Sunday, October 6, 2013

The One That Got Away: A Story About Miriam

She got in her car, buckled her baby in her car seat and headed on her top secret mission.  She had to do it.  Lives were in danger.  It was up to her to fix everything.  It was all up to her.  If not her, then whom?

She drove about five hours to accomplish her job, set things straight, makes things right.  But, this mission—so vital to her—was all part of a delusion for she was suffering from a postpartum mood disorder.  She had postpartum psychosis (PPP).  A powerful mental illness that favors new mothers, yet in a twisted way hates them at the same time.

One may get mood swings, mania, delusions, paranoia, confusion, depression, irritability, apathy, to name a few, from this disorder.  One doesn’t ask for PPP, it asks for you and you must take it—like it or hate it.

Miriam Carey went to Washington, DC for a reason we may never know, maybe at the demands of voices she may have heard.  Maybe to confront the President for the surveillance she thought he was conducting.  She went in a luxury sedan, but left in a body bag.  She was considered a threat by the Capitol Police and Secret Service who have the job of protecting special interest in the nation’s capital.

I’m not here to say whether they were justified or not in the force they used.  Why bother, she’s already passed now.  Her daughter now has no mother.  Miriam no longer has psychosis.  But, now, only now, that the media caught a glimpse of what 1 in 1000 women, myself included, have gone through, people are interested in this weird “rare” phenomenon.  It’s as common as Down’s syndrome, by the way.  So “rare” is a poor adjective to describe it. Why?  Because it doesn’t apply.  Society assumes it’s rare, but that that just isn’t so.  Women just don’t step out and share their stories because of the stigmas that still come with mental illness.  It’s a bit annoying and frustrating when you have “authorities” being interviewed on television—you know, the experts—and they just say completely false statements.

I personally loved the one who was on a popular morning show on Friday, the day after Miriam was killed who said the women had Postpartum Depression and that often causes women to kill their children.  No, Ma’am.  That would be PPP.  And that is a rarity.  Most women live to tell their stories of how they survived and how their children are now happy toddlers, pre-school aged children, teenagers, or even adults.  But, she was an expert, so of course she knew what she was talking about.  She was merely a blanket therapist, most likely familiar with ADHD in children and not busy at that time in the morning, so easy to get on the air for a last minute interview.  (Sounds to me like she doesn’t have many patients.  Now her credibility has gone up because she was on a live national show.)  Well, great for career, sad for all the women who have to re-teach their friends and family that the lady was lost in translation and basically untrained in postpartum mood disorders.

Postpartum psychosis is a bona fide illness.  The women that get are not crazy people who should be locked in isolation with straight-jackets.  We are women who are sick, but with the proper help and therapy can be right next to you and you’d never know.

I try to speak in behalf of my sisters.  Protect those that can’t protect their own interests.  But Miriam was one that got away.  We all need to rally around the community of women with PPP and other PPMDs and make sure we are all accounted for.

We cannot let another get away.  No more bloodshed for our sisters.  I hope Miriam’s family—especially her daughter—can have the peace they need to go on from here.

When you are in the presence of someone with a mental illness, love us, don’t leave us.

Friday, June 21, 2013


            There was a time, not so long ago, when I would not move.  I could not move.  I even thought I should not move.  So, I didn’t.  I stayed in the bed.  All day.  Now, some may think: Well, good for you.  I’d do that if I had the chance.

            I didn’t tell you I was supposed to be taking care of my children.   I had a one-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter.  But I let them roam free around the house, while my husband was at work and I was in the bed.

            Now some may sum me up as a bad mother.  Don’t worry, I summed myself up as a bad mother so many times I lost count.  But, after years of therapy and research and tears and anger, I began to understand and realize that I was sick.  I suffered from postpartum psychosis.  It’s a postpartum mental illness—the most severe form—the strikes mothers sometime after giving birth.  You don’t know if you will be “that mother” until you become that mother.  

It caused all types of issues within myself, and all types of issues within my household.  Not only did I suffer from psychosis, depression, anxiety, apathy and anger, but my husband suffered.  All the work a mother would typically take care of, he had to do.  Then on top of that, he had to take care of me.  Then work.  Then worry.  Then comprehend.  Then keep it together.

