Best Use of Cheap Vodka

Six weeks ago, I rolled into Albertson’s before gym class with Annie in tow and bought a $9 plastic gallon of vodka.

The lady at the check-out processed my purchase in silence, but her eyebrows disappeared into her hairline. The girl bagging held the bottle up, shook her head and cut a look at the bagger in the next lane.

It was 8:45 am on a Tuesday. I was wearing sweats, my hair was in a bun and Annie had picked her own clothes, orange striped stretch pants and a puke green shirt that used to belong to Gabe.

I cleared my throat.

I feel like I have to explain why I am buying a gallon of vodka this early in the morning.

I expected them to laugh, but the idle checker in the next lane actually leaned across and said “Yes.”

Well, we make a lot of our household cleaners, to be safer and less toxic. We also have two dogs, so I’ve been looking for a fabric refresher that doesn’t have a ton of chemicals and fragrances, like Febreeze. I found this recipe online for Febooz. All it takes is a spray bottle, two cups of water, a cup of vodka and some drops of essential oil. Safe for all fabrics, carpets, clothes. And for kids and dogs, as long as they’re not drinking it.

They looked at each other. Then they started laughing.

“A few sprays for the couch, a few sprays for mama!”

“And if it doesn’t work, just pop off the top, have a few drinks and you won’t care what the couch smells like!”

The things we go through to bring you safe cleaning products.

Febooz

All you need is a clean clearly labeled spray bottle, 2 cups of water (the original recipe calls for distilled. I don’t know why, but I used tap and it was fine), 1 cup of vodka and some drops of essential oil. Shake and spray.

Courtesy of www.yellowbrickhome.com

PS: have your husband buy the vodka. No one will bat an eye at a man buying bulk vodka in a plastic bottle. Even if he has all the kids with him and it’s 1 am. But that’s a whole other post.

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Be ~ Jen

Multi-tasking is bad for us, right? Big bad. Stress-us-out-and-give-us-cancer bad.

We try to make multi-tasking into a badge of honor, but that’s crap. All it does is place our need for validation in one 90 mile an hour basket.

This used to be my life, when I was a teaching, mothering, wifeing, friending, volunteering fool. I could teach the children, answer email, shop for shoes, plan vacation, grade papers and mentor colleagues all before lunch. Then I came home and worked out, answered texts, baked cookies for the bake sale, helped the kids with homework, did the laundry and cooked dinner. My life looked like this:

graph 1

Check me out. Man, you either got on board my crazy train or got run over. C’est la vie.

Then I one day I told Shea “Sure, I’ll have another baby, if I can stay home.” He called my bluff and two years later, I was a stay at home mom with a newborn. I hadn’t quite considered all the consequences:

graph 2

Some people may see those gaps as an opportunity for rest.  But the Master Multi-Tasker has no idea what rest is. To me, those huge gaps look like wasted space. Just having a newborn was for rookies. I would have a newborn and serve on the PTL and a corporate board and turn laundry into an insane art form. I would blog and post on Facebook three times a day and monitor the weather and traffic for all my close friends and family.

Do I have to say that this level of go is not sustainable? For anyone? Something will give. In my case, two somethings before I paid attention.

I was doing too much. Way, way too much. I was trying to be all things to all people. I didn’t want to let anyone down—not my husband, not my kids, not my students, not my colleagues, not my bosses, not my neighbors, not my family, not my kid’s school, not my church, not anyone.

You think that list is crazy?

What does yours look like?

We do too much. And in order to do too much, we multi-task. That means we do none of it well, because we’re moving too fast to really have a care. There’s no time for care! We say yes to everyone on that list, and then we short change them all, because that’s the only way to do it. We train ourselves to believe that rest is sloth, and we forget how to be. Still.

Then we are diagnosed with anxiety disorders and get cancer and divorces and we turn around one day and our kids are grown and we cannot for the life of us account for the years.

What if we just didn’t. Didn’t try to be all things to all people. Didn’t say yes. Didn’t try to balance our lives so that all things are equal. Yeah, that’s right. All the things in our life are not equal. The boss does not deserve the same time and attention as the spouse or the kids.

