Posts Tagged ‘faith’

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.


Read Full Post »

By dan

Lauren over at Unexpected Blessing asked me a few weeks ago to fill out an interview of sorts about being a PPD dad. I meant to do this before leaving for vacation, but life and work got WAY to crazy. I just got around to answering the questions tonight. I was really delinquent in getting them to her, but she told me that she’ll post them next week. Check out her PPD blog, but I’ll also be sure to include a link when she posts the interview.

Lately, Jenna and I have been really selective about who/when/where we talk about PPD. It’s getting old, you know? (Yeah, yeah, yeah, PPD…. snooze.) It’s part of our life that we’re ready to leave behind for awhile. However, when good people like Lauren come along and ask for some thoughts and insights about our time with PPD, we know they have incredible intentions to help others with our story and love to help out. It’s great to know that there are people like Lauren (and Katherine, etc.) who are advocating for the family in response to life with PPD. It’s cool to be able to help them in any way we can.

Remembering our time through PPD isn’t always the most fun part of life. Most of that time was dark and forgetable. But that said, we also learned so much about ourselves and what we want most out of life through those times. It was good for me to go back and remember all that was good in the healing process, all that we learned, and how we grew in our faith. I hope I captured that in the interview. I guess you’ll just have to wait and find out for yourself… I’ll keep you posted!

Read Full Post »

https://i2.wp.com/www.catholicsupply.com/christmas/_borders/26800C.JPGJust when I needed it, my far-away friend Amelia sent me an encouraging word to me  put my focus back where it needs to be and lift my spirits. To remind me to look to God’s good character in the rough times, not look at the storm around me. To know that what seems thankless day in and day out is making a mark on eternity for myself and those around me. Thank you friend!

Jenna, My great-great aunt who was the most Godly woman I’ve ever known (and lived to be 101!!), had a poem that she sent to every new mother that she knew (she’s not the author, just a poem she loved). I recently came across it in a little journal that she started, passed on my grandma, who then passed it on to me. I thought you might find it to be encouraging! Have a happy Friday and weekend.

A Parable For Mothers

by Temple Bailey

The young mother set her foot on the path of Life. “Is the way long?” she asked. And her Guide said: “Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.”

But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed with them in the streams, and the sun shone on them, and life was good, and the young mother cried: “Nothing will ever be lovelier than this”.

Then night came, and storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle and the children said: “Oh, Mother, we are not afraid for you are near, and no harm can come.” And the mother said: “This is better than the brightest of days, for I have taught my children courage.”

And the morning came and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary, but at all times she said to the children: “A little patience and we are there.” So the children climbed, and when they reached the top, they said: “We could not have done it without you, Mother.” And the mother, when she lay down that night, looked up at the stars and said: “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of difficulty. Yesterday I gave them courage, Today I have given them strength.”

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth – clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said: “Look up! Lift your eyes to the light.” And the children looked and saw above the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the mother said: “This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.”

And the days went on, and the months and the years, and the mother grew old, and she was small and bent. But her children were strong and tall and walked with courage. And when the way was hard, they helped their mother; and when the way was rough they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And the mother said: “I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them.”

And the children said: “You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.”

And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: “We cannot see her, but she is with us. A mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence.”

Read Full Post »

So, I’m in the midst of a frustrating medicinal situation. I’ve been bumming free samples of Effexor XR off my OB/GYN and the totally out-of-line psychiatrist for almost 3 months now. But since I won’t be returning to said rude-to-Jenna psychiatrist, and I can’t continue to be a mooch on my OB/GYN’s samples stash forever, I’ve got to get a prescription filled.

I called around and got quotes from all different pharmacies on my medication–Costco, Target, East Paris Rx, even RightSource mail-in Pharmacy. The medication is exorbitantly expensive and our insurance doesn’t kick in until after our deductible has been met. I even checked out getting the meds from Canada, but my Pharmacist said, “never never never. Either they’re fake or they’ll get stopped at the border and you’ll have sent money and get nothing in return”. So that was outta the question!

The mail-in pharmacy (here in the good old US of A) came back with the lowest price…until they actually processed the claim. Their price then DOUBLED because we hadn’t met our deductible yet. As in, “your co-pay for this prescription is almost $700, so we need your approval and a credit card number.”


Um….no. Wait–that’s not right!

4 or 5 phone calls later, everything is sorted out. The $700 is correct because we haven’t met our deductible. That’s not any cheaper than going to a local pharmacy-geesh!

So, it’s back to calling around to local pharmacies to see whose cash price is the cheapest, since this medication is coming up more expensive when processed through the insurance company than when we just pay cash. And I have a little card that gets me $15 off when I get it filled. And my fellow-sojourner to Africa pharmacist friend is giving me a “friends and family discount” so that we’re not spending more money on a drug than my life is probably worth.

Crazy. It’s been frustrating, but I know it will all get sorted out. I know God takes care of me. I know God wants me well. I believe medication is one of the ways that I will be able to work back towards healing and good mental health at this particular time in my life. And although I’m slightly miffed at having to jump through hoops, duck under and around red tape, spend more time on the phone listening to eardrum-piercing hold music than I’m spending with my kids, and feeling unsettled because this whole situation isn’t resolved yet, it’s not paralyzing me. I’m functioning great. I know it will all work out, the cogs need a little extra grease, but things will be ticking merrily along soon.

And if not, I’ll let you know. Or as Dan says, “oh, we’ll all know“.

Read Full Post »