Green indicates easiest, yellow indicates moderate difficulty, red indicates great difficulty.
1. Journal or blog at least once a month.
IN PROGRESS. I missed April but so far so good.
2. Exercise for 20 minutes 3 times a week (Join Anytime Fitness.)
IN PROGRESS. I joined Anytime Fitness at the end of January, but I haven’t been exercising for 20 minutes let alone 3 times a week.
REVISED GOAL: Exercise for 30 minutes 1 time a week.
3. Read a book I enjoy from start to finish before the end of the year.
SUCCESS! I read Grandma Gatewood’s Walk about a 69-year-old woman who walked the length of the Appalachian Trail. I’m not a nature person but it was a very good read.
4. Pass my editing certification test in June.
IN PROGRESS. My test is on June 10th. I am studying and feel more prepared for the test than I did before. I failed by 30 points before and I think I can eke out a pass this time.
5. Attend the Warrior Mom Conference in Atlanta in October.
IN PROGRESS. I have booked my flight, car rental, and hotel for the conference. I also have the week off. Woohoo!
6. Keep my full-time job for all of 2016.
IN PROGRESS. I switched jobs on February 29 so I’m not at the same job as in the beginning of the year.
REVISED GOAL: Keep a full-time job for all of 2016.
7. Pray for my boss regularly.
FAIL. The point of this goal was to pray for my difficult boss earlier this year. I can still pray for my current boss, but it’s much easier to pray for someone who’s nice than someone who treats you like dirt. I didn’t pray for my difficult boss and am still wrestling with forgiving her in my heart.
REVISED GOAL: Forgive my former boss.
8. Engage in self-care daily.
IN PROGRESS. I’m not good at managing self-care each day. I am working on it.
9. Remain healthy from August 2016–December 2016 (Be proactive and work with my psychiatrist.)
IN PROGRESS. Not the latter half of the year yet. I’m still struggling with depression and it’s June. We’ll see how the remainder of the year goes.
10. Change my full name to my married name on everything.
IN PROGRESS. This is more difficult than I thought it’d be. I’m upgrading this to a high level of difficulty.
REVISED GOAL: Change my full name to my married name on everything.
Most people don’t think of postpartum mood issues (in short, PPD) in relation to infertility. I sure didn’t.
I’ve written numerous times (here, here, and here) over the years about my struggle with infertility. It was a struggle of 4+ years and I dreamed that once I had my child, all would be right with the world. The dream I had desired for so long would come true and I would get to hold my baby in my arms and love him immediately.
Because I have struggled with bipolar disorder and anxiety issues in the past, I was a prime candidate for suffering from PPD. But I tried to remain optimistic. A baby is what I had long wanted. I would get it; PPD be damned.
Often, you hear the stories about how women overcome infertility and their dream of having a child comes true. And it’s the best thing ever. They instantly fall in love with the baby of their dreams and everything seems wonderful except for that darned newborn period when you don’t get sleep. (But that’s pretty much everybody, right?)
What about the stories of women who struggle with infertility and then get PPD? No one talks about them. We feel guilty because for so long we wanted a child and now that we’ve received one, we don’t feel a bond. We don’t feel a connection. We worry too much about hurting the dream we had so longed for. We lose touch with reality and nearly harm our child or even ourselves. Panic attacks over losing our baby or taking care of our baby are a daily occurrence. Or we simply cannot get out of bed, too depressed to care for this human being who is completely and totally dependent on us.
Then there’s the added guilt of knowing that there are mothers—tons of other mothers—who are silently suffering the loss of what could be. Many mothers grieving month after month over not having a child. And here we are, finally over that hurdle. And we feel horrible. We don’t want this child. We don’t care for it. Take it away. I don’t want to see it. I’m a bad mother; I can’t care for this kid. But there are so many women who want a baby just like I have one. I have to love this kid—for them.
