Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Finally... an update

Well, it's been a really long time since I posted. So much to say, but I haven't really been sure how to say it. I've been on a really intense internal journey for the past eight months or so... and it's felt right to keep it close to the vest. I'm still not sure how much I'm going to spill the beans on my blog today.. .

... But I do feel like it's time to zap some new energy into this blog.

I haven't read my blog in a long, long time... but I do remember that there are a lot of feelings of anger, bitterness, depression, and sadness in the earlier posts... especially during the PPD era.

I don't want to take those posts off, because I remember that when I was going through my PPD awfulness... it was so helpful (and reassuring) to read that other normal women were going through the same thing.

I have a feeling if I read back through my blog, I would remember some semblance of that woman... but she won't feel like me anymore. I've been slowly but surely leaving her behind. And I want to make sure that moms who have had bad birth experiences or PPD know that things WILL GET BETTER. That's part of my impetus for writing this post. I need to complete my story a bit.

This journey to healing from my son's birth has taken a long time... but wow, how powerful it's been. Truly a roller coaster.

I am now 5 1/2 months pregnant with my second child. I never thought I'd get to the point when I'd feel ready to get pregnant again, and face the thought of another birth experience and another postpartum experience. And perhaps, when we decided to conceive (and we're one of those lucky couples who simply have to think about getting pregnant, and poof, we are)... I wasn't really 100% ready. I just wasn't adamantly opposed to the thought of being pregnant anymore. So I said to my husband, "Let's go with this, because I may never be in this slightly-ready place again!" I knew that pregnancy was long, and I'd have time to adjust to the thought :)

So here I am pregnant again. Loving the glow and fun and energy of the second trimester. It's been an interesting road getting here though.

The first trimester, I thought I was doomed to repeat everything from the past. I felt the same physical symptoms. Nausea, queasiness, food aversions, fatigue, heart pounding, you name it, it was the same from my pregnancy with my son. I had a hard time separating out the physical yuckiness from the postpartum depression I had. In fact, I kept asking my husband if he thought my PPD had come back. He said, "NO, you're just not feeling well." He was right. Thank goodness. I knew it too, but it was nice to have him confirm it for me.

Oh, there were differences, too... like the fact that I didn't have to figure out how to wear a wedding dress five months into the pregnancy (thank goodness, because I was in maternity wear 3 months into this pregnancy!). My husband was in between jobs, so he could take over more of the care of my son, and figuring out what I was willing/able to eat during the worst food aversions. Don't know what I would have done without him.

I did a lot of preparation in anticipation of this pregnancy... from cutting back the amount of time I spent working ON my business... to unsubscribing from as many emails as possible... to creating quiet space for myself... to assembling a care team (more on them later).

But it's still one thing to think about being pregnant... and another thing completely to actually BE pregnant.

What has kept me sane this time around? Sane isn't exactly the right word. I'm actually excited about the birth process and welcoming a second child to the mix. Wow.

Well, like I said, I have a great care team in place. I've been seeing the chiropractor every week (sometimes more)... acupuncturist every month... I've had a massage, a craniosacral session, a shiatsu massage, and I've been to see my homeopath. I have a birth care provider who I can trust, and who knows my story. I feel very well supported.

The homeopathy helped me tremendously when I had PPD (just one dose pretty much did away with it for good), and it helped again during the first trimester. My holistic doc pretty much hit the nail on the head when he said, "You know... your life is really well set up for you to have a great pregnancy. The only reason I can see for your yucky first trimester symptoms is the fact that your subconscious is unwilling to let go of your fears and experiences from the first pregnancy. Because your subconscious is holding on to the first experience, your body isn't able to tell that this is, indeed, a different pregnancy... with a potentially different outcome for you."

How true that was... I was stuck in the past. I was literally making myself sick over the thought of replaying my first motherhood experience.

And so I set out to try to help my subconscious realize that this pregnancy, this birth, this postpartum period could and would be very different.

The first thing I had to do was fire my therapist. For while she was helpful in helping me come to grips with ever having to have a C-section again, she also seemed pretty incapable (or unwilling, perhaps?) to entertain the thought that I could plan for and have a remarkably wonderful birth. She wanted to focus on preparing for the negative... while I want to focus on preparing for the positive. I firmly believe that my state of mind will impact the kind of pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience I have. So I want to surround myself with people who will help me build that positive image up. The therapist had to go - she just didn't get it.

We're not really telling people about our plans for this baby. We haven't divulged our due date to anyone (not really necessary, since this little babe will come whenever he/she wants). We aren't finding out the sex of the baby... again... no need... he/she will be whatever he/she is! We aren't sharing where we've decided to birth, or with whom, or how. It's no one else's business, really... and it's our birth to plan and prepare for. Everyone seemed to have an opinion about our birth last time... and any birth scenario we unveil will cause someone somewhere to do some kind of worrying... worry which we don't need to absorb. We've made our decisions, we feel really, really good about them, and we're ready. I' m not really talking birth with many women, except those who I know support the kind of birth mentality I have, because again... why do I need to absorb worry, fear, or negativity? I spent enough of my postpartum period under that umbrella, thank you very much!

The other thing I've done which really has helped is I've been dedicated about going through my imaging CDs. I've been visualizing this upcoming birth. At first, this was really hard. I couldn't get through a few seconds of visualization without hearing the doubts, "But your birth won't end up like this. You don't deserve this. Something will go wrong." Those negative voices kept popping up... and they ma stde me so mad and sad that I stopped doing the visualizations for a while. Then I realized that those were past beliefs... old beliefs that simply had to be let go of. So, now if they pop up (and they still sometimes do) I send them on their way... and go back to my visualization. I've got a lot to let go of, and slowly but surely I'm doing it. Now, the positive image is outweighing the old, negative ones.

I realized that with my last pregnancy, I didn't have much time to truly prepare. It was a surprise pregnancy. We switched to our home birth plan about 6 months into the pregnancy. Looking back, I realize that I spent more time reading about the dangers of hospital birth, and the dangers of birth interventions... then I did actually visualizing and believing in my own birth. Perhaps that played a part in sending me down the path I went down? I'm not saying that it was all my doing... my son's energy played a part in it, too. There were two of us at play in the birth. But I was definitely giving more energy to birth fears than birth dreams. This time, I'm doing my very best to switch that around. I don't fear birth as much as I did last time.

