“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
~Mary Anne Radmacher~
What a weekend!
Chris hurt his ankle on Friday.
Alli, Charlotte, and I are sick.
Cameron is teething.
Chris tore ligaments in his ankle and is on crutches. Alli has Bronchitis and can’t return to school until Wednesday, Charlotte has the beginnings of Bronchitis, and well, I guess I’ve got the same thing.
I can hardly hear due to congestion. I’ve been going to bed every night around eight or nine for the past few nights. Hopefully things will start looking up as the girls get started on some meds and I get rid of my congestion. I’m tired.
On a more positive note, the kids and I went to the local zoo on Saturday. We had a blast and saw all of the animals except for the turkeys and the bears. We also went and saw Sanford Stadium – the girls were SO excited to see where the Georgia Bulldogs play!
Hopefully I’ll be able to get this blog back on track in the next couple of weeks but for now please bear with me as our family recovers!
(prayers would be GREATLY appreciated as well!)
Wendy Davis is the glue that holds all of us Postpartum Support International Volunteers together. She is an amazing woman and I have come to enjoy her friendship and support. Since embarking upon my peer support journey, Wendy has been more than willing to answer any question I may have and has encouraged me the entire way. It’s almost been like having a personal cheerleader! I know that I can take anything to Wendy and she will not only listen to what’s going on but aid in coming up with a solution that will work for all involved. Wendy does absolutely amazing work each and everyday and for this, I thank her. I am honored to post her interview today and hope you enjoy reading!
Tell us a little about yourself – What makes you tick?
I am married and a mom of two children who amaze me with their wisdom and humor. I was the 4th out of five myself, and then had 4 stepbrothers. I thrive on relationship even though I am by nature an introvert.
How did you get involved in Postpartum Depression work? What drew you in?
I had postpartum depression and anxiety after the birth of our first child in 1994 and I had no idea what was happening to me. Every negative theory of depression crowded into my anxious brain, and I could only believe that I was a complete failure and that my life was ruined. I thought I had made a terrible mistake by deciding to have a child. I had already been a therapist for 14 years when that happened, and had specialized in depression, anxiety, and grief. But nothing had prepared me, no course had taught me, and I was completely ashamed and frightened. When I did start to understand that I had postpartum depression, I found very few pictures of hope and healing, and that scared me more. After I recovered I was compelled to learn everything I could and to make a real difference for other women and their families. I wanted to make it safe for them to reach out. I didn’t need to reach big numbers, I just wanted each woman and dad that to know that there was hope for them. I wanted to help them learn to see their strengths and healthy instincts. After I had our second baby three years later, and I didn’t have a repeat PPD, I was even more motivated.
As a Mother, how important is it to remember to care for yourself? What do you do to recharge your batteries when they’re down?
I feel like it’s a continuous practice to remember to take care of myself. It’s not enough to just know I need to do it – I need strategies and reminders. And if I’m lucky, I get positive reminders like feeling good or having a friend ask me out, not negative reminders like getting sick or cranky. I recharge my batteries by taking walks in the beautiful Oregon mist, listening to music, going to visit my mom at the coast, having dinner with my sisters, brother, and their kids. And now that my kids are at the wonderful ages of 11 and 14, I really do recharge by being with them. That’s a great surprise!
What do you find the most challenging in motherhood? The Least?
The most challenging thing for me on a daily level is scheduling time for myself. The challenges change as kids get older: when they were little, the biggest challenge was having patience when I was frustrated or angry with them. I learned a lot about conflict management and how to express my frustration and anger by working on that. Another challenge is that it’s hard to make time to have dates with my husband or my friends. The least challenging? I seem to have a lot of tolerance for their individuality and creativity and it has always brought me joy to see them express themselves even if it’s … unique.
How did you get involved with PSI?
I had started the Baby Blues Connection in Portland and of course I found PSI as the main clearinghouse for information and support. At first, to be honest, I wanted to do it myself and didn’t know if I needed PSI. (PPD Risk factor: off the chart need for self-sufficiency.) All it took is one conversation with PSI founder Jane Honikman. I wanted to know her, to learn from her, and I felt immediately welcome and encouraged. That was in 1997, after my daughter was born. I became the Oregon Coordinator that year. In 2005 I volunteered to be the Coordinator of the State and International Coordinators and then I joined the PSI board as the Coordinator Chair. I love our PSI volunteers and I am immensely proud to be volunteering with them.
Awareness of Postpartum Mood Disorders has come a long way. In your opinion, what are some obstacles we still face in gaining even more acceptance and reliable treatment for new mothers who struggle with this?
There is less of a taboo than there used to be, but shame and fear still exist. I think that it’s hard for people, providers and the public alike, to have positive images of healing and recovery. Our local and federal policy-makers still have the habit of ignoring the needs of new mothers. It’s the same challenge WE have! I am optimistic though, and remain undaunted. Every challenge I see is another opportunity for education and communication. I used to be angry that people didn’t get it; now I’m just busy.
How important is it to have the entire family involved in Mom’s recovery? What can family members do to create a supportive and positive environment around her during her journey towards recovery?