But those who suffer from PPD after infertility should know they are not alone. The internal pressure we give ourselves to be happy during (what should be) a joyous occasion can often be a tight cord around our neck. It’s OK to admit that after your years-long struggle that you’re not exactly overjoyed to be holding that “bundle of joy” in your arms. What’s NOT OK is pretending that everything is fine and trying to suck it up. This isn’t the time to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. This is the time to seek help. And there is no shame in admitting that you’re feeling sad, anxious, or worried about your mental health.
Reading this and don’t know where to turn? Here are a few resources:
- Postpartum Progress – Katherine Stone runs this advocacy organization to help raise awareness about postpartum issues among mothers, clinicians, and the general population. You can also discover great information via the Postpartum Progress blog.
- Postpartum Support International – Another organization that helps guide women through the changes surrounding them during the postpartum period. It offers resources, such as a toll-free hotline specifically catering to those with postpartum mental health needs.
- Postpartum Stress Center – This center provides professional support to women suffering from postpartum mood issues. It’s worth noting that PPD tends to be a catch-all abbreviation for conditions such as depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and psychosis, to name a few. The Stress Center tends to serve residents in the eastern PA area but will help those outside of the region find a local resource.
Remember, PPD can affect anyone, infertile or not. Don’t be afraid to seek help as soon as you recognize that something isn’t right. The sooner you get help (even if you think it’s just the baby blues), chances are, you’ll recover more quickly. Get your life back. Get help today.
I have nothing of significance to write so this will be a rambling sort of post. If rambling posts are not for you, I suggest you stop reading now. If they are, well then, feel free to keep reading.
You HAD to know you wouldn’t get through this post without SOME kind of political commentary, right?
Trump. All I want to know is who are the people who voted for the now-presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. Don’t blame Trump for being a douche without blaming the people who voted for him. Just saying.
North Carolina bathroom bill. I don’t like it.
LGBTQIABBQROTFLOL. Seriously, I can’t keep track of all the terminology. You got me at LGBT. I think Q is redundant but OK whatever. Now they’re adding IA? What is this? And then what are these terms being thrown around? Cis? Binary? Nonbinary? Genderqueer? Gender fluid? And there are some others that I have no idea about because…I’m old and not keeping up with the millennial lingo. I am not anti-LGBTQ but that community is starting to speak a language that I don’t understand.
Beyoncé. Beyonce’s latest album “Lemonade” is being heralded as the greatest album of the year. I listened to a couple of songs and it sounds like junk to me. It’s like Beyoncé wondered, “What shit can I get my fans to buy?” and came up with “Lemonade.” Maybe it’s more futuristic than I can comprehend (I have been known to revisit albums 5 years later and appreciate them once the dust has cleared) but right now it sounds like a bunch of Mumbo Jumbo to me. And it saddens me that black women identify with the narrative of being treated poorly and being cheated on. It really saddens me that she can speak to that and so many women identify.
Jenners and Kardashians. Mentions of this family chip away at my intelligence slowly. Kind of like archaeology. Except you’ll find nothing left of my brain once it all chipped away.
I’m kinda blank here. I have things to write about but I’m still processing a lot of it and will probably write about it when I’m in a better place to reflect and evaluate. Right now, I’m going through the thick of it and just not ready to share what’s going on. Not yet.
Black people. Me. Beyonce. I suck. She doesn’t.
Editing. I’m an editor. I don’t do anything else. I pretty much suck at everything else.
Hobbies. I read and write. Yeah. That’s it. Oh, and surf the Internet. Yup, those are my hobbies.
At my Christian counseling session recently, I was challenged to forgive my former boss for the wrongs she had done against me. While I’m not super bitter about it or angry at her, somehow extending forgiveness to my former boss seemed like a challenge.
It still is.
Last night, I prayed and meditated on trying to forgive her. I tossed and turned the idea over and over until I fell asleep, unable to extend forgiveness.
