To be Pulled Across the Battlefield: How to Support Someone with PPD

IMG_1106

I drove circles around the OB office for what felt like hours. I left 30 minutes early to drive these circles just to try and get my baby to fall asleep so that I could have a minute of silence during my follow up appointment.

Finally asleep, I carefully lifted the car seat carrier out of the car and tiptoed into the waiting room. Upon walking in, her eyes popped open and so did her little mouth. The sound of her cry quickly filled the corners of the waiting room.

Disappointed, I pulled her out and sighed. The ladies at the front desk said, “Oh my goodness I could just squeeze her she is so cute!” I promptly handed her over the front desk to the receptionist. I said “Please, do!” And took my paperwork to my seat. The lady looked at me surprised, but also thrilled. Summer was then passed around from stranger to stranger while I sat in the waiting room, eyes watering, staring at the wall, feeling utterly tired, disconnected, and like a failure.

I did not know what I needed then. I did not know my diagnosis then. It was only 6 short (but long) weeks after Summer’s birth. Nevertheless, the signs and symptoms of PPD were all too obvious. In fact, looking back on these little moments, I had a textbook case of PPD. Ironically, during that appointment I was screened for PPD and brushed off the diagnosis as sleep deprivation and fatigue. They wisely flagged my chart, noting my obvious symptoms.

When I reflect on my recent journey through PPD and what, exactly, pulled me across the battlefield with some remnants of hope, I can remember a few key moments – a few key people – who were instrumental in my survival. It was not just medication. It was not just prayer and Scripture. It was not just therapy. It was layered moments sprinkled across time.

I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to support someone struggling with a perinatal mood disorder based on my experience and the experience of others who I interviewed.

Please engage this list noting that everyone’s experience is unique. What was helpful to me, may not be helpful to others. And what is helpful one day, may not be considered helpful the next day. The foundation of becoming a helpful support person is made first by acknowledging that you cannot fix this problem. Your loved one is suffering from an illness that is deeply emotional and biologically driven. You must acknowledge that this condition is not his or her fault, it is not your fault, it is simply the reality of your loved one’s situation. The key is to listen and observe with a thoughtful and patient posture, understanding that the victim may not be able to communicate his or her exact needs during this fragile time.

1. Listen

The most powerful moments during my journey that I can remember are those in which my dear friends, my family, and my partner simply listened to me complain. They listened to me cry in despair and hopelessness. They did not interject with platitudes, alternative ways of thinking or even Scripture. They simply listened and stood witness to my hardship. They simply felt sorry for me. Though this may feel like a helpless method of support, it’s actually one of the greatest blessings to those struggling with PPD. The truth is, unless you’ve been there, you will not understand. It’s often better to simply listen and allow space for catharsis.

2. Sympathy

A strong support person is one who can stand in the gap of a loved one’s hopelessness and simply feel bad for him or her without trying to fix things. Read Friends who Leave Rocks for an example of how my friends did this for me. It’s okay to simply sit as a love one cries and say, “this is just so unfair and sad. I’m so sorry you are going through this,” without providing tangible help. Often times, those words of sympathy are more powerful and healing than changing diapers, doing laundry, or bringing a meal.

Do not compare your personal history to his or her current situation! That is not always helpful. The loved one who is suffering needs to feel the hardship of their unique situation without feeling compared to your past adversity. Do not rely on pleasantries such as “this too shall pass” – “it gets better” – “the days are long but the years are short” – “your baby is healthy, and that’s what matters,” etc. Not only are these phrases impersonal, they are honestly not helpful and can produce more shame and guilt than hope and healing.

3. Connect with Therapist

The resources provided through this blog are helpful for identifying a local therapist. While you can provide a special space for listening and sympathy, a therapist can provide professional intervention that will help your loved one find their voice and strength in the midst of PPD. If you call PSI at 1-800-944-4773 and leave a message indicating your need for a list of therapists in your area, you will receive a call back from a person who can help connect you to therapists.

I recently called this number for some assistance and within 24 hours I was connected to 3 separate experts who helped broker the system and connect me with the top professionals in my local area. This website may help you navigate local options: http://www.postpartum.net/get-help/psi-warmline-english-and-spanish/

4. Permission

Your loved one needs to know there is permission to feel and think the unexpected. Those suffering with perinatal mood disorders are often plagued with guilt and shame for the hidden thoughts and feelings that lurk within. Provide a safe space for him or her to admit the unthinkable to you without feeling judged or shame. Let them know it’s okay to feel like hurting their baby sometimes and that it’s okay to admit that they hate their role as parent in that exact moment. Let them feel what they feel and say what they think, even if it’s dark and scary.