            It took three years for me to heal significantly, though I’m still healing now, five years after my son’s birth.  I now move. I now get out of the bed.  Today, June 21, 2013, the first day of summer, I decided to move even more.  Instead of just getting out of the bed, I decided to climb.  Today I climbed out of darkness.  I climbed out of the bed, grabbed my babies, who are now 5 & 6, and took a beautiful walk in First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, VA. 

This was a way to raise money and awareness for postpartum mood disorders.  It also represented getting out of the funk I’d been in.  I did this for many other mothers, who are still dealing with PPMDs or who are about to and have no idea. 

I hope that it helps people to stop being afraid of their illnesses.  We didn’t make ourselves sick.  It happened, but we can get help.  We can get better and we can be the beautiful, strong mothers we planned to be.  We just have to push ourselves to move and climb out and climb up. 

            May you all have a wonderfully long summer day and maybe enjoy a tall glass of overly-sweetened iced tea.

            Hugs and Hi-Fives…. Miss Moody Mommy!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

M.I.A. for Mothers

(Mental Illness Awareness)

Many of you don’t know but millions of Americans (not to even put a number on people internationally) are living with the stress and hindrance of a mental health problem. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it's a chance to reflect on the people that usually fade into the background.  These are such important issues and we should all be aware.  Why?  Because it could happen to him, it could happen to her.  It could happen to you.  It did with me, and it came on so quick then took its precious time to leave. 

Sunday, May 12th, is the Fifth Annual Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health, featuring 24 letters (one letter every hour) from survivors of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, depression after weaning and/or postpartum psychosis. (I had postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.)

The purpose of these letters are to inform and encourage pregnant women and new mothers who may be struggling with their emotional health. It also can serve the purpose of encouragement for the fathers, grandparents, and other loved ones that serve as a support system for this emotionally drained woman.

The Rally is hosted by Postpartum Progress,  the most widely-read blog in the world on postpartum mood disorders, which are all related to pregnancy and childbirth. You'll have to click that link on Sunday to read my letter.

My letter, entitled “To the Mother Who Never Knew” will be featured at 6:00 pm this Sunday, the 12th.  I hope you all read it because it’s special to me as it happened to me and it changed my life forever.  I know that ALL the letters will be touching to those who may want to read them as well. 

Also, as a writer, this will be my first published work, which is a dream come true.  While I don’t participate in Mother’s Day, this rally coincides with Mental Illness Awareness Month and benefits all the mothers that suffered in silence.  And I support those that are brave enough to share their stories.

Hugs and Hi-Fives,
Miss Moody Mommy

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Please Airlines, Charge Fees.....

I’m not a regular traveler, but my husband and I have been known to decide to go across the country “just because we can” a week before we leave.  So, airlines have become our go-to transportation.  Since we now have young children (4 and 5) we have yet to take them on a “real” vacation.  But, as they get older, I wonder, where we will go and how will they like being on an airplane. 

Turns out, I may never know, or at least, not right away.  Why?  I’m so glad you asked.  A few weeks ago, the news let us know that the airlines are now starting to charge a “sit together” fee.  So basically this means you will buy tickets, get to the gate and pray that your kids’ big puppy dog eyes will make the disgruntled attendant put you all together.   Without an additional fee.

Many people have complained, of course, because first, the news is an instigator and makes people more upset than necessary.  Second, who wouldn’t want to sit next to their family on the plane?  I am raising my hand, in case you don’t see it.  Look, the customer is always right.  It may take a few customers to get a business to realize this, but, trust me, I have a plan and I guarantee it will work.  So listen closely.

The next time you go on a plane with your children, tell the attendant you most certainly do not want to sit with your children. Especially, if they are under six.  Follow me on this.  Imagine this, I have my little Jack and little Jill.  I am in row 8, my husband might be in row 21, somewhere in between are Jack and Jill.  Now, they are hysterical that they are sitting next to complete strangers.  Well, maybe. 

