My BFF has PPD

March 3rd, 2009

When will it end? When you stop asking.


Here’s a cool website with a glossary of text messaging acronyms. Every 8- to 28-year-old knows these already. You may not need it, except to make sense of what I’ve written here. DRIB.

Since I put my cell phone on pay-as-you-go, I’ve seen the actual price of idle chatter. Texting costs even more, so I don’t need to learn the language. I don’t need to text. I don’t even need a phone.

I love it when I find one less thing. Finding three less things makes me feel rich!

Today I want to write about PPD. Post partum depression. And all the other kinds of PPD. Last week the economist Paul Krugman diagnosed one aspect of our big sickness as post-partisan depression. It’s part of the larger post political depression and post prosperity, privilege, privatized, Pollyanna, Pottery Barn depression. Even reading this may give you post-post depression. DBEYR.

Seems like everything in life is post-something else, and nearly all of it is depressing. Someone far more ordinary than me once observed this truth and called it, of all things, noble! BTDTGTS!

Recently I said as much to a friend and mother. “Every mother has PPD. I don’t see any other way.” In some cases, PPD is medically diagnosed and treated as such, in other cases, not. I say it is universal not to make less of it, but to make more of it. Motherhood is a profound spiritual transformation. It is a passage that shatters your physical self, emotional self and psychological self, and thereby your total self image. Your every idea of self. Poof! To say it is depressing is to say it mildly. We are, in PPD, dead mothers walking. NUFF.

“Do some women handle it better?” my friend wondered. Boy, it sure seems so, but seeming doesn’t make it so.

My wish is that no one handles it. Or rather, that we handle it not by handling it, but by inching forward to the other side, taking all the hands and help we need, letting go of all the old ideas that constitute our pre-partum delusions of what we are. Only then can we be completely reborn. Yes, just as we feared, our children are the instruments of our self-destruction! CRTLA.

Is there an afterlife? AAMOF, it’s right here. But I’m not certain that I’m over my PPD. I’m pretty sure I’m still suffering from it, and making everyone else suffer along with me.

On that emoticon, :-)))))

It will be over when the Dow goes down to 5,000. DAMHIKT.


  1. Yeah, I didn’t know a single one… I learned one off tv that I reference for comic value alone, which is “IDK, my BFF Jill”. (from that commercial)

    ICAWYM (I couldn’t agree with you more) about the PPD. Motherhood doesn’t occur just at the physical act of birth. It is long before, during, and after that for the rest of your life…

    We’re all playing it by ear, every single day.

    Comment by Cam@Journey Wildly — March 3, 2009 @ 1:51 am

  2. Today there’s no PPD – baby girl won’t stop raspberrying and it cracks me up every time. I’m so easily entertained.

    Comment by Mrs. B. Roth — March 3, 2009 @ 3:31 am

  3. My mom knows all the texting stuff and I just won’t do it. He he. I will write out to excruciating detail. But I won’t answer the phone. What can ya do.

    Over? Perhaps you are right, and we are close to finding out. I got my seeds and I’m ready to roll.

    Comment by denise — March 3, 2009 @ 5:05 am

  4. PPD forced me into change, into the unknown of my heart and soul. perhaps our nation may have a similar transition?

    Comment by Bridge — March 3, 2009 @ 5:53 am

  5. p.s. Paul Krugman is my secret (well not so secret) crush.

    Comment by Bridge — March 3, 2009 @ 5:54 am

  6. I was suicidal during my PPD…for months. It was not PPP (post-partum psychosis) but just a slight notch above. It infuriates me that PPD and PPP, while recognized by some as a serious illness, get barely more than just a nod of acknowledgement. There is NOT nearly enough support for mothers going through this (and some fathers) considering how much support they are expected to give to their new family. There are many organizations trying their darndest to…but what they need is more advocacy from peers like you and me…more peer support for families in crisis. I want to say less talk more action, but when talk is all you’ve got, it’s IS enough.


    Comment by Lil — March 3, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

  7. Wow. I never thought about it like that before, profound.

    Comment by Puanani — March 3, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

  8. This is exactly how I’ve thought of PPD before… I’ve never seen it articulated. I think it’s a very important distinction. Brava!


    Comment by Terri — March 3, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

  9. Sadly the only text I know is LOL. We have one prepaid phone shared by our family. Even without a phone of their own my kids are learning the lingo – they practice on fake phones. I suppose it is a language they’ll need to know. For me – I’m sticking with entire words. I like it that way – lol!