If he or she admits to thoughts or actions of self harm or harming the baby, be sure to connect them to a professional that very moment, or drive them to the local emergency room to discuss their situation with a professional. Remind him or her that these thoughts and feelings are not coming from within, but are being caused by an illness and bio-chemical imbalance. Show him or her my entries on PPD/PPPD and help them connect the dots and become informed.

5. Presence

Simply being physically present with your loved one during this time is powerful. I had a friend who popped by, sometimes unannounced, and let me stay in bed while he did the dishes or just watched TV in my living room. Knowing that he was downstairs and willing to help or listen if I needed him was so comforting. Knowing that I could just wander downstairs and watch TV with him without having to talk to him was sweet and literally life saving.

I often just needed a witness to my hardship without having to narrate my every thought and feeling. Offer a quick text to your loved one during the day: “I’m at Chic-fil-a with the kids, what can I bring you?” – “I’m running by Starbucks, what do you want?” – “I’m just hanging out today and thought I’d swing by we can watch TV or just chat” – “I’m taking the kids to a park, want to walk with us?” –Randomly drop off a little note with flowers, a chocolate bar or bottle of wine…it’s the little things that remind him or her that you are there as a witness to their hardship, and a friend regardless of their appearance or attitude.

6. Patience

There will be moments that you want to clap your hands and yell, “snap out of it!” But you must remind yourself, this is not your loved one’s fault. This is not coming from a self-destructive disposition, spiritual weakness, or simply sleep deprivation. This is an illness. Just like you wouldn’t ask a friend with diabetes to “snap out of it,” you cannot ask a friend suffering from PPD to “snap out of it.”

Healing and recovery is a process that will involve layers of intervention and time. Let your friend or family member know that it’s okay to take 10 steps forward and 7 steps backwards. Let your loved one know that you are not leaving him or her, and that it is normal for healing to take weeks, months or years.

Take care of yourself as a support person! If you need to see a therapist, do so (preferably someone educated in perinatal mental health). You will only be a strong support person if you are able to care for yourself and create a separate space to vent your frustrations and feelings regarding the situation. 

7. Consistency

The individual suffering with a perinatal mood disorder will usually not want company. They will not want to leave their house. They will not want other people to come to their home.

One of the most helpful things I had during my hardest season with PPD was a friend who stopped by on the same day, at the same time, every week, to discuss life. We asked each other hard questions about life, relationships, and our friendship with God. And we were both vulnerable. I didn’t feel like the only broken one, or the patient, or the weak friend, or a victim. I simply felt like a fellow broken human, in need of God’s redemption and the presence of community.

As my friend talked through her personal struggles and opportunities for growth, I felt empowered as there was a space for me to speak into someone else’s world. I also felt permission to be broken and in progress alongside her during a very hard season.

8. Help

Not everyone may be quick to admit that physical help around the house is necessary to make it through PPD. The laundry, dishes, walk the dog, cook a meal, sweep the floors kind of help. I think what becomes most difficult to a person suffering with a perinatal mood disorder is finding the energy to come up with specific ways to help.

It may actually be more helpful for you to show up and simply say “I’m going to go fold some laundry.” Or to let them know, “I’d like to come Wednesday at 10AM to empty your dishwasher and take your trash out. I can also walk the dog if that’d be helpful. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do, if you’d rather me not do one of those things, or if a different day or time would be better…” Just be awkwardly forward. It’s honestly most helpful and loving, even if it feels pushy.

Let the loved one know he or she can stay asleep while you’re there and that they can just leave a key under the door. Remember research shows sleep can be the most effective intervention for PPD.

9. Prayer

Prayer can move mountains, break bonds, heal the sick, raise the dead, restore hope and life…prayer is the tool God gives us for partnering with Him in change. Pray for your loved one! Just as God will heal someone suffering from cancer, or the flu, He can and will heal your loved one from PPD! Pray that He would turn this season to good, as only He can!

I will never forget my friend simply putting her hand on my shoulder before she left my house and without closing her eyes, or asking to pray, she simply acknowledged His presence and said “Jesus, you are hope and you can make this better. Please make this better for my friend.” And that was it. I didn’t feel instantly healed…but I believe something supernatural shifted in that simple moment. Because God is good and powerful and kind. Pray for your friend.

