Lovely Book Review Over at Resplendent by Design

A friend of a friend, Bobbi Parish, therapist and author of the blog Resplendent by Design and book “Create Your Own Sacred Text” has written a very lovely book review of my book “One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood.”  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Bobbi, for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to read my book and write a book review.

One of the many rewards for writing my book–aside from the personal satisfaction of seeing the fruit of your six years of labor result an attractive book with content that can help make a positive difference for others–is making new connections, especially ones who would go out of their way to spread the word about a fellow mom’s book intended to help other moms.  Another reward is knowing that you are contributing in some small measure toward reaching mothers and their families with information that can help empower them to recognize when they are suffering from a perinatal mood disorder, where to go for help, what the treatment options are….not to mention, realize that what they are going through is experienced by more women than they will ever know, they have no need to feel guilty, and they will be well again with the right help.

The best part of Bobbi’s review is the fact that she is recommending my book for patients of obstetricians, midwives and doulas:

In my opinion, this is a book that should be on every Obstetrician, Midwife and Doula’s shelf and in their waiting room. It should also be on a list of resources about Postpartum Disorders handed out to every pregnant woman by their health care professional. It will absolutely help women battle this insidious mental health disorder and thereby enable them to have a healthier, happier postpartum period with the full capacity to care for and bond with their newborn.

Please go over to her blog and read the rest of her book review.

If you are an obstetrician, midwife or doula, please consider following Bobbi’s recommendation of 1) keeping a copy of my book in your waiting room and 2) including my book on a list of resources which I hope you already have (and if not, please consider putting one together now) about perinatal mood disorders handed out to your pregnant patients.

If you have stumbled across my blog and want to read more about my motherhood journey and what I learned from it, please consider buying a copy.  My book is available at Amazon via Kindle and both paperback and hard cover format.

If you know a mom who has found herself as blindsided and scared as I found myself when I was hit hard by postpartum depression, please consider buying her, or recommending she buy, a copy of my book.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

<3

Interview with Dr. Christina Hibbert, Author of This is How We Grow

I am very excited to post my first ever Author Interview on my blog.  I am also very honored to have the opportunity to help spread the word about my friend, Dr. Christina Hibbert, and her newly published book “This Is How We Grow: A Psychologist’s Memoir of Loss, Motherhood & Discovering Self-Worth & Joy, One Season at a Time.”   I can remember the excitement I felt when my book was first published almost exactly 2 years ago, and so I share in Dr. Hibbert’s excitement that her labor of love–her baby–is now complete!

I met Dr. Hibbert a few years ago at a Postpartum Support International conference.  Over the years, I have come to admire her for her easygoing and friendly demeanor, raising SIX children, the work that she does as a psychologist specializing in postpartum / women’s mental health / grief / loss/ parenting / motherhood, and her work as a facilitator offering free pregnancy and postpartum adjustment group sessions over The Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition, and now for having written an awesome memoir I am so looking forward to reading!

Now, without further ado….

IVY:        When did the idea of writing this book first come up? Was there a light bulb moment for you?  For me, there was a specific what I refer to as “light bulb moment” –or trigger.  In general, I write when I’m triggered by something I hear, see or read.  The words “There’s no such thing as a chemical imbalance” was my light bulb moment, and the book became a mission to add to the numbers of memoirs and self care books on postpartum depression.  I wanted to help other mothers realize they were not alone in what they were experiencing, and not the only ones seeking practical tips from what I learned from my journey, even including childcare complications (e.g., colic, eczema, cradle cap) that I had no idea how to address as a first-time parent, so new moms wouldn’t be as anxious and in the dark as I was on how to cope with these types of issues.

DR. HIBBERT:       I was setting my New Year “Theme” for 2008, just two months after my brother-in-law and sister died and I had our 4th baby and we inherited our nephews and became parents of six. I was writing in my journal, and suddenly I just knew: I am going to write about this someday. I had always wanted to be an author. I had plans for writing a book on motherhood, and I’d actually already started to write the story of when my youngest sister, Miki, had died of cancer and how that had affected our family. But when my sister Shannon then died, I knew I couldn’t write that story anymore. I had a new story to write. I just felt it in my bones, and the desire only grew as time passed.

IVY:      The subtitle of my book “One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood: Infertility, Childbirth Complications, and Postpartum Depression, Oh My!” is a reflection of the route my motherhood journey took.  Does your subtitle suggest a lifelong journey of self discovery?  Does it mean that you touch on your childhood in your book, or does your memoir focus mostly on your motherhood experiences?  What is the meaning of “one season at a time?”

