A Few of My Favorite Things

When a knit stitch pulls through smoothly, with satisfaction

The strength of a bond pulled taut, in spite of the miles



Sun on your face

A wind rushing through the trees,
upturned eyes searching for a brief blot of the sun,
finding an osprey soaring high above

An upsurge of soul,
a welling of emotion

Fleeting, yet profound

We must seek these moments for all they are worth.

Chopping Onions: The Truth is in Our Core

Jennifer Butler Basile:

Timely. Always, but especially today.

Originally posted on takingthemaskoff:


“Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”

If you take an onion and cut it as close to the roots as possible, without cutting the roots, it can grow larger and larger every time. We are like this, we grow and become wiser and more loving by giving away what we get, as long as we keep the roots. This is a lesson I never believed to be true, I thought how can you gain more by giving things away? I thought I needed to keep it all to myself. That is what we are taught. This is the story of the day I realized I was much like an onion.

These toasts and things are common at weddings. They are also common at graduations and…

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An addendum

In my post Thursday, I discussed the pitfalls of postpartum in dads.  There is a major one I erroneously omitted.

One more thing for postpartum moms to worry about

In all my talk about supporting dads in their postpartum world, I failed to think what such advice/discussion would do to a mom currently suffering from postpartum.  Though I’ve still got plenty of issues to sort out, I am no longer in the deep, dark depths of my postpartum period.  I have traveled far enough beyond it to be able to reflect upon what the experience was like for my husband.  In the midst of it, however, I couldn’t help myself – let alone another human.  I apologized for lashing out; I thanked him for his support; I commiserated when he said he didn’t know what to do.  But beyond that, there was nothing I could do for him.  Nothing except put myself back together.  And that took all my energy.

So all you women and mothers suffering from postpartum mood disorders out there, my last post was not meant to make you feel bad.  It was not meant to give you one more thing to feel shitty about.  To make you think you’ve ruined one more life.

Let me reiterate the point that it takes an entire community to surround and uplift the postpartum tribe.  It should not fall to you to do everything.

Yes, dad needs support, but you don’t have to be the only one to give it to him.  You may not be able to at all.  And that’s okay.

People outside your tight-knit trio need to help put you all back together.


Down in the Valley

When I first heard the idea of postpartum depression in fathers, I thought it was a bunch of hooey. I knew, with the interests I have and the topics I research, I should jump wholeheartedly into the facts of the phenomenon, but I harrumphed at the links and passed them by. Men simply and physiologically could not experience the hormonal onslaught and the horrific physical demands of the perinatal period. I felt that such attention on males would only distract from the already poorly represented female population of sufferers. Could they really have it so bad?

And then I participated in Postpartum Support International‘s webinar on ‘Involving Dads and Partners’.

Dr. Daniel Singley, a psychologist with The Men’s Center for Excellence, opened the webinar with a discussion on relationship issues, stating that one must look at perinatal depression within the arc of a couple’s relationship, as they directly affect each other. Also, a couple’s childbearing years usually coincide with a dip in relationship satisfaction already occurring, an interesting factoid that may explain a lot.

ushaped curve

With the modern expectations of hands-on and collaborative fathering, there has not also come guidelines for how to do that. Fathers are told they must support mom, but they aren’t told how. They must be strong for her, but all without anyone having their back. Gender differences often don’t allow for solicitations for help either. If there is an underlying mental health issue already, such conditions exacerbate it.

Parenting is new to both parties – not just the mother. There is a vast body of knowledge yet untapped in human experience until a parent holds that fragile little being. Insecurities and lack of self-confidence abound in both sexes as they navigate these new waters.

Having only walked in my own flattened out shoes, I dare say women still have the larger burden. We had to push the human out of our bodies. We have to recover from that onslaught while some of us continue to sustain baby with our bodies through breastfeeding. And the huge learning curve of caring for an infant comes with the mantle of harrowing hormones (Feel good hormone, my right raw nipple).

However – Dr. Christina Hibbert makes a good point. In excerpted text from her video, Postpartum Mood Disorders: The Couple’s Experience, she describes how a husband feels he cannot do anything to help the women he loves so much as she suffers. Another husband says ‘it’s as if an alien abducted my wife, returning someone who looked like her and acted like her, but was totally different.’ I showed this part of the webinar to my husband. He paused, nodded thoughtfully, and said, yeah, that’s about right.

