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Finding your heroes

Today, over at Living Self-Care, Diane Sanford is talking about heroes. She emailed me earlier this week to let me know that I will be one of the women she would be mentioning. The email had me speechless because I honestly don’t think of myself as a hero. For me, what I do on a daily basis, is simply me doing what I wish someone had done for me when I was struggling. I wake with a very humble goal each day – to help no less than one mother. Since I started this work, I’ve exceeded my goal every day. I don’t intend to ever stop.

Thank you, Diane, for your own dedication to Mothers everywhere. You too, are a hero.

I also have some things to say here about heroes. I hope you’ll go check out Diane’s post as well as read my post here.

Everyday our lives are touched by people who are heroes.

Most people think of big heroes – people who have saved lives, rushed headlong into danger to protect others, or done something beyond miraculous to help another person.

Thing is, sometimes, a hero is created through a series of small actions for several people. Or even just a small action for one person. Sometimes a hero is simply someone who has shown us how to do what we do and is filled with passion for their purpose in life. Or sometimes a hero is simply someone who has bravely fought against every odd and won. Heroism is not necessarily doing for others. Sometimes it’s surviving despite the odds being stacked against you.

I have a lot of heroes right now.

Some of them would probably claim they haven’t done anything to deserve to be my hero. But they have done so very much.

My heroes are all the women who have fought Postpartum Depression in any shape or form. They don’t have to be survivors yet. They don’t have to be bloggers or even on Twitter. Because the moms I know who are Postpartum Depression fighters are some of the strongest, passionate, dedicated, amazing, brilliant, compassionate, and mind-blowing women I know. To face Postpartum Depression is to face a true beast. The battle is long. It is exhausting. But still, they stand, taking everything this beast has to give. They fight, through insomnia, through anxiety, through depression, through intrusive thoughts, through psychosis for some, through PTSD. They fight for their family, their children, themselves. They are phenomenal.

Who are your heroes? What did they do to earn the title? Have you told them lately that they’re your hero?

Postpartum Depression is not just tears

Postpartum Depression is not just tears.

It can be anger. It can be irritability, frustration, insomnia, obsessive compulsive, or anxiety.

Postpartum Mood Disorders can manifest in mothers in so many different ways.

Not only do we fight against the stigma of struggling with a mental illness and/or not being thrilled about our newfound motherhood, we also fight against the stigma of what a mom with Postpartum Mood Disorder must be like. So many moms don’t reach out for the help they so desperately need because they don’t “have the typical symptoms” of Postpartum Mood Disorder.

It’s not all tears.

I found a blog post which speaks to this precise issue. Written by a mother of three currently expecting her fourth, she bravely shares her experience and admits that she would never have classified herself as having Postpartum Depression because she “wasn’t sad, I didn’t cry, I took care of my children. ┬áMy house was clean, my responsibilities taken care of. I didn’t sleep a lot, or wallow in my own misery.”

Go read the entire post here. Leave her some love and let her know she’s not alone!

After hitting publish, another mama left her blog post about the VERY SAME topic in the comments. Rather than leave it hidden down there, I want to encourage you to read her post too. Entitled Postpartum Disorders, this mama, Sarah, over at Dandelion Roars writes a great piece about how Postpartum Mood Disorders were not all she thought they were supposed to be – she even states she had never heard of Postpartum Depression. Most importantly, she points out that there is a myriad of disorders between Postpartum Depression and Psychosis.

Go read Sarah’s post too.

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How can My Postpartum Voice better serve you?

When I changed the name of my blog to My Postpartum Voice, I promised it would be more for you.

There are some changes coming down the road for My Postpartum Voice. They will be slow and gradual but overall, aimed at improving the resourcefulness of this blog/website for Moms and Families in need.

One of the biggest projects I have planned will be an all new Resources page. Not only will it cover Postpartum Specific resources, it will also include resources provided by you for every day living.

If you add one or two or more things to this blog that would make life easier for you or for new and struggling Moms, what would it be?