DR. HIBBERT:      My subtitle, “A Psychologist’s Memoir of Loss, Motherhood, and Discovering Self-worth and Joy, One Season at a Time,” refers to my specific struggles during the time period of the book as well as my lifelong commitment to personal growth. This Is How We Grow is written in four parts and follows four years of my life after these events occurred in our family. I compare each of these years to the four seasons. I also use my yearly “theme” as a title for each part. Fall, my year of Patience, was 2007, when all the tragedy happened. Boy did we need patience, and we all need patience when “falls” come in our lives. Winter, my year of Gratitude, was the next year. As we struggled under the weight of grief, depression, and in my case, postpartum depression, to pick up the pieces and heal our family, gratitude is what got us through. Gratitude is what gets us through all the winters of life. Spring, my year of Cheerfulness, was 2009, when I was trying to feel joy again but wasn’t quite ready. I could at least put on a smile and try to feel cheerful, and it helped. As we adopted our nephews, we could finally feel a little relief from the pain and melting of the coldness. And Summer, my year of Joy, I learned to love myself again. I healed, emotionally and spiritually, and my family finally felt whole.

As I say in my free, online This is How We Grow Personal Growth Group, our lives are like the seasons. We are all in one season or another at any given time. The important thing is to let ourselves be where we are and choose to grow. Seasons always change, but will we?

IVY:      Can you give an overview of what your book is about in a couple of paragraphs?

DR. HIBBERT:       Now that you know the set up for the book, let me tell you a little more about the story. As I mentioned, in 2007, my sister and brother-in-law both died, my husband and I inherited their two sons, our nephews, and I gave birth to our 4th baby. Within about three weeks, we went from three to six kids. The years that followed were rough for our family as we faced court battles, troubled extended family relationships, and just tried to help our six children and ourselves heal. But through it all I chose to grow. As a psychologist specializing in postpartum, women’s mental health, grief/loss, parenting, and motherhood, I had learned so many tools and theories over the years. Now it was time to put all my theories to the test. This is How We Grow is a memoir with a self-help feel, a doctor becomes the patient story of hope, faith, love, and ultimately, joy.

IVY:        Did you find the process of writing your book cathartic?  The process of writing my book was so therapeutic that at the end of the 6+ year process, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off of me.  Writing my book, getting it published and doing book readings were not only an outlet for tons of pent-up anger, emotions, thoughts and feelings.  The whole process—including my PPD survival—was life changing.

DR. HIBBERT:       Absolutely. I knew I was really writing this book to help me heal. That was my first and primary goal. “Even if no one but my family and me reads this, it will be worth it,” I told myself, and that has become true. For over four years, every time I rewrote chapters, I felt everything again, and that made me have to face every little part of my experiences. I had to talk with family and my husband, and my kids about everything that happened to us. It’s not only healed me. It is healing us all.

IVY:      Do you feel your experience as a psychologist factors into your tone and approach to writing this memoir?  In other words, do you think it would be written much differently if you weren’t a professional in the mental health field?

DR. HIBBERT:        Yes, because being a psychologist is such a fundamental part of who I am. I love to read and learn and teach, and as a psychologist I get to do all of those things every day. In This Is How We Grow, I share many professional insights, tools, and words from other people who inspire me. In fact, I start each chapter with my psychologist voice, sharing not only my story, but also the deeper truths behind my story. I hope others can relate to me and to my experiences, and I hope they can learn from this book and feel inspired to “choose to grow,” too.

IVY:      What audience do you think this book targets?

DR. HIBBERT:      Mostly women, ages 20-65, and especially mothers. But because the book touches on so many topics—family, death, suicide, postpartum depression, motherhood, parenting, marriage, grief, parenting, self-worth, adoption, spirituality—I have found readers in men, teenagers, and older men and women, too. My kids (from my 10 year-old on up) have started reading it, even though I never thought they would care to until they were older. And my teenagers’ friends are reading it. And my husband and his brothers are reading it and talking to each other about it, too. I am grateful it is touching so many people in so many different ways.

IVY:        Did any other books or experiences inspire you to write this memoir?

DR. HIBBERT:        I have always been inspired by memoirs. I love reading true stories and learning from other people’s lives. So, I would say all the memoirs I have read inspired me. Reading others’ stories helped me think, “Why couldn’t I write mine?” They showed me different ways to craft a great true story, too. As for experiences, my work as a speaker definitely inspired me. As I would go around and speak to audiences about women’s mental health and postpartum depression and grief/loss and parenting, I would share a little of my personal story. I would always hear the same thing: You have so much to share, you need to write a book! So I did.

