An open letter to my Confidence

Dear Confidence,

We need to talk.

I’m feeling as though you’re not as committed to our relationship as I am & I’m starting to really question the way you treat me sometimes, specifically, the way you leave me without word, without warning & without reason.

We’ve had a really tumultuous time together haven’t we. Me being that little bit behind in Primary school – & needing catching up which included me staying down in year one, needing remedial reading & math – was really hard on you but we got there. You disappeared for while after my grade three teacher calling me stupid in front of my class but came back a year later when I started enjoying learning again having a wonderful encouraging teacher. You always remained in the gym with me when I had my gymnastics classes & in my backyard when trampolining. I was the happiest then & you really helped get me back on track academically. In grade six I had the most wonderful teacher who made me absolutely love learning & school & we were so very close that year & I’ll cherish that forever.

High school was rough on us both. Boys, bras, periods, lack of attention, bullying, bitchy girls, being labelled & judged for being a Rabbi’s daughter etc was really difficult, but things got better when we moved schools for year 11 & 12. And after school, boy-o-boy did things get even better. University brought out the academic in me. I started getting high marks because I was doing subjects I wanted to do & was good at. I loved learning, was studious, did all my assignments, handed them in on time & had a ball socially as there were no preconceived notions of who I was & how I should behave etc. Why am I reminding you ? You were there!

Fast forward a few years & I was working in advertising – I was presenting to marketing managers in large corporations, was juggling the demands of my clients with the wishes & visions of my creative department & was loyal & committed to the bosses of the two agencies I was at the longest. I had fantastic relationships with my clients & all my performance reviews reflected that. You were at an all time high & we were going places. After years of feeling as though I had to prove myself, we settled into a nice rhythm & this permeated into my social life also which now included people I enjoyed spending time with & people who made me feel good about myself.

Fast forward to a few broken hearts & relationship learning experiences about being important in someone else’s life & not just an appendage, a long distance relationship that ended as soon as it started due to the apathy & fear of the other partner & a promised life together with picket fences & kids only to have shared this person with another – except I didn’t know about it. Happiness & you returned when I met Seon. A proposal six months later & a wedding seven months after that & before we knew it we were pregnant & then pregnant again with Orli.

And then our beautiful Orli was born. We had had spent a lot of time preparing for the baby & read up on what to expect, about breastfeeding, about routines & settling, but as soon as she was born & before we could put anything into place that we’d learnt together, you left. Without warning. Just like that. Like a puff of white smoke. I was a empty shell trying to get through the days. A prem baby, being separated from birth & then coming home without her & feeling completely in over my head & out of control was the start of what I call the eye of the storm. In those days I begged for your return, but you stubbornly stayed away & kept your distance. I didn’t understand why you stayed away but you crept back ever.so.slowly over the next year. You played with me & my emotions time & time again. You teased me & at times laughed in my face, but that entire time I pretended you were with me. And it was exhausting. I wondered what you were teaching me but I couldn’t see it & it pissed me off. A lot. But in time, things between us improved & my relationship with Orli grew stronger & stronger.

Just under two years later we had a big talk about having another baby. I’d done a lot of therapy  & work in that time & was sure that this time round you were going to stay by my side. We had this one in the bag. As the pregnancy continued & the issues & complications increased we were still doing ok. Following the birth things were still looking good between us. After week home with Flynn you were slowly edging your way out the door. He wasn’t feeding very well & we went back to hospital. We were there for nine weeks & in that time you seldom visited. I just don’t understand why you were not there as I really could have done with you – even for an hour a day. We had been through & survived so much together & I just found this distance kind of cruel & unfair.

After nine weeks & Flynn’s discharge we returned home & you came back too. You had a knowing smile & a familiarity & settled back with me. Three months later you came with me to a mother & baby unit & settling school in order to give Flynn the gift of sleep. And me too! You came with us as I was sure that this five days would be so beneficial to us all. You hadn’t gone anywhere this time, I was just too tired to find you. I didn’t feel defeated, just deflated & exhausted, but five days later we came home together with renewed affection & the basis of a really wonderful long lasting relationship.

Flynn still struggles with his food & drinking/eating but I think we’re doing really well together. We’ve often had to lean on our Laryngomalacia, Tracheomalacia, Bronchomalacia in Australia (LTBM Australia) support group for things like food supplements, food & feeding advice, help & ideas & encouragement to go to a speech pathologist etc. I am & will be forever grateful for their existence, support & space & have not shied away from letting you know just how fickle you can sometimes be in our relationship.

Just recently Flynn was trying to tell me he wanted to drop down to one day sleep. And you went on a hiatus. Seriously!? How did we get here again? After everything we’d been through a change in a sleep schedule sends you away! Really!? Just so you know, I did it. With the help a few friends & digging in deep, I did it. And what’s more, is that I can feel your presence again & I truly hope you stay.

I know being there all the time with me can be tiring & sometimes unrelenting, but I really need you to roll with the punches – because clearly I can’t. That’s who you are & what I need you to be for me. There are so many times when Patty decides to drop in unannounced & I know if you were there with me, she’d have no reason to stay. And with you taking up the last chair at the table, she’d have nowhere to sit.

