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A Comical Moment

by Diane

Have you ever heard of “mobile phone dermatitis”? Apparently, some people have developed rashes after spending too much time on their cell phones. This is according to an article that was posted on my Yahoo home page. If you want to read more, follow this link:

http://health.yahoo.com/news/reuters/us_phones_rash.html

When I read this, I just laughed. How much time does a person have to spend on a cell phone to develop an allergic reaction? I can’t even imagine. Maybe the person who posted this felt we all needed some comic relief from the stresses of life. Well, it worked for me.

Whether it’s reading about cell-phone-induced rashes, laughing at something your children did, or reading a chapter in a good book, be sure to take time out today to stop and enjoy the moment.

Have a blessed day!

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Many of you have heard of the organization MomsBloom, which offers free services to families with new babies. The leaders of MomsBloom are looking to raise awareness about postpartum depression with a fundraiser march at Metro Health Village on Oct 25. Pre-registration goes until tomorrow, but you can register all the way up until the day of the event. 

Please consider participating. Because PPD affects so many women, it is very likely that someone you know has or will suffer. Education is key to getting support to hurting families.  Here is a brief description of the event.:

Please join us for the “Out Came the Sun” March to raise awareness of Postpartum Depression

When: Saturday, October 25, 2008

Where: Frog Hollow Park in Metro Health Village

Time: 10:00 am (check-in begins at 9:30 am)

Why we need you: Approximately 400,000 women each year suffer from a serious postpartum illness, men can suffer from the illness as well. This is not just a family issue, it’s a community issue and it deserves more attention. Together we can make sure families get the support they need.

Featured Speaker: Nancy Roberts, RN, a registered nurse at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus’ obstetrics department and West Michigan’s representative for Postpartum Support International.

$15 pre-registration (t-shirt guaranteed)
$20 registration on the day of the event

Family Friendly Event – Refreshments provided

Registration forms and additional information at:MomsBloom.org or call 616-828-1021.

A BIG thank you to our sponsors:
baby beloved, inc.
Jeff Tow Creative
MBK Promotions
Metro Health Hospital
Miracles Photography
Spectrum Health
Wilcox Chiropractic
Wyoming Parks and Rec

We hope to see you there!

Sara

This is a stroller-friendly event! Check out this link for more information http://www.momsbloom.org/outcamethesun/

Toddler = Dawdle

by Diane

The official definition of toddler, according to Merriam-Webster Online is “one that toddles.”  Toddle refers to sauntering, which means to “walk about in an idle or leisurely manner.” I think the word idle is key. Toddlers do not move quickly, unless of course it is to avoid some parentally imposed task like getting dressed.

We all know this, right?

Knowing it and being able to deal with it are completely different. I have observed this idle sauntering and experienced it long before I became a mother. It’s funny how it is so much easier to be patient with someone else’s dawdling toddler and how it is even cute. When you get your own toddler and are trying to manage the “simple” task of walking out the door, this slow sauntering is anything but cute.

Here is a classic scenario for me. Wednesday night, I decided to go to the grocery store. I did not want to do this, but we were out of food to the point that not going would be more complicated. Ashlyn and I finished dinner a little after 6 pm, which means that we should be able to leave the house well before 7. This “reasonable” calculation does not figure in the Ashlyn factor. Sadly, I looked at the clock and figured that we would be leaving about 7. We headed upstairs for the bathroom about 6:30 so that Ashlyn could take care of business. We spent a maddening 35 minutes or so in the bathroom. She did her duty, so to speak, after multiple rounds of reading the same books, going potty, washing her hands, and then finding she needed to do it all over again.

Don’t get me wrong. Ashlyn did great. She is using the potty well, and since she is still learning, I can’t expect her to be a pro. However, after spending what seemed like countless hours in the bathroom already that day, one more half hour finished off my patience.

It is difficult to be patient with a slow-moving child when I have stuff to be done. So, I have to ask myself what is more important, Ashlyn using the potty or my getting to the grocery store a half hour earlier. I don’t think I should abandon my goals, but I am not going to spend all day in the bathroom reading the same books either. Balance is key but is most difficult to achieve. I think I definitely need to keep encouraging Ashlyn as she learns “big girl” things but that I also need to distance myself a little when I am losing patience. For instance, I have told her that I can’t read to her right now and have given her something else to do while she is sitting on the potty.

