Leftist Agenda – Please Stay the Fuck Away from My Family (or, Fuck You Gillette)

To the tune of: Learn to Swim – Tool

As a thirty-something wife, mother and business owner who isn’t as comfortable with conflict as I’d like to be, I typically abstain from these conversations. I prefer, instead, to hold my tongue until I can get home and throw up on myself. Today, though, things are different.

Last night, my husband came home to find me agitated and expressing my concerns about the political state of a country that has been our home all our lives, a discussion we have had together many times before. The tension around this issue has been rife in my household as it seems that anytime we venture out into public we come home more disillusioned than before. This time, however, my husband didn’t respond to my concerns about the direction that our country is headed in. I talked and he listened, and listened, and listened. But there was no conversation to be had.

There was no conversation to be had, not because he didn’t hear me, not because he didn’t agree, but because he is so tired of being chronically angry at being continuously put down everywhere he looks that he simply told me: “I cannot continue to call-out the wrongdoings of our current cultural situation and still maintain my mental health”.

Let that sink in for a minute.

This beautiful, intelligent, pillar of masculine perfection who served our country for 6 years before settling into civilian life where he works arguably as hard for me and our two boys (and who, BTW, has never been anything but gentle to me), said to me in our kitchen that he just couldn’t any more. My husband is shutting down.

There is no excuse for this kind of mass manipulation of public sentiment against men in a country as educated and democratic as ours. Simply no excuse.

I woke up today to this horrifying new ad by Gillette. Did it show up on my feed because people were outraged? No. Just like always, this vile rhetoric was being celebrated online by so many of my friends, family and colleagues. Women who I have come to respect, mothers raising young boys, all taking time to celebrate this disgusting advertisement for the lie of benevolence it purports to be.

Saying No Thank You to Malevolence

I’m not entertaining this bullshit anymore. Allowing this garbage to continue and saying nothing is tantamount to allowing my children to be malevolently abused by a communist media whose agenda it is to expose men to psychological torment for political gain.

It hearkens back to the ‘good old days’. You know, the not-so-good ones wherein a fascist dictator nearly overtook the entirety of Europe by playing on and inflating the sense of victimhood of his compatriots. The axe that forced a wedge between the Jewish community and the rest of German society. We know better.

Well, we could know better if it wasn’t for identity politics and the communist brainwashing that we’re all forced to hear incessantly from that Trudeau thing. Trudeau would castrate our men himself, if only he had the time. Amidst constant assaults on our ability to sustain our province (and hello! consequently our country), this prime minister has done an incredible job of confusing the issues that first wave feminists worked so hard to achieve – and playing on the legacy resentments of women. What it has turned out is a loud minority of women so consumed by their resentment and victimhood as to justify the institutional dehumanization of men.

I see this widespread degradation as such a horrendous act of intolerance that I can hardly understand how these women manage to overlook the hypocrisy of their position. Hint: if your ideology requires you to demonize and denigrate an entire gender, it’s likely that you’re acting more out of victimhood (regression) than of ‘progressivism’.

No Boys Allowed (unless we have heavy lifting to do…)

We are raising boys in a climate in which they are no longer welcome. Regardless of whether my husband or my children have acted unjustly toward another citizen, they have been (and will be) characterized as if they did. Because we don’t want little boys anymore, and we don’t want men, either. The only safe place to exist in this ‘new’ Canada is in some obscure genderless corner of the LGBTQMNOP community – but if you’re a white male conservative?? Fuhgeddaboudit with a capital FU. This is the overt action of intolerance espoused by the very people who say that they are fighting intolerance. These people would make excellent Catholic priests. (No – it’s okay for me to say this. At least you’d think it’s okay for me to say with the way we have cut Christian words like ‘Christmas’ out of polite vernacular).

This is the same petty rationale used by women to exercise extreme manipulation of their children throughout divorce proceedings just to get a jab-in at Daddo, and the same one used by Trudeau to invoke this concept of ‘wrong speak’. We call-in the government like Big Daddy every time someone is mean to us, and now Big Daddy-Brother is here to stay.