This is where looking at postpartum in terms of a spousal relationship is important. As if an individual’s depression weren’t complex enough; as if birthing a child weren’t enough of an event; as if worrying about raising that infant to adulthood safely weren’t overwhelming enough; there is the irrevocable effect the whole evolution has on your relationship. And if it’s a truly loving and compassionate one, watching your partner devolve into depression would certainly take its toll on you.

I was in my own vortex of hell; I couldn’t see anything beyond it. I would hug my husband and thank him for staying with me, other days asking if he’d leave me for all the trouble/misery I’d caused. But I had no idea what his experience was like until I heard these descriptions on this webinar. The pain and grief he experienced. My heart ached anew. For the ways my depression had hurt him and how I was helpless to fix it.

Postpartum – and any other brand of – depression is truly a familial condition. It is not, nor even should be, a solitary journey. Unfortunately, many times the family members are drawn into the negative effects whether they like it or not. But with awareness and support, the weathering of and coming out of can be that much kinder and gentler.

I should not have scoffed at the idea of postpartum depression in dads. Perhaps it is the flawed nature of the term in general. The field is moving toward the broader and more comprehensive term perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD), which I agree is much clearer and effective. Fathers do not experience the perinatal phase exactly as mothers do, but then, each mother experiences the perinatal phase in a different way.

Everyone involved in the perinatal process needs understanding and openness, warmth and wisdom. Then, perhaps we can all make it up the mountain on the other side of the valley.


Dogs barking
mammoth bees buzzing
The clunk of a workman’s van
The low, distant rumble of a jet

A child singing
A man whistling
A car passing

Why is it so easy to be out there
rather than focus in here

I don’t know if I’m scared of the work
or what I’ll find

Manual Motherhood


“Why do you have all these books on motherhood?  I think you’re a good mother.”

Leaves room; returns a moment later, popping head around door frame

“A weird one, but in a good way.”

Smash the Taskmaster

I will not feel guilty for doing what the Spirit moves me to at any given time.
I will revel in the mindless work of plucking pine needles from fingers of moss.
I will lose myself in the monotony.
I will let my mind drift along meandering paths –

    not to the should’ve, could’ve, would’ves.

I will write for the pleasure of it,

    not the drudgery.

I will not let unfinished business ruin the relish of the deal on the table.

There is no sense in feeding our souls if we are constantly counting calories.


Breaking Ground

Jennifer Butler Basile

Jennifer Butler Basile

Nature, fate, the universe, the Spirit – has a way of prevailing.

While we humans fret that we may impede it,
that if we do not clear the ground and make way,
the right way will not progress –
we give ourselves too much power, too much credit.

All shall move forward on its own course.
We just need to stay that course.


I wonder if God intended our minds to race

to rush from the wonders of the universe to a bit of ham stuck in our teeth

the tick of the speedometer to the sun glinting in our eyes to the trickle of guilt in our hearts

Love, lust, and what to have for dinner

Are we to let it run roughshod over our mental terrain
or train it to a specific point?



Focus or freedom?

How much is intentional
and how much is divine inspiration?

Stream of consciousness
clogged waterway.

And how do we pull the plug?

Relearning Life

People in their right minds – or moods anyway – don’t anticipate their next inevitable bad day. The appearance of them every once in a while proves their unfortunate existence, but people in their right minds don’t dread bad days on a daily basis.

I don’t dread such days either. I live down days every day of my life.

A good day is the out of the norm experience for me.

The words, I feel good, dawn as a surprise, a foreign thought and sensation.

What should be the modus operandi of my life, with the occasional interruption of shitty days, becomes a cause for suspicion. A lightness of mood, a clarity of mind, becomes the bone of contention. That is the square peg for the round hole – rather than the overall scheme being the problem.

I feel my psyche has sucked me into a trap; luring me closer with the promise of bright light and fresh air, only to drape me in cobwebs deeper and darker than before. Instead of experiencing a ‘ lightness of being’, I drag around the weight of fear – that it won’t last, that my life will never be the way it was before the clouds.

. . . That we should all bask in the warmth of sunshine on our skin . . .

Irham Anshar

Irham Anshar


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