I don't fear what will happen to my body after having a baby. I don't fear losing myself as a woman. I don't fear becoming a washed-up mom. I don't fear a lot of things I feared last time. I find that protecting myself from the anxiety-ridden messages that are out there everywhere has been really helpful in preparing my mind and spirit for this new little one.

This time, we found a care provider within 8 weeks... much faster. This time, I didn't have to really do any reading about pregnancy or birth (I did it all the first time!). This time, I didn't freak out when my heart started pounding... or I couldn't work out for a few months... or I was eating crap for a few months. I knew it would all sort itself out by trimester #2 (which it did).

I have a neighborhood babysitter and a daycare provider for my son 2 days a week. That is worth its weight in gold!!! I have a prenatal yoga teacher I adore... and neighborhood I love to walk in every day.

This time around, I know moms in my area, and I'm part of the Holistic Moms Network now. Heck, I know my town now! Both of these things weren't available to me last time around, since we had just moved, and I was the first person I knew to have kids. This time, I'm not planning on trying to actively run my business while taking care of a newborn. I have a PCP, a holistic MD, a few therapist I can call on, an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, and many other wellness experts I can call on if I need support at all. I'm part of a PPD task force who I know will help me out in any way that they can... if I need that help.

But I have a feeling I won't. I'm much better prepared for motherhood this time around. I hold no fantasies about showering every day, answering emails, being on time, getting things done. I pretty much intend to breastfeed every day... and feed myself and my son... and if those things get done... great. Anything else? Simply a bonus.

I guess you can say my expectations are a lot more realistic this time around. I will be gentler with myself... and I will make sure that I have people/things in place to support ME after the birth.

Funny enough, I spent so much time and energy preparing for the birth last time (or as we've uncovered already, preparing to fight potential birth interventions) that I never really looked past the birth to the actual motherhood piece of it. This time, I hope to savor that piece.

OK, more to say, but my shoulders are getting tired, and it's time for some yoga/stretching.

I hope that this post added a bit of much-needed update to the way that my energy has shifted since I last wrote. There may be more to come... or maybe not. I'm not sure yet. These days, I'm just going with what feels right.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Insurance Companies Rejecting Women Who've Had C-sections

I received this from ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network)
and wanted to pass it along... it's sad how the effects of C-sections can go on and on, impacting every aspect of life.


Insurance Companies Rejecting Women with History of Cesarean
Some Companies Require Surgical Sterilization for Coverage;

Trend Gives New Imperative to Learn Ways to Avoid Unnecessary Cesarean

Redondo Beach, CA, June 1, 2008 – As reported in today's New York
Times, ICAN has begun tracking an alarming new trend of insurance
companies refusing to provide health insurance for women with a
history of cesarean surgery. In some cases, women are being rejected
for coverage outright and in other case they are being charged
significantly higher rates to obtain the same coverage as women
without a history of cesarean. With over a million women each year
undergoing this surgery, this practice has the potential to render
large numbers of women uninsurable.

This trend surfaces as the rate of cesarean surgery, including
unnecessary cesareans, continues to rise. In 1970, the cesarean rate
was 5%. In 2007, it was 30.1%. Experts often cite the incentives
within the health care system for driving up the rate of cesarean
unnecessarily, including physicians' medical malpractice fears,
better reimbursement for surgery, and lifestyle conveniences for care
providers and staffing efficiencies in having more '9-5' deliveries.

'Women are caught in the middle of a dysfunctional system. Doctors
are telling them they need surgery, even when they don't, and
insurance companies, who are tired of paying the bill for so many
frivolous surgeries, are punishing women for the poor medical care of
doctors,' said Pam Udy, President of the International Cesarean
Awareness Network (ICAN).

The trend is highlighted in the cases of women like Peggy Robertson
of Colorado. When she applied for health insurance coverage with
Golden Rule, her husband and her children were accepted, but her
application was denied. After multiple inquiries directed to the
insurance company, she was finally told that she was denied because
she had delivered one of her children by cesarean. 'It was shocking.
I assumed that as a woman in good health I would be readily
accepted,' said Robertson. 'When I finally found someone who would
explain why my application was denied, they had the audacity to ask
me if I had been sterilized, stating that this was the only way I
could get insurance coverage with them.'

As the incidence of cesarean increases, the evidence of the
downstream medical complications for women and babies, and the
associated medical costs, becomes increasingly apparent. Risks of
cesarean in later pregnancies include increased incidence of
infertility, miscarriage, fetal deformities, overgrowth of scar
tissue leading to bowel problems, and potentially deadly placental
abnormalities in subsequent pregnancies.

And though most women with a prior cesarean are being encouraged and
often coerced into having repeat cesareans by their doctors and
hospitals that have banned vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), a
pair of recent studies done by the National Institute of Child Health
and Human Development Maternal–Fetal Medicine Units Network
demonstrates that women who deliver vaginally after a cesarean fare
significantly better than women who deliver by repeat cesarean.
(Obstetrics & Gynecology 2008;111:285-291, Labor Outcomes With
Increasing Number of Prior Vaginal Births After Cesarean Delivery,
Mercer et al, and Obstetrics & Gynecology 2006;107:1226-1232 Maternal
Morbidity Associated With Multiple Repeat Cesarean Deliveries, Silver
et al.)

'Most women are looking to avoid cesareans. But physicians often make
surgery difficult to avoid by insisting on non-evidence based
practices,' said Udy. Practices that fail to improve the outcomes for
mothers and babies and increase the risk of cesarean section include
inducing for going post-dates, inducing for suspected large baby,
requiring fasting during labor, requiring women to be confined to bed
for continuous fetal monitoring, and failing to offer continuous
support to a mother in labor. 'These care practices serve the system
well, but not mothers and babies' Udy added.

In fact, women and their babies may be paying a higher price than
being denied health insurance. Last August, the Centers for Disease
Control reported that, for the first time in decades, the number of
women dying in childbirth has increased.

Experts note that the increase may be due to better reporting of
deaths but that it coincides with dramatically increased use of
cesarean. The latest national data on infant mortality rates in the
United States also show an increase in 2005 and no improvement since
imdeaths05.htm Internationally, the U.S. ranks 41st in maternal
deaths and has the second worst newborn death rate among
industrialized nations.

Women who are seeking information about how to avoid a cesarean, have
a VBAC, or are recovering from a cesarean can visit www.ican- for more information. In addition to more than 90 local
chapters nationwide, the group hosts an active on-line discussion
group that serves as a resource for mothers.

