Motherhood

Yes, I Would Fight a Mountain Lion To The Death For Them

Hiked a bit through the Purisima Trail in Half Moon Bay this morning, and at the entrance we were met by these warnings: 

image.jpg

I'm supposed to fight a mountain lion if it attacks? BRUH. I can't even stomach walking past Banana Slugs! 

image.jpg

It was a beautiful hike though. California continues to surprise me with its wide variety of natural glory.

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

And yea...I may lose my guts to a banana slug, but I'd definitely fight a mountain lion to the death for these 4, because, legacies must continue.  "IWouldDie4U"-no question. 

image.jpg

Yes, I'm Scared of the Dark. Terrified, Really.

I have a lot of fears. Well, maybe not a lot, but at least two or three that seize my body with terror & fill my mind with awful images & scenarios whenever I think of them.

Like drowning.

The thought of not being able to draw in a breath without choking on water & being submerged in a body of water petrifies me.

And snakes...my toes curled up & my heart nearly flew out of my chest just typing that s-word...so I think it's best we just move right along to my final fear:

I'm terrified of the dark.

Yes, I'm 29 years old and I'm afraid of the dark-have been since I was a kid. Even as grown woman & mother of two kids, a small part of me is always convinced something will emerge from it to "get me," even though my rational mind knows this isn't the case.

But that's the thing about fears, right? They aren't always rational, are they? (Follow me, I'm trying to go somewhere, I promise.)

I think what scares me the most about darkness is that it places everything it covers into The Land of the Unknown...what was sure & recognizable in the light becomes shadowy, fuzzy & unclear in the dark. For a control freak like myself, I'm sure you can imagine why this freaks me out. I wish I could tell you that I don't stay awake some nights wondering if the shadow in the closet is really from the ironing board that I KNOW is there...or from some horrific figment of my imagination it's put there to f-- with me. Seriously, I wish I could but I can't. I don't do it much when I'm with someone else but if I'm by myself? Forget it. I'm cowering under the covers trying not to think about how unsafe I feel...Sometimes, just to shut up & shut down the fears screaming in my mind I have to actually get up, turn on a light, and go physically touch objects around the room I'm in...just for reassurance.

Crazy, right? Weird, right? Yes I know. Stupid? Probably...but as I lay here in my bed typing this and trying to tell myself I'm not going to wake up with some stranger laying next to or on me, and that the boys & I are VERY safe, I'm realizing that my fear of the dark is really just a fear of uncertainty. I hate not knowing. Ambiguity and I are not friends. Not being able to see & know everything around me leaves me in a very unsettled place emotionally...which disrupts me mentally, and manifests itself physically into agitation, irritability, paranoia, and crippling anxiety. I even get intrusive thoughts sometimes. My mind smells any hint of fear & just takes off in about 20 different directions, all of which lead to something horrific happening. If I can't see or know everything there is about something, a person, or where I have to go, I'm a wreck and not too pleasant to be around. This is one of the reasons I hate getting lost. Can't. Stand it.

And it's one of the reasons why even though growing up a military brat acquainted me with change & taught me the importance of adjusting & adapting to it, I'm not very good at embracing it like I should be. I know, you're thinking to yourself "The chick who changes her hair color every time she blinks is afraid of change? What the hell?" But seriously, while I may not be afraid of changing how I look, I am terrified of how change impacts my life in other areas.

I like change...There are times my restless and adventurous little soul yearns for it...but then when it shows up ready to deliver I promptly begin to freak the hell out. I know-I don't get the contradiction either, trust me.

So even though I was dying to pack up & move across the country...am giddy at the thought of marrying the nerd of my life...am relieved to be taking a break from work & school and looking forward to just being MOM....here I am, laying in a hotel room in Austin, TX, (IN THE DARK!) absolutely paralyzed by my fear of the uncertain...of what's unknown...imagine Usain Bolt running around at record speed inside my head waving 500 "what if?" flags stirring up a fear tornado. That's my mind right now.

A fear tornado. I'm dead smack in the center staring wide eyed at all my fears & questions swirling furiously around me.

What happens if Bertski doesn't come back from PA next week because his train derails and crashes and I'm forced to be here by myself? How would we survive & live without him?

What if someone breaks in here or attacks us while he's gone? How would I defend us?

What if he changes his mind & doesn't want to marry me?

What if he hates it here?

What if I hate it here? And the boys? What if this was a mistake?

We haven't found a place yet-what if we don't? How long can we stay here at the hotel? Will they kick us out? Where will we go?

What if by choosing to "just" be Mom, I lose the other parts of me that make me...ME? What will happen to my passions, my goals, my ambition? What if I don't go back to school & I regret it? Will my children think less of me if I don't have a degree? Will I be setting the bar too low for them if I don't go back?

Can we survive off of just one income?

What if the boys get sick or need to go to the doctor? Or me? Or Bertski? We don't have health insurance...

What if I'm not strong enough to handle all of this change & I sink into an episode or my illness rages out of control again?

I could go on...but I'll stop the list there. I know some of these fears are irrational, slightly silly & maybe even stupid-I know this, I do. But there are others that are valid & real and they're the ones that cause me the most unease. I'm incredibly happy we moved. Grateful for the people we've met here & the connections we've made despite being states away from family & friends who have supported us for years. Thrilled that I'm doing this with the man I love dearly and my boys...

But I'm also scared shitless over the unknowns of this venture, of everything that sits in the dark, and restricts my vision of the future. We've executed a plan that brought us here, but large amounts of that plan have been rooted in uncertainty & our desire to just stick together & "make it happen"until we're settled.

I'm afraid of the dark, because not being able to see what's in front of me leaves me feeling very unsettled...uneasy...uncomfortable. I'm trying to take it all in stride & just learn to be okay with not knowing. I'm trying to embrace the nuances of change without trying to control it too much. It's not easy, but I'm trying.

Well there you have it. I told you some of my fears, what are yours?

Secret Mommyhood Confession: I'm Getting Owned by My 2 year Old

You've seen it before... You're in the mall, at a restaurant, in line at Target,  at the grocery store, shopping or eating in peace when all of a sudden it sounds like an animal is being slaughtered. Ear piecing screams shatter the peaceful atmosphere as everyone stops wherever they're at to ascertain the location of the disturbance. As the commotion gets louder, your eyes scan the area around you back & forth, you step out of the aisle, perhaps try to peer over at the next register, and then you zero in on a painful sight.

