Tag Archives: postpartum progress

Patient Like a Rainbow

10 Dec

I contemplated not writing this.  Just letting this space and its audience slowly fade in the same way it slowly grew. But if there’s anything I love more than coffee, it’s closure.

I created this as place for me almost 4 years ago – a journal of sorts, online only because an audience is sometimes the best way to create voice and focus in writing, and inspired by my friend Melissa Lee to share my experience with postpartum depression.  Any fear I felt with each press of the “publish” button evaporated with the kind feedback that filled my inbox, and soon the words came with a side of courage.

So I kept writing, and somewhere along the way, my words began to help people.

I am immensely grateful for that most of all.

“don’t be afraid should things happen to change
’cause change can be a beautiful thing
should things fall apart
be patient like a rainbow
life is loving and letting go”

– Brett Dennen, Don’t Forget

I’m not sure exactly how to be “patient like a rainbow,” but have felt a shift over the last year in my need to blog, my desire to write, and my place in the online community.  What began as a whisper last winter is suddenly as clear as day.  My love for this space and all it has given me at first left me in denial, but as I’ve begun to focus on other things, I’m now sure – it’s time to close this chapter and step away from personal blogging.

You can still find me writing for Postpartum Progress as a contributing editor and member of the Warrior Mom Leadership Team.  I’m honored to have joined the Postpartum Progress staff as the Warrior Mom Conference Director, and I’m absolutely loving my work over at Crocheted Happiness, creating little works of art from yarn.  I’ll be around.  Just not here.

Thank you so much for being a part of my journey, for reading and commenting.  For sharing and for encouraging me. And for helping me find my courage.  Writing here has been key to my recovery from postpartum depression and to my path into advocacy work and I will always be grateful for all the experiences and people it brought into my life.

With fondness and deep gratitude,

Susan

 

First and Last: Happy Diamond Anniversary, Postpartum Progress!

7 Jul

Since having children, I find my life is often measured in firsts and lasts.

First poopy diaper, first bath, first words. First steps, and a first day of school.

Last swaddle, last bottle, last diaper.

Each milestone a testament to the bittersweet passage of time, and a common experience among all new mothers.

And then some unique to 15% of us.

First intrusive thought.  First time I screamed at my baby.

Last time I felt like myself.

My time as a new mother is marred by these moments.  Like scars, they fade with time but will never disappear altogether.

First antidepressant pill. First therapy session.

I can accurately recall dates for the onset of each depressive episode and panic attack.  Appointments for hospital visits and therapy sessions are buried in my phone’s archive.  At times it seems that the history of these 5 years is written in the margins of patient files and on the labels of pill bottles.

But as I look back at my journey through PPD, I find moments of light.

First tweet to Lauren Hale.

First visit to Postpartum Progress.

Last time feeling alone.

I wish I could remember which link brought me to Postpartum Progress…that I could point to a date or a website or a moment and bring back the relief I know I must have felt when someone finally told me I was not a bad mother.  I was not a freak.

First blog post.

And though I know I deserve credit for all the hard work of recovery, the simple truth is that I could not have done it without my tribe.  I would not be who I am today without Postpartum Progress, without Katherine Stone.

Last baby.  First joyful birth.

Because of Katherine, I found the doctors I needed to finally have the pregnancy and postpartum period I never knew was possible. Because of Postpartum Progress, I discovered a tribe of women just like me, whose strength and courage filled me when I had none of my own.

First time meeting Katherine.

Last doubt of my calling as an advocate.

And as she has morphed from a Bono-like celebrity in my eyes to a mentor, resource, teammate, and finally friend, I have constantly found myself honored by her presence in my life.

When I think of her impact on my life and multiply it by the TEN YEARS she been advocating for women and families, I am inspired to do more and be more.  You see, Katherine’s gift is that she doesn’t just help women like me.  She doesn’t only provide them with resources and information. She empowers them.

Last shame.

Last regret.

With Katherine by my side, I find myself grateful for where PPD has led me and who it has helped me become.  So when I tell her “thank you,” that really doesn’t even begin to cover it.

She didn’t just save my life.  She gave me a new one.

katherine and me

 

Postpartum progress 10 year

July 13th marks the 10th anniversary of Postpartum Progress.  YOU can help moms just like me by donating to the non-profit by clicking HERE.

You can learn more about Postpartum Progress and our mission HERE.

You can read other Diamond Anniversary Blogathon posts soon!  Link is coming!

Love Is An Open Door: A Thank You Video

1 Jun

Thank you so much to all the Climb Out of the Darkness sponsors. As promised, my husband and perform Love Is An Open Door from Frozen. Poorly. I am not a trained singer (you’ll have to excuse the lack of costume.  Our recording window was short as were our resources).

