Tag Archives: postaday2011

The monster in the corner

The following post was written as part of this week’s daily prompt from The Red Dress Club.

We were to take something ugly and find the beauty in it.

Please note that this particular post may be triggering for some still in the midst of a

Postpartum Mood Disorder as some of the imagery might get very intense.

For others, welcome, and I hope you enjoy what I have attempted to capture.

The Monster in the Corner

Once upon a time, in the dark corner of my room, there lived a monster. I gave birth to him almost six years ago, an unintentional sibling to my firstborn. Rippled with muscles, green, slimy, odoriferous, vicious, snarling, he clung to the wall and the darkness, hissing at me every time I dared to glance in his direction.

He watched over me as I slept, breathing heavily in my ear, drooling on my cheek, his arms holding me hostage in bed. I tossed and turned, restless, desperate to free myself from his grasp.

Days were worse.

When I finally rose from bed, he’d cling to my back, digging his claws into my shoulders, his weight-bearing down on me as if I were borne down with horrible sins from my past. My mind raced, my heart beat faster, I failed to control thoughts, tears slipped down my pale and hollow cheeks. Everyone else could see him, I just knew it. He was the reason they stared at me as if I had gone mad. I shriveled up, a mere shadow of myself barely able to fit into my old life.

I gasped, I begged, I pleaded, I beat my back against a hard surface every chance I got just to knock him loose. Nothing worked. I hated him. He delighted in torturing me. But there we were, roommates trapped in the same house.

Until one day.

One day I arose with the determination not to let his weight bother my frail frame as he clambered gleefully once again onto my shoulders. As his claws dug into my shoulders, I screamed with a passion unknown to me, “NOOOOOOOO!!!!”

He stopped, claws in mid-air, legs squeezing my midsection with a fearful ferocity. The howl he loosed from his throat echoed eerily against the plain white walls, searing my very soul.

I screamed again.

“GET DOWN! NOW. I’M DONE!” I clenched my fists together, straightened my back, and planted my feet.

His thighs weakened, his arms lowered as he growled again, this time deep and threatening instead of loud and searing.

“Did you hear me? I’m DONE!!!!! GET OFF ME. NOT TODAY. NOT TOMORROW! I’M DONE!” This time, his legs slid down my hips and thighs, leaving a slimy trail behind. His feet crashed to the floor, his shoulders hunched over, his head hung down, the spikes on his forehead finally hidden.

As I watched, he melted, muscles oozed down his body, his skin softened, his body curved, and turned a soft peach, his head replaced by a soft and rounded orb covered with long brown hair. He curled into a ball on the floor as he fought the rush of sudden changes, his chest heaving, his arms and legs twitching back and forth as they rearranged themselves. All at once, his frame changed completely, wood and glass, standing in the corner. I stepped closer, my own arms and legs trembling. My feet hit the ground tentatively, almost collapsing with each new step. As I grew closer and closer, each step firmer and firmer, my mouth pulled up at the corners.

That smile, that huge victorious grin, filled with happiness and joy once more, shone brightly back at me as I reached my former dark corner, now illuminated with the reflection of one of the strongest and most beautiful people I have ever known.


Life Lessons from Mother Nature

AP English, my junior year of High school, was taught by a lanky old fellow with a shiny bald head on top supported by an explosion of white hair at the bottom. Oh yes, the balding mullet. He wore huge 1970 tortoise frame eye glasses over his large rotund shiny blue eyes, Dr. Scholls old man kicks replete with the old man uniform – a white dress shirt and Khaki pants – which were perfectly pressed every day. Occasionally he wore a powder blue sweater vest – always unbuttoned and drooping over his shirt and pants.

You got the feeling that back in the day Mr. A had been a damned fine student of the establishment at one time. But you also got the sense that somewhere along the way, he took a left turn and never looked back toward the right. Mr. A rocked our world. He challenged us to read the greats and not just because it was his job to do so – no, he challenged us to look under the words, to really peer into the author’s soul and grasp with furor the process which allowed the words to come to life on the paper of our textbooks, on the paper of all books.

