Tag Archives: PPD

#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 Random.org 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!

#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 10.05.15: Say NO to Stigma

Having the Conversation SquareToday’s #PPDChat announcement is a slight departure from the norm as we are not using our standard announcement graphic. Today is National Day Without Stigma, according to Active Minds. You can read more about their movement here.

It’s also the 25th anniversary of National Mental Health Awareness week this week.

With both of these in mind, #PPDChat is following suit and will be chatting about signs and symptoms of all that is on the Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder spectrum this evening at 9pm ET.

We encourage you to join us. Not only on Twitter, but perhaps by downloading some of the tools Active Minds has made available. By calling and checking in on a new mother. By standing with those that you love. By refusing to let stigma keep us silent any longer.

I’ll see you on Twitter at 9pm tonight.

#PPDChat 04.06.15: Done

ppdchat 04-06-15


As mothers, it’s not a word we utter a lot. Nothing ever seems to be “done” completely, does it?

There’s always dishes to be “done”, laundry to be “done”, baths to be “done”, and the list goes on and on. We are never DONE.

And yet, we should be done with small tasks throughout the day. Why?

Because, according to a fascinating article at Fast Company this morning, saying the word “Done” after completing even small tasks, allows us to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Seriously. They even cite science, y’all. What does it do? It shifts our brain in a neurochemical fashion, creating more serotonin. And we could ALL use a bit more natural serotonin, yes?

Join me tonight and let’s talk about everything you got “done” today. I’m willing to bet it is far more than you think.

See you at 9pm ET on Twitter. Be sure to check back here to follow the live feed if you’d rather not hop on Twitter itself. Thank you, Twubs, for existing.

With that, I’m DONE.


#PPDChat 03.23.14: Healing Timelines

ppdchat-03-23-15“I should be better by now, right?”

“When do the thoughts go away?”

“When does the rage stop?”

“I started meds a few months ago. Why don’t I feel better yet?”

Many of us have heard these phrases echoed by women who reach out to us. They’re frustrated because they are still hurting and fighting. For many of these women, a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders is their first brush with mental health disorder. And like so many, they assume there is a timeline the disorder will follow. Thing is, even with medication and therapy, we all follow our own timelines.

When we get sick, we go to the doctor, get medicine, and are told when we can expect to feel better. With a mental health disorder, we are given medicine, told when we can expect it to kick in, advised of side effects, and possibly referred for therapy. That’s if we’re lucky. Then we are left to our own devices.

We find people like us. We do the most human thing possible – we compare our healing timeline to theirs. “She’s on the same med as me so I should get better as quickly as she did, right?”

Not necessarily.

Last week, we discussed knowing your symptoms. This week? We’re going to discuss knowing your healing timeline, how to keep from comparing yourself to those around you, and find solace in the small steps forward you’re making instead of seeking for giant leaps in healing.

Join us tonight at 9:00pm ET on Twitter. Don’t forget – you can come back here at 9:00pm to follow us, live.

See y’all then!

#PPDChat 03-16-15: Know Thy Signs

ppdchat 03-16-15Any navigator will tell you to know your landmarks when traveling. Know thy signs.

It’s the same with mental health. Know thy signs.

What happens when you start to spiral down? Do you have certain habits you repeat? These are your signs, your tips that something is going wrong.

Tonight’s chat isn’t just for those of us who face a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder – it’s also for those of us who fight the good fight against mental illness on a daily basis. We have to read our minds and know our signs. It’s exhausting, but necessary in order for us to make the best of the day which lies ahead of us. Sometimes, that day may require rest or sometimes we may have a really awesome day followed by sheer exhaustion because of everything we took in. It’s the ebb and flow of the war we wage as we live our lives.

I sincerely hope you will join us as we explore and chat about our own warning signs, what they mean, and how to learn to recognize your own.

See you tonight at 9:00pm ET!

PS. If you can’t get to Twitter, you’ll be able to follow the chat from here. Check back at 9pm ET, when a live chat feed will be embedded into this post!