Women who want to reach their lawmakers can visit Women who want to reach their state
insurance commissioner can visit .

About Cesareans: ICAN recognizes that when a cesarean is medically
necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and baby,
and worth the risks involved. Potential risks to babies include: low
birth weight, prematurity, respiratory problems, and lacerations.
Potential risks to women include: hemorrhage, infection,
hysterectomy, surgical mistakes, re-hospitalization, dangerous
placental abnormalities in future pregnancies, unexplained stillbirth
in future pregnancies and increased percentage of maternal death.

Mission statement: ICAN is a nonprofit organization whose mission is
to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans
through education, providing support for cesarean recovery and
promoting vaginal birth after cesarean. There are 94 ICAN Chapters
across North America, which hold educational and support meetings for
people interested in cesarean prevention and recovery.

Contact: Gretchen Humphries (734) 323-8220

Write your state and national representatives about this:

U.S. Congress Representatives:


State Representatives:

State Insurance Commissioners:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Do I have to go see "Business of Being Born?"

In the past month, I've received 20+ emails from people who ask me, "So, have you seen this movie? It totally looks like something you should see!" And then there's a link to "The Business of Being Born" movie.

Yes, I know about the movie. I've known about it for many, many months now.

There are three screenings in my area that I know of (many more, I'm sure).

I haven't bought any tickets yet.

My friends are right, it is totally something I should see.

But I don't want to.

I'm trying to figure out why...

Is it because my PTSD has reared up again, and I'm afraid that seeing this movie will trigger more than just a few tears about my c/s? Well, yes, that's part of it.

But it's more than that. I don't want to see this movie because I've been living and breathing the message of this movie for the past three years. It started during my pregnancy with my son, when I said No Thank You to the hospital medwives and I said Yes to homebirth. It then moved to a disastrous home meeting with my homebirth midwife at the end of my pregnancy, where my son was found footling breech, and all attempts to turn him, and find a provider who would attend a breech vaginal birth... were for naught.

I ended up with a C-section, for lack of a better option at the time. But the journey continued. With 2 years of PTSD and PPD under my belt, I've obviously still got a few remnants of the PTSD lingering (I'm trying to figure out who to go see about that).

The real reason I don't want to go see "The Business of Being Born" is because I've already bought into the message of the movie. I know that the U.S. birth scene sucks. I know about hospital interventions. I know the c-section rate is astronomically high, and it's becoming dangerous just to walk into a hospital with a bulging belly. I know that for many women, homebirth is a safe option.

That's why I PICKED homebirth in the first place, goddammit.

And yet, my birth was still taken away from me... or I was too weak to have faith that I could birth a footling breech baby on my own during my first labor.

Well, I have to forgive myself for that one... and I have. I don't look back on my birth and say, "I should have just locked myself in a closet and given birth on my own." Because I simply can't fathom a UC labor with a footling breech on my first time around. That's asking too much, even of this type A, perfectionist overachiever.

But I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't need the movie to tell me what's going on with birth. I know it. I knew it two years ago, and it didn't change my birth outcome. So, whenever I read c/s stories, or watch movies, or hear presentations by people like Rikki Lake who are trying to educate the public about birth, I think, "But I knew all that... and I still ended up with a c/s." It makes me furious... because I feel helpless. I kind of wish I was a mom who had no idea about any of this stuff, because then the movie would make me feel like I can make a change. But I have no idea what to do about my bicornuate/septated uterus that will probably produce a breech baby next time around, too. Guess I gotta get comfortable with UC?

Seeing this movie will just make me angrier, it will make me sadder, and it will make the grieving process continue. I don't know if I need anymore cathartic experiences to dredge this birth pain out of me. I think I need an empowering birth experience, to feel the power of my own body, to be able to look at my husband and my new baby and shout, "I DID IT!!! MY BODY DID IT! I REALLY DID IT!!!!"

And no movie will give me that.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

How Can You Tell?

Sometimes I wish moms with PPD and PTSD came with signs on their bellies.

Signs that said, "I have PPD/PTSD. I'm having a hard day/week/month/postpartum year. Please be gentle with me. Today, I need ___FILL IN THE BLANK___ from you to help me feel better."

Because it's so dang hard to figure out who's doing OK and who's not.

Now, I believe that ALL new moms need TLC and attention... but moms with PPD and PTSD need it even more than most.


A few weekends ago, I visited a woman who had a baby 3 months ago. Her husband used to work with my husband, and I don't know this woman very well... not well enough to say I'm "friends" with her.

I had heard that she had a very easy pregnancy, and a vaginal birth that went well. I knew that she ended up with an epidural, which she hadn't originally wanted (granted, I got the spotty details about her birth story from my husband, who heard them from her husband... so we all know how accurate that birth story is!).

For all appearances, she was doing great 3 months postpartum. Back to working out with a personal trainer, back in her "pre-baby jeans," baby was sleeping through the night, baby was a happy, sweet soul, breastfeeding was going well... and she had decided she wasn't going back to work and felt great about it.

As we were leaving, I gave her Rescue Remedy as part of her new mom gift. She said, "What's this for?" I said, "You know, for all of those times when you feel stressed, overwhelmed... like you can't deal with everything. Rescue Remedy will calm you down. Just put a few drops under your tongue, and everything in your body will chill out."

She looked at me like she had no clue what I was talking about... like I was an alien for suggesting that she feel stressed or overwhelmed after having a baby. I'm pretty sure the Rescue Remedy will get put in the back of some shelf somewhere to gather dust.

I felt instantly foolish and stupid. Her reaction brought me right back to all of those feelings of "I'm not good enough... I'm a terrible mom" for being sad, mad, and unable to deal with anything after Ev was born.

I went through three bottles of Rescue Remedy during those first few months postpartum (heck, first 2 years postpartum!)... and Rescue Remedy hadn't been enough. No, I needed my red wine, too!

How could a mom of a 3-month old be doing better than I had done as a mom of a 19-month old? Gosh darn it, Christi, what a loser you are.

My mind knows this isn't true, but my subconscious speaks louder than my mind most days. She speaks before I can tell her to shut up.


