Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Love that BlogHer ('09) Built

I kinda feel like the BlogHer '09 Conference is receiving a lot of criticism regarding a ton of different issues and heated topics and debates. That's fine because I truly believe to each his own. But if you are looking for another complaint regarding swag or RSVP's or the private parties, you won't find that here. Because my story is more than that. It goes deeper than that, and has a happy ending. They were right when they said "BlogHer is about the people.", because it is. It's not about what big name blogger may or may not be reading my blog. It's not about what my blog traffic is. It's not about product reviews and giveaways and free stuff. It's about the real, raw, down and dirty lives that we all lead, whether it is blogging about our kids, our jobs, our beliefs, or our viewpoints. It all started with wanting our voices to be heard. And for me, that's where it started, and that's where it'll end. Of course, those other things will be thrown in there, but I will never forget why I started this blog to begin with. Because in the end, that is all that matters.

If you've been reading my blog since the beginning, then you know my story. But if this is your first time here, this is what you need to know:

I have 2 kids (Jonah who is 2 1/2 and Lily who is 5 months). I have experienced depression and anxiety for a good portion of my life. Being pregnant brought out these issues at a much more enhanced level. The hormone changes caused the depression and anxiety to hit really high levels, levels that were impossible to manage on my own.

With my son, I was able to take prescription medications and attend weekly therapy appointments, which directly resulted in me being able to slightly enjoy the pregnancy and labor and parenting processes. I'm not going to say it was easy, but it was manageable. And since I wasn't blogging or twitter-savvy at that time, I didn't go to the interwebs for help.

Ohhhhhh my daughter. Being pregnant with her was completely different. The medications I took while pregnant with my son didn't work while I was pregnant with my daughter. They did total 360's on me, and forced the depression and anxiety to be worse. And then, we couldn't afford for me to see a therapist on a weekly basis. I was doing this cold turkey. Worse yet, I felt all alone. I felt like no one was there for me or had any idea what I was going through. I felt guilty and ashamed. I reached out and found mother after mother after mother saying "it's gonna be okay" or "i know how you feel" or "it will get better". I could never thank those Twitter mommy's enough for their support.

Many, many nights (and mornings and afternoons....)I was lying the bathtub, tears streaming down my face and sobbing for reasons I couldn't put into words. The hubby would ask what was wrong, and I could never answer. Or if I did, I was very vague. I was ashamed. I felt guilty. I felt insane and crazy. I couldn't breath or move or swallow without thinking about what a horrible person I was. I couldn't speak the words of what was in my heart and my head at that time.
I didn't want the baby.

There, I said it. And now, after the fact. I can say it. It was not my proudest moments.
But they were MY moments, and before I start getting hate mail and judgements made, do me a favor....don't go there.
But one night, while taking my 6th-7th bath of the day, I stumbled upon a blog post that changed my life at that moment....that very second. It answered my prayers.

It saved my baby girl's life.

Someone else felt those feelings I felt. Although I never acted on my deepest, darkest, most shameful feelings, I finally felt understood.

Now.....fast forward to BlogHer '09.

I brought my baby girl with me to the conference. I got us a swank hotel room all to ourselves. I brought her the cutest of clothes and her 2 best accessories were her dimpled-cheek smile and her flower headband/hat. (Let me tell you, no one knew who I was....Lily was simply a HIT!) I carried her, I pushed her in the stroller, I showed her off as the proud mommy I am. Everyone oogled all over her. It was adorable, not to mention, some pretty great pictures were a direct result of it all.

But that's not even where am going with this....

You see, I didn't fall in love with my daughter when I first saw her. I didn't bond with her while she was in my belly. I resented her for taking time away from time with my son. I felt like she hated me. I took care of her out of obligation and duty, not because I wanted to.

These feelings have gone on for months. Again, do not judge. For what you do not know, you probably will not understand.

This weekend, and I can mark the moment and it is forever ingrained in my mind, body, and soul. I FELL IN LOVE WITH MY DAUGHTER. I looked at her and thought about what we were experiencing, together. We were in the middle of something that no one will ever be able to take away from us. It was all in a glance. I looked at her, napping on the bed, with the gorgeous Chicago skyline in the background. Thinking of what we were at BlogHer '09 for. And we were there for THIS MOMENT RIGHT HERE. Not for the swag, not for the parties, not for the networking (although all those things were great!). It was a life changing experiencing that will forever be a part of our lives. It was the moment we connected as a mother and a daughter and not a caregiver and a child. It was amazing and heartfelt and I am now looking at her in a way I never have before.

That moment started the beginning of the rest of our lives.




photo taken by @rbucich


45 comments:

brenna said...

