Book Review: Erica From America

Author Archives: JoAnne

Thank You!

1 Jan, 2017
JoAnne
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I just wanted to send a small thank you note to all of my readers out there. I have to say that I am perpetually humbled by you all. It is so amazing to me to interact with people I have never met before just because of … a blog! It is mind boggling!

Seriously, every day I give thanks for my blog and not because of what I say but because of you! You’re DMs, PMs, comments, tweets, re-tweets, shares, etc. All of them mean so much! To know that my fellow Moms and Dads out there struggling in the trenches take the time to read and comment or whatnot- well, that is golden! So THANK YOU!

I pray that you all had a great Christmas, a great holiday season, a wonderful New Year’s Eve and now a wonderful 2017! I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to change this new year! Watching my children during this season has given me a whole perspective on embracing that which really matters: family. Seasons will come and go, presents will be what they are but the times we have as a family and watching our children grow into who they are called to be; well that, that is just priceless!

Thank you for reading, for being a very special part of this my Camaraderie Mom blog. May God bless you and yours this holiday season and New Year!

-JoAnne

 

How I Am Riding The Wave Of (Postpartum) Depression

3 Nov, 2016
JoAnne
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It is absolutely amazing to me how, now that I am going through this bout of postpartum depression, one small element can put me into a depression or anxiety tizzy.This never ever happened to me before and I hate it. But, it is what it is, as they say.

Two days ago was a great day. It was productive. I had gotten a few projects done outside of my job and keeping our children alive. :) But then the afternoon came and I got sideswapped by some really crappy news. And that is all it took for me see that postpartum depression rabbit hole. Like that -I could feel- in an instant, the wave of postpartum depression setting in.

In moments like that I do thank God that I have a big family because fortunately I cannot fall into that hole, that pit of despair. I have no choice but to continue to take care of my family while trying to process the crappy news and work through the motions. Do I want to crawl into bed and hide? YES. Would I if I didn’t have kids? Probably. I honestly wanted to pull a Kim Kardashian and say: cancel everything! I am done! I am going into hiding…for months! Maybe years! LOL

But instead I got the kids off to school and I arrived home knowing that I needed to work for my job. I did not want to but I did. After I did what I had to do I plopped down on the couch and looked down at my PJs. Lately I have been so good and actually taking showers in the morning but up until that point yesterday was not that day. I thought to myself, I can sit here, in my PJs and do nothing while the babies sleep OR I can get up and shower and forge ahead. And that is what I did though still dealing with my feelings at the same time. I did my laundry that had pilled up for days. I straightened the house. I cleaned a carpet in one room that really needed it. I took a shower and then I went on the air for a scheduled interview. After that I ran errands and got a massage.

For those of you who do not know me massage therapy is for stress relief for me and not for relaxation. I perpetually have knots galore and I always need a tune up. Yesterday is the first day I can say that I ever had a massage and experienced not 1, not 2 but 3 waves of anxiety during it. I have no idea why it happened but it happened. I rode the wave each time and it ended. I left with my knots out and knowing that whatever benefits there are that I am missing from massage therapy I knew they would be applied.

I picked up my kids and went home. I had zero interest in homework. I had zero interest in dinner. In fact I called my husband to warn him. That is like the McDonald’s call. However, he did not answer so I had no choice but to actually cook. I cooked a hot meal. I did the homework. I overcame it: that beast which is called whatever you call it.

My husband came home and we ate dinner as a family as per the norm. At first I thought I wouldn’t eat at all but right now I am experiencing the flip side of depression: I want to eat and eat and eat some more. After we talked I read the news alone and went to bed. For the first time in I do not know how long I actually slept for a straight 10 hours. Yes, 10 hours with no regrets.

The question is did I sleep because I was gifted with sleep for once or did I sleep because I was depressed? I say the latter only because I am awake every night for several hours. If you don’t believe me check my Facebook page.

Yesterday I consider to be a stellar ride of a large wave. I could have stayed in bed. I could have not done a thing. I chose something else. I chose to fight back. This is coming from someone who knows VERY WELL that there are some people every day and there are some days (for people like me now) where you have nothing in you to fight and that you do stay in bed all day. And that is ok. I get it.

As I cleaned my bathrooms yesterday (which I rarely do) I looked in the mirror and in my depressed state I had a moment of happiness; I was happy because I remember a short seven months ago I was not able to clean my own home. I remember vividly being on the couch watching others clean my house. As I looked in the mirror I thought to myself, “This is just a wave and you will ride it and it will be over and you will be afloat. Just keep swimming!”

