On Partner Support and Self-Care

Facebook Live: On Partners and Self-Care -postpartumprogress.com

This week’s Facebook Live Event took place at noon today—which is when you can plan to find us weekly right now. We experienced a few technical difficulties, including near-literally blowing up Katherine’s phone, but we also experienced some great engagement from those in attendance.

It turns out that gathering together in the comments to chat about what Katherine is saying on the video provides Warrior Moms with a great chance to connect. We didn’t realize that would happen with these events, so it’s an added bonus for us all.

If you missed the live event, you can watch it now.

Here’s a list of all the links shared in the comments:

During the chat, Warrior Moms shared what they do to incorporate self-care into their day. Some ideas included coloring, photography, spending time in nature, gardening, showering, reading, taking time to eat, and more. It was really great to see moms promote self-care to one another and reassure each other that self-care is not selfish. It’s what we do to take care of ourselves. Even stepping outside for a moment, as one mom shared, can be all you need to breathe a little easier.

Katherine really drove home how important it is to get quality sleep, even though that feels impossible at times with an infant. She gave different ideas for how to manage sleep, such as parents splitting up the week into two days on and two days off or even splitting the night into five hour segments (or 3-4 hours at a time for our nursing moms).

We also talked real about what moms can do if they don’t have a supportive partner, either by choice or because the partner doesn’t understand postpartum depression. We reminded moms that it’s okay to ask for help, to ask someone to come watch the baby just so you can get five hours of sleep. Even those with a supportive partner talked about how they felt guilty, that their partner deserved something better than what they had with them. We all know that’s depression whispering dark lies in a vulnerable mom’s ear. Don’t listen to or believe that lie!

Near the end of the chat, we started talking about the decision to have another baby, but were cut off due to the phone overheating. We’ll be starting out next week’s chat with that topic and addressing two others as well. Please let us know what you’d like to talk about next week!

Thanks to all who attended and participated or shared in any way. When we share our truths about our experiences with postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, we help other moms. Even those mamas still struggling can be a life line for other moms just simply by opening up and sharing what’s going on in her head, heart, and life. You are all Warrior Moms and we are grateful to have you as part of our team.

See you next week!

Maria Shireen Partners To Support Maternal Mental Health

Charity TiesWe’re so excited to tell you about a brand new maternal mental health partnership between Postpartum Progress and Maria Shireen™, the fashion accessories company famous for developing the Hair Tie Bracelet. The company was co-founded by Shireen Thor, who experienced first-hand the difficult challenge of postpartum depression following the birth of her son last year. As someone who has come through the experience of PPD and launched a successful accessories business in the process, Shireen and her husband, company co-Founder Arni Thor, have decided to support women through programs that address moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

For each Charity Ties bracelet dedicated to postpartum depression and maternal mental health that is sold, Maria Shireen will donate $10 to the nonprofit organization Postpartum Progress. These awesome bracelets have ‪#‎BANDOFSTRENGTH‬ engraved on them and come with a white hair tie corresponding to the specific cause of maternal mental illness. You can remove the hair tie whenever you need to put your hair up, and then put it back into this gorgeous bracelet rather than just wearing a hair tie directly on your wrist for hair emergencies. I have long hair, and I have to tell you I love mine!

Maria Shireen bracelets have been featured everywhere from InStyle and Pop Sugar to the Today Show and Allure magazine. Since the company’s debut in 2015, more than 110,000 bracelets have sold around the world in 40 countries.

I got to meet Shireen Thor recently while on a business trip. We sat together and talked for hours and she shared her own story with me of her recent experience with postpartum depression. Like most of us, she was completely shocked to go through it and now that she’s coming out on the other side she doesn’t want other mothers to feel alone and ashamed. I loved getting the chance to spend time with her and hear her story, and I’m thrilled that she’s decided to use her success with Maria Shireen to help Warrior Moms and support the work of Postpartum Progress. We believe it’s so important for women leaders, entrepreneurs and CEOs to recognize that maternal mental illness is exceedingly common and yet the majority of those who have it never get the help they need. We won’t be able to succeed with our organization’s vision — Every pregnant and new mother with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder will quickly recognize her illness, know why treatment is important, seek help and fully recover thanks to having access to the information, services and support to help her through. — without the support of leaders like Shireen Thor, CEO of Maria Shireen, or Cotton Babies CEO Jennifer Labit, who has also experienced PPD.

charity_ties_2-2Click here to order a Maria Shireen Charity Ties bracelet to support Postpartum Progress.