That was really lovely. I am so thrilled that you were able to bond with your daughter and will always have those memories!

Denise said...

So. That made me cry. You're very brave and no matter what anyone tells you, this was a beautiful and brave post.

~michelle pendergrass said...

You've got me bawling over here.

Someone somewhere needs to read your post and I am so proud of you for having the courage to blog about this.

(((hugs)))

Corina - Down to Earth Mama said...

Beautiful. I am glad that you have found your daughter. As a survivor of severe PPD and lifelong depression, I know in my bones that it is not an easy thing. So wonderful that you have made it to the other side in regards to your daughter. Simply beautiful.

Kim Moldofsky said...

What a wonderful post. You will always have the best memories of this conference (which is really refreshing change based on some of the posts out there).

I saw you and Lily and I think much have been heading somewhere or holding something that prevented me from stopping to admire her or tell you how cute she was (oh, that hat!), but I thought to myself how adorable she was as I passed you. Really!

Toni said...

Oh Jen, you gave me happy tears! I just knew that this was going to be a special weekend for the two of you. You and Lily are both so precious ((hug)).

SUEB0B said...

Hey! I oogled that baby! And I am so happy that you had such a good experience!

Mrs. Cline said...

Jen, this may be one of the most heartfelt, beautiful posts I've read in a long time. I admire you for putting your feelings out there and I don't think ANY mother would ever judge you. Sometimes hearing other people talk about issues can really change their lives. And now I understand why you wanted to meet Casey so badly-and yet here you are doing for someone else what she did for you.

I'm so happy to have spent time with you this weekend. Love to you and your beautiful daughter.

<3
Natalie

Valerie Loftin said...

I clicked over here after reading your twitter post about the love that BlogHer built. I too admired Lily's beautiful smile & dimples & talked to both of you at conference. I briefly knew your story before this weekend, & didn't put it together when I talked to you both, who you were. I'm sure I would have wanted to hug you if I did.

I also went thru a horrible bout of depression & anger, when pregnant with my second child. I get it. I also applaud you, because I didn't think I could have admitted it to anyone.(I didn't get what was going on with me, & was ashamed to say how I felt about this growing baby to anyone)

You put it out there.
You are brave.
You made me cry.

Yes others might not understand, it's hard to, until they "walk in your shoes". But you are moving forward, as I did, & you finally fell in love with your baby, I did too. Even when you thought you never could or would. (my 2nd baby is now 11)

Know that you have helped someone else out there who is feeling like you, by just admitting (and saying out loud) how you feel & felt. We have to realize that we are not alone. And it's ok.

Keep moving forward, keep looking at her beautiful smiley face. She was given to you for a purpose, not for a punishment. And it does get better. You are starting to see that now. ((BIG HUG!!))

Clair said...

Thanks for speaking out. People need to start saying how hard this Mummy thing is so that new Mums don't feel so crappy for having hte feelings it seems so many of us have. Good to meet you at Blogher!

Miss Britt said...

I have goose bumps.

RobynsOnlineWorld said...

Tears and goose bumps! Wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brandie said...

(((hugs))) I wasn't at blogher so I couldn't admire your gorgeous daughter, but I'm so glad you and her went together!

Mommy Kennedy said...

What a beautiful story! I have tears in my eyes and now I have to go take a peak at my 13 month old sleeping son!

Will need to share this story with my readers. Please consider a guest post???

http://thefrugalkennedys.blogspot.com

Mamacita (Mamacita) said...

Wonderful post!

Oh, and I saw you and that beautiful baby. I would have taken a picture but you got away too fast!

(You were both laughing out loud when I saw you)

I'm glad you enjoyed BlogHer. It's my favorite thing in the world and I love it more than. . . well, yeah, that.

Complicated Mama said...

Beautifully said.

I am so happy for you, as you and I spoke about at bowlher- i understand completely where you are coming from... and the moment you and MooshInIndy had over that blog post was moving beyond words.

I am so glad we got to meet and hangout.. and glad I got to meet the famous lil baby as well! :)

She truly is beautiful!

moosh in indy. said...

***SSSSSOOOOOBBBBB***

pseudostoops said...

Hey! I recognize that adorable headband! (It was a pleasure meeting you at speed dating, and this was brave and beautifully written. Thanks.)

Pgoodness said...

This is beautiful.

Kat said...

Thank you for your candor - I think putting it out there is the most generous offering in the world.

Bellamomma said...

You aren't the only one, I wish more people could warn new mother's that it's normal *not* to fall in love at first glance. Sometimes it takes time to get there. It's taken me time to get there with both of my girls.

Nanette said...

So very, very sweet.

