Tag Archives: survivor

What tips do you have for surviving an anniversary?

Yesterday’s post, The Power of the Anniversary, got quite a bit of attention. Might have something to do with not blogging since oh, December, but it may also have something to do with the fact that the anniversary is not talked about very often and many women feel all the same emotions rushing back at them – confused  as the wave overtakes them because they’re supposed to be healed!

So I thought I would ask what you did to cope with these emotions if they cropped up?

I did not do anything particularly spectacular beyond surviving the day and moving forward. Looking back, I wish I had done something different and special. And I may just start doing that despite being recovered and not really experiencing the full blast of the anniversary anymore.

One thing I always thought would be neat would be to release a balloon with a piece of paper inside listing the warning signs of Postpartum Depression along with contact information for Postpartum Support International. But that’s the advocate side of me.

The mom/woman side of me has other suggestions:

Write yourself a letter for the following year with goals and expectations. Force yourself to focus on the positive. But be sure to include your current emotions in the letter so when you read it the following year, you’ll know just how far you’ve come.

Schedule a 30 minute massage. I know, massage is not a cure-all but it IS relaxing and pampers you. If you can’t do a massage, take a hot bath at home with a favorite bubble bath!

Seek out others who have struggled through Postpartum Depression and talk with them about their anniversaries. You’ll be surprised at how common the feelings you’re struggling with are.

If things begin to slide south well before the anniversary, talk with a therapist or a professional. Seek help. It’s ok to get help. It’s SMART to get help.

Surviving a Postpartum Mood Disorder is no small feat. There will be battle scars. And they will be re-opened. Get your “first-aid” kit ready so you can close those suckers up before they get really nasty!

Just Talkin’ Tuesday 11.17.09: When did your fog lift?

base photo credit "water droplet with fall reflection" by mahalie @ flickr

All the cliches you hear about not being happy are profoundly true. The grass is a dull shade of green – khaki almost, for me at least. The trees filled with sorrow, the birds didn’t chirp as cheerily, the leaves waved as if mourning, the air filled with the weight of the entire world as the clouds swooped down and swarmed around my mind, fogging my vision of anything in front of me. My grandfather called those infamous fogs “pea souppers.”

I remember the day my Pea Soupper existance finally lifted. It was a bright spring day. The trees stood ready to burst forth brand new leaves still wrapped tightly in buds, rain had rushed through – not drenched us but rather left just enough behind for everything to sparkle a bit. I can still smell the rain of that day if I close my eyes and think long enough. THIS is the day I want to hold close to my heart forever when I think of my PPD.

Sure, I remember the bad stuff. I remember the cold sleep room where I first checked out. I remember all too well the smell of the soap from the NICU. I remember the cold hard plastic and mechanical whirring of my breast pump, the flat pillow at the psych ward. But when I think of my PPD, I want to remember that spring day. The day that not only Mother Nature birthed yet another child of spring but I found myself reborn as a complete person – myself and motherhood all rolled into one – ready to take on the very world which waited at my feet. Had it still been raining I may have pulled over and danced a little jig.

So tell us – when did your fog lift?

Let’s get to just talkin’.

 

Real Life isn’t All Roses….

Back during the Ultimate Blog Party for Moms, I had the pleasure of “meeting” Jess.

Jess is a hip mama who writes what she calls her anti-blog all about her gluten free lifestyle. She’s a self-admitted non-expert who just goes with the flow. Sometimes things turn out well, other times not so well. But hey, that’s life, right?

Jess is also a two-time PPD survivor. Turns out when she stopped by here she had been contemplating writing about her experience. She emailed me with the post back during Blog Week for the Mother’s Act and it got lost in all the craziness.

Today though, I really want to share her post with you. It’s poignant, wise, and informative. Most of all, it reflect’s Jess’ bravery in finally stepping out to share her story with the world.

My favorite part of the post?

When Jess describes some of her feelings during PPD.

