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September 16, 2018

A friend asked me recently when I struggled most with postpartum depression. This is a friend I have known since my oldest child was a few months old. And she didn’t know. Many of my friends didn’t know, maybe still don’t. They didn’t know because I didn’t know.

They didn’t know because I was afraid to use the words postpartum depression. I believed the stigma that postpartum depression only happens to moms that don’t love their babies, moms that don’t take care of themselves naturally, moms that aren’t me. I believed that postpartum depressions was only postpartum psychosis. I didn’t know it included social anxiety, anger, and obsessive thoughts. I didn’t know that I wasn’t alone.

They didn’t know how I struggled because I wasn’t able to name my pain. It felt too multilayered to pin it down as “sad”. I had no idea how to explain the social anxiety that took over my us...

April 27, 2018

"If you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you're depressed, everyone runs the other way. That's the stigma." Kevin Breel, honest comedian 

We probably all know this impulse, to move away instead of lean in.  I know it.  When I was hit with Postpartum Anxiety and Depression for the third time, and this time actually had the language to understand what was happening to me, I looked back on friendships in my past where I hadn't understood how to be supportive.  Where I'd ran away.  Where I'd been annoyed, even.  I found myself guilty.  

So what can we do instead to support our friends in the swell of hormones and emotion?  This advice is good for standing by any postpartum mother, not just those with PMADs.  Postpartum is the time of great transition, and solid ground may feel elusive as a woman shifts int...

September 29, 2017

After birth, a new mama may find herself famished.  The birth journey, coming after possibly months of discomfort and limited eating, combined with a new nursling takes a lot of energy.  Regardless of blood loss, birthing a baby is the largest energy out put a woman has in her life.  In traditional cultures, warming foods are said to heal and stabilize a new mama's body.

When I am pregnant, a significant part of my nesting revolves around food.  I make lists of food to store in the freezer.  Near the end I double almost everything I make in order to have extra meals after birth.  I even tell my husband "This is the first thing I want to eat after birth.  And then, this ...".  The meal preparation in advance also minimizes my day-to-day expectations for a time.  A meal train is a great way to get family and friends on board, and to offer them a way to help tha...

September 15, 2017

 A woman opens her body, her soul, her identity & psyche in order to travel through birth. In many ways all that she was is shattered. She is coming into being alongside her new born babe. The pieces fly around then settle into a pattern so erratic it feels her life is still airborne. The first forty days is the time of integration.                       

There is truly a fourth trimester with its own catalogue of hormonal reactions & physical changes. What took 9 months to form is suddenly gone, but our systems take much longer to shift.  This is postpartum.  Most of us don't plan for this time.  We hear the word "postpartum" in hushed tones, an unmentionable fear that implies suicide and depression instead of the normal progression from pregnancy to new mother that the word actually means.  The most we hear...

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