Episode 42: Lucy’s Story

This week, Lucy McEwen shares the story of her motherhood adventures, including her traumatic birth experience at a less than mother-friendly hospital. The nurses were actually annoyed with Lucy for being “too loud” during her contractions! She was bullied into getting an epidural, and her birth plan was effectively ignored.

Lucy and her beautiful family

After the birth, her baby needed to go to the NICU but the maternity wing was full so Lucy was sent to a room on the other side of the hospital. Lucy could only hold her daughter while breastfeeding and with all the travel time between her hospital room and the NICU, she had very little time to sleep.

Lucy then experienced postpartum depression with lots of crying and intrusive thoughts.

It took Lucy a long time to realize she was allowed to grieve this traumatic experience.

Right after birth; in the NICU; and then reunited in the postpartum wing

Lucy’s second birth was a much more empowering experience. She worked with a doula how made sure Lucy knew how birth works and what Lucy’s rights and options were.

The collage above shows Lucy’s Climb out of the Darkness team for every year from 2013-2016.  Isn’t it beautiful to see how the event grew over the years?  I’m so glad the Climb is being continued by Postpartum Support International.

Lucy’s warrior mom tattoo alongside Katherine Stone’s tattoo

She is currently seeking her certification as a postpartum doula. She works in the Antelope Valley and her website is Journey to Joy Doula (JourneytoJoyDoula.com).  There’s also a Facebook page.

Lucy has also started a postpartum support group for moms in the Antelope Valley.  It’s called AV Postpartum Support and you can head over to Facebook to join. The group includes members from neighboring cities and provides peer support with free monthly meetings.

Bravo, Lucy! The mothers of Antelope Valley are lucky to have you. And I am so lucky to know you!

41 Sandy’s Story, Part Two

This week, I continue talking to Sandy, author of the memoir Dancing On The Edge of Sanity.

We mentioned a couple of books by Karen Kleiman: Dropping the Baby and Other Scary Thoughts and What Am I Thinking: Having A Baby After Postpartum Depression.  I have not read either of these books yet, but they are on my shelf and will be read soon! (I don’t know the meaning of summer reading.) (Or, rather, I do, but don’t care. There’s far too much to learn about maternal mood disorders to slow down for summer.)

To read some excerpts from the memoir, check out Sandy’s blog, Dancing On the Edge of Sanity.

Episode 40: Sandy’s Story

This week, I talked to Sandy Celauro, author of the memoir Dancing on the Edge of Sanity, which she published under the pen name Ana Clare Roudes.

Sandy’s descent into the darkness of postpartum depression and anxiety was very, very quick. Within days of her son’s birth, she began to experience panic attacks, anxiety and obsessive thoughts. She sought help at her local emergency room, which was grossly unprepared to help a mom suffering from a maternal mental illness.

This week, Sandy and I talked about her ordeal – but we could not stop talking! So next week, in Part 2 of Sandy’s interview, we’ll delve into different issues concerning postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, especially the writing of such memoirs.

Thanks, Sandy, for sharing your story!

Episode 39: The 2017 Climb Out of the Darkness

I am so happy that the Climb Out of the Darkness is continuing under the auspices of Postpartum Support International.

Climb Out of the Darkness is the world’s largest event raising awareness of maternal mental illnesses like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety & OCD, postpartum PTSD, postpartum psychosis, bipolar/peripartum onset, and pregnancy depression and anxiety. It is held on or near the longest day of the year annually to help shine the most light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The event features mothers and others across the globe joining together to climb mountains and hike trails to represent their symbolic rise out of the darkness of maternal mental illness and into the light of hope and recovery.

If you have questions or would like to lead or join a Climb or become a Climb sponsor, email cotd@postpartum.net.

Thank you, Emily, for talking to us about the Climb and continuing working for this amazing event!

Episode 38: Beth’s Story

This week, Beth shares her story of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety after the birth of her second child.  She also suffered from PTSD after the birth of her first child.

This episode does include a trigger warning: Beth’s ten month old son was diagnosed with an incredibly rare genetic disorder that affects his adrenal glands. If you are not in a place to listen to that, I understand. Just listen to the intro and then skip ahead to the last five minutes because wow, Beth ends with a powerful message.

Yay for mini-Princess Leia! 

Beth mentioned The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, a book that I love and highly recommend.

She also talked about how finding her Facebook tribe has been such an important part of her recovery.  If you are in search of a FB tribe, I recommend the Self-Care Squad for self-care support in general and the Postpartum Collective for anyone with any sort of interest in maternal mood disorders.

At the end of her interview, Beth talked about happiness and holiness. After we stopped recording, she told me she has been reading The Happiness Darewhich has inspired those thoughts.  I’ve already added that book to my wish list!