“There are moments too when I feel my brow furrow and an aching in my stomach like I’m holding my breath almost.  I am suddenly angry for no reason, anxious with no cause.  It’s a strange and unwanted intrusion and it is certainly not me, not an attitude problem, not a choice to respond to a situation wrongly.  Often it comes before I’m even faced with a situation, when I’m thinking of nothing or doing nothing in particular.  It sneaks in and I’m taken prisoner for the moment until someone like my husband steps in or one of the older kids helps out, sometimes even a phone call has helped.”

You can read her complete post by clicking here.

Health care practitioners discourage disclosure of Postnatal Depression

Picture by Flickr

Picture by Flickr

In a study published yesterday, UK researchers reviewed the disclosure of Postnatal Depression from three different vantage points – the mother, the GP, and home health visitors.

The results are chilling.

The mothers reported making a conscious decision regarding their decision to disclose symptoms of Postpartum Depression which is not terribly shocking because I went through the same thing. It is most definitely a conscious decision and a difficult one at that.

The chilling result lies within the response of the Health Practioners  “described strategies used to hinder disclosure and described a reluctance to make a diagnosis of postnatal depression, as they had few personal resources to manage women with postnatal depression themselves, and no services to which to refer women for further treatment.”

I feel as if I’ve been punched in the gut. I want to cry, scream, yell, stomp my feet. But I know that won’t change what’s going on over there and even over here because I’m sure this attitude is very pervasive in the medical community here in America as well.

Where’s the responsibility of the medical professional who turns a blind eye to the struggling new mother and actually uses strategies to prevent her from admitting she’s having a hard time? How does that serve anyone but the selfish nature of that physician? What happened to the Hippocratic Oath and “Do no Harm?”

If we pretend a problem doesn’t exist, it doesn’t go away. What if we pretended cancer was all in our heads and didn’t offer chemo, radiation, or other therapies? Would it go away or would it sit and fester, eventually killing us and hurting those around us? I think we all know that answer. It is no different with Postpartum Mood Disorders. Left untreated a new mother may even slip into Psychosis as she tries to rationalize intrusive thoughts or fall even deeper into depression and attempt to take her own life or even worse, that of her infant’s.

With all the online resources, training, and knowledge at the fingertips of even lay-people such as myself, there is no excuse for medical professionals to ignore this condition anymore. Any medical professional in my opinion who would implement strategies to hinder disclosure of symptoms should be stripped of the right to practice medicine. It’s wrong and it should NOT be acceptable. Mothers deserve to be treated honestly and with respect. They need to be given a safe place in which they are able to admit any emotional trauma or difficulty they are having. Giving them this space will foster the growth of trust and compassion rather than continue to grow the cold shoulder on which they have apparently been leaning upon.

So what can we do about this? Write about it like Katherine Stone, myself, Cheryl Jazzar, and others. SPEAK like Natalie Dombrowski, become active in online peer support like Tonya Rosenberg, talk to another mom and let her lean on you. Let her know you too have been there. Talk with doctors or their nursing staff about your experience and how important their role in discover and recovery can be. Write your Senator in support of The MOTHER’S Act as this wil laid in the growth of knowledge and support among the medical professional as well as research regarding how to bring the new mother and medical professional together. Sharing your story is the best thing a survivor can do. Our voices woven together can be the strongest advocate for increased treatment and acceptance. Won’t you lend us yours?

Natalie Dombrowski is SPEAKing

Natalie Dombrowski is a brave mama.

I found her today because Unexpected Blessing is listed as a helpful site in a sidebar for an article about her in the Southtown Star.

She has survived so much – traumatic childbirth, hospitalization for postpartum depression, and is now dedicated to helping other mothers through speaking events and her new book, Back to You (available at amazon, by the way).

Her first event is coming up this Thursday and if you’re in the Palos Park area of IL, I would highly recommend checking it out.

Here’s the event info:

Sunrise of Palos Park
12828 S LaGrange Road
Palos Park, IL
7:00pm
Natalie will also be our featured interview the following Thursday on January 15th so check back then to find out more about Natalie and her story!