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#PPDChat 04.20.15: #ToNewMomsWithLove – The Love Letter Project

PPDChat Love Letter Project Guest Announcement II

Earlier this week, I happened to cross paths with Fiona McGlynn on Twitter through one of the #PPDChat/ #PND Mamas. After checking out her profile page, I was thoroughly intrigued. She is associated with a group called “The Love Letter Project”. This month, in cooperation with Healthy New Moms, they are encouraging people to write letters #ToNewMomsWithLove.

Fiona started The Love Letter Project after receiving this advice: “If you want to be passionate in life, consider the greatest challenge you’ve faced, and help the next person to overcome it.” Since 2013, she’s been doing just that, both through the website and through her book about divorce, written for children.

I’m thrilled to have Fiona joining us at 9:00pm ET this Monday evening to talk more about the project, about herself, and let you guys know how to participate.

If you want to get a jump start, though, you can click here for the details. Letters are due by April 25th!

In the meantime, I’m gonna go get started on mine as I listen to the traffic drift by outside.

See y’all on Monday night for this lively chat!

Follow along LIVE:

 

#PPDChat 07.28.14: Talking to Your Children About Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders

ppdchat-07-28-14

One of the most often repeated phrases I’ve heard from friends who struggle with postpartum mood disorders is, “Why didn’t anybody tell me?”  It’s a question I’ve asked myself too.  And it begs the question, did anybody else in my family face this?

As we raise awareness of the important topic of postpartum depression, anxiety and other mood disorders, it’s critical that we educate future generations, which includes our own children.  Though many of us still have very young children who may not understand our struggles currently, there may come a time where we feel we need to be honest with them about what we as their mothers (and fathers) experienced during the weeks and months after delivery.  It’s important for our own story, but it’s also important in order to prepare our children for what they, their spouses, or other family and friends may potentially face.

Talking to our children about such an emotional and difficult topic is never easy.  But someday I want my children to know that their mother faced a real and hard battle–and won.  And that they were a huge part of the reason that I fought to get better.  I hope my own children never have to face this battle, but if they do, or know someone who does, I want them to have every measure of support available, and part of that support is us, as their parents.

Please join me, @DonutsMama, on Twitter tonight for #PPDChat as we discuss how to talk with our children about postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.  Hope to see you there at 8:30 EST.

 

NIMH Gets Failing Grade for Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder Chat

Last week, a friend of mine tagged me in a link on FB to give me a heads up about a NIMH chat this week about Perinatal Mood Disorders. Of course we were looking forward to it and hoping it would be a worthwhile discussion. I nearly missed it on Friday morning (May 16, 2014)  thanks to a nasty case of food poisoning which knocked me off my feet for the better part of this week. But, I managed to dive in just 10 minutes into the chat.

It was…….awful.

Stilted.

Non-engaging.

Spouting of facts and just the facts, according to the NIMH. (They managed to screw up a few things. Don’t worry, I’ll go there. Oh, yes, yes I will.)

Self-promotion and only self-promotion. No real response to the powerful Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Advocates who showed up until we started really pushing back. Even then, their response was still stilted.

Just when it seemed it couldn’t get any worse, the NIMH began repeating tweets from the beginning of the chat instead of answering the flurry of questions coming in from those participating.

If NIMH handed this chat in as a graded project, it would have received an F.

When I asked what was being done to encourage medical professionals to become better educated about PMAD’s, this happened:

NIMHChat Congress

Yep.

Congress MANDATED we pay more attention to PMAD’s. In fact, it got shoved in with the ACA. And we all know how well that’s going. After this response, I asked a follow up question asking how that was going – asked for hard numbers. Did I get numbers? Nope. BECAUSE THE ATTENTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS LACKS FUNDING AND THEREFORE ATTENTION.

I’m okay, I’m okay. *deep breath*

There was also this lovely moment in chat:

NIMHChat Snafu

I know, right?

Because we ALL got better by staying in bed thanks to depression, right? Right?

Instead of urging moms to get up, move, and care for themselves, the NIMH  provides them with excuses to stay in bed and well, suffer. Way to go, NIMH. WAY.TO.GO. *slow claps*

While I realize it is difficult to manage a large scale chat with several participants (something I have done myself, when #PPDChat was very well attended), there is absolutely no excuse for the following to happen during your chat:

1) Blatantly state misinformation/misleading facts about your topic. Particularly if said topic is subject to entrenched stigma and misinformation (which is why you are having the chat to begin with, right? Not because it’s a hot topic and you’re using it to draw people in…)

2) Not engage those who are participating – this is SOCIAL media, y’all. SOCIAL. ENGAGE. Like Jean Luc Picard on the bridge of the Enterprise. Even if you’re just going at impulse speed, ENGAGE for the love of ALL that is..well, you know.

3) Don’t repeat yourself word for word. It lets people know you’re unprepared.

4) Share resources other than your own. (see number 2 about social media).

5) Do NOT TREAT those participating with disdain, contempt, or as if they are idiots. They are attending your event which would be nothing without participants. Respond accordingly unless they are clearly bashing you (which we were not) and if they are bashing you, ignore them before you stoop to the level of responding with disdain.
Things to do during a Twitter chat:

1) Engage. Be Social. Greet people. Be happy and upbeat. SMILE through your keyboard.

2) Be knowledgeable and approachable.

3) Treat everyone as if they are your equal. They are there to learn, not to be kicked. Acknowledge their words, their struggle, their questions with the same respect you expect from them. You know, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

4) Offer insight through connections and share resources from others in addition to your own. The only answer is not yours. Crowd-source and use the media at hand to enhance your chat.

