perinatal mood disorders

Sharing (and Owning) My Story

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A few weeks ago I made the decision to share my story with you. I had no idea how it would be received or how it would make me feel, but I put it out there and took the risk.

I have been trying to figure out how to describe what it’s been like since then, and today I finally figured it out. I was listening to a podcast (my newest obsession) and they mentioned the Japanese art of kintsugi. You may think that you haven’t heard of it before, but chances are you have.

Kintsugi is the Japanese practice of filling cracks on broken pottery with gold, silver or platinum. The metaphor has been used a million times, so forgive me for using it again, but it so perfectly describes how I have been feeling that I wanted to share it with you. I really tried to eloquently re-write the Wikipedia description of the philosophy and ultimately realized that I was failing… so instead I am just going to use their words.

As a philosophy, kintsugi can be seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.
"Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated... The [changes] of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. "— Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

So I know it is pretty wordy, but this is it, this is how I feel now, and it is in stark contrast to how I felt before.

Before, I felt like if I own this, if I put this out into the world people will actually see me. They will know I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore, that I thought about ending my life and that I thought I was a crappy mom.

(Aside: Here’s the place that I should probably add that being open is something that is pretty hard for me as a person. I generally write about my feelings or put them into my art, but talking about them, like really talking about them, owning them, putting them out there into the world, it’s just not something I have historically done.)

But this is what I have learned, and why I’m sharing it with you today. I hit publish on that post and went into my first, of nine sessions, for the day. This is important for me to tell you, because that was me trying to hide from it. Like when you hit send on an email and close your computer and go do something else, that’s what I did. I was terrified and needed to busy myself. What were my friends, family, clients, random people in the world going to think, and eeek, they were going to see me. But then my phone, inbox, message feed and anywhere else you can reach me started blowing up. So many people, people I hadn’t heard from in 20 or 30 years, people I see everyday, family, clients, and my community, not only offered their support but also shared their stories, and their stories were soooo similar, not all the details of course, but the feelings. The feelings were all the same.

And so this is it, this is why I shared my story. This is why I owned it. And this filled the crack, the broken piece of me, in with gold.

I now know that I want you to see it when you see me. It did not make me weak, it’s part of what makes me beautiful, strong and resilient. It reminded me that we all have cracks, and that it feels good to own them. Thank you for teaching me this, for sharing your stories, and for supplying me with the gold to fill mine in.

 

 

 

Let's Talk About Postpartum Anger

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Let’s talk about anger. It’s ugly… like really ugly, and it’s also a pretty common symptom of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Typically, when we talk and think about postpartum depression, we think of a woman who is sad, who has a hard time connecting with her child, who is weepy, feels hopeless and maybe resentful. This is the picture the media paints about what postpartum depression looks like, and part of the reason why it is so misunderstood.

In reality, postpartum depression and anxiety can manifest itself as irritability, rage, frustration and anger. Which is often directed at your partner, self or even child. These intense feelings of anger can leave you feeling guilty, trapped or worthless as a mom leading to isolation, negative thinking, resentment and possibly suicidal thoughts.

Are you curious about what it looks like? Picture this, your toddler just finished lunch, and you finally got to sit down to feed the baby. And then, your toddler starts complaining that they are hungry. While this would annoy most mothers, considering you JUST fed them lunch, you start feeling angry. Your heart starts beating faster and your blood starts to boil. You can feel your blood pressure rising. Maybe you yell, maybe you aggressively stand up and try to appease your toddler, while dropping F-bombs. Or maybe you just start counting the hours until nap and then bedtime so you can finally be alone and have some quiet. You might think about running away or possibly hurting yourself. And then, when the situation starts to calm down, you feel overwhelmed with guilt. A good mother shouldn’t act this way. A good mother would know how to stay calm. I’ve probably scarred my children for life? The list of worries goes on, and the feelings of guilt grow bigger, creating more depressive and anxious thoughts. You know it’s a problem, but it’s not something that’s really talked about. Well… it should be. This is part of living with postpartum depression and anxiety and it will get better with treatment.

It’s possible that if you’re reading this, you’re looking for how to get help right now. So, I’ve compiled 3 of my favorite tips for calming down anger to get you started. 

 

If you, or someone you love, might be feeling this type of postpartum anger reach out and get help. You can find some resources here and if you think I might be a good fit to help you heal, please call 818-917-6596 or click here to schedule your free consultation today.