Through Mr. A, I came to know Mr. Henry David Thoreau. I met many other great authors through Mr. A – Emerson, Wharton, Wolfe, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Shelley, Yeats, Browning, Frost, and several others. But Thoreau and Emerson stood out the most.

I remember a joint field trip – one for both AP English & Government class. It wasn’t anything terribly spectacular, just a meandering in a pasture as the cool wind whipped through the throng of high school kids popping bubble gum while wondering what we were doing in a field with our teachers.

Mr. A had us stand in front of him as he sat down on a stump in the middle of the field to read us a portion of Thoreau’s works. At least that’s the way I remember it. I froze that day as the words of Thoreau swirled about me with the wind. But my mind grew exponentially as my soul was set afire as words sprung off the pages of Mr. A’s worn copy of Walden.

When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.

~Henry David Thoreau~

Later that year, during the summer, I convinced my parents to let me sleep in a tent up on the corner of one of our fields at our farm. They agreed but only if I took our trusty dog, an Akita, with me every night. I read my Bible, slept on the hard ground, returning every night for two weeks. I stopped going not because I loathed the hard cold ground but because there was a bobcat which got very close to the tent and caused our dog to growl for more than a few nights. It simply was not safe for me to continue to sleep in a cloth tent with such a threat lurking nearby. Even though I abandoned my tent, the lessons learned from Thoreau have stayed with me all these years.

As many of my followers already know, my father was involved in a motorcycle accident on Monday morning. He’s got a few broken bones but is otherwise just fine. My Monday was very difficult (Although I am sure my father’s was infinitely more so!)

I have always found solace in Nature, ever since I was a little girl. The lessons learned from Mr. Thoreau further impressed the importance of Nature and the lessons to be learned within her realm. This is a principle of which I had not given a terrible amount of thought to until today.

Today I found refuge at a local Botanical Garden. I needed some quiet time alone with my thoughts, time to just be, time to reflect and be peaceful in comparison to yesterday’s wild emotional roller coaster ride. Not only was I excited at the prospect of quiet time in the midst of hundred year old trees, I was excited about pushing my body to do more, to be more. I looked forward to the comforting feeling of pushing my muscles to work. Even a few months ago this prospect would not have thrilled me. But I’ve changed. Moved forward with my life.

There were three elements of nature which held lessons for me today. I did not go seeking lessons. They came to me.

My first lesson was 35 minutes into my hike – well after I had leapt across a broken bridge in the middle of a swamp (don’t be impressed – it was just a foot or so), hiked up to the very top of a high hill and back again, and stopped to take a photo of rocks arranged in a peace sign. I hiked back down the alternative route and back onto the main trail. Within a few hundred feet, the wide river, fed by the tiny stream I had been hiking along, curved against the shore. The water had clearly etched this curve after years and years of work.

I stood there, staring at the tiny eddys swirling just below me. Twisting, turning, always flowing. Every so often, a series of large bubbles came to the surface then rushed furiously toward the eddys swirling like over-caffeinated toddlers just ahead of them. As the muddy water repeated the same action over and over again, new water each time, the bubbling churning up and out, like pressure, it hit me. Water, in a river, is always changing. Water is always moving, it carries life, never stops to think or reflect, there’s no time. Water moves forward here, never backward. Water just does. If something blocks the path, it adjusts course or carries the object blocking its way out of it’s way. Suddenly I hated the water for being able to do such a thing. I hated the water for not having to do anything but just flow in a riverbed or swirl about in an ocean, never worrying about anything. Then I realized that life is just like that – if you let it be – it will naturally change course, force blockages to move, and never think or reflect. I think that’s where water misses out – in thinking and reflecting, we learn from the negatives in our life. It’s through thinking and reflecting we are then allowed to change course. We are therefore like water in that we too, are capable of changing course, but we are not like water in that we have to think and reflect in order to do so.

