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I am Not as Strong as I appear. I enjoy weakness from time to time. We are a homeschooling, special needs family of 6. My 4th son has a Congenital Heart defect, and my oldest has ADHD. I am a survivor of Adultery and mental abuse. I learned that you never really know someone until you are strong enough to stand up and walk away. I love and protect my children, with everything I have. My life might seem unbelievable, but I couldn't make this shit up if I tried! Stick around & let's get to know each other.

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Sharing Your Voice: Welcome PPD Survivor Lauren Hale

My Postpartum Voice ButtonThis weeks visiting Postpartum Depression Survivor is Lauren from my Postpartum Voice: Speaking Up; Reaching Out; Inspiring Hope. Lauren is an amazing online friend who can be found for support at just the right time. A few months ago I was having a really hard time with PPD, I call it a PPD attack because when it comes on, it is quick and hard to control, like an asthma attack. Just because I am treating my PPD, doesn’t mean it will always be under control. I was having a PPD attack that was triggered by an outside of the home incident. I had never dealt with PPD being triggered by an outside force before and was having the hardest time getting through it. When I mentioned that I was feeling low on Twitter, Lauren was one of the first to come to me and give support. We chatted and she knew all the right things to say and just how to help. She is caring and sweet and spends her time helping others get through the times that Postpartum Depression brings to our lives.

PPDChat

Lauren is also the mastermind and host of the weekly #ppdchat on Twitter. You can find her #ppdchat on Monday’s at 1pm and again at 8:30pm.

I am so honored to know such a wonderful and giving Mama who gives so much of herself to help others to feel better.

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Six years ago, we were in the midst of moving from South Carolina back to Georgia with our five month old daughter in tow.

I was in the midst of forcing dark, dangerous thoughts out of my head. You see, random disturbing thoughts liked to flit across my mind quite often after the birth of our first daughter. Thoughts no normal or good mom would ever be capable of creating. They disgusted me. But the damage was done. I did not want to leave the house. Everyone read my mind as it was a clear fishbowl with these thoughts floating around clear as day for everyone to see. They knew what I wanted to really do with the knife as I chopped vegetables for dinner. They knew all about my failure at this thing called motherhood – the one thing I had longed for since I was, well, six years old, possibly younger.

Birth with my first daughter had not been easy. We did not take a child birth class as my husband was a restaurant manager with random and long hours. I read information on the internet and thought I was prepared. Turns out I was not. I ended up on Pitocin. Pit contractions are intense. They never stop. Then my epidural (which was attempted 7X to be placed) was sadly one-sided. I was in intense, thrashing pain with the urge to push at 8cm at which time the nurse told me she didn’t care if I pushed or not. We were at a rural hospital in the middle of nowhere with a whole bunch of folks who did not seem to know what they were doing. Oh, the baptism by fire that occurred that day!

I sought help for my Postpartum at three months. But my doctor dismissed my symptoms, refused to treat me, and all but threw me out of his office. He did refer me to the in-house therapist but then they kept calling to reschedule. After three weeks of back and forth, I threw in the towel. We moved not long after.

Back in Georgia, my husband continued to work as a restaurant manager. I thought I was healing.

Instead, I was repressing and getting better at “faking it till I made it.”

When our first daughter was 16 months old, we discovered I was pregnant with number two.

My morning sickness lasted well into the second trimester. I barely ate. I didn’t take my prenatals. I lied about taking them. Most days were spent in my 16 month old’s room, curled up on the couch, as she played in the floor and I wished the couch would swallow me whole. The entire pregnancy I never felt connected to the baby growing inside me. I merely went through the motions. Again, “faking it till I made it.”

The day after my baby shower, I began to have contractions. Not due for another 5 weeks, my OB wanted me in the office the next morning. I was 3cm dilated and admitted to the hospital. Our daughter did not arrive for another 36 hours. I insisted on no pain meds the first 24 hours, then gave into an epidural because I was exhausted. This time, it was placed properly and worked wonderfully. We did end up using Pit again but at a very low level. Overall, this birth went much better than my first. Until after delivery, that is.

Post-delivery found me struggling to get my second daughter to nurse. I would put her to the breast and she failed to latch. She would scream. I thought her mouth looked funny but I was exhausted from delivery. A Lactation consultant was brought in and immediately she donned gloves to sweep the inside of our daughter’s mouth.

She had a cleft palate. Our world? Turned upside down. Suddenly, everyone went away. I was left alone, in a hospital bed, epidural wearing off, no knowledge of where my daughter was, what was going on, and plain exhausted. The next month saw me trekking back and forth to the NICU, spraining an ankle, Exclusively pumping like a pro at home AND at the hospital, taking care of our other daughter in the downtime, and struggling to hang on. I went on medication at day 9 after major surgery to lengthen our daughter’s jaw. I was hospitalized at day 56 because I woke up and couldn’t hold on. I didn’t have it left in me. At that point, it took me four days to call for help. Four long, agonizing days.

After my hospitalization, I began to improve. I took time for myself. I took a new medicine. I communicated. I learned to let go. I learned to laugh again. I learned to be ME and a MOM.

Then I knew what I needed to do with my life.

I needed to help other moms.

Slowly, I began to get myself better so I could reach out to others. I started a local group. Then I volunteered for Postpartum Support International as a Coordinator. Then I volunteered with iVillage as a Community Leader for their Pregnancy & Postpartum Depression Board. Then I found myself pregnant quite unexpectedly.

This pregnancy is what thrust me into the blogging world. Karen Kleiman’s book, “What Am I Thinking: Having a Baby After Postpartum Depression” suggested reframing an unexpected pregnancy in order to better cope. So I did just that – quite publicly.

Blogging led to Tweeting.

Tweeting led to Facebook.

Today, I lead #PPDChat at Twitter every Monday at 1:00pm & 8:30pm EST. I’m still actively blogging even though my son is nearly three.

Helping other moms with Postpartum Mood Disorders is what I was born to do – it just took me going through hell to figure that out. And you know what? I wouldn’t trade that for the world. Nor would I wish it on my worst enemy. Turns out experiencing a PMD twice truly was a blessing in disguise.

Last piece of advice for a struggling mom or dad out there: There is help. You’re not alone. Pick up the phone or click your mouse. You’re so not alone and you DESERVE help. You are worth it. Your family is worth it. They want you to heal and I know you do to. Just remember, no matter how bad today is, tomorrow is always a new day full of new hope and new promises. It’s a clean, beautiful slate. Make it yours. Don’t let your mental health steal another day from you. YOU steal the day from it!

BIO: Lauren Hale is a mother of three and wife to one who sleeps in until 615a every day, Lauren survives her days on nothing more than Starbucks and sheer grit. She’s sassy, outspoken, and hardly ever takes no for an answer. Unfortunately, her kiddos are just like her and choose to exercise these qualities as she blogs about Postpartum Mood Disorders. She’s found a cure though – headphones and Pandora.

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If you are a Postpartum Depression Survivor, and wish to share your story, you can find all the details at The Nut House Community. Sharing Your Voice is a weekly feature at The Nut House and visiting authors share their stories on Mondays.

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One Response to Sharing Your Voice: Welcome PPD Survivor Lauren Hale

  1. [...] Hazel NutThis weeks Postpartum Depression Survivor Devon from Who Am I. I met Devon on Twitter on Lauren’s #ppdchat and enjoy her honesty, openness and sense of humor. She is a wonderfully caring mama and love [...]

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