IVY:        What was the most challenging part in the process of writing/publishing your book?

DR. HIBBERT:       I have six kids! That has definitely been the most challenging. My family life is incredibly busy. With kids ages 17, 16, 14, 12, 10, and 6, I am literally running from before sunrise until late at night. And when I started writing they were all little, so I had even less time for much of anything but them. I also have a private practice where I see clients one day a week, and I was running a postpartum group, too. And I still manage my non-profit, The Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition, among other things. At first I squeezed writing into the tiny moments when I had any time alone (usually right before bed), then I started setting weekly writing goals (5 hours, 10 hours, 20 hours per week, as I was able). This year, all my kids are in school! So, I’ve had school hours to work on writing and publishing. It’s been exhausting and crazy. I always say everything takes four times longer than I wish because I have so many kids! But, I have kept my family as my priority. I have really felt like a stay-at-home-mom for the most part, and still do. I am here with them, and they support and help me so I can write. My husband is amazing with helping me, too.

IVY:        Do you have a section or quote that is your favorite and is most meaningful to you?

DR. HIBBERT:       There are many I love. But the first that comes to mind is the very, very end of the epilogue where I say, “Whatever kind of mud life has thrown you into—whether the loss of a relationship, loved one, or career, life-altering medical, mental health, or financial struggles, or even daily hardships that never seem to quit, choose to plant yourself and grow. Choosing to grow is choosing love. No matter what season of growth you are in, choose love, my friends. Every time.” We are all faced with hard times, but we can all choose to grow and choose love. To me, that sums it all up.

IVY:       Do you plan to do readings, and if so, where?

DR. HIBBERT:        I sure hope to! I am headed to the Evolution of Psychotherapy conference in Anaheim, CA in December, where they will be selling my books, and starting in January, I hope to travel as much as possible for speaking engagements, book club appearances, and yes, book signings, too. I will be signing at the Postpartum Support International conference in North Carolina this June, for sure!

IVY:       Do you have any plans to write any other books?

DR. HIBBERT:       Through my website and blog (www.DrChristinaHibbert.com), I actually already got my next book deal, with New Harbinger Publications! It will be on the topic of Self-Esteem after a Breakup and is coming out Spring 2015. After that, I hope to write a more general book on self-esteem and self-worth as well as a book on motherhood. Who knows what the future holds?

CONNECT WITH DR. HIBBERT:

Website/Blog: www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Facebook Pages:  Dr. Christina Hibbert (www.facebook.com/drchibbert) and This Is How We Grow (www.facebook.com/thisishowwegrow)
Twitter: @DrCHibbert
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/drchibbert
This Is How We Grow Personal Growth Group! FREE. Online. Growth. What more could you ask for? http://bit.ly/1iYm6K3)

Why I Wrote My Book “One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood”

A short post today, but I needed to take some time to acknowledge and thank my friend Lauren over at My Postpartum Voice.

Back in March 2009, a little over a month after I first started blogging, she posted an interview with me up on her blog, telling others about the new kid on the block as far as blogging about postpartum depression (PPD) is concerned.  Now, 3 years later, she has asked me to share a little about my book “One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood” with her blog readers.  So I’ve decided to share why I wrote my book.

In my Preface, I state the following:

“I certainly hope people will read this book and suggest others read it as well. This is not a matter of trying to sell a lot of copies for financial gain . In fact, I don’t expect to make a profit out of this effort at all [because it sure as heck cost me a bundle and I realize I will more than likely never earn it all back]. I absolutely enjoy the experience of having full control over the rights of this book, not to mention the cover design, content, layout, and even release schedule. Self-publishing is certainly the way to go nowadays, especially since you can get beautiful books that are just as accessible via online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble! Sorry, I didn’t mean to digress. Anyway, the more people read this book and others like it, which are listed in [my Bibliography and] the “Other Resources” section, the more the public will be aware about PPD, the realities of motherhood, and the need for an increase in support services for new moms.”

Note:  The inadvertent leaving out of “my Bibliography and” is but one of a number of examples of how countless editing failed to pick up errors and would now cost me $$ to put into place.  I am seriously considering an updated version to be released a couple of years from now.