With the torrent of censorship befalling our intellectual institutions, early education programs and infiltrating our communities, it’s a wonder we can even communicate at all. I have now stopped consuming anything that refers to ‘the patriarchy’ or feminism in any way. I don’t ‘do’ victimhood and I don’t do ‘toxic masculinity’ or ‘micro aggressions’. We have lost the ability to talk about people, without talking about the groups in which they belong – without regard to whether it’s right or wrong to make such unbelievable claims. When the rights of the group overtake the right for people to exist individually and to be held individually responsible for their actions and behaviours, we are on the wrong track, friends.

We have become so fucking entitled to our first-world rights, so complacent, that we have now made it okay for the Government to act to regulate, not just our economic infrastructure, but to live in our homes, schools and bedrooms as invited guests to help us decide what kind of person is allowed to exist and how they’re allowed to speak.

Our men have been fighting our wars since the beginning of time, and they have been spiritually and psychologically dismantled as a result of that – many times the result of a UN whim. Yet, instead of thanks, we are demonstrative in our hostility against men at every opportunity.

For as many people that think that talking about a gender this way is okay, it’s a wonder they think they’re safe at all. Call me crazy, but if all men are toxic sociopaths as the left would have you believe – I don’t think that denigrating them in public, in media and in social forums would be the best way to overcome that concern.

Let’s Fight About Equality, Shall We?

We are so in love with our victimhood stories that we seem to actually think that it’s okay to have a government and a societal agenda that is intent on widening the divide between men and women and that this is helpful. I can’t think of a more counterproductive agenda.

Around this time in the article is where I’m supposed to start explaining myself, telling others how ‘I’ve been victimized too’ and how ‘I really am a good feminist’, and I’m not going to do any of that. It doesn’t matter where I come from or how I was raised, wrong is wrong.

We didn’t become ‘the west’ by scapegoating masses of our society and throwing stones at them in advance of their crimes. Consideration for the TRUE value of diversity – diversity of language, thought, perspective and art– is fast being lost. We’ve got ourselves into such a hysterical tantrum that we are comfortable perpetuating this incredibly harmful rhetoric while our fathers, uncles, grandparents and sons become increasingly marginalized and scapegoated for communist social gain.

And if you don’t think it’s communist – think again. A reread of 1984 might do us all some good. Or maybe we could all read such incredible depictions of the horrors of scapegoating and tyranny brought to us courtesy of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s works. But we won’t do that – we can’t stomach it. For us, showing up to shit on masculinity is, at its very core, reasonable – and we don’t have to take responsibility for the damage that it does to ALL of us. It doesn’t take a wizard to know that these kinds of tactics do nothing to move us forward. It’s the energetic equivalent of indiscriminate terrorism, or of cutting off our nose to spite our face.

Breaking Up

I’ve lost many friends in the last few years to an intentional distancing in which I could no longer be around these disgusting conversations. Masculinity being called toxic – what a terrible implication! If we were to call Feminism out for its toxicity there would be an outcry in the streets the likes of which we have never seen. And for a supposed redneck city, Edmonton sure has its leftist politics scattered in every corner of the map. I’d move – but what if it’s worse on the other side of the border? Can Californians still have conversations about conservative notions without risking being labeled transphobic or fascist? I think not. I’ll tell you who’s fascist, Knights of the Leftist Kingdom, and it ain’t me!

I’m ready to lose more friends if I need to, too. Every time I see another friend advocating for censorship of a group or an idea, I take four giant. steps. back. It is my responsibility as a Canadian to distinguish the innocuous from the criminal, in Janice Fiamenco’s words. To call out injustice where there is criminal harm, and to protect the innocent men of my family against the zombie-like totalitarianism of the far left by speaking up for them when I see blanket accusations and harm being done in the name of righteous self-indulgence. Maybe these hateful feminists should practice hearing the other side, practice being offended and growing a back bone – after all y’all offend me every day.

Maybe we could start by modeling to our daughters that indiscriminate labeling of a gender is no more help than blaming every member of the western ‘white’ for the atrocities committed against our first nations communities long before our time. Maybe we could show more love for the incredible currents of strength residing in the men that we love and stop maiming the many for the deeds of the few.

