Hello and Welcome to my blog. I am glad that you are here.

I am a mom who has experienced Postpartum Depression/Postpartum Mood Disorder (PMD). I am now a Postpartum Depression Awareness & Support Activist.

I entitled my blog "It Takes A Village" in reference to the African proverb that is so commonly known. I feel very strongly that we as a society have set very high standards and expectations of new mothers to take care of their children on their own, without support or help after the first week or so.

I think we have it backwards: New Mom's need respite and support whether they are well or not. We need support and encouragement, and someone to relieve us so that we can get some sleep and time to rejuvienate.

My aim with this blog is to bring awareness to the world, and support to other Moms (and possibly Dads) that are going through this experience. I am passionate about reducing stigma as it creates the barrier that keeps women silent and suffering. I want Moms to feel safe enough to share their story and get the support and help they need to get better.

I encourage you, if you believe you may be experiencing more than the "baby blues" to seek out help. You will not be judged or criticized. The goal of all list here on this blog are to support you and help you heal so that you may live the life you dreamed of with your child.

This blog is a work in progress, please check in often to see more updates and new information!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Year Three ~ January 2013

Three years. It feels like ages ago, and in moments, it feels like it was yesterday. I look at my son, and again I am amazed at the fact that I am the mother of this wonderful little boy. My heart fills with love and gratitude for his existence in my life.

Many times I wish that I could remember his infant-hood with loving memories, of holding him, enjoying him, feeling the joy of exploring his little fingers and toes, just like you see in the movies or in commercials. This is a regret I will carry with me.

It is not something that others (non-ppmd mothers and the general public) would understand, but I loved my baby from an emotional distance. I loved him and took care of him as a mother should. I rocked him and fed him, bathed him and dressed him, sang to him and cuddled him, soothed him and calmed him, but all the while I was shattered on the inside. Every day was a battle; every daily function and task was so hard to complete. My emotions were drawn taut, my actions robotic.

Guilt overwhelmed me because I could not be there for him 100%.

I was a great actress too: I looked normal on the outside; like a regular new mommy. I was excited over the new baby boy clothes, I played with my son, I got frustrated with breast feeding and I yelled at my husband. Pretty standard stuff.  The only one who could see through me was my mother. I could have fooled my husband forever-- if he didn't see me break down a month after my son was born.

You see, postpartum depressed mom's are the greatest pretenders. I was never one for drama class, so why was I so good at it now? Out of fear and desperation, that's why. If you are afraid of being crazy, if you are afraid your family will think you are crazy and commit you, if you are afraid that if they think you are crazy or unstable they will take your child away, who is NOT going to pretend that you are A-O.K?

My postpartum depression was more anxiety based. That, plus whacked out hormones that decided they didn't want to go back to normal.  I had eight years of infertility treatments that left my body a mess of confused hormones. I was part hamster at the end of it all.

The first light in my heart went on when my son was three months old and he smiled at me. My guilt dropped a bit as I thought, "maybe he does love me after all'.  His primary care taker for the first four months of his life was my mother, with my husband as the back-up, and me coming in third place when I could be.

I learned that this did not make a difference to my little boy. He was loved by all three of us and between us, he got the nurturing he needed and deserved. He still knew that I was his mommy. He has a close bond with my mother but that's not a bad thing at all.

So, back to year three...my son is a delight and a hooligan all rolled together. I know he loves me and I can't believe how much I love him.

Life is what it is; challenging, a wonder, blah and beautiful...all on different days. If you read my story from the tab above, you will know it it was titled "Embracing Change".  I believe I mentioned that acceptance of change was the key.  Some things I still have difficulty accepting; like being late instead of early, bigger instead of the 109 lbs I started with, and not having very much time to myself. There are a few more things, but I will leave it at that.

Gratitude always saves the day.

 If I was ever asked if it was worth it, I would say that there is no way I would wish PPMD on myself for a second time..E.V.E.R.   It is a question you cannot ask of me, or of anyone suffering with this still quite mysterious and nightmarish illness. No one should have to suffer through this at ALL after they have had a child.

A message to all expecting and new moms out there: Please don't choose the DRAMA class. Call the numbers above and get help right away. Pretending is no longer an option when your life is at stake.

All my love,