Clearing the Air

5 Apr

The truth is, dear readers, I have not been honest with you or with myself for the last couple of months.

I have been busy – no doubt. But the truth is that I’ve started at least 10 posts in the last month. And I haven’t been able to bring myself to publish a single one.

And the reason is because I let someone else take away my voice.

These days I have a lot of readers from different places. People find me when browsing through parenting blogs on wordpress, or by finding a couple of my satirical “miscarriages suck monkey balls” posts through google, or through a facebook share, or a tag search.

But the core of this blog started as a part of a small, niche blogging community of women living with infertility and pregnancy loss. Known affectionately as the ALI community (adoption, loss, infertility). I “cut official ties” to that community for my own sanity by no longer participating in blog rolls, link exchanges, awards, and the like. But I am still a loyal reader (and friend) to a lot of women who I found there, and I know that many of you found me through there.

I cut ties because the fact is that that the ALI blogosphere- though an often beautiful community that has saved me more times than I can count, can sometimes be cruel and judgemental. And I no longer wanted to conform to what was “expected of me” through it.

I have once actually quit this blog because of those expectations. I am very happy that I came back, and also very happy that I made the conscious decision to stop conforming to one small circle’s expectations.

That being said – a month and a half ago, I was once again exposed to the cruel and judgemental side of the community, and as a result, I have found myself silenced once again in this space.

And though I was considering doing it again, I don’t want to abandon ship.

This blog has too many loyal followers who I don’t want to abandon. This blog tells a complete story. That story is not over. Not even close. So there’s no reason to end it now. I like it here. I’d like to stay.

So I have decided that rather than keep my silence – I will hit “detonate” on a bridge  that I never wanted burned. So I can clear the air and reclaim my voice.

I don’t like airing dirty laundry in this forum. In fact – I hate it. But in this case, if I want to keep this space safe for me, I have no other choice.

This is about me reclaiming something I was labelled, so I can talk about it and address it without the petty bullshit. This is about me admitting something so I can take this space back.

So I’m going to recount a story here. And unlike the woman I am talking about, I will keep any details that may reveal her identity a secret. Because this is about me, not her. The only way you will know who I am talking about is if you happen to read both of our blogs, and put two and two (and two) together.

I am not mentioning names. I do not want this to become a war. I hate this petty bullshit. If you happen to read us both, and you figure out who I’m talking about, good for you. But please keep it to yourself.

I had a friend. I met her through the blogs. I never met her face to face but after Nadav died, I don’t know how, I don’t know why – she became my wailing wall. She was there for me in a way that nobody else in my life could have been. We talked every day, sometimes twice or three times. I would cry to her over skype at 2am. Often. She was a huge reason that I survived the year following his loss.

When I got pregnant with Bunny I emotionally detached from the world. I didn’t talk to anyone. I couldn’t. I was literally in moment-to-moment survival mode. I explained this to her, and at the same time felt like a crappy friend. Especially since she got pregnant shortly after me. But as I slowly got out of the fog, our friendship was slowly rekindled.

This woman and I had our babies at around the same time, through very different paths. We shared experiences and pictures when we could, then one day – we had a fight.

We were both tired. We were both dealing with our own shit. We fell victim to the mommy wars.

I stepped away, giving her space, but clearly leaving the door open for her to come back. Some time had passed but to be perfectly honest – I kind of figured we would both get in the whole parenting groove and then talk it out when we were good and ready. That’s how I usually handle this type of stuff. There are few fights I’ve had that have been deal breakers. Apparently, this woman felt differently.

Then – TWO DAYS after Nadav’s birthday, (TWO DAYS!) this woman published a blog post. In that post, she doesn’t name me. But any person with half a brain who read us both could figure out in a minute who she was talking about. She didn’t go to great lengths to disguise my identity.

I even received several private messages about the post, asking for my side of the story. In fact – that was the way I found out she had posted. I hadn’t opened my blog reader in ages.

My readership is much broader than hers – but we have plenty of the same readers who are a part of the ALI community.

In her post – this woman published one-sided lies about the fight we had. She put words in my mouth which I never said. She claimed I “walked away from the friendship” when she in fact was the one who was abandoning ship by publishing the post. She said things about me that weren’t true and were incredibly hurtful.

