PPPSS News & Events

We’re In This Together: Janice

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.

 

For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together

 

 

 

Fighting the fall into chaos

A young boy plays in the autumn leaves.

This blog post is three weeks late. It got lost in the messiness of a new season.

I thought I had a handle on everything. But my eldest started high school, and it threw our household into disarray. It feels like he turned into a teenager overnight, and then there was so much to do to prepare for school.

At the same time, I’m trying to return to work and find childcare for my youngest, and neither has been easy. Many childcare places are too busy with the autumn rush of children to respond to messages right now.

I am handling it, but everything else is falling through the cracks. That may be the real reason autumn is also called fall – ’tis the season to shop for backpacks while soothing a cranky baby, to sign form after form after too many sleepless nights, and to try to cope with the chaos.

I see it in the mothers around me, as well. They are trying to juggle an overexcited toddler, a stroller and a kindergartner on the way to school, and for the first few days, doing the trip twice in an hour or two.

Everyone looks tired, parents and kids alike. And we’re all doing our best while berating ourselves for not doing enough.

But as the Persian adage goes, this too shall pass. I hold on to that in times of chaos or pain, or when my mental health is not the healthiest.

The flipside, though, is that it is true for the good moments, as well – watching my eldest son carefully clean his room because he’s decided he’s too grown up for a mess, and watching my youngest learn new words and songs. These moments shall also pass.

They pass quite quickly, too, which is why I lost track of a month and am now scrambling to get everything done. The truth is, I don’t want to let go of most of my moments. It’s hard to move on, even during chaotic periods like this one.

It’s even more complicated for those trying to focus on baby’s first smile or first word while carting older siblings off to school. It is all so much work and can be so exhausting, but then there is the urge to yell, “Stop! Stay still!” to the world at large. Because even the hard moments are beautiful.

I hope you get the chance to hold onto the best moments while still moving forward, and that the busyness of September subsides for us all.

And for those parents fighting through postpartum depression and anxiety along with everything else, here’s hoping that passes quickly, as well. And if it does not, you can always turn to the Pacific Post Partum Support Society for help.

We’re In This Together: Lauren’s Story

My son was born after an induced labour at 38 weeks. To say I was overwhelmed and unprepared for parenthood would be an understatement. I struggled from the beginning with feelings of sadness, despair, and a distinct lack of bonding with my child, who was colicky and woke every 20 minutes for the first 5 months of his life. My feelings often morphed into rage and anger — overwhelming feelings so contradictory to how I perceived other mothers in my peer group, and feelings that I was so ashamed of and in the face of which I felt disempowered. While my husband was extremely supportive through the whole process, he also worked many evenings, when my son’s endless and inconsolable crying was at its worst. More importantly, I also didn’t know how to ask for help, because I didn’t know what was wrong. I just knew that something was deeply, painfully awry. I sought treatment quite early for what was identified as postpartum depression and anxiety, at my 6-week postpartum midwife appointment. I vividly remember breaking down in the group of other new parents who attended the clinic, and feeling detached from my son, a stranger to myself and to everyone who knew me. I look back at photos of that time with sadness and regret, and also with a visceral numbness that accompanied the sleep deprivation and physical depletion. My saviours came in the form of the other women who attended one of the Pacific Post Partum Support Society’s support groups for PPD/PPA, and in the sage, calming voice of the woman who facilitated the group. Hearing my own feelings reflected back to me during my initial intake was a huge relief and an important validation of the tremendous loss that can accompany new motherhood. One of the most important tools I came away from the group with was that of self-care — I know now that when it is lacking, my mood suffers, and the shadows creep back in. “You’ve got this” was a mantra that I repeated to myself during my postpartum transition. “We’ve got this” was what I could hear echoing back from my fellow mothers. I came to participate in We’re In This Together about a year after I said goodbye to those women, as a way to stay connected with the mandate of PPPSS and The Good Mother Project – we are in this together, we can’t do this alone, and we don’t have to.

 

Lauren

 

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together

We’re In This Together: Sarah

 

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together

We’re In This Together: Sheila’s Story

I suffered from severe PPD/A during my pregnancy and postpartum period with my first child. At that time, 26 years ago, there was very little information about postpartum mood disorders and although I had most of the risk factors there was no screening for PPD/A or monitoring from my doctor or even discussion around the fact that I was high risk. Consequently during my pregnancy I began to have terrible intrusive thoughts and did not understand what was happening. I thought that it was because I wasn’t equipped to be a mother and that it was somehow about my personal inadequacies rather than a condition that affects many women. If I had that information it may have made a difference in the outcome and manageability of my emotions at that time, and I certainly would have sought help sooner. I had a very difficult and traumatic birth experience, difficulties with breastfeeding, and a high needs baby, all of which I attributed to mean that I was not supposed to be a mom as I was failing at every step. My husband worked long hours and neither of our families lived here. All of this led to extreme stress for my partner and I. We were not prepared for the toll it took on us and we virtually had no support.

I know I would have gotten better sooner if I had treatment and support but left to my own devices I suffered for a long time, but eventually did start to feel better as my baby got older and around the one year mark I can say that it had lifted and I felt like I finally could enjoy my baby and motherhood. Not long after that I found out I was pregnant, and the nightmare returned. The same thing happened. I do think that if I had got help the first time I would have developed some self-help skills and strategies and possibly be on medication that may have pre-empted the next PPD/A with my second child. Instead with the 2nd baby things were compounded by the fact that I had not had treatment or support with my first. My experience was much worse as far as PPD/A was concerned. However, I did get support which made a huge difference. It took some time for me to get well, but I was not suffering alone, I had people who understood, who had compassionate and non-judgemental support though Pacific Post Partum Support Society groups. It not only saved my life but it changed my life in a profound way. Although I would not wish this experience on anyone, I am actually grateful today that I did go through it as the things I truly value in my life came from this dark time. Today I am surrounded by a community of support as a result of this experience and I no longer ever suffer through anything alone.  I have a deep understanding of self-care and how all of us, no matter what, do not need to travel through difficult transitions in life without support. I came into a PPPSS group when my son was 3 weeks old and I’ve basically never left. I volunteered with PPPSS after my experience in group and have been a staff member since my son was 3 and my daughter was 5… 21 years ago!
I have had the privilege of working with postpartum moms for a very long time now. I have heard many stories, I have sat with women who share their scariest thoughts and feelings, and I witness their courageous journeys of recovery from a dark and difficult time to come through to the other side sharing their successes and the gifts they have received as a result…. just as I did.

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together