It is essential to have the family involved not only in Mom’s recovery but in the prevention of a crisis. Family members can first gather information for support and care before there is a crisis. Every family that is planning to bring home a new child needs to know where to turn for help if they need it. If mom is struggling, family members can be most helpful by believing in her strength and recovery, and truly listening to her when she is able to tell them how she feels and what she needs. In the beginning, most women don’t know what to ask for. At that time, family can just stay present, don’t judge her, don’t scare her, but tell her you’re there for her all the way through.
You currently serve as the Volunteer Coordinator Chairperson for Postpartum Support International. What advice would you provide to those who wish to provide support to women with Postpartum Mood Disorders? What is most important to remember when embarking on this endeavor?
If you want to provide support for other women, the first step is to check in with yourself to make sure that you are taking care of your own needs. Contact PSI to find out what is going on in your area and how you can become involved. You can contact the office or go to the support map and find your area coordinators. Learn about the great service of social support and what that means. Read through Jane Honikman’s website as well. It is not giving advice or recommendations; it is being a peer who can listen and help women learn that they are not alone, it is not their fault, and there is help.
Name three things that have made you smile today.
This question. Voters. My daughter made a necklace out of a peace sign.
Last but not least, you have a chance to share with an expectant mother (new or experienced) some advice regarding Postpartum Mood Disorders. What would you share with her?
Don’t be afraid to reach out. Know that it is a statistical risk factor to be a high-achieving, self-sufficient person and that it might not come naturally to you to look for support or help. It is a great new skill and made the biggest difference for me between my first and second postpartum experience. What we survivors have learned is that the new strength is the ability to ask for help when needed, even before it’s needed, and to take it in. If you are struggling now, know that you are not alone and that you will get better if you stick to a plan of self-care and recovery. There are many options for treatment – choose what works for you. The universal aspect of recovery is the connection with hope, coming out of isolation, and knowing that you will come through this no matter how severe your symptoms are when most acute. If you need help, we are here to help you find what you need.
Here’s a wonderful email I received from MomsRising.org about Election Day and the opportunity it presents to educate our children:
It’s Tuesday, November 4th. It’s time to vote, time to remind all friends and family to vote, time to tell us how your voting went (scroll down), and time to… take a child to vote…
TAKE A CHILD TO VOTE TODAY: Why? Well, in the words of my 9 year old, “It’s a very wonderful experience for the kids because they learn that everybody’s opinion counts.” And my 12 year old has a great argument for kids being there as a resource to parents: “If parents are wondering about who to vote for while they’re in the voting booth, then they can always ask their kids! Our leaders impact kids’ lives into the future so kids should be involved.”
Seriously, studies show taking children to vote with you, or even having them help fill out the bubbles of your absentee ballot on the kitchen counter, helps them become regular voters when they grow up. So by bringing a child to vote, you are not only turning in your own vote in the present moment, you’re also building our future democracy.
Speaking of which, here’s a note from a MomsRising member with “big” kids as a reminder that no-one should be safe from motherly nudging today: “Hey, we got them to school and to all those soccer games, music lessons, debate tournaments, and play rehearsals… and now, even though they’re young adults and not children any more, we can still help get them to one more important activity: VOTING.”
*THREE TERRIFIC WAYS TO HELP FRIENDS & FAMILY VOTE TODAY*
1. Remind everyone you know that it’s the real deal today, Election Day: Bug friends, bother family, forward this e-mail to your entire list of friends reminding people that today is Election Day! Or use our easy, handy-dandy link to remind lots of your friends at the same time to vote today at: http://www.momsrising.org/ElectionGreetings
2. Buddy Up & Back Up: If you can’t take a child to vote with you, then you can volunteer to watch a child or two while a friend votes! Why? We know it’s not always so easy to take what sometimes amounts to a traveling circus with you to vote. Give a friend a break and volunteer to watch a child or two while the parents take time to go vote. http://www.momsrising.org/Nov4Backup
3. Make some last-minute calls to remind moms who are infrequent voters to vote: There’s still time! You can make calls right up until 7pm on Election Day. Sign on to make 30 min, 1 hour, or more of calls here: http://www.momsrising.org/callfromhome
Remember to have fun on Election Day–make voting a snazzy field trip, a dramatic moment of power, a snapshot in time to recall in later years.
And, after you vote, don’t forget to tell all… we want to know…
VOTING: WAS IT GOOD FOR YOU? After you vote, tell us about your voting experience, the issues that were top of your mind as you cast your ballot & ideas for moving forward after Election Day! Tell us all about your voting experience at: http://www.momsrising.org/ivoted
Happy Election Day!
– Kristin, Joan, Laura, Roz, Tracy, Katie, Mary, Donna, Ashley, Gretchen, Lisa, Nanette, Anita, Julene, Julia, and the MomsRising Team
p.s. If you’re not already a member of MomsRising, sign on now (it’s free) to stay in the loop and take action after the election by working to pass critically important policies for mothers, families, and children. After all, it’s our economic security we’re talking about. Sign on here: http://www.momsrising.org/signup
p.p.s. If you don’t know where to vote (or what ID to bring) today, then you can find out on the League of Women Voter’s webpage at: http://www.vote411.org/pollfinder.php
And, if you run into irregularities, you can get voter protection information online at: HTTP://WWW.866OURVOTE.ORG and on the phone at:
– – 1-866-OUR-VOTE (administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law)
– – 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (administered by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund)
– – In addition, CNN has a voter hotline to call if you encounter any problems voting or know of a problem: 1-877-462-6608.