PPD and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (postpartum OCD, postpartum anxiety, postpartum psychosis, and antenatal depression and anxiety) affect 1 in 7 women yet only 15% seek treatment. Stigma and shame keep new moms from reach out, while under-trained physicians miss the warning signs. Postpartum Progress, Inc is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to increasing awareness of maternal mood and anxiety disorders. Together, we can drop kick despair.

LEARN more about Postpartum Progress http://postpartumprogress.org

LEARN about Climb Out of the Darkness at http://www.postpartumprogress.com/join-climb-out-of-the-darkness-2014

DONATE to my Mt. Washington #COTD2014 team at https://www.crowdrise.com/susanpetcher-COTD2014/fundraiser/susanpetcher

FIND A CLIMB near you at http://postpartumprogress.org/climb-out-of-the-darkness/find-a-climb/

COTD2014

I’m a Boston Mama

27 May

If you need me, I’ll just be over here, fanning myself and trying to get over the fact that Christine Koh of Boston Mamas lent me some blogging real-estate this past week to talk about Postpartum Progress and Climb Out of the Darkness.

My five-year-old daughter bounded into my bed this morning, dashing my hopes of a few more winks of sleep with her Tigger-like enthusiasm. And as I returned her hugs and kisses, I cherished the small moment of happiness between us. Because there was a time when I could not return her love, when the gift of bonding was stolen from us both….

Please click on over to Boston Mamas to read more.

And if you haven’t donated yet to my Climb Out team?  This is a great time. Our fundraising website is giving away several prizes in June, including an iPad mini, Jawbone Jambox, and Reef Sandals!

Click to donate to Climb out of the Darkness, Mt. Washington

How Is It May?

18 May

I’m sorry. How is it May already?  It’s like one day my yard was barren and grey, and the next day the whole thing had been colorized a la Wizard of Oz.  I keep finding myself surprised when my windows are full of green.

I’ve been neglecting the blog as of late.  And blogging in general.  I keep wondering who is reading all these blog posts that people write.  I barely have time to brush my teeth, and yet somebody is, because we all keep writing them.  I’d like to set aside an hour a week to just read and comment.  But which hour?

Elephant HatWhat have I been up to? Crocheting.  I want to have a new line of hats for babies and toddlers for the fall, and that means prototyping.  Nothing’s quite as horrible as spending four hours on a project only to finish it and decide you don’t quite like the look of it.  But I’m excited about the successes that have come out of all that failure and can’t wait to debut them in the shop.

Now that it’s nice out, I’ve been hiking, biking, walking, and jogging.  I’m supposed to climb a mountain in 34 days, so I’ve been working out in hopes that I won’t return from Mt. Washington in pieces.  I’ve actually GAINED weight (UGH) but I feel stronger and I have noticed my endurance improving.  It’s a good feeling, knowing that I’m taking care of my body and teaching my kids to be active and healthy.

And if I happen to pick up my computer?  I am writing, but it’s been sponsorship emails to hospitals and pieces for local media.  Between the Climb Out of the Darkness and the Warrior Mom Conference, I’m getting a crash course in marketing and PR – and thank goodness I’m a quick study.  Oh, did I not mention that I’m co-chairing the first ever Postpartum Progress Warrior Mom Conference?  Honored.  Overwhelmed.  Determined.

There really do need to be more hours in the day, because I just can’t find enough for all the things I want to do AND to watch Grey’s Anatomy while eating a sleeve of Oreos.  But I am still here.  And I’ll be back blogging before you know it.

Climb Out of the Darkness and a Raffle!

13 Apr

It’s that time of the year again – when I ask you to support moms just like me – with your wallets.

Believe me, it’s awkward for me, too.  I’m not good at asking for help, and I’m definitely not a sales person or an advertising expert.  But I believe in Postpartum Progress and the work that Katherine Stone is doing to help new moms.  She gave me back the joy that was missing from my pregnancy and postpartum period and has given me a voice as a writer and advocate.  It’s my time to give back.

Whether it’s $1 or $100, every dollar helps get new moms access to up-to-date information about perinatal mental illnesses.  With the money raised, Postpartum Progress will be contributing to local organizations that support new moms and families.  We will be increasing our outreach by streamlining our widely popular blog (90,000 view a month!).  Your money will help this baby non-profit grow into the powerhouse advocacy organization that mothers and babies need it to be.

Here’s where I appeal to your sense of obligation:

Just $10 (the cost of a few coffees) from 50 readers would far surpass my wildest dreams of raising $400.

And your practical side:

It’s tax-deductable!

And the part of you that loves winning stuff:

Each $10 donation enters you in a drawing for a $20 gift certificate to my Etsy shop, Crocheted Happiness.

  • Shop the sale and get two ready-made hats!
  • Shop made-to-order designs and have something made for next winter or for that friend you know who is having a baby soon!
  • Have something custom-designed just for you!

Crocheted Happiness

All hometown donors are also entered to win a free piano lesson ($20 value).  I teach students aged 5 and above.