My “Jack” is little Mr. Personality and he will talk you to sleep, wake you back up, and then talk you back to sleep again.  He doesn’t know how to turn his motor off.  So, he’ll be sitting next to Mr. Grumpy and Ms. I-hate-kids, and telling them all our business, where we’re going, the name of the hotel—whatever.  Then he will start asking them personal questions: What’s your name?  Do you have kids? Why are you wearing that? Do you watch The Octonauts?  Do you watch Wipeout? Can I have a mint?  Can I have two mints?  I don’t like those mints, I want some gum.  Can I have some juice?

Meanwhile, I’m in row 8, sitting by the window, listening to my MP3 player, with a People magazine.  The plane hasn’t moved yet, but I’m pretty sure my husband is sleeping.  I can’t confirm this because he’s not next to me.  Oh, Jill…. She’s probably going to get a stomach ache, freak out when the plane starts to move, and cry for me.  What to do, what to do?  Well, I can’t do much because I couldn’t pay the “sit together” fee.  And, furthermore, the captain just put on the “fasten seat belt” light, so naturally I don’t want the U.S. Marshall to grab me and tackle me to the ground.  So, I’ll just mind my business and read my magazine.

Once the plane starts rolling, Jack will decide he has to go to the bathroom.  I told him before I found my seat to use it, but he said he was good.  But, I know a secret:  He’s going to pee on himself in about twenty minutes.  I can imagine Jack and Mr. Grumpy having this interaction:

 “Well, Jack,” Mr. Grumpy begins, “Maybe you should’ve used the bathroom when your mommy told you to.  Because see that light?  That means you can’t get up.  So, you have to hold it, until the light goes off, Buddy.”

  “I have to go!  I’m going to pee on myself.  I have to go.  I have to!” Both my children are a tad bit dramatic.

 Ms. I-hate-kids will butt in, “Jack, you better not pee.  Hold it in! Be a big boy.  Gosh! Why aren’t you sitting with your parents?”

   Jill, still screaming, is inconsolable by now.  The flight attendant is begging her to quiet down, trying to soothe her, trying to gain some control over the 5 year old screamer.  I can hear a faint commotion in the back, but with my music selection so wonderfully picked, I am wrapped up in the soothing music.  I have a couple of juice boxes, but since there are no kids in my aisle, I drink one.

 You get where this headed.  You understand what will happen if parents decided against paying this fee.  All the other passengers are going to boycott the airlines, then either the fee is waived, or we get the plane to ourselves.  Either way, we win.  Except for the fact, that now I have to put down the magazine, put away my MP3 player, and be a mother. 

Oh, and now I have to give up the juice boxes…

Saturday, September 8, 2012


When I was a young lad, I really didn’t seem to care about things concerning life.  I mean, I was raised in a strong Christian household, so I knew why we were made, what God’s purpose for us, and things like that.  But the “simple” things weren’t really important to me.  Like why the sky is blue, where babies come from, or, let’s say.... Why women have to bleed a week out of every month for an eternity.

Due to my lack of concern, I never talked to my mother about what exactly a period, or menstruation, was.  Heard of it, had an idea of what was going to happen, didn’t really care.  So, when I was twelve, and I woke up one morning to get ready for school, it caught me off guard, to say the least, to see that I was bleeding.  I felt my pulse.  It was normal.  I didn’t have a fever, none of my body parts were detached, so I figured something went horribly wrong, but I had to catch the bus.  So, I took a shower and hand-washed my underwear.  

At school, after gym class, I had to use the powder room.  Blood, again.  What in the world was going on?  You would think that I would panic or react, but, I just got some toilet paper and neatly slapped it (yes, I slapped it) on my underwear and went on to my next class.  It would work itself out sooner or later.

This steady bleeding pattern went on for about a week.  Did I tell my mother?  Nope.  Did I confide in my older sister who was 20 years old? Nope.  Did I even tell one of my close girlfriends at school?  Nope.  I don’t like to worry or draw attention to myself, so I thought I’d keep this weird phenomenon to myself.  After all, it did stop.