There's no animal being sacrificed, no demon being exorcised...it's just some kid going bat s*it crazy on their poor parent. Embarrassed and red in the face, the parent tries to calm their little terror down by employing all the SWAT team & verbal judo tactics they learned in those parenting books. This only seems to fan the flames of the meltdown as the child resorts to more animistic sounds and flailing about on the floor, face purple from the rage boiling over inside of them.

At this point I've only ever seen one of two things happen: either the parent scoops up the kid and flees the store while being pummeled by tiny fists of fury, crushed & mortified, OR the meltdown and failed attempts to squash it tip the parent over the edge of their sanity and they resort to either screaming right back at the child, or lowering their voice to just above a whisper and starting to issue threats that range from bodily harm to being left at the store.

I've witnessed this countless times. Before I had children, I used to be one of those people who just stare in disapproval, shaking their heads and whispering to the person next to them how THEY would handle the situation. Yea. I'm ashamed to say I was one of those people. The ones who just stare & cast judgement like they've got some kind of  f*cking degree in child rearing that you, the one who pushed the little barbarian out, don't.  "Oh I wouldn't have that. Nope. My child would know better than to embarrass me like that, shoooooot." (Insert finger snapping & neck rolling here, if you'd like.) " I wish they would. I'd snatch them up in a heartbeat! There's no way I'd let my child get that out of control."  (Yea, I was pretty stupid before I had kids, but in my defense I was young and childless-my middle name was Naive.)

Once I had Brennan though, my attitude changed of course. It went from thinking I knew how my child wouldn't act, to asking God to get us in and out of public places without incident. For the most part, God heard my supplications & was merciful. Brennan was the model toddler. No public scream fests, I never had to exorcise any demons at Target, and thankfully, any tantrums he did have were easily subdued.

Then I had Alex. I knew within months he was going to be that kid, and I would become that mom... you know the one trying to desperately talk down a two year old who's losing their s*it because he ran out of milk in his sippy cup? Yea, I knew that was going to be me.

How did I know, you ask?  Well, there were clues. As an infant, he cried all. the. time. He despised car rides and never let us get through one without unleashing his wrath. The older he's gotten, the more independent he's become. I mean fiercely independent. He has to do things his way, and in his time. You can't feed him. Changing his diaper is a WWE match punctuated with screams. My boy is so picky he's gone from eating whole Chic-Fil-A nuggets (no other nuggets will do) to only eating the corners of them.  If he's not happy about something, trust and believe he's going to vocalize his discontent over it. Change the channel? Tantrum. A commercial comes on? Ear piercing screams. Tell him he has to wait until after dinner for his daily PediaSure hit? You're getting cussed out in toddler speak. Catch him dancing to the Fresh Beat Band and say "yay! Go Alex!" and he's prostrate on the floor, hands covering eyes, face distorted in a scowl.  Tell him it's time to go bye bye and take too long to get to the door? Tasmanian devil-sized meltdown.

Screams. Scowls. Body flailing. Fists of fury. Anger. Aggression. He's full of all of it, and I'm completely lost as to how to handle any of it. Do I fall out on the floor with him? Discipline him? How? Since he turned 2 in April we've been treated to shouts of "NOOOO!!!!!" while either hitting one of us, pushing Brennan, or launching something across the room. Sometimes it's whatever's next to him or in his hand, others it's his actual body.

It was manageable when he was 1. It's become hell now that he's 2. His father and I have been trying everything to keep from resorting to how our parents dealt with us...you know, with a back hand. These days, if you were to eavesdrop outside our door, you're sure to hear lots of "NOOOOOOOOO!" "Do you want timeout?!" "NO! NO! (more toddler gibberish) NO!" I'm buying a special "time out chair" next week. We'll see how effective it is.

Yep. I've become that mom who has that kid. Maybe we'll just become a family of recluses. Stay inside until he's 10...or 30. Or maybe we'll be the family the entire store is staring at as we try to navigate the Terrible Two's without losing our sanity...or going to jail.

Just do me a favor: If you happen to see me fleeing Target with a screaming, purple-faced Alex, be a friend. Chase after me and tell me it's going to be okay and he'll grow out of it eventually. Also? Bring Tequila. Patron if you can swing it.

*Note: Alex is an awesome kid. Full of laughter and rambunctious energy. I love him to death, but I had to vent about this Terrible Two nonsense. It's testing the limits of my sanity*

**This post is part of All Work & No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something's Secret Mommyhood Confession link up. You can read the rest of these posts, add your own,  and more by clicking here**

Something Something Button

Being Black with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Progress has a new series! It's called "Warrior Moms of Color."

It was created by Katherine Stone to give women from various racial and ethnic backgrounds an opportunity to share their stories of living with and battling through perinatal mood disorders.

I was asked to be a guest contributor for this series and shared some of my experience there today. I'm grateful for the chance to do so, being as that Postpartum Progress was THE website that helped me find treatment and support for my PPD/PPA.

Please head on over and read what I had to say about my struggle with suffering with PPD as an African American woman, and as always feel free to share your thoughts and comments.....I'd love to hear your feedback on this one.

Stopping to Smell the Reality

Ever have one of those days where you question everything about yourself? Ever wonder if the goals you're pursuing are attainable...or even worth pursuing?

Ever have a day where you just need someone to look you squarely in the eyes and say, "You are more than your struggles and anxieties. You are going to make it."

For me today is one of those days. So overwhelmed, I just feel beat up, you know?

Mother. Clinical Social Worker. Dance Therapist. Speaker. Advocate. Writer.

Can I really become all of these and do them well? Can I really help women? Will I reach recovery?

Only time and continued commitment will tell.....

20120221-183751.jpg

She Said It: Kathryn Greene McCreight on PPD, Bipolar Disorder & Faith

My friend Audrey lent me this book a couple of months ago and I'm just starting to read it this week. The second paragraph of the first chapter made me catch my breath as I read words that seemed to explain what parts of my experience with PPD was like.  As I continued to read the following paragraphs and discovered that the author is not just a mother, but a priest, and also bipolar, my eyes stung with heavy tears and I had to pause every now and then to process the emotions I was feeling.

When I was going through my experience with PPD I felt so alone, because it seemed no one around me had experienced it, or if they had, they didn't speak up about it. I felt confused and misunderstood, mostly because I couldn't even articulate what was going on with me, and when I tried, my words left the hearer with the impression that I either just needed to pray more, take more time, or "fix" my circumstances...as a Christian I was even told that I was experiencing the depression and turmoil because I had chosen to have a child out of wedlock...the hell and pain I was reeling from were just the byproducts of my "sin" and I needed to just endure it.