And what if we just be. Be the one who learned to say no. Be the one who cut some things out, like team parent or coaching or that committee at work. Be the one who made room for rest who took our charts, cleared them out and made some space. And then, instead of filling the space right back up, did this:

graph 3

We can do less, but do it wider, slower, better. We can take only the things we need, the things that make our lives lovely and amazing, and fill them up and out. Maybe–probably–we would feel less hollow, guilty and not enough. Instead, we could have more space and feel more fulfilled.

The thing I loved the most about this Christmas season was the ground swell of voices talking about less and slower. We can carry that momentum into 2014 and into all parts of our lives.

Do less. Be more. Happy New Year!

Favorite Things #1

Dana came up with this idea, inspired by Oprah, and I was instantly on board because who doesn’t want to be like Oprah? She is a force for good in this world!

So here’s my list. You may notice that they all come with links. That’s because we want our Favorite Things list to be a two way street: we share things we think are awesome with our readers AND support our favorite businesses by giving them love on the blog. Dana and I get nothing but the satisfaction of knowing we brought people together, which really makes us happy. Win-Win-Win!

Best coffee ever! Find it at  www.doorcountycoffee.com.

Best coffee ever! Find it at http://www.doorcountycoffee.com.


Door County
Christmas Coffee

Listen, I am serious about my coffee. SERIOUS. And I will tell you there is not much good coffee in this world. Most coffee is passable. So when I say this is the best coffee ever, I’m not foolin’. Door County’s Christmas blend is everything good about the holidays. We buy it on October 1 and drink it straight through til New Year’s.  I can also vouch for their hazelnut, breakfast blend, harvest blend and French roast. If you like coffee, try the Christmas blend. You won’t be sorry.

www.doorcountycoffee.com

Goat Milk Stuff

We’ve had this company listed on the resources page of the website, but they need a special mention. This is a completely family run enterprise out of Pennsylvania. PJ is the mom and with her husband and kids, they raise and milk the goats, make the soap, cut and cure the soap, run a store and a website, plus multiple blogs and podcasts. They’ve been on the Dr. Oz show and here’s why: their soap is pure and healthy, a giant chemical-free step away from store brands. In our family, using this soap has meant saying goodbye to eczema and acne, and we need less lotion in the wintertime. The bars are huge and last a good 4-6 weeks. I recommend the problem skin pack for first timers, especially with skin issues. But my current favorite is the cranberry spice. And oh my goodness, the lotion stick in Pink Sugary is divine.

www.goatmilkstuff.com

Old 2 Chic!

Old 2 Chic!

Old 2 Chic

In the category of “Wish I’d Thought of This”, one of our school moms, Erin Mathews, has started a business finding and refinishing wooden frames and furniture from garage sales in Sun City. This is a stroke of brilliance, because Sun City is a retirement community that has existed for over 60 years. You know, back when furniture was made out of wood? She scores these pieces at ridiculous prices and then turns them around with her chic sense of repurposing at wonderful prices. She made these for me to hang between the kid’s rooms for messages and a place to display their work (so I can find the door to my refrigerator again…).

On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Old2chic

Air1.com Radio

Six months ago, I made the full time switch in my car to this nationwide Christian station after Kate was becoming a wee bit too enamored of Taylor Swift and Beyonce. Shea and I enjoy music, so I was reluctant at first. I like Church music as much as the next person, but I can’t do heavy organ and choirs all the time. No fear, this is a rock station, with a bit of pop and hip-hop mixed in. Honestly, who knew? No commercials and no politics, completely listener supported and an 800 number for anyone needing prayer. Love, love, love, especially when my kids are belting out this song.

www.air1.com

Shabby Shoe Signs

Disclaimer: Karen and Jim Shoemaker, the owners of this company, are my sister’s-in-law…sister-in-law’s… parents. But that means I can personally testify that they are wonderful people with incredible talent. Their signs are wood, handmade, handpainted and cute as can be. Not MDF. Not canvas prints that look like wood. The real thing. They have lots and lots of suggested signs on the website, but she is very willing to try and accommodate any quote. And the family signs are such great keepsakes. Just in time for newlyweds, new parents, and Christmas.

www.shabbyshoesigns.com

Think Dirty and Skin Deep

Hold on, now. These companies have created apps for your phone that allow you to shoot the bar codes of your favorite cosmetics, lotions and personal care products. Then the app tells you how “dirty” they are—as in cancer-causing, hormone disrupting, reproductive system affecting dirty.