But I don’t care about those lies.I didn’t feel the need to address them – especially not here.

What I did – and still do – care about was that this woman betrayed a confidence of mine. Something that I only slightly alluded to on this blog soon after Bunny’s birth, but was not ready to fully share with the world yet, as I was still working through it.

Something that I told her in confidence, which in her blog post she passed on as her own “observation”.

She said it in a condescending, holier-than-thou tone which took away the power of it. She used it as a “reason” that I said all those things she claims I said but were never said (in reality they were perceived and inferred).

In writing out her own agenda, she took away my right to tell you about it myself. Yes – there are a hundreds of you who have never come across her blog. But there are enough of you who have. That know enough to know she was talking about me. That made what she wrote a betrayal of confidence.

And she did it less than two days after Nadav’s birthday.

Exactly at the moment that I was getting ready to share it with you.

I had been planning a long post about it. It was sitting in my drafts, waiting for one last pass before publishing. Instead, I deleted it.

I was so afraid of confirming the link between me and this woman’s post. I didn’t publish because I was afraid it would eventually lead to me having to write something like what I’m writing right now. Instead of that post – the post I needed to publish – I wrote another post in a deliberate attempt to distance myself from the situation. And I have barely written a lick since.

She took away the power of what I wanted to say. And she did it at a time when I was finally ready to “come out” so-to-speak, and unpack my experience here.

She took it away by making it her “observation”, rather than something I admitted to her in confidence. She took it away from me, by not letting me tell you myself.

And now I’m taking it back:

Before Bunny was born, I was scared of postpartum depression. I luckily dodged that bullet.

Instead, I was hit with the train that is postpartum anxiety.

I have been living with it, dealing with it, and trying to come to terms with what that means since Bunny was 4 days old and I had my first panic attack.

It colors all of my decisions. It makes me question myself as a mother. It makes some things a million times harder than they should be.

Postpartum anxiety sucks.

And I have it.

And it was MY RIGHT to keep that information to myself until I was ready to share it and process it. And unpack it. Because this is the space where it should be unpacked. Nowhere else.

And it’s been waiting in a suitcase in a corner because I let somebody take away my voice.

I have no anger toward this woman any more. I already said what I had to say to her in an email, and I have nothing else to say to her.

I’m saddened because of the way she chooses to deal with the people in her life who love her. I am not the first in the line of abandoned friends in her wake. I hope I’m the last, but I doubt it. I truly hope she finds peace and happiness in her life. I told her as much.

I am saddened because she was a friend to me at a time when being a friend to me was an almost insurmountable task. For that I will always be grateful. And I profoundly feel the loss of her friendship. Though now I no longer desire it.

But I refuse to let this drama stop me from expressing myself here. I am not abandoning ship. I am reclaiming my space right here and right now.

So now it’s out in the open air. Please respect my wishes and if you understand who I’m talking about – keep it to yourself.

And let’s move on from this. The air is clear.

I am Mo, and I have postpartum anxiety.

Let’s talk about it, shall we?

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25 Responses to “Clearing the Air”

  1. Kathryn April 5, 2014 at 02:11 #

    Yes! Post away about the realness of motherhood, just like you did about infertility. People crave the disclosure of other’s emotions and experiences. It makes us all feel less alone. My coworker/friend had severe post partum anxiety. She had thankfully shared that much with me before I got pregnant.
    I look forward to reading about YOU!

  2. Amy April 5, 2014 at 02:21 #

    I swear, Mo, sometimes our experiences lately are so similar it scares me. I, too, developed PPA (and PPD again, bastard) after my rainbow boy was born last year. My 11 weeks off with him tucking sucked in so many ways. I pretty much stopped blogging all together, and am about to restart. I switched drugs from Zo.loft to Pa.xil a couple of weeks ago, and I swear I finally, finally feel like parts of me are back now. My son is 9.5 months old today, and it’s taken this long. I had so many lurkers on my blog, many of them DH’s family, that I have never felt safe enough to be really honest in my own space. But now that I’m back, I’m taking my space back. They don’t support my journey, hardly interact with my son at all, and said NOTHING when my niece was stillborn 2 weeks ago. ENOUGH! PPA has been so much worse and so much squirellier for me, and really difficult to see in myself, bt. I have felt the impacts. And I realize it had me so paranoid of sharing how I’ve really felt because I feel like I should have been more grateful, that others expect that Asher has somehow undone almost 6 years of infertility and the loss of my twins (and myself), but he doesn’t, and can’t. All this to say, girl, I’m 110% behind you always.

