Mothers in the Middle

The closing of Postpartum Progress two weeks ago now has left many women feeling broken and adrift.  Initially, I felt like the closure of PPI was a slap in the face to the thousands of us that have raised money for the organization, volunteered our time, and spent our family’s hard earned money travelling to and attending the conference, among other things.  I thought that was what was bothering me.  But as the weeks have gone on, it’s become more clear what feels so broken about this.


Those of us that were involved in PPI trusted the organization to hold us up when no one else would.  Within the ones and zeros of PPIs virtual walls we found the all important “me, too” and “I’m okay, you’re okay, and when we’re not okay, that’s okay, too”.  That kind of acceptance allowed us to be vulnerable and, when you are dealing with perinatal and postpartum mental illness, vulnerability doesn’t come easy.  We trusted that we would be safe there.  We were told that our deepest, darkest, scariest secrets were okay here.  So we told those secrets, we freed them, and we started to heal.

While the dissolution of the organization feels like abandonment in some ways, what feels so much worse is watching women who once had your back, turn theirs on you.  People are disconnecting themselves from each other by unfriending and blocking on Facebook (the 21st century version of the silent treatment).  There are sides and people are expected to choose one or the other.  There is splitting… the idea that something or someone is all good or all bad.

But what about those of us in the middle.

I’ve never been an all or nothing person.  Very few things, in my mind, are all good or all bad.

I am absolutely not okay with Women of Color being marginalized, being the victimized by people they trusted, and having their pain dismissed. It is clear that many Women of Color have not been able to trust PPI for a long time and that is absolutely, unquestionably unacceptable.

I am also not okay with the mob scene that ensued when the leadership was asked to be accountable for the systemic racism that was coming to light within it’s ranks.   When a petition was started to oust the CEO, and letters went out to sponsors asking them to pull funding, it felt like a freight train barreling down hill with no brakes.  Social media moves at the speed of light and what made PPI so accessible, in the end, was it’s undoing.  Even so, I still feel like more could have been done to salvage the organization. The leadership, however, did not and allowed itself to be engulfed in flames.

We all do the best we can with the information and resources we have at any given time. I do not blame any one person for the collapse of PPI; there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen for this one. And no one’s feelings are wrong.  However, what one chooses do with those feelings can have an infinite number of outcomes. When we choose to do nothing and turn the other way, we have indeed made a choice that speaks loudly and evolves, or devolves, depending on who takes the reigns when we drop them.  When we are reactionary and full of rage, those outcomes will generally take on lives of their own and lead down paths we may have never intended to go.

My community evaporated literally overnight.  No matter how many Facebook groups are created, or organizations take up the work of PPI, it will never be the same.  Maybe this is grief.  Maybe it’s anger.  Maybe I’m feeling abandoned.  I don’t know.  But I don’t like it.  And I don’t know where to go with all of it.

I’m glad PPI was held accountable, finally, for the systemic racism within the leadership.  And I’m glad that new organizations are being created that are far more inclusive.  But there is no trust there yet, for me, and with the way things fell apart I don’t know if there ever can be.

So where does this leave those of us in the middle?  I have felt like I’m floating along not wanting to speak or say the whole truth of what I am feeling because, depending on what I say, I’ll be pigeon holed on one ‘side’ or another.  I don’t want an echo chamber. I don’t want to be in a silo of whiteness and I don’t want anyone to wipe my white woman tears.  I also don’t want to be dismissed.

I want a place where I can work this out safely; a place where I can ask hard questions of of myself and other people. Racial issues are complex and confronting your internalized racism and challenging your privilege is no easy task.  These are issues I’ve been examining deeply for the past several years.  I don’t want any awards, I’m just stating my truth.  I want to have the discourse. But I’m hesitant to talk about how I feel about the closing of PPI without this constant fear that if I say the wrong thing I’ll be branded and excommunicated.  Maybe that fear, in and of itself, is part of my white privilege.  Maybe not.  I just don’t know.  And the point is, there feels like there’s no where, no where at all, to unpack all that and figure it out without the risk of it all getting turned on it’s head.


photo credit: kitch Broken via photopin (license)

I put lube in my hair

No, really. 
Eight months ago I started my Curly Girl journey. Simply put, the Curly Girl method means no shampoo, cleansing with non-silicone conditioners, and styling with products meant to keep your curls moisturized and healthy. There’s quite a bit of minutiae to it, but those are the basics. 
And there’s a lot of trial and error to find which products work well with your particular hair type. I’m in a large Facebook group where we talk about different products and methods of managing our curls. I’ve heard lots of folks rave about using water-based lubricants as a styling agent but couldn’t quite make the mental leap. 
This week in particular so many women were singing the praises and showing off their gorgeous soft curls. I finally decided I had to try it! A bag of cheetos, a selfie stick, a tube of generic lube, and an offhand comment about Tinder to the sales clerk and I was on my way. (Just kidding… maybe.). 

I’m a little giddy about the results even though I’m still working it into the routine. Some women use it as a stand alone styler, others in conjunction with gel or curling custards. I just have to figure out what works best for my hair and curl pattern, but it’s clearly worth the effort. 

What’s the craziest beauty product you’ve used?


This aquarium sits in the 3 foot wide space that is my only entry in and out of my kitchen. I try to keep things in order, ideally, because it helps my brain feel less chaotic. My impulse to make him clean it up at the end of the day is strong. But he’s so clear that his work isn’t finished. I push down my needs for order to make space for his needs for creativity because this is his work, and my ability to leave it is mine. 

Half way

I made it halfway through NaBloPoMo! I will admit, however, I’m half-assing it here and there because these just a lot of transition happening right now. And in the last 2 weeks I’ve worked 100 hours at my new job and old job, dealt with some unpleasant financial situations, been turned upside and inside out over this electing, and learned today that I like won’t get into the graduate school program I applied for. There’s an outside chance I could still get in, but it doesn’t look good. I know I need to get this degree, so onward and upward. I have other option. This ain’t over. 

Sorry for the stream of consciousness, it’s late and I’m sucked into Vikings. Like I said, half-assed. 


Oh Cotton Babies! They have a gorgeous new line that benefits Postpartum Progress, an organization so dear to me. 

It takes incredible strength to live with and survive a postpartum mood disorder. Cotton Babies knows that. And they have been an integral supporter of Postpartum Progress and the Warrior Mom Conference. 

I got to see and feel many of these items at this years Warrior Mom Conference, but they sold out quickly because they are so beautiful and touched our hearts. They just released this diaper design for pre-order and oh. my. god. does it make me wish I had a baby bum to put one on. 

Alas, no more baby bums for me, but it is time for Christmas shopping and I really really like that mug, hint hint.  

(This is not an affiliate post, no one paid me to profess my love for this line, my opinions are 100% my own).