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Author Archives: JoAnne

Dear Moms…

11 May, 2017
JoAnne
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In honor of the upcoming Mother’s day I dedicate this blogpost to all of you mommas out there in the trenches with me!

To the mom who has suffered the loss of an infant or child in or out of the womb, YOUR ANGEL IN HEAVEN IS WATCHING OVER YOU!

To the mom who gave up her child for adoption yet thinks about them every day, YOUR SACRIFICE WAS NOT IN VAIN!

To the mom who had the worst pregnancy, YOU DID IT!

To the mom who had the best pregnancy, YOU ARE BLESSED!

To the mom who was in labor for three days of hell, YOU SURVIVED!

To the mom who had a super easy labor and delivery, CAN YOU SEND ME SOME OF DEM VIBES?!

To the mom whose body is stretched, scarred, and sagging, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

To the mom whose last ten pounds of baby phat won’t come off, IT WILL! JUST KEEP IT UP!

To the mom who suffers from a postpartum mood disorder, IT WILL END, IT WILL GET BETTER!

To the mom who feels like she is nursing 24/7 and whose nipples are raw and bleeding, IT WILL EASE UP!

To the mom who is up all night with the baby or sick child, SLEEP, WHAT IS SLEEP ANYWAYS?!

To the mom who wakes up to her kid climbing and jumping on her asking for a thousand things when she hasn’t even had her coffee yet, GIVE THE KID THE IPAD AND GET SOME PEACE AND COFFEE!

To the mom who takes care of everyone else’s teeth, ears, butts and etc. without even getting her own shower or change of clothes in, IT WILL GET EASIER!

To the stay-at-home mom who worked her arse off all day long only to be hit with questions like, “So what do you do all day?” NEXT TIME THEY ASK THAT OBSURD QUESTION TELL THEM TO SWAP “JOBS” WITH YOU FOR A DAY!

To the mom who has a job AND works at home, YOU’VE GOT THIS!

To the mom who never gets out or takes time for herself, TAKE CARE OF YOU SO YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF THEM!

To the single mom, WE SUPPORT YOU!

To the mom who is suffering from the loss of a spouse or partner, WE SUFFER WITH YOU!

To the mom whose spouse or partner left her for someone else, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

To the mom who is sick and cannot care for or love her children as she wants to, YOUR TIME WILL COME AGAIN; JUST HEAL!

To the mom who is dealing with empty nest syndrome, THEY WILL RETURN! THEY WILL!

To the mom who is suffering with a child who has an addiction or illness, KEEP ON PRAYING FOR THEM AND FIGHTING FOR THEM AND A CURE!

To the mom who suffers from a chronic illness, YOUR CHILDREN LOVE YOU AS YOU ARE: ILLNESS AND ALL!

To the mom who suffers from clinical depression/anxiety, JUST KEEP SWIMMING!

To the mom taking on other’s children as if they were her own, YOUR REWARD IS ETERNAL!

To the devout mom, JUST KEEP PRAYING!

To the home-schooling mom, YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!

To the mom of multiples, WE COMMEND YOU (TIMES TWO!)!

To the mom who is a widow, searching for love, YOU WILL LOVE AGAIN!

To the mom who is missing her mom on this earth, YOU WILL MEET AGAIN AND YOUR HEARTS WILL BE FULL OF JOY!

To the mom who is serving in the military and is away from her children, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICE AND OUR FREEDOM!

To the mom whose spouse or partner is never home due to work, REACH OUT FOR HELP! SOMEONE WILL STEP UP!

To the mom who wants to conceive again but can’t, WE MAY NOT UNDERSTAND IT OR KNOW WHY BUT “EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON”.

To the mom whose family is far and who has no help, WE FEEL YOU! WE ARE HERE!

To the sports mom who is always running but never for herself, THEY COULD BE THE NEXT MAJOR NFL PLAYER (or etc.)!

To the mom who is always surrounded by (little) people yet always feels alone, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

To the mom who never held a waitress job or was never a chef yet cooks and waits 24/7 on her family, JUST REMEMBER: THEY WILL EVENTUALLY BE WAITING ON YOU!

To the mom who is not a nurse or a doctor (or even is!) and who diagnoses and cures boo-boos, KEEP ON TRUSTING YOUR GUT!

To the mom who is so tired yet serves her husband and his needs even when she doesn’t want to, REMIND THEM THAT DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND!

To the mom who is done in, from head-to-toe in every sense: spiritual, emotional, physical, mental -with no sight of rest in the future- but keeps on going, WE KNOW, WE GET IT, WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER!

To the moms who unite and help each other out, KEEP ON SUPPORTING EACHOTHER! *A special shout out to the Moms of Forks Township Group! WOOT!

And to all the GRAND-moms out there who take care of us moms and grandkids, THANK YOU (TIMES A MILLION!)!