Think Dirty is located in Canada, with 12,000 products in their database and a way to add products that have not been graded for review. They are iPhone only at this point, but assured me that an Android app is coming.

Skin Deep is a product of the Environmental Working Group here in the US. They have 72,000 products and a way to add info for products that have not been graded. They are iPhone and Android compatible.

This is the kind of intelligent consumer information we should have at our fingertips. I already see women shooting barcodes in Target and walking away from stuff that comes up dirty. If enough of us walk away from products, companies will be forced to get cleaner.

And if you think your Loreal, Aveda, Desert Essence and Herbal Essence are clean, think again.

www.thinkdirtyapp.com or search “Think Dirty” in the iPhone app store. “Skin Deep” in the iPhone app and Google Play stores.

The Truth About the Nutcracker

Kate’s dance company, Dunamix (Temecula, CA) does a Christian interpretation of the classical ballet. This year’s performance is December 21 at 2 and 6 pm at Temescal Canyon High School in Lake Elsinore. Another disclaimer: haven’t seen it yet. But based on this year’s recital and the rehearsals I’ve been seeing, it’s going to be one of my favorite things right after Kate and I go see it!

www.dunamixdance.com

Fall Canning ~ Jen

In Southern California, one of the harbingers of Fall is the Santa Ana winds.

These winds blow strong and unbelievably dry for days at a time, sometimes cold, but mostly hot, hot, hot.  If you are not from So Cal, you may have heard this term related to some huge, catastrophic brush fire that occurred near Los Angeles. Every Southern Californian knows to scan the horizon often on days that the Santa Anas blow.

But these winds also signal a change in the weather. Summer is over, no matter how warm the temps during the day. The nights are cooler and backyard pools no longer hold the heat. The rest of the nation is digging out their jeans and sweatshirts—and it has snowed in the Rocky Mountains—and we’re still wearing shorts. But it’s Fall for sure when those Santa Ana winds blow. And when they do, I am pulled to my kitchen by thoughts of cinnamon, apples and pumpkins.

The other day, I pulled Dana with me. Over the weekend, my family made a quick jaunt to our local apple tree mecca, Oak Glen and picked 30 lbs of apples. Oak Glen is this special place, like someone carved a piece out of Colonial Massachusetts and plopped it down in the low mountains of San Bernardino.

Braeburns at Riley's Apple Farm in Oak Glen

Braeburns at Riley’s Apple Farm in Oak Glen

Miss Annie picking her first apples!

Miss Annie picking her first apples!

In a few weeks, these trees will be a gorgeous shade of yellow

In a few weeks, these trees will be a gorgeous shade of yellow

Mr. Scarecrow guarding the pumpkin patch

I called Dana and invited her to come over and make apple butter and apple pie filling. She’s never canned before and we both thought this would be a good time for her to see what it’s all about.

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We peeled and cored and sliced. Then we did it some more. Sixty apples are a LOT of apples to face down. But we did it.

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A natural hazard of cooking with organic apples: stowaways.

A natural hazard of cooking with organic apples: stowaways.

And since we were on such a roll, I roasted a pumpkin and made some pumpkin butter.

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Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter

Six hours of cooking and canning got us six half pints of apple butter, four half pints of pumpkin butter, three half pints of applesauce, three quarts of apple pie filling and enough pumpkin puree to make muffins or bread. Whew!*

All my canning recipes were from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.

Apple Butter:

4 lbs apples

4 cups sugar (I used 2 for a lower sugar option)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

I also added 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Wash apples; peel, core and quarter. Combine apples and two cups of water in a pot; simmer until apples are soft. Using a food mill or food processor, process apples until they are pureed.

Combine the pureed apples, sugar and spices in pot. Cook on low until mixtures darkens and thickens (usually two hours or more). Stir about every 15 minutes to prevent burning on the bottom.

Apple Sauce:

2 1/2-3 1/2 lbs apples

Water

Sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

Wash, peel, core and quarter apples; simmer in pot with just enough water to prevent sticking; mash apples in pot; add sugar and spices (optional); bring applesauce to a boil.

