Saturday, October 13, 2018

Fall = Football, Y'all

weekends, football, memories, father and daughter, grief, loss, love, family time, sharing memories
image courtesy of pixabay

It finally feels like fall in North Carolina.

Hurricane Michael has come and gone, and somehow left a bit of crisp air in its wake.

I'm catching up on my DVR, and although I know it's Saturday, my body, mind, and my TV make me feel like it's Sunday.

Because all I'm seeing.

On all the channels?

Is game after game.

Is football.

Although, admittedly, what's airing now is college football, it's football, just the same.

And over much of my life?

Weekends were for football.

On Sundays my dad would sit in front of the TV and we'd watch the Giants play.

Or the Cowboys.

Or the Dolphins. (Fine. That was me.)

Or whoever might have been on the air on that Sunday.

And it never struck me as anything other than what we were supposed to be doing on that particular day. Never struck me as something that would tug at my heart many years (decades!) later.

Weekends were for football.

I started working with a client recently, and though I can't tell you anything about them, they did make mention of playing football in high school.

I immediately flashed to my father.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't.

I didn't tell the client that. Not yet.

I might.

I might not.

That's neither here nor there when it comes to this post - I know.


Back to today.

I sit on the couch.

Watching anything but football as I shuffle through my recorded shows.

And I think, my daughter won't have those same memories.

She won't connect to football in quite the same way.

And then.

I say to myself.

She's only eleven.

There is so so much time.

So much time to share that connection with her.

So much time to show her why football holds so much meaning for me.

Weekends were for football.

And can still - might still - be. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Adventures With Postpartum Depression with Courtney Henning Novak

Today I'm going to introduce you to my friend Courtney.

Courtney is a postpartum warrior who has recently written a book, Adventures With Postpartum Depression, (there are affiliate links in this post) about her experience as a new mom. She is fierce. She is powerful. She is a survivor. I'm beyond excited that she was open to joining me here in my space to share a little bit about her life, her book, and motherhood. Please join me in welcoming Courtney!

I have a confession. Writing a memoir about postpartum depression was not actually that difficult. But writing a blog post about my memoir? Well, that feels more difficult than childbirth.  
I had postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD after the birth of my first child. Writing a book about my illness and recovery was cathartic. But on an even more important level, it helped me understand my feelings and figure out the way I wanted to live my life. I assumed, as I was writing, that I was writing the book for myself and it did not matter if anyone ever read it.

Except now that my book is done and published, I realize I can’t just walk away and see what happens with the Amazon gods. I have to promote my book. I have to help people find my book because I poured my heart and soul into it and I know in the marrow of my bones that it will help fight the stigma of mental illness and help moms and dads make full recoveries from postpartum depression.

Eek, that was so hard for me to admit! I still need to revise my book description on Amazon because it’s very plain and meek. Like I might as well have written, “Oh hey, my book is pretty okay.” But it’s not. My book is awesome! 

My book can basically be described in three parts. In part one, I describe my descent into the hell of postpartum depression. For four months, I denied what was happening to me and did my best to act as if everything was okay. All the while, I had insomnia, felt like the worst mother in the history of humanity, and developed elaborate rituals to check that our house was safe every night. Eventually I started having intrusive thoughts of throwing my daughter so hard against the floor, that her skull broke open and her brains splattered everywhere. I still feel sick when I remember those thoughts.

In part two, I write about telling my obstetrician everything and then agreeing to voluntarily admit myself to the hospital for psychiatric care. I spent four days with the general population. Spoiler alert: it was terrifying. During that time, I started Zoloft and on the third morning, I basically rose from the dead. I had so much energy that at first, I thought I was having a manic episode. Then I realized: I was back. I was me. I was ready to go home and raise my daughter.

Except Zoloft was just the beginning of my recovery. 

In part three, I describe all the things I did to emerge fully from the darkness of postpartum darkness. I write about the work I did with a cognitive behavioral psychologist. I write about how I built momentum by doing little things at first, like going to a local play group, and then by pushing myself to do more interesting things like visit museums with baby in tow. I don't just say “Yay, I recovered.” I show the reader how that actually happened.

My memoir will help readers understand postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD. It will help mothers and fathers in the darkness right now understand that they are not alone. It will help their loved ones understand what they are going through. It will help mental health workers fathom the ordeals that their clients experience.

But my memoir does more than recount the darkness. My memoir is a road map for returning to the light. I hope my book helps parents conquer the stigma of postpartum depression, but most of all, I hope it inspires mothers and fathers to use the experience of mental illness to change their lives for the better.

Courtney Henning Novak lives in Pasadena, California, with her husband Nathan, daughter Pippa, son Julian, and an overwhelming menagerie of stuffed animals and plastic dinosaurs. After recovering from postpartum depression, she thought she was supposed to put the experience behind her and move on with her life, but that just did not feel right. She is now a passionate advocate for maternal mental health. She is the author of Adventures With Postpartum Depression, and the host of the podcast of the same name, she facilitates a weekly postpartum support group, and loves talking about postpartum depression with random strangers. 

