The Medicated Mommy Mondays Part 4: What Gets Me Fired Up?

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Today will be the last of The Medicated Mommy Mondays series. On this last Monday of July, I want to tell you about what fires me up.

  • 1 in 7 moms will have a postpartum mood disorder, but most of us don't know that.
  • Only 15% of these moms receive treatment.
  • Many moms still feel as if they have to pretend motherhood is easy and amazing all the time. 
  • The lack of education about postpartum depression and its risk factors.
  • Moms feeling isolated and alone.
  • Moms feeling guilty for taking care of themselves.
  • Moms feeling like they have to be anyone but their authentic selves.
  • Anything other than acceptance of a mom's choice for how she feeds her baby.
  • Moms making other moms feel bad or judged.
  • Any form of mom-shaming.

Everything above constantly motivates me to continue doing what I do. I'm not stopping until no mom ever feels as if she needs to struggle or suffer in silence.

What fires you up?

If you missed any of The Medicated Mommy Mondays Series:

Part 1: Why I Do What I Do...

Part 2: Who Am I Here For?

Part 3: What Are My Values?

The Medicated Mommy Mondays Part 3: What Are My Values?

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Happy Monday! Last week I shared all about who I am here for. Spoiler alert: I'm here for you moms! Today I want to talk about my values. Here is what you can expect when you read or hear anything from me, you're favorite Medicated Mommy. The Medicated Mommy promises to always be:

AUTHENTIC The Medicated Mommy doesn’t pretend to be anything other than who she is: imperfect, exhausted, deeply flawed, and a mom who kicked postpartum depression’s ass, pops an antidepressant every morning, sucks at Pinterest, and feels like she is “killing it” on some days while on others hides in her closet crying, binging on cookies, and asking herself, “WTF?“ She’s here to give you the real dirt on everything motherhood, including postpartum depression.

UNFILTERED The Medicated Mommy is the best mom friend everyone wishes they had, always saying out loud what other moms are thinking but might be too afraid to admit. She always tells it like it is, no sugar-coating, no pretending, and maybe with some f-bombs thrown in.

UNAPOLOGETIC The Medicated Mommy boldly owns her story, who she is as a mom, and talks honestly about her struggles, postpartum depression, and other taboo subjects of motherhood without worrying what others think, without fear, and without apology.

FUNNY The Medicated Mommy injects some much-needed humor, wit, and sometimes snark into her writing about the serious topic of postpartum depression and has no issues laughing at herself and the missteps she often takes on the road of motherhood.

SUPPORTIVE The Medicated Mommy is always here for you every step of the way. She’s here to remind you, you’re not alone and help you feel understood as you navigate the ups and downs of motherhood and the confusing, overwhelming, heart-wrenching experience of postpartum depression.

RELATABLE The Medicated Mommy is trying to survive motherhood one day at a time while keeping her sense of humor and sanity intact. She has awesome days and awful days. The Medicated Mommy is all of us. She gets it and she gets you.

The Medicated Mommy believes: 

YOU’RE NOT ALONE 1 in 7 women experience some form of a postpartum mood disorder. If you have postpartum depression, you are in good company, the company of hundreds of thousands of new moms each year. You need to know there is nothing wrong with you, you are not a horrible mother, and you will get better with the proper treatment. The Medicated Mommy wants all women to feel comfortable speaking up and asking for help so they can receive the treatment they need. No one should ever have to suffer in silence.

NO MORE PRETENDING The Medicated Mommy doesn’t believe in pretending motherhood is easy or that she is the perfect mother who never struggles. She’s here to tell you the moms who do are lying. She would rather spend her valuable time being herself and not worrying or caring about what others think.

GUILT HAS NO PLACE WHEN IT COMES TO MOM’S SELF-CARE AND HAPPINESS You can’t give your children what you don’t have. Just like on an airplane when they instruct you to put your oxygen mask on first before you help secure your child’s, The Medicated Mommy believes you must make time to take care of yourself, find what brings you joy, and nurture it. A happy, healthy mommy is the best gift you can give to your little ones and there is never any reason to feel guilty about that.

IT’S TIME TO END THE STIGMA It’s 2017, but many moms still feel the stigma from having a postpartum mood disorder following the birth of their babies. The Medicated Mommy believes it’s time to dial down the shame by openly sharing our stories, reassuring moms that there is nothing wrong with them, being real about the messy parts of motherhood, and treating postpartum depression as a common illness just like any other that requires treatment to get better.

