Kangaroo, alligators, Milky Way

I found this scrap of paper on my desk — it’s a page, come loose and migrated from one of the small notebooks I tend to carry around, in case inspiration strikes. I need to get more organized about this notebook thing — right now, I have at least two on the go, with notes jotted down, undated, on random pages.

I suppose should progress through one notebook at the time, in some kind of orderly, numbered fashion. But then I would lose the mystery of wandering through pages and coming across “30 X 30 inches – so buy 33 X 33,” next to “FWPGRJ” (which looks to me like a flight reservation number). There are notes from therapy appointments, notes on my long-abandoned (and possibly one day soon resurrected) novel, notes on essays (“JT hiding in her garage during Hebrew school). There are phone numbers and e-mail addresses for people I didn’t know then and who are now close friends (and phone numbers and e-mail addresses for people I didn’t know then and still don’t). There’s a quote from Richard Wagamese (“Don’t work toward the dream. Work toward taking the next small action that brings the dream closer. If you work toward the dream, you’re going to work awfully hard.”), doodles, calculations, memories, games of hangman with Rowan, errands and gift ideas.

And this, this tiny scrap of a memory, floating up from the flotsam and jetsam to take me back in time:

Tuesday — I[saac] has a nap, cuddling him to sleep — the way you know by the angle of your own child’s eyelashes whether his eyes are closed.

Hanging on by a thread: I'm guest posting at Postpartum Progress today


This blog was featured last week on the CBC's Canada Writes page, with a Q&A with me. I mention that now not purely for reasons of shameless self-promotion, but because one of the comments the interviewers made to me was that I write "so honestly about life and the challenges of parenting." I challenged them a bit on that one, because, as I said, "really, I could be writing a pack of lies and who would know, right?"

I'm not writing a pack of lies. But I don't write — or haven't written — about many things.

And one of those things is postpartum depression.

I've never written directly about PPD in these pages (although, ironically, I mentioned it in the CBC interview, because apparently now I'm ready). I've alluded to it, written around it, but I'm not sure that I've ever actually said, definitively, that I went through it. Partly that's because I was never formally diagnosed (and that in itself is a problem), and so I don't feel that I'm entitled to claim those words. Partly it's because I started blogging after (I thought) I’d "got through" that stage of my life. Partly it's because I didn't know (and probably still don't) enough about the condition to think it applied to me.

But I've claimed, privately, my early parenting experiences as postpartum depression, for a while now. And now I've finally written about them, today, on Katherine Stone's absolutely crucial website, Postpartum Progress:

What I keep returning to is the nightly ritual of flossing. I’ve been a model flosser for decades, a dentist’s dream, scraping away at the grit between my teeth even on nights when I’d had a few drinks, even when I was exhausted, even when the tedium of dental hygiene was the only thing between me and my bed and my bed was so, so attractive. I flossed out of a sense of obligation, because it felt good, but most of all because I had long taken it as a bellwether of my own mental health: no matter how bad things are, I’d always figured, if I was still managing to floss, things couldn’t be dire. There was still hope. I mean, no one on the brink of madness, of utter collapse, says to the guys in the white suits, “I’ll be with you in a second — I just need to floss my teeth.”

Or do they?

Probably you knew I was going to say this, but for the record: in retrospect, I’m not sure that flossing was such a good bellwether.

Please read the rest here. (It's not all about dental floss; I promise.)

I first met (really met, for more than a nanosecond over a buffet table, that is) Katherine in May, at the Mom 2.0 Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. We were on a panel together, with the somewhat intimidating title of "How to Be a True Agent of Change: A New Look at Issue-based Content. Katherine, in case you don't know her work, has wrestled issues of postpartum depression and mood disorders well into the spotlight of the blogosphere and beyond, helping thousands upon thousands (millions?) of parents. She was also anything but intimidating. I wish I’d met her earlier, wish I'd come across PPP earlier. I'm honoured to be able contribute to the site today, and thank the ever-lovely Susan Petcher for making it happen.

If you suspect that you know someone who just might benefit from my story, from other parents' stories, from the information on the site, please share it, gently. I wish someone had, with me.

Check me out on the CBC’s “Canada Writes” this week!

I’m pretty chuffed to be featured this week on the CBC’s “Canada Blogs” series, part of its Canada Writes page. Please check out their Q&A with me, about blogging while Jewish and queer in Northwestern Ontario, what my mom would think about me spewing my life out onto the Interwebs, and whether what I write is really “honest” (I may or may not have used the term “pack of lies”).

While you're there, have a look at some of the other fantastic Canadian bloggers they have featured — I'm honoured to be in their company.

And if you really just can’t get enough, here’s a link the radio interview I did Thursday with Lisa Laco on Superior Morning. (We pre-taped the conversation, so, sadly, I can't even blame any incoherence on my part to having to be there at 6 AM.)

Have a great weekend – it’s been a lovely week to turn 43!