Also, praying for patience is a big help. Wednesday night, when I was at the end of my rope, I prayed for God’s strength and patience because I don’t want Ashlyn to bear the brunt of my own imperfections. Amazingly, after we got home, before I had to take her potty one more time, she began to stack the yogurt cups. Now, this is not monumental by any means, but it was sweet enough and cute enough for me to lose my edge and enjoy my daughter, so I felt that moment was indeed an answer to prayer.

The other key for me to remember is that this time is so short. Ashlyn is almost 2, and while this stage involves slow sauntering, it certainly also has many moments of sweetness and cuteness exclusive to this period in her life. If I wish these days away, I will be missing a lot of treasurable moments.

The next time I start to become impatient, I will take a deep breath, try to take some kind of break, and remember what a gift I have in the many moments with my girl.

LAB Meeting

I am excited to remind you that tomorrow is our first meeting of the year. We are finally getting started again.

We will be discussing how to deal with mommy frumpiness and how to feel better about ourselves. It can be hard as moms to find the time and energy to take care of ourselves. If you are like me, often I look in the mirror and end up feeling discouraged. In our meeting, I will be giving simple tips on how to avoid that. Of course, I will not be suggesting spending hours getting ready or making yourself up like a beauty queen. Who has time for that?

We (I) would love to have you at the meeting. Even if you don’t feel frumpy but just want to come out and socialize, please join us. You can always come because you feel sorry for me and don’t want me to be sitting there alone. 🙂 Of course, you can always come for snacks! Please feel free to bring your kiddos and support persons if you like.

Come when you can, and leave when you have to. We are meeting from 7 -9 pm, but you don’t have to be on time, and you can certainly leave early.

I can’t wait to see you again and find out how things are going for you.

Have a blessed day!

Ask a Busy Person

Below are some thoughts from LJ. Right now she is very busy, which we can all relate to. For me in reading this, the cool part is seeing how LJ is handling all this busyness. Like many others, myself included, LJ has suffered from PPD, and before might not have been able to handle all this.  It is a blessing to see a friend be well and be able to handle the chaos of life. If reading this makes your head spin or makes you wonder if you will ever be there, know that you too will get better and will be able to handle the busyness of life.

Here are LJ’s thoughts:

There is an old saying “if you want something done, ask a busy person”.  I don’t think I ever really understood what it meant until this week. 

 

Being  a mom of a 4year old preschooler, and a 2year old I have recently become a taxi mommy, driving to and from school, stopping along the way to run errands- I have the kids already in the car, I might as well get something done!   I have forgotten how easy it is to get something done when you only have to tote one child into the store with you.  M and I have come to really enjoy our trips to the store- not really shopping, just looking at all of the fun things.  He tells me stories while we shop, and points out colors and letters as he sees them- so I guess while big brother is in preschool, M is learning too!

 

I have been spinning myself in circles trying to get things done for the fundraiser I working on for MomsBloom.  Yet yesterday, amidst all of the phone calls, e-mails and whatnot I managed to clean my kitchen, do 3 – yes THREE loads of laundry, vacuum, and even spend some good quality time reading to my kids.

 

Most days I am lucky to get a meal on the table, let alone clear the table or get the dishes done- and laundry- I usually end up waiting until my husband starts it before I accept the fact that it has to be done- shhh don’t tell!  And I can’t even remember the last time I got feel like I actually accomplished something!

 

I love making my “Things I’ve done today” list- it is so much less overwhelming, and much more rewarding than a “to do” list.   I am able to take the time to enjoy the little things like splashing in the puddles in the parking lot, or finding the 10th red dot at our favorite store and not have to worry about things I think I HAVE to get done that day.

https://i0.wp.com/www.freewebs.com/teddybearworkshop/m2msale6.JPG

My friend Becky is helping organize a Mom’s Sale for this fall (Sept 27). These types of sales are HUGE in the Detroit area and they are trying to get them going on this side of the state.