When I was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar disorder last July, I felt my faith shaken and my first question to God was, "Can I be a Christian and be bipolar?" How was I supposed to know what was real, how was I supposed to hold on to God in my lowest and darkest moments when all I wanted to do sometimes was just die? My next question was, "Are there other Christians who are bipolar? Where are they? Why don't they talk about their experiences?"

I've ranted on Facebook and Twitter about how there's a lack of open dialogue, awareness, education, and services in the Christian community for those living with severe or chronic mental illnesses. There are even far less in the African-American Christian community....I've yet to hear of mental illness addressed in a sermon or anyone in our culture openly discuss this subject.....

So when I started to read this book, the first few pages seemed to scream what my experience and thoughts motherhood and these illnesses have been like. Her words shook me, so much so that I had to put the book down a few times because my hands and arms couldn't stop shaking, my body trembling from the force of the tears and emotions welling up inside of me.

So for today's post, I thought I'd just share an excerpt, share the paragraphs I read yesterday that spoke so soundly to me and I found myself in. If you know of someone who is struggling with their mental illness, especially as a mother or even a Christian, please share this post with them as well. I hope it helps you and them the way it has already started to help me.

When I became a mother for the second time however, the hem of my mental health began to fray. Motherhood by nature challenges the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical endurance of any woman. It is a highly over-romanticized and underestimated pressure cooker, matched in potential not only for the creation of a new family but also for the destruction of both mother and child. Think-with horror-the Susan Smiths and Andrea Yateses of the world. ......of course not all postpartum suffers are this detached from reality.

.....Motherhood, I believe, was only the precipitant for an internal agony that I had been holding back for years. Maybe God had postponed my storm at sea until I could be buyoued by the hopefulness and joy that I derived from my children and husband.The experience as a whole and the experiences that constituted the eventual illness were at least bewildering and at most terrifying. The blue sky which normally fills my heart, stung my soul. Beautiful things like oriental rugs and good food like bean soup absolutely exhausted me. Noise was amplified in my ears, and I fled sound and conversation in search of silence. Small tasks became existential problems: how and why to fold the laundry, empty the diswasher, do grocery shopping. My memory failed me. I was unable to read or write (except for sermons, by the Holy Spirit's providence, I believe.) And it went downhill from there. A back and forth in and out of darkness lasted for years. ......

....I have a chronic disease, a brain disorder that used to be called manic depression and is now, less offensively, called bipolar disorder. However one tries to soften the blow of the diagnosis, the fact remains that bipolar disorder is a subset of the larger category unhappily called "major mental illness.' By the latter of my thirties, I had sought help from several psychiatrists, social workers, and mental health professionals, one a Christian, but mostly non-Christians. I had been in active therapy with a succession of therapists over several years and had been introduced to many psychiatric medications, most of which bought quite unpleasant side effects and only a few of which relieved my symptoms to some degree. Those medications that have in fact been helpful, I must say despite my own disinclination toward drugs, have been a strand in the cord that God has woven for me as the lifeline cast out in my free fall.  The medications have helped me rebuild some of "myself," so that I can continue to be the kind of mother, priest, and writer that I believe God wants me to be. "A threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12) The three cords to my rope were the religious (worship and prayer), the psychological, (psychotherapy) and the medical (medication, ECT, and hospitalization).

Yet while therapists and counselors, psychiatrists and medications abound, I found no one to help me make sense of my pain with regard to my life before the triune God. I write this book, then by way of an offering, as what I wish someone had written to help me make sense of the pain and apparent incongruity of that agony with the Christian life. Those Christians who have not faced the ravages of mental illness should not be quick with advice to those who do suffer. "Pray harder," "Let Jesus in," even "Cast your anxiety on him, because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7), which of course are all valid pieces of advice in and of themselves, may only make the depressive person hurt more.

This is because depression is not just sadness or sorrow. Depression is not just negative thinking. Depression is not just being "down." It is being cast the very end of your tether and, quite frankly being dropped. Mania is more than speeding mentally, more than euphoria, more than creative genius at work. The sick individual cannot simply shrug it off or pull out of it. While God certainly can pick up the pieces and put them together in a new way, this can happen only if the depressed brain makes it through to see again life among the living.

This is an excerpt from "Darkness is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness," by Kathryn Greene-McCreight. You can read her brief bio on her church's website here

On PPD & Mental Illness: What Would You Say?

This morning my Human Development professor asked me after class if I would like to speak to my classmates about Postpartum Depression. Is my name A'Driane?

Did I spend all of 2010 and 2011 living with and battling PPD?

Yes. Yes it is, yes I did, and hell yes I will speak to my classmates about such an important topic.

As soon as she finished the question my ear worm immediately started playing the opening lines & notes to "Lose Yourself" by Eminem....

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment Would you capture it? Or just let it slip?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFYQQPAOz7Y]

A chance. An opportunity. To own a part of my story. To speak openly and honestly about something that leaves most women feeling ashamed and reeling from the effects it has on their lives. A chance to educate and share the facts, not the myths, misconceptions or misleading information that perpetuates the stigma.

I've been given another chance to take what I know, what I've learned and what I've experienced and share it with others, and while I'm humbled and grateful for this opportunity, I don't want to choke. I don't want to back out of it. I don't want my anxiety and fear to get the best of me and push the mute button on my voice. I know it's just a class and not some big speaking event, but I still feel a huge responsibility to do it well and help people be informed.  I'm learning that when it comes to owning your story, recovery, and healing from pain, taking advantage of the opportunities to speak about what you went through is really important. I'm learning that doing so helps strip shame, pain, and what you're battling of its power. So even though it's small, I want to make sure I do that here.

So I'm reaching out to you all. I need your help. If you could say anything about PPD or mental illness to a group of 18-22 year olds, male and female, what would it be? What would you want them to know? What should they know that you didn't? What do you wish someone had told you?  What has helped you get through it whether you've recovered or are still trying to recover?

If you would prefer to email me your response, feel free to do so: bconfessions (at) gmail (dot) com

Whether you're battling PPD or are a survivor, please help me educate and inform. Your feedback is tremendously appreciated.

Thank you.

How I Learned to Play...the Fresh Beat Way

It's no secret that I love 2 things: music and dance.You know this about me, right? Then it shouldn't come as a surprise to you that my children love the exact two things I do. Oh sure, they love dinosaurs, trucks,  Super WHY, Thomas the (Incredibly Annoying) Train, Kung Fu Panda, Team Umizoomi and Dora the (ever questioning) Explorer, among others.