 

mariashireenwebsite

The Sun Will Shine: A Poem on Postpartum Depression

[Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post comes from Stephanie, and she brings a little something different today: a poem on postpartum depression. It’s beautifully written. It’s also a piece many mamas who have suffered postpartum depression can relate to; the imagery is pretty universal. Enjoy! -Jenna]

The Sun Will Shine: A Poem on Postpartum Depression -postpartumprogress.com

Rocking chair moves, dark room,
Blank stare, melancholy doom,
Holding babe, lanky arms,
Tear falling, first do no harm,

Rock forth, rock back,
Losing grip, feeling slack,
Beautiful girl, pudgy cheeks,
Trying to hold close, feeling so weak,

Told you’ll be okay, trying to believe,
Closing your eyes, just feeling grief,
Slipping fingers, baby girl falling,
Quickly catching her, still bawling,

Fixated spot, empty wall,
A big void, emotional overhaul,
Losing the battle, giving up,
Hating the child, yet still in love,

Months gone, still feel alone,
Trying to fane happiness, trying to feel whole,
Body raped, pill after pill,
Combinations played, climbing that hill,

Happy eyes stare, filled of ocean blue,
Trying to love, holding and hugging you,
Dormant smiles, buried deep,
Hiding my pain, inside I weep,

Hour glass runs out, flipped once again,
Feeling less zombie, gaining control of my head,
Hearing you laugh, seeing you crawl,
Suddenly amazed, Inhaling it all,

“The sun is shining,” I say holding you,
“Let’s go out and observe,” just us two,
We both stare in awe, you at the sky,
Me taking deep breaths, pushing your first year to the side,

The rocking chair still sits, alone and bare,
Room still darkens, my mind is not there,
Now cradling you, swaying side to side,
I’ll never leave you, my baby girl, my pride.

– Stephanie Paige, 2016

 

If you’d like to submit a poem on postpartum depression or any other form of a guest post, you’re welcome to send them to editor@postpartumprogress.org

Postpartum Progress Gave Me Hope

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a post from Keely. I’ll include this little note from her before I send you off to read her piece. It warmed my heart. Maybe yours, too.

“I just wanted to say THANK YOU for creating this safe haven for us women and mothers. This website literally saved my life. It enabled me to find groups and others that are/were going through the same things I was going through and still go through!” See? Hope. -Jenna]

Postpartum Progress Gave Me Hope -postpartumprogress.com

When I had my first and probably only child (son) in September 2014, I was fine at the hospital and had a great delivery via C-section, but the day of leaving the hospital everything came crashing down on me. I knew I was going to be all alone with no help from the doctors or nurses with this tiny little stranger whom I had no idea what to do with. I had never even changed a diaper in all of my life, so I really was very clueless.

The drive home was the beginning of this nightmare. We stopped at the store to pick up my new prescription of antidepressants because of course my doctor already knew I would be a high risk. I was already shaking and in my head had lots of thoughts. “What the hell did we just do”? “This was a horrible mistake to have a baby!” “I don’t want him” and “Take him back please” They were all I could think about.

My husband said he was emotional about how beautiful he was and all I could think of was how the hell I got into this mess. I wanted my old life back so desperately. I was so jealous of people that came over to visit that weren’t in my situation; I just wanted to run away and never come back. I felt bad for people with kids.

I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t do anything but sit on the couch or in my bed and sob. I gave up breastfeeding early and that was very emotional as well. I still struggle with that. My husband was no help as I think he was going through something as well. He was cold and emotionless about the entire situation, so I wasn’t going to get any help there.

I remember a specific time standing in the shower starting to plan my “out” as I was going to take all my money in my savings account and hire a hit man for myself on Craigslist. I kept thinking “surely someone would be desperate enough for thousands of dollars to come kill me with no questions asked right?”

I had to have my mother with me every day that my husband was gone to work. My mother gave my son the love I couldn’t at the time. I couldn’t even babywear at the time as it was too much of him around me. I just wanted to be myself again and he just required too much.

It hurts me to write these things as it was not my child’s fault. He didn’t ask to be brought into this craziness. However, I was bound and determined to get better so that I could be the mother I needed to be. He deserved that and so did I.

I started to research on the internet during maternity leave and found Postpartum Progress and read many stories just like mine. I read as much as I could get my hands on. I bought several books that were also on the subject mentioned on Postpartum Progress. I also found a group link on Postpartum Progress that led me to the Healing Group in Utah where I attended a group every Wednesday. I also found a wonderful hotline for other moms to talk to women that had gone through the same thing I was going through.

I found a decent doctor and tried several different medications in my journey and I have found one so far that works okay for the time being. I am somewhat calm, hopeful, and happy as I think I could possibly be at this time in my life.

Here we are almost two years later and I am still alive and doing much better. My son is happy and healthy. I am very affectionate with him and make it a priority to show him love. People said it would pass, and it has slowly. I am still a little nervous of what might happen almost every second of the day which is probably related to OCD and my preexisting anxiety. I never go out past 7:30 PM with my son as bedtime is my major trigger.

My life still pretty much revolves around my son and a schedule to ensure he gets his naps, proper feeding, playtime, and bedtime for a good night’s rest, but this works for me as it keeps my anxiety tolerable. I cannot fathom having another child. It makes me terribly sad that my son may be alone with no siblings, but I am not sure I could make it out of that dark hole again.

I still grieve for my pre-baby self in some ways, but I also find myself so grateful for the beautiful baby boy that has blessed my life beyond measure. I NEVER thought I would be able to say that. I am also still on medication and I am very grateful that medication exists. I attend a postpartum group with ladies associated with Postpartum Progress. It is so very amazing to know that we are not alone!

THANK YOU AGAIN!

Love Keely from Utah