We’ll be LIVE in 5 minutes. Follow along  here:

On Shonda Rhimes, Race, & Postpartum Depression

Last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy has some folks flurrying around, claiming it stigmatizes mental illness and does some serious damage to women who struggle with Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders. (Click here to read more about this battle moms are taking to Shonda’s alleged shaming of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders.)

I’d like to take a view that is the polar opposite of being infuriated.

Shonda Rhimes did everything right last night.


(This is where you go elsewhere if you haven’t seen the episode yet and don’t want spoilers – in fact, go get Happy with Pharrell!)

We start the episode out coming back from winter break – we last found out that Kepner & Jackson’s baby has serious issues and Derrick is leaving for DC after a fight with Meredith.

HELLLOOOO STRESS and high tensions.

The opening scene involves Meredith discussing the hiring of a nanny with Callie. The conversation is interrupted by the incoming trauma of a mom who drove off a bridge with her two kids in the car. At this stage, we do not know the ages of the children and I don’t recall if they mention mom is pregnant at this time (ie, no need to jump to the PMAD hopscotch square yet). Meredith remarks, as everyone starts to walk, “Maybe she needed a nanny.”

Doesn’t every mom need a nanny at some point or other? Why does this imply a mental illness? It doesn’t. It implies motherhood is fucking difficult and sometimes, mom just needs some help (which we do).

Then, we fast forward to another scene where Dad arrives at the hospital after Mom has, only armed with the knowledge that there was an accident and believes someone has pushed his wife’s car off a bridge. He’s dumbfounded to find out it was his wife who was the driver – and rightfully so. Would you truly believe that your spouse were capable of driving off a bridge?

Stephanie interviews the husband as doctors and nurses prep his wife in a room, asking him if there’s anything he had noticed about her that – he interrupts, and says “You mean do I think she’s crazy? No! Absolutely not!” He then sits down and starts to list signs he’d noticed – fatigue, forgetting things, stressed, etc. Admits he’s been working a lot of hours and perhaps hadn’t been paying attention like he should have been.

Meredith, meanwhile, becomes the woman’s advocate and pushes back against any judgement implying the patient is, for lack of a better word, crazy. In fact, Meredith is the one to push for a physical diagnosis of her behaviour instead of a psychiatric one.

In the second half of the episode, the husband breaks down with Jackson, weeping, asking how on earth he could have missed this and how could he have been prepared for something like this to happen? Of course this hits Jackson hard as he is facing the birth of a child with serious health issues.

April, in her own personal hell after learning the situation with her own unborn child, goes on the most glaring rant against the patient’s behaviour.   Callie attempts to calm her down but doesn’t really get anywhere. April’s reaction, to me, was completely justified because she’s reacting from a place of hurt and is projecting.

Here’s how I saw the episode go down, in bullet points:

  • Situation/stigma presented (start in the messy)
  • Situation/stigma delved into
  • Situation/stigma pushed back against

How often do we see a show that deals with a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder by introducing the stigma, toying with it, but not dealing with it and instead treating it like the elephant in the room?

Grey’s didn’t do that last night.


In fact, they brought the stigma in, expanded it by using a woman and family of colour, and then they smashed right through every single damn stigma aspect they introduced.

And yet, that’s still not enough.

A groundbreaking episode presented to us on a popular television show run by the ONLY woman of colour in TV running things right now and that’s STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

What the actual hell?

I watched the episode, waiting for the horror to unveil itself. Instead, I found myself agreeing with every single situation I had seen bashed as being handled poorly. Every single situation in this episode seen as “stigmatizing” simply WAS NOT STIGMATIZING. AT ALL.

I expected one of the children to be an infant. But nope. Well out of toddler years for both children.

There was simply no reason to fly off the handle for this episode. None. Except wait, the line where someone mutters “crazy moms who…” We push back against this as hard as we can with facts, with exposure of what it’s really like to live with a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder. Guess what? Even though last night’s mom didn’t have a PMAD? They pushed back. They had a solid grasp on reality and they exposed it. Reality is, this is where we are as a culture – and that isn’t going to change over night. I, for one, welcome a show which is willing to push the boundaries of stigma and what exists there but also be willing to yank it back. Because in reality? Not everything is neatly tied up and beautiful replete with facts and details.

