monthly theme, May 2013: “body image” posts listing

To read more about the intro to this month’s theme, please click here! May’s Monthly Theme posts are all about body image and the ALI journey.

Suggested Prompts:

  • How do you feel about your pregnancy / post-partum / post-adoption body?
  • Did you have weight gain in addition to pregnancy gain because of depression, fertility meds, etc?
  • How did you handle the psychological effects of weight gain from a pregnancy(ies) that you lost?
  • If you adopted, did you turn to food during the seemingly endless waiting period?
  • How do you / have you made time to focus on your health/body since becoming a mother?
  • Do you focus more on healthy food, good exercise, or a mix of both?

Contributing Bloggers:

  1. Esperanza @ Stumbling Gracefully: “The Tata’s Must Be Contained!” – On struggling with the perceived sexualization of my newly pregnant (again) body, as my boobs grow ever more unwieldy.
  2. Kerri @ Uncommon Nonsense: “PAIL theme post time: Body Image” – My insecurities about my pregnant body and being the only non glowing, non goddess-like pregnant lady.
  3. Ms. Future PharmD @ Mom PharmD: “My body, myself” – Musings on just starting to get into shape after the secondary infertility rollercoaster
  4. SMisconceptions About Conception: “PAIL Bloggers Monthly Theme Post May 2013: Body Image” – How do I feel about my body post-infertility?  I hate it now more than ever.
  5. Emily @ Emskyrooney: “Pump it Up” – A post about weight gain before, during, and after pregnancy and what I’m doing now to get back to the self I want to be.
  6. KellyKellyland: “Body Image” – Empowered
  7. Elizabeth @ Bébé Suisse: “The insufferable vanity of (not really) getting “fat” and (not really) being a “grosse baleine”: body image during pregnancy.” – Surprise! I’m happy with my body during pregnancy.
  8. WifeyPunch Today In The Face: “PAIL: Body Image” – Learning to establish a healthy/positive body image for myself and my pre-teen daughter
  9. MeganMy new journey with being a new mom, a former infertile, and whatever else comes along: “Why You Won’t Find a Full Length Mirror in My House” – How I’ve always had a bad body image and it needs to change NOW!
  10. Chon @ Life Begins: “PAIL Monthly Theme Post: Body Image” – A photo journal of my infertility weight gain and post partum recovery.
  11. B @ Created Family: “Body Image: Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Raising my Daughter” – A bit about my journey of surviving a life-threatening eating disorder, embracing my pregnant and postpartum body, and raising a food loving, body positive daughter.
  12. JoseyMy Cheap Version of Therapy: “the body” – A look back at the ups and downs of my weight loss journey – through an eating disorder and beyond.
  13. mellowinthemidwestMellow in the Midwest: “Body image in flux” – Fighting for a positive body image through pp, treatments, and now pregnancy.
  14. GurleeInfertility Musings: “the post I actually finish

If you are still writing your post, or these posts inspire you, link up in the comments. Additional posts will be added through the end of the week, so check back in to see if any new posts pop up, and feel free to leave some general comments on the topic below.


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news item: “study finds genetic prediction of postpartum depression”

I don’t discuss it much, but I went through a Very Bad Time after my first son was born. When he was about 4 months old, my husband realized that I was no longer doing things like leaving the house, showering, eating, sleeping, etc. He took me to the emergency room. A psychiatrist, social worker, mental health nurse doing home visits, support groups, and months of medication later and I was semi-human again.

Postpartum depression is FOR REAL. It is not the “baby blues” nor is it “regular” depression, something I have struggled with as well. Without going into much detail (as this is something I still struggle greatly with sharing) I was not myself. And on top of it all, I was debilitated with guilt and shame. How could I feel this way when I just won the lottery?

In hindsight, I had many risk factors for PPD all lined up neatly in a row. A history of anxiety and depression, suffering back to back miscarriages, infertility, an extremely stressful pregnancy, traumatic birth experience, lack of support after birth, and so on. However something I had never considered was whether I was genetically predisposed to it. Yesterday on Twitter I came across an article (thanks KeAnne, you re-tweeter you) that has me thinking…

Study Finds Genetic Prediction of Postpartum Depression

It is not clear what causes postpartum depression, a condition marked by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, exhaustion and anxiety that begins within four weeks of childbirth and can last weeks, several months or up to a year. An estimated 10 to 18 percent of all new mothers develop the condition, and the rate rises to 30 to 35 percent among women with previously diagnosed mood disorders.

The researchers later confirmed their findings in humans by looking for epigenetic changes to thousands of genes in blood samples from 52 pregnant women with mood disorders. The women were followed both during and after pregnancy to see who developed postpartum depression.

The researchers noticed that women who developed postpartum depression exhibited stronger epigenetic changes in those genes that are most responsive to estrogen, suggesting that these women are more sensitive to the hormone’s effects. Specifically, two genes were most highly correlated with the development of postpartum depression. TTC9B and HP1BP3 predicted with 85 percent certainty which women became ill.

“We were pretty surprised by how well the genes were correlated with postpartum depression,” Kaminsky says. “With more research, this could prove to be a powerful tool.”

Without going off on a tangent about study size, sample population, and commentary on methodology, I will say that this study is very interesting. It is general assumed (even by mental health professionals) that PPD can be attributed to “wacky hormones being all out of whack.”  More specifically, that a drop in estrogen levels affects mood significantly in some women, but not others. Although, that reason doesn’t answer the question of why this woman and not that one?

