Saturday, May 20, 2017

One Plus One

motherhood, parenting, women's health, miracle baby, mother and daughter, relationships, family

When you are the parent of an only child you sometimes receive inquiries as to whether or not you're going to have another.

I can say that during my daughter's ten years, thus far, I haven't been asked quite as often as you might expect or imagine.

But I've thought - to myself - to others - that I wasn't done.

I've thought - surely - surely I'm meant to have another child.

But life goes on.

Things change.

This is not something I have shared publicly.

Not something I have written about before.

I didn't experience infertility.

Not that I'm aware of.

I never moved to investigate.

Maybe that was what was happening.

Maybe not.

But I am the person who stops to pause when I see a beautiful baby and everyone is shouting about their ovaries.

Because I only have one.

Yes. Read that again.

I know, you're like, you told us already.

But no. I have one ovary. Not just one child.

One ovary.

One set of tubes.

One.

Plus.

One.

Wait. What?

And imagine this.

Imagine finding this out while shivering on the operating table after your C/Section.

Imagine your doctor asking, 'When did you have your ovary removed?'

Even better?

Imagine your response. MY response.

'Who? Me?'

And so.

One plus one.

My daughter is my only.

And will likely forever be.

I worry, though, about what she is missing.

My brother is one of my favorite people in the entire universe.

That's a tall order, I know. But it's true.

And I often would wonder, what about the future? What about when we're gone?

Who will she have?

And I know, I've been foolish with these thoughts - because she has family. She has cousins and people who love her beyond words.

But these days I worry more.

I wish she had someone to talk to.

Someone to compare notes with.

Someone to snuggle with.

Someone besides me to lay beside her at night.

And then.

I'm thankful, too.

For she's really a miracle.

I mean, I had no idea.

No idea what was missing inside of me for my thirty-something years.

Not a single clue.

And so, what a blessing.

To have a baby with no issues or problems.

No worries and concerns (beyond my own anxieties, which is a whole other aspect of my pregnancy and postpartum).

And to not even know what a miracle she truly was until she was in my arms.

One plus one.

Equals two.

Every.single.time.

motherhood, parenting, women's health, miracle baby, mother and daughter, relationships, family

Friday, May 19, 2017

Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat.

self-help, book review, inspiration, Sarah Robb O'Hagan, nonfiction, reading, motivational reads,
There are so many books out right now that remind you to be your best self. Encourage you to work your hardest. Some of them seem, well, eh. Some of them look like they're going to become your next bible. Worksheets and whatnot.

And then there's Extreme You.

NOTE: There will be affiliate links scattered throughout this post. Shop through me and support my reading habit/addiction! Thank you.

Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat.

I mean, with a title like that, how could you say no, right?

Which is why I'm reviewing this book today for TLC Book Tours. It was provided to me to review honestly, and if you know me you know that my receiving a free copy of a book does not impact my review at all.

Sarah Robb O'Hagan was a corporate climber. Until she wasn't. O'Hagan tells her story and leaves nothing out. She shares the good, the bad AND the ugly.

This book - honestly - is not the worksheet-filled bible-type read I mentioned. I've got plenty of those I can suggest for you, if that's more your style. This is the kind of book that walks you through a person's life and gives you practical and powerful, or perhaps empowering, information. It's the kind of book that helps you to learn a person's story and experience, and relate it to yourself. To your needs. Dreams. Goals.

My favorite part of Extreme You is the Extreme Moves section of many of the chapters. Actually, most chapters. I'm forgetting exactly how many - so, please, forgive me that, if you would.

I've pulled out some of the extreme moves noted that impacted me the most. It doesn't matter what chapter they fall under. What matters is that they affected me. And they might mean something to you, too.

EXTREME MOVES


Step Up and Stand Out
No matter whether you are in the leader role or the follower role, be the one who pursues the vision.

Refuse To Become Obsolete
The real danger ... is to become to dependent on what you already know.

Admit What You Don't Know
Pulling off the protective layers of overconfidence and mistaken certainty to find the humility to admit what you don't know - to others and sometimes to yourself - can be awkward and painful.

Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance
Presenting your ideas is nothing if you haven't thought through how to execute them.

Make Your Goals and Methods Your Own
Meeting my own goals in my own way isn't just a method of achieving big objectives; it's a way to make each day go better.

Forget The Competition
Other people are always going to be better at being themselves than you are at imitating them.

No matter where you are in your life, personally or professionally, Extreme You has something for you.

You can find out more about this book over at HarperCollins Publishers.

You can read up on Sarah on the Extreme You website.

