I can’t think straight lately. My 3 year old talks all day long with informative tidbits. When he’s not talking he’s having a tantrum over his peanut butter being spread too thin.
I can relate to the being spread too thin part.
The day starts around 6:30 and just doesn’t seem to end until 10pm. By 10 I’m spent and grumpy, desperately needing a few brief minutes that I can own for myself. The 3 year old wakes any time between midnight and 3AM to crawl into our bed. We try not to mind, but being kicked in the face isn’t my idea of a good time.
I was all grumbly this morning until I saw this pic. that reminded me of all that we've been through.
Do you have times in your life that serve has marking points? Like everything after that certain something happened the world changed?
That's kind of how my relationship with my husband works.
Our first baby was a surprise, popping up on a sonogram screen 8 weeks before our long-planned wedding. I had dodged the baby bullet up until I was 34 and we celebrated our anniversary with our 6-month-old in a stroller at the Dock at the Bay.
We made it on one income, 39k with no social services, and almost 7k going to pointless insurance with expensive co-pays. We didn't qualify for WIC or SNAP, so we both had a really bad attitude about people who did qualify and somehow had more than we had. I wanted to work but just couldn't afford to leave our baby with someone else for 20k/year.
It was a difficult adjustment.
Most of my postpartum depression during that time was definitely from adjusting to the massive change in my existence. It sucked. We were very poor, but crazy in love with each other, our new life, and with this amazing creation of a little baby girl. We learned how to have fun with little money. We were frugal and found ways to cut back on expenses.
My husband was ambitious and started looking for other jobs. He loved his job at the nonprofit he worked at but knew that he would make twice the salary at a for profit. He wasn't happy about making this change. He loved knowing that the work he did helped other people.
But he wanted more for our little girl.
He accepted another job in a tough political environment. While he learned new things at that job, he continued his search for something better. He was contacted by a headhunter about a job with a successful consultant company. The job was awesome on paper and in person. He’d be the lead engineer and be one of the highest paid employees. They professed how family centered they were and couldn’t wait to get him on board. With only 6 months on the previous job, he quick, feeling that he had finally found something secure and financially promising. It wasn’t a nonprofit, but the company did many great things for the community and donated often to local nonprofits.
Straight out the gate it seemed fishy. This "family friendly" environment quickly turned into what seemed like a frat party. They went to strip clubs, shared cigars, had beer in the office refrigerator. I didn’t like it at ALL. My husband’s phone would ring at all hours of the day and night. I knew he needed to be on call, but I never signed up for my partner working 24/7. I begged him to start looking for something else.
I was 5 months pregnant.
As the due date came closer I started feeling really anxious. Who would help take care of me, the baby, and our 2.5 year old? How much time would he get off? When would he request it? I harassed him for weeks. He finally asked. We waited almost 3 weeks for an answer and it was not what we ever could have possibly imagined: lay off.
My husband, the greatest guy I know, was handed a proverbial pink slip and a box filled with the contents of his desk that included a sonogram pic of our unborn baby boy. One month before our baby's due date.
It was the epitome of fucked up.
I was sitting in my used Volvo with tan leather interior, after bringing our daughter to a community swim class and had just gone to a prenatal massage. For a brief moment we were livin’ large. And then he texted me that he had gotten fired. I could believe it. I thought he was kidding and I Was so annoyed that he would joke about something like that. He verified that he was serious. I cried.
We called that day WTF Day and then we rallied.
We had an immediate plan: I was contacting every mom group that I knew of to ask for help signing up for every darn social service we could qualify for. Thank GOD we had a little nest egg from our tax return. That $1500 got us through until the unemployment kicked in. We contacted a lawyer who said that there were no laws protecting my husband. He had only worked at the company for 4 months and they only had a handful of employees. Both of his bosses had agreed that they wouldn’t fight unemployment and would give him recommendations.
A day into the experience, watching our daughter nap in my husband’s arms, I thought this really was for the best. My friends flooded me with words of wisdom and inspiration, telling me that this would be the best summer of our lives and it was.
Everything we had went through before that, tightening the belt, being frugal, not living beyond our means all assisted us in rocking being poor AGAIN. Only this time, we had help and a fresh perspective, reinforcing the way we lived our lives: with simplicity.
May 21st marked the 4th anniversary of WTF Day.
When you get the chance to start looking back it's so easy to vie for those snuggly days, when nursing gave you that moment of oxytocin and your little girl liked to cuddle.
It all appears so lovely and serene.
But the truth is it's so hard when you're in the thick of it and these sweet pictures never tell the real story:
that I was exhausted from not sleeping much the night before,
that I wanted to wean my baby,
that I didn't understand why he wasn't sleeping the night,
that I drank too much coffee,
that my body was always aching,
that their tiny hands reaching out felt so unwanted,
that I felt guilty for feeling so touched out,
that my poor sweet little girl had to grow up too fast because mommy could barely cope,
that I just needed some sleep...
and they both obliged for an hour or two.