But they are just like their mama in the fact that they can't resist a good groove and enjoy picking up guitars, drumsticks, and rocking out....or dancing til they're pausing to catch their breaths. Why is this so awesome to me?

Because a year ago it was really difficult for me to sit down and play with my children and I was clueless as to how to connect with them. Not only was I battling PPD & anxiety that made me terrified of being alone with them and physically incapable of sitting still for very long, I was also struggling because I didn't know how to play with my boys. You see, my dad didn't play with me growing up. Aside from a stepbrother, I spent most of my childhood years as an only child and my head either buried in a book, doing homework or chores,  or alone in my room. Playing at home was something that just  wasn't done...it almost wasn't allowed at times.

So here I am, a parent to two boys, and although I'd always envisioned myself as a tomboyish, fun loving mother, one who played with her kids daily, I found it came unnaturally to me. Playtime was a foreign concept. Sure I bought my sons toys and games...but to actually get down on the floor and play with these toys was a struggle for me.

But....Things started to change once I received treatment for my PPD and started peeling back some layers in therapy. Now I can chase them around my apartment roaring like a Tickle Monster, or slap on a clown nose and encourage them to use their imaginations. I've learned how to let my inner goofball out and doing so has helped our bond grow stronger.

When I first started trying to have playtime with the boys, sitting down on the floor and just watching them as my therapist suggested was really tough. But once I realized that they liked to dance and play music, it became easier. I'd throw on our Laurie Berkner music, or sit down to watch the Fresh Beat Band, and before I knew it we'd all be grooving, singing, and rocking along, having a blast.

Ahhhh the Fresh Beat Band. They are hands down our favorite. Yes, they even super cede Yo Gabba Gabba these days, probably because they are less LSDish, and their songs are more danceable. I have to admit, I'm secretly addicted to the Fresh Beats...and I'm sorely disappointed that all of their shows in the surrounding area are sold out for their tour this spring. I'd give my left arm for my kids and I to be there, so we could "feel just like a rockstar, hey hey hey!" I just know they'd pick one of us to dance on stage. I just know it. (If you're wondering if I have their album and know all of their dance moves, the answer is yes...Brennan taught me. )

So that's why rocking out with my kids and dancing with them is awesome for me and something I don't take for granted. Our music and dance times are my favorite times of the day.I wouldn't trade them for anything.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xA1u8ikKXdY]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54Ovv0waPes]

Did you find it hard to play with your kids at first? What helped you work through it? Do you have any kid show addictions? Do you have tickets to the Fresh Beat Band's show in Philly or the surrounding area? (I'll buy them off of you-I think I want to go more than my kids do. Seriously.)

 

Circle of Moms Top 25 Blogs on Postpartum Depression: Why I Want to Be Listed Among the Awesome

 I was winding up a relaxing catch up session with my cousin Addye D. late yesterday afternoon, when I happened to check my email and received the shock of a lifetime:

Your blog Butterfly Confessions has been nominated to the Top 25 Postpartum Depression Blogs by Moms - 2012 list on Circle of Moms!

The parts I highlighted in bold were the only words I initially saw and the overwhelming shock that came with understanding what they meant led me to immediately close the email. After a few moments I passed the phone to my cousin and friend Stephanie and just sat there with my hand over my mouth in stupefied gratitude and shock.

When the shock had ebbed enough away for me to recover I re-opened the email, read it through, followed the links  attached and was blown away when I saw the other moms who'd also been nominated...moms I knew. Mamas I had met only a year ago through their courage and transparent words on my computer screen...mamas who embraced me, encouraged me, talked with me, and walked with me through one of the darkest periods of my life. Mamas who became friends, confidants and some of my biggest supporters, mamas who comprise a fabulous army known as the #PPDChat Army on Twitter & Facebook.  I was listed among these incredible women?! Again, I was overwhelmed with emotion and had to back away from the computer to process it all.

I couldn't sleep last night because after my initial shock and emotions about being nominated subsided, there came the desire to want to be listed, to indeed be one of the 25 who make the list. After that came guilt and the thoughts that tried to rob me of the joy of this accomplishment: "Should I want to win?" "What is this some kind of popularity contest? Is this why you write? To win things, to make lists, to be recognized and applauded? A'Driane get a grip, girl! Stop being so vain," the guilt laced thoughts screamed at me.

But this morning when I woke up, I didn't feel anymore guilt because I understand why I want to be listed among these incredible women and I don't think my reasons and desire make me a shallow, glory seeking hound.

I want to be listed because number one, it help me remember on the rough days that  my transparency means something, that it's more than just me sitting here spilling my guts on the internet. Practicing transparency is no easy task and it is by no means for the faint at heart. It takes courage to own your story, out loud, in black and white for the world to read and think what they may of it. You know how many people disparagingly told me I shouldn't do this? That I shouldn't share these kinds of details about my life? Do you know that no one in my family openly talks about depression or mental illness though it has affected several of us? I don't do this solely for awards or to be applauded, or even to try and get thousands of page views. I do it because I want to change the dialogue about mental illness, especially among women and mothers. I do it because I want to be a voice, a person who helps others embrace their humanity by vocalizing mine.

I also want to be listed because black women suffer from postpartum depression too, as well as other minorities. It's no secret that mental illness is a taboo subject among the black community and that the stigmas surrounding it are deeply entrenched, almost impermeable. But I'm trying to change that, and while you may think I'm pulling a race card here, I'm really not. Facts are facts. Blacks, Latinos, Asians and other races & cultures don't talk about mental health and perinatal mood disorders. And if they aren't talking about it, that means they aren't seeking treatment if they are suffering. There needs to be more awareness, more open, shame-free dialogue and more healthy, strong starts for mothers of color and their children. Part of why I'm fighting my way through college right now is so I can become a licensed clinical social worker & therapist to make this happen on a professional level, advocating and pushing for effectual change. Women of color need better resources both online and in their communities. I want to be an online resource they can come to for support and an encouraging virtual bear hug when they need it. I just want to do my part, and being listed in a community that boasts over 6 million moms can maybe help these women of color find what they need.

So do I want to be listed among the awesome? Do I want you to vote for me? Do I feel guilty or shameful about asking you to? Yes, yes, and no, I don't. Don't think of it as voting for me, a person. When you cast your vote for me and the other mamas listed think of it as helping to erase the shame and stigma surrounding mental illness. Think of it as helping to give mamas and their kiddos a strong, healthy start. Don't we all deserve that?

