Supporting those who support people like me

A few months ago, while trying to find answers, hope, help, something to get me through this place in which I found myself, I came across Postpartum Progress, a website and blog dedicated to supporting women who, like me, are suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Katherine Stone started her site as a survivor of postpartum OCD, and continues to help others through her work.

There is a wealth of information on Katherine’s site:

  • her blog;
  • her “plain Mama English” explanations and support, including the “six things” lists;
  • her Daily Hope email messages (yes, I’ve signed up, and many days they are exactly what I need to read at that moment);
  • many other resources, including support tools and links.

Now, there is also Postpartum Progress Inc., a non-profit organisation to raise money to reach more women. To quote directly from Katherine:

today only 15% of all women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders ever receive professional treatment. This means that each year hundreds of thousands more women and their children may suffer from the negative effects of untreated PPD and related illnesses for the rest of their lives.

You can read the rest of the story here, but on Strong Start Day this is what is hoped/asked:

On October 5th, the day when more children are born each year than any other day, I am asking you to do one of three things:

1) Make a donation to Postpartum Progress. Any amount is welcome.

2) Ask at least 2 other people who love you and know what you went through – people who’ve come to know that postpartum depression is real and that all women deserve to have access to the best information and help – to make a donation today in your name.

3) Refer us to contacts at organizations that can help us with our work.

If you are financially unable to donate, send us your prayers or moral support so that we may find the right people to help us make major change.

Every single person who donates this week will be honored on our website (unless you prefer to remain anonymous). We are a 501c3, so your donation is tax-deductible.

Today’s the day. Please help us build stronger families, one mom at a time.

Now, I realise that I am in Australia, and that this is a “National” incentive, based in North America. However, I also know that what happens there is usually mirrored here, and a lot of Postpartum Progress’ work is online, reaching all around the world.

I mean, I’m here, right?

Permalink Wednesday, 5 October, 2011 6:57 pm, by Mamma Email , 424 words, Categories: Anxiety & stress, Health, OCD, Depression, PPMADs ,

Size 18

Note: I’m talking about clothing size 18, but that’s Australian size 18. See here if you don’t know the Australian sizing system.

About a month ago I said something about healthy weight loss and said I’d come back to it later.

At the time, my son had just spent five days in hospital. Between stress, my dietary restrictions (more on that below), lack of hospital canteen food that was able to cater for them, and my general unwillingness to eat while in a place that was full of contamination triggers, I actually lost about 4kg during those few days. I was eating some version of breakfast and dinner, but not much in between. I also wasn’t drinking enough, so I’m sure some of that was dehydration. During one of the hospital visits, I actually wore my size 15 jeans that hadn’t fit in about ten years — and they were relatively comfortable. I was pretty happy about it, but I knew that it wasn’t really a good thing, and that it couldn’t last.

After he returned home, I quickly gained back that weight. I’ve been hovering around my plateau weight for a while now, and have settled back into that zone.

That zone is a strange limbo-land. It’s the zone where size 18 is generally a bit too big, but size 16 is hit-and-miss. I accept that I will never be a size 10 (or maybe not even a size 12) but I can at least afford to lose more. One interesting problem is that a lot of my clothes are size 18, after so many years spent in that limbo-land and above. I squeezed into size 18 when I was in denial about needing to find bigger sizes, and now I’m clinging on to size 18 because I hate shopping, and it’s easier than trying to find something smaller.

Now it’s time to shift it without starving or stressing it off. I’m trying to get back into regular exercise. I’m trying to eat as healthily as I can (for my brain, my body, and my baby), while negotiating the tricky territory of dietary restrictions. I’m not on a weight loss diet. My breastfed baby has had some issues with foods I eat, and the most effective way to help her is to eliminate foods from my own diet to see which things affect her symptoms. I think we’re just about there — or at least close — but I hesitate to even think that, because every time I do, something tells me we’re not.

We have to be. I’m running out of ideas.

Permalink Tuesday, 4 October, 2011 5:58 pm, by Mamma Email , 421 words, Categories: Health, Food ,

Time for a blog makeover

It started with CaringBridge. My child was terribly sick, and I was overwhelmed, and somebody recommended an easier way than email and phonecalls. It put all the updates in one place, and people new to the journey could go back and catch up without me having to repeat everything over and over again.