I can't believe that it's been a year since launching Welcome Mama. I know my following here isn't huge and that my social media presence borders on Corny 2002. But in 12 short months (and 5 focused hours of my attention) welcomemama.com has provided thousands of local families and professionals with holistic resources.
I cannot tell you how happy this makes me and how excited I feel when I meet someone who says, "Oh! You're Welcome Mama?! That's your page!"
Sometimes I'm not sure where this is going, but so long as other consumers have the same needs that I had 6 years ago, Welcome Mama is here to stay. Thanks for your continued support and incredible ideas that are helping to shape this little project.
Please make sure to visit the site when you get a chance and stay up-to-date on the Welcome Mama events tab. We have some life-changing, empowering events coming our way this summer, ones you don't want to miss.
***Check out our Top links:
Support groups: https://welcomemama.weebly.com/support-groups.html
***Check out local summer events:
June 23rd: Buffalo NY Climb Out of the Darkness Walk for Postpartum Mental Health 2018
June 24th: 4th Trimester Bodies Project Buffalo, NY Gathering + Photoshoot, hosted by Village.
July 28th: January Harshe is Coming to B-Lo
Have a story you want to share, know a professional who should be listed, have a business you want included? Have suggestions? Want to be interviewed for the upcoming podcast that's going to make you laugh and cry?
DM or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for your support,
I don't even know where to start. The past week just flew by without consulting me. Last Thursday I had the honor of attending the Postpartum Resource Center of New York's Lisa Mary Reilly Visioning Educational Series with The Rochester Postpartum Wellness Coalition for Maternal Mental Health Week. The guest speaker was Cheryl Tatano Beck, DNSc, CNM, FAAN and the discussion focused on birth trauma.
Cheryl has focused her research on developing a program on postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. Using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, she has extensively researched disorders that effect millions on women across the globe. Based on the findings from her series of qualitative studies, Cheryl has developed the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS) which is published by Western Psychological Services.
I'm not sure what compelled me to figure out childcare and drive 90 minutes to attend this conference. Interest in my own mental health? Feeling compelled to continue advocating in different ways? The more I learn about other women's experiences, the more compassion and understanding I have. PTSD in childbirth is real. It doesn't just effect women, their partners, and their children, but also their birth worker, nurses, and obstetricians. Not necessarily mind blowing, but not a topic that we discuss enough of.
Through this lunch and learn I was able to meet a few ladies who are pretty infamous with anyone who listens to podcasts. I'm just jumping on the podcast bandwagon and binge listening to episodes from these two professionals.
I introduced myself nervously to people towards the end of our time together. I met Adriana Lozada, a birth doula for the past 11 years. She's been producing an awesome podcast for 3! I couldn't believe that I had never heard of her work, because she's awesome....and world famous....and based right in Rochester. Go check out The Birthful podcast and make sure you listen to her episode with Cheryl Tantano Beck.
When I said hello to Diane Cassidy towards the end of our seminar, she said, "I do a podcast with the Badass Breastfeeder." I blinked a few times, kind of tired from the drive and my waking up around 1AM. I said, "Oh? I don't think I've heard of that. Wait. THE Badass Breastfeeder?!?!"
I got to meet co-host of Badass Breastfeeder's podcast, Diane Cassidy, IBCLC and owner of Diane Cassidy Consulting!?
Pictured here are from left to right (back row): Molly McDermott, Doula & Certified Prenatal/Postpartum Yoga; Lindsay Conley, Community Outreach Work Group Chair – WNY PMAD Task Force; Nancy Owen, RN; Sonia Murdock, Executive Director, Postpartum Resource Center of New York; Special Guest Speaker, Cheryl Tatano Beck, DNSc, CNM, FAAN; Gaila Harriff, CD (DONA), PCD (DONA), CLC (Healthy Child); Diane Cassidy, MS, IBCLC, ALC, LLE; Pictured here are from left to right (front row): Amy Creamer, LMHC; Jessica Fowler, LCSW; Alexa Weeks, LMSW;
Blows my mind that I moved to this city 18 years ago!! 18 years ago I rented a sunny 1 bedroom apartment with hardwood floors in Elmwood Village. I had this idea that I wanted to change the world and teach in the inner city. That gig didn't work out, but fostered my lifelong commitment to advocacy, community involvement, and doing things that make me feel good.
Driving into the city this morning for @calming_nature_doula's #brunchforbumps I realized how fucking awesome life is and the different directions it takes you in while still maintaining constant themes, if you're lucky.
Hi. I'm Lindsay. Daughter, sister, wife, mother and collector of useless (and useful) information.