Speaking of the awesome, DUDE-PLEASE check out all the blogs listed and VOTE for them! I've been voting for everyone :) Why?  Every single one of these mamas has shown so much courage and strength by giving in to vulnerability and letting you see their struggles and triumphs. Reward their wholeheartedness and leave them encouraging comments, let them know you support what they're doing and that it's not in vain.  To see the list of blogs nominated and to vote you can click on the badge to the right under "Honored!" or click this link: http://www.circleofmoms.com/top25/top-postpartum-depression-mom-blogs-2012 Voting lasts until February 21, 2012 and you can vote for your favorites once a day every day :)

Congrats to all the mamas who have been nominated!!!!!!!!!

And God...you continue to amaze me. Thank you for being so faithful and just plain AWESOME.

Postpartum Depression: It Doesn't Just "Happen" to White Women

Today I sat down here at the computer, pulled up Google and typed the following into the search box:

how many African American women suffer from postpartum depression?

do Black women suffer from postpartum depression?

how do Black women deal with postpartum depression?

Guess what came up? NOTHING.  Not one specific thing that answered the questions I queried. The closest I got was an article that discussed a study done in Iowa back in 2008, and an article that discussed the link between domestic violence and postpartum depression in African-American women. 

What's wrong with this picture? Why is it that among the thousands upon thousands of search results returned, nothing specific, direct, and "here's what you're looking for, click here!" was featured on the first page of results? Or the second page? Why is so much of the information not recent or particularly relevant?

This not only frustrates me but it saddens me. Angers me even. If a simple Google search doesn't yield solid results, how are black women supposed to find the help they may need?

That's if women of color even think they need help in the mental health department, cause let's face it: Black people don't do therapy, medication, and definitely don't "believe" in mental illness.

I could spend all day talking about why African Americans don't seek help for any kind of mental struggle but it pretty much boils down to the fact that we don't think we need help. Ask a person of color about this and you're likely to hear the following:

  • Due to slavery, 400 years of oppression and trauma, black people feel that if we survived all of that, we can survive anything-WITHOUT help from a doctor
  • Your family is your therapist-why waste money talking to some expensive doctor about your problems when you can just talk to your mama or grandma for free? It's their advice that matters because after all, look at what they went through, at what they have survived-they made it, and so will you!
  • Bootstraps. Black people have the strongest, longest, toughest bootstraps in the world-and when faced with adversity, we pull ourselves up by them and "keep it movin."
  • Church. You can pray away any of your troubles. Seriously. If you pray and you're still having mental issues, then you're faith just isn't strong enough and maybe you did something to deserve what you're going through.
  • To admit you have a problem is to admit weakness. Weakness doesn't happen to us. We are strong. We survived slavery, remember?
  • Therapy & meds are too expensive

And the list can go on forever.  You're probably thinking that some of what I just mentioned sounds outrageous and I'd have to agree with you that it does. But these are the things that perpetuate stigmas about mental illness in the black community.

I can also tell you that for women of color the stigmas run even deeper and the expectations for us are even higher. Black women in our community are viewed as strong, capable, able to handle anything and conquer adversity  like Michael Jordan conquered dunks back in his hey day-with incredible, effortless, ease. We make do with what we have, we sacrifice what we need to, and we NEVER (I mean NEVER) complain about any of it.  We endure hardships like single parenthood with our mouths shut...our mothers and their mothers before them handled life that way, and without outside help, why would we do any different?

After I had Alex, my postpartum depression manifested as uncontrollable rage, severe swings in moods and severe anxiety. Alex would cry and I would literally want to crawl out of my skin.  Brennan would spill something and I would either explode in anger or burst into tears. Think I could talk to anyone about it? I tried talking to my mom.....I got the bootstrap, "God will work it out, " and "just give it time" speech. I talked to some women at my church...."I don't think there's anything wrong with you. I mean, look at all you have to deal with, especially being a single parent. If you're circumstances were different, you'd be fine. You're alright. Trust me," was the consensus. I even had a friend tell me that they were "giving up" on me, and that my "problems" were too much to deal with.

I wasn't fine. Not by a long shot. So I called my state funded health insurance and found a therapist. Only he wasn't a real therapist-he was a state social worker. His reaction? "Any woman in your position would feel the way you do. That doesn't mean you have PPD. Lots of women like you, who are black & single mothers with more than one child feel this way."  Lots of women "like" me? Really?

What's my point by saying all of this? It's simple, really:

BLACK WOMEN SUFFER FROM POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION TOO. 

I know they do. They have to. Because I did. I'm recovered now and I have a new diagnosis, but the fact still remains that I spent a year after Alex's birth fighting my way through PPD.  But you wouldn't know that if I didn't talk about it. And we don't know how many other black mothers are out there, suffering in silence, thinking that they "don't have time" or are "too blessed to be stressed" to properly deal with the hell they are experiencing, thinking it's a natural part of motherhood and even single parenthood.

We only hear about postpartum depression from white female celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Brooke Shields. The closest I've found to anyone in the black "celebrity" community discussing PPD is Mocha Manual author & speaker Kimberly Seals Ayers, whose PPD story you can read here.  Even she admits that PPD is more common among women of color but no one will admit to or talk about it. Essence, Ebony, and other magazines geared toward "black" audiences have yet to publish any significant articles on the subject in their health features. I can't recall reading even ONE.

I asked a friend of mine today why she thinks women of color, particularly younger women,  don't seek treatment for issues like PPD. She's a new mother whose son was born premature and has been struggling with PPD pretty badly. Her response?

I think it's real problem that more women my age (she's 24) suffer from than would admit...Black people have this mindset that going to therapy and taking meds means you're crazy instead of meaning that you're informed about your mental health & getting healthy. Until I actually went to  therapy and got meds I was one of those uneducated people who thought & was afraid that people would think I was "crazy" and would need meds to function, you know?

Postpartum depression just doesn't happen to white women. It happens to black women and other women of color too. What is it going to take to change the perception and stigma? How can it even BE changed if no one will talk about it?

I don't know what the answer is y'all but I'm determined more than ever to be a voice and to keep sharing my story and my experience because mamas of color & their babies deserve strong, healthy starts too. Here's to hoping that one day my voice encourages others to speak up and reach out too. I'll leave you with this quote from Monica Coleman, Ph.D. (click her name to visit her website! it's incredible!)