10. Encourage

Let your loved one know what they are doing well, and let them know often. “I’ve never met someone as persevering as you! It’s amazing you’re living through this difficulty with such beauty.” Or, “I’m so impressed by your ability to know what you need and admit it to others. I want to be more like you in that way.” Or, “you are just so strong! Watching you mom/dad through this illness with such tenderness toward your baby is challenging and inspiring!” Or, simply, “How in the world did you manage to shower today? Way to go!! You’re awesome!”

It’s these little words of encouragement that can breathe a little bit of hope and strength into your loved one’s heart, even if he or she doesn’t acknowledge it in the moment.

10 Dont’s – 10 of the more damaging things you can say or do:

  1. Don’t deny or belittle the diagnosis
  2. Don’t discourage medication or therapy
  3. Don’t blame the individual
  4. Don’t blame sleep deprivation
  5. Don’t criticize his or her actions during this fragile time
  6. Don’t abandon him or her
  7. Don’t compare your personal history to his or her current situation
  8. Don’t ignore the signs of PPD
  9. Don’t ignore comments alluding to self-harm or self-hate
  10. Don’t avoid direct questions

Personal Update:

We have welcomed our newest member, Samuel, into our family.

He was born on 11-30-17 at 5:14 AM weighing 8lb 8oz and is just precious. I may type out his birth story at a later time, if people are interested in reading that…

So far, this experience has been so different from our last birth/newborn experience. God promised us this would be a healing experience, and it sure has been so far.

At this point, I am not experiencing symptoms of PPD, at least not to the same degree as I did last time. I, along with my providers, have been extremely proactive this time in light of my history.

I can’t help but applaud Westside Women’s Care and Lutheran Medical Center for how attentive and engaging they have been in terms of my history with PPD. Every medical professional has asked me direct questions about my thoughts and feelings this time, and they have been so encouraging and compassionate in my care. They have continued to initiate follow-up processes to try and help me have a better experience this time. I am just so thankful.

Thank you to all of my readers for your thoughts, encouragement and prayer! I had hopes of doing one more entry in this series entitled “Reconciling Faith and PPD,” but I am not sure if this season will allow me the time necessary to pour into that particular post. Just know it’s in my heart and mind to write something along those lines in the future.

For now, I’m gong to take a bit of a break and write when I can or when I find it therapeutic, that way I can be present with my family in these precious days. I may re-post some of my more popular entries on social media just to keep things moving.

Love you all and Happy Holidays,

Ashley 

Advertisements

A Thief Ignored: Paternal Postpartum Depression

Click here to view an excerpt from Good Morning America on Paternal Postpartum Depression

It had been two weeks since I started medication and two months since I started therapy. The world was beginning to look a little less blurry, and my role as mother was beginning to become not only palpable, but enjoyable. It was as if I was experiencing the newborn fuzzy feelings people told me about, despite the fact that my baby was nearly 9 months old. I was grieving the loss of those 9 months, but I was so excited to be in a different place mentally.

Yet something still was not quite right.

Though everything else in my world seemed to be bouncing back to normal, one of the most precious parts of my world remained broken: My husband.

Continue reading “A Thief Ignored: Paternal Postpartum Depression”

When Your Heart Races Away: Postpartum Anxiety Disorders and Psychosis

img_4023

I’d like to say I’ve entered into this pregnancy unscathed by perinatal depression or anxiety, but I would be lying.

Around week 11 I sensed a shift in my body and mind. Things felt heavier. Even brighter moments seemed to be dimmed by a black film that I just couldn’t shake despite prayer and moments of worship with Jesus.

My husband noticed my changing mood and demeanor, and we consulted my OB for advice. Ultimately, we decided it would be best for me, given my history, to begin taking a very low dose of my medication again and return to therapy.

Before I began re-taking the medication, we were on vacation. I was standing next to a kitchen counter overlooking the beach. Suddenly, I experienced a sudden loss of breath. It felt like my heart was beating out of my chest and my forehead was perspiring despite my standing still. I felt myself getting light headed. I tried to focus on my breath, but that seemed to make things worse. I felt utterly anxious, but could not identify why. It felt like I was physically drowning.

It was, what I presume, was the beginning of a panic attack, a symptom many people with anxiety disorders experience regularly. I quickly picked up my phone and texted my best friends asking for prayer. Having been educated in perinatal mental health, I knew this experience was likely a symptom of fluctuating hormones due to the pregnancy. Thankfully, the symptoms subsided. I began my medication shortly thereafter.

