Success….and oh what a feeling it brings!

Further to my pre-Christmas post. 

And I must say I do feel as exuberant as the picture depicts.  WOO HOO!!!  :)

Learned a few things from studying for the two exams I had doubts about passing.  If your inner voice says “I’m not sure,” then make sure you have a counter inner-voice that says “You can do it, if you put your mind to it….especially when others you know have also managed to pull it off.  If they can do it, then so can I.”  But realize that you can’t expect to pull it off without an ample amount of dedication to your objective.  Don’t expect any miracles without adequate input, relatively speaking.

Happy Holiday Greetings

Just had a rare spotting of 4 gorgeous blue jays in the yard…..a good omen, I believe, as today is the winter equinox.

HAPPY WINTER EQUINOX, all!

The good news I’d like to share is that I passed my exam on Friday!  After six months of studying for two exams, I am finally done.  No more exams!  What a relief!  And what an awesome Christmas gift to myself.  :)

Christmas Tree '14

I love Christmas and all that it entails.  Celebrations with family and friends.  It’s not about gifts, as we have slacked off when it comes to that.  As we get older, we realize that it’s time with loved ones–rather than material things–that really mean anything in the long run.  The only thing I don’t like is that the weather is cold and the days are gloomy.  But now with the winter equinox, it means that the days will get longer and longer, and I just hope that the next three months will pass as quickly as the last two months did.  I just need to keep in mind that spring is just around the corner….and the thought of blue-skied and warm days filled with sunshine and the return of color of leaves and flowers are making me smile right now.

Now, with the exams behind me, I can return to things I have put aside temporarily.  Things like blogging, for one.  And taking a serious stab at evaluating what in the house to keep, and what to get rid of.

Wishing you peace, love and health this holiday season.

With love, Ivy

Temporary Sabbatical from Blogging

Back in July, I knew I was taking a break from blogging.  Though, I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be blogging for THREE MONTHS–the longest break I’ve ever taken from blogging!  Had I known that was going to be the case, I would’ve blogged about “Going on a Temporary Sabbatical from Blogging” back then.  It’s the fastest three months I can ever recall!   And it’s not because I was having fun during this time either.  I had to sacrifice many a night and weekend during my favorite season to study for an exam, which required weeks of reading and 1,560 practice questions–all of which was dry as all heck.

To ensure no distractions, I decided to step back from Facebook.  I follow some 550 or so Facebook pages, so what I did was set up a special feed that would enable me to see my friends’ updates and exclude all the posts of those 550 or so Facebook pages, which quite honestly used to take 2-3 hours a day of my time to scroll through (and read some of the articles that I found interesting).  I needed to ensure I  devoted ALL my energy and time after work and on weekends to study.

I wasn’t required to take this exam but I had to do this for myself.  I figured it could only bolster my credentials.   I set the exam date for October 18 ( to ensure I wasn’t tempted to postpone for an indefinite period of time), which was a week ago.

Good news is I PASSED!

It has taken me a week to unwind from both my anxiety levels and the study mode I forced myself to be in.  And now I am about to begin studying for yet another exam, which I hope to take in the next couple of months.  So, I am not returning to blogging just yet.

My passing this exam is proof positive that…..

You’re NEVER too old/ it’s NEVER too late to accomplish something if you put your mind to it….and along the same veins, it’s never too late to go back to school and/or change career direction!

Happy Mother’s Day – 2013

spring2013I’ve written a Mother’s Day blog post each year since I started up this blog in 2009.  After a while, my posts from one year to the next start sounding the same.  I’ve blogged in the past about mompetitions, just as I have blogged about the fact that all too many mothers (i.e., one out of eight) are suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) but you wouldn’t necessarily know that because they can hide their suffering so well, feeling too ashamed to talk about it.  Or like me, they don’t even realize they are suffering from a postpartum mood disorder because the vast majority of our population is lacking in knowledge when it comes to mental health awareness–especially as it pertains to motherhood.  As I’ve mentioned countless times before, the public seems to keep on thinking that the birth of a baby can only be one way–i.e., a beautiful and joyful experience.

May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, as most if not all of you know from reading my last post which is part of Postpartum Support International’s very first blog hop.  If you haven’t visited some of the blog hops posts from PSI’s 2013 blog hop, I recommend that you do so.  If you are experiencing PPD and feel alone…please know that you are far from it.  Take celebrity moms speaking up as an example.  These brave women have gone public with their experiences so that others would not follow in their footsteps in terms of feeling alone.  Now, if only these celebrities can get more involved with PPD advocacy.  We need more moms with a public platform speaking up and helping to combat stigma and spread awareness!