In many ways, I do think that there is a greater stigma among African-American culture than among white cultures. I live in southern California, and many white people will freely reference “seeing a therapist” in normal conversation. Black people don’t do that. Seeing a therapist is generally seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of faith. There is still an active mythos of “the strong black woman,” who is supposed to be strong and present and capable for everyone in her family – and neglects her own needs. In the midst of a depressive episode, I had a friend say to me, “We are the descendants of those who survived the Middle Passage and slavery. Whatever you’re going through cannot be that bad.” I was so hurt and angry by that statement. No, depression isn’t human trafficking, genocide or slavery, but it is real death-threatening pain to me. And of course, there are those who did not survive those travesties. But that comment just made me feel small and selfish and far worse than before. It made me wish I had never said anything at all.

Letting Go of Expectations & Embracing Change

I'm going to try to get through this post without crying and do my best to make sense of what I want to say...but you'll have to forgive me if I accomplish neither of those because I'm already welling up and babbling out loud to myself. Change.

A major change occurs in our lives today. I made mention over the weekend that it was on the horizon and promised to tell you what it is....so...here goes.

Alex is moving today. He is going to go live with his father, my ex.

I will still get to see him on the weekends, but after today I will be a passenger in this parenting car, as I am letting my ex take the steering wheel. My ex will be full-time daddy and I will be part-time mommie.

Part-time vs. full-time.

(sigh)

I didn't come to this decision lightly and to be honest, my instincts have been stirring it up in my gut for months-since I got my diagnosis and started school to be exact.

No...I didn't come to this decision lightly.

In order to go from just thinking about it to actually deciding to do it, I had to shed A LOT of tangles and sticky spiderwebs along the way.

Just what were those tangles and webs?

  • guilt
  • shame
  • feelings of failure
  • resentment
  • bitterness
  • fear
  • pain

Every single one of those tangles I mentioned were caught up in one giant web called EXPECTATIONS.

I talked about those on Friday, remember? Those standards we hold ourselves and others to?

Yes. Expectations. I had been living my life by a rather unhealthy set of those and I was choking on them. You see I'm an African-American Christian woman. If you're a part of either of those cultures or just a woman period, then you know all about the standards set in place for us. If you're a single parent and a woman, the expectation is that your child will live with you and you will be the primary caregiver. I know there are exceptions to the rule and that joint custody is a regular occurrence. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the expectation society has, the standard we are expected to live by. I know that in the black community, single mothers ARE the end all be all, and there's no complaining about it. You do what you have to do to take care of your kids, sacrifice what's necessary and you pull yourself up by your bootstraps daily to get through the ups and downs of being responsible for another human. This was impressed upon me by those around me when I became pregnant with Brennan 5 years ago and his father told me he wasn't going to be in the picture. That's when I started striving to live up to the standard. And even though my ex has been in the picture with Alex and Brennan the last 2 1/2 years, the reality is that I've been with them 24/7 during that time. No breaks. No real breaks. My ex helps me with Alex, but I have sole custody of Brennan. If something were to happen to me, I don't know who I would leave him with other than maybe my parents because well, that's just our reality. I'm mommie and daddy to him. The sole responsibility of providing and caring for him rests solely on my shoulders. As a single mother, I used to wear this expectation like a badge instead of the burden it can be most of the time. I wore it like a badge because I needed it to feel strong, to prove to myself and others that I'm not weak. I can be and do all. I AM WOMAN. RAWWRRRR. As a Christian single mother, I wore it like a scarlet letter, feeling like I deserved to be worn out and pushed to the max because I hadn't "lived right,' and had my children the "right" way.

Here's the thing though: I'm tired. Parenting has beat me down the past 2 1/2 years and I'm exhausted. Depleted. Worn down. I have no strength left. If it's one thing that living with a mental illness has taught me, it's that you have to learn what your limitations are and work with them, not against them. It's also taught me the importance of having a solid support system you can reach out to for help.

Well...Back in December I cried uncle. I called my ex. Said we needed to talk. Told him that I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't be everything to both boys and take care of myself anymore. Said that if I was going to be a full-time student and have to get my BP under control I couldn't be a full-time mother to TWO children under the age of 5 anymore. Said I didn't want to end up being that mom at the grocery store cussing out her kids because the strain of single parenting is causing her to buckle and bend. Told him I didn't want that for me and I didn't want that for the boys.

So...he agreed. Today Alex is moving to Philly.

(sigh)

When you're a single parent, especially if you're the only one calling the shots, the hardest thing to do is give up the driver's seat and let someone else navigate. But today I'm taking a major step for all of us in a healthier direction by doing so.

I want my sons to be happy and healthy. I want them to live in nurturing and loving environments. I want what's best for them. This wasn't an easy decision to make, but once I let go of all the tangles and freed myself from the web, I've had an enormous amount of peace about it. I know deep down in my heart of hearts, as scary as this is, and as nervous as my ex and I are about taking this step, it's the right thing to do. It's the healthiest thing.

And that...is the only expectation I'm striving to live by from here on out.

 

 

Chigger (Trigger) Bites & Battle Wounds

Ok, how many of you are country bumpkins like me? If you are, then I'm sure you know all about Chiggers....and if you know about Chiggers, I'm fairly sure it's because you've been bitten by a good amount of them, like I have.  Pesky little things, aren't they? Barely visible, they can cause a serious bout of irritation and make you uncomfortable. As a matter of fact you rarely you know you've been bitten by one until you've started to itch and you see little red dots staining your skin. For myself, since developing PPD/PPA after Alex's birth, and now living with BP & anxiety, being triggered is like being bitten by a chigger: I rarely notice it's happened until after the irritating itch has already set in, and I'm scrambling for ways to relieve it. Like the small, tiny, invisible little things that crawl up and under your skin til the find the perfect place to take a bite, triggers can make your life  freaking miserable. At least they do mine..the itching becomes unbearable. I've battled depression & anxiety since I was a teenager, but for whatever reason, since Alex's birth, I've become far more susceptible to certain things that make me "itch"....like noise...

... Loud noises in fact. I can't tolerate them. Haven't since April 8, 2010 at 6:37am. It's the crying, that grates on my nerves and sanity. It literally feels like I'm being raked over with metal spikes. When it happens, everything in me goes into Deafcon 4 and the heart races. The thoughts scatter like roaches in the light, scurrying for some dark corner to hide and fester in....only coming out after the onslaught of anxiety is over, when I'm most susceptible to depressive moods. The tiny noise chiggers, they move rapidly across my body, setting off my sweat glands...the sweat literally pours from me like rain that refuses to let up. Fatigue creeps in and reaches for the shut off button-it usually finds it and I collapse, even if it's just mentally until I can do so physically.