About 28 days later, I’m in the bathroom, getting ready for school, and to my surprise, this situation had reared its ugly head again.  (You got to be kidding me!?)  I look back and think of how many underwear I washed by hand during that time.  I mean, I would wash more than one a day sometimes.  I could not, for the life of me, understand what was going on, but I stayed strong and thought a little.  I started recalling something about the “turning into a woman” jazz, and put two and two together, and figured that I had reached that point in my life.  Yipee!  After cleaning some underwear and putting some tissue on my new ones, I went to my mother and told her in a matter-of-fact-type way that I had “a menstruation.” I didn’t even know the right jargon for it. I’m pretty sure, I rolled my eyes, too, since that is my trademark expression.  

Her eyeballs dropped to the floor and she got all excited.  Then she had to call my older sister to the room and announce that ALI HAS HER MENSTRUATION!  Why this was some sort of celebration, I did not know.  I was not pleased.  

I did know that I was annoyed of  losing blood on some sort of “schedule” and, furthermore I was tired of washing underwear.   So my mother introduced me to the sanitary napkin and gave me instructions.  Now, that was the good news.  I found toilet paper to be rather flimsy and not necessarily the best thing for these occasions. So, there was some good news, if there is a need for a bright side.

* * *

I am reflecting on this story because a few months ago, my younger sister asked me if I remembered how old she was when she got her menstruation.  I was thinking why would I know?  We don’t communicate about mess like that.  Then she told me her story.  

She had a digestive tract problem and when she was around 11 or 12, it was really bad.  She was bleeding all the time and had to have surgery.  Well, dealing with all this blood was a common place for her, but then she discovered additional blood from a different source. (Neighbors though.)  

She didn’t feel the need to burden my mother with any more bad news, because my mother was on the verge of a nervous breakdown also referred to as an “Academy Award for Best Dramatic Performance.”  If she were a paid actress, she’d be up there with Meryl Streep with the most nominations. (Things like “My baby gonna die!  I’m gonna lose my baby!” were common sayings in the household, even when the baby was up and about and within an ear shot of the grim declarations.)  

So, my sister decided to tell me her "initiation into womanhood" story.  (Mind you, I didn’t remember any of this.)    As a pre-teen, she came into my room and said she had something to show me.  I didn’t like being interrupted when my door was closed, but I reluctantly followed her to the bathroom.  As she reflected on this story, she hadn’t told me what she showed me in the bathroom.  But whatever it was, I knew.  I knew she had stepped on the womanhood platform.  So, I went to the linen closet, threw a bag of sanitary napkins at her and told her to read the directions then went back to my room to do whatever it was she interrupted.

This has got me thinking:  What is wrong with my family and communication?  It’s like no one wants to talk about the subjects that involve bodily functions and things sticking out of things they weren’t meant to.  This is how I lived my childhood.  Don’t get me wrong, we were a very close family, and still are, but some things were best kept inside our own heads.

Now, today, I am a mother of a daughter.  I already told the five year old when she starts this process in the late future, she can have the talk with Daddy, because, I still don’t know why it happens.  And for some reason, my husband does.  All I know is my husband and I used to celebrate Period Parties, because it meant no babies.  Other than that, I was never told, never cared and maybe should consider sitting in on my daughter’s health classes when she gets to that point in school.  I suppose I need to understand for once and for all.  

Hey, there is a reason that “they” say “better late than never”.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ain’t No Mother Like the One You Got (No One Can Know You Better)

Before I start typing this, I must take a deep breath.  Okay.  Now, we’ll began.

In my younger years, as a child, I never wanted to play house or play with baby dolls. I was never a tomboy, but I didn’t like committing to a husband and children at such a young age.  When I hit my twenties, I still was in the non-commitment box, but with children.  I was happily married months before I turned 22.

Now twelve years later, after two children and a maternal detachment due to my psychotic attack and depression, I have come to a realization.  No one can take care of my children as well as I can.  No, I’m not saying there are no other people who can handle them.  Obviously that is not the case.  I mean we have the grandparents, uncles, aunts…. My husband

But I, being a stay-at-home mother, know their quirks, their dramatic interludes, their ups, downs, highs and lows.  I know when they need a “kick in the pants” or a tender hug.  I know when they will eat what I made; I know when they will spit it in a napkin while my back is turned.  I know them.  I get them.  I can build them up just as fast as I can shut ‘em down.

