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After my first pregnancy, I was very unhappy with my body. I stopped eating healthy and my weight yo-yoed constantly. When my son was 2 years old, I found out I was pregnant again and I cried. I wasn’t ready to add another child to our mess. I was a nervous wreck. I even kept losing weight a few months into my 2nd pregnancy. It got so bad that my nurse practitioner encouraged me to start taking meds to control my anxiety. Then halfway through the pregnancy, I noticed that my navel was sticking out more than the first time around and it was tender to the touch. My OB said it was an umbilical hernia (it wasn’t) and would probably get better after I delivered the baby (it didn’t). The discomfort got worse as the pregnancy went on. When I was in labor, the contraction pain was all in my back because of the muscle damage. Two months postpartum when I got permission to exercise, I began with a workout video called Six Week Six Pack. I lost a few pounds, but my stomach looked even worse. So I exercised harder! Sadly it took a few years for me to learn about Diastasis Recti and realize how much worse I had made things. When I started seeing a physical therapist, she was appalled. For months I was not allowed to lift anything over 5 pounds and absolutely no sit-ups. I’ve been wearing a brace and doing pilates and water aerobics to try and heal the damage I did to my core muscles. It’s exhausting and frustrating, but my stomach actually looks like a stomach again! I probably won’t ever have a six pack, but my kids love my squishy belly.

~Age: 33
~Number of pregnancies and births: 2
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 8 and 5

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Categories: 5+ Years Postpartum, Belly, Diastasis Recti, Mom over 30, Postpartum, Second Pregnancy, Submissions
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This is technically off topic for SOAM, but it’s relevant to way too many people so I hope you don’t mind me sharing this here. Skip to the last paragraph if you want to go directly to the BlogHer post I’ve written.

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A few weeks ago I posted this as part of the SOAM Weekly Photo. I was struggling with a lower-than-usual bout of depression (I still haven’t fully recovered, which is largely why I’ve been so absent here – I’m sorry, guys. My semester ends tomorrow and I’m hoping I can find sanity shortly). As it turned out, this month is Mental Health Awareness Month so I figure my brain is just celebrating. WTG, brain.

Just two days after I posted that photo on Instagram, we had a discussion in my Interpersonal Communications class regarding depression. That professor is, problematic, to say the least, and the discussion wasn’t any better. The book she uses was written in 1971 and not significantly updated in the last 45 years. Not only do we have a lot more information about depression (and many other subjects) now, but the language itself needs to be updated simply to reflect what we’ve learned in the last 45 years about communicating with people. Namely: believe them when they say they are struggling with A Thing. Even if it’s a lie, it’s literally none of your business. But most of the time? NOT A LIE.

This particular chapter and discussion was talking about patterns of behavior that people fall into and how to choose to change them. 45 years later and we now understand that depression is not something people can just decide not to have. (BELIEVE ME I WOULD IF I COULD.)

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I gave the professor the benefit of the doubt and asked her to clarify. After all, maybe she didn’t agree with that phrasing.

She did.

Other students began to agree with me and explain that they felt this was promoting the stigma rather than being helpful. But she didn’t relent.

She didn’t know that I struggle with depression, but she was essentially talking me that my depression is just an emotionally manipulative behavior that I use because I am “rewarded” with things like not being given responsibilities.

Today on BlogHer, you can go read my response. It is probably the rawest thing I have ever written and published because I was so fed up with the refusal to empathize that I bluntly shared my personal history in order to try to explain how depression is, in fact, really a real thing. Really. Check it out. Share it. If even one person can finally understand that this isn’t a choice I make in any way, my vulnerability will be completely worth it.

Categories: My Own Ramblings, News
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mothers day 2016

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you.

Happy Mother’s Day to the motherless mothers and to those whose mothers are not safe enough to have a relationship with.

Happy Mother’s Day to those mothers who have lost their babies or who have had trouble conceiving. Happy Mother’s Day to all the adoptive and foster mothers.

Happy Mother’s Day to those who have unofficially foster-mothered those in need around them.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the single moms who don’t have anyone to guide the kids in celebrating them. Happy Mother’s Day to those whose spouses cannot, for whatever reason, guide the kids in celebrating them. Happy Mother’s Day to those mothers away from their babies today because they are in the military or because of custody issues or any other reason.

Mother’s Day can be beautiful but it can also be difficult. I am sending my love out to all of you struggling today. You are amazing and wonderful and beautiful inside and out.

Categories: My Own Ramblings, News
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