How is it possible, after 2 years of breastfeeding, getting up in the middle of the night to comfort my son, feeding him 3-5 meals a day, dressing him, changing diapers, dealing with tantrums, bathing him, talking with him, singing to him, and obsessing over whether I'm doing things right... how is it possible that I still feel like a mother fraud... a fake?

The truth is, I still don't feel like a mom.

My uterus and my body never got a chance to become a mom. There will always be a gap there for me. Will time allow my heart to close the gap? Will another birth close that gap? Oh, please, please, please, I hope so. 'Cause right now, it feels like I've got amnesia that's keeping me from recognizing that I am a mom.


It's really weird for me to watch myself when I'm around new moms who are doing well. I get very nervous and awkward. I simply don't know what to do or what to say. As I type this, I feel the tears come up... the nerves are still so raw, even after 2 years. Raw in a different way... a detached way... but raw nonetheless.

Part of me is so happy for this new mom friend of mine... happy that she seems to be doing so well.

A different part of me wishes she'd had a traumatic birth, or was having a tough time... because I can identify with that. I know what to say - and how to support - a new mom who's had a C-section, or PTSD, or PPD. I simply don't know what to do around moms who feel empowered by their births... who love their kids unconditionally... who aren't pissed or sad.

I just have such a hard time believing them, for one thing. I feel as though they MUST be pretending, right? I simply can't relate to that experience of motherhood as bliss. Is it even real?

So, then I become Awkward Mom... searching, asking under-the-radar questions, trying to figure out if the mom is really OK, or if she's just pretending for my benefit. And this kind of searching conversation is awkward to do when your husbands are in the room... and even more awkward when you don't really know the other new mom.


Ben and I left the house, got in the car, and drove away. Could she really be doing that well? I hope so, keeping my fingers crossed. But how to tell, for sure?

A few minutes into the ride, I said to my husband, "Well, they seem to be doing great."

He said, "Yep."

Long Paaaauuuusssse.

Then I said, "But you just never know what's going on when we're not there."

Ben said, "Yeah, I know what you mean. You just never know."

And Ben and I sat there in the front seat, sharing a moment of silent knowing. A bonded moment of parental maturity that was laced with sadness and a kind of lost feeling. For we were both remembering what we had been through together these last two years. Although we went through the C-section and the PTSD/PPD at the same time, we experienced it very differently. It was a very, very lonely time for both of us.

So, we sat there, thinking about this new parent couple we'd just hung out with. And there was a heavy cloud of longing in the air, longing for the simple happiness of his friends... of the ease with which they navigated the early months of parenthood. What would our life be like now if our first few years of parenthood had been like that? What would our relationship be like? What would our sex life be like? What would our son be like? Ah, the birth trauma touched so many things... things we'll never get back.


But as we both sat there deep in memories of our own experience... we both wondered... was everything as it appeared for our friends?

Ben and I are all too familiar with the fact that new parents can be good actors and actresses. We were, for goodness sake. The picture that appears on the top of this post was taken when I was in the depths of PPD despair, but you'd never know it to look at me, right? Parents with PPD are very different in public than they are behind closed doors.


Something that really frustrates me about new moms is that they all talk like they're fine. What's up with this? Do we feel like we don't have permission to complain and tell it like it really is? When is this darn "Motherhood is bliss" stereotype going to get smashed against the wall into a thousand pieces so we can really, truly talk about what it's like to have your whole world thrown into upheaval?

** I know that not all moms feel this way, but I'm talking on behalf of those who are hurting and having a hard time. **

I'm not sure how to connect with new moms (particularly those I don't know well) and let them know that it's OK to talk about how they're really doing. How do I create the trust and space to allow for that kind of conversation? I simply don't know. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

The funny thing is... I could have said to this new mom friend of mine, "You know... after Ev was born, I had postpartum depression. For 2 years. I never expected it would happen to me... but it did. It was awful, and I didn't even realize what was going on for months. If you're ever feeling down, or depressed, or overwhelmed... and it doesn't feel right... please give me a call."

Now, why didn't I say that to her? Well, because she looked so... good... and happy... and I felt silly saying it. It seemed like this new mom was getting along better after 3 months than I was after 23 months.

HYPOCRITE, HYPOCRITE... Christi, you hypocrite!

Why is it so hard for me to talk about my rough postpartum time? I mean, that's exactly what I get mad at other moms for doing... not telling it like it is. Why do I have such a hard time talking about this with people I know? I have no problem with people I don't know... I have no problem posting it to the masses on this blog... but my tongue gets tied when faced with a friend or acquaintance or family member.

I feel like no one wants to hear it... that it makes me look weak... that this new mom will never feel that way, anyway, so why bring it up?


The other part of me simply doesn't want to talk about it, because I don't want reminders of it. It's so painful that I just want it to go away... and not think about it. Maybe that's why we moms don't unite enough to help the new moms who come after us... it's too painful to live through the memories. We've been there, done that, survived, thank God, and we don't want to go back... thank you very much.

It's been almost 3 months since I had my last PPD/PTSD episode... thank goodness. I really do think it's gone for good. But now I'm dealing with the aftermath... how do I behave as a "survivor?" To be continued... if you got this far, thanks for reading. No matter how I try, I simply will never be a concise writer. :)

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Daunting Challenges of PPD Recovery


The Logistical Challenges of Recovery:

· Finding out that what I was going through had a label and was a “real thing” was helpful, but then, I didn’t know what to do. Website listed a lot of options, but did I start with the medical tests, the counseling, the support groups, reading, journaling? I just needed someone to tell me ONE place to start. The thing that would help me feel best the fastest.

· I found a lot of websites that dealt with PPD, but I didn’t know where to go after that. They all had phone numbers to call and emails addresses to use, but most were impersonal and intimidating. It’s very hard to pick up the phone and call when you’re not sure who you’ll talk to, or how they’ll respond (or if you’ve got a cranky baby in your arms all the time).

· There was nothing in my new town/area… and most things were in Boston/Brookline/Cambridge, which seemed way too far away. I wanted/needed a community in my area. I'm still trying to find this community.

· After breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, and having your entire life rocked, it was really hard to find the energy and motivation to actually focus on my own health.

· I still had to do everything – make the appointments, do the research, find a babysitter so I could go, figure out how to “fix everything.” I didn’t have the strength or motivation to do so… it’s hard to allow yourself to spend money and time on yourself when you’re not working and bringing in money.