It seems like the minute he came into the world, my ability to withstand kid-induced noise exited-stage left.  It's like some kind of secret inside trade went down between my body and the universe, and I don't really think that's fair....I mean didn't Martha Steward go to jail for doing something similar?  It's just not cool. Shouldn't even be legal, if you ask me.  But for whatever reason, no matter how much preventative maintenance we do, we just don't get much of a say as to what the trade-off for having children will be.

It sucks. I wish I could say that I've mastered it. I have coping strategies, breathing exercises, medication, and Jesus. But there are moments....there are days....when the meltdowns, the screams, the always-being-peppered-with-questions, the "Mom, mommie, MAMA, MOM, MOOOOOM, mommie..." the whining, the neediness, the tantrums have me running for the only place I find refuge:

THE BATHROOM

Yes. The bathroom...it shields me from the demands of motherhood, and provides a nice, comforting cold floor to rest my sweaty body on. It's like a spa I have an unlimited membership to, that's open and offering respite whenever I need it, no matter the time of day. I sit in there, cool off and distract myself with tweets & FB statuses. Everyone always wonders why I have so many FB status updates and go on tweeting sprees...well, it's not because I think I have something beneficial to say, it's simply because they offer a solid distraction while my body attempts to restore me to homeostasis...and some semblance of sanity.

I found myself hightailing it to El Bano yesterday after an ER visit resulted in an exorcism-esque meltdown courtesy of Alex. Screams, flailing arms, wrestling, body contorting, AND an always questioning and Power Ranger yelling 4 year old set off every alarm bell in my being. It was all I could do to keep from cowering in a corner somewhere. I spent the rest of the day trying to breathe through the edginess and irritation...tried with everything in me not to scratch, scratch, scratch the itches that just wouldn't stop coming.

Just writing about it is making me sweat and my heart to feel panicky...so let me stop here.

My point? Trigger bites suck the big wad. Period. I hate that no matter how much self-care I do, the itch from this particular trigger bite won't go away. It sucks feeling like I'm at it's mercy...I wish there was some kind of OFF-like spray that could shield me from being bitten so easily.

I may have survived my battle with PPD & PPA...but this is one battle wound that's still scabbing over, still itching every time a scream or cry erupts.

What about you? What "bites" or triggers you?  Any PPD battle wounds that are still healing or have left an ugly scar?

 

Chigger (Trigger) Bites & Battle Wounds

Ok, how many of you are country bumpkins like me? If you are, then I'm sure you know all about Chiggers....and if you know about Chiggers, I'm fairly sure it's because you've been bitten by a good amount of them, like I have. Pesky little things, aren't they? Barely visible, they can cause a serious bout of irritation and make you uncomfortable. As a matter of fact you rarely you know you've been bitten by one until you've started to itch and you see little red dots staining your skin. For myself, since developing PPD/PPA after Alex's birth, and now living with BP & anxiety, being triggered is like being bitten by a chigger: I rarely notice it's happened until after the irritating itch has already set in, and I'm scrambling for ways to relieve it. Like the small, tiny, invisible little things that crawl up and under your skin til the find the perfect place to take a bite, triggers can make your life freaking miserable. At least they do mine..the itching becomes unbearable. I've battled depression & anxiety since I was a teenager, but for whatever reason, since Alex's birth, I've become far more susceptible to certain things that make me "itch"....like noise...

... Loud noises in fact. I can't tolerate them. Haven't since April 8, 2010 at 6:37am. It's the crying, that grates on my nerves and sanity. It literally feels like I'm being raked over with metal spikes. When it happens, everything in me goes into Deafcon 4 and the heart races. The thoughts scatter like roaches in the light, scurrying for some dark corner to hide and fester in....only coming out after the onslaught of anxiety is over, when I'm most susceptible to depressive moods. The tiny noise chiggers, they move rapidly across my body, setting off my sweat glands...the sweat literally pours from me like rain that refuses to let up. Fatigue creeps in and reaches for the shut off button-it usually finds it and I collapse, even if it's just mentally until I can do so physically.

It seems like the minute he came into the world, my ability to withstand kid-induced noise exited-stage left. It's like some kind of secret inside trade went down between my body and the universe, and I don't really think that's fair....I mean didn't Martha Steward go to jail for doing something similar? It's just not cool. Shouldn't even be legal, if you ask me. But for whatever reason, no matter how much preventative maintenance we do, we just don't get much of a say as to what the trade-off for having children will be.

It sucks. I wish I could say that I've mastered it. I have coping strategies, breathing exercises, medication, and Jesus. But there are moments....there are days....when the meltdowns, the screams, the always-being-peppered-with-questions, the "Mom, mommie, MAMA, MOM, MOOOOOM, mommie..." the whining, the neediness, the tantrums have me running for the only place I find refuge:

THE BATHROOM

Yes. The bathroom...it shields me from the demands of motherhood, and provides a nice, comforting cold floor to rest my sweaty body on. It's like a spa I have an unlimited membership to, that's open and offering respite whenever I need it, no matter the time of day. I sit in there, cool off and distract myself with tweets & FB statuses. Everyone always wonders why I have so many FB status updates and go on tweeting sprees...well, it's not because I think I have something beneficial to say, it's simply because they offer a solid distraction while my body attempts to restore me to homeostasis...and some semblance of sanity.

I found myself hightailing it to El Bano yesterday after an ER visit resulted in an exorcism-esque meltdown courtesy of Alex. Screams, flailing arms, wrestling, body contorting, AND an always questioning and Power Ranger yelling 4 year old set off every alarm bell in my being. It was all I could do to keep from cowering in a corner somewhere. I spent the rest of the day trying to breathe through the edginess and irritation...tried with everything in me not to scratch, scratch, scratch the itches that just wouldn't stop coming.

Just writing about it is making me sweat and my heart to feel panicky...so let me stop here.

My point? Trigger bites suck the big wad. Period. I hate that no matter how much self-care I do, the itch from this particular trigger bite won't go away. It sucks feeling like I'm at it's mercy...I wish there was some kind of OFF-like spray that could shield me from being bitten so easily.

I may have survived my battle with PPD & PPA...but this is one battle wound that's still scabbing over, still itching every time a scream or cry erupts.

What about you? What "bites" or triggers you? Any PPD battle wounds that are still healing or have left an ugly scar?

Hindsight is 20/20....Cathartic...and Painful

I've been finishing up my 50,000 word count for NaNoWriMo this weekend. I'm about 4,000 words shy of this goal and this process has been.....cathartic....revealing, even. I thought when I did this, 50,000 words & 175 pages would be enough to contain "my story." However, it seems the more I go back and remember, the more I reflect, the more words that I type, just when I think I have nothing left to say.....more comes to the surface, overflowing and spilling onto the screen in front of me and even down my cheeks.... Because I've been thinking  a lot about my life over the past 10 years while writing, I found myself digging through my storage bins and poring over the stacks of journals I've kept since I was 19.