Now, for my Mother’s Day message:

For all the moms out there, remember self care
Is the single most important piece of advice I can give you.
If you are a brand new mom, just remember that
Without adequate rest and nutrition after childbirth
And with exhaustion and physical changes–
Not to mention sleep deprivation and getting up every couple of hours for feedings–
You are opening the door wider for PPD to sneak up on you.

If you are a mom with older children like me,
You may feel the way I now do about this Hallmark occasion.
No more do I need to eat at a fancy restaurant and receive a nice gift from the hubs.
Instead, I look forward to the simple pleasures of
Spending time with family and extended family.
Maybe even visiting a garden or two and take in the spring  flowers
Blooming all around us….nature can have a very calming effect.
I also look forward to just chilling because–
If you are a working mom like me–
You just want to do nothing, really, but relax and
Do something just for you and don’t normally have time for,
Like getting a pedicure or going shopping.

For all those who have a mom (or two) you care about
And will be celebrating Mother’s Day with her today,
Please remember (especially if this is a new mom) that the greatest gift
You can give her is emotional and practical support.
Don’t provide advice unless she asks you for it.
Do provide a shoulder to cry on if she’s having a rough day.
Do provide help so she can get the rest she needs
And/or time to do something just for herself.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

Here’s a wish from one mother to another!

xx

Sydney_me

Please Join: Webinar on Overcoming Anxiety While Trying to Get Pregnant – September 27, 2012

Last night, I saw information come up in my Facebook news feed from my friend and Executive Director of  Postpartum Support International, Wendy Davis about this free webinar at 10:00 AM PST (or 1:00 PM EST) this  Thursday, September 27th, on the relationship between infertility and anxiety.  The subject of the webinar immediately grabbed my attention and I knew right away I needed to try to spread the word about it.

Please visit the website of perinatal specialist and mental health therapist, Robin C. Gibler, MA, to find out how you can join what I expect to be a very informative webinar.  Even if you can’t make it to the live call, you can get a copy of the recording as long as you register.  When you register, you will receive instructions on how to access the webinar (via phone with web simulcast).

Aside from the relationship between infertility and anxiety, Ms. Gibler will be talking about the symptoms of perinatal anxiety, who is vulnerable to it, how to seek help to address perinatal anxiety before it worsens, and how it typically continues on into the postpartum period, especially if you don’t seek any help to address your perinatal anxiety before baby’s arrival…..pretty much the major touch points of one of my most popular blog posts: “Unresolved Grief & Anxiety from Multiple IVF Cycles and Years of Trying to Have a Baby: Risk Factors for Perinatal Depression.”  If you haven’t already read this blog post, please do so now, especially if you are currently experiencing anxiety while trying to get pregnant with or without IVF.

The topic of this webinar is very near and dear to my heart.  If you are experiencing anxiety while trying to get pregnant with or without IVF, please, please, please do yourself a HUGE favor and join this webinar.  Knowledge is power.  Don’t follow the path that I took…in the dark, ignorant, blindsided, fearful, and suffering–rather than enjoying–your first few weeks/months of motherhood.  Because anxiety that goes unchecked during pregnancy can have a devastating impact postpartum.  Believe me.

Introducing Regroup Therapy, a New Online PPD Support Group Led by Licensed Professionals!

Looking for a non-judgmental forum through which new moms can come together for support, learn ways to cope with the stress of first-time motherhood, and share difficulties in adjusting to motherhood…..all while participating in the comfort and privacy of your own home?

Regroup Therapy offers video support groups for new moms experiencing postpartum depression (PPD) and/or difficulties adjusting to motherhood.  Each group is moderated by a licensed therapist who has experience treating PPD.

Have privacy concerns? The only information about you that will be shared with anyone is your first name.

Worried about your appearance?  No one’s going to know whether you’ve brushed your teeth, taken a shower or even changed out of your pajamas.  In fact, PJs are welcome!

Want to know that you’re not alone in your experience?  You can see the faces of the other participants and of the moderator, as if you were in the same room with them.

Not sure if you have the right equipment to join?   Accessing the video support groups are easy.  No special equipment other than a PC with broadband Internet connectivity and webcam is needed. Before joining a session, be sure to click here for instructions and click here

When’s the next session and how much is it going to cost me?  The next FREE session moderated by Dr. Pec Indman, co-author of “Beyond the Blues” will take place on April 13, 2012 from 1:00-2:15 PM EST (or 12:00-1:15 PM CST). Yes, you heard right.  FREE! During its beta (or launch) period, Regroup Therapy is offering FREE sessions.  All that they ask of you is to provide a minute of your time to provide feedback after the session.

