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Motherhood operating systems in progress.

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Saturday
Jun272015

GIVEAWAY: Canvaspop Framed Print

I’ve been trying to step up my framed photo game. My sister-in-law recently finished decorating her new house and she has amazing family photos everywhere. My house felt bare in comparison. Just as I was contemplating a few new photos for my walls, I got an email from Canvaspop offering me a HUGE framed photo. Yes, please.

It’s my policy to only write about things I really love, and my Canvaspop framed family photo certainly fits in this category. Not only was it really easy to upload my photo (you can even use iPhone photos) and select my frame, but I also got a digital proof to make sure it was going to look how I wanted. When my framed print arrived, I was really impressed. On the website, it says that the print is framed behind “a crystal clear, low-glare plexiglass insert”--this made me nervous. I thought it might look dull or cheap, but it looks exactly like glass.

My Canvaspop framed print. Doesn't it look great?!

These framed prints are perfect for showcasing that family photo session you finally got around to doing, or even your favorite artsy vacation photos. They come in sizes from 8”x10” to 40”x30” (my print is 16”x20”).

 

Canvaspop didn’t just want to give me a framed print, they want to give you one too! We are giving away a framed 16”x20” print with a 2.5” mat and free shipping (a $214 value!). To enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you can’t wait for the giveaway to end, or maybe you want a different size print (or a canvas print) you can get 35% off using the code MOMMYBETA35 (coupon expires August 30th). 

FULL DISCLOSURE: I received a free framed print from Canvaspop, but the opinions in this post are my own.

I'm a sucker for cute shipping boxes.


 

Tuesday
Jun232015

Little Gifts

Nic is like a cat—you have to wait for him to show you affection. If you run up and try to hug him, much like if you had tried the same with our now deceased cat Slater, you might end up with a serious injury. Because of this, it really surprised me when he started overtly showing his love to me, not through hugs, but through pictures.

It all started to this little love note that he left for me one afternoon.

And since then, I’ve been showered with drawings and “projects” that have been made with love. Sometimes, he will even find an empty box, put the artwork inside the box, tape it up and “deliver” it to me like the UPS man.

"This is us having lunch together and you loving me." - NicWe go through a lot of tape in our house. 

"I'm giving you a necklace that I made for you." - Nic

I won’t lie. This makes me feel GOOD. To know that he’s thinking about me, and that he’s thinking about me loving him, really builds me up. Sometimes we struggle, this boy and I, but these pictures show me that even if I have to be the tough mom sometimes, he knows that I love him. And he loves me back.  

 

 

Sunday
Jun212015

10 Reasons Why My Daddy Rocks

Happy Father’s Day to an incredible daddy who learned from an awesome granddaddy on how to be the best granddaddy ever! I love you and am so thankful my children have you as a grandfather…after all a granddaddy is just a daddy with no rules. You’ve always been there for me. So much of who I am stems from you, your support, your love. I thought it might be fun to share some of the amazing reasons why I lucked out having you as a daddy.

1.       I’ve always come first. Or I should say family has always come first. It didn’t matter if it was the middle o f harvest or who knows what, but my daddy has never hesitated when it came to caring or helping me or my sister.

2.       You’re a jokester. You may be a little quiet but you’re really funny and were never quiet behind closed doors. You also came up with funny nicknames for all my friends and love to tease them (in a kind way of course.)

3.       Your songs are classics. I still sing the songs you made up while I was in school: “It’s tardy time” and “Trash Day” to my kids. I know they will someday sing them to theirs. Though my infection isn’t as good as yours!

4.       You’re great a making tuna fish sandwiches! Well, and a lot more than that. You aren’t just a daddy that can cook, you make delicious food! From mashed potatoes, fall-off-the-bone ribs and creamed corn, your mama taught you right! I remember coming home from lunch in high school and you always had something yummy for us whether it was scwan’s man haddock squares, mini pizzas or a hot plate from the rice paddy.

5.       You always protected me. Whether I was in high school, college or way off in San Francisco, you never failed to check in on me EVERY day . Your love knows no end!