What does the goal of self-loathing in men really accomplish besides lighting the fire of hatred under their feet? Then again, maybe I’m wrong– maybe the real goal isn’t about men at all. Maybe it’s just part of the globalization of communism – the intended proliferation of governments like communist China and Cuba, whom our Prime Minister is so oft to compliment and idealize.

So goodbye to Gillette razors, you won’t be seen in my house anymore after today. And I fully expect to have to educate and re-educate my boys in the social sciences as they age from home, where the communist angle can be squashed around the dinner table like the cockroach that it is. If we truly love our rights and first-world freedoms, we had better start behaving in a way that allows us to maintain them – because right now we are handing over every ounce of our power to stand confidently and autonomously in our Canada – to a man with an agenda who wants to tell you how to speak, how to live and how to earn a living.

If we do nothing about this continuous assault on our freedoms to speak openly about issues that concern us and continue with this petty nonsense, then so-be-it. I’ll see you in the labour camps. Or, we could learn to swim.

Dirty Dishes and Dusty Floors

Photo by Jenna Norman on Unsplash

I Have A Dream

Pristine, swept floors – floors which seem to go for miles as your eyes trace the interlocking wood planks down to the bay windows on the other side of the house. The smell of baking. A garden, pruned and detailed. Weeded meticulously. Counter tops that serve their intended purpose – beyond mail, homework and neglected dishes. Pencils that sit neatly in their cup, waiting to be found predictably when needed. A crumbless kitchen. This is not my house.

When we lived in our little ’58 bungalow in the old part of the city, I was sure that our inability to maintain order for longer than 3 days (okay, 2) at a time, came down to a disproportionate ratio of belongings to space (1 456 491:1).

As I write this from my bigger, brighter open concept home, dishes sit, unwashed since last night’s dinner. Laundry cries out, spilling from hampers, garbage bins try to hold their own while we overwhelm them and my kitchen counter stares arrogantly at me. I think it’s saying: “Your Grandmother would never have let this happen despite her four kids”. My counters would be right.

Master of Her Domain

You see, I come from a family where neither the men, nor the women, sit down. They are productive from the time their feet hit the cold ground in the morning to the time they fall, presumably from exhaustion, into bed at night. I’d love to have had the genetics of these people. Instead, I was born with a love of cooking (not cleaning), more creative (less order) and a cynicism that suggests to me that to keep cleaning this house while my family lives here might just be paving my own road to crazy.

Other indicators of genetic difference can be seen when, for example, Grandma gets into a near-miss situation in her Lincoln and yells with passionate anger at the other guy: “TURKEY!” I’m not sure how I react to those situations. I can only assume I black out from rage. I digress.

Much as I’ve tried, nearly seven years in, I have never mastered the art of ‘staying home’. I have begun to wonder what it means to stay at home, exactly. I think the true definition lies somewhere between existential intellectual boredom, and doing everything you normally do, but from within the home while a 3-year-old dictator trades catastrophic mess for brief allowances of productive writing moments (unless there are bathrooms to be cleaned).

Whenever I have slept enough, and feel physically and mentally available to take on the disorder in my home, I have found my efforts thwarted by commitments, interruptions, or a general sense of the futility of the cleaning itself. When all things remain equal, the recommendations make sense: dishes daily, and laundry, too. Maintain, maintain, maintain. But that’s the thing about things. They’re variable.

Cosmic Balance

The only evidence of balance I see here is in kids who take turns with dramatic illness, returning to their devilish selves (Tasmanian, I mean) just in time for whatever ails them to be sneezed onto me. Or, my tired slowness from the seeming perpetual darkness that is Canadian winter is finally overcome, and then – cramps. You get the idea.

I sometimes question whether my frequent failure to keep up is an indication of a laziness or immaturity on my part. Like somehow, other moms know something that I don’t.  Maybe, I need to try harder for my family, find more time in the day and more energy to make everything happen at once. I’m slowly making peace with this notion, having analyzed my situation to death in the absence of the magic wand I so desperately require. Besides, my husband didn’t marry ‘lazy’ and my parents didn’t raise it. So here I am, left with the understanding that unless I stop writing altogether, the expectation of order will remain a hallucinogenic construct, bred of someone’s delusional mind – until the little kid years are over.

