Write On

I got another email the other day, this one from a friend-of-a-friend sort of person. She had found my blog thanks to Reader’s Digest naming me one of Canada’s top mom bloggers (and yes, that was unexpected, but what I was especially happy about was that it was my writing about postpartum depression that they highlighted). The email was of the thank-God-I’m-not-alone types from someone who previously dealt with postpartum anxiety and is now struggling with antenatal depression and just really isn’t sure where to turn.

When I got the email I was just closing my computer to take Connor out for some fun with my sister and my dad and he was getting impatient. But I saw the name and the subject line and I paused, hoping I could put the excited child off a moment longer.

I keep every email like this that I receive – the ones that say thank you for sharing and for being so honest. The ones that say can you help me? And the ones that say I just didn’t know and I thought it was just me.

Because I know. I know what that feels like and I know how sometimes it’s impossible not to reach out and say thank you (like I did with Katherine after I found Postpartum Progress). And when I get those emails it affirms that it’s okay to write about these things, which is a reminder I sometimes need, especially lately when I’ve been feeling like I lost my words.

I’ve been feeling a little bit vulnerable. Before the Reader’s Digest thing, but especially so since. I’m so, so honored, especially given some of the other bloggers on the list. But that’s the sort of thing that tends to get spread around. I posted it on my own Facebook page (and I rarely share blog content or related things there) and it got shared by my family and some friends. Which is how the friend-of-a-friend thing tends to happen.

In this case it actually went beyond that. I work with my brother who, evidently, is friends on Facebook with a bunch of other people we work with. Who now know about my blog. Some of them said, “That’s cool! I’ll have to check out your blog,” (and I thought oh god…). Some of them did read it and said only nice things like, “It’s great that you’re so open” and “You’re a great writer.” Which are lovely comments, but there’s always a part of me that wonders if they’re really thinking, wow, you are messed UP.

But you know what? That’s okay. Some days I’m totally messed up, but so are most people in one way or another. And I’d rather be messed up and working on it and, better yet, helping others in the same boat than holding it in for fear of what others think. I did that for too long and it backfired, making me more messed up in the short term and causing this to be more of a long-term problem than it would otherwise have been.

So I’ll write and whoever wants to can read. And if one of those readers finds something helpful here and sends me an email, so much the better.

Write on.

 

Linked up with Just.Be.Enough

and Things I Can’t Say

I’ve also got a post on Just.Be.Enough today about some awesome lyrics by a great Canadian band. Come visit!


 

Comments

  1. We are all messed up in some way or another. It’s just that many of us who blog choose not to hide it and are willing to open ourselves up. I think the best comment that I ever received was someone who anonymously messaged me and told me thank you for sharing my struggles. They were feeling the same way and had no one else to talk to about it. Keep doing what you’re doing. :)

    • Aside from comments on posts like this, which I love, it’s those emails that keep me going and allow me to shove the worry aside.

  2. Congrats on the honor!

    Sounds like you’ve really found your place and are making a difference with your words!

  3. I’m glad you realize how powerful and important your words here are. xo

  4. I find that my readers appreciate when I am vulnerable and honest with them. Because we are all “messed up” one way or another. I comment you for sharing your journey – especially on such an important topic.

  5. Congrats on the award and being willing to help others out through sharing your experiences.

  6. Losing some of that hiddenness is probably hard at times, but I can’t begin to imagine the ways in which your words help people. They help those finding themselves in a situation they don’t understand, and they help those of us who love those suffering and healing and everything in between. xo

    • That’s what I figure, which helps a lot. And if nothing else this does help me, and I think that in itself is a good enough reason too. xo

  7. I follow far crazier bloggers than you. You have nothing to worry about. Keep it honest. That’s all.

  8. Oh – and I didn’t mean to say I think you are crazy. At. All.

  9. Congratulations on being named one of Canada’s top mom bloggers, for being brave enough to write like you do, and for being so caring and helping those that reach out to you.

  10. Beautiful attitude. You are doing something far too important to worry about what one person might think. I think the numbers you will help will always outnumber the people who may judge or concern themselves with your business!

  11. We’re all messed up, and we’re all okay and being willing to share our brokenness is what connects us.

    Came across this great quote today, which kind of says it all:

    Our brokenness reveals something about who we are. Our sufferings and pains are not simply bothersome interruptions of our lives; rather, they touch us in our uniqueness and our most intimate individuality. The way I am broken tells you something unique about me. The way you are broken tells me something unique about you. That is the reason for my feeling very privileged when you freely share some of your deep pain with me, and that is why it is an expression of my trust in you when I disclose to you something of my vulnerable side. Our brokenness is always lived and experienced as highly personal, intimate and unique.

    -Henri Nouwen

  12. I have one person who outed me and I hate it. He’ll come to my office and talk about a post and I just wish he never found out. It makes me uncomfortable to the point where I write less and act busy when he comes in. Sad.

    • That is sad. And It’s too bad he doesn’t realize that what you post is a personal thing and perhaps not something that needs to be talked about at work.

  13. I’m so proud of you. I’m grateful for you. I’m grateful that you can say and write the things that I just can’t and that you always seem to be right there when us moms need you. I’m sure there are many more who don’t email or comment who need your words as much as the rest of us.

