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Blogging for PPD/PPA Awareness, Day the Last

And man, do we have big stuff today.

Blair is today’s guest blogger.  Yep.  THE Blair.  As in, the mother of the blondest little baby boy on earth.

Blair and I met back in the day on The Bump, before it was The Bump.  I got pregnant with Joshua about a month before she got pregnant with Harpie.  And I remember being completely devastated when I learned that she’d lost Harpie.  Completely.  I was so thankful for the little life growing inside me, but at the same time, it didn’t seem fair that my pregnancy was going smoothly while so many around me, so many people I considered friends, were losing theirs.

I drifted away from The Bump after Joshua was born, and by that time, Blair was pregnant with Harrison.

When Blair came forward about her PPD/PPA, I kind of felt violated. How did this person that didn’t really know me, aside from our interaction on a message board, know so much about me?  How was she in my head!?!

And then I felt sort of ashamed for not being more vocal about my story.  For suffering in relative silence.  Especially when there are SO many women out there, as this Guest-blog-a-palooza and the #PPDChat on Twitter have taught me.  Why was I trying to go this alone?

So I reached out to Blair and asked if she’d like to team up with me and help organize a PPD/PPA Rally to blow the roof off of the silence and to coordinate it so that it coincided with May 18th, the day to blog about Mental Health.  To let women know that it is okay to speak up.  And she graciously agreed.

If you’re a reader of her blog, you know that she recently underwent a stay in a mental health facility for severe PPD and PPA. Her stay overlapped with this rally.  In some ways, it’s fitting that while she was there working toward getting healthy, we were here, championing the cause.

When she got back, I sent her an email and asked if she still wanted to guest blog for me so the break yesterday was to give Blair time to figure out what she wanted to say.  And rather than write something completely new and lengthy, she decided to share excerpts from the journal she kept while she was in the hospital. Here’s how the conversation went: 

Me:  Can I just say that I feel awful for bugging you about this when I know you’re trying to get things back together?  Because I feel awful.  I should send you cookies or something.

Blair: No, you are not awful!  I will do whatever I can to raise awareness.  Okay, if this is too debbie downer, TELL ME.  I also included a second entry, which was written closer to when I was discharged from the hospital & I think it screams more hope. 

I’m moved that she decided to share something so personal with me and my readers.

Her worry was that people would fear the treatment. And she writes, “IT WASN’T THAT BAD.  AT ALL.”  

Here is an excerpt from her first night’s stay.

Tonight is the first night in the psych ward.  It’s lonely & noisy.  & very, very lonely.  No telephone, internet, television.  Nobody to talk to once Nate left.  & I haven’t seen Harrison all day & I miss him.

Everything here is stark.  No lamps. No curtains.  No locks on the doors or plush chairs.  No food choices.  No reading light, just stark overhead bulbs.  No television or radio – unless, of course, you brave the day room which seems to be full of “numb” people & a jail-like hierarchy for the remote & one computer. 

 p.s. woman with the weird hair, you’ve been checking Facebook for over 5 hours.  Nobody is that interesting.

I feel gutturally naked, stripped, & afraid.  Afraid of the intense therapy, the treatment, the proposed medications. Afraid of what people will think.  Afraid of what this means for the rest of my life – medication, future pregnancies, etc.  I worry if I will ever get to be pregnant again – how can you take Lithium & be pregnant?  You can’t.  But what if they put me on Lithium?

I’m afraid that Harrison won’t know me after a week.  I’m afraid of what I saw in the eyes of the other patients – numb, hopeless, loss.  Do I look that way?

But above all fear, I simply miss my family.  I miss Nate.  I miss Harrison.  I hate what I am doing to Nate – the burden, the worry, essentially forcing him to choose between me & Harry.   Because we cannot coexist alone.  I miss my family as a family – our routine, our bath time laughs, our Saturday walks & Sunday donuts.  When life wasn’t hospital stays & intense medication.  & really freakin’ annoying beds that constantly adjust to body pressure.

Blair expressed that her biggest concern was that people would be scared by the idea of a stay in a mental hospital and wouldn’t seek treatment for their own PPD/PPA out of fear.

So, I’d like to take a minute to say that, while my own battle hasn’t been intense enough for me to need in-patient care, I’d like to think that I’d do whatever it takes to save my family, my marriage, my son, and my sanity.


There is hope.


I miss my son.

It was wonderful to see him yesterday.  “Wonderful” being the understatement of the year.  He smiled until I thought his face would split, he laughed down to his belly when I tickled him, & he continually reached for me.

It made my entire existence bright & warmer.

& all I could think was, “Thank God he didn’t forget me.”  He still loves me.  He still prefers me.  & it wasn’t something I had to tell myself in hopes it would come true – I saw it & understood it for the first time in ages.

This is recovery, right?
We do what we do for recovery because we love our children, our partners, and, eventually, hopefully, ourselves.  The smiles of happiness from our children ARE recovery.  They are the reason we must be brave enough to fight this fight. 
To all of the women (and my husband!) who have participated in this rally to raise awareness for such a worthy cause, I want to say THANK YOU.  Thank you so much for sharing your lives with me and my readers.  Thank you to the new readers who have come back each day this week(ish) to read the stories and offer support to those who have been so open and honest this week.  I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about the battle with PPD/PPA, but I do know that we are all in this together.  We are not alone.  YOU are not alone. 

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Friday 28th of May 2010

GREAT post! Thank you so much for sharing, and thank you so much to Blair for being so amazing and sharing that story!

It really hit me, the part about worrying whether your own child would recognize you. I hear all the time from people that Kirsten KNOWS her mama... she looks at me and smiles, looks for me in a crowd when I am not holding her, and is beginning to reach for me when I get her out of bed in the morning.

What would it be like to not have that? To be stripped of that "knowing" glance from your own child?

How horrifying.

I am so happy that you ladies are reaching out and telling your stories. I hope it helps at least one person get through a hard day.

Cindy @ This Adventure, Our Life

Friday 28th of May 2010

I am in tears also. Blair, you are amazing for opening your life and sharing this. You will help so many other people. I do not have PPD, but when you read about Harrison, you know the love. Thank you for sharing.


Thursday 27th of May 2010

tears rolling down my face. This makes me a little more brave for what is to come for me...tomorrow a mental health care facility is calling me to set up an appointment with a therapist to see if/what further treatment is needed. I was scared. Scared of the treatment; scared of the stigma. Sure, I just told the world I had PPD, but I was on meds and that was it. It's more now...thank you, Blair for being brave and sharing. Thank you, Miranda for putting this blog-a-pa-looza together. I think you have helped more people than you will ever know!


Thursday 27th of May 2010

I am dropping in from your d-list feature today and was suprised to find Blair here too. You both are giving such a voice to PPD and thereby changing lives. You should be very proud of what you are doing.

The Russell Family

Thursday 27th of May 2010

Great week Miranda. Not sure if you know I read your blog, but I love it and I love that you have made me aware of PPD so I can recognize it and get treatment if I have it after my baby is born. This is a GREAT way to get the word out and I am in awe of how strong you are to do this!

Randi Nilles Russell

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