But sometimes I wanted to talk about myself, how I was feeling, what the journey was doing to me. I felt that I couldn’t do that in “his” journal. I felt that I had to keep my own stuff separate, or hidden. People didn’t read his page to hear my thoughts. They just wanted to know how my boy was doing.

So, when things were a bit less crazy, and I had a bit more time, I looked at blogging. I had long thought about creating a website or a blog, but had never done anything about it. I finally decided on b2evolution. It appealed to me, for its ability to host multiple blogs on the same installation (so I could have one for The Boy, one for me, room to add more later); for its geekiness (learning how to code — or at least modify code — and playing with themes etc); for its open source community; for its not being a mainstream blogging platform.

It really didn’t matter if it wasn’t perfect. I have very few no regular readers anyway, and I’m not sure if I want to have a big following. However, lately some things have made me want a change. Some features I really like have not upgraded with the main upgrades, and I’m not knowledgeable enough to write my own plugins. Upgrades are tedious, especially since I modified and customised so much in the beginning — yes, I was warned about that, but I figured I would cross that bridge when I got to it. And I’m sure upgrades are just as tedious on any other self-hosted platform.

Plus, I kind of just want to try something different now.

I’m thinking about trying WordPress. What scares me most is migrating from b2evo to WP. I’m wondering if it’s even worth it. While there are features I want, and things I could tidy up, I quite like my page theme and wouldn’t want to change it too radically. Still, I look at so many other blogs and think “wow, mine looks so amateurish” — especially with all of those smileys (admittedly an easy fix).

I’m also wondering if I should go for a complete name change. I’m really attached to my cockatoos, but there are specific reasons that I chose “Butterfly Wings”, and I quite like having my blog as a separate, not necessarily always mum-oriented, entity.

So, does anybody out there have any opinions on blogging platforms? What do you use? What do you love about yours? What do you not love so much? If you don’t love it, why haven’t you changed? Is it because it’s easier to stick with what you have, or because even with its limitations, it’s still better than the alternatives?

Has anybody else used b2evo?

Permalink Thursday, 22 September, 2011 11:43 am, by Mamma Email , 515 words, Categories: Thoughts, Goals ,

Scratch that, start over... again

So, remember I made myself a list? The list in which I set the bar so low that even I should be able to get through it?

Well, we went to church on Sunday. We arrived late. We stood outside. But we were there. And I survived without too much anxiety. I haven’t been there every week as planned.

I’ve kept the kitchen basically functional.

I haven’t done any of the daily things every day.

I haven’t done any of the weekly things every week.

There is still just over a week left in September, but it’s school holidays, so I won’t be walking any kids to school before October.

However, on the weekend, The Husband cleared out an entire space and bought me some furniture for me to assemble (yes, I actually love assembling furniture!) and we set up a corner of the house just for my craft stuff. I originally had plans for another room, but we’ve decided that this will work better.

It’s a start. Another one.

Permalink Tuesday, 20 September, 2011 11:56 am, by Mamma Email , 170 words, Categories: Anxiety & stress, OCD, Goals ,


Today, in Australia, it’s “R U OK? Day”. It’s a day to check in on each other, ask “Are you OK?” and really be willing to keep listening if the answer is no. It’s about preventing suicide. It’s about helping those who might be at risk to realise that they don’t have to carry their burden alone — that there are people willing to listen, to care.

I’m still not OK. But I’ve never been truly suicidal. I’ve thought about death, about dying. I’ve thought about the “easy way out”. But it’s been more of a “Please God, put me out of my misery” than a desire to do it myself. Part of my own condition is that the fear of doing it myself is greater than the fears that would drive me to it.

I would like to think of every day as R U OK? Day. Every single day is full of opportunities for us to pay attention to the signals other people are sending out. Many times they won’t be blatantly obvious. How many times have you heard people say “We didn’t know anything was wrong”? We’re all so wrapped up in our busy lives, and there never seems to be enough time. But today is a good reminder that it doesn’t take all that much effort, or time, to check in on a relative, a friend, a colleague, and really mean it when we ask them how things are going.

And maybe, just maybe, if enough people show their willingness to care, more people who are at risk will feel safe enough to reach out and get help, even without waiting for somebody to say “R U OK?”

How are you going?

Permalink Thursday, 15 September, 2011 1:31 pm, by Mamma Email , 285 words, Categories: Health, Awareness ,

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