· There was no one who could holistically help me. Meaning, I could go to an acupuncturist OR a shiatsu practitioner OR a psychologist OR a doctor OR an herbalist. But these folks were only looking at pieces of me… and if I wanted the whole of me addressed, I’d have to go to several different people and go through my entire story again and again. That kind of care is expensive, and it’s also way too complicated for a mom who’s depressed. It’s hard enough to take vitamins, much less figure out all of those support systems for yourself. I actually had to have a friend sit down with me, so I could tell her all the options running around in my head, and have her help me figure them out. It was just too much for me at that point. I dream of a place where a woman can go to have all of her postpartum care taken care of... under one roof... with no stress or responsibility placed on her to manage her own care.

The Emotional Challenges of Recovery:

· It’s almost like a cancer diagnosis would be easier, because then at least you get sympathy, and you don’t get blamed for being sad or scared. Many people – especially those who I would normally turn to for support - didn’t take me seriously. My PPD was dismissed/trivialized/ignored.

· I kept thinking I’d get better – but a week turned into a month, turned into a year. Pretty soon, it’s been a long time.

· It’s cyclical, so you think you’re doing OK, then wham, it hits you again… and people get sick of hearing you talk about it. They expect that after a month you’re all better, and they don’t know that you’re still hurting. You get sick of feeling awful, too, and just want it to go away.

The Financial Challenges of Recovery:

· I wasn’t working on my business very much, because I simply couldn’t. Since I wasn’t making a lot of money, it was stressful for me to think about investing in my own health.

· Most of the practitioners who could help me the most were expensive.

The Communication Challenges of Recovery:

· My husband didn’t want to participate in any of my healing journey. He wanted things to get back to normal, but he wasn’t really willing/able to help me or to assume responsibility for it. It was MY problem. He didn’t come to any of the sessions with me, or talk with me about them. I felt very alone, and like it was my problem – and my problem only. I felt extremely alienated from my husband. It was hard living in the house with someone who used to be my strength and support… and then not being able to talk with him about it, because he didn’t want to hear about it. husbands need to be educated on what their wives need from them – they can’t “FIX IT” – they need to listen and be supportive in other ways. They need to help out even more normal.

· When people ask you how they’re doing (if they even do, most of the time, they’re focused on the baby), they don’t really seem like they want to hear about it.

· Care providers dismissed my feelings and concerns. For example, when I went to see the Nurse Practitioner at my new PCP’s office for my physical, I told her that I’d had a traumatic C-section. Her response? “Well, at least you have a healthy baby.” When I expressed concern over the fact that it had been almost a year since my C-section, and I still couldn’t have sex because it was so painful, she responded, “Well, I hate to say this, but some husbands are rough and that doesn’t help.” Then she referred me to a sexual abuse counselor.

· I never knew how someone would respond – people in my inner circle judged me (or that’s how it felt to me). Or if I tried to tell them what was going on, they told me all new moms had postpartum depression, or that my mom cried after I was born, too. They also told me I was wasting my time with my son by being sad.

· I didn’t have a PCP (I’d always taken care of myself). I couldn’t get into one for 3-4 months (which is a LIFETIME for a depressed mom). I didn’t know who to call… did I call my midwife (who’d dumped me)? My OB-Gyn (who’d cut me) and who had only known me for a month? My old OB-Gyn (who I hadn’t seen for a few years and didn’t even know I’d been pregnant)? I didn’t have a care provider to turn to… especially one that would help me figure out natural ways of healing myself.

· It’s hard feeling like you need to pretend like you’re fine when you’re not. I tried telling people the truth, but most people either didn’t want to hear it… or they simply downplayed it and so I simply stopped saying the truth after a while. That made me want to withdraw, which only made it worse.

· The simple fact of the matter is this: most people forget about you after the baby comes. They focus all attention, presents, and energy on the baby. They assume you’re fine and you don’t need help when in reality, you need help well through the entire first year.

· Other moms didn’t talk about PPD – they put up a front like everything’s OK, even if it’s not. It’s hard to know who you can trust, if you want to talk about it.

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Other Pieces of my Healing Journey from PPD


- When I could, I journaled and got feelings out on paper. When I couldn’t sleep at night, I stayed up and communicated with “real people” via email (ICAN and friends). Sometimes, I wrote emails to my husband and sent them in the middle of the night because, honestly, he’d probably read the email before we’d have a chance to talk it over anyway. This worked for me because I’m a writer and writing helps me be 100% honest, and release what’s inside of me. Creating this blog has been very helpful, especially when I read responses from other women who have found my posts. Very, very helpful.

- I went to the library and tried to find helpful books. Most of them seemed so “surface level” and unhelpful and unreal. Brooke Shield’s book was great, in that it spoke the truth about how awful PPD can be, but her reality (hiring a baby nurse, and having so many financial resources at her disposal) simply didn’t resonate. Plus, I didn’t want to take drugs, so I couldn’t really identify with her treatment choice. The book “Rebounding from Childbirth” by Lynn Madsen was a godsend. This was the book I’d been waiting for, particularly in the way it addressed the PTSD from my C-section. It was focused more on birth than motherhood, so is more helpful from a PTSD standpoint, than PPD. I posted more on PPD books in another post on this blog. Mostly helpful.

- I even tried cooking my placenta – but I didn’t know how to do it. Not sure if I did it right, so I was nervous to take the pills. I finally took some about 15 months after my son was born… I wish I’d had someone to prepare it for me, and I wish I’d taken it right away after the C-section. That probably would have helped tremendously. ???

- Writing my birth stories out and posting them on my blog and sending them to ICAN – making them public. Very helpful.

- Watching my birth video to see what really happened. Helpful.

- Exercise really helped boost my mood, and it made me feel like I had control of something again. It was something just for me, and something that made me feel like I was reclaiming the old, strong parts of me. Having personal trainer help me get on track was a lifesaver, particularly because she helped me with exercises I could do with Evan around, and particularly because she came to my house. Very helpful.

- Eating well played a huge role for me. What helped was making sure I was taking cod liver oil (for the EFAs), getting enough vitamins/minerals, protein (to feel strong), and vegetables. Minimizing sugar, avoiding caffeine and alcohol like the plague. Very helpful.

- I had to use hypnosis/relaxation tapes to help me get to sleep at night, because I had flashbacks. It was really hard to sleep for a long time, but I finally figured out that if my husband told me stories that he made up himself, his voice and the mundane-ness of the stories would lull me to sleep. Helpful.