5) Do your best to make everyone be heard, even if it’s through just RT’ing what they’ve said. Again, I realize this is difficult on a LARGE scale but if you have known experts participating, acknowledge them.

I truly hate when things like this go wrong because there is such a tremendous opportunity for exposure when a government agency holds a chat like this. I want to say I’m surprised at how things went but sadly, I am not. Instead of raising awareness and building hope, NIMH decimated the chat with a lot of tweets about nothing, leaving at least one person (and possibly more) with the idea that there is in fact, nothing a mother can do to prevent a PMAD:

NIMHChat PPD cause

And that, dear friends, is NOT the taste you want to leave in the public’s mouth when discussing PMAD’s. Because there is hope. There is help. We are not alone.

Go to Postpartum Progress to find women who are fighting back.

Or Postpartum Stress Center’s website.

Or Beyond Postpartum.

Or find me on Twitter @unxpctdblessing. Or search the hashtag #PPDChat. Message me for the private FB group full of women who KNOW this is hell and yet are fighting back against it with everything they have.

We’re all here for you when you’re ready to reach out for help.

(And THAT is how you end a chat about Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders).

*drops mic and hits publish*

One of THOSE days

The girls tried to make themselves breakfast again this morning. Apparently cheese toast and bacon were on the menu along with Good n Plenty, Belly Flops, and some sort of strawberry candy. I have no idea what they were planning on doing with the Fondue Pot. Frankly I am not sure I want to know.

I just realized today was so hectic I forgot to take my meds but I’m still here and very calm amazingly enough.

This afternoon was wonderful. They cleaned up their room without too much prodding and even earned a snack and a movie. Then as they moved back to their room to play as I cooked dinner, silence. For those of you who have never experienced toddlers, silence is a bad thing. A very bad thing. It means they are up to no good. This time they had the sample of Snuggle that had just come in the mail and were pouring it everywhere. I herded them to the tub, rinsed them off, and put them to bed. Yes, without dinner. I do not cook meals for those who choose to disobey. Bedtime went rather smoothly with Charlotte – Alli was another story altogether. I had to get the Magic Monster Catcher (a handheld vaccuum) and catch all the Monsters in their room, assure her the very dead bug on the window was OUTSIDE and would not be coming in to get her anytime soon, and let her crawl into bed with Charlotte so she wouldn’t be all alone. Oh the things Parents do to get their kids to go to sleep.

As I sit here typing, the comforting roar of traffic echoes in the background while the fans here in the house whine and sway as they keep me cool. No sounds from the back bedroom (ok, so silence is GOOD when they’re SUPPOSED to be quiet) and no sounds from Cameron’s room. Chris is at a step meeting and I am relaxing by venting here and contemplating lying down and catching a few ZZzzzZZZZ’s before Chris gets home so I’ll be able to enjoy his company when he gets here. I may just fix myself a cup of tea and sit here instead.

Thanks for listening and sharing my journey. Please don’t forget to take care of yourselves no matter how hectic the day gets. You ARE ALWAYS worth it.

The Cracked Pot

Today a reader left this as a comment on the post entitled “A Gift.” I HAD to share it and could not let it be hidden amongst the comments. It’s such a beautiful story. I hope you enjoy! (Thanks Kate!)

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the masters house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his masters house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your masters house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.” The pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the masters house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Fathers table. In Gods great economy, nothing goes to waste. Don’t be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty. Know that in our weakness we find our strength.

And it starts….

Well folks –

Here we go.

Let the TECH FREE FOR PPD weekend start!

Click here to sign up on my virtual pledge sheet!

A donation link will be posted Monday morning along with my handwritten account of how the weekend went.

My husband will be updating the blog this weekend to let y’all know how I’m doing.

I will be unplugging my laptop and putting it away in the bedroom. He will be changing the password to his computer so I can’t get on it either. I will be shutting my email and internet functions off on my Centro.

And just a quick FYI, my daughters are THRILLED I won’t be checking my email every few minutes. I think Alli is beside herself at having me all to herself this weekend!

I am probably in bed as this is posting as I’ve got it scheduled to go up at 1159p Friday night.

I’m looking forward to having the computer closed and focusing on my family. I’m sure I’ll probably have some withdrawal symptoms but I’ve been dialing back all week so hopefully that will help.

This morning I got an email from Jane Honikman about my weekend plans. This is what she had to say:

Hi Lauren, Wendy shared your newest fundraising idea with me and I checked out your site about it. Know you can do this too!  Actually it might be an opportunity to tell all who blog with you that Grandma Jane’s wisdom is “turn off your computer each evening at 5”.   Life without computers or tv means more face to face time with those around us.  Good for the soul and body to be unplugged! Good luck and enjoy your weekend!  I appreciate your continuing support for PSI!! hugs, Jane

I want this to also be an example that we MUST remember to take time for ourselves in this crazy and rushed world. It allows us to focus on what’s really important and also encourages our families to do the same. Starting these habits early with our children allows them to grow up and develop the good habit of learning to enjoy the little things and appreciate the time we have with others.

As the girls played with play-doh this morning, Alli found a sheet of paper and was using them as directions. Charlotte wanted to have some so I ended up writing some down for her – and of course, Alli wanted those same directions so I made her a copy as well. The following is what I wrote and I hope that you will take some of it (minus the getting the play-doh out although it IS fun to play with it!):

First you get out the play-doh.

Then you play and play and play and play some more.

And last, you let your imagination run free.

Don’t worry – it will come back to you.

I just giggled

Look up.

No, not at your ceiling or the sky.

At the top of the page.

Under Sharing the Journey.

Where it says Life After Postpartum Depression.

You know what the acronym for that is?

LAPD.

Anyone else willing to find the humor in that or am I just getting that sleepy?