During #ppdchat on Monday, I saw a tweet from the lovely Lauren Hale that really stuck with me. “PPD is such a thief, isn’t it?” It really struck a chord with me. I felt like my postpartum depression and my postpartum anxiety stole my relationship with my family. I lost myself completely to the depression and the anxiety. I was a shell of myself. I have finally made peace with this experience, and I am no longer allowing the guilt to drag me down. I was reborn like a phoenix from the ashes. Not that life is all rainbows and unicorns all the time. The difference is that I have tools to combat my tendency towards perfectionism and anxiety. I know how to ride the waves and manage my anxiety, one baby step at a time.
Monday night, I had an amazing chat with Alexandra Rosas about taking an active role in our recovery. I talked about the amazing opportunity she and I both share as members of Katherine’s Warrior Mom Leadership Team. I am so honored and humbled about this opportunity. I did not just wake up one day and say to myself that I wanted to be a part of that opportunity. It all began with some amazing friends Robin and Yael who gently suggested that blogging was a wonderful therapy for healing from postpartum depression and anxiety. I took a leap, and I began to write. I had no clue what I was doing, and my first posts show that. I had to discover my voice. I kept stretching and writing posts that scared the shit out of me. I made small changes that snowballed into positive habits.
I had been following Alexandra on Twitter for a while. When my sister-in-law talked about meeting a local blogger at a mom’s group, I realized that she had met Alexandra. I decided to reach out via e-mail to ask Alexandra to coffee just to chat. Once I started taking risks, things just snowballed. My friendship with Alexandra led to her asking me to join her as the co-producer for Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee. One of the reasons I was chosen was my expertise in theatre. She and I never would have discovered that I was the yin to her yang if I had not taken that first step.
I know how hard it is to fight your way back from that cliff. Find your passion. What lights your fire? What do you love to do? For me, it was writing, theatre and exercise. Start advocating for yourself to make those passions part of your self-care routine. Once I started to incorporate those things into my self-care arsenal, I started looking and being open to opportunities. I started doing things that made me quake in my boots. Said yes to co-producing Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee. Said yes to reading a piece in the show. Pitched a guest post to Aiming Low. Registered to attend BlogHer. Said yes to attending Pathfinder Day. Agreed to be a part of the Warrior Mom Leadership Team. Said yes to Ann Imig when she asked me to introduce Postpartum Progress Inc. as the non-profit for Listen To Your Mother‘s Open Mic Salon at BlogHer. Said yes to running a regular 5K. Said yes to personal training with a group of women that I did not know very well at work. Said yes to attending boot camp twice a week with my amazing workout buddies.
The possibilities are endless. All you have to do is take that first baby step. You can do it. I believe in you.