Paying It Forward For My Birthday

Paying It Forward For My Birthday

On the surface, you might think today would be a crappy birthday.

I mean, it’s the kids’ first day of Spring Break, so there’s THAT lunacy to contend with. On top of that there’s the stress and strain of putting our home on the market- hopefully by the end of the week- which has meant my life has been nothing but a list, and OH what a list, of chores to do and chores accomplished. I spent the first four hours of my day skipping breakfast, scrubbing the toilet and baseboards in my pajamas while the kids watched Animaniacs. It seems like all I really do these days is clean my house and go to physical therapy, and to hear my kids tell you about my day, the only thing I’ve missed from the description is when I slap food for them onto a dinner plate and eat standing up, running through my ever changing to-do list.

Only the thing is, my birthday has been GREAT.

For the first time since I started this whole “sell my condo” endeavor, my list is completely and easily manageable. I only have one room, one room, to do now, and it’s kind of a bonus room. If it looks like we use it for storage right now, that’s cool. Modified porches are flexible that way. Today I spent four hours actually checking off more than half the items on my to-do list, and that feels AMAZING.

And then I got a shower. Which is incredible.

And tonight, I’m going out to sing karaoke with some friends, and it’s going to be spectacular.

Which means my afternoon is kind of free. So I’m taking a moment out of it to tell you what I’m doing for me for my birthday. I’m raising money for Postpartum Progress through the Climb Out of the Darkness.

This is probably familiar to longtime readers, as it’s my third year participating in this event. Postpartum Progress is the largest non-profit in the country dedicated to outreach and treatment for women suffering from post- and perinatal mood disorders. And I count myself among them.

On my birthday four years ago, I was drowning. I believed my friends had abandoned me, that I was important to nobody, that my only function was as a caregiver for children too young to care about me in any meaningful way. I was terrified of myself, I felt utterly alone, completely helpless, and miserable. I was also seven months pregnant with my third child. I told myself over and over again that I was just tired, that going to school and caring for my toddler twins was wearing me too thin, and that when the baby came I would magically be better. But I wasn’t. I was much, much worse.

In the months after my third child was born, I contemplated suicide many times. I never found the time or energy to care for my home or myself. Not because it wasn’t a priority, but because I couldn’t do it. The depression was so overwhelming that it made even the most simple, mundane tasks nearly impossible. My life should have been amazing. My husband was healthy, my children were gorgeous and growing, I’d finished my college degree after thirteen years of work, and we were more financially stable than we’d ever been.

But depression doesn’t give a shit whether or not your life is supposed to be working itself out.

When I compare myself now to myself when I turned twenty nine, I’m shocked at how thoroughly I’ve thrived. I’m amazed that I am a person who can deep clean my house from top to bottom and read books with her kids and feed them and take a shower and get prettied up for an evening out with friends and stay hydrated the whole time. The woman who suffered from peri-and post-partum depression four years ago was me, yes, but that woman would never have believed I could be her future. She would never have believed she had a future.

So on my birthday, I’m raising money for her, for all the women like me who needed a lifeline, who needed somebody to explain what had happened to them and to their life, to hold their hands and tell them it’s okay. It gets better. It WILL be better. It WILL end, and life will go back to being something more meaningful than an endless parade of guilt and fear and isolation.

This is what I want, on my birthday. Go to my fundraiser page, and donate to my Climb Out of the Darkness Campaign.

Do it for the 1 in 7 women who suffer from this serious disease. Do it for the millions of women contemplating suicide. Do it to save a single life.

Thank you.

 

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Read more about my Postpartum Depression jouney here: The Book I Needed In My Darkest Moment
Read my latest post here: How To Tell Your Kids What Transgender Means

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