Mamas, you are loved, you are appreciated, you are supported. Thank you for all you do for your families! May God continue to bless you today and always. And may, on Mother’s Day, your sleep be PLENTY, your trips to the bathroom be BY YOURSELF, your day be sculpted around WHAT YOU WANT TO DO not what they want you to do and, of course, may your wine or mimosas OVERFLOWTH. I love you. Thank you for following, supporting and loving me! Let’s continue to give our children the best example by supporting each other in this the Mommy trenches! Happy Mother’s Day!

Prayers and Blessings Beautiful Moms,

JoAnne XO

 

Find Your Local Mom’s Group!

27 Feb, 2017
JoAnne
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Let me preface this post by saying that I was never the one to go on blind dates, and I am not the type of person to go up to a stranger and just randomly start talking. With this said you could imagine how I felt like a kindergarten kid when I met eight Moms from my town.

The backdrop is I was on my local residents Facebook page and it shared a new local Mom’s group page. I was hesitant to click join but after a few days I did. Afterall, what could be so bad about it? If I didn’t like it I could just unjoin right?

When I was accepted into the page I began reading all of the introductions and I made my own. It seemed like a nice group. Then, after one mom discovered that I had 9 kids she asked me what my tips for sanity were and I said, “Prayer…wine…and camaraderie!” to which she responded with excitement and which started an official wine thread!

Fast forward and we decided to meet for a wine and greet. I got so excited to get dressed up, wear make up and go out at an hour that most normal people go out at. lol! I was definitely nervous though. I was nervous about everything but I partially blame that on my PPD symptoms.

At any rate, we had a great time! And I could see that this clicked and that this would indeed work! I couldn’t get my own sisters to commit to going out and often times my girlfriends would cancel our planned nights out or they couldn’t get a sitter so I was hopeful that maybe this would be a new outlet for me. Well, it was!

We have not only had great online conversations but some have gotten together for mommy/kid play dates. In addition to that we went out a second time a mere two weeks later! Now you’re talking! I think the second time was even better than this first and this time we had a few new people!

We have decided to have group walks, group outings and etc. One of the moms invited me to her online book club which now that I am a part of it I love! I am so very grateful to Facebook for having introduced this lovely ladies to me!

Parenting can be isolating at times. Some of our husbands work long days and hours and we are left to do it all. Some of us work full or part-time and still manage our households. We need a break! We deserve a break! Even if it is only once every so often. So, if you are like me just waiting to find someone to hang with and share mommy war stories with try looking up or heck(!) even starting your own local moms group. Trust me, you WON’T be disappointed!

God bless,

JoAnne

 

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Book Review: Erica From America

20 Jan, 2017
JoAnne
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A few months ago I came across an adorable book called, “Erica From America”. I will be honest and say that I do not normally do bedtime routines but when my husband has late nights I have no choice so…on this particular late night I chose to read this book to the children.

Let me start by saying that this book is not only a true story that children can enjoy but adults can thoroughly enjoy it as well! The illustrations are incredible and will really keep your child(ren) engaged.

The story is about how this young woman fulfilled her childhood dream of swimming from Europe to Africa! As someone who does not like to exercise but loves to swim (for exercise and for fun) I loved this story!

Throughout the book you are on this quest with Erica and she keeps you on the edge of your seat! You always want to know what is going to happen next. There were times when the children were biting their nails because of what Erica encountered on her journey! It was so adorable to watch.

You could see with each page that I turned that the children’s imagination was growing bigger and bigger! They were scared, excited and intrigued as was I!

I highly recommend this book for my fellow moms/dads/grandparents and/or care takers of young children. You and your children will not be disappointed!

You can learn more about the author and her book on her web site:

http://ericafromamerica.com/

God bless,

JoAnne

Clipart Credit: Author’s Web Site

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I Am Thankful For My Postpartum Depression

28 Nov, 2016
JoAnne
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Can one seriously say that they are thankful for an illness and really mean it? Well I am saying it because I am! This Thanksgiving was very special to me. It was special to me because I remember so clearly, so vividly thinking and being afraid that I may not be here. When I was in the thick of my postpartum depression I was so very scared. I honestly thought that the illness would overtake me.

I can remember crying to my husband as he held me not knowing what to do and I just remember thinking to myself, “Will I ever be me again? EVER?!” And to be honest who knows that answer. Maybe I never will be that me again. However, there is a new part to me and one that I never imagined experiencing. It is one of total awareness and one of total gratefulness. I was never thankful for not having a panic or anxiety attack (because I never had them). I was never thankful for being able to have a cup of coffee and enjoy it (because I always could and did enjoy it). I was never one who had geninue sympathy for people who suffer from mental illness (because I never experienced it). All of these things things – and there are MANY more – have made me a better person and because of that I am actually thankful that I experienced postpartum depression.

Would I ever want anyone to experience it? No. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. And yet, I can tell people all the time: just appreciate what you have but will they, actually? I know I didn’t when people told me that. I may have said yes, I would but did I really? No. But now, after having experienced that darkness – and even still experiencing a slice of it on some days or in some moments I do appreciate everything and I am constantly aware of everything. I can honestly say that even though I have my moments I am more engaged than ever – even if one does not sense it.

We will always have ups and downs in this life but I do believe that everything does happen for a reason; we just need to see it and then embrace it for what it is and what it can teach us. It may not always be easy but it will be eye-opening indeed and it can, in fact and ironically enough actually make us a better person.