True forgiveness is not necessarily about me telling her that I absolve her of the wrongs she committed against me but rather that I let it go in my heart, mind, and soul.
Of all people, Jillian Michaels wrote about forgiveness in her book, Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life.
“Here’s the thing, though: forgiving the a*****e isn’t for their well-being, it’s for yours. If you can’t forgive the things that have been done to you…then you won’t be able to move on with your life. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. Nor does it have to mean letting the person back into your life to hurt you again. It simply means healing the hurt that’s been done to you and continuing to pursue a prosperous, meaning-filled life.”
Michaels goes on and, I think, imparts some wisdom:
“[Forgiveness] will enable you to stop taking on other people’s issues and stop allowing their shortcomings to define who you are. You will understand that what happened to you wasn’t because of your limitations but because of the other person’s. For this reason, forgiveness comes when you are truly able to gain understanding and empathy for the person who hurt you.”
Forgiveness has physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Holding on to a grudge can cause a host of ailments, including (what I like to call) agita, ulcers, and high blood pressure, to name a few. Not letting go of a wrong can cause anxiety, depression, and obsessive thoughts. And spiritually, it can alienate you from God or, perhaps, whomever or whatever you call a higher force. Being consumed with anger and bitterness can also get in the way of relationships with other people. There’s a fear that someone will treat you similarly.
I was in the fortunate position of knowing that I wasn’t the only one my former boss mistreated. Time after time, God showed me that I was well liked among my former coworkers. This gave me the confidence to move on to my next job without pretending to be someone I was not.
I’m trying to extend forgiveness. Trying to put myself in her shoes. Trying to accept the fact that she feels she’s done nothing wrong but is who she is. I am who I am. And I am a person who will extend forgiveness to her.
Right now is just not that time.
This is Part VI, the final part of a 6-part series of posts. To start from the beginning, click one of the following links:
- Learning Experience — Part I
- Learning Experience — Part II
- Learning Experience — Part III
- Learning Experience — Part IV
- Learning Experience — Part V
An opportunity for another job presented itself shortly after our conflict. I had already had one foot in the door as a former freelancer, and I was eager to get the other foot in, simply to get away from Karina. I took a day off, interviewed, put my best foot forward, and left it in God’s hands. I later learned that the team loved meeting me, I aced my editing test, and that a job offer would be coming soon. I asked for a pay raise but didn’t care if I ended up with the same salary with a city tax that would cut into my wage. I simply wanted to be away from my boss.
I was offered the position on a Friday, accepted the offer over the weekend, and was giddy to hand in my resignation on Monday. My boss said she’d be in meetings all day but I told her I only needed 5 minutes of her time.
When I finally caught her, I closed the door to her office and handed her an envelope with my resignation inside. I said, “I wanted to talk to you to let you know that I am resigning from my position, effective 2 weeks from now.” She looked at the envelope and looked up at me. Then she said, “Thank you.” She opened the envelope and read the letter that said the same thing I had just said out loud. She looked back at me and said, “Thank you for this.” Read more…
This is Part V of a 6-part series of posts. To jump ahead to Part VI, click here. To start from the beginning, click one of the following links:
- Learning Experience — Part I
- Learning Experience — Part II
- Learning Experience — Part III
- Learning Experience — Part IV
The next day, she pulled me into her office in a much calmer manner. I had hoped that she would apologize for her overreaction and that we could settle our differences. She never admitted that she was wrong for anything and we went around and around in circles until I finally declared that we were at an impasse and wouldn’t be able to resolve this issue. She agreed and on my way I went.
We both approached Sarah from HR, asking for help to mediate the conflict between us. Our first meeting seemed to be going well. Until Karina dropped a bomb that I had a history of “overstepping my bounds” and “being difficult” before she arrived at the company. I looked at her questioningly. Who had said this? went through my mind but I was keen enough not to ask. But Karina offered a name anyway: Jane. Read more…