I know everyone is familiar with the phrase: “If you can’t do it right, I’ll do it myself.”  I hate that this phrase is true.  But, it is oh so very true.  So many people think they can fix things and help things and understand.  And I just sit back laughing in my head (sometimes out loud) knowing that my child, or both of them, is playing this person and I can see through the mess.

I can usually maneuver things nicely throughout the day and have no hectic-ness.  But other people come over and see tears and want to baby them or try to assist. And for the most part, I may let them, but I know I‘m going to have to make some adjustments once they leave.

Please know that I appreciate the help I get.  From the bottom of my heart, I really do.  But, I know my kids.   I know them.  And they can be some scheming sneaky little people.  They can also be some darling little blessings.  But, the only one who knows for sure is the Mama….and that would be me.  I’m sure all you mothers out there can relate to this.

Remember this blog is about real stuff.  No sugar-coating, no preservatives, no additives.  I am 100% organic in my words and I speak truth. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kids Don't Care

I was checking the news on my favorite online source, and noticed a story about a Twit-pic that was mistakenly posted.  A celebrity husband took a picture of his son, I suppose in the parent’s bedroom.  Unbeknownst to him, in the background you could see a glimpse of his wife lying on the bed with her breasts uncovered.  The comments from people were so illogical.

 Who are you (the irate protestors) and why are you not using your brain? Let me relay some pertinent information to you, my dear protesters: Kids don’t care.  And when I say kids, in this blog, I am referring to the little precious dear ones that are under the age of 5, sometimes 6!

The comments were basically saying that a mother should not allow her children to be around her when she is disrobed.  And truth be told, that is probably a true statement.  But there are some ignored boundaries that need to be understood.

I don’t know if the comments were from people who didn’t have children, or people that just raised a perfect little nobody.  But, as stated above, kids don’t care.  Privacy is a foreign word to young ones.  

But, first, before I let you in on the unspoken horrors behind the scenes, here’s the background of the celebrity with the uncovered breasts.  At the time, she was a mother of three, her oldest being four years old.  (She has since given birth to another child.)  Her youngest was an infant at the time of the tweet, so most likely, she’s breastfeeding.  Whipping out a breast for the purposes of sustenance is probably a common occurrence in this house.  So, with that information, I shall begin.

Upon entering the delivery room to have my first child, I realized that I will never have privacy again.  At first with the endless adults, whether family or hospital staff, everybody was “up in my business.”  Now that I am a mother of two young children, I really don’t have privacy.  That is until around ten at night, when they are fast asleep, assuming they don’t get up again and again to let me know things they feel (but I can assure are not) important.

My son comes into my bathroom one day, as I am finishing up a shower.  He tells me, “Mommy, I don’t like you naked.”  Well, maybe if you weren’t busting in the door to tell me Tom and Jerry just went off, you wouldn’t see my naked body.  

My daughter and son come into the bathroom, as I am sitting on the toilet bowl, asking me what I am doing.  They have been potty trained for some time, so they very well know what I am doing.  I just look at them, and politely ask them to leave.  They just stand there giggling.  I ask them about two more times, until I am forced to shout: Please leave so I handle my business.  I mean, I have to go there.  They come in any time they want, they go in my stuff, and they are everywhere.  They ask personal questions, too.  

On the other hand, my dear husband gets exclusive bathroom rights.  He can go in the bathroom and they see him walk in fully clothed, then they see him coming out, fully clothed.  They probably think his skin is an ever changing wardrobe.  But when it’s my turn, I can’t lock the door.  Usually my husband is at work, and I have to keep the door unlocked, in case they need to come in and tell me something i-m-p-o-r-t-a-n-t.  You know, the house is on fire, the Mothership has landed, whatever may be necessary information at the time. Unfortunately, they think when a show I DVRed goes off, it’s a big cause for concern, and I must be interrupted at all costs, even if they must see my horrible naked body.

So, to all those absurd comments about a mother allowing her child to be in her presence while she wasn’t fully covered, you need to calm down and recognize that kids these days just don’t care.  And they will remain all up in your business.  

I mean, it wasn’t like her son was rubbing Lanolin on her bosom.  That would most likely be a reason for concern.