6.       You haven’t ever missed an event. From my children’s birthday to a dance recital, you have always been in attendance and eager to help if needed. You made a beautiful balloon chandelier for Elle’s first birthday and an awesome train track made out of tape for Reid’s.

7.       The kids come first. No matter what you always put the kiddos first. You easily change from your show to Disney Jr. without them asking. You take them rides on the Gator to see the animals and teach them the animal sounds. You’ve taught them words, how to be silly and how to wrap their granddaddy around their finger.

8.       You love animals. We joke that our house is a house where all the stray animals go. You’ve never turned away a dog or a cat. You let us have rabbits when we were younger and even built them a cage! You taught us how to care for chickens. We even had hamsters and parakeets.

9.       You shared the life lessons of Andy Griffith, laughs from The Three Stooges and the classics: Gilligan’s Island and The Munsters.

10.   You love my mom. You and mom are so cute together and two little peas in a pod. You’ve stood strong together and showed me the true meaning of team work in a marriage and how women should be treated and loved.

There is no way I can capture everything my daddy has done and continues to do to show how much of an impact he has made on my life and my children’s but I know they are all locked up in my head and heart and am so grateful for such a great man for me and my children to look up to.

Happy Father’s Day daddy! We love you so much!

Monday
Jun152015

Guest Post - Why I Wanted to Jump: My Journey into Postpartum Psychosis and Back Again

 

In the honor of raising awareness of postpartum depression I'm sharing this post written by my very brave friend and fellow mother, Lisa Abramson. Lisa is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Mindfulness Based Achievement and has a beautiful little girl. She has shared her story of dealing with postpartum depression and psychosis and today I get to share with our readers. Thank you Lisa for your candid honesty and bravery! The more we talk about these real life experiences, the more we can support others in what they might be dealing with.

 

Why I Wanted to Jump: My Journey into Postpartum Psychosis and Back Again

By Lisa Abramson

Shortly after the birth of my daughter, I spent 10 days locked in the psych ward of the hospital after my postpartum depression and psychosis made me suicidal. In my altered psychotic state, I thought my house was bugged and the police were coming to arrest me for a crime for which I was wrongly accused. I thought the only way out of my crisis was to kill myself, so I told my mom and husband that I was going to go jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.

 My delusions heightened while I was in the hospital and I remember my mother bringing me gloves and some of my favorite spiced pecans and thinking she’s trying to give me hidden messages… I thought everything had a double meaning and I thought she was telling me “I’m nuts” and that the trial for my imagined crime was coming up and that since the gloves she bought me did indeed fit, they would never acquit me. None of what was going on made any sense but my blurred “reality” terrified me and also felt so real. In fact, I was practically mute for the first five days in the psych hospital.

In the hospital, I remember my husband bringing me a printed copy of the Postpartum Support International website so he could explain that I had a disorder called Postpartum Psychosis. I thought my husband had created a fake website for me to make me feel better about myself and I didn’t realize that postpartum psychosis was a real thing. I had all of the symptoms ranging from having delusions, strange beliefs, hallucinations, paranoia and suspiciousness to feeling very irritated, being unable to sleep and having rapid mood swings and difficulty communicating.

It’s one thing to admit all of this to my friends, it’s another thing to share it with the world, which is why I’ve been dragging my feet for months. I wish I could just neatly hide my postpartum experience in the closet and have it remain hidden forever. I know it would be a heck of a lot easier to do that, but every time I share my story one on one with a friend, they tell me about their experience of having friends or family members with some type of maternal mood disorder ranging from the baby blues to depression.

Over coffee yesterday, I opened up about my experience with a new girlfriend and she shared that her sister went through a difficult time after the birth of both of her children and how it really helped to hear my story since she was concerned she too might suffer from postpartum depression. She said seeing me now, doing so well, really gave her hope that if she suffered, she also knew she could bounce back over time.

After talking with her I knew I couldn’t wait any longer, I couldn’t keep my story hidden out of fear. Especially because the shame and guilt associated with maternal mental health disorders is part of what made my experience so awful. I felt so alone, so misunderstood and so ashamed that I couldn’t handle things on my own and needed help. And it’s from the genuine hope that I can help others that I’m willing to sit with my discomfort and write this now.