And you can immediately order a copy of this book for yourself over on Amazon.

* As stated, this post was sponsored by TLC Book Tours. I am not receiving compensation for this content, but the book was provided to me to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own. *

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ten Truths About Mental Health

Source: pixabay... /en/consulting-mental-health-health-1739639/

If you've been a regular reader of my blog you're bound to already know how important the topic of mental health is to me.

As a licensed clinical social worker, it's a given that this topic is not just a part of my professional world - but basically IS my professional world. And when it comes to personal discussions, you already know that I speak freely about how important it is to take care of your mental health.

For mental health awareness month, I'm participating in an effort with some other bloggers, coordinated by Brittany of Clumps of Mascara, to normalize the discussion about mental health.

And in doing so I've decided to share some truths about mental health - for those who might know nothing about what it's like to get help - or what it's like to struggle with mental illness - or - well - pretty much anything I can share I'm going to share here. Because for those out there struggling, it's helpful to hear these things (or read them, as the case may be here), and for those who aren't? It's important to those who are that YOU read them, too. And hear them. And know what your friends and loved ones are experiencing. So please - even if this doesn't apply to you - read on. You just might be able to better understand someone in your life who needs you to.

Ten Truths About Mental Health


1. You are not crazy.

If you are struggling with mental illness this does not mean you are crazy. Crazy is such an interesting word. It's taken on some awful connotations and come to mean 'not mentally sound'. Which is a simple and straightforward definition, but also,when exaggerated, comes to represent someone who is mentally deranged. This is not you. You may have anxiety, you may be living through depression, you may find that you're crying all the time. Admitting that there is something wrong with you does not label you as crazy.

2. You're not the only one.

Please, trust me on this one. Part of the reason I speak and write about mental health so frequently is because of this important reminder. Everyone who goes through these things, these emotions, these worries and heavy thoughts feels like they're the ONLY one. It's not true. It's not even remotely true. You're not the only one. 

3. Medication is not evil. 

You don't have to want to take medication to help you manage whatever it is you're experiencing. Nope. Not at all. But do not judge someone who does. Please. Don't. Mental illness often occurs because of a chemical imbalance in the brain, and medications often help create a balance that levels out the anxiety and mood disorders many experience. Medication helps MANY people every single day. Whether it is what works for you or isn't can only be your choice and something you discuss and assess with your doctor(s). But for those out there who do take medication it is often a lifesaver in many ways. It is not evil.

4. Medication is not for everyone.

Yes. I know. I know what I just said. But some people do not think that medications are what they need to get themselves on a different track. And some people are against taking medications and prefer other methods of health management. Don't judge these people, either. Basically, don't judge. That should have been the first thing on this list. If someone asks you your thoughts on medications, you can answer them one way or the other even without knowing what they think. Tell them your truths and allow them to find their own.

5. Therapy is amazing.

It is. I know how that sounds. And I know, I AM a therapist, so that's something I'm saying from the perspective of how important it can be for clients. But I'm also someone who has been through therapy, and could surely benefit from it again at some point. I'm a big advocate of therapy and think everyone should consider it. I think that speaking with someone who is removed from your personal situations and finding that person is an incredible listener and able to do so without judgment is something everyone needs in their life - at least once. Whatever you're going through? A therapist can help you process it and help you find your way. 

6. Not every therapist is your perfect match.

You know how when you were dating or if you are dating or making friends you connected with people and knew pretty much right away if they were or weren't your people? Same goes for a therapist. If you meet with someone and simply find that they're just not the right fit, or you meet with someone and have that gnawing feeling? It's okay. You don't have to go back. Yes. You will have to start over and tell someone else the things you shared with therapist number one. But hey, you need to find the one that's right for you. Don't allow yourself to be stuck with someone who isn't listening and isn't hearing you - or seems to be leading you in a direction you're uncomfortable with. Therapists are people, too. And not every one matches with every perspective client. 

7. Not every diagnosis fits its stereotype.

You might think you have OCD. Do you even know what OCD stands for [obsessive compulsive disorder]? Or have you heard that it's just when someone does the things that you do? It can mean that. It can also mean so much more. Or so much less. Labeling yourself as OCD doesn't do anything for anyone - least of all you. If you're exhibiting symptoms of any diagnosis, don't self-diagnose. Please. If you've just had a baby and you're experiencing things that you think look and sound like PPD? Talk to your doctor or the baby's pediatrician. Ask for help. Direction. Assessment. You could be experiencing similar things to what every new mom goes through. But you also might not be. Not every new mom wants to run and hide when the baby cries. Not every new mom is afraid of hurting her baby. Not every person experiencing depression wants to stay in bed all day every day. Some sufferers go to work same as you. Cook dinner every day same as you. And support their family the same as you do. But they're struggling. You could be, too.