How to enter: Simply make your donation on the Crowdrise website.  I will add your name and entries to my list of donors and will randomly draw one name using random.org on June 24th, 2014.  Local donors will be added to both the Etsy drawing and piano lesson drawing.

Those of you who have already donated?  THANK YOU!  I am tracking all donations and have already entered you in the raffle.

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Letting Go of the Guilt

4 Apr

I’m over at Postpartum Progress this week with three posts.  Last night, I remembered that I hadn’t yet written a third post for the week, so I dragged my exhausted self to the keyboard and just started typing.  What spilled out turned out to be exactly what I needed to write.

“I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety with a side of OCD for two years after my first child was born.  And though I sought treatment and began my path to wellness after my baby had her 5 month birthday, it took every last day of that additional 19 months for me to feel like I wasn’t waiting for the other shoe to drop.  If you asked my husband, he’d tell you now that I’ve completely recovered from my PPD and from the antenatal depression that hit when my second child was still baking.  But he’d also tell you that I still suffer.”

I hope you’ll join me over at Katherine Stone’s place to read the rest and find out how I’ve battled the guilt that followed my severe PPD.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 3.08.38 PM

Click the image to DONATE to my Climb Out of the Darkness hike!

Aside

Postpartum Progress

11 Nov

Postpartum ProgressI’m honored and humbled to join the editorial team over at Postpartum Progress as a member of the Warrior Mom Leadership Team.  Please join me over there this week!

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite coping strategies for bad days as well as making the case for peer-to-peer support for new moms.  And I have a very special guest writer, too.

It’s an exciting week for me – the culmination of two years of work writing about mental illness.  Your support would mean the world. Click on over and dropkick despair with me!

Climbing Out of the Darkness

3 Jun
As you may know, I do a lot of work with Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit that helped to give me back my life when I was suffering from postpartum depression after Emily’s birth and to get quick and successful treatment for the antenatal depression that struck during my pregnancy with Sydney.

Climb Out of the Darkness

Thanks to Katherine Stone (the founder of the nonprofit and blog) as well as the community of women I met through Postpartum Progress:

– I was connected to one of the top perinatal psychiatrists in the country.
– I’ve made lifelong friends & have built a solid support network both online and off.
– I’ve become empowered to write about my experiences and help other new moms who may be suffering.

I’ve recovered from postpartum depression, and even though I still live with an anxiety disorder, the support & resources I received through Postpartum Progress continue to benefit me today.   My battle with PPD was hard-fought and that’s why I’m committed to helping moms learn the facts about perinatal mood disorders, removing the cultural stigma surrounding mental illness, and making sure moms who are struggling have a reliable place they can go to for support and resources.

To honor my victory over PPD, inspire others who are still struggling, and support the work of Postpartum Progress, the family and I are participating in Climb Out of the Darkness; a national event to raise money and raise awareness. We’ll be joining mamas and their families in 36 states (and 6 countries!) as they hike and climb their way through trails, hills, and mountains on June 21st and 22nd.

Money raised from this event will fund two specific projects:

 1) Create an info-graphic that correctly represents the prevalence of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders as well as its impact on society for use with the media and to raise awareness.

2) An info sheet for moms that would be available in doctor’s offices about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and getting help. It can be used anywhere in the world but this first version will be in English — if we raise enough money we will do French and Spanish as well. While there are pamphlets out there, we feel they don’t do enough to educate new parents or get them the real help they need.

I’ll be doing my hike with the girls on Saturday, June 22nd at Great brook Farm State Park near our home – would you please consider making a donation in my honor? It can be any amount.

If you are able to do so, thank you! If not, I understand and all I ask is that you please share this post and info with others who might be willing to help fund our efforts.

If you live nearby and would like to join us on our hike, please let me know!  We have two families already joining us!

Thank you so much.  It’s hard for me to ask for help (and truthfully? hiking is not my cup of tea) but I believe in what Katherine Stone and Postpartum Progress are doing.  She changed my life.

Susan

The Perfect Baby Shower Gift

19 Feb

Are these not the cutest baby pajamas you’ve ever seen?  I am just in love with them and so disappointed they don’t offer an 18 month size for No2.  We love our footless pajamas here – the baby grows out of them more slowly and we just add socks at night for cold toes.

300x200Jammiesad

These Jammies come in an adorable jam jar and would be a great new baby gift!  And the best part? 10% of the profit goes to Postpartum Progress.  Yup, you read that right!  A beautiful gift and a chance to help change the lives of new moms everywhere.  You can order your very own set HERE and learn about Postpartum Progress’s mission to help families battle postpartum mood disorders.

You’ve read my words about Katherine and Postpartum Progress before.  I’ve told you how she saved my life and has done the same for countless other families.  And I can tell you that she is as genuine and passionate in person as she is online.

Please consider these for your next new baby gift.  It would mean the world to me – and to new moms everywhere.

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