EVERYONE CAN HELP Many moms experience postpartum depression and other struggles in isolation, without the positive, ongoing support of people around them. Everyone can help during this traumatic time: from family and friends to medical professionals, businesses and services. The Medicated Mommy is committed to offering advice and content for how family and friends can support mom while also advocating for professionals to educate women about postpartum depression and its risk factors and create a safe, judgement-free environment for moms to seek the help they need to get better and ease the path forward for all.

Next week will be the final Medicated Mommy Monday so come back to learn all about what fires me up!

The Medicated Mommy Mondays Part 2: Who Am I Here For?

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I'm back! Today I'm sharing all about who I'm here for. I'm here for any mom or mom-to-be who wants a real, honest, refreshing, relatable, laugh out loud perspective on the rollercoaster of motherhood. I want to be your best mom friend, the one who tells you the truth. The one who makes you feel like you can share your truth. The one who holds your hand while you struggle. The one who helps you find the path to happy and healthy if you get sick.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of new moms suffer from postpartum depression and feel as if they are crazy and the only ones. Even if you’re not one of these moms, you will still often feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and extremely unqualified for this job. You will sometimes find yourself wishing for your old life back and searching for your lost sense of humor. The secret is, so does every other mom, but most of them never admit it. Many of them fill your social media feeds with picture perfect images that make motherhood look easy and fun all day long. Motherhood is hard for everyone and anyone who says otherwise is full of shit. I'm here for all of these moms. For every mom.

And if you’re not a mom or never had postpartum depression, I'm here for you too. We all need useful advice and tips for how to help and support the moms in our lives who are struggling.

Check back next week to learn more about The Medicated Mommy's values!

 

 

The Medicated Mommy Mondays Part 1: Why I Do What I Do...

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I know it's summer. If you're kids are home with you, you're verging on braindead. You probably don't want to read anything that makes you have to think to much. There's a reason they call those books we've been downloading "beach reads." If you're like me, it's hard to motivate for much of anything besides sitting on the couch, sitting at the pool, sitting in the playroom watching my son play airport. Lots of sitting. I thought I would take this opportunity to share more about your favorite Medicated Mommy!

For the next four Mondays, I'm going to be sharing more about who I am and why I write this blog and talk so openly and honestly about motherhood and postpartum depression. I promise to keep it really short. You don't feel like reading too much. I don't feel like writing too much. Because...summer...and I have a four-year old to keep busy...

Here's why I do what I do. Why I write and speak to candidly about the struggles of motherhood and my postpartum depression journey. 

I'm on a mission is to normalize the struggles of motherhood and the experience of postpartum depression so no mom feels alone or as if she ever needs to pretend of suffer in silence. I'm here to reassure all moms they are not alone and give them permission to accept themselves as the amazing moms they already are, not the ones society says they should be. I want to help all moms suffering from postpartum depression and any mom who is struggling know they are normal, not alone, and will get better with treatment because I did. I want to be someone who says to other moms suffering, “I know it’s dark down there. I know how you feel. I’ve been there too. You’re not alone.” I want to share the lessons I’ve learned from fighting and surviving postpartum depression – the importance of self-care, the importance of accepting the mom I am, not the one I thought I would be (based on social media and the current culture of motherhood that says you must do it all, be everything, and strive for perfection), and the importance of surrounding myself with authentic people who accept me for me. I want to continue to share my story and speak out about postpartum depression with the goal of helping to eliminating the stigma surrounding maternal mental health. I believe honesty and courage are contagious and when I share, you feel like you can share too, without the fear of being judged or shamed. 

Next Monday I will be sharing all about who I'm here for!

Short Answers From Lindsay Gerszt, Postpartum Depression Survivor, and Executive Producer of the Documentary Film, When The Bough Breaks

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Meet Lindsay Gerszt, warrior mom and executive producer of When the Bough Breaks.

After fighting a six-year long battle with postpartum depression, Lindsay Gerszt decided to share her personal journey in the newly released documentary about postpartum depression, When the Bough Breaks. This powerful and necessary film, executive produced and narrated by Brooke Shields, explores postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis through interviews with survivors, family members who have lost loved ones, mothers who have committed infanticide, and medical professionals.

When 1 in 7 women suffer from some form of postpartum depression, we must do more. Lindsay has committed herself to raising awareness about postpartum depression and breaking the stigma surrounding maternal mental health so no mom has to suffer in silence and every woman receives the treatment she needs to get healthy and happy.