- I joined a Postpartum Depression Task Force that had just started up in my area (the North Shore of Boston) – I was the only member of the task force who had been through PPD, and so sharing my story and keeping the Task Force honest around the realities of PPD has been very helpful. Also, setting boundaries for myself with the Task Force (I attend meetings, but don’t do much in-between work) has been good for my “keep life simple” mind. Also, knowing 40+ new people who could support me if I got PPD again has been a relief. I’m creating a community that could one day support me, if I need it. It’s good to see how far I’ve come, and it’s great to be in a setting where I can use my mind and leadership skills to help create change. Helpful.

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People I Turned to For PPD Support... and their Reactions

Here are all of the people that I called upon for help… and their reactions to my plea. I rank these according to the level of their helpfulness.


Friends and Family:

- The first person I went to was my husband, Ben, because I needed to hear whether I was making the right diagnosis, and I needed/wanted his feedback. I remember asking him, “Do you think I might have PPD?” He didn’t hesitate for even a split second before responding a firm and loud, “Yes, I do.” He said he was going to bring it up, but he didn’t know if it would offend me or make it worse. He said he didn’t want to talk about it anymore until he’d had a chance to do some research and come back with a “plan.” Two nights later, he came home and handed me a print out which contained a list of “signs that you have PPD” and “recovery methods” that he’d found online. He went through them all, and told me which symptoms he thought I had, and which recovery methods he thought would work. But he didn’t want to talk about the details. I tried to get him to talk about what it was like for me, but he wanted to stick to the list. He simply wanted me to pick a solution and fix myself. Since that initial interaction, there have been many times I’ve asked him to talk about it. Sometimes, if it’s late at night, he says he wants to wait until morning (but then he never brings it up). Sometimes, if I’m up and can’t sleep in the middle of the night, he’ll get up and I know he knows I’m not asleep, but he doesn’t come get me. Other times, he’ll listen, but he won’t ask me questions and he won’t go there… I think it’s too painful for him. He can’t fix it, and that drives him nuts. So he just ignores it and hopes that someone else will fix me, or I’ll just let it go. Not really helpful.

- In fall 2006, I asked a friend and fellow business owner if she would help me brainstorm my options. I could see all my option swirling around in my head, but I couldn’t make sense of them or figure out which to do first. I basically asked her to help me prioritize and create a project plan, which was too hard for me to do on my own. Helpful.

- I emailed and called a few other friends, telling them what was going on and asking for support. Some were very helpful (i.e. took me kayaking, and watched Evan while I went to counseling sessions). Others said they would check back in with me, but never did. Mostly helpful.

- I asked my friend and fellow holistic health counselor to call and check in on me every single day for a while. She did, and this was very helpful, because she simply listened. And asked questions. And didn’t judge me. And told me that this was very, very hard, and that she was very, very sorry. She never tired of listening to me, and she told me she cared. Over and over and over again. This was exactly what I needed. Very helpful!

- I told my mother-in-law that I had PPD, and that I would really need some extra help watching my son. I told her because she lives 10 minutes away, and I thought she could be a lot of help. She never brought it up with me again, or asked me how I was doing. Helpful – she babysat for Evan. Not helpful – she never spoke with me about how I was doing.

- I told my parents that I was having trouble getting over the C-section, and my dad said that he was sorry, but he never asked about it again. My mom said things that didn’t make me feel better (like, “I wish you hadn’t gotten so sensitive over the past few years because then the C-section wouldn’t have bothered you” and “I wish that you’d just enjoy Evan now.” I never brought the PPD subject up with her, because I didn’t think she would support me the way I needed/wanted to be supported, so I never said anything. I now know that this wasn’t fair – I didn’t give her the chance. She knew something was wrong, but I wouldn’t tell her… and the longer it went on, the more difficult it was to say anything. Also, my parents had other people who needed their support, and I didn’t want to be another burden, or get too much attention from them. Plus, they live in CA, so besides phone calls and emails, there’s not much they could have done. I didn’t want them flying out to help… that would have made me feel worse, like more of a loser. Not helpful (mainly my fault).

- I gradually found another mom who I identified with… she’d had a C-section and resulting PPD, too, and she wasn’t happy with motherhood, either. Being able to be honest around her was so wonderful. She let me speak my truth, no matter how I was feeling, and I felt I could be honest with her. And seeing that there was another other loving, vibrant, charismatic, passionate, and ambitious woman who wasn’t crazy about motherhood was so helpful for me. It helped me let go of my own self-judgment and blame. Because she was an amazing woman, and yet she hated her birth and she didn’t love motherhood… so didn’t that mean that it was OK that I felt the same way? Very helpful!

The Medical Community:

- I called my OB-GYN who did my C-section, because all the websites said that your OB-Gyn is your first line of defense. My OB gave me what I assume was the PPD test at my 2-week check-up, but didn’t give it to me at my 6-week check-up. I don’t remember her asking me how I was doing emotionally at the 6-week check-up, she only covered physical things. Even if she had asked, I wouldn’t have told her what was going on. I was still in shock, and I hated her because she did my C-section, I wouldn’t want her to know how messed up I was because of it. I just wanted to be done with her. She did know that I was having an extremely difficult time breastfeeding, and trouble with my scar.. I finally called her to tell her I had PPD, and didn’t know where to turn, since I’d moved to a new city and didn’t have care providers up here. I asked her to call me back with the name of a doctor who I could go to (someone with a holistic slant, if possible) to get bloodwork done and rule out physical problems… but her office manager only left the name of an acupuncturist on my voice mail. There was no additional follow-up from them, ever. Not helpful.

- I called several different PCPs in the Andover/Cambridge areas. In every case, I told them I had a bad case of PPD, and needed to get in for a physical and some blood tests to rule out anemia and thyroid problems. In every case, they told me it would be a 3+ month wait. I finally got in to see a nurse practitioner in January (I started calling around to find a doctor in September). Four months is a LIFETIME to wait when you’re depressed. Not helpful.

- To get support around painful postpartum sex, I emailed a physical therapist, but never heard back. I called another physical therapist and was told there was a 4-month waiting list, and to check back with her later. I asked if she could refer me to someone else who did the same kind of work in the area, but she said she was the only one who had this particular level of expertise. She made me feel like I was bothering her by calling. Again, this could have been my level of sensitivity at this point… but when dealing with a mom with PPD, you have to tread oh-so-lightly if you’re a practitioner. You have to overwhelm us with love, because we feel terrible about ourselves. Not helpful.