I hope that more and more PPD survivors who wish to publish books on their PPD experiences will follow through on their dreams.  As I mention over at Lauren’s blog, the process of writing and getting my book published was an extremely satisfying, confidence building, and therapeutic experience.

I truly admire Lauren’s dedication to helping moms suffering from perinatal mood disorders via her blog and her #PPDChat over at Twitter and now on Facebook.

Thank you, Lauren, for being such a wonderful women’s mental health advocate , for your support, and for your friendship.

Touched by A Wonderful Book Review Over at Birthtouch

On my way to work this morning, I read a touching book review written by Kathy Morelli, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Director of BirthTouch, LLC® for my book One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood: Infertility, Childbirth Complications, and Postpartum Depression, Oh My! Why did her review touch me so?   Her attention to the details of my story came flowing out in her words….words describing my life before, during, and after postpartum depression (PPD) that up til now had only ever previously been uttered–or even thought–by me and only me.   Her choice of words reflected just how much attention she paid to the details of my journey to motherhood.  Her words sent shivers down my spine, and at the same time touched me to tears.

Oh, and just so you know, I wrote my own press release.  I did receive some helpful tips from my friend Kate Weldon LeBlanc over at  JF & CS Boston.  Thanks, Kate!  :) And yes, I did receive a draft from my publisher’s marketing staff, but I still chose to go with my own wording at the end of the day.  And ever so glad I did!  I am ever so glad I self published my book, because as I mentioned before, it allowed me the flexibility and control in terms of coming up with my own cover design, book title, book content/flow, and even press release write-ups.  Self publishing is good for the DYIers….the do-it-yourselfers.  That’s me!  :)

A fellow member of Postpartum Support International (PSI), I had the pleasure of meeting Kathy at the PSI annual conference last year in Seattle.  I am so glad I met her.  She’s such a warm and caring person…and on top of that, we are fellow New Jerseyans!

Kathy and I have another thing in common.  We are both book authors!  She is the author of BirthTouch® Shiatsu & Acupressure for the Childbearing Year and BirthTouch® Healing for Parents in the NICU.  Please check these wonderful books out!

Thank you, Kathy, for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to write such a lovely book review for me!

Successful First Book Event – April 26, 2012

I made the following comment yesterday on Facebook in response to a friend who’s been supportive with respect to the endoscopy I was scheduled to have today, which incidentally went well and I’m now just waiting for the biopsy results (I hate that word…can’t they come up with another word other than “biopsy”):

The first time for anything is always a bit anxiety-provoking.

Makes sense, right?  At least for me it does.  There are a number of people that are exceptions to this…or at least they maintain the appearance of not being easily phased by things…. like first time book events, for instance.  Ahem, and I think I can name a few people I know who fall in that category….I won’t mention them here, but you know who you are!  And you are constant sources of inspiration to the fraidy-cat that I am.

Well, never having done a book event before, I was nervous as heck in the days leading up to it.  It would have been in the weeks leading up to it as well if I hadn’t been as busy with work and other matters (including concern for my mother who had had spinal surgery a few weeks ago and just went home today from the extended-care facility she’s been staying at for the past 4 weeks).  I only started preparing for the book event last Sunday.  I thought it was just a matter of picking an excerpt and reading it out loud until I felt comfortable.  But it went a little beyond that.  Thankfully, I received some helpful direction from a friend of a friend who is a fellow author.  He very quickly responded to my Facebook message last Sunday morning, giving me a quick run-down on what he did for his first book event.  He indicated, to my dismay, that he had started preparing for his first reading THREE weeks in advance of the event date…and here I was preparing 4 days in advance.   Trying to keep me from panicking, he indicated that it could be done in less than 3 weeks. But there is quite a bit of difference between 3 weeks and 4 days…GULP!

Anyway, I’d hate to think what would have happened had I NOT received his helpful tips.  From the time I received his tips last Sunday morning, I immediately went to work taking the excerpts I had picked and whittling it down to 3000 or so words.  Enough for a 15-minute read, which is just the right amount of time before people’s eyes started to glaze over. As soon as I got my excerpts ironed out, I put together a brief Intro to the reading.  On each of the four days preceding my book event, which was this past Thursday, I practiced reading the Intro and excerpts out loud ten and three times a day, respectively.  I even staked out a room at work to practice my Intro five times for 30 minutes during lunch!   By Thursday, I could speak to my Intro just referencing it occasionally, and I grew comfortable with the reading of my excerpts.  My worst fear was blanking out like a deer in headlights from the nervousness which I knew without a doubt would confront me as I got up in front of the individuals who came to the book event.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen.  My last speech class (thank you Nicole of NWK Consultants!), had paid off immensely.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to try to combat my fear of public speaking.  I will be attending more public speaking classes, and I’m even contemplating joining the local Toastmasters by me.