My next lesson hid in a giant Water Oak reaching out far over the wide and muddy river. This tree arched well over the water yet clung to the shore with a tenacity which screamed a desire to never give up. Trees are constantly reaching for the sky yet solidly rooted in the Earth. They are strong, sheltering, comforting. Trees watch, wait, witness, and are filled with patience. Trees give us shade when we are tired and weary. They also let us know if wind is barely playing or barreling down upon us with a frightful intensity. Mothers are like trees. We arch over those we love with sheltering arms. We cling to the shore (our home) with a tenacity like no other. We reach for the sky with our hopes and dreams yet stay firmly rooted in reality when things don’t quite work out. We watch, wait, witness, and are expected to be filled with patience – some of us are better at it than others. Some of us get bowled over by the lightest wind, others only fall in the face of a stiff derecho wind. But we all are. We stand in the great forest – all different kinds, in a band – together. For it is when we find our forest we are the strongest.

And finally, my last lesson depended upon a gleam of yellow – a lone daffodil at the edge of a swamp like a gleam of sunshine in the darkest of caves. Shortly up the hill from that lonely daffodil was a whole gaggle of daffodils. Even the most common beauty will spring forth in the gloomiest and most unexpected places. Even when we feel down, sad, lost, left out, trapped in the darkness, we are still beautiful. We may just be a bulb beneath the ground, but one day, with even what we feel is not enough care or support, we still bloom. Optimum care is of course, always desired, but even in the darkest of circumstances, we will always bloom, just as long as we learn to grow first – push ourselves through all the dirty stuff on top of us – and then we’ll be a beautiful flower in the midst of a powerful forest next to an always changing river.

Faith & Motherhood: Faith, Mercy, & Miracles


Today’s post is fabulously crafted by Jess Arias Cooper from Mama’s Got Flair. Jess is a saucy chick and someone I am proud to call a friend in this land called the Internet. We can be ourselves with each other – sharing things we rarely share with others yet somehow feel comfortable enough sharing with each other. Every woman deserves at least one friend like Jess on the Interwebs. Someone they can share their secrets with and yet laugh at something inane as a multi-colored, multi-shaped mullet the very next second. She’s a heartfelt snark, this one. I was beyond thrilled when Jess agreed to write a post for Faith & Motherhood here. Her post is moving beyond words.

Today’s post may be triggering for some of my more sensitive and fragile readers as it deals with infant loss. So if you’re feeling fragile today, you may want to skip this one and read it another day.

Jess’ post truly exemplifies living in God’s grace and finding faith even in the darkest of corners. I am so blessed to have this amazing woman call me friend. Now I’ll stop writing and let her words fill your mind and heart.


I didn’t understand or appreciate faith, miracles and mercy until I lost my infant son in 2004.

My son, Aiden, was born 11 weeks premature by emergency cesarean. The second half of my pregnancy had been a rough one, to put it mildly, and my life was literally on the line. Though the doctors gave us as much time “together” as they could, my liver was failing and a tough decision had to be made.

Because I’d been so sick with preeclampsia and HELPP syndrome, my darling Aiden was born at an astonishing one pound, five ounces. In fact, he wasn’t much larger than a Barbie doll. Besides his miniature stature, he was also born with a rare condition known as Townes-Brocks Syndrome.

Townes-Brocks is generally a genetic condition, but in our case, it was one of those one in a billion flukes that randomly occurs in nature. My son had a wide variety of physical differences from the average baby, but I refuse to call them “birth defects.” In my eyes, despite his extra thumb, unusually shaped head and ears and disconnected digestive system, he was the absolute vision of perfection.

My husband and I tried for years to get pregnant, and Aiden was the beautiful answer to an unfathomable number of prayers.

I thanked God for every day Aiden grew bigger, stronger and more alert. I sat beside his little bed in the NICU, day in and day out, paced waiting rooms during his surgeries and loved that boy more with every beat of his heart.

Still, as he grew stronger, new things were being added to his list of diagnoses nearly every day. Hearing impairments. Brain damage. The list of Aiden’s differences continued to grow, and I prayed even harder for God to bring us a miracle and heal my poor sick, little boy.

