I need to lose weight.

I weigh too much for my body and it is holding me back. I can’t buy all the fun clothes that catch my eye.  I can’t jump as high as I would like because landing hurts my knees.

Ever since I had postpartum depression, I have focused a lot on my mental health; but mental health does not exist in a vacuum.  My spiritual, intellectual and emotional wellbeing are inseparable from my physical health.

It is time to lose weight.

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But I’m not going to diet.

Diets are mean and cruel.  Look at the word: DIEt.  DIE.  Diets crush out all the joy of living.

Diets set up rules and regulations and restrictions but really, this is what I need to do: be mindful. If I’m hungry, I can eat. If I’m full, then there’s no need to eat.

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Simple enough, but I have been a yo-yo dieter for years. I don’t know how to eat. I eat too much and hate myself and then I go on a diet and follow impossible rules and lose weight but gain it all back and then some because I haven’t learned how to eat.

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I am ready to be mindful. I am ready to trust myself to eat the food my body needs without counting calories or points or eliminating sugar or carbs or what-have-you.

I choose life.  I choose abundance.  I choose mindfulness and love and joy.

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Abundance!

I write in my journal. Every day. Ideally first thing in the morning but sometimes not until after the kids go to bed.

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In August, I wrote a lot about scarcity and abundance. This is my favorite bit:

The rising tide lifts all the surfers, not just the fastest or first one into the water. 

There is not just one big wave.  There is wave after wave after wave.  Waves for all the surfers.  One surfer’s ability to catch a wave has nothing to do with whether the surfer before him caught a wave.  It depends on the individual’s ability and determination and a little luck as to the timing of the waves.  But it depends nothing on the other surfers. 

The other surfers can work together and all catch waves or they can fight each other and then everyone struggles and everyone suffers.

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Reading As A Stay-At-Home Mama

Reading is one of my great passions. And if postpartum depression has taught me anything, it’s this: I must make time for my passions.

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I spend a lot of time reading picture books to my children. There are some amazing children’s books that I enjoy as much as Pippa — Dragons Love TacosThe Bear and the Piano, anything and everything by Oliver Jeffers.

But I need more than children’s books.  My brain craves ideas and thoughts and words that are bigger than poopy diapers and teething tablets.

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To make sure I get the time to read, I have scattered books throughout the house like a squirrel hiding nuts all over the forest.

I only read one fiction book at a time. That book goes on my nightstand and migrates around the house throughout the day.

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I like to read multiple nonfiction books at any given time. I can also always read a graphic novel in addition to a word-novel. The graphic novel does not get tangled in my head with the word-novel. But two word-novels mesh into a big confusing disaster.

I keep a nonfiction book in each bathroom. Sometimes I can convince Pippa to leave me alone so I can poop in peace. (Sometimes.)

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There are a few nonfiction books and a backlog of magazines in a box on our kitchen table. I spend a lot of time at the kitchen table because Julian is a hobbit and constantly eating.

I want to scatter more books throughout the house. Put a graphic novel in the living room. Hide something in the nursery. Maybe a poetry in my car.

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I used to love poetry but then my high school English teachers beat that out of me. Now that I’m a mom, poetry might be exactly what I need. A quick flash of beauty that I can read in a minute or less. Without all the pretentious analysis because really, I don’t care if the poem is in iambic pentameter or if the oak tree is symbolic of the patriarchy.

I just want to read.

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Should Vs. Want`

I have been misusing the word “should.”  Sometimes, I say: “I should do ABC” when really I mean “I want to do ABC.”  But “want” sounds too greedy, too personal.  “Should” sounds noble. 

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Take writing.  I often tell myself: “I should write everyday because it makes me a happier person.”  But what I really mean is: “I want to write everyday.”  End of sentence.  That’s it.  I want to write every day.  No need for a justification.  For a noble purpose.  Nothing about writing making me a better wife or a better mother or a better human.  Just: I want to write every day. 

I want to write every day.

Beautiful.

I should write every day.

Ick.  That feels crappy.  If I should write everyday, the writing stops being about me and becomes about other people and what they want.  

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Let’s try another, shall we?

I should eat kale.

Ick.  Too much pressure.

I want to eat kale.

Yay!  That is about what I want.  Why deny what I want?  I like kale!  It is yummy. I want to make green smoothies and eat more vegetables. 

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WANT is a much more powerful word than SHOULD.

Another one!

I want to lose weight.

Yes!  It’s about me!  It’s not about society or the moms at preschool or what’s healthy or what my doctor says or what the media says or what anyone says.  It’s about me.  Because it’s my body.  My life. 