8. It can be scary.

It can be scary to experience all the things you're experiencing. All of the emotions. The things you're feeling. The things that trigger you. They're all terrifying at points. But you're entitled to feel all of these feelings. Entitled to be afraid. Just know you can also get help. There are people around you - out there and nearby - who are open to talking and listening and there for you when you're most scared. So. Be afraid. Feel scared. But remember that's absolutely normal.

9. Men experience mental illness, too. 

All of these things I've mentioned? They're not just for women. And they're not just for moms. Men experience mental illness, too. And these things you're experiencing? They do not make you weak. They do not place you into a specific box or shove you under a certain label. You are no less a man because of your mental health issues. You, too, need and should permit yourself help. Find support. Talk to someone. Tell a friend or family member what you're going through. Talk to your doctor if you're worried about telling someone close to you. Reach out and get professional help. You deserve to take care of you. Always.

10. You are not alone. 

No matter how alone you feel - how alone you think you are? You're not alone.

Remember that if you need someone to talk to and are struggling you can reach out.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. 

You do not have to be contemplating suicide or considering hurting yourself to reach out to them. Call them if you need to talk. Call them if things are too overwhelming and you don't know what is going to happen next. Call them if you're terrified and alone. Just call them. Please. Reach out to a loved one. Don't go through this alone. You're not alone. People are out there, ready to listen. People who love you. People who care. Please make the call. 

For more resources on mental health advocacy and support:


Hopeline800-784-2433

Hopeline, North Carolina: Call 919-231-4525 or 877-235-4525



Please do not hesitate to reach out and email me if you need more resources or would like to find an organization in your area for support and/or to volunteer with. That said, if you are in the midst of an emergency, please, PLEASE, I cannot stress this enough - call 9-1-1.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day: To All The Moms

This week I'd like to share some notes on motherhood I've written. Some of these posts have been shared before on other websites. Links to those sites have been noted at the end of these posts. Some pieces have been shared here on my own blog, but are things I feel deserve another look. Some are just brand new shares on being a mom. Join me in celebrating mothers.


motherhood, parenting, infertility, loss, NICU, moms, mothers, single moms, divorced moms, widows, grieving moms, young moms, children, parents, new moms
Source: pixabay... en/super-mami-mama-bebe-arms-happy-951190/


To all the moms out there. 

Happy Mother's Day.

To the new moms. The ones who are trying to decide if they're doing anything right.

We see you. Happy Mother's Day.

To the Mama-To-Be. Expecting her first. Second. Third. Whichever addition to your family this baby is - it does not matter. What a blessing. What joy.

We see you. Happy Mother's Day.

To the woman trying to become a mom. Aching. Yearning. Pulling out all the stops. 

We see you. Happy Mother's Day.

To the mother who returned home without her baby. A loss impossible to describe. But one you've been given no choice but to bear. 

We see you. Happy Mother's Day.

To the single mom, spending her first Mother's Day with her child. Alone. Thinking back to years gone by. You're recognized. Celebrated.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mother's Day: Your Diagnosis

This week I'd like to share some notes on motherhood I've written. Some of these posts have been shared before on other websites. Links to those sites have been noted at the end of these posts. Some pieces have been shared here on my own blog, but are things I feel deserve another look. Some are just brand new shares on being a mom. Join me in celebrating mothers. 

motherhood, new mother, new mama, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, PPD, PPA, PPMD, antenatal depression, postpartum anxiety, emotions, parenting, mom-to-be
Source: pixabay... /en/company-mother-kids-2262548/
Listen, friends, my early motherhood months were no picnic. I was already on medication, though, thanks to my own experience and my doctors’ awareness. They were open and listened to me. They helped me find the support I needed – and for me that was in the form of meds.
I found online support within my local moms’ group. And I used to joke that I had “PPD-lite”—I even thought I made up the name PPA. I never knew it was a legitimate postpartum mental health diagnosis. Postpartum anxiety. It’s not just legitimate, it’s very real. Real in that it impacts so many mothers – all day, every day.
Remember, I’m a licensed clinical social worker. And I didn’t know that postpartum anxiety was actually a thing.
Whatever it is you’re experiencing? Whatever you’re feeling in these early postpartum days? It’s real.
You may think to yourself, well, I get out of bed, I take care of my baby, and I actually leave the house – so I can’t have postpartum depression, right?
Right. Or maybe not.
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