They’ve rented a big room for the day and the idea is that a bunch of moms bring the things they want to sell all to one location. Each mom gets their own table (or can share if they want) and set up their own “garage sale on a table”. It’s the perfect place to get rid of the baby stuff that you’ve been wanting to get rid of.

It is only $25 to rent a table for the day, to help cover the cost of renting the room and tables. You are practically guaranteed to sell everything you bring, because all of the shoppers that come are looking for baby/kid stuff, and we already literally have hundreds of people planning on shopping.

Alpha Women’s center will be there after the sale to take any donations- so it’s the perfect place to dump everything that’s left, if you don’t want to keep the clutter.

Apparently, they’ve had an overwhelming amount of people interesting in shopping, but not as many interested in selling. So, if you are looking to clean out your basement/garage of baby stuff, or if you do crafts, bake, sew, etc. and would like to buy a table to set up shop, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

If you’re looking for baby and kid stuff for cheap and can’t afford to drive from garage sale to garage sale, plan to come shop all in one location.

Check out the website for all the info- www.westmichiganmomssale.com–  there is online registration- so anyone interested in selling can pay via paypal/ credit card online or you can print out a form and mail a check.

by Lauren at Unexpected Blessing

I first stumbled across Dan’s blog (LABAIRI) quite awhile back. I left a comment and he emailed me to thank me for my kind words. We’ve kept in touch here and there, mostly I read his Twitter updates. (I Twitter too – unxpctdblessing is my username there) A few weeks ago I asked him if he would be willing to do an interview as he is a dad who has PPD experience. Dan opened up and is very honest and forward with his answers. I sincerely hope you enjoy today’s interview as much as I did when I first received his reply!

Would you share with us your insight on your wife’s journey as she struggled with PPD?

Jenna suffered PPD with all three of our children. Each time was different, PPD isn’t the same for every woman – it’s not even the same for one woman! The second bought was the worst. It was just a dark time – so dark that there are moments during that year that Jenna and I don’t even remember. We look at pictures and have no idea the circumstances. The darkness was just overwhelming. Nothing was right and everything was difficult. She suffered a lot, and I was really at a loss at how I’d be able to help her through this.
What were some of the first signs you noticed that made you think things weren’t quite right?

During the first time around, we didn’t know this was even happening – only 5 years ago, but awareness has come a LONG way since then. But looking back I guess there was a huge lack of motivation to do anything from getting out of bed in the morning to get up in the middle of the night to feed our son. It seemed odd – but we thought that this must just be sheer exhaustion from Jenna also working part-time. Plus, during those first 8 months after Liam was born, our relationship was tanking. I remember thinking if this is what marriage is like after kids that I didn’t want any more of them. (You can laugh – we have three and another on the way from Ethiopia!)

How have you grown as a man and as a father as a result of PPD?

Wow, great question. As a father, PPD grew me up really fast. As Jenna had moments where she was unable to care for the kids as she would have liked, I had no choice but to step in and make it work. I wasn’t secure in my parenting skills by any stretch of the imagination (the first diaper I ever changed was Liam’s). But I loved my family more than life, and these times forced me to step up to the responsibility.

As a man, I know I am more sensitive to expectant and new mothers. I know how hard it can be. I know the hell that it can be on the family. I advocate for fathers to step up and care for their wives as this is the “for better or for worse” part of the vows we made before God. I’ve never been a “manly-man” with the barefoot and pregnant mentality, but this time reinforced that caring for our wives as Christ loves the church is the only way to make a marriage work. There is a lot of sacrifice to be made as a husband/father, with or without PPD. I’m definitely a better person for having been through this with Jenna.

How did your faith support you through your journey?

WOW. We couldn’t have done this without our faith. Almost without a doubt, without our faith we would never have made it through that first year after Liam. Those were really dark times. The Psalms were a great comfort as we journeyed though PPD. David talks so often of going through the valley and crying out to God for help. Those passages of lament gave words to the cry of our hearts, cries that found words difficult to come by. We also couldn’t have done this without our faith community. Especially after PPD was diagnosed and we could talk about it with some clarity, people brought us meals, they stayed with us and helped out wherever they could. The support structure our faith community gave us was invaluable and at least for me reaffirmed the beauty of the local church and the potential she has to do good in this world.