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Going forward, I want to say want.  I want to acknowledge and honor my dreams and wishes and desires.  I want to trust my inner compass.  I want to live my life for me.

want to want.

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Episode 18: My Crappy Psychiatrist

In earlier episodes, I have referred to the shitty experience I had with my first psychiatrist. This week, I start sharing that story in greater detail.

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I don’t really have anything to tell you in the show notes. It’s me, you know who I am. Right?

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Well, maybe not. Or you know a few things about me but hey, I’m an onion. I have layers. As your reward for visiting the show notes, here are some random facts.

1. I went to high school with the Kourtney and Kim Kardashian. We were on the JV soccer team together.

2. I have never read Romeo & Juliet.

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3.  My favorite color is green.

4.  My favorite novel is Pride and Prejudice.

5.  I’m always looking forward to my next trip to Disneyland.

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6.  Pumpkins make me giddy.

p.s. I have an email list! I feel like such an adult! Go ahead and subscribe if you are interested in awesome updates.

Winter Is Coming!

Well, theoretically winter is coming. It is supposed to be 100 degrees here in Pasadena today and 102 tomorrow. But preschool is in full swing, and that means Pippa will be bringing home all the viruses. Three year olds are lousy at sharing toys, but germs? No problem.

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I know that during the next six months, between Julian and Pippa, we will have lots of colds.  Back-to-back colds.  Back-to-back-to-back colds.

So many colds, that I will ask the pediatrician if I should be worrying about leukemia.  (I did this once.)  So many colds, that I will forget what it is like to have healthy children. So many colds, that it will affect my mental health.

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When my children are sick, I feel like I should rise above the occasion and be an endless fountain of good cheer and love. And I am very loving and tender with my children when they are sick; but I also go a bit crazy from boredom.

I know the things that keep me mentally healthy: exercise, lots of regular exercise; time alone to write; fresh air and nature; going to different places; and time with friends and interesting adults. Sick children make it difficult for me to do all those things.

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But this winter, when Pippa is missing the fourth week in a row of preschool, and Julian is producing more snot than I ever thought possible, I want to stay as mentally healthy as possible. How? I don’t know yet.

But I’m making a plan for mental health during back-to-back-to-back cold season. I know it will involve books, lots and lots of books. Also, exercise, some way or another. And lots of projects that I can do in the house with small children because projects feed my soul.

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So today, I’m trying to keep my munchkins happy in 100 degree heat, but I’m also planning.

Winter is Coming.

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Episode 17: Tyler’s Story

This week, I interviewed Tyler Smith. His wife Kaleena shared her story of postpartum depression and psychosis on Episode 12.

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I’m struggling to write these show notes because I feel like I should write something that sounds all scholarly and wise; but really, all I want to say is: I really love these two people even though I have never met them.

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When Kaleena had postpartum depression and then psychosis, Tyler really stepped up and helped as much as possible. But he’s not perfect. It took him awhile to realize the extent of what was happening to Kaleena. Talking to Kaleena’s psychiatrist helped him understood the gravity of the illness. I think it’s a great idea for all partners to meet with mama’s psychiatrist.

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Thank you, Tyler, for coming on the show! And thank you to any dads who listen to this episode. By supporting your wife or girlfriend, you are being her hero.

Episode 16: Tabitha’s Story

This week, I talk with Tabitha Grassmid about her memoir, The Warrior Within Me .  Tabitha is the mother of four children, Cameron, Cubby, Olive and Kyla, who are all under the age of five.  (How!?!?!)

After the birth of her son Cameron in February 2012, Tabitha had the baby blues and postpartum depression.

After her son Cubby was born in 2013, she had terrible postpartum depression. She got involved with a support group and then attended a Mother and Baby outpatient program for seven days.

Tabitha gave birth to twins in August 2015.  Her girls spent a lot of time in the NICU. Tabitha did not experience postpartum depression but it was a very traumatic experience.

On Christmas Day 2015, Sasha, a mom in Tabitha’s support group, committed suicide.  Tabitha talks about this loss in her book.

Tabitha’s memoir is very raw and honest.  I inhaled it and recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about postpartum depression. I hope lots of doctors read it!  The Warrior Within Me is available now on Amazon. Bravo, Tabitha!

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15 Nicole’s Story

This week, the lovely and amazing Nicole Grodan shared her story.  After the birth of her son Nathaniel, Nicole had postpartum PTSD, psychosis, depression and anxiety.  She then suffered from maternal mood disorders again after a miscarriage.

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Head over to iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Podomatic, or the home page of this very website to listen to Nicole’s heartbreaking but inspiring story. Nicole, you are a warrior mom!