As a fellow postpartum depression survivor, it was my honor to connect with Lindsay and learn more about why she chose to share her path to recovery on film and what she hopes to accomplish with the release of this documentary.

 

Deciding to make this documentary  I decided to make this documentary because I suffered from postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and postpartum OCD. I lost many friends and felt completely alone. It broke my heart to think about all the women who suffer in silence and don’t have a voice. I wanted to give all of us a voice in this film.

Sharing such a personal journey on film Sharing my personal story in the film was very difficult. I was concerned about the stigma attached to mental illness, which I have suffered from since I was a small child. While we filmed, I decided not to think about the outcome or about people seeing me be so vulnerable. I couldn’t.  The idea of the world seeing me so open and honest was too hard at the time. We show me in some very real and scary situations (especially getting TMS therapy). After the film was completed and I saw the final version I couldn’t have been happier. It was so worth sharing my story and helping fight the stigma.

Life post-filming Depression is a battle that I will always have to fight. I work hard every day to see the light in the darkness. Since we made and completed the film, with all the different treatments I’ve had, I learned what is the right fit for me. I am someone who will always have to take medication to live and I am okay with that. For what I went through and continue to go through, I am doing very well and I’ve learned to change the negative moments into learning experiences.

The most difficult part of the filming process  The postpartum psychosis interviews.  I had not known enough about PPP or had personally known anyone who had been affected by it. Meeting the husbands, the children and the mothers who suffered changed the way I view EVERYTHING. These were people just like the rest of us who suffered such pain and in some cases, such extreme loss because of this unfair illness that they had no control over. I cry to this day thinking about my dear friend Naomi Knoles and will never stop telling her story to help raise awareness for postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.

Being a new mom is overwhelming as it is. There is a lack of sleep, a loss of your old life, a change in your relationship with your partner, a body that has changed and so much more.  If you are having a hard time remember, it will get better and you will be ok. Open up.  Talk to people you trust and if you are having feelings that frighten you or concern you please reach out for help. You are not alone!

The power of the film’s survivors and their families coming together  The scene at the end when many of the survivors and their families came together was an incredible moment. We hadn’t seen some of them in quite a while and to hear everyone open up and talk about what sharing their story was like for them was very powerful. We saw fighters, warriors and heroes. We saw family members showing the support that we all need. It was one of my favorite scenes we filmed in the entire film.

The purpose of When the Bough Breaks I hope that with the release of When The Bough Breaks we keep this important conversation going. When you think about it there is nothing more important than a new mother’s or father’s mental health. We need our moms and dads to be well so they can take care of their babies. With up to 1 in 7 new mothers experiencing some form of a perinatal mood disorder, we need everyone to see this film and educate themselves. Know the signs and what to look for. Most importantly, we hope that the film helps break the stigma! If you suffer from PPD, you are not “crazy.” Don’t be afraid to share your story. If you open up, you will see how many others will too.

Keeping the conversation about maternal mental health going  The conversation about maternal mental health should never stop. Keep opening up and sharing your story. Keep asking how the new mom you know is doing. We need to make sure all doctors, nurses and hospitals learn and understand perinatal mood disorders. We need to make sure that when the baby is seen by his or her pediatrician that the doctor is also looking at the mother to make sure she is doing okay. Keep talking and fighting to create awareness.  And please share When The Bough Breaks so we can further help create awareness, help break the stigma, and give our moms a voice!

When the Bough Breaks is available now to stream on Netflix. Please watch and share this important film about postpartum depression. This documentary isn’t just for new moms. It’s for everyone. These moms are our daughters, granddaughters, sisters, and friends. It’s up to all of us to educate ourselves about postpartum depression, the signs to look for, and the best ways to support the new moms we know and love.

Do you know a new mom struggling with postpartum depression? Click here to receive your free copy of my WTF are Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: The Friends and Family Guide For How to Help, What to Do and What Not to Say. BIO: Lindsay Lipton Gerszt was born and raised in Miami, Florida. In 1997, she graduated with a BA from the University of Miami, where she majored in Communication and Sociology. Because of her love for music and the arts, in 1997, she began her career in Los Angeles at Capitol Records doing A&R. In 1999, she worked at MCA records and in 2003 she worked as a music manager at The Firm. Lindsay had the pleasure of working with, managing and doing PR for some of the biggest artists in the music industry.