I would like to acknowledge that my very first book event, which took place at the Odyssey Bookshop in S. Hadley, Massachusetts on Thursday, April 26, 2012, would not have been as successful as it was had it not been for my friends Liz Friedman and Annette Cycon of MotherWoman.  They rounded up a great group of ladies who took the opportunity to also share their stories as well.  Nearly everyone shared, including Andrea, author of the blog Postpartum and Pigtails, who wrote this very nice post about the event!  And in this group, I found out there are at least 3 ladies also interested in writing/publishing their memoirs.  That truly thrilled me to hear!  And you can be sure I will help them any way I can!

Now, all I need is to continue with book events locally, following the same format as this past book event.  If I can continue to encourage women to speak up about their experiences in a group and inspire people to publish their stories, I would’ve succeeded in my mission, which if you’ve read my book, you’ll know with my call both at the beginning and at the very end of my book:

I am a PPD survivor. Hear me roar. Will you join me?

On the Other Side of the World

A real quickie from me today to let you know how a friend of mine who lives in Singapore made my day last Friday when she posted the following message and picture (of her daughter holding my book) on Facebook:

“Found your book in our library today so I’m going to take it home to read. Cool eh?”

It took a few seconds to register what my friend was saying. Then, when I realized that my friend found it in her library in SINGAPORE, feelings of amazement and happiness took over.  I couldn’t believe my book made it into a library all the way on the opposite side of the world in the less than 3 months my book has been published!  It wasn’t Amazon we’re talking about.  It’s a LIBRARY.  Someone had to have felt the need, after stumbling who knows how across my book, to get a copy and make it available for the community over there. 

All I can say right now, as chills go up and down my spine, is WOW.  Not bad for self publishing, not bad at all. :)

“One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood” is Headed to Publication!

The fruit of weekends and weeknights dedicated to reading, writing, editing, and attending writers’ conferences and conferences on perinatal mood disorders across a span of 6-1/2 years….my labor of love….is finally about to get published!   It has been such a satisfying journey.  I would recommend it to anyone without hesitation.   “One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood: Infertility, Childbirth Complications, and Postpartum Depression, Oh My!” will be available for sale via Amazon and Barnes & Noble within the next 4-6 weeks!

Years comprised of weekends and weeknights dedicated to reading, writing, editing, and attending writers’ conferences and conferences on perinatal mood disorders!  It has been such a satisfying, therapeutic, and educational journey.  I have learned a tremendous amount about myself, about perinatal disorders, and about publishing during this journey.  I’ve also learned how challenging it really is to get a book published.

Without a whole lot of personal guidance from anyone, I saw my book from start to finish.  As with anything in life–be it motherhood, your career, or getting a book published–it helps to have a mentor or two along the way.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had luck finding any mentors of any kind in my life. Granted, I did have some help, but a MENTOR would have made such a huge difference.  Why is it that it’s so gosh darned hard to find mentors is beyond me.  But you know what?  I made the most of the limited resources I had….and I AM PROUD OF MYSELF.

After attending a number of writers’ conferences, even learning how to write query letters and book proposals in the hope of attracting an agent who would in turn attract a traditional publishing house, I decided earlier this year to pursue the self publishing route because I prefer to have full control over the rights of my book, not to mention the cover design, book title, content, pictures, layout, and even release schedule.  Thanks to the wealth of self publishing options available today, practically anyone with a passion to write a book and dedication to seeing it to the end can get a book published.  I would advise, however, that you get the book professionally edited before publication.

I encourage all you moms who are suffering or have survived from postpartum depression (PPD), to add your book to the relatively small number of books about PPD survivors. Yes, there are books out there about PPD, but they are for the most part written by health practitioners….or celebrities like Marie Osmond and Brooke Shields (hardly representative of the average mama).  There is a lack of personal stories of survival in book form…and I would love to see a growth in the numbers of mamas willing to add their names to the list of authors of books on PPD!

As such, if you are interested in writing a book about your PPD story but are unsure how to get started (or have some questions or would like some advice), please do not hesitate to drop me a comment below, and I will email you back and we’ll see what I can do to help you start your journey to becoming an author!

With the completion of this book, I am now moving on to my next one…on a topic I’m also passionate about!  Will share more details when I’m ready!