It became clearer every day, that a few surgeries wouldn’t “fix” the problems that Aiden was bound to face for the rest of his life. And when my boy would become a man, with even the best outcomes to all the treatments that modern medicine had to offer, he would have to tell the women in his life that there was a strong possibility that, should they have a child together, he or she would endure the effects of Townes-Brocks Syndrome as well.

I had faith in God. I never felt that Aiden or my family was being punished. I trusted in his mercy. I had faith that he would reach out to my son and ease his suffering.

And He did.

Though, not how my heart had prayed for. On April 24, 2004, Aiden went to heaven.

I, of course, didn’t see the miracle and mercy at first. I was grief-stricken. The pain in my heart was heavy, yet I felt empty. I felt punished. My faith was tested in such an extreme way, I was angry.

But one day, as I was talking to God, asking to make sense of all the pain, I realized that the Lord had answered my prayers. He eased Aiden’s suffering. He was merciful. He reached out and made my son whole.

Aiden was spared a lifetime of painful struggle. His ears were spared the snickers and whispers of uninformed human cruelty. He wasn’t held captive in a body that wouldn’t do the things he longed to do. God is good. God is merciful.

I still struggle with grief and my arms continue to yearn for the embrace of my oldest son. I still find myself wondering what he’d be like if he were here with me. But that is a mother’s heart. I’m only human. I miss my son and look forward to the day when we’re united once again.

And, with my faith, I know that day will come. It will be a long time from now, as I have been blessed with three other sons to guide and care for. But, I know, someday, I’ll see my angel, Aiden, again.

Because God is good.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday Sundries 03.05.11: Husbands and Baby Blues

Welcome, y’all!

This morning I jumped out of bed, thinking I only had 20 minutes to get dressed and travel to my church for a Women’s Brunch. Turns out I had 50 minutes. I took the time to do dishes before I left. Once I arrived, I felt so blessed and loved. Women of all ages sat together at tables and shared their inspirations for daily faith and Christ-like living. One of the older women at my table cried as she shared her story. I left filled with a sense of camaraderie and connection with several new women in my Church. I am so grateful for the ability to meet in the open with people of the same faith – to be able to speak freely of my beliefs and of Christ’s power within my own life. There are so many places in the world where if you even mention Christ, you will be put to death. But not here.

I spoke of my Postpartum Depression and how God has used that to change my life and allow me to reach out to several women on a daily basis. You know what y’all? Not ONE woman at that table judged me for my hospitalization. Not one woman at that table loved me any less or told me I failed as a mother because I had Postpartum Depression. I know I speak about Postpartum Depression all the time online but I don’t get the opportunity to talk about it in person very often. To sit in sisterhood at a table with other mothers and not be judged for my experiences – WOW. So very grateful and blessed.

Today, I don’t have specific questions to answer. The questions I’ll be addressing are based on search terms which led people to my blog within the past seven days. If people are looking for these topics, I want to provide information to answer their unasked questions.

I wish every one of you a wonderful Saturday – one filled with insight, peace, and happiness.

And as always, take care of YOU first.

*The answers given here are written by me, a non-health care professional. I’m a mom who has been through hell with Postpartum twice, ante-natal depression once and has dedicated her life to learning all there is to know about Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders. Please check with your healthcare provider prior to implementing any of the information you may find below. It is NOT meant to be and/or replace professional advice or orders.


1) Should baby blues last for more than 4 weeks?