  3. Christina April 5, 2014 at 03:03 #

    Share it! Take back your voice, take back some control. By putting it out there, you’re not letting the anxiety be in charge. Having a history of anxiety and depression, I understand your fear of PPD- I had that fear too. I’m sorry you suffered so long in almost complete hiding because of it! I think there is already a bunch of anxiety that comes with being a new parent. I couldn’t imagine having additional anxiety issues on top.. You are an incredible mom and very strong!

  4. Courtney April 5, 2014 at 03:13 #

    Good lord, why do people go and post things about other people on their blogs, or twitter, or FB and think that it’s ok since they didn’t name the person? If even ONE person MAY know who you’re talking about – don’t say/write it. Period. Something similar, but less serious, happened to me on twitter and it still upsets me. Why, people, WHY?

    I am proud of you for owning this, even though you owe us no explanation. I’m sorry you experienced this. And I’m sorry you’re dealing with PPA. I can imagine it makes many things very hard.

    Hang in there, friend. I want to say it will get better…. But parenting is a worrisome sport without PPA… so it’s probably always going to be more worrisome for you.

    Ugh.

  5. Karin April 5, 2014 at 04:12 #

    I have full on post partum anxiety too…. Still! Almost five years after my twins were born. NO idea who you are speaking of,but eff ‘em. You rock mo…. And are better than that crap. Thanks for sharing… Much love and hugs

  6. pjsarecomfyn April 5, 2014 at 04:19 #

    Well I am glad you are reclaiming your news and I am proud of you for sharing it. Talking about it will no doubt help lots of people.

  7. BabycrazyKiwi April 5, 2014 at 04:30 #

    Mo you are an amazing woman! What you have endured is ridiculous. I enjoy your blog because you are real and you tell it like it is. You make it possible for others to know that they are not alone just by being you. Keep being you, I’ll be a faithful reader, even if I don’t always comment.
    Take care :)

  8. SciChick April 5, 2014 at 05:26 #

    I always feel a little sad when I hear the story of 2 friends who were valuable to each other falling apart, but it happens far too often to too many people, myself included.

    I’m sorry that somebody who was that close to you hurt you, and I’m glad you are talking about what you want to talk about. Screw everybody else, you say what you have/want to say, and that’s that.

    I had a judgy comment, followed by an incredibly hostile comment on my blog: I allowed the judgy one and responded to it, but the hostile one was instantly deleted, and I continued to delete anything that person said thereafter, and I paid no heed to it.

    This is your space: debates are fine, but no one should be allowed to be confrontational here.

  9. Suz April 5, 2014 at 05:47 #

    :(

    Wow. I’m sorry you’re going through this. It sucks, and then to have a big ole’ PPA cherry on top of some friend breaking up with you bullshit.. I hate it for you. You’re taking the high road here and you’re continuing to be an inspiration for others. Bunny’s lucky to have an awesome mom, PPA and all.

    (hugs)

  10. St. Elsewhere April 5, 2014 at 07:43 #

    I diagnosed Post-Partum Anxiety for myself. I know it sucks. Be well.

    I hate it when close friendships go sour.

  11. Lanie April 5, 2014 at 08:10 #

    Hey there. I’m a long time lurker, and just recently started following. First time comment. I have no idea who you are talking about, but I too had post Partum anxiety/OCD. Just thought I’d let you know you are not alone. The feelings started to subside when my daughter was about 11 mos, and I got on a small dose of Zoloft. Thinking I can quit the Zoloft and cut my caffeine in half and be okay. Feels so good to get well. You’ll get there!! :) I hope you post more about your experience. I started reading you regularly before and that’s when you quit so don’t stop now. :)

  12. expectantmummy April 5, 2014 at 10:26 #

    Oh lovely big hugs to you. I’m so sorry that the chance to bring this up in your own time has effectively been taken away from you. I have full blown post natal/ partum depression but suffered with anxiety attacks for many years. It is so hard to fathom just what our brains are doing putting us through this when we should be deliriously happy and being the perfect mummy. Thinking of you x

  13. nickeecoco April 5, 2014 at 15:46 #

    I’m so sorry to hear about the friend and the postpartum anxiety. PPA is something I am acutely aware of being a possibility for me, and I think so many could benefit from your being open about it here. Glad you finally are able to come to this space to discuss it.