And that is what happened. Today is a new day. Is it a great day? No. Is it as productive as I wanted it to be? No. But I am here. I am alive. And I survived the wave.

God bless,

JoAnne

When Panic/Anxiety Attacks Come Outta Nowhere Yet From EVERYWHERE…

22 Oct, 2016
JoAnne
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So let me start this blog by saying that I know that this, my Mom blog, was supposed to be funny. Well, if you are a Mom and you are funny or comedian-like you know that sometimes and some days you don’t feel funny or in a mood to joke around. So, today I am just being real which I love to be-funny or not. Today I am not feeling funny…

As a reminder I have never ever had panic/anxiety attacks until I had postpartum depression. Thank God with my first bout I only had a few. With the second bout, currently a WIP, you never know what you are gonna get. Sometimes the attack will come outta no where. I will be grocery shopping and I will feel like I was just hit in the face with a mac truck. And then I remember something; something very very important for my fellow postpartum depression warrior survivor moms: I remember Aunt Flow is due to make a visit. So yeah, ok, when I remember that then the attack makes sense: my hormones and body are outta whack. Ok, you sucky attack, you get a pass. Deal with it and move on.

But then there are times when I personally think and believe that I, my life style and my OCD perfectionist personally causes my own attacks. Why? Very simply put: because I do too much. I say YES too much. I don’t follow the rules in my own book about “taking it easy”, “resting”, and ahem, “letting it all go”. Yeah, NO, I do not do that and so I put myself in a position of compromise. It’s like a floor that has a leak. You can wipe the leak away and hope for the best or, you can pull up the floors, replace them and start fresh. A floor that has a leak on or over it, even semi-dealt with, will eventually crumble and fall apart. And, so these are the days of our (my) lives…

Yes, these annoying panic/anxiety attacks can come from no where, non-intentionally or they can come from a valid reason: Momma, you’re overdoing it. So the only question we are left with is: do you want to deal with that beast when she comes or before she comes? Do you want to experience yet again the overwhelming feeling that comes on out of no where and makes you stop dead in your tracks? Or do you want to CHILAX and though your life may be even more chaotic (because you’re taking a well deserved friggin’ break!) at least you won’t have to face that beast in the face again? Decisions decisions…

For my fellow Moms and even Dads out there going through this please know I am with you. I suffer with you. I hope with you. I pray for you and us. We will overcome this…

God bless,

JoAnne

Author of What’s Wrong With Mommy? Ride The Wave of Postpartum Depression With A Mother of Nine

The Balancing Act: From Wife to Mom to Worker

5 Oct, 2016
JoAnne
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OMG. I am done. Done, done, DONE! But wait, I can’t be done because I’m da Momma! So onward we go!

Part of the book I am working on right now is mainly focused on how I manage it all. Many have asked me how I do it all since they know that I am a wife, I am a Mom to 9 kids ages 10 and under and because I also work part-time from home which, as we all know, part-time can very well easily turn into fulltime!

I am not gonna lie when I say that nine times out of ten it sucks, like royally. However, I would not trade it – any of it – for the world. I am married to the best man on the planet and I long for date nights or trips away alone with him. I have the most incredible children and because there are so many there is so much love! I have had a great job for over four years which allows me to work from the comfort of my own home around my kids’ schedules so I can’t complain but I do.

I complain because I am one person. I complain because my husband has many late nights due to his career. I complain because – since I hated school/learning until I was in my mid 20s AFTER college – I hate homework and it can take for-ever! I complain because sometimes the juggling act is too much.

I have often thought about a Mom blog focused on working Mommas and Moms who work from home (those who “work” for a job and also work for their families or, shoot-me-now BOTH). I opted to keep it all on this blog since I love this blog and…since I have another one so three blogs? Yeah, no…too much for me to manage or um, balance!

So how do you Mommas how there balance it all? What is your secret? I would love to hear it. Because sometimes I look (or don’t even look) at myself in the mirror and wonder if I will actually survive all of this! There are emails and projects to be finished, there are starving kids, there are kids without clothes  (wearing summer clothes and um, we in fall my peeps!), there is a husband neglected, and um, a wife who looks like hell because she is lucky if she showers each day. #justkeepingitreal

Right now I say I do it on “a wing and a prayer”. And wine. Lots of wine. And then of course someone who can be there to talk to after the wine runs out. Thanks bff.