I wish I could better articulate the strange sensation that I experienced in that moment of panic. It reminded me of some fleeting moments in my postpartum period after Summer was born. Moments I would worry about going crazy and accidentally hurting her out of my sleepless rage. Fear that I wasn’t cut out to be her mother. Having the most horrendous and unspeakable pictures flash before my mind’s eye of me harming her that I knew were not only absurd, but ungodly.

My postpartum experience was much more marked by depression than anxiety, but the tricky piece is that many times women experience bouts of anxiety even when diagnosed with depression. Anxiety is a symptom of PPD. But, there are some women who more prominently identify with anxiety over depression. These moments of panic – of fear – of crushing thoughts that carry heartbeats away – are daily experiences driven predominately by hormones and biochemical imbalances for women with Postpartum Anxiety (PPA).

Postpartum Anxiety

We tend to place postpartum depression and anxiety into one group because so often the illnesses occur simultaneously in women during the prenatal and postpartum period. There is, however, a remarkable difference between the two illnesses. While PPD often manifests as a sort of agitated anxiety among other symptoms, some women experience PPA (postpartum anxiety) exclusively.

Approximately 6% of women experience prenatal anxiety disorder.

10% of postpartum women experience postpartum anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety:

  • Agitation
  • Inability to sit still
  • Excessive concern about the health of baby or self
  • High alert
  • Appetite changes – often rapid weight loss
  • Sleep disturbance – difficulty falling and staying asleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Constant worry
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations

Though not all women with PPA experience panic, many women with PPA suffer panic attacks.

Symptoms of a Panic attack:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Sensations of choking or smothering
  • Dizziness
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Trembling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Restlessness, agitation or irritability
  • An episode will wake one out of sleep

Most women report feeling a genuine fear of dying, going crazy, losing control, and an inability to return to normalcy during these episodes.

PPA is treatable with medical help. Women with a personal or family history of anxiety disorders, previous perinatal depression or anxiety or a thyroid imbalance are at risk for experiencing prenatal or postpartum anxiety.

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder  

Postpartum OCD is a form of an anxiety disorder that includes the classic symptoms as listed above.

Perinatal women are 1.5 to 2 times more likely than the general population to experience OCD.

3-5% of new mamas and some new fathers will experience some symptoms of P-OCD, though they may not officially qualify for a full diagnosis.

70% of women previously diagnosed with OCD experience a recurrence of symptoms during pregnancy.

Postpartum OCD most often occurs with PPD.

P-OCD Symptoms

  • Intrusive, repetitive thoughts or mental images – usually of harm coming to the baby
  • Tremendous guilt and shame
  • Hypervigilance in protecting infant
  • Mamas overly focused on harm avoidance and minimizing triggers
  • Compulsions where mama does certain activities repetitively to reduce fears or obsessions (like repeatedly washing infants clothes, re-ordering items, cleaning constantly)
  • Fear of being left alone with the infant

The most important attribute of this disorder is that mamas are horrified by these intrusive thoughts or images, and acknowledge that they are unlikely to ever happen. Women with P-OCD often say these thoughts occur randomly, and they find them extremely disturbing. Because these women identify the thoughts as bizarre, they are considered as anxious in nature and not delusional.

Perhaps the most interesting research shows that women with OCD have higher levels of oxytocin in their spinal fluids. Oxytocin is a hormone that allows us to see the danger in our child’s world, which is necessary to mothering and raising a child. Oxytocin is extremely high in postpartum women, and some women have more oxytocin in their systems than others. This hormonal flood could cause our mothering instincts to go into overdrive, causing an unnecessary amount of worry, harm avoidance and obsessions.

One helpful question a woman who is experiencing intrusive thoughts and images can ask herself is, “Is this logical? Or is this the oxytocin talking?”

Another key reminder to those suffering from P-OCD is that “thoughts do not equal actions.” We have many thoughts throughout the day upon which we do not act. Allow the intrusive thought to be one of those thoughts.

Like PPA, P-OCD is treatable. Women who fear they may be experiencing this form of postpartum anxiety should consult their doctor for guidance.

Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Postpartum Bipolar Disorder is often misdiagnosed, and misunderstood because it can look an awful lot like severe depression or severe anxiety. In fact, 60% of women with bipolar disorder present initially as depressed.

Postpartum Bipolar has one of the highest risks of suicide of all the perinatal mood disorders. For that reason among others, it is important we understand the signs and symptoms of this particular illness. Improper identification or treatment can result in a worsening of symptoms.