- I emailed a ND (naturopath) who I’d seen a few months after Evan was born… who was very supportive at that appointment. I told her that I had PPD, and I needed to get some medical support. She never responded to my email. Helpful – the initial visit. Follow-up during PPD time - not helpful.

- At my son’s 5 day check-up, my pediatrician asked me how breastfeeding was going, and when I burst into tears, she sent us directly to a lactation consultant. She never asked me how I was doing in subsequent visits, and in fact patronized me when I asked questions about Evan… telling me that I should be able to find those answers in books. BOOKS? That’s assuming I had time to read… or that I would remember what I read. Neither or which was happening. Then we moved and found a new pediatrician, and he never broached the subject of how we were doing as parents, either. He was a homeopathic doctor, and probably could have really helped to smooth my moods out, but he never asked about PPD. Not helpful.

- I went to see a psychologist for a few sessions, mainly because she was close to me, and because she took my insurance. However, although I went to her to talk about PPD and PTSD from my C-section, she never asked me about my birth. She talked with me about motherhood, and my parents, but she never addressed the issue that was most intense for me at that time… my son’s birth. I had to take Evan to these appointments, so that was frustrating. I spent lots of time trying to keep him happy and quiet… and so I couldn’t really concentrate. Not helpful.

- When Evan was 22 months old, I went to see a holistic MD, who’s also a homeopathic doctor. He listened to my whole story, asked lots of questions, and gave me one homeopathic remedy… and told me, “Let that work on you.” The next month, I went back, told him how I was doing (I hadn’t had a depressive episode that month… which was a first for me)… and instead of feeling sad and overwhelmed, I was mainly irritable and angry. He said, “Good, sounds like the remedy is working… we’ll just let it continue to work.” He also spoke with me about adding more animal fat into my diet… for more Vitamin A and D… and the importance of a high quality cod liver oil. I was already taking cod liver oil, but he gave me a different brand which had a lot more Vitamin A and D… and that has helped. He says that he thinks that changing my diet would have helped ease the depression. The sessions with this doctor really helped – not just the remedies and food changes – but because he really helped me talk through the changes that happens when you become a mom. He helped create an opening where I could slow down and listen to my inner voice. It told me that I had to take a sabbatical from my business… and let go of some of my old passions and commitments, so that I could create space for motherhood. That has made a HUGE difference just in the past few weeks. VERY HELPFUL.

The Healing Community:

- In summer 2006, I emailed my doula, who suggested I get counseling. Neutral.

- In summer 2006, I bartered with a personal trainer to get myself exercising again, and try and figure out exercises that I could do with Evan around. This was very helpful, and helped me regain my physical strength. If she hadn’t come to my house though, I wouldn’t have been able to make it happen. Her house visits saved me. Very helpful.

- In summer 2006, told various holistic health counselors what was going on – some of them called periodically to check in on me. It was also very, very helpful to talk with other holistic health counselors, because they’re non-judgmental, they listen well, they ask great questions, and they helped me see that it was simply OK to feel the way I was feeling… and backed me up on my commitment to continue to try and feel better. Very helpful.

- In summer 2006, I purchased phone sessions from a practitioner in Canada who specializes in helping moms and dads identify with their babies. I wanted to help support my son through all of this emotional turmoil. The counselor ended up supporting me as well as my son. This was mostly very helpful, but our work often made me feel like it was my fault for my son’s fussiness, and that all of the solutions rested on my shoulders. It became too much pressure on me to fix things, and the expense was too great, so I stopped. She didn’t specialize in PPD. However, I loved that I could email her at 3:00 in the morning when I couldn’t sleep, and get all my ugly feelings out, and she would respond. Mostly helpful.

- In fall 2006, I went to five counseling sessions with a birth trauma/postpartum depression specialist in the Boston area. These sessions were extremely helpful, because I could be totally honest, and I felt like she was one of few people who were asking the right questions and creating a safe space for me in a formal therapy environment. I ended up having to stop these sessions because of the cost, the fact that I had to drive almost as hour to get to the sessions, and because I didn’t have anyone to watch my son while I was in the sessions. Very helpful.

- In fall 2006, I was referred to a nutritionist for a quick, complimentary phone consult. He prescribed minerals, vitamins, and some supplement powders… for someone who could barely remember to drink water during the day, it was an incredibly overwhelming routine. Not helpful.

- In winter and spring of 2007, I saw my spiritual counselor in NH once, and spoke with her by phone a few times. The sessions were extremely helpful, but again, the cost was prohibitive. Very helpful.

- In the summer of 2007, I hired a holistic health counselor to help me get my health back on track. In our first call, she recognized that my birth trauma and PPD still wasn’t over and done with, so we started working on that as well. She referred me to someone who does Seemorg-Matrix work, but I’m tired from working with so many people and spending so much money. Helpful.

- A few times, I saw the shiatsu practitioner who’d supported me during pregnancy. I also got several massages. Getting bodywork helped me get over the hatred of my body and my C-section scar. Helpful.

Support Organizations:

- I went online and found a lot of websites. However, these websites were pretty generic, and I wouldn’t dream of calling an 800 number to talk with a stranger. I also felt very overwhelmed, because there were so many options, yet there weren’t any personal connections that I felt comfortable making. The sites didn’t really express the true level of intensity of emotion that I was feeling, they all made PPD sound so ‘benign.’ The writing was very clinical and impersonal. Like C-section writing, most websites don’t do PPD justice. Not helpful.

- I got so desperate at one point that I called Catholic Church and asked them if they knew of any babysitters in the area so I could get help with my son while I got help for myself… I also asked them if they had any women’s groups that I could join for support. They did try to help me find a babysitter, but in the end, no one had any solutions to offer. Not helpful.

- I emailed a local mothers’ group community and told them that I was suffering from the baby blues, and didn’t know anyone in the community. I didn’t get a big response back. Later, they started a Depression group, but I didn’t join because I thought it was behind me… and I didn’t want to go to a group where I didn’t know anyone.