This study suggests that certain woman are more sensitive to changes in estrogen. What is interesting about this research is that it could potentially lead to a blood test performed in the third trimester to determine whether these changes are taking place and raise a potential red flag for the woman, her family, and her healthcare provider.  The lead researcher, Zachary Kaminsky, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins, hopes that this could help HCPs and mothers make informed decisions about treatment for depression during and after pregnancy, including the appropriate use of medication when weighed against other risks. In other words, if you knew you higher risk, you could better prepare for the possibility that it might be more likely to happen.

I have been chewing on this all morning, and will likely continue to for a while. I felt that I had no choice but to go on medication or risk not being able to parent my child. Curiously, I have not remotely had the same experience after the birth of my second son, despite life (and life events) being more stressful now. I attribute this to a a different pregnancy, and empowering birth, and experience as a mother, but also to being on the lookout for The Very Bad Time – Part 2. I have written here before that I lied to my HCP about feeling depressed during pregnancy. So as I read this over and over this morning, I can’t help thinking that normalizing mental health issues before and after pregnancy is a good thing. Yes, a blood test like this raises moral and ethical questions and could be used for all sorts of nefarious purposes. But what if it is used for good?

I’m chewing on it.


If you or someone you know is struggling with postpartum depression, an excellent resource is Postpartum Progress. Click on GET HELP for more information.


What do you make of this research? Can you see this being added to the battery of available pregnancy testing?

If this test were available, would you choose to take it? Why or why not?

Prior to giving birth did you discuss mental health issues (relating to pregnancy and the postpartum period) with your healthcare provider? 

Did you have adequate emotional support (or access to resources) after bringing your child home? 


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SRBSarah is a former high school teacher, turned medical writer, turned SAHM to two boys. She enjoys beer, knitting, gardening, and cheese, and is striving to raise boys who can will do their own laundry and cooking. This urban mama parents with an ever-evolving mix of natural, attachment and RIE principles with a dash of by-the-seat-of-her-pants for good measure. She blogs about her life at a sausage party at Little Chicken Nuggets.

monthly theme reminder

Just a reminder that our monthly theme post is due this week! Our theme is “body image” and we hope you’ll share your thoughts on this topic. The deadline is Wednesday at midnight EST. Click here to see Josey’s introduction of the theme, get writing prompts and submit your post via the form at the bottom of the page.

Can’t wait to see what you all have to share with us!

the monday snapshot – Tracy aka traathy

Well, it seems to be one if those slow weeks in the internetz and unfortunately I haven’t heard back from any of the bloggers who signed up for the Monday Snapshot yet! Soooo you get me this week 🙂

The Monday Snapshot is an evolution of the MMM feature, meant to bring the PAIL blogroll to life by giving its members a chance to feature themselves and make new connections. 

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!


Good morning everyone!

May long weekend for the past two years has been really tough for my husband and I. It was exactly three years ago that we found out that our first daughter wasn’t going to live and three years ago that I found a place in the land of loss. The year immediately following her loss being the hardest and last year being crazy in that we had a 3.5 month old and I was a sleep deprived mess. This year, it’s been quiet with a few bouts of panic and occasional tears which kick me in the butt when I least expect it. The good – some of the greatest Internet girls in the world offer guidance in times of random darkness. A special thank you to my T.Dot lady who held my hand virtually through a particularly dark patch recently. The other good. Scratch that. The great. I get to hold this girls hand forever. Time flies when you are having fun and covered in mud!


Traathy – C’mon, you can figure that out right? After a failed IVF, a medically induced stillbirth, and three additional miscarriages she is now a new mom to beautiful lil baby K through a local domestic open adoption. She’s a high school guidance counsellor by day and self-admitted know it all by night.

Lover of wine, cheese, chips, and crackers her blood pressure is constantly in question. Traathy stopped blogging recently due to a schedule which leaves her TIRED all the time. She can be contacted at theyalllived [at] gmail [dot] com or she can be found on Twitter (sometimes).

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!

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weekly summary, vol. 48

PAIL Special Announcements/Reminders:

  • On our blogroll? Help your readers find us! Post the PAIL icon! If you need help figuring out how to post the button, click here for details. If you are having issues, you can always contact us and we will do our best to put on our tech support hats and solve the problem for you. :)
  • Check out our “Mothering: A Tribute To The Cause” wrap-up on all things Mothers’ Day from the past week. Thank you to the seven bloggers who shared their intimate thoughts on this very complicated and often bittersweet holiday.
  • It’s Monthly Theme Post time again! May’s theme is “Body Image”–  just in time for the upcoming bathing suit season, am I right? I don’t know that I’ve ever met a single woman who has no opinion on this, but in case you need help getting started, Josey‘s write-up features a whole slew of questions to get the hamster wheel spinning. Check it out, think about it, and come back to share your thoughts and experiences with us!

PAIL Posts This Week:

  • This week, Sam of The Cass Family took over our Monday Snapshot with a neat photo comparison of her son from his newborn days to now at a year and a half. My girls are the same age and I’ve been sneaking peeks back at their old newborn photos, so this hits me right in the soft stuff. (If you haven’t hosted a Monday Snapshot post yet, be sure to click the link below under “Stay Connected” to sign up!)
  • Josey shared with us a very popular recent post by Pastor Steve Wiens, who writes about infertility from the male partner’s perspective, on “Ten Words That Describe Infertility.” This one has been passed around online quite a bit lately as it seems to have resonated with a lot of people, and Josey gives us a space to share amongst ourselves– what three words define infertility for you?

PAIL Featured Post:

  • This week, Chandra featured a Mothers’ Day-themed post from Serene Jones entitled “Worst Expectations: Motherhood Lost,” touching on the very real experience of Mothers’ Day for those who have lost a much-wanted child, be it through pregnancy loss, failed adoption, or another loss.

New Blogroll Members:

Stay Connected:


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