What do you love about being a father?

Coming home from work and having a little person scream “DADDY!” at the top of her lungs while running to give me a bear hug! Those moments make all of the bad ones disappear in seconds.

What lessons have you learned from PPD?

Hmm. What first comes to mind is that no one is immune from pain. I think we all figure that PPD (or anything else bad) won’t happen to us. Jenna had NEVER suffered any sort of depression before PPD. There were absolutely no warning signs on this one. We never prepared ourselves for the worst. Jenna and I had no plan for PPD when it happened, no safety net or plan b. As a result, we’re going through an adoption right now, which is going very well. But in the back of my mind, I’m preparing for what might go wrong – and there is plenty to go wrong in international adoptions. It’s given me a healthy dose of preparedness that I’d never had before.

Depression isn’t just a bad thing. I know, that sounds like an insane statement to make, but let me explain. Depression allows you for a time to see life, and perhaps embrace life, as it really is – broken and in desperate need of repair. As a result of PPD, I savor even the “just OK” times in life because I know how bad it can get.

People are good. Surrounding yourself with a support network is one of the best things you can do for PPD. Do this before you experience tragedy; experience the joys of community as well.

Share with us some of the ways you were able to participate in your wife’s recovery.

1. Realize that this is something that I can’t fix. Once that was cemented into my head, I was free to just be the best husband / father I could be.

2. Take over duties/chores. Taking away the stresses – cleaning, cooking, etc. – that I could seemed to free her mind to think about the kids. Along with this, I also had the freedom to flex my hours at work. I stayed home until the kids were fed and clothed. I was home for the bedtime routine and canceled my evening appointments. This isn’t easy, but this speaks VOLUMES to your wife – you’re making her a priority.

3. I went with her to her first PPD group meeting. I wanted to show my support, even if it was just driving her to the wellness center so she didn’t feel like she’d get lost. Along with this, I made her being able to go to PPD group a priority. I rearranged my schedule, took appointments out of my schedule, etc. To make that happen.

4. I made every effort to help her start Life After Baby, the support group she started at our church – helping design web images, fliers, etc. She has since graduated from the group herself, but the group will still meet with new leadership this coming year.

Let’s face it. Parenting is not easy. What are some of your most difficult daily parenting challenges?

We now have three kids. Jenna’s pretty much recovered from her third trip through PPD (this hasn’t been the worst, just the longest – Addi is 2). Daily challenges: navigating the kids through the best friends/worst enemy phase of being siblings. They can turn on a dime, and helping them work through the worst enemy side of that coin is not easy. Finding alone time with each of the kids and making sure that each is getting a good amount of personal attention. And I guess that last challenge would be more on the marriage side of things, but making sure that Jenna and I don’t lose touch in the process of caring for the kids. It’s easy to focus everything on them and give the leftovers to each other. We’ve got to make each other a priority!

Shameless plug time. Tell us about your blog and why you started it.

My blog: labairi (or life as best as I remember it) was started basically as an outlet for me to write my thoughts on life. I’m an avid journal writer, and figured I’d put that to good use for the world to read–No grand ambitions, just a guy and his thoughts. It’s definitely evolved in the past three years as I’ve allowed myself to become more transparent with what’s actually going on sharing our journey and my thoughts on PPD as well as my own bouts with depression and anxiety. Since starting the blog, it’s been amazing to see what being transparent can do. I’ve connected and helped several PPD dads and family members helping them walk through some of the worst moments. I’ve been able to read books on fatherhood sent to me by authors. And I’ve just met some incredibly cool people that encourage me to be a better person. My blog is sometimes serious, sometimes fun, but always real.

And last but not least – if you had a chance to share one piece of advice with an expectant father (new or experienced), what would it be?

Embrace every moment good and bad, you can’t get them back. Choose your family above your golf game and if you can help it, your work life. You may make less money, but in the long run you’ll be investing in something that lasts for eternity.