Remember on Friends, when Monica was about to move in with Chandler and she cried to Rachel, “I have to live with a boy!” That’s how I feel sometimes. I live with three boys. My husband, four-year old son, and dog Harry Potter. And this week, it’s really noticeable because I just got back from a Campowerment weekend with 75 other women, 12 of whom I lived in a bunk with, and the only guys allowed were the hot Ropes men who scream inspiring words at you as you gather up the courage to climb up a really tall, narrow pole, stand up on top of it, and then jump.
I get it. Farts are really funny for guys no matter how old they are. My four-year old and my husband love to fart and laugh about it regardless of the 30 year age difference between them. But maybe, just maybe you both could fart somewhere other than in my face or while piling on top me. And while this is going on, Potter just has to come and slobber all over my face. He’s probably joined in on the farting for all I know!
Speaking of piling on top of me, why is it that I’m the one that gets to be the human trampoline. My son’s favorite extracurricular activity is jumping on mommy while she tries to relax. I’m reading and there is a tiny human climbing on my head. I’ve been elbowed in the boobs, kneed in the crotch, and head-butted in the face too many times to count while my husband cheers him on in the background. Why can’t you both just wrestle with each other and leave me out of it?
Stigma sucks. Seriously. It sucks. It could be a sports chant: Stigma sucks! Stigma sucks! Stigma sucks! Stigma is the reason so many moms don’t talk about postpartum depression. The reason they struggle in silence. The reason they don’t ask for help and get the treatment they need to get better. The reason they would rather pretend life is perfect. The reason they take their own lives. Did you know that of the hundreds of thousands of women who suffer from a postpartum mood disorder, only 15 percent of them get treated? How heartbreaking and outrageous is that?
1 in 7 women who give birth each year experience symptoms resulting from a postpartum mood disorder. That’s close to 1 million women annually having some form of mental illness after the birth of their babies and close to 850,000 women not receiving the help they need to get better. That’s way TOO MANY women. Postpartum Progresss, Inc. reports that more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses in a year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers disease, lupus, and epilepsy. I bet people with these illnesses usually admit they are sick and seek professional care.
Yet, women with postpartum depression, a real and treatable illness, deny themselves the support they need. Whether or not they realize their illness is temporary and gets better with treatment, they don’t want anyone to know how they are feeling. Why does this happen? The answer is: stigma. Why don’t all moms understand they have a common illness that so many other moms get too? Stigma. Why don’t they talk about their experiences after they do get better? Stigma. Why aren’t women educated about postpartum depression and its risk factors during pregnancy? Stigma.
I AM A MEDICATED MOMMY! Yes, I take antidepressants. No, I am not ashamed. Not even a little bit. And if you do too, you shouldn’t be ashamed either.
Let’s start at the beginning. On day six of being a new mom, I was overcome with crippling anxiety and non-stop tears. I had no desire to ever leave my bed again. All I wanted to do was sleep and go back to the hospital where people would take care of me and I didn’t have to be responsible for the well-being of another human. Why did I become a mom? I believed I had made a terrible mistake. Obviously something was very wrong.
After a diagnosis of postpartum depression followed by three rounds of different anti-anxiety medicine and two rounds of antidepressants, my therapist and psychiatrist finally found the right drug cocktail to help me. Yes, I felt frustrated while trying to find the right medication and it took some time, but I also found relief once I did. It was the first step to getting better, something I never believed would be possible while in the dark hole of postpartum depression. It was worth hanging in there for. My baby, husband and I were worth hanging in there for.
In the years leading up to motherhood (as in my late twenties), I sucked at sleeping late on weekends. I consistently popped up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. every morning because my body was conditioned for the weekday wakeup. And I was a middle school teacher! If that’s not almost as exhausting as motherhood, I don’t know what is.
If I was able to sleep past 8:30 on a Saturday or Sunday morning, that was a victory. Then I had a child and my body suddenly thought it was back in college, where it never wanted to get out of bed before ten in the morning, ever. Okay, maybe noon. The one that couldn’t get its ass out of bed for those 8:15 a.m. Italian classes. The one who never picked classes if they met on Fridays.
Too bad preschool doesn’t work like college. Drop-off is at 8:50 every day and there is class on Friday. Thank god there is class on Friday! My almost four-year old has no problem getting out of bed by 7 every morning, even though his mommy could use just a few more minutes in hers. Okay, maybe hours. And even though I don’t pride myself on being a morning person like my son, I hate missing drop-off. It’s my right to be able to stay in the car, unshowered, without a bra, and possibly wearing the clothes I slept in the night before.
If you read my last blog, you know that my book, Maybe It’s You, is being published by Hachette Book Group on April 4, 2017.
Yes! The Handel Method® is heading to bookstores and Amazon!
Pre-order Maybe It’s You today, and get 50% off of HG’s no nonsense digital coaching course, Inner U. And discover there ain’t no maybe about any of it.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Two of my book on how much our theories––in this case, our theories about dating––inform our current reality.
I know, not yours …
Every year, my college best friends and I get together for a girls’ weekend. We kiss our kids and husbands goodbye, some of us leave written schedules and directions, and spend at least one night together away in a hotel, usually in New York City. New York City is the most convenient location for the four of us moms who all have young kids and are spread out among the East Coast. One night is usually more realistic for all parties involved because you know–husbands–motherhood–kids–life.