Aiming for Sanity

Since not writing is out of the question, these will be the times when I learn who my friends are. These will be the years that I look back on, when things are easier, and, with perspective offered from the vantage point of hindsight, give myself a break.  When kids are sick, and hair’s a mess and scarcely surviving is all that can be done – it’s okay.

Parenthood is an uphill battle for most of us, save a few saints who were put on earth solely to make other mothers feel like they didn’t get the memo. Amidst gauntlets of toys, shoes and washed but unfolded laundry that my husband tries to clothe himself from at 5 in the morning, we do the best we can. Some days we do okay, some days we might as well not have gotten out of bed at all. But if you accept the fact that, for now, you can’t win at this game, you get comfortable with participation points and the oft underappreciated consolation prize called Sanity.

On days like this I lean into this thought: that these are the years, and they won’t be here forever.

Writing for Peace

Always Someday

Before kids, I always thought that there would be a time for writing. Somewhere off on the horizon when I was done with the all-consuming (life sucking?) office job, when I caught up on things and organized my life. The funniest of my delusions included “when the babies come, and the stress is less”. At a time when my personal load of responsibilities was so manageable I should have been writing voraciously, but I allowed the someday mentality to overtake me, and writing had to wait.

In my youthful ignorance I had not factored in such things as babies being machines made for consumption of all available resources. I hadn’t considered things like sick babies who cry incessantly for the first 6 months of their lives, the fact that you can’t form thoughts when you haven’t slept or that when you write from the underbelly of postpartum depression, it shows. The babies came, and the job went away. Since going back to work outside the home in my fragile state wasn’t an option, I needed to find an alternate way to contribute. Writing wasn’t coming easy in my sleep deprived state, so it had to wait.

Much Too Much

Five years and another baby later, my flexible easy-going work-from-home side job had become what I did seven days a week. I rarely spent quality time with my family, rarely cooked them dinner, rarely saw my husband who was working obscene hours himself, and rarely smiled. Both my children had medical needs demanding my attention, and if it weren’t for my mother, I was guaranteed a failing grade on that score. I remember the day that I left my doctor’s office with seven (yes, seven) prescriptions. Some for sleep, some for my worsening depression, and some to help keep me upright from the debilitating stress and work induced pain all over my body.

At 32, I had become the person I never thought I would be. A joyless, overweight product of a lifestyle that was neither honouring me nor my family – and all in the name of making sure that no one thought I was lazy. I was going to contribute if it killed me, and it might have. Either way, writing had to wait.

In May of last year, the greatest gift of my recent years was bestowed upon me when I asked my body to keep going and it replied, simply and assertively, No.

That was that. My body wasn’t just asking for a reduction in the pace of things, it was making it very clear that until everything in my life changed, it wouldn’t either. My nervous system was shot, and I had no physical tolerance for anything. Light and sound stimulus was too much, I was uncoordinated, and I could feel my insides shaking even on the brink of sleep. I was scared.

Changing The Game

I didn’t take a break from work, I shut my small business down abruptly and entirely. We cut every expense that we could reasonably cut, and I was humbled into prioritizing and re-evaluating my values. I spent time sitting and staring at the walls. So much soul searching ensued, and my circle of concern shrunk dramatically. I no longer had time for relationships that weren’t reciprocal, I no longer felt compelled to prove anything to anyone, and I was left with the desire to actively control the quality of only three things in my life: family, health, and peace. Writing could join the conversation.

So we ate some green vegetables, I started sleeping, and I lost 20 pounds. My body came back better and stronger than I remember it. My husband and I put things in motion for him to get a regular 9 to 5 schedule and suddenly, we were a family again. I played with my kids, cleaned and organized my house and created a dedicated place for writing in the front of it, where the sun shines in from three beautiful bay windows all day long.


There is a moment after life events like this where, when you speak, the people who really love you listen. Without questioning and without judgment, though perhaps out of fear, my family heard me when I said that writing is where my peace lies. No longer was I going to be the mom who would like to write, I am now the writer who writes to keep the current of life from swallowing me whole. I am the writer who writes so that my children can see me smile. I am the writer who writes to remind her husband of what is Me. And when writing helps pay the bills, I celebrate it without making it my focus.