While reading through one of them, I came across an entry I wrote when Brennan was about 4 months old. Tears, a steady stream of them came winding down my face as I read the words of a new mother who was struggling to take care of an infant all on her own. Then came the memories....flashbacks of crying, screaming, anger, intense pain....I remembered the first 6 months of Brennan's life like they were yesterday, and knowing what I know about PPD and PPA now, I reflect on these memories and see myself, at 24, being consumed by these disorders and not even recognizing it.

In April of this year, when I finally sought and found treatment for my PPD & PPA after Alex's 1st birthday, I remember the therapist asking me if I suffered with PPD after having Brennan.

"Honestly? I don't remember...I...I'm not sure. I..I know I was sad and angry and some other things, but honestly I was just too consumed with trying to survive to even think about if I was depressed. I mean, it was just me. I was newly separated from the military and his father wasn't doing anything to help me. I didn't have a job. My unemployment was hardly meeting my expenses, and I was living with friends. If I ever considered myself depressed, I just attributed it to all of that and being a new mother. Everyone told me being a single parent was going to be tough...I...I just assumed feeling the way I felt was just part of the package."

Looking back, knowing what I know now, having been educated to the signs, risk factors, and various symptoms of PPD & PPA, and reading these words, I see it. I see me struggling through them while trying to raise my first born. And that pains me. It tears me up because not knowing what to look for, not having someone there to push me to get help put me in some very dark places those first 2 years.  The dark places I found myself wandering in during my pregnancy and after Alex's birth would have made much more sense had I been able to recognize them 3 years prior.

Reading the entries in that journal was painful as were the memories that found there way back to the forefront of my mind. (sigh) But....at least I know now, right?

Here's one of the entries I found:

There it is again

a malicious intent to harm

that’s come and gone before

I’m able to acknowledge it’s existence;

the only evidence of its surfacing,

a tiny, fragmented piece of your innocence

that’s fallen to the floor

along with expectations I’ve fallen short of.

NO.

this wasn’t supposed to happen.

Where are the loving thoughts?

What happened to the sunshine?

When did it get so dark in here?

Who put out the warmth,

Who rewrote this fairytale,

because this isn’t the ending I expected.

The novelty…..

Its worn off….how can that be?

Its origin is a mystery to me….

You’re supposed to be everything I wanted.

We’re supposed to be happy.

But now you’re crying,

and I’m trying to escape the guilt that’s

chasing after me.

I’m so sorry.

I never meant for this to happen.

But how do I tell you that?

How do I show you that I really do love you,

my sanity just caved under the pressure

and I slipped before I could catch myself.

Maybe I can find redemption somewhere in

your eyes….

perhaps you’ll forget this mistake.

(sigh)

I pray to God you will.

Father,

Forgive me…for I know not what I do.

The Unspoken Prayer of Mother(Parent)Hood

God,

In all your wondrous, majestic splendor and creative power, I can't tell you how grateful I am this morning for the gifts that you bestow upon us.

You give unto us one of the most miraculous, precious, and loving gifts only You could give:

You give us children.

Lively, sweet, courageous little beings who inspire us to do better and remind us of what's important in life.....

Little beings who are giggling, silly, hilariously entertaining one minute.....

and then loud, screaming, meltdown-inducing, bewilderingly difficult little terrors the next.

And that is why, O God, I am most grateful this Tuesday morning,

for those who you've graced with the creative know how  and authoritative power

to have such shows like The Backyardigans, The Wonder Pets, Kelli & Chica,  the ever questioning Dora and her globetrotting cousin Diego,

The Bubble Guppies, The Fresh Beat Band,  The Wiggles, Sesame Street, countless others and yes, even the always weird but somehow cool Gabba Gang who leaves me feeling like I'm on an acid trip,

From the Disney Channel to Nick Jr to Sprout TV & PBS Kids,

From Disney to Pixar to Dreamworks Studios,

to every animator, illustrator, computer programmer, and creative director,

to every person who modifies their voice to bring life to all of these characters,

to every adult dancer and singer who makes a fool of themselves dressing in costumes and "going bananas",

(*cough The Wiggles, Hip Hop Harry & The Fresh Beat Band cough*)

to every CEO who makes money off of me for being a cable subscriber and a toy consumer

Bless them God. Seven times over. Bless them financially and more importantly creatively so they can continue to get better, more innovative, more fun!

So that we, the parents, the mamas, can continue to have our sanity held intact. So that we, the parents, the mamas, can have the brain cells we lose

every minute of every day

restored during those moments when the shows these valuable people put on

calm the wild barbarians children

that rage, and yell, and scream, and cry, and whine and pout,

and leave us totally clueless as to what's wrong with them ,

when it often turns out they are perfectly fine,

they just want to see us squirm and sweat, and get flustered, and cry, and gnash our teeth in frustration because

they are our offspring, our legacy, what we are leaving behind and we should NEVER

want to throw them through the wall like Mr. Incredible did to his boss

RIGHT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(sigh)

I digress.

Where was I?

Oh yes.

God.

Bless those who you've blessed to create such awesome programming that entertains our children

while we use those precious moments to replace the brain cells that we've lost.

Let them know that they are indeed the best bench team I've ever had.

Their shows always come in the clutch when I need a game winning shot to keep my parenting hopes alive.

Let them know they are appreciated.

Let them know they are loved and celebrated.

Let them know that what they do is important to our national security.

Let them know that without them, the quality of a parent's mental health would be far worse,

and let them know that as a parent who struggles greatly in the mental health department,

their shows play a key role in helping me be a good mother.

They are part of my coping arsenal.

Bless them God.

Bless them.

Amen.

Oh wait: God? I don't know how this whole afterlife & "who gets into heaven" thing works per se, but could you please make sure Steve Jobs is comfy

where ever he's floating around  at?

THANK YOU for the gifts you gave him, because if it weren't for his iPad invention.....

I would've lost it in the middle of Wal-Mart on several of occasions...and I've only had the thing for like a month.

Anywhoo, please bless Steve Jobs.

Thanks.

Amen.

* a Tuesday morning prayer by a frazzled, worn out, on the edge mama whose brain cells and sanity were saved this morning by Dora and her never ending stream of questions...

and the Bubble Guppies whose constant singing and dancing helped soothe my sick, cranky 19mo old. *