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LDH

We may never have met in person but my love and compassion surrounds you every day. I pass the torch of warrior like strength, the torch that was handed to me- made up of several voices, words of wisdom and compassion, and virtual hugs.

You are doing more than great. You are loving your family while fighting the hardest fight of your life. I admire you, respect you, and support you with all my heart.

It will get better, it will pass. Keep going.

(Laurie DeWoody Hart)

#PPDChat 01.11.16: That Pesky Thyroid

PPDChat 01-11-16: That Pesky Thyroid. Join us at 8pm ET on Twitter.Did you know that the thyroid can cause issues that mirror several symptoms of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders? It absolutely can. But – not a lot of people know it can. This is why tonight’s chat is SO important. I hope you will join us as we discuss the various ways in which the thyroid can cause symptoms which mimic PPD, how to deal with them, how to push your doctor to test for them, and why it is important to test for any thyroid issues.

Look forward to seeing you this evening at 8pm ET on Twitter!

 

An Attitude of Gratitude

It’s a tough time of year for me come fall. The sun doesn’t shine as long, the leaves fall from the trees after a magnificent burst of color as they dance toward death before winter, and the skies are nowhere near as bright in the middle of October as they are at the height of July. Toss anything else in that mix and I start digging a rabbit hole to crawl into until Spring.

Gratitude JarThis year, I decided to do my very best to keep out of that rabbit hole. In addition to my SAD Lamp, I created a Gratitude Jar. I don’t remember where I first saw the idea (probably Pinterest), but it struck me as something easy I could do that would help all of us focus on the positive instead of wallowing in the depths of The Nothing that surrounds us like a parasite through the fall and winter months.

I posted a picture of my Gratitude Jar on Facebook and a friend immediately asked me how I did it. I promised her a blog post about it, complete with printables. So here we are!

Step 1: Buy a jar. Or use one you have at home. I found a really fantastic one at the local Goodwill for less than $2.00. You’ll want a smaller jar or vase to hold the strips you’ll print out for writing just what it is you’re grateful for every day.

Step 2: Create a label. I used Microsoft Word. Chose a Gift Certificate Template and adjusted it to my needs. I replaced the wording with a description of what to do as well as a couple of inspirational quotes related to gratitude. I used this list at Inc for quotes. (40 really great ones!) Based on your jar size, you may need a different label. Feel free to play around in Word and create your own. The one I made fit my jar perfectly.

Step 3: Cut out the label. Using a simple glue stick (borrowed from a school age child), glue said label onto jar. Place face down on a hard surface (I had to put it in the middle of our dining room table so the cat wouldn’t bat it off onto the ground).

Step 4: Again, using Word, I created a simple one column table the length of the page, and simple copied and pasted the words “I’m grateful for” in each row, leaving plenty of space to write a few things. Print, and cut out. I used a paper cutter but you could use scissors. The nice thing about doing it this way is that instead of buying a pad of paper, you can just print and refill as needed.

Gratitude Jar LocationStep 5: Set up the Gratitude Jar in a place that makes it easy to use. A common area but not in the way of anything. As you see, I have the Gratitude Jar on one side, and the little vase with the strips on the other side of a gorgeous vase that sits on our game cabinet in our dining room. So far, it works well. (We’re on day 4, I think.)

And that’s it. Easy peasy. While I am having to stretch to think of something for which I am grateful every day, it’s a good habit to have. Positive thinking matters.

And now, for the printables:

Gratitude Jar Labels

Gratitude Strips

Go forth and be filled with gratitude! Oh, and you’ll notice that there are TWO Gratitude Jar Labels on the printable. Make one for a friend and share the gratitude!

#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.

The Magic of Listen To Your Mother

My journey to Listen to Your Mother started three years ago, on a whim of filling a bucket list item – auditioning in The City for something.

I sent an email off to the good folks in NYC for an audition slot. I got one. J and I went into the city. I read, full of fear and nervous energy. We ate, then wandered a smidge, and drove home.

I wasn’t chosen.

So the next year, I emailed Northern Jersey. I drove over by myself, auditioned, and drove home.

I wasn’t chosen.

Then, this past year, instead of emailing for an audition, I emailed to see if it was too late to submit to be a HOST.

Ann connected me with Kirsten Piccini of The Kir Corner. I reached out to Kristina Grum and we added her to our hastily pulled together application on the last possible day.

Then, we prayed.

We were approved as a new city and we held our show this past Sunday.

I started this journey on a whim, full of nervous energy, determined to live outside my comfort zone.

This past weekend, I flew well beyond my comfort zone and read to a nearly packed house after working tirelessly with Kirsten and Kristina to bring together an amazing cast and show for the Lehigh Valley.

There is a magic to Listen To Your Mother, one which lives deep inside the heart. It’s a magic found in the words of stories of mothers, it is magic centered in the hopes and dreams of those who are falling toward the ground and building their wings as the earth rushes closer to them. The magic – it is enduring, it is powerful, and it does not end when you take that bow at the end of your show and the applause fades away.

It’s there, in the pictures, in the new friendships, in the new avenues opened to you when you are surrounded by amazing and driven people you meet through the entire process.

After our show on Sunday, I ran into a woman who auditioned for us but we ultimately had to turn down as her piece didn’t fit the arc of our show. I hugged her just as tightly as any of our cast – and she hugged me right back. THIS is part of the magic.

Life beginsThe magnet I bought before my audition in New York has brand new meaning now.

Because now? My comfort zone has been stretched and I have a LONG way to go to reach the life outside of it.

Here goes nothing.