Apples for Baking:

10 to 12 lbs of apples

Ball Fresh Fruit Protector

1 cup sugar

2 cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash, core and peel apples; cut them lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices; treat with Fresh Fruit to prevent darkening (see directions on package).

Meanwhile, combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a large pot, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Drain apples and add to mixture. Simmer for five minutes before water processing.

Roasted Pumpkin

Take a pumpkin, any pumpkin (most recipes suggest sugar pumpkins for baking, but I have used the ones they sell for jack o’ lanterns with no problems). Cut off the stem, then cut the pumpkin in half. Clean the pulp and seeds, set aside. Place the two halves face down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and scrap flesh from inside. Puree in a food processor.

This is exactly what comes out of the can when you buy pumpkin in a store. Proceed to your favorite pumpkin recipe!

Pumpkin Butter (courtesy of www.eatingbirdfood.com)

  • 5 cups fresh pumpkin puree (or 1 29 ounce + 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (or sucanat)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch of sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a crock pot/slow cooker and stir to mix well.
  2. Set on low heat and cover loosely, leaving a little space for the steam to escape so the mixture can reduce and thicken.
  3. Cook for about 6 hours. The pumpkin butter should have cooked down and thickened. If it’s not as thick as you would like it, just take the lid completely off and let it cook for another 30-45 minutes.
  4. Let cool, remove from crock pot and put pumpkin butter into jars or airtight containers.The pumpkin butter will last a week or so in the fridge, but you can also freezer preserve it by storing it freezer safe containers (or jars).

* I am not a canning expert. If you are interested in canning, please visit www.freshpreservingstore.com for products and guides, or www.foodinjars.com for recipes and how-to. Also, turns out it’s not safe to water process pumpkin butter at home, because of the chemistry.

Tree Climbers and Raw Chicken ~ Jen

This is Door County Kona blend with hazelnut creamer. Good coffee helps me keep my tree climbing feet on the ground!

This is Door County Kona blend with hazelnut creamer. Good coffee helps me keep my tree climbing feet on the ground!

As you know, I’ve been working on letting go of my fears. This is the non-medicinal part of my recovery from postpartum anxiety. Turns out popping a Zoloft every night is not the work.

My friend Lara and I were talking about being more fearless, since we are both very worried about what might happen. And I said “We just have to rub the raw chicken on the kitchen counter! And trust that when we clean it up, we’ll get it all. And if we don’t, what’s the worst that can happen?”

This was met with silence. I know, because I have been friends with her for almost 20 years, that she was resisting the urge to curl into a fetal position at just the thought of raw chicken on the kitchen counter. That’s her THING. And even though I know that she knew that I wanted her to laugh and say “That’s right!” she couldn’t. Could not.

What she said was “Well, you might die.”

Which made me immediately obsess over the state of my kitchen counters.

In my defense, I come by this genetically. The women in my family go from zero to end of the world in five easy steps:  “Where are the dinner rolls? We forgot the dinner rolls! No one set the timer!! They almost caught on fire!!! WE ALMOST BURNED TO DEATH ON CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

We call it tree climbing. Like monkeys, who climb to the top of their trees and screech (or do worse) when agitated.

When I was pregnant with my son, I had contractions at 26 weeks, three days before Christmas. I called my mom on the way to the hospital. Two minutes after hanging up with her, both my sisters-in-law and my cousin called to see if I was ok. By the time my dad called, I answered the phone and said “I’m sure I’m fine. Everybody needs to relax.”

My dad said “Relax? Are you kidding me? Your mother is so far up her tree, she has a STAR on her head!”

Yes, that’s how we roll. You remember Swine Flu? I just knew that if I didn’t get my kids vaccinated, I was inviting death and destruction into my home. I checked the CDC website daily for an update on the spread of the flu and the availability of the vaccine. I called the people at the county vaccination clinic so often that they knew me by name. Shea will tell you he was out of work at the time, but that’s not true. It was his job to GET THOSE KIDS VACCINATED. I didn’t just climb the tree, I built a tree house and strung lights.

In the words of Truvy Jones, I now know that I was suffering from a case of postpartum anxiety. Nevertheless.

I want to argue that tree climbers make life easier, because we see things coming and we get out in front of them, but it’s not true. The truth is we invent stuff to see at the top of our trees because we’re so shocked by the fact that when we get to the top, there’s nothing there.