Shonda Rhimes starts where it’s messy. Then she wades through it and brings it to conclusion. Does it end up where we want it to? No. But you know what? It starts with what we recognize as a CULTURE. Is that right? Not yet. But we’re getting there and last night’s episode of Grey’s acknowledged that in a big way because it:

  • introduced a woman of colour who did something unspeakable
  • had the husband deal with it appropriately
  • involved the staff reacting in an appropriate medical manner without judging mom

In my book, that’s GROUNDBREAKING, not shameful. Not at all.

Thank you, Shonda Rhimes, for putting this episode together and doing so in a respectful and mindful manner. Keep that up.


#PPDChat 11.17.14: Holidays & PPD


As the holiday season rapidly approaches and social appearances are greatly expected, those of us who struggle with mental health issues store up excuses to bow out of gatherings. While saying no is a phenomenal practice, there may be some gatherings which are required. We grit our teeth and bear it, hoping to repair our anxiety once it is over.

Tonight’s chat will focus on coping mechanisms for surviving the holiday season. Learning to say no, surviving when we are sucked into the vortex of family and work gatherings, and building self-care for our souls into the holiday season. ‘Tis the season to give of ourselves, but also TO ourselves. Be kind to yourselves these holidays – refill your pitcher as you pour to others.

Join me tonight at 830pm ET on Twitter. See you at #PPDChat!


In case you missed the chat, here’s the transcript:

#PPDChat 09.21.14: When Darkness Falls – SAD & PPD

ppdchat-09-22-14Fall Equinox.

When I was a kid, I loved those words. It meant the leaves would soon change colour, setting the landscape ablaze in yellows, oranges, reds, and the sunlight would carry the newly found rainbow into the sky as it sank beneath the horizon earlier and earlier every night.

It also meant my birthday was only 4 days away.

But now, as I have journeyed several days down the path of life, I don’t enjoy those two little words as much any more. In fact, they make me sad. I strive to find the joy in autumn and not focus too much on the shorter days and looming increase in hours spent in the dark, away from the sun.

I moved back to the northeast United States a few years ago. The first year I was here, Sandy hit. I have not been right since. The cloudy days, the shorter days, the snow (dear LORD, the snow), the dark – it has me sinking into the depths of my couch in the winter, fighting for any shred of happiness I can find. I finally had a discussion with my doctor about it last year and we realized it may actually be a combination of PTSD from Sandy and the settling in of SAD.

So now, this year, I am prepared. I fought back last year with medication (finally) but after doing everything else I could do as well – a therapeutic SAD lamp, Vitamin D, socialization, etc. But this year, I’m still on my meds, I use my light every morning as I drink my first cup of coffee and catch up with friends on social media, easing myself into my day.

Tonight, we’ll discuss not only the very real issue of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but how that may complicate PPD and things you can do to battle both at the same time. I hope you’ll join us.

See you tonight at 830pm ET!

#PPDChat 08.25.14: Single Parents & PPD

Single Parents and PPDTonight’s #PPDChat is one we should have had a long time ago. Motherhood is often faced alone by women, for a myriad of reasons. On top of facing parenthood alone, many of these single mothers also face the beast of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders on their own as well. With less time, less resources, less energy, they have to find ways to fight back on their own.

A Canadian study showed thatBoth teen and adult mothers were approximately five times more likely to experience PPD if they received no support or minimal support after the birth of the baby.”



It’s important for us to support all mothers, regardless of their history, status, etc. Mothers are mothers and babies are babies. We all deserve the best start possible.

I sincerely hope you will join me tonight as @addyeB and I discuss facing PPD as a single mom, what you can do to help yourself and to help single mothers you know in this situation.

Find us on Twitter at 830pm ET. See you then!