  14. journeyformybaby April 5, 2014 at 19:56 #

    I dont know if you read my blog or not but I have been dealing with postpartum anxiety too. I was scared to death of having postpartum depression. NOPE! Instead my hormones were like “here! How about a whopping dose of anxiety!’ And it sucks!! But hang in there. It will get better…. i think.

  15. jjiraffe April 5, 2014 at 22:28 #

    I’m so sorry. I’m glad you have chosen to speak out about Post Partum Anxiety. I imagine this is fairly common to those parenting after infertility and yet I don’t think I’ve read anything about it. Thank you for having the courage to speak up and reclaim your own experience.

  16. Daryl April 6, 2014 at 01:17 #

    I’m sorry that happened to you. Good for you for taking your story back and giving others a place to talk about their experiences too. I’m sure PPA makes all this mommying stuff even harder, and I hope you find the right balance of medication/therapy/whatever to get the help you need to feel better.

  17. Theresa April 6, 2014 at 03:45 #

    Oy. I just don’t get people. You sure have dealt with a lot of unnecessary crap in your journey on top of everything else. Keep blogging friend!

  18. Esperanza April 6, 2014 at 04:26 #

    I’m so sorry you’re struggling with this Mo. That sounds impossibly hard. I hope it gets better over time.

    I’m also sorry to hear that you lost a friend over this. Friendships are so hard, and it’s so heartbreaking to lose a person who once meant so much to me. It’s a very real loss.

    Abiding with you.

  19. chon April 6, 2014 at 07:37 #

    Honestly I am so over people doing this to people who they consider friends on social media. If you have an issue take it to that person don’t make them the subject of a blog post and then force the other person (in this case you Mo) have to defend yourself. It is so stupid. Gosh sometimes I am so relieved I have a small readership and avoid this stuff. I am sorry. You have had a crappier than crap journey to becoming a mum and you just so don’t need to have to deal with this as well.

  20. Amy April 7, 2014 at 01:43 #

    I’m so sorry that your friend turned out to be a shitty not-friend. And I wish anxiety could just go fuck itself…repeatedly. I’ve recently had a resurgence of it myself, and my usual coping mechanism is off-limits due to humiliating bullshit reasons, so I shall grind my teeth in tribute to and solidarity with you. Ugh. ’tis the WORST. Which randomly reminds me, I owe you an email on another sorta-related but sorta-not-related subject – no drama, I promise!

  21. Lise April 7, 2014 at 13:51 #

    Ugh that sucks :( All of it. Losing friends is bad enough but it’s worse when it becomes public like that. As for the PPA I agree with a previous poster that it must be fairly common for people who has suffered infertility and loss (like we didn’t suffer enough). Becoming so aware of the fragility of life is not really a good thing for your sanity.

  22. Mrs T April 7, 2014 at 17:31 #

    I suffer from anxiety myself which I always just managed on my own, but post-adoption it just got worse and worse. Good for you for speaking up about it and for taking back control in making this announcement. I’m sorry the friendship went south.

  23. Kristin April 8, 2014 at 07:51 #

    I am so damned proud of you, Mo! I am also so sorry you went through all this bullshit.

  24. theyellowblanket April 21, 2014 at 19:15 #

    Mo, I’m so glad that you are who you are. You are such an inspiration. You make everyone who reads your blog feel so normal. I am also going through PPA and PPOCD, so I truly feel and know what you are going through. Sending you huge hugs!

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  1. PPA Part 1: Empty | Mommy Odyssey - April 7, 2014

    […] you all for your support on my last post. “Coming out” so-to-speak has brought on a renewed barrage of inspiration. This is a […]

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