Like the Christmas rolls. I am sure somewhere in history a family has burned to death on Christmas day from an oven fire, but probably not since ovens were made of adobe. And don’t get me started on what I found when I looked up the facts from the swine flu pandemic in 2009. More dangerous to drive a dang car down the street.

So listen up anxiety sisters and fellow tree climbers: cut down the blessed tree. Don’t bark at shadows. Don’t kill your chickens before they’re hatched. Or whatever other messed up metaphor you want to use for maybe being the biggest source of your own stress and anxiety.

Oh yeah—mom laying on the beach on a perfectly beautiful day when the sun is shining and the kids are playing, and instead of relaxing, you find something to worry about? I’m talking to YOU.

What if, instead of the creepy dark belief that evil is lurking around every corner, the truth is that real life is mostly less stressful than most of us make it out to be? I’m not saying there are not horrible times in life, but what if we make it worse by constantly imagining the worst?

In my life, tree climbing is both chemical and emotional. Nature and nurture, baby. So I medicate and meditate: Do not be the source of your own stress. Do not be the source of your own stress.

There’s no shame in being more peaceful.

And no one gets any awards for being out in front of nothing. Just saying.

We’re Coming for You, Ladies

It’s time to tell some truth about Dana and me. I know we come across as level-headed, educated former English teachers. I know we seem calm, cool and collected. Rational. Reflective.

These things are true about us. But not all the way true. Underneath, there’s something else.

Underneath, we are beasts.

It’s a huge part of who we used to be, years and years ago. Before this week,  I would have said that we’ve moved on to be kinder, gentler wives and moms. But this week has proved me wrong.

We’ve joined a bootcamp together. And the beasts are back.

Dana says she hasn’t worked out in ten years. I’ve been a bit better than that, but not bootcamp better. This last week we got our butts kicked all over the gym. Lunges across the entire parking lot? Check. Four minute plank? Check. Four sets of one minute suicides? Check and oxygen, please.

It’s ok, though. Because Dana and I used to play some volleyball. The Division I college athlete kind. Our lives for years and years were all about winning or losing. It was our job. We trained every day to beat someone, driven by coaches whose job it was to win, at schools where athletics was the biggest money maker. And she and I are fiercely competitive. We don’t talk about those days in terms of “We beat Notre Dame at home” or “USC had a weaker team that year”. Oh no.

We wiped the floor with Notre Dame in front of their own folks. And USC sucked. I’m leaving out the expletives because we’d like this to be a G-rated blog, but there were lots. And most of them started with an F.

For us, there was no second place. There wasn’t even any second team. Dana played in an NCAA Final Four and knows this better than I do.

There were the winners. And then there was everyone else.

Right now, at the gym, we’re everyone else.  The winners are shorter, younger and in better shape than we are. They never played sports in their lives. They whine and complain and crack jokes while they sprint faster and lift heavier weights. They don’t know what we used to be.

They don’t care.

I wish I could say that Dana and I are past all that now. That we’ve grown and are humble and happy to accept tips on form from a woman who put make-up on for a 6 am workout.

But we’re not past it. And we’re going to get them.

Just as soon as we can sit on the toilet without wincing in pain. Raise our arms to blow our hair dry. Lift our babies.

Then we’re coming for you, ladies. You may be faster and stronger now, but not for long. Not. For. Long.

Jen playing for Hofstra University, 1990

Jen playing for Hofstra University, 1990

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Dana playing for Long Beach State, 1997

Postpartum Anxiety: It’s Not Your Fault. You Will be Ok. ~ Jen

Grace
This post comes with a warning. May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. I am going to talk about some dark moments after the birth of my third baby. If you are feeling sad or scared today, you might not want to read this.  If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

This is the most important thing I have ever written. And I am asking you to share it with everyone you know.

Last year, after the birth of my third baby, I had postpartum anxiety/OCD, bad enough that I needed intervention, meds and therapy. It started in my third trimester, but leveled me at four months postpartum, which is prime time for this kind of thing.

Annie hit a growth spurt and wanted to eat every two hours. At first, I was able to fall back asleep at night. Then one night, I didn’t. It happened again the next night, and the next.

After a few days, Annie settled down. I did not.