If you’ve ever wondered when, exactly, one becomes a writer the answer is this: when you start behaving like one. When you do what you need to do to put yourself in that world, you become, once again, who you are at your core.

Mining Gratitude

Happiness, it turns out, is found within fractional moments of inspired gratitude. Moments where we honour our foundational selves to the detriment of all the fake plastic, albeit necessary, pieces of our lives. Give yourself something to feel a moment of genuine gratitude for, something that makes your life feel uncontrived. Writing as a mother will never be easy, but carving out a protected place of respite from the demands of the day will allows me to give the very best of myself to the experiences and the people in my life who deserve me the most. After all, self-care is self-respect, and our precious children are watching.

No Rest for the Christmas Machine

Every Year, I Try to Muster the Courage to Take On the Christmas Season With A Smile.

I don’t consider myself to be characteristically negative, but I am sure that Christmas was designed specifically to upset the delicate balance that my family has worked so hard to strike since school started in September. Now it’s cold, it’s dark, and the most stressful time of year waits on its haunches to initiate its daunting regime of consumer slavery.

Time Demands

As if there aren’t enough demands on our time, Christmas events seem to begin in November and not end until the year is through. It isn’t like you’ll be hanging out with your friends to sip mulled wine and expensive beer to pass those months, either. Nooo. You won’t even see your friends until sometime mid-January when we’re all still too paralyzed with fear to check our bank accounts, but we manage to find couch change for a coffee together.

Instead, you’ll spend your time amidst coworkers and extended family in rooms with no circulation and 5 people who are perpetually hacking. Your weekends will consist of shaking something store bought into your favourite dessert dish, and convincing your 6-year-old that ‘yes’ is the correct response when Grandma asks if he helped make it. Which brings us to the age-old subject of communal food. As much as I’d love to try cat lady’s new recipe, the pictures of her cat sitting in every Tupperware dish she has exists on her cubicle wall as a constant reminder that it might be better if I did not.

Abstaining affords you better chances of not finding feline pelt in your food, and lowers your chances of being seen indulging your weaknesses by that weird uncle that everyone has; the one who must remark upon every stress induced pound you’ve incurred in the days leading up to this bizarre charade. Insert eye roll here.

Visions of Sugar Plums

I put this reality out of my head in the beginning, imagining quiet evenings by the fire with my husband and kids with a great glass of wine and Christmas movies. Maybe a quick drive around town to look at the beautiful Christmas lights that always warm my cold cold Christmas heart, having time for the kids to actually play with the things they received, and an entire day in pajamas.

I am typically disabused of this idealist notion by the first week of December, or the third migraine of the month, whichever comes first. Friends and colleagues are always abuzz with excitement for this all-too-frequent occasion, and I just feel like Wednesday Adams in the corner as reality takes a foothold in me.

Hold Your Horses

First, there should be a moratorium on the very word until the month within which “it” occurs. There is nothing more frustrating than living through chaos from November 1st through December 26th because your kids know it’s coming but can’t really understand when, so they exist in a continuous state of nervous excitability (read: no one is listening unless mom is crying). By December 15th I am always sure that if I hear my kids casually tell me to ‘add it to the list’ one more time while educating me on the virtues of the newest Poké-whatever, my head is certain to explode and traumatize somebody.

As early as mid-October, Christmas enters the commercial stage with about as much grace as a cross eyed seagull on skates. Pumpkins are lucky to make it out in one piece after that magnificent red bully shows its face. I’m pretty sure the atmosphere in a shopping mall around Christmas could be effectively used for military-grade interrogation. Put me in a 30-person lineup with some shrill Christmas Carol on repeat and I promise you my composure will not last. I’ve had more public altercations in Christmas lineups than Edith Bunker was told to stifle. The year that I was six months pregnant at Christmas I should not even have been allowed to participate, it would have been easier for everyone.