In 2007, she stepped back from the music industry to begin her family. It was at this stage in her life that she came face to face with postpartum depression. She has now committed herself to raising awareness for PPD, it's many faces and the path to a healthy life and family. Her commitment to PPD has included working on the important film,When The Bough Breaks-a documentary about postpartum depression. This work has included fundraising, producing and telling her story, along with helping other women tell their story. This work has become her passion.

 

 

Stigma Sucks!

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Stigma sucks. Stigma is the reason so many moms don’t talk about postpartum depression. The reason they struggle in silence. The reason they don’t ask for help and get the treatment they need to get better. The reason they would rather pretend life is perfect. The reason they take their own lives. Did you know that of the hundreds of thousands of women who suffer from a postpartum mood disorder, only 15 percent of them get treated? How heartbreaking and outrageous is that? 1 in 7 women who give birth each year experience symptoms resulting from a postpartum mood disorder. That’s close to 1 million women annually having some form of mental illness after the birth of their babies and close to 850,000 women not receiving the help they need to get better. That’s way TOO MANY women. Postpartum Progresss, Inc. reports that more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses in a year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers disease, lupus, and epilepsy. I bet people with these illnesses usually admit they are sick and seek professional care.

Yet, women with postpartum depression, a real and treatable illness, deny themselves the support they need. Whether or not they realize their illness is temporary and gets better with treatment, they don’t want anyone to know how they are feeling. Why does this happen? The answer is: stigma. Why don’t all moms understand they have a common illness that so many other moms get too? Stigma. Why don’t they talk about their experiences after they do get better? Stigma. Why aren’t women educated about postpartum depression and its risk factors during pregnancy? Stigma.

When I got pregnant, I knew exactly the type of mother I would be. Unfortunately my vision of motherhood was based on the “Pinterest Mom.” Facebook and Instagram pictures of moms always smiling with and gushing over their children made me think that every mom experienced feelings of euphoria and an intense, all-consuming love when their babies were born. Even moms I knew would talk about the arrival of their baby and becoming a mother as the most amazing, magical moment of their lives.

I had no clue I might feel overwhelmed, exhausted, sad, anxious, and indifferent to my newborn because no one told me those feelings often come with new motherhood too. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel the magic when my son was born. Or why I thought I had made a terrible mistake becoming a mom. Or why I wanted to stay in bed for the rest of my life and had no interest in bonding with that adorable little boy in the next room. Why was everybody winning at motherhood while I miserably failed? What was wrong with me? And what would everyone else think about me when they learned about my feelings?

These negative beliefs are why so many women with postpartum depression keep it to themselves. Because of these fairy tale stories of motherhood they assume to be true, they think there is something wrong with them when their version doesn’t fit. They don’t want anyone to know they don’t feel flooded with joy about the arrival of their babies. They don’t want to admit they don’t immediately feel connected to their babies. They feel ashamed and don’t want to be judged, so they choose to suffer in silence and fake a smile instead.

What if we could change this? What if we started talking about postpartum depression more? What if we actively spread awareness about just how common maternal mental illness is and the treatment options that are available? What if we stopped pretending? What if we shared with each other the difficult, messy parts of motherhood and honestly acknowledged our struggles? What if we stopped believing moms are supposed to be perfect and capable of doing everything by themselves? What if we started promoting the idea that it’s okay to ask for help because raising a child actually does take a village and we all need to find ours?

We could bring awareness to the experience of having postpartum depression. We could lessen the stigma and eventually cause it to disappear. Moms wouldn’t have to be afraid of being judged for having a postpartum mood disorder. They wouldn’t feel ashamed. They wouldn’t feel alone. They would feel comfortable asking for help and accepting treatment. They would recognize their symptoms, understand the cause of their feelings, and know what to do about them. They would get better and want to share their experiences to help and educate others. Lives would be saved.

Various dictionaries define stigma as “a mark” of some sort. A mark of shame. A mark of discredit. A mark of disgrace. Let’s change the definition. Let’s be the definers because why should anyone else standing on the outside of our story—our struggle—our pain get even the slightest say in the meaning of what we are going through.

When almost one million moms experience some form of postpartum depression each year, it shows we are not alone. We are in amazing company. We are in it together. We can be brave together and strong for each other. We can swap out the mark of shame for the mark of a warrior mom. The mark of a woman who asks for help when she needs it, fights to get better, and courageously tells her story to normalize the struggle for those that come after her.