Many women are diagnosed with Bipolar for the first time during pregnancy and/or the postpartum period, possibly because it can be triggered by sleeplessness.

There are two types of Bipolor Disorders: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. The main difference between Bipolar I and Bipolar II is the severity of the mania. Bipolar I has manic episodes (more severe) while Bipolar II has hypomanic episodes (less severe).

The criteria for this diagnosis is that symptoms must last longer than 4 days and interfere with daily functioning and relationships. With Bipolar II, The manic episodes are less apparent and the highs and lows are not as extreme. Sometimes those with Bipolar can suffer from psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions, therefore this diagnosis can be quite dangerous.

Bipolar I Symptoms:

  • Periods of severely depressed mood
  • Periods of mood much better than normal
  • Euphoria or agitation
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Increased productivity
  • Noticed by others
  • Rapid speech
  • Increased energy
  • Grandiose thoughts, inflated sense of self-importance
  • In severe cases, delusions and hallucinations

Bipolar II Symptoms:

  • Periods of severe depression
  • Periods when mood is much better than normal
  • Rapid speech
  • Little need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts, trouble concentratin
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Continuous high energy
  • Overconfidence
  • Hypomanic episodes often appear as normal behavior and are not as obtrusive or disruptive to typical daily functioning

Postpartum PTSD

Approximately 9% of postpartum women have postpartum PTSD. This can be caused by a number of traumas including, prolapsed cord, unplanned c-section, use of vacuum extractor or forceps during delivery, baby going to NICU, baby having health issues or extremely difficult temperament, feeling powerless during the delivery, women who have experienced former sexual trauma, women who experienced severe physical complications related to childbirth or pregnancy.

It’s important to remember that trauma is always in the eye of the beholder. What may seem traumatic to you may not be traumatic to someone else, and vice versa. 

Postpartum PTSD Symptoms:

  • Intrusive re-experiencing of past traumatic event
  • Flashbacks or nightmares
  • Avoidance of stimuli associated with the event(s)
  • Persistent increased irritability, difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Feeling a sense of unreality and detachment
  • Persistent, distorted sense of blame of self or others
  • Numbing and disassociation
  • Diminished interest in activities
  • Inability to remember certain aspects of event
  • Isolation from family/friends/providers

 

Those who suffer from postpartum PTSD tend to avoid aftercare, experience impaired mother-infant bonding, the partner who witnessed birth also suffers PTSD, sexual dysfunction, avoid future pregnancies, exacerbate future pregnancies, and elect planned C-sections for future births.

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is an extremely rare and dangerous mental illness that occurs in 1-2 in 1,000 postpartum women. This illness is what most of the general public think of when referring to perinatal mental illness due to media coverage of those who have suffered this particular disease.

Those who suffer from postpartum psychosis are at risk of committing suicide and/or infanticide. The onset of this disease sets in usually within 2 weeks after delivery.

It is important to note that postpartum psychosis is a completely different category than PPD and PPA, with the exception of Bipolar Disorder. 86% of women with postpartum psychosis met the criteria for Bipolar Mood Disorder. Many women with Bipolar Mood Disorders may experience psychotic episodes during periods of mania.

Postpartum Psychosis Symptoms:

  • Delusions or strange beliefs (usually containing religious symbolism; ex: that baby is possessed by a demon)
  • Hallucinations (seeing someone else’s face instead of baby’s face or hearing voices)
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling very irritated
  • Hyperactive
  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Waxing and waning (Can appear normal for stretches at a time between psychotic symptoms)

Those who are highest risk for postpartum psychosis are those with a family history of bipolar disorder or previous psychotic episode.

It is critical to note the difference between OCD and Postpartum Psychosis. Those with OCD know their intrusive thoughts are unhealthy. Women with Postpartum psychosis do not recognize their thoughts are unhealthy or abnormal.

Infanticides (the murdering of infants) are one of the most critical risks of postpartum psychosis. The homicide rate of infants is 8 per 100,000 in the United States. Infanticide most frequently occurs with psychotic symptoms rather than PPD.

Women with postpartum psychosis rarely have a history of abusing children. Infanticides usually occur as part of a concomitant suicide attempt (mother’s desire for both self and child to die). The reason for wanting to include the baby in the attempt is due to an altered state of thinking: she wishes to not abandon her baby and does not want to burden other people with her child. Typically women with psychosis genuinely believe their actions are in the best interest of the child. 