    Comment by Shalet — March 3, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

  10. I love your linky posts! You always send me to new and interesting corners of the internet. And deeper into the corners of my own heart.
    I’ve got no children, but I’ve watched close friends go through all that you describe. Sometimes being a helping hand doesn’t feel like helping enough.

    Comment by kazari — March 3, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

  11. I love what you’re saying about PPD–and I think in many respects you are right, that all of us have it, that becoming a mother shatters your self-image. And yet, I have to admit I feel defensive at the thought of saying that what every mother experiences is the same as what I experienced. I imagine I would feel the same if I had chronic fatigue syndrome and someone who was just tired said, “don’t we ALL really have chronic fatigue syndrome?”

    I get your point, I think, but in a way, globalizing the problem sends the people at the extremes back into hiding and solitude. Does that make any sense?

    Comment by Anonymous — March 4, 2009 @ 12:55 am

  12. I read this earlier from my iphone but I could not open all the links to really read the slang talk stuff – so I re read it and I am so glad you gave those links with it! Its a whole other language! As for PPD I never had it – but I think it could be because I had my fair share before the babies came into my life, maybe I got a nice little reprieve.

    Comment by Cat — March 4, 2009 @ 3:18 am

  13. I can only say I don’t regret the investments I made over the years in my kids and in clear seeing. The cell phone investments, I don’t regret. The other stuff, well at this time it may seem regrettable. We’ll see.

    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — March 4, 2009 @ 6:13 am

  14. Karen–I’m wondering if you’ve ever blogged (or addressed elsewhere) a “specialized” PPD involving regrets/preoccupation with/self-recrimination/guilt/disappointment over “birth experiences” that nullified birth plans and discredit the whole culture of customizing “your birth experience” . I have a feeling that there’s an epidemic of this. My son is 15 months old and I’m still grappling with it even after: an early conversation with my ob/gyn; a recent get-it-off-my-chest conversation with the instructor from our childbirth class; work with a therapist; lots of writing; obtaining birth records. I thought I was in good shape until someone I know gave birth to her first child yesterday after a six hour unmedicated labor and delivery and I realized I had secretly, horribly wished she had something closer to my almost 20 hour ordeal of unmedicated back labor, complications, and a near-emergency C-section.

    Only in retrospect did I realize just what a mess I was through my son’s first six months (not that it ended there!!) and the “birth experience” stuff definitely exacerbated it.

    Your book is virtually a sacred text for me. You bring such comfort and clarity.

    39 yr. old mom in Va.

    Comment by Anonymous — March 4, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

  15. Have had many glum moments and days of feeling adrift since becoming a mother in 2004. In the early days, I kept going back to this excerpt from a book called “Dropped Threads”, which offers some strength/hope…

    A woman is a door. Never is this more apparent than when she bears a child. She parts her legs in blood and pain, opens the door to the world, to a being of flesh and soul, a baby, an infant, her baby.

    A woman is a door and she knows this, when, after the birth of her baby, her body creaks and the winds blow through, and she has a rounded belly, dripping, sagging, ever-full breasts, stretch marks, where chaos and dissolution have loomed large. She has been close to the blackness of space. Her skin, pulled taut, stretched, was broken, but the winds have not torn her to pieces, yet. She knows her own greyness, her own silvered fragility. She accepts how she opened like a silver flower to let into life a pink, round-cheeked, perfect human infant. She welcomes his scowl and lusty cry, his sucking at her tender breast.

    Everything is alive with the sighs and flutters of the infant in the bedside cradle. The world is renewed, animate.

    A woman is a door. She holds her infant’s hand and walks with him, through herself, into the hopeful new world.

    Comment by Lana — March 4, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

  16. This is exactly what I needed to read this morning – a new perspective on how to embrace who I am right now instead of trying to hold onto pieces of who I was 11 months ago. I can’t thank you enough.

    Comment by Nikole — March 4, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  17. Dear Anon and Non-Anons,
    I so appreciate your comments and your honesty. No matter what the source, no matter what the cause of our expectations, regrets and preoccupations with the past and ruinous. The only thing there is to life is this experience right now. We don’t need to bring anything to it. We need to drop everything we bring to it.

    But it does not work to wrest those things from other’s hands, hearts and heads. We have to realize for ourselves, so we can actualize for ourselves, what it is to live free and fully.

    This is what brings me to my meditation practice over and over again. For me, it’s simply the easiest way to loosen a smile.

    Love to all.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — March 4, 2009 @ 5:43 pm

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