Dollar Bills

Trying to do Christmas on a budget these days is practically impossible, given the expectations. I can scarcely manage supplying my immediate family with what they deem reasonable, it fills me with rage when I am pressured to perform at the level of extended family (many of whom I don’t even see on the regular). You might as well just concede and buy for everyone you’ve ever so much as cast a sideways glance to, because the second you think you’ve had the ‘we’re not going crazy this year, only buying for the kids’ conversation, someone will decide to give you something anyway and act like it’s possible for you not to stand there feeling like a shmuck.

There’s always the scenery to admire while you’re shopping, though, isn’t there? Line after line of enthusiastic parents and tired hungry kids waiting for a snapshot with old Saint Nick. Oh, mall Santa. There’s something about an aged man voluntarily subjecting himself to being sat upon by kids with leaky diapers and random animals all day long that just doesn’t compute for me. Between that, and Santa’s awkward joke about my eight-month-old wanting dog food for Christmas, I have pretty much made my peace with this particular issue. So, my kids are deprived and I’m a bad mom – you can add that to the list, too.

On to the family festivities you’ll go, boxes of overpriced trinkets in tow. Ready to dive into another potluck feast before crawling back into the snow-covered car to test your threshold for terror on icy Alberta roads to get to the next event that you hope you can keep yourself awake for. This is another consequence of the divorce rate, you know. Since no one is married anymore, good luck spreading your holiday time around equally! You’ll end up spending most of the day taking your kids in and out of the car and bundling and de-bundling them in a futile effort to keep everyone happy before eventually succumbing to the festive season stroke you so-deserve (unless you’ve already yielded to death by small talk). Hospital stays are the new all-inclusive parental retreats, dontchaknow.

Scotchy Scotch Scotch

There is unprecedented pressure not to drink too much at Christmas, which I think, given the circumstances, is cruel and unreasonable. And because I’m not good at following rules, I tend to do it anyway, say f*ck too many times, and generally remind people of why they judge me from January to November. Whomever said that I lack in gregariousness has clearly not spoken to me at 9 o’clock on Christmas night. Exhausted by the leadup, and unstable with resentment, I usually find my ‘socializing groove’ somewhere between 8 and 9pm. Right about the time that my husband is trying to politely point me in the direction of the car while I regale him with a passionate story about some delicious potluck mystery I just fell in love with (because four glasses of wine is the magic number if you’re trying to transcend your fear of potluck-anything).

Everyone has anxiety, traffic is insane, terrible music is absolutely inescapable outside the confines of your own home (I dare you to turn on your car radio). Just when you get done with the mounting, lighting, decorating, purchasing, wrapping and bedazzling (all while working your full-time job, of course) you settle in for your 5 seconds of peace and realize – it’s over. It’s over and tomorrow real life will start again. Not an ounce of Christmas vacation, and certainly no vacation from Christmas.


What I Wish I’d Been Told About Post-partum Depression

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

New mothers everywhere are being talked to about post-partum depression (PPD) at every government-run meeting. We are told ad-nauseum to watch ourselves for signs of sadness that doesn’t dissipate with the baby blues. We are given stats and shown charts, but for a new mother who has never herself dealt with any of the 75 000 new issues arising out of just having the baby (let alone keeping it alive), much of this one-sided conversation can seem like another meeting that could have been an email, or, another appointment that could have been a nap.

Since mental illness of any kind is diverse in its presentation, it’s no surprise that the snapshot of ‘classic PPD’ that’s presented to new moms can miss the mark entirely. Often, it can be reduced to being presented as a nagging discomfort, instead of a relentless onslaught of symptoms that she feels helpless to combat.

We are aware, of course, that the topic can feel like unnecessary fear mongering to a happy mother of a thriving newborn, and it kind of kills the vibe at mommy class. For a new mom who struggles, though, a bit more honest perspective might be welcomed. So, in the interest of supporting the needs of the few, the following outlines what I wish I had known before PPD hit me like a bat out of hell.

1. You May Not Be the Best Person to Judge Your ‘State’

After all, we have no barometer for what being a new mom should feel like other than what we glean from other women leading up to the birth, which can be summarized as “it will be the hardest thing you ever do”. We kind of get contradicting messages, don’t we? It should be the hardest thing, but also not too hard. How hard is too hard? And if you ask your husband, like you, he’s likely too close to the issue to be objective.

