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Just Talking Tuesday: Redefining Perfect

Parenthood is messy in real life.

Hollywood, media, and advertisers would have you believe differently.

Your house is picture perfect. Hair – perfect. Toddlers perfectly dressed without a drop of food or stains anywhere, well behaved. Everyone smiles and says cheese.

Thing is – it’s all just that – a snapshot of perfection styled with the help of an entire crew for EACH PERSON in the photo, movie, or commercial.

What if you took a snapshot of your own life? Of your house? Yourself? Your toddler or baby?

What would it look like? Is it perfect?

I’m willing to bet it is perfect.

Maybe not by Hollywood’s standards.

But by REALITY’S standards.

Real life, as I said when I started, gets messy.

What matters at the end of the day isn’t that the sink is full of dishes.

It’s not the massive pile of laundry threatening to devour your entire house.

It’s not the food particles permanently affixed to your toddler.

It’s not that you didn’t get a chance to shower or put on make up.

It’s not that you’re still in your pajamas.

What matters at the end of the day is whether or not you connected with your children.

Whether or not, in THAT DAY, your children felt loved and felt a connection with you.

Because that is what they will remember – not the cleaner than clean house – they’ll remember the Mommy who took time for them. Who got down on their level and loved THEM.

That? Is perfect.

Come back at 7am for a link up here. Several of us will be posting pics of our imperfectly perfect houses a long with happy pictures of our toddlers.

Because that?

Is redefining perfect in the rawest form.

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Hidden under the snow

All day today, I stared at the green landscape surrounding my home. The trees, the rolling hills, the asphalt. I listened to the sounds of the day pass by – the hum of traffic, the murmur of voices as people greeted each other in the halls at church.

Then we came home. We closed the door to the outside world and hunkered down in order to stay safe from the incoming snow storm.

In so many ways this is just like an episode of Postpartum.

If only we could see it coming and hunker down to stay safe and healthy.

If only the outside world wouldn’t throw a blanket over the mess of it all.

If only we wouldn’t forget what real life looks like after it has been covered up.

If only we could remember that the world is beautiful even if it’s not covered with a white blanket.

If only we didn’t let that white blanket weigh us down.

If only we didn’t let that white blanket break us.

If only we could shake it off, free ourselves from the falling chaos.

But sometimes we must break.

Sometimes we need to be covered up.

Sometimes we need to rest.

Sometimes in order to grow strong, we too, must break.

Only then will we recognize the strength which lies deep within us as we slowly wake up.

Only then will we be able to finally shake that frozen white blanket from our hearts and minds.

Then…. we will be free.

 

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Is PPD a series of mini-episodes or thoughts vs. something major: A reader makes an important point

Yesterday, I posted this piece regarding a DM I received at Twitter. Tonight I received this response which includes some excellent points. I wanted it to have more than just an afternoon meandering about. So here it is- in all it’s bloggy goodness. Thanks for commenting!

I so much appreciate your honesty here, Lauren. And, of course, am always so glad to know that you are out there sharing your important journey with other moms who are struggling or who have struggled.

I am going to make a point that, please know, comes with a huge amount of respect. It is more of an observation and a request to look at this question with another perspective than anything else.

The title to this post is “Is PPD a series of mini-episodes or thoughts vs. something major?”- I imagine that the woman who wrote this might be wondering if she could possibly have PPD- because for her, this is characterized by a series of on again off again thoughts or feelings that come and go and come back again, You know the situation I am sure: mom feels awful and confused by her thoughts and then for a day or two feels better. So she doesn’t reach out And then, again, WHAM, she feels awful again.. for a few days, and so she thinks she will seek out help. But then, ahhh.. a few days of feeling much better so, again, she holds back. And on and on. This mom thinks she must not have PPD because hers is not a knock-down -lights out situation. And so it takes her months and months to get the help that she actually needs.
I see this over and over in my psychotherapy practice when moms come in, finally and exhausted, at about 8 months postpartum when they have been feeling this way for a longer time than they needed to.

I appreciate your last few paragraphs about how everyone’s experience is unique, and so I think this is what I am trying to highlight in my comments. PPMDs come in all shapes and sizes and on a spectrum from mild to severe.
Your last paragraph is a set of questions to moms out there and it reads “is your PPMD JUST a series of thoughts?”

I would ask that we all make sure that we acknowledge that no PPMD is a “just” anything… No matter what someone’s challenge is, it can be pretty darn ugly for them.

with respect and admiration,
Kate Kripke, LCSW

Dear Kate,

Thank you so very much for commenting and bringing to light such invaluable points regarding Postpartum Mood Disorders. They are indeed unique to each woman. It is true that just because a woman hasn’t been knocked flat off her feet she can’t struggle with a PMD. Just as clothes, PMD’s really do come in all shapes and sizes and they come in every season too – no mom deserves to have her experience with Postpartum Mood Disorders dismissed as you’re completely right – no one deserves to have their experience termed as “just” something. The word “just” is dismissive for me.

I chose to blog about this question because it legitimately intrigues me. The writer was asking a question about PMD’s in a way I had never considered them before. Honestly, I think it was the word “just” that drew me in to the question at hand. No mother should ever have to decide if her experience is “just” this or “just” that. It IS what it IS and that is what she will heal from as the days go on and the sun continues to rise on the new days ahead for her. No mother should ever have to worry about someone pointing the finger at her and telling her that it’s “just” a series of thoughts or “just” a series of episodes. And even if it is thoughts or episodes for her – they should ALWAYS be considered and handled as if they were a serious knock-down case of PMD’s. Each and every mother deserves our support regardless of where she may be on the “spectrum.” In fact, regardless of where she is on the spectrum, our compassion for her should remain in the same place. High.

Thank you again for your comment and for taking the time to point out some very invaluable information.

Warmest,

Lauren Hale


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