It was like a switch had been flipped and locked to “ON”. She would go down at 8 and sleep until midnight or 1. I watched her, heart pounding, thoughts racing, songs playing over and over in my head.

I just knew that the moment I fell asleep, she would wake up.

I started having 10 pm meltdowns, pacing and sobbing. I’d eventually tire myself out, and sleep for a while.

I felt like a mirror that had dropped and cracked into a thousand lines.

My primary care doctor was hesitant to prescribe anything because I was nursing. The pediatrician said she would really prefer me to “Try a hot bath and a warm cup of tea”.

Her complacency lulled my husband Shea, but I knew I was in trouble. It was hard to ask for help in the first place, and it seemed that no one was listening. I felt so alone.

Then this day happened:

I had not slept more than two hours together for a week, and the previous night, not at all. I was in a place where the fear of not sleeping actually powered me through the day. It was the third day of Shea’s new job, so even though he was worried, he had to go. My parents were in Europe. My girlfriends were here, but I had lost the ability to communicate.

I took my kids to the mall. My phone rang, but I ignored it. I sat at the playground, holding the baby, thinking that my kids were the only ones who loved me. They were all I needed.

On the way home, I thought about driving right on through and disappearing. That would show everyone who was against me, which was clearly everyone.

But then a jolt of fear ran through me that even if I ran, I would still not sleep.

I thought I cannot live like this.

Then I thought I cannot leave my babies alone.

And far, far, far away from this being a reason to live, I suddenly understood how it is that a woman kills her children before she kills herself.

She cannot live like this anymore. And she will not leave her babies alone.

It never went beyond that flash of understanding. But the fact that the path from here to there looked like level ground was terrifying.

I came home, said a prayer and sent an email to my friends. One of them said “Call your OB”. Dr. Selinger told me to come immediately. She held the baby. She gave me a prescription for Zoloft, assured me that it is ok for nursing moms and told me to call Postpartum Support International (PSI). She said none of this was my fault, and I was going to be ok.

The first lady I spoke to at PSI spent 45 minutes on the phone with me while I sobbed, telling me none of this was my fault, and I was going to be ok.

One of their therapists called me on a Saturday—she talked to me for an hour, told me that none of this was my fault, and I was going to be ok.

She gave me the name of a counselor skilled at handling post partum issues. Lisa returned my phone call that same day, Saturday. She too told me none of this was my fault, and I was going to be ok.

Lisa is trained to deal with postpartum issues. She helped me see how much my family history of anxiety and OCD, and my thyroid issues, played a role in what happened to me. It really wasn’t my fault.

And now I am ok. I am more than ok.  If I ruled the world, everyone would take Zoloft. I didn’t realize how much of my life was affected by anxiety until it eased.

Shea went into counseling as well—something suggested by the folks at PSI, where they have an entire section dedicated to helping the husbands. What we went through was traumatic, and our marriage and trust in each other needed some healing.

I really believe that after calling your OB/GYN, PSI is the most important phone call a mother, husband or family member can make. They will help you. They helped my cousin, in Canada. She called because she knew I was not right, but she didn’t know what to do. They told her what she could do. This organization is phenomenal. They are saving lives.

I’m not ashamed that I was broken, or of those very dark and scary feelings I had. No one should be ashamed.

May is Postpartum Depression/Anxiety Awareness Month.  Postpartum depression and anxiety affects over a million women a year, almost 20% of those who get pregnant. It can happen to anyone, across cultural, socio-economic and educational demographics.

If a pregnant or post-partum woman tells you that she is hurting or sick, listen to her. She is asking for help AND warning you. Don’t hope that she will help herself. She probably can’t.

Not all counselors are created equal. PSI can find you someone skilled at handling PPD/PPA. I believe this is really important. Lisa knew how to help me.

If it is happening to you or someone you love, call this number: 1.800.944.4773 (US and Canada).

Visit this website: www.postpartum.net.

Email support@postpartum.net

Tell your OB/GYN.

It’s not your fault.

You will be ok.

<div align="center"><a href="http://postpartum.net/Join-Us/Maternal-Mental-Health-Awareness-Month-Blog-Hop.aspx" title="PSI Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop"><img src="http://unexpectedblessing.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/psi-blog-hop-badge.png?w=104" alt="PSI Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop" style="border:none;" /></a></div>