No. The blues should not last for more than 4 weeks. It may take up to 4 weeks for the blues to dissipate completely but if you are consistently experiencing what you feel are the blues for a solid 4 weeks, you really should talk with your doctor. Postpartum Depression also does not just manifest as “the blues.” There are other issues which are also included in the Postpartum spectrum. Anxiety, irritability, anger, intrusive thoughts, and obsessive-compulsive behavior are all symptoms that may manifest in an episode of a Postpartum Mood Disorder. Up to 80% of all new moms experience the blues. As many as 20% of those who experience the blues go on to develop a Postpartum Mood Disorder. Just because your symptoms of the blues are continuing past 4 wks does not mean you are developing a serious case of Postpartum Depression. But you should absolutely go see a health professional to explore what’s going on with you. Be sure to ask for a thyroid panel, an iron level check, and a Vitamin D level check to rule out any health issues for your continued struggles. It’s beyond important to get the Thyroid panel as Anti-depressants will NOT help with a thyroid issue – and may actually make things worse for someone with a severe thyroid issue, therefore delaying successful treatment and recovery. It’s also very important (and hard) not to blame yourself for Postpartum Depression. You have not done anything to deserve this or to cause this to happy. There is help, there is hope – and you are absolutely not alone as your journey toward recovery.

2) How does husband cope with postpartum?

There are several ways in which a husband copes with postpartum. The answer to this question really lies in what the person asking meant.

Does she mean if HE has postpartum? Or does she mean if SHE has postpartum? And then – does she mean What’s the best way for him to cope? Or how do most husbands in general cope with postpartum? I want to address all of those below in as succinct  a manner as possible.

If HE has postpartum: Men & women exhibit different symptoms when it comes to depression. Men keep quiet. They will stay at work longer, avoid home, self-medicate, get angry and irritable, shift blame, shirk responsibilities, blame themselves for the failure. If your husband is suddenly not at home as much, angry, frustrated, and not smiling or as easy going as usual – it might be time to try to get him to a healthcare professional. A great website to learn more can be found at Postpartum Men. It’s run by Dr. Will Courtenay, who is an expert in Male Depression. Dr. Courtenay is amazing and truly knows the male psyche. If you suspect your husband is struggling with depression, visit Dr. Courtenay’s site and then sit down to talk with your partner. Let him know you won’t judge him and encourage him to get help for himself and for his family.

If SHE has postpartum: He needs to avoid telling her to snap out of her depression first and foremost. Dive in with the chores, housework, and baby duty. Take older kids out to play. Change diapers before mom nurses at night or if she’s sleeping (those precious extra moments of sleep are heavenly). Also, he should read this cheat sheet for a fabulous list of things to say to his wife. Support her going to doctor’s appointments but don’t force her UNLESS she’s clearly expressed intent to harm herself or others. Never every sneak attack a psychiatric appointment on your wife. Bad juju.Very Bad juju. Ask how you can help. And then do it. Don’t wait for her to ask – because she won’t. Bottom line, love her, support her, and help with the work around the house. Give her time to heal and recover. It’ll be a thankless job but one day, she’ll tell you thank you. Trust me. I’m eternally grateful for the support I received from my husband during Postpartum. (This also covers the BEST way for him to cope)

How most husbands cope: The most common gut reaction is to deny there’s anything wrong. Some husbands even believe their wives are faking symptoms in order to get out of parenting responsibilities. Still others tell their wives to snap out of it. Or they believe that medication and doctors can’t do anything to help so they don’t support their wives seeking help, instead telling them that they need to suck it up and just tough it out. Husbands are just as shattered as we are when Postpartum strikes. They are lost – the woman they love with all their heart has faded away. She’s gone. In her place is a new woman, a shadow of the woman she once was – the woman she was maybe even hours before… they don’t know how to fix us. So they get angry, scared, and frustrated. They snap at us, not knowing how else to react. I would highly recommend getting a husband reacting in any of the aforementioned ways to attend a doctor’s appointment with you. A doctor will legitimize your experience for your husband. Many husbands have what we call “White Coat Syndrome,” ie, until he hears it from a doctor, it’s not real. It helps to get him to the Doctor because it involves him in the solution, thereby allowing him to “fix” the situation at hand in some way, which is what men excel at – solving problems. It’s not an easy ride with a husband who is not supportive. You’re also not alone in this – but when you have Postpartum, it is so very important to have support at home – get BOTH of you to the doctor as soon as possible. There is hope, even in this.