Postpartum psychosis is a treatable condition through medication and psychotherapy. Though this condition is rare, it is imperative to be educated about the disease and watch for signs and symptoms of this illness among postpartum women.

Resources:

If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, arrangements can be made (if safe) that include you remaining with your newborn and/or pumping regularly to maintain a breastfeeding relationship, if that is important to you. Do not remain silent for fear of being hospitalized, stigmatized or requiring medication. Better is possible. Happiness is possible.

If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, go to your nearest Emergency Room immediately.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

You can also contact someone for a live online chat at this Suicide Prevention Live Chat link

Text this Crisis Text Line (Text HOME to 741741)

To Clearly See the Blur: Baby Blues and PPD

img_4346

“I started to experience a sick sensation in my stomach; it was as if a vise were tightening around my chest. Instead of this nervous anxiety that often accompanies panic, a feeling of devastation overcame me. I hardly moved…I wasn’t simply emotional or weepy…This was something quite different. This was sadness of a shockingly different magnitude. It felt as if it would never go away”

~ Brooke Shields, Down came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression


I clutched my pillow and attempted to hide my ugly cry from my baby. I allowed the pillow to muffle my noise and soak up the tears. I kept the lights off.

“This must be normal,” I thought. “This must be that ‘heavy love’ – the ‘it’s so good it hurts’ sort of love – maybe it’s just hormones…”

My husband peeked his head in on his lunch break. “How ya doing sweetie? Let’s plan to see friends tonight. This is what community is for!”

“No, thank you,” I responded.

Continue reading “To Clearly See the Blur: Baby Blues and PPD”

Pulled to the Front: My PPD Journey

img_8317

I backed out of my driveway onto the rainy road to make my way to Loveland, Colorado. This was my first alone, overnight trip away from both Ryan and Summer. I was excited and nervous.

As I prepare for this upcoming birth, I began to realize that I wanted a babymoon getaway for just me and Samuel (the baby boy in my belly). Up until this point, I did not realize that was the true craving of my soul, but it was.

I wanted a space to be with Samuel, alone. To bond. To ponder. To pray. To consider all the places I’ve been and the places I may go.

Continue reading “Pulled to the Front: My PPD Journey”

Sledding in Summer


I buckled my joyful little toddler into her seat after our trip to see Ryan at Starbucks. Now that we live further from his store, these visits are quite a treat for both of us.

Lately, a typical morning begins with me sipping coffee while listening to her chant “Bye-bye to dada” next to the front door in her pajamas.

About twice a week I cave. Extra caffeine, a breakfast sandwich made by someone else, and a kiss from the Ryan Hudson is hard to resist.

Continue reading “Sledding in Summer”

When Healing Looks Different

 

As Ryan and I began planning our recent vacation, I dreamt of what was to come. We both felt the Lord speak that this was a “healing vacation” for us. We felt He highlighted two Scriptures for this season of healing, as well as for our vacation:

“Your sun shall no more go down nor your moon withdraw itself for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended,” Isaiah 60:20.

We also felt the Lord highlighting Isaiah 61:3 “…to grant to those who mourn in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”

Continue reading “When Healing Looks Different”

The Closet Incident: PPD Awareness

img_0703
When I began to piece together arrangements for bringing my baby home in 2015, I worked to fill every gap I could possibly imagine. I planned to have my mother here to help with daily chores. I arranged meals to come in from the church. I organized dog walkers to help with Baylor. I wrote a list on my fridge of daily and weekly to-do’s. I washed, folded and organized all the baby clothes in advance and tucked them neatly into drawers. I put together “welcome” stockings for houseguests filled with lotions and other treats to sustain them while at our home. I carefully planned for every possible need that would arise.

I did not, however, plan my suicide.

Continue reading “The Closet Incident: PPD Awareness”

Understanding The Millennial Mom

IMG_8728

When I first discovered I was pregnant, I did what any resourceful Millennial would do, I consulted the World Wide Web. “How far along am I?” I asked Google. “How big is my baby?” “When am I due?” “When do I call the doctor?” “How should I tell my husband?”

What I found online was unexpected.

Continue reading “Understanding The Millennial Mom”

Fishy Chicken: The Art of Being in Relationships

1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us”  

Laying on the floor surrounded by broken glass, spilled milk, water, oats, and disappointment, I just allowed the tear to dance down my cheek. I couldn’t pretend anymore. I could not apologize anymore for the failure of the day. I had to just press my cheek against the cold ground and let go. And it felt good.

Continue reading “Fishy Chicken: The Art of Being in Relationships”