And lastly, and perhaps a bit weirdly, I talked about Missing Richard Simmons, a podcast about everyone’s favorite fitness fanatic. If you love podcasts, I highly recommend it!

Episode 37: Of Zoloft Weaning And Sensory Deprivation Tanks

It’s just me again this week talking about my mental health and advocacy work, but I promise, we’ll be back to interviews next week.  (Probably.) (You know how it goes.) (#MomLife).

I talked about my gradual tapering off of Zoloft.  I am down from 150 mg to 75 mg and easing myself into 50 mg. I was a bit cavalier this week and took 50 mg two days in a row before my body was ready for the leap and oh boy, did I suffer.

I felt like this:

But Nathan says I was actually more like this:

I feel better now. Whew.

But I jeopardized my mental health today by trying a sensory deprivation tank.  I was in the dark, floating in about six inches of water that was loaded with Epsom Salts for an hour. I thought it would be tranquil and energizing. It was quite the opposite. By the time the lights went back on, I felt like the photo above.

But hey, it was an adventure.

I just finished reading  The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and loved it. I’ve already started The Four Agreements Companion Book because I can’t get enough. I highly recommend both books to anyone looking to improve their mental wellbeing. I wish I had learned this stuff before I had PPD!

Episode 36: More Thoughts and Feelings On The End of Postpartum Progress

I had tons of interviews scheduled for this month, but after the ending of Postpartum Progress, and organization I loved with all my heart, I have needed to take some time to rest and gather my energy.

But I am so excited to be back this week and talking about yes, my feelings and thoughts on Postpartum Progress. Because when you are part of something big, and that Something Big comes to a sudden and unexpected end, you are going to have big feelings. And my goodness, but I needed to talk through those feelings.

I am so grateful for the new Facebook community, the Postpartum Collective. I highly recommend joining if you want to be connected to other women fighting to help others with maternal mood disorders, or you just want a community where you can be yourself and not feel judged.

In this episode, I mention author and shame-researcher Brene Brown several times.  I love her work and have just finished Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Thank you for listening!

Episode 35: Graeme’s Story

This week, I talked with the incredible Graeme Seabrook, a.k.a. The Postpartum Mama. She is a pregnancy and postpartum coach, a self-care coach, and a community builder.

Don’t you just love her?

Graeme is a writer and blogs at The Postpartum Mama, or, if you are not good at the whole blog thing, you can follow her on Facebook right here.

She is the creator of the Self-Care Squad on Facebook. It is a wonderful community of supportive women that I highly recommend. I always feel better after a trip to that group.

Graeme has a strong online presence, so if you are interested in following her, just start at The Postpartum Mama to find all the places she lives and works. (I know if I start adding in all the links, I’ll mess something up so hey, let’s make this easier for everyone!)

Thanks, Graeme, for sharing your story!


34 Kelly Debie’s Story of Intrusive Thoughts

This was probably the most difficult episode for me to record and publish yet. Earlier this week, Postpartum Progress, an organization I have volunteered for, decided to end their operations.

It’s a messy story. I believe the technical term is “shit storm.”  During the introduction, I do my best to describe what happened, but I’m not trying to be a historian or journalist here.

Graeme Seabrook, a volunteer who had done so much work for Postpartum Progress, resigned and explained the reasons for her resignation in this essay.

I’m a lawyer, and my lawyer brain said, “Let’s wait and see what happens and what everyone else does.”  But my heart, body and soul told me it was time to resign from my position as a Warrior Mom Ambassador for Postpartum Progress.

My brain fought hard and resisted for twenty-four hours but in the end, my heart and soul won.  I resigned.

A day later, Postpartum Progress announced it was ceasing operations. My initial reaction was “holy shit” and then “what the fuck?” and now, I don’t know what it is. I have a lot of feelings to process.

But during all of this whirlwind, I got to talk to Kelly DeBie, a mother of five who has written extensively about her experiences with maternal mood disorders on her blog DeBie Hive.

The first post Kelly ever wrote is here.   Another is one right here, and there are about thirty more on her blog.  You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @debiehive.

Thanks, Kelly, for coming on the show!

Episode 33: Victoria’s Story

This week, Victoria Smith shares her story of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Victoria has a personal history with depression, so she knew she was at risk for postpartum depression; but one month into her pregnancy, she was blindsided by the news that her parents were divorcing.  The next nine months were so stressful, she even got shingles.

Victoria planned on having an epidural, but because of the position she needed to lie in during labor, it did not work.  So she had an unplanned natural childbirth which was traumatic.

Her son had colic and went on three hour crying jags.

We’re sharing this photo because this moment — the crying red-faced alien — is as much a part the transition to motherhood as all the tranquil moments depicted on commercials.

Victoria’s mission is to help women achieve their goals and to help them live their best life possible. Victoria blogs at Girl Tries Life and her podcast of the same name launches March 1, 2017. She can also be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @girltrieslife.