For all of my warrior moms and dads out there battling any mental illness I salute you. I tip my hat off to you. You are not alone; there is a whole world of survivors out there ready to help you in this journey.

God bless,

JoAnne

Clip Art Credit

 

Go Ahead (and TRY TO) Tell Me To Turn Off Postpartum Depression!

25 Oct, 2016
JoAnne
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So I am currently seven months into my second bout of postpartum depression. The first four months were pretty much hell (or a high stage of purgatory). The past three months have been OKAY with waves.

I will never forget around the fourth month postpartum, when people thought I was “completely recovered” I was on the phone with someone and I do not even remember what we were talking about but I referenced my postpartum depression and do you know what the person said to me? They said, and I quote, “We don’t have time for postpartum depression! You don’t have time for postpartum depression! Enough is enough!” For those people who know me they know that I am impulsive so at that moment I did not respond. I hung up the phone instead and switched my phone to airplane mode! I did not turn it back on for quite some time but you can bet that when I did I informed that person that if THEY felt that way just imagine how I felt? Me, the “perfect” mom, and the “super” mom who was unfortunately now all clad with postpartum depression. UGH! Let’s just say that I shut that person up and have never heard another snide remark from her since.

However, the other day it happened like it happens with a lot of us. I was fine, or so I thought and then, from out of nowhere I had a major panic/anxiety attack. I write both those words because I have never had them before postpartum depression so I am not sure what it is: panic or anxiety or both. At that moment I knew what I had to do besides the obvious either calm myself down and/or pop a much dreaded Xanax. My holistic side failed me so off to the popping I went. After an hour lying on the bed starring at the ceiling in that sucky exact same feeling I always get, I was fine (thank you Xanax). However, I knew what led up to the moment…I was doing too much, being too much so I had to stop a little. I cancelled my plans for the following day. The one set of plans I could not cancel was company. However, with this set of company I knew that you never knew when they were going to arrive no matter what time they said so I told my husband at 12:15 p.m. I was going to take a nap. It sounded like a reasonable request since two of my NINE kids (under the age of 11) woke up at 5:45 a.m. that day. Combine that with my insomnia and yeah, I did not regret asking for a nap on the only day of the week I could. He, my husband, was encouraging of it and told me he would handle our guests should they arrive before I got up.

In the old days my house would be immaculate and I would never ever take a nap before or during visitors. But I have learned with postpartum depression that if you don’t stop; if you don’t rest you basically screw yourself and your family because you end up worse off. So my house was just semi straightened went I went for my nap but my husband graciously made it look great. God bless him. We put the little kids to bed for a nap and then me too. Because I am a crazy I woke up at 1:21 to see if they were here. I looked at the window and saw no car. I went back to sleep. I woke up at 1:51 and saw their car so I went downstairs. I arrived and gave hugs and kisses to all.

There was one person that I did not expect to see but it was fine that she came. Fast forward a few hours and she decides to sit on my couch and tell me to, ready for this?, “wake up! You sleep too much!” And trust me when I say she meant it and meant it for and about postpartum depression and maybe even in general. As a friendly reminder I was only asleep for one hour or less when they were here. She proceeded on with this long conversation and I just listened and nodded. I hugged her and them all goodbye and then vented to my husband who said that I don’t sleep enough.

I was not hurt by what she said. I was hurt by the fact that she and so many think and really believe that you can shut off, turn off mental illness – whatever illness that is (postpartum or other). You cannot! If only you could!

After thinking about it long and hard that night, when oh yeah I couldn’t sleep because I felt somewhat guilty for “sleeping too much” I was able to visualize how I feel right now. Imagine a bathroom sink with a leaky faucet. It’s a pain in the arse because it leaks but…it is not a “life threatening” issue right? No, unless the stopper was pulled up, correct? Because what would happen? Well naturally over time, maybe even months or longer that water from the leak would accumulate and overflow causing a lot of damage. That is how I feel right before a panic attack sets in. For me I can go months or weeks without one but all of that stuff builds up, for whatever reason, and one day when it becomes too much BOOM I am hit and knocked off my horse literally. And until that darn “stopper” is pushed down to let the “water” out I am stuck in that sinking feeling. I will drown if there is no relief. Yes, DROWN. But thank God there is relief; whatever it is that you and I do: holistic or not. The relief comes and we survive. But there are others that get no relief…why? Because they do not know how to ask for help? Because everyone has a stigma around mental illness? Or because they simply are overcome by it without even fully grasping its (lethal) presence.

Look I get it. I used to have the perfect mental health and I judged. But mental illness is serious business. For this I am grateful that I understand it now. I am not grateful I have it I am grateful I understand it now. No matter what you think or what anyone tells you mental illness cannot be shut off like a faucet. Your loved one cannot control it. You cannot control it. So for all of the people out there who are battling this beast with me know that I have your back. My plan is to forever try to break the stigma around mental illness. #yourmouthcanbeshutoffbutmyillnesscan’tbe

God bless,

JoAnne