So Confidence, my dear friend, I’m asking you from the depths of my being to please stay with me. I need you & I can’t be who I want to be without you. I can’t be a good enough wife for Seon or a good enough mum to my kids without you. So please unpack your bags for good, put on your comfy shoes & get comfortable, cos I think you’ll be staying a while.

All my love forever & ever.

Me xo

Things you’ll never hear me say

I’ve previously written about things that I’ve learnt & also things I wanna do/have/eat/see etc, but this time I’m taking another approach & listing some of the things you will never hear me say. So, without further ado, here we go.

Oh it’s just reflux. That will pass.

I love when you downplay my anxieties about anything related to Flynn’s health or feeding issues.

That’s the grocery shopping done for the week. I won’t need to step back into the store for seven whole days.

Oh, you’ve been diagnosed with PND/PPD. Are you sure it’s not just the baby blues? Maybe go for a walk or go shopping. Things’ll look so much better then.

A day spa. Really? For me? Oh, I couldn’t. There’s so many more other things I’d rather be doing.

Oh your children aren’t vaccinated, no worries, come over for that playdate.

Can I please pay for the privilege of you inserting instruments in my wa-wa & taking swabs?

I wouldn’t give my kids leftovers for dinner.

I think it’s really important to follow everything the parenting websites say to do & not to do for your kids. It’s simply crazy not to take their advice because they know you & your child so well.

Thank you so much for the mountain of newborn baby clothes you bought as gifts. I can’t wait to go home & wash them all before my baby can wear them.

Oh wow – the Wiggles are going to be in concert again. We must get tickets.

I just don’t see the point of getting a house cleaner.

The ad said it cleans itself so it must be true.

No, really, come to our house for dinner. I’ll cook. It’s really no bother.

Your baby also has Laryngomalacia. You know they grow out of it by 12 months.

Oh really, your baby is how old? Shouldn’t they be doing X & Y by now?

If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night by at least six months they never will.

Breast is best.

Thanks for the dinner invitation for a late family dinner. The kids will be fine while being distracted (& your constant reminders of how well they are managing to stay up late is encouraging) but once in the car they will turn feral & be up half the night. I won’t resent your dinner invitation at all & will be looking forward until the next time you do the same thing to us.

I love the cold & Winter is my favourite season.

Yes, that’s it, my child is hungry/tired. Thanks for your helpful insights.

Big deal. So you have to hold your baby all day. How hard can that be?

There’s no such thing as colic. It’s a fallacy.

I’ll have a Pepsi thanks.

Oh you’ve had/got gastro/croup/bronchitis & you want to come over. Oh please do & don’t forget to infect the kids. Especially Flynn cos his Laryngomalacia means that he finds it hard to breathe & he loves a challenge! Oh he might even lose weight while he’s unwell. Double bonus!

There’s no such thing as postnatal/postpartum mood disorders (PMDs), it’s just mother’s whinging that it’s harder than they thought.

I love when you compare my baby to yours. They have so much in common, like genetics, temperaments & personalities – they really could be twins.

To the stranger: Wow, I’m amazed how well you know my kids given this is the first time you’ve seen them. What a wonderful gift you have.

Formula smells delicious. I’m going to have it now on instead of milk.

I love housework. My most favourite task is putting away washing. It rocks!

Meh, it’s just money.

I really don’t believe in depression or anxiety. They’re just excuses for being lazy & moody.

Are you sure you want to go out with someone that’s been married before?

You had your baby at 36 weeks too. Oh, well we all know that 36 weeks isn’t really prem.

I find it so comical that every one of my t-shirts gets holes in the exact same spot after wearing them once. And what’s more, I find it amusing that I can’t work out what it’s from.

Mother’s instinct is such bull.

Kids, please take your shoes off inside the house after preschool & school so that all the sand & tanbark goes everywhere. I’ve just vacuumed so it’s totally fine.

I really hope there’s no chocolate soufflé on the menu.

Hitler was just misunderstood.

To my kids: No you can’t go to bed early.

Some people have it so much worse off you know. Your issues really aren’t that bad.

Ah the wind & the rain in my face – nothing can beat that.

To another mother: Are you working at the moment?

You think your child might have lice. No worries let’s still have our playdate.

The internet is such a time waster.

Don’t buy us a lottery ticket cos we might win.

The snack fell on the floor, please put it in the bin.

I wouldn’t put kids into daycare, especially if I wasn’t going to work. It’s cruel to your kids. They really should be home with you.

He/she must be teething.

I find it funny when you call that game a ‘jew jump’.

That’s ok come in, I’m just on the toilet.

Your baby is also ‘failure to thrive’. Isn’t it wonderful constantly worrying about food & feeding issues.

You should really <insert anything here>

I’d love to make dinner tonight. I insist.

Motherhood’s a breeze.

I’m sure I’ll be adding to these, but the start I’ve made is quite thorough. Feel free to share with me what things you’ll never say. I’d love to hear them.