If Only There’s Such a Thing as a Real-Time Bleeper for Ignorant Words Used in Media Re: PPD

Okay, so much for the 6 blog posts I still have yet to post.  This one now takes precedence!

The purpose of tonight’s post is to provide a wonderful example of PPD moms/survivors speaking up when they see something misleading (to put it nicely) about postpartum depression (PPD) in the media.  This time it was an article over at babycenter.com titled “Can color cure PPD?”  What?  Whoa!  Hold on to your horses.  <record scratch>  I had to do a double take, and then when I did, I realized with dismay “Oh, great! Here we go again. Another false claim to an easy way out of PPD.  A reliable cure for PPD. And yes, this time it’s in the form of….hold onto your seat….COLOR THERAPY!  All you need to do is purchase these beautifully-colored tank tops and bras, and voila, NO MORE PPD!”

Seems like all the reactions to this article in the form of tweets and blog posts occurred during work hours for me, so by the time I realized what was going on, the damage control had already been done.  The title was changed to a much more realistic and acceptable one “Can color help postpartum blues?”  Much, much better and thank you babycenter.com!  And thank you to all the individuals who tweeted, posted on Facebook, and wrote blog posts!  Look at the good that comes out of speaking up!

I feel so encouraged by this, because such concern and diligence for public awareness is of utmost importance in combating the plague that refuses to be cured….otherwise known as STIGMA.  Kudos to all the fellow stigma/myth busters and maternal mental health champions (a/k/a #PPDArmy)!  I am so, so glad to see how the growing number of PPD moms are on the alert and addressing ridiculousness like this.

This is one of my favorite tweets I spotted.  It’s by @SocraticMrMeth: “seriously. #PPD kills and @Babycenter has whipped back to the 50’s to suggest women try prettying up some, not ‘SEE A DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY’.”

I’d like to highlight the efforts of the following #PPDArmy, all of whom I know from Twitter:

  1. Amanda’s tweet: “I am disgusted that you would use #PPD to market tank tops! Way to make #PPDmoms feel no support!”
  2. Kimberly’s tweet: “I’m actually wearing neon bra and matching undies. Last time I checked I was still depressed.”
  3. Esther Dale’s comment on the babycenter.com Facebook page.
  4. Comment to the article by Lexy: “As a two-time sufferer of PPD, I opened this with genuine interest. I was then met with a somewhat bland description of postpartum depression which quickly transferred into a sales pitch for a tank top. Granted, I love clothes too, and I’d probably be very interested in this shirt otherwise. PPD is a bigger, uglier beast than that – clothes and bright colors won’t ‘cure’ it. It almost makes PPD sound like a malady a new mom can quickly overcome or ‘snap out of.’ I’m normally not one to be argumentative, but this subject hit close to home.”
  5. Comment to the article by Amanda: “As a mom currently suffering from PPD that required hospitalization, continued therapy, and meds I find it offensive that you would use PPD as a way to market tank tops…I have been an avid user of your site but will no longer be visiting. I find this as inappropriate as if the headline read Can Color Cure Cancer? No it can’t.”
  6. Comment to the article by Stephanie: “That title is offensive. PPD is not just being sad after having a baby. It’s not about the stress of the adjustment. It’s not about feeling frumpy and different. It is a medical condition that makes some women want to harm themselves or their babies. It can literally ruin the bonding between mother and child.”
  7. Comment to the article by Andrea: “I find this pretty offensive that you could even suggest that color could help postpartum blues!!! As someone who has been through ppd, I know that seeing brighter colors didn’t cure me. This makes me sad that there are women out there really struggling & may find hope when seeing a title like this then just to be disappointed. There is obviously still a lot for you to learn about postpartum mood disorders.”
  8. And of course there was Lauren, author of the My Postpartum Voice blog and #PPDChat moderator on Twitter, armed with her wit, came up with this tweet: “So we should have been prescribed a colour wheel instead of meds and therapy?”  Speaking of Lauren if you haven’t been over to her awesome post in response to this article, then please hop on over there now!  Here’s an excerpt:  “Postpartum Depression is a diagnosis. It’s not a marketing tool, people…….Dear marketers, please, do not use the term “cure for PPD” in your materials. It’s highly offensive and ultimately disingenuous to vulnerable mothers and desperate family members truly searching for successful treatment options.”

I so wish there was such a mechanism as a real-time bleep for every ignorant word used in conjunction with perinatal mood disorders.  But we are much better-equipped for handling such situations than we were just a few years ago, thanks to the #PPDArmy!

You ladies give me hope.  You ladies rock!