If you tend to be a relentless perfectionist who is hard on herself, you’re at risk of letting this thing go too far for too long. If you, like me, like to yell from across the canyon at your rescue crew ‘I got this’ while clinging to the edge by your last two available fingers, you would be best to talk to a friend or relative before you diagnose yourself as weak, instead of depressed.

2. Your Doctor Might Not Be As Willing to Help as You’d Hoped.

Patricia Tomasi of the Huffington Post writes “…when [mothers] turn to the medical system for help for one of the most common postpartum complications, the onus is thrown back on them to figure their way out of postpartum depression while they’re in the middle of a crisis…”. She’s right.

I talked to my post-partum “care team” until I was blue in the face about the fact that things were not feeling right for me since about day 3 of being a mom. I knew early on that some of the stuff I was experiencing wasn’t run-of-the-mill. Still, they continued to tell me that the first six weeks these things could be considered normal, which turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy because by the sixth week I had stopped bringing it up. I normalized it in order to cope. It wasn’t until I could scarcely function that a psychologist heard me when I said something is wrong. 11 months later and $500 into therapy.

3. You May Need to Doctor-shop

The thing that we sometimes forget about doctors is that they are people just like us. They have areas they are more passionate about than others, and they have beliefs (inherent from culture, society, religion or just in their character) that can sometimes interfere with their prioritizing of concerns. In my case, going to my family doctor who presented with the common trifecta of being a) not a parent b) not a woman and c) a trembling circus clown where it came to women’s issues, did not elicit the results I was looking for.

This doctor was admittedly not confident in prescribing antidepressants safely to breastfeeding mothers, but was also too arrogant to refer me to someone who could.  I was given tranquilizers to put me to sleep, and a google maps printed info sheet on a publicly funded drop-off daycare for mothers in detox programs, when my mother pressed him as-to whom, in his opinion, would watch my child while I doped myself into a coma? Seriously.

I am of the opinion that we prioritize the needs of the child to the detriment of the well-being of the mother (as if they are somehow unrelated issues). It’s so hard to advocate for yourself when you’re overwhelmed, so make lists of your concerns and bring them to the doctor. The rules are that you discuss each one before you leave, and if their answer leaves you feeling more desperate, find yourself another doctor.

4. You Might Forget You’re Sad Because You’re So Angry

It can be hard to see which one comes first when your world is upside-down, but in my case sadness came much later to the party (once I had expended every ounce of energy I had being angry). I woke up angry, I went to sleep angry, I dreamed about punishing my husband (just for being alive, I think). Things that should have been sideline concerns received responses of biblical proportions from me. I felt like a tantruming toddler with big-girl problems. I didn’t have time to be sad.

5. Apocalypse Now

The term Sundowning has been used to describe a change in behavior in dementia patients which correlates with the sun setting each day. I had severe sundown symptoms. Where a dementia patient’s confusion and/or tremors might be increased, my anxiety would rise as the sun went down from a level that was an impairment to a level that was debilitating. I found myself curled up in a ball on the couch, in uncontrolled sobs, feeling like apocalypse was nigh. Night time terrified me for more reasons than I could verbalize.

6. Other Factors May Distort Your Perception of What’s Happening

There’s a lot going on when you’ve just had a baby. I wasn’t feeling good but there were bigger issues at hand. My son had an emergency surgery at 2 weeks, and started showing signs of food allergy in the 3rd. He screamed 10ish hours of the day and only slept in 20-minute increments. It can be difficult to label yourself clinically afflicted when your circumstances could make even the most Theresa-of-Mothers want to light themselves on fire.

Trouble nursing, incessant night wakings and the onslaught of other concerns that invade your psyche after having a child (both real and imagined) can blur your understanding of what you’re experiencing. You might like thinking that you’re superhuman, but if the moment someone hugs you and asks if you’re okay you deteriorate into a sobbing ball of incoherence… there’s your sign.