Visit her at Adventures With Postpartum Depression for all things postpartum. To hear about her non-postpartum adventures, visit her website, Courtney Henning Novak. You can also follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

If you or someone you know has experienced perinatal anxiety, or is currently experiencing this - please know that there is help. You can reach out to someone at Postpartum Support International and get the support you need. Call them at 800-944-4773 or text 503-894-9453.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Another October

family, loss, grief, Daddy, emotions, love, memories, October,

Let me tell you what it feels like.

To be so so ready for fall.

Let me tell you what it feels like.

To know that at the end of this month I'll turn another year older. 

What it feels like.

Knowing that before that.

Before then.

I'll face the anniversary of the worst day I've ever lived through.

Let me tell you what it feels like.

To watch my favorite month of the year go by.

To think back - two, three, four - five?

Five whole years. 

To check calendars. 

To see when prayers are to be said. 

Let me tell you what it feels like. 

- - - - 

There are days I stop and take pause. 

Days I think, will this year be the year it feels differently? 

Will this year be the year I don't remember to the moment I learned?

Will this year be - - what? What could it possibly be? 


It will be nothing. 

Nothing different.

Nothing changed. 

This will be, still, a year in which I remember. 

Feel the loss as an ache that will never be comforted. 

Feel the pain as sharp as a knife through the heart. 

Feel the hurt, the sadness, the tears. 

A year I will miss my father, as I do every single day. 

Wish for him to be here to see. 

The changes. 

The growth. 

The pain. 

The love.

The laughter. 

All of it. 

Each moment my daughter and I share. 



I wish for him to be here. 

But I know that he does see. 

And I know he's forever a part of me. 

For always. 

And so. 

I face it. 

Another October. 

And I remind myself. 

Of what I had. 

Of WHO I had.

Not just the loss of him.

Another October. 

Where I move forward.

In his honor. 

In his memory. 

And remind myself how forever blessed I've been.

Miss you, Daddy. 

Today, tomorrow, always. 

And every October. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

A Spark of Light, Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult, fiction, reading, ripped from the headlines, I recommend, book review, goodreads, writing, phenomenal book


This book.

Was so good.

You need a copy (affiliate link coming up!). It comes out tomorrow (October 2, 2018). Go. Order it now. A Spark of Light. You will thank me later.

I wish I had all the words to describe how powerful a piece of writing, or several pieces of writing - as I'm guessing Picoult didn't sit down and write it out in one attempt - this actually is.

Honestly, when you start reading? You can't begin to imagine how this story plays out.

And even more so? It's almost, well, it kind of plays out backwards, until we move forward again. And it's a genius style of storytelling you don't want to miss.

I wasn't given a copy of this book for review. I actually won a copy on Goodreads. Imagine that? Most people enter and enter and probably wonder, will they ever win one at all? And me? I won this one.

I did actually sign up to review the book elsewhere, but received an advanced digital copy that I had a difficult time following. Once I had the hard copy in my hands? I got it. I knew why I struggled. I knew why I was confused. And I knew why I was not going to get much sleep as I turned page after page.

Set at a women's health clinic, the Center, as it's called, is a place where women go for help. For medical treatment. For support. And yes, for abortions.

The subject of women's rights is not an easy one to tackle, but our author does so seamlessly. Her characters, each with their own history, their own losses, their own grief, pain, heartache, and their own love.

We meet each of them and as we do find ourselves learning more about the events that led them to the Center. The events that led them to cross paths. Unexpected. Joyful. Devastating.

We learn their histories. We learn about the people in their lives outside of the Center's few walls.

We learn about fathers and what they would do for their daughters. Mothers and what they do for their children - the born and the unborn. We find ourselves in the minds of those who are pro-life. Of those who are pro-choice. Of those who were one and are now the other.

I can tell you more - but I'm not sure I should. I'm certain that fans of Ms. Picoult's writing style will enjoy this book. So, if you're a fan? You should go get yourself a copy. Find it here: A Spark of Light.

And then come back and tell me what you thought of it. What you guessed and had no clue about. And, well, just how you felt while processing each aspect of each person's story. Because this is the kind of book that moves you. And those feelings make for an incredible read.

* Links throughout this post are, as stated, affiliate links. You support Good Girl Gone Redneck with your use of them to make your purchase. Thank you! * 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Finding Myself

relationships, divorce, finding myself after 40, life after divorce, about me

Each day goes by.

Another aspect of my life shifts.

I blink.

Or I don't.

And I try to find myself.

Each week goes by.

I dig through the rubble.

I breathe deeply.

Or I don't.

And I see myself more clearly.

Each month goes by.

Another thought, another unwritten blog post.

I catch myself smiling.

There she is.

Another month.

Another moment.

Another deep breath in.

With each day, week, month ...

Year, even.

I see where my path has taken me.

I see where I am headed.

And I like what the future holds.

Stay with me, friends.

I'm finding myself again.

And I like who I am.