Whatever your secret is Momma, as I always say, rock on with your bad self. You are doing a great job! #justkeepswimming

God bless,

JoAnne

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The Calm AFTER The Storm

9 Sep, 2016
JoAnne
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When thinking of this post I had to first actually look up the meaning of the calm before the storm. I knew what it meant but I always like reinforcement. This is what Google says it means: “a period of unusual tranquility or stability that seems likely to presage difficult times.” I am so glad I looked it up because when thinking of the storm of postpartum depression the two words that are perfectly associated to a calm before that type of storm are tranquility and stability.

So often we hear about the calm before the storm but oftentimes we do not hear about the calm after the storm. Imagine how shocked I was when I went to look for the featured image for this blog and I found a slew of images and quotes of the calm after the storm. I absolutely love the quote on the image I chose but we will get to that later. :)

How many times do you honestly think of the calm before a storm? I personally do not think about it a lot or maybe even enough. Sure, there are times when we know something huge is coming and one may step back and take in their surroundings because, well, we may not know if they will be there after the storm. But for me I am usually so swamped everyday all day that I honestly do not pay attention. If the storm is coming and I actually know of it (all hail Facebook posts and Stormy Stace for keeping me in the loop!) I do what everyone else does: I freak out and run to the store. My first priority is always hitting up the liquor store. Hell no, I cannot go through the storm without wine. Next I hit up the grocery store and my first goal there is coffee because let’s face it, if I have to listen to whining kids without video games or TV I need to be awake and on my A game. And then, yes only then, do I get to what’s left of the bread and milk. I am sorry if you think my priorities are out-of-whack but think of it this way: when you are on a plane and the attendants give you the safety drill they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then your child. Why? Because if you can’t save yourself then you can’t save your child! Wine and coffee saves me so… The next priority for me is, you got it, I charge up all the ipads, iphones, ipods, and basically anything that will save our souls and sanity during the storm. And then what is next? We wait. And wait. And wait some more. And then sometimes the weathermen were spot on and it was a disaster of epic proportions. And other times that baby re-routes and we don’t get one iota of a storm. In fact, there are times where those days turn out to be the most beautiful ones ever… Strange, no?

But let’s talk about the calm that does occur after the storm. It is unreal, is it not? Everything is or is not in shambles. Everything is wet. The air is different. It is totally calm. It is eerily calm, actually. There may even be a rainbow. And then the sun comes out. Though it was VERY rough during the storm, though it was VERY scary, though we did not know if we would live or die, after the storm was over there was beauty, there was light.

That is how I personally feel right now after the storm of postpartum depression. For me, with this recent bout of postpartum depression I only vaguely remember a few days of calm before the storm. Once it hit it hit HARD. And that storm lasted for months which though it seemed like a million years is nothing in comparison to how long it can and does last for others. And for the past couple of weeks I have only felt the calm after that storm. It is a calm unlike any other. It doesn’t resemble the calm before the storm at all. It is serene. It is peace like you cannot imagine. And the only reason I think it feels like that is because once you endure something like postpartum depression you see things in a different way and you surely appreciate things more. You value what you used to feel like, look like, act like. You don’t take things or people for granted. You embrace whatever your normal is or becomes. And calm? Hell…calm has never looked so damn beautiful! When you can’t shut your mind down, when you have intrusive thoughts, when your mind races it is as if you have forgotten what calm felt like so when it introduces itself once again you grab that bitch and you hold on to her for dear life. Ah, tis true.

I had postpartum depression before. I knew I could get it again. I thought I was prepared but then I thought I would be ok and instead that beast grabbed ahold of me and sucked me in from outta no where. Maybe next time, if there is a next time, I will be sure to follow all the guidelines for “storm preparedness”. At least that way I will tackle her head on. And then, when that calm does come after the storm I will celebrate it; celebrate another victory against this illness. And if I am so blessed that I never meet face-to-face with postpartum depression again (except to flick her off when helping other women with it-insert middle finger emoji) I will be sure to always embrace the calm, this calm, today’s calm. It’s like the quote on this featured image reminds us; after the bad there is good and the sun will always come out. It has to, it must.

God bless,

JoAnne

Photo Credit

P.S. Sorry Ma, I cursed. In my writer’s defense though sometimes you need use certain words to bring out what you are really trying to say. #sosorrynotsorry #justkeepingitreal