 

To the postpartum depression moms suffering in silence as posted in Postpartum Progress

I have reposted many articles from Postpartum Progress here as I feel that offer both insight & support to those those suffering from a Postnatal/postpartum Mood Disorder (PMD), those that have had a baby after surviving from a PMD & also to partner that are supporting their partner suffering from with a PMD.

This post would have to be one of the BEST descriptions of a mother with a PMD that I’ve ever read. I didn’t write it, but I may as well have. They were not my words, but most definitely my thoughts. Please read this & share it with anyone you know who is an expectant mum, new mum or any mum really that has a young child or toddler.

Warning: For those of you that are currently suffering any forms of a PMD, this post may be triggering to you. If you proceed & start struggling, please head straight over to #PPDChat support page on FB where comfort is only a ‘post’ button away. If you think you need help, please call up your local GP & make an appointment immediately so that you can get the help you need.

http://postpartumprogress.com/to-the-postpartum-depression-moms-suffering-in-silence

 

An open letter to the #PPDChatArmy mamas

 

To my dear #PPDChatArmy Mamas,

This is my first post & I wanted to take this opportunity to tell each & every one of you how I feel about you. I could go on forever about the impact you have all had on my life but I wanted to keep it brief, so all I’m going to say is thank you.

Thank you for allowing me to share my life with you.

Thank you for reading my rants & vents & consoling me when times were tough & when the journey ahead seemed unsurmountable.

Thank you for offering support to me when I asked & especially when I didn’t.

Thank you for allowing me to offer support back to all of you.

Thank  you for sharing your life with me too.

Thank you for not judging me.

Thank you for making me feel safe.

Thank you for helping me with Selma & Patty.

Thank you for teaching me how to be a warrior mum.

Thank you for letting me disarm Velma & for all agreeing that she really is a ho.

Thank you for making me smile & cry & sometimes both at the same time.

Thank you for allowing me to feel comfortable enough to reach out.

Thank you for saving me from slipping again last year.

Thank you for giving me strength each & every day. Still.

Thank you for believing in me.

Thank you for allowing my words into your home (or work office or bathroom if you access internet from your Smartphone).

Thank you for making me feel welcome.

Thank you for your words of encouragement.

Thank you for reminding me to be honest with myself. And with others.

Thank you for being there at any time day or night whenever you saw the #PPDChat hashtag on my tweets.

Thank you for helping me be ok with some of the tough decisions I have had to make.

Thank you for helping with the tough decisions I’ll have to make in the future.

Thank you for your friendship.

Thank you for your unconditional love.

Thank you for giving me the strength to take my mask off.

Thank you for making me feel important.

Thank you for making me feel part of the coolest club in town.

Thank you for not allowing me to hide.

Thank you for helping me be brave.

Thank you for your encouragement to have a voice.

Thank you for making me feel I belong.

Thank you for allowing me to say ‘today, I don’t like my child’.

Thank you for not judging me when I told you, ‘today I don’t like my child’.

Thank you for convincing me that all I have to be to my children is ‘good enough’.

Thank you for not letting me make excuses (although I’m still working on it).

Thank you for kicking arse.

Thank you for wanting to kick stigma’s arse.

Thank you for giving me strength.

Thank you all for who you are.

Thank you for everything.

One very thankful mama,

Yuz xo

PS. My kids will thank you all too one day.

17 Confessions from PPD & PPA Survivors by Casey Mullins

Casey Mullins delved deep to put this post together for Babble about the scary & not often divulged confessions most of us have during the hell that is PPD & PPA. I am grateful to have been asked to share my thoughts & so honoured to be sharing space amongst 16 other of my warrior mama sisters. Our names were protected in this piece, but I’m ok to let you know I’m Susan M.

Thanks Casey for this piece & for sharing it with us all.

http://blogs.babble.com/babys-first-year-blog/2012/03/12/postpartum-depression-thoughts/

The Baby After PPD Survivor Series

Last month I was a honoured to join my BAPPD (Baby After PPD) mamas on Katherine Stone’s Postpartum Progress website. The seven of us met in the Twitterverse when Amber Koter-Puline (@atlantamom) sent out a tweet saying she was going to start up a support group for PPD survivors thinking about having another baby or pregnant. We kept in touch & supported each other throughout our journey & then put our stories together for all to see. It was an extremely cathartic experience for me as I had never told or written my story or gave the details of the hell I endured after having Orli.

If you missed it, here it is again. I’ve separated the days so you can read one at a time.

Day 1 http://postpartumprogress.com/7-postpartum-depression-survivors-share-their-stories-of-having-more-children

Day 2 http://postpartumprogress.com/postpartum-depression-survivor-series-day-two

Day 3 http://postpartumprogress.com/postpartum-depression-survivor-series-day-three-the-husbands

Day 4 http://postpartumprogress.com/postpartum-survivor-series-day-4-what-happened-after-the-next-baby

Day 5 http://postpartumprogress.com/postpartum-depression-survivor-series-day-5-coming-together-around-a-new-baby

Many thanks to Amber for putting this all together & for asking Katherine to feature it on her website. And thanks also to Katherine for allowing us to share our stories.