- When my son was about 4 weeks old, I called Jewish Family Services to ask to be assigned a Visiting Mom. The program coordinator came over and interviewed me. It was the one day I was able to get dressed and clean the house. Of course, my son slept the whole time she was there. She found out that my sister-in-law came one afternoon a week, and my mother-in-law came another afternoon a week… and I was denied my Visiting Mom. They said they only reserve Visiting Moms for new moms who have no support. This really made me feel like I didn’t deserve to ask for help, that I was in a good situation and shouldn’t need any other support. Not helpful.

- However, I persisted. And when my son was 6 weeks old, I went to a postpartum group called “This is Not What I Expected.” The group was hosted by the Jewish Family Services, and it was close to my house. It was really helpful in that 1. it was cheap – only $40 for the 8 week sessions 2. I could say whatever I wanted without fearing judgment 3. it was great to be around other moms who hated motherhood, too – I didn’t feel like such a loser. However, it was frustrating for me because 1. there were moms who’d been there for months, and I didn’t want to think that I’d still be depressed months later 2. they didn’t facilitate the group at all, we basically just sat there and talked when we felt like it, with no facilitation 3. they didn’t help us talk about what we could do differently when we left the space. I didn’t just want to vent, I wanted to identify one action step I could take to change my reality. Semi-helpful.

- I called Jewish Family Services again when my son was 7 months old and I realized I had full force PPD. Peggy Kauffman was one of the only people who truly GOT it and understood what I was going through. She called me back promptly, she made calls to psychologists for me (recognizing that I would want someone close by, and might not have the motivation to call to see who would accept my insurance). She even called back once to check on me, which left such an amazing impression on me. I did meet with her to talk about scheduling some sessions, but the $150 per session fee was simply too steep at that point. Could have been helpful.

- I joined ICAN – the International Cesarean Awareness Network, and became a part of their yahoo email group. I was able to read stories from other moms who felt like I did… and post about my honest feelings of depression, anger, grief, etc. about my C-section and motherhood. This was EXTREMELY helpful – this group of women are compassionate, caring, and honest. This has been a godsend, and I don’t know where I’d be without it. The list also helps me see how much I’ve grown, because I get to help other moms… and through posting and writing my experiences, I get a cathartic release. Very, very helpful!

- I asked everywhere for babysitters, so I could get some alone time and time away from my mother duties… it took me eight months to find a babysitter in my area for my son. Helpful once I found someone.

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My PPD/PTSD Symptoms

My PPD/PTSD Symptoms

· I experienced a lack of energy – felt like I was dragging all the time.

· I was often unable to sleep – I was up late at night with insomnia.

· I didn’t like motherhood and I didn’t want to talk about my birth to anyone.

· I avoided phone calls and people.

· I had dreams that I died during surgery before Evan was born.

· I cried for 3 weeks straight before he was born.

· I wasn’t even sure why I was even on this earth – I asked myself what the point of life was a lot.

· I wasn’t interested in eating well, and I drank wine during the day straight out of the bottle.

· It felt like I couldn’t remember to do even one little thing for my own health – drink water, taking vitamins… these seemed too difficult.

· I had flashbacks to my son’s birth ALL the time.

· I experienced feelings of gloom, grief, anger ALL the time – these feelings were like a cloud over my head that never went away.

· I didn’t want to have sex – I had no interest in being physically intimate with my husband.

· I didn’t want to hang out with Evan – I resented him and didn’t like when he cried. I didn’t even like my son for the first 12 months of his life. I loved him, but I didn’t like him. Because in my mind, he was the one who made me feel this way.

· I didn’t feel like a mother at all… I thought others knew how to take better care of him than I did. I didn’t go out with him for a long time (it took me three months to get up the nerve to take him to the grocery store) and I didn’t even think about signing us up for mom & baby events or classes.

· I didn’t want to go out and meet other mothers – I had no interest in trying to pretend like I was fine when I wasn’t. I hated being around myself, I couldn’t imagine that others would want to be.

· I got really jealous, sad, or mad when I heard of moms having good births, or liking motherhood. Those positive feelings felt so foreign to me – I thought they must be lying.

· I had intense fear and anxiety in the weeks leading up to Evan’s birthday – I didn’t plan a party for that day and didn’t want to celebrate the anniversary of my surgery.

· I had panic attacks and felt intense anger and sadness when I would see a pregnant woman, drive past my midwife’s house, watch a birth/parenting show on TV, or enter a doctor’s office.

· I had trouble recalling the details of my son’s first six months of life. I didn’t keep a baby journal or write any letters to him – I wasn’t interested in any of that.

· I disconnected from my family and many of my friends… except people with whom I could discuss the C-section and my true feelings.

· I didn’t think my marriage would last, or that I would ever like motherhood.

· When I look back on the videos I took, I look happy. But I don’t remember any happiness. To the normal outsider, I would look completely happy and content. But on the inside, I was screaming out for help.

· During the first few months, I wanted to escape into my business… but then, as the PPD got stronger, I had trouble motivating myself to do my work. Still, no one would have known this, because from the outside, I was still working a lot.

· I had insane mood swings – I felt bipolar, in a way. I had bursts of anger, long bouts of tears, I would scream and yell in my house, and I’d stay in my bed or in the shower for long periods of time.

· I went to the movies a week after Evan was born, and didn’t want to go back home. I dropped my father off at the airport two weeks after he was born, and I didn’t want to go back home.

· I actually thought about leaving my husband… and son.


Things that made me realize I wasn’t in the same ‘motherhood’ space’ as many of my friends:

o Amara sounded like she was coping just fine 3 months after birth – and she wasn’t mad or depressed like I was

o Kirsten emailed me and asked about Evan – but I never asked any moms about their kids – I never even thought to ask – when they asked me, I never even really cared about asking about their kids

o When a professional organizer emailed me about the fact that “it’s hard to keep up once you’re a new mom, because the clothes are constantly getting outgrown” I assumed she was talking about MY clothes, not my son’s baby clothes. The baby simply didn't enter my consciousness.

o Kirsten emailed me to ask me to go toy shopping b/c she was addicted to buying toys for her son, and had so much fun with it. I realized I hadn’t bought Evan anything (not clothes, not toys, NOTHING), and he was 10 months old.

o I joined The Mother Connection and only went to the playroom once… I never went to any other events - I couldn't bear to be around other moms - I felt like a fake.

o When my brother called after Evan was born, I didn’t want to talk to him – I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t want him to know about it

o I never wanted to call anyone back when they left messages after Evan was born

o I was pissed off every time a family member from CA called and immediately asked about Evan – what about me????

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