7. Every Task Can Feel Insurmountable

I recall feeling that absolutely everything was just too much. I walked around like I was freshly traumatized everywhere I went, and little accomplishments were unavailable to me. Eating was too much to ask, let alone preparing it. Getting my kid vaccinated by myself was inconceivable. And I remember, with some frequency, sitting on the floor looking up at a counter full of dishes and knowing that I needed to do them without the slightest idea how.

8. You Might be Faking-it Too Well

I don’t think this can be overemphasized, perfectionist mamas. Some of us can put on a performance that could make any crowd believe we are functioning somewhere in the vicinity of normal. My state of mind was very poor when left to its own devices, so staying around people is what kept me going. It didn’t matter who, and it didn’t matter where. Some of the places I felt best was when I was at the doctor’s office and someone else was home holding my screaming baby. In those offices I would find a smile and some composure, and often forfeit any hope for helpful intervention as a result. It wasn’t until a psychiatrist and 5 of his minions looked at me from across a table and said “but look at you, you present so well. We’ve even had some laughs!” that I realized what all the doctors had been thinking all along. “Of course I look well here,” I said, annoyed. “I’m around people and someone else is looking after my baby so I can pretend to be someone else for 3 hours”. With that, they handed over the Zoloft that would give me my life back.

9. Thoughts of Self Harm Might Not Be on Your Radar

You’ve got a song stuck in your head. Only it isn’t a song. It’s a thought or an image that won’t go away. It might come once in a while, and other times it might be the only thing you can think for hours. It could be unfounded worry about your baby’s wellbeing. It might be something someone said. But it wont leave and it comes with emotions that make it hard to follow conversations or remember basic things. You might feel like everyone would be better off if you left. All of this is bad, but none of it is “thoughts of self-harm or of harming your child”. This is important because asking about thoughts of self-harm,  without asking if you’ve ever wished you could be hit by a bus are two sides of the same very relevant coin.

10. Medication is Not a Life Sentence

Part of being a new mom is wanting to do things right. It’s a job we take seriously, and deservedly so! So, when things aren’t going well, we look to the least intrusive mechanism for relief, and it’s no wonder. We are so very lucky to live at a time where we have access to all manner of alternative medicine! Tinctures, reiki, cognitive therapies, acupuncture and naturopaths – I tried them all, and they’re a great first-line option. The reality of this thing, though, is that sometimes the circumstances are too rootbound for anything to help but a hard reset. (And I would have had to remortgage my house to afford the continued regimen of appointments, all of which were falling short of providing an answer).

When what you’re doing isn’t working, give yourself the space to try something new. And if one medication doesn’t work for you, try another. Something will work. There is a world on the other side of PPD where you wake up excited to see your baby’s face, and maybe even your husband’s! It’s hard to believe it, but medication can turn enemies into friends – and your marriage, or your partnership, deserves it. It can be hard to remember what it feels like to be content, when you are deep in the dark. If, at a certain point, it becomes clear that the monkey on your back isn’t going away without a fight, don’t put yourself in the position of looking back to see that you were robbed of all that time that you could have spent being more active in your child’s life and in your own. You won’t realize how bad you felt, until you feel better. And these interventions aren’t forever, they are there for as long as it works for you and your family. You do what you need to do to move on.

Give Up (Just a Little)

For many of us, motherhood presents itself as the first arena in which we aren’t fully in charge of the outcome. We know this stuff is common, but we still cower to the stigma because we think if we try harder we can claw life back within our control. Giving up white-knuckled control of motherhood allows room to embrace the vastness of the mothering experience. It allows you to give yourself, and other moms with other struggles, a break. You become a safe zone for women to talk about what’s really going on, and you begin to lead with a strong sense of compassion for yourself and others.

The friendships that I’ve fostered in the wake of my experience with PPD have been soul enriching and lasting. We celebrate each other. We look out for each other. We bring dinner when dinner is needed, we pick each other up after long ugly cries, and we help wherever we can help – because it’s okay to need it.

We aren’t superheroes and we aren’t meant to be. Our struggles tend toward similar issues of varying degrees and should inspire us to accept ourselves when we’re up and when we’re down, without the judgment that keeps us too stuck to move forward.