    • Thanks, Rach. But don’t forget that you are there for me, and for others as well. And none of us shares everything. You share what you are comfortable sharing (same as I do) and what you do share helps others too.

  14. Thank you for continuing to be brave and share, and for the resource and inspiration you’ve been to me. *HUG*

    • And thank you for always being my champion and for being one of those who pushes the boundaries of honesty in a way that makes others feel more comfortable opening up.

    • True! While I don’t mind if they knew (for the most part) I don’t really want to have conversations about it with certain people. :)

  15. So proud of you for your bravery as well as your accomplishments. You do so much good in this space. Thank you for continuing to share your voice, even when it’s scary. *hugs*

  16. Oh Robin, I had the same exact moment yesterday at teacher in-service. I don’t even know how it came up but one of the male coaches was asking about my blog and how to blog and the name of my blog………and I kind of freaked out inside. Like all my secrets were about to be plastered on paper and strewn across Main Street or something. But you’re right, it’s about breaking down walls and about letting people in. It’s about showing not only the faults and the flaws but the strength and the hope. Hopefully the people are reading the comments and realizing how many lives you are touching by putting yourself out there on the internet.

    • It is a bit of a panic, isn’t it? I’m never really sure what to say. It’s not like this is a typical mom blog (whatever that is) and I always sort of wonder what people will think if they poke around a bit. I’ve never had anyone say anything negative or even imply that they think anything negative, but it’s that whole other level of openness. Overall I’m grateful for it, and ultimately that’s what I come back to.

  17. Yep, write on, friend. That’s what we do. Share our paths, find others who identify. Speak.

    You’re doing it so well.

  18. Robin, thank you so much. I recently had a post that got a lot of attention (well, for my little blog anyway!) and I felt “outed” too – like “ohmahgawd – are all my secrets!” Can I just tell you that YOU are a major part of the reason why I am willing to share my secrets? YOU are one of the folks I looked forward to “seeing” on Twitter when the only thing seemingly between me and darkness was #ppdchat. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    • Funny, because I think you were out there before I was. :) You have always been so open and the way you do it has always been an inspiration to me. But yes, those OMG moments do sort of make us pause, yes?

      And thank you. That comment means a lot to me. :)

  19. Robin, you have said so much of what I often think to myself with regard to putting a name to my thoughts and feelings. I still blog anonymously and I’ve often struggled with how truly “honest” that is, not being able (or feeling comfortable enough) to put my name to my truth. It’s the pressure of having others know that prevents me from taking that step. Slowly, I’m feeling more comfortable with opening up to others, but it is a VERY slow process! What you say is true though, “Some days I’m totally messed up, but so are most people in one way or another. And I’d rather be messed up and working on it and, better yet, helping others in the same boat than holding it in for fear of what others think.” I am in admiration (as always)! You have definitely helped me face my postnatal depression and I know you are helping many other mums too. Thank-you!

    • Honestly, I think I was a little bit naive. I started off with my name on this (first name, anyway) and I think I had a photo on my Twitter avatar from day 1. But I had no idea what I was getting into, really. Which was probably a good thing, because I’m sure I would never have done it otherwise.

      I started sharing this with real life people slowly, and the first positive responses helped me feel like it was okay. I feel so much better now that this isn’t a big secret, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Whether you blog anonymously or not is really up to you. You’re sharing and helping others either way.

  20. Your words have helped me in so many ways, and for that I am so grateful. Write on, friend. xoxo

  21. Laura Barnes says:

    All of these women who blog so openly about their postpartum struggles are such heroes in my book! I can’t tell you how comforting it is to go online & read someone describing the exact same feelings I’m having at that moment. Doctors, family, friends are usually excellent resources for support. But these blogs and websites like Postpartum Progress are what have given me some of the most encouragement! Because the community consists of women all fighting the same battles …. I think the more open we all are about postpartum mental health issues the better. I can’t even number how many women have told me ‘I think I had postpartum depression but never got help’, after I tell them my experiences.

    • I know exactly what you mean. I found Postpartum Progress first and was so grateful for it. And then when I started blogging and found other blogs talking about what I was going through it was an absolute THANK GOD sort of feeling.

      And yes, I’ve since encountered so many women who have struggled with this as well. It’s shocking really. Raising awareness and helping people one by one – that’s the goal.

  22. Amen! I’m just starting to come out of the blogging closet, and I’m terrified about friends and family reading it. But, it’s also empowering to let go of that insecurity. So good for you!! And congrats on the Reader’s Digest thing. So awesome!

  23. congratulations Robin. I haven’t been able to share my space with many people at work yet because I’m not friends with them. I keep my work and home seperate, mostly because of the type of people they are.
    What an honour to be recognized by Reader’s Digest!!

  24. Congratulations on a well deserved honor, Robin. I saved the copy of the e-mail you sent me when I e-mailed you about my own postpartum rage. Your friendship, support and honesty about your own struggles helped me feel free to tell my story. Thank you so much!

  25. congratulations on your honor! That is pretty incredible.

    And as far as the people at work knowing your stuff, think of all the positive emails you’ve received, and how many people have reached out to you. You are helping by letting others know they are not alone.

    And if you’re co-workers are going to judge you, etc, just remember, you only have to work with them, you don’t necessarily have to be friends with them =)

  26. Wow, what an honor! Congratulations and never forget you matter and your voice and honesty help others all the time. More than you know.