So let’s start at the beginning.

I’m Lisa Abramson and I’m a survivor of postpartum depression and psychosis.

I’ve always been an ambitious and confident person. Professionally I pursued a successful career as a marketing executive and entrepreneur. By age 30 I was ready to take on my next challenge — motherhood.

People often describe me as the happiest person they know. I had never suffered from depression. I prided myself on my mental fortitude and self-sufficiency. I even thought it was a badge of honor that I had never been to therapy.

All of this changed shortly after the birth of my daughter.

On January 5, 2014 I gave birth to my perfect daughter Lucy. I loved her immediately and with all my heart.

But within a few weeks, I started to realize that something wasn’t right with me and I just couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror. I was not the happy go lucky woman I used to be, I was in a deep fog, I was exhausted, I was crying all the time and I started avoiding my friends.

I knew something was wrong, but I REALLY didn’t want to believe something was wrong with me. I kept telling myself that I loved Lucy so I couldn’t have postpartum depression, because I thought only mothers that didn’t bond with their babies suffered from postpartum depression.

I just didn’t know that sleep deprivation, stress and hormonal changes after birth could have such a drastic impact on my brain chemistry. I thought it was all my fault and that I had done something wrong. That I was a bad mother for experiencing this.

By February 10th, my family moved from worried into action that saved my life once I became suicidal. I spent 10 days in the psychiatric ward on 24 hour watch as the doctors and my family patiently waited for the Zyprexa, Klonopin and Zoloft to stabilize my mind.

I thought that by admitting I had postpartum depression and psychosis it was somehow admitting that I was an unfit mother. That my deep sense of sadness meant I didn’t love my daughter enough. That I wasn’t sacrificing enough, wasn’t good enough, and the list goes on. The sense of guilt at not being good enough was unbearable and the pressure of trying to fake a smile and enjoy this precious time in my daughter’s life was too much.

I feel unbelievably fortunate that with medical, therapeutic and family support, I’ve had a full recovery and no longer need to take any medications. I’ve also been able to resume my career and have a healthy, wonderful relationship with my daughter, husband and family.

I’m a survivor because I got help early, but it was a terrifying experience.

What I needed to hear and what I want to shout from the rooftop to all moms suffering from postpartum issues is:

1. It’s not your fault.

2. You’re not alone. (1 in 8 women suffer from postpartum depression)

3. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.

4. It doesn’t make you a bad mother.

5. You will get better, just GET HELP RIGHT AWAY.

 

 

 

 

Sunday
Jun142015

Raising Awareness of Postpartum Depression 

On Saturday, June 20th I'll be joining Postpartum Progress' Climb Out of the Darkness in a hike to raise awareness of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, psychosis and more. I will be hiking one of my favorite bay area hikes. 

Mothers across the globe will join together to climb mountains and hike trails to represent their symbolic rise out of the darkness of maternal mental illness and into the light of hope and recovery. I'm proud that I will be one of those climbers! 

Nearly five years ago I struggled with PPD after the birth of my first child Reese. Although it was a long time ago I remember that time in my life like it was yesterday. It was dark, scary and sad. Opposite of what I imagined feeling after bringing home my baby. Fortunately it was a brief period in my life but I will always honor it and continue to share my story with anyone who will listen because the more people who know about this stuff, the more other moms and families will have support. 

I am still so thankful everyday for the love and support from my husband, family and friends. 

Some things to keep in mind: 
  • One in every seven women gets a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder like PPD 
  • Prenatal mood and anxiety disorders can show up any time during pregnancy or in the first 12 months after birth.
  • Only 15% of women with postpartum depression ever receive professional treatment. This means about 850,000 women each year are not getting the help they need
Please take a moment to visit the Post Progress website to learn more. If you'd like to support the cause and or join in helping me fundraise, please visit my fundraising page.  

 

Thank you! 

Fundraising Websites - Crowdrise