What helped you the most when you were struggling? Do you have a book you would like to recommend to other moms?

Would you like to see more video? More interactive features? What does interactive mean to you?

Please help me better help and empower you by responding to these questions either in the comments or by emailing me at mypostpartumvoice(@)gmail(dot)com with Improvement Suggestions as the subject line.

I look forward to better serving you in 2011!!

Warmest,

Lauren

Then & Now: Why I blog turns three

Three years ago and thirty nine or so weeks ago, I was driving home from my therapy appointment for the Postpartum Mood Disorder I struggled with after the birth of our second daughter. It was THE DAY. The trees were greener. The rain drops sparkled. The sun breaking through the grey clouds summed up my mood perfectly. My heart soared. My oldest daughter would soon be three years old. Our youngest had just turned one. I was heading out to a relative’s house for the weekend with my mom, my first weekend away from the kids in a very long… well, ever. The Sunday after that weekend, I would discover I was pregnant with our son. And would totally freak out.

I did not want to go back to that dark place. So I read. Intensely advocated and prepared. Began to blog as an outlet for myself and to help other women.

Little did I have any clue that my first post would lead me here.

To three years and thirty nine or so weeks later. Never did I have a clue that I would interview Karen Kleiman, the author of What Am I Thinking: Having a baby after Postpartum Depression, here on my blog. Her book was what inspired me to begin to blog in the first place as it urged moms facing subsequent pregnancies to reframe them. So I did.

I haven’t stopped yet a nor do I plan on stopping any time soon.

I am ever so grateful for my positive Postpartum experience after the birth of my son. After struggling so hard with the first two, I finally got to immerse myself in the bliss of motherhood. I smeared Vaseline on the lens of my life and it totally rocked. Having been through hell it was certainly even more cherished and certainly not taken for granted.

I remember losing myself in the sweet scent of new baby. I remember holding him close and feeling our hearts beat in sync with each other. I remember him nuzzling my neck as he cuddled closely after nursing. I also remember curling my toes in pain because nursing was rough with him. I remember Thrush. I remember cracked nipples. But mostly I remember all the good stuff.

And these days, he is the light of our lives. Our little boy is a joker, a prankster, a caring and concerned three year old who loves to kiss, hug, and watch Cars. He doesn’t snuggle nearly as much but that’s okay. He will sit down on the couch with his toy laptop and blog right along with Mommy & (now) Daddy.

I am ever so thankful for his presence in our lives. Ever so thankful for his laughter, his camaraderie, his energy, and his caring spirit. Even when things get challenging with him, it is hard for me to keep a straight face. Damn his adorable infectious cuteness.

Who knew that when God decided to bless us with our son, it would also birth in me such a strong advocate for women with Postpartum Mood Disorders?

Thank you, little buddy, for motivating Mommy to put herself out there for so many women. You have no idea how many lives you have helped touch. None.

Happy 2nd Birthday!

happy-bloggy-birthdayThis year it almost snuck by me. (which explains why I’m posting this at 345pm instead of having it up earlier today)

I knew it was around the corner.

Last year’s Happy Birthday post mentions something about almost 10,000 visitors. I hit 10,000 that day. And today? Well today I am just shy of 44,000 visitors. Quite an increase from last year – nearly 3.5x more people!

I love writing. I love supporting families as they journey through PPD. This past year has seen a lot of growth around here – radio interviews, featured at other sites, and acceptance to Blogburst! I have no doubt that there is more to come.

One of the most meaningful blog-related things happened when I received an unexpected email from a reader asking me to pray for her. (If you’re reading this, I’d love to know how you’re doing! I’ve been praying!) It’s not so much the big things that matter – it’s all the little things that happen along the way to the big things that are truly important.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing. It’s because of you I write. I write to uplift, empower, and inform. If you’ve experienced any of those, I’ve done something right.

So keep reading, keep sharing, and I promise to keep uplifting, empowering, and informing!

(And just in case you’re curious, you can read my very first post by clicking here)