And what a beautiful baby girl you have - she goes great with her beautiful mommy.

jennelsonlane said...

What an incredible post. I'm sorry I didn't know about your blog or your story before now (as I went through some similar issues), but now that I've found you, I'll be visiting often. I'm so glad this happened for you this weekend and I thank you so much for sharing it with all of us.

Inexpensively said...

So beautiful. Thank you for sharing, even though I know it had to be difficult. I met you and your adorable daughter in the elevator this weekend. She charmed me almost as thoroughly as she charmed you. There's magic at BlogHer!

This Military Mama said...

I'm so happy that moment came for you and Lily. I love seeing how life unfolds and why things happen. All the moments leading up to you going to BlogHer were for this wonderful reason.

Love to you and Lily. She is seriously cute and she has got an awesome Mama.

Was great seeing you again!

Totally_Toni said...

This post made me absolutely cry my little eyeballs out this morning. It is so beautiful and I love that this was such a special time for you and your daughter.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

Brenna said...

Firstly, I think that other Brenna is stalking me. Secondly, this was a beautiful post and as someone who has been to the very depths of anxiety, while pregnant, and feeling scared and horrible, I truly, truly appreciate this honesty. I linked over here from my friend McCashew, she's good people too. I hope to see you in NY10!

The McCammons said...

I just read your beginings, (have bee following you on twitter for a while now) and all I can say is wow. I went through the exact same thing, after both of my children. No one understood and didn't seem to want to. I went to support groups but they didnt help. If I had had someone around to tell me, eventually it would be ok, it would have been so much easier, even if not at that moment. You are a strong person for being able to write such an honest post, and for all the rest of your post, I say please keep writing.

Mary said...

This is the BEST BlogHer post I've read. I'm so happy you've bonded with your baby girl. Amazing.

Mommy Melee said...

Loved meeting you. So glad you found Casey. :)

jillnotkin said...

Every time I saw you with your beautiful daughter at BlogHer, it made me miss both of mine. Oh, and I LOVED her flower!!

Rick Bucich said...

Very touching post. You were so cute together I couldn't help but try to capture the moment. Obviously others saw it too!

cara said...

This was a wonderful post. Thank you for telling your story. I have a feeling that you will be for someone else what that blog post was for you.

CanCan (Mom Most Traveled) said...

Aww. You two are so adorable. This is the sweetest thing...i can picture the room of BlogHers weeping over it next year at the keynote (submit it!)

Alli Worthington {@alliworthington} said...

*****tears****

Beautiful.

You are loved!

Mimi's Toes said...

OMG, what a powerful post. I am so happy for you and your little girl and the bond you have now. This took a lot of guts to share with us. I am so glad you had a positive experience. God Bless you!

Houseonahill said...

Jen, I spent most of our "Speed dating" session talking to the sweet angel with the beautiful head-band. SO GLAD and Honored to have met you ~ and this post is phenomenal.

What a great great way to end an awesome weekend.

Kimberly said...

This is so beautiful! I'm glad you found her. You are beaming in that photo. Thanks for sharing this story; I'm sure it wasn't easy.

Rachel said...

Bless you.
This was wonderful to read.

Moosh is amazing, I adore her and I'm so glad that she was inspirational to you.

That's what this is all about.
xoxo

capribythelake said...

I'm so so so incredibly happy for you and Lily. I'm so proud of you for overcoming this AGAIN (I know you struggled the first time around too), and making it to this special moment, and place with her. I'm proud of you for your honesty, because it will help someone else to know the truth in your heart. XOXO

capribythelake said...

P.S. That photo is the CUTEST EVER!

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

Just beautiful! Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. I am sure your post will help other women suffering with depression and anxiety.

BTW - I hope you don't mind that I linked to you. :)

Heather of the EO said...

chills chills chills. I love that the moments you had to connect with your daughter came about because of feeling so connected to this internet life. What I mean by that is that you wouldn't have been there without those connections. You wouldn't have wanted to go. It all fell together, just as it should.

P.S. I can totally relate to the psychological/depression/anxiety stuff BIG TIME. No judging here...just relating.

Peace to you,
Heather

Nell said...

Jen, what a raw, honest, and beautiful post. Thank you for telling it. Thank you for being an authenitc and transparent blogger. I hope to meet you one day.

Nell

Liz @ Six Year Itch said...

Incredibly brave and moving. While I did not suffer through depression when I was pregnant, I have definitely had very, very dark moments of despair through the years.

Being able to find that support DOES make all the difference. I was able to find -- back in 2004 -- a group of women who so changed my life I will never forget them and I'm immensely thankful that I found them through Livejournal (oh, those were the days).