I look forward to this weekend every year. As it approaches, I start counting the minutes. The excitement builds. The number of group texts increases. What are we wearing? How many Soul Cycle classes are we taking? Who is booking the spa treatments? Where are we going for dinner? Definitely somewhere we can dress up in the clothes we own but never have any place to wear them to.
I can’t wait for the reminiscing, the laughter, the catching up, the deep conversations, the getting ready all together in the same room like it was during college, and the staying up late and sleeping in (if you count 8:30 am as sleeping in). While we’re on the subject of sleeping, I can’t wait to not have to wake up to anyone asking me for anything. To not have to fight with anyone about what’s for lunch. To not have to enter into any negotiations or diffuse any meltdowns. To not have to share my ice cream! And to enjoy a glass of wine without interruption! Go to the bathroom alone! And most importantly, to not feel guilty about any of it!
Love is my close mom friend putting me in bed, rubbing lotion on my feet, and staying until I fall asleep after the exhaustion of postpartum depression and anxiety have set in for the day.
Love is my mom who always answered the phone each morning so I could walk laps around my neighborhood, sobbing to her that I would never get better.
Love is my husband coming to therapy with me so he could better understand what was I was going through and how to support me.
Love is my husband sending me flowers just to tell me he is proud of the fight I am putting up.
Love is my sister crying on the phone to me because she is worried and just wants ME to be okay.
Love is my sister holding my hand in person and from afar because she knows what it’s like to feel how I feel.
Love is my best friends talking and emailing behind my back because they want me to get healthy and happy.
I just got a sneak peek of my friend Lauren Zander’s new book Maybe It’s YOU: Cut the Crap. Face Your Fears. Love Your Life. And you know what? Life is tough. And the things you really want in life often seem impossibly far out of reach.
In her new book, Lauren Zander uses her proven approach to resetting your life by facing your fears and saying yes to even the most difficult-seeming challenges. You will be left inspired to make major changes in all areas of your life, from your career to your love life to your health to your family, and more.
Are you ready to get at the helm of your own life, at your own pace, with the play button literally at your fingertips? Pre-order Maybe It’s YOU and gain exclusive access to Inner.U, her 11-session digital course, at half the price. Talk about the ultimate interior design!
Check out today’s guest post from fabulous life coach, Lauren Zander.
Let’s face it, as moms, we are never just one type. We have multiple personalities. I have multiple mom personalities. On any given day, I don’t even know which one will make an appearance. Who you get usually depends on the moods and behaviors of my little one. Or what time of day it is. Or if my husband remembered to put the car seat in my car the night before. At any given time of day, whether at my house or out in public, you are guaranteed to be greeted by one of these mommies.
Happy Mommy: Happy Mommy typically means we had an extremely smooth morning routine. My son woke up sometime after 7 a.m., entertained himself until I got out of bed thirty minutes later, ate all his breakfast, got dressed without a fight, and needed no persuading to get in the car to go to school on time. Happy Mommy sticks around when the day is almost meltdown-free. I love happy Mommy. So does my husband. Happy Mommy is nicer on phone calls to him. She doesn’t nag or bark orders as much. She even might be inclined to give blow a job at the end of the day! She also comes out at night when my son has gone to bed. Happy Mommy sits on the couch with a glass of wine and binges on Netflix. Happy Mommy hopes she will reappear the following morning but you just never know.
Scary Mommy: Scary Mommy might be the norm around here these days, at least where appearances are concerned. Scary Mommy often drops her son off at school hoping she makes it to drop-off in time so she doesn’t have to get out of the car and expose the fact that her hair isn’t brushed, her face isn’t washed, and she might still be wearing the clothes she slept in or has at least changed into fresh sweatpants. And a bra is definitely not part of that outfit. It’s very possible that Scary Mommy is going home to go back to sleep after drop off and hopefully take a shower. But if it’s a choice between showering and napping, she probably chooses the nap.
Dear Pregnant Jen,
There is so much I wish I could tell you before you go into labor on that first night of Passover, March 25, 2016. Yes, you will go into labor during the first night of Seder while sitting at a table with 30 of your closest Jewish family members. Papa will be asking, “Why is this night different from all other nights,” and it most definitely is as you simultaneously death grip squeeze your sister’s hand under the table, time your contractions on your iPhone, text a close mom friend who informs you to “call the fucking doctor,” and realize that not only do your contractions not conform to the 5 minutes apart pattern you learned about in birth class, but nothing about labor and delivery is anything like you’ve seen on television or in the movies.
I regret to inform you that you won’t sneeze and gracefully pop a tiny human out of your vagina like Brooklyn Decker in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. You also won’t look pretty, perfect, and polished like Brooklyn Decker during and after the delivery of your baby. Swollen, stoned, and sleep-deprived is more like it.
Let’s start there. Labor is unpredictable and doesn’t always go according to plan. In fact, the word plan really has no business being in the same sentence as the words birth and baby. Your baby is going to do what he wants. He gives zero fucks about your plans, not while he is in your belly and not when he comes out. He doesn’t care that you want his bris to be after Passover so guests can enjoy their lox and cream cheese on bagels rather than matzo. It won’t matter to him that the best mohel in town might be on vacation (although he should because…it’s his penis getting snipped). And he really doesn’t give a shit that you want to do everything in your power to avoid a C-section and have him the old-fashioned way.