you to join the chat? Nope. We know that feeding older kids is challenging as well. Besides, we all know our kids will ALWAYS be our babies, no matter what their actual age.

Join us tonight for an all out love fest for ALL MANNERS of feeding our babes at #PPDChat.

See you on Twitter at 9pm ET!

Thoughts on Warrior Mom Con

This time last Friday, I had just rolled into Boston via Amtrak. I thought I would have to wait until I got into Boston to find other Warrior Mamas but no.. there was one right there on my train. During a stop, she meandered up from her seat and sat with me for the remainder of the ride. Despite never having met in person before, we sat there and chatted as if we were the oldest of friends as she worked on a blog post and I finished knotting, bagging, and labeling the huglets for the conference. It was fantastic.

Then, we got to Boston, dropped our luggage off at our respective hotels, and headed to lunch for the early bird arrivals. Again, all people we had never met in person before, but once we were together, it was like sitting with old friends.

Shared experiences, man, they’ll do that to you.

The entire weekend was full of love. Hugs. People you didn’t have to explain yourself to at all because you KNEW they got where you had been, where you were going, and why. Because they too, had been on similar roads.

Unfortunately, I missed Saturday afternoon sessions because my body crapped out on me at lunch, forcing me into a much needed nap back at my hotel before my live #PPDChat session at 4pm. I didn’t feel guilty about it, however, because as anyone who is familiar with my work knows, I emphasize self-care. Walking my talk is extremely important to me. I will not ever be the kind to tell someone “Do as I say, not as I do.” Nope. Not me.

Our #PPDChat session was intimate, but awesome. We closed with a fantastic meditation suggested by one of the attendees – perhaps you’ve heard of it: (language warning, because obviously)

Despite missing the afternoon sessions, I got so much from the conference. Surrounded by a mass of women who cared so much about their journeys and about the journeys of those around them was sheer magic.

There’s so much more I could write – and will write – but for now, I need to go sit down and continue recovering from the insane pace of my life over the past two weeks.

Suffice it to say that I am not a conference person, primarily because I’m an introvert and travel is draining. But this one? This is one conference I want to have a permanent spot at because it was so very fulfilling.

#PPDChat 06.15.15: Warrior Mom Conference Chat!

WMC2015 PPDChat AnnouncementTonight, we will be chatting with Susan Petcher, Conference Director for Postpartum Progress’s Warrior Mom Conference, the upcoming first ever patient centered maternal mental health conference. The conference spans two days – July 11th & 12th and is being held in Boston, MA.

Tonight, we will be focusing on the Homestead Warriors (HSW) aspect of the conference, with the Warrior Mom Wall as our central topic. What’s the Warrior Mom Wall, you ask? It’s an art display featuring artwork by YOU, yes, YOU, including messages of inspiration, hope, and compassion. Your stories, in art form. The deadline for sending in your piece has been extended to this Friday, June 19th. So get your artistic mojo going! Details on where to send it can be found here.

Be sure to join Susan and me tonight on Twitter for an exciting chat!

See you there!!!