My lovelies, *this* week I’m excited, because I have here a FRIST of epic proportions. Whenever I mention her name in the Blogosphere, the person to whom I’m speaking tends to get a bit frenzied and start using exclamations like “I LOVE her!” and “she’s the REAL DEAL” and “OMG!” And yaknow what? They should do. She’s *that* good.
It is my very great honour to interview, for your pleasure, an incredible writer, awesome mom, and one of the people I’ve loved longest in this World Between the Wires – Kristi Rieger Campbell.
So, Kristi, a thousand welcomes to A Slip of the Lit, and many thanks for agreeing to let me interview you. Which, seeing as we’ve shared a bed now (*levels a ‘look’ at readers, who should KNOW some of the shenanigans I got up to in Murica by now, because that one was PLANNED FROM THE OFFSET (though it’s totally NOT going to stop me playing with the fact it happened)) I suppose either I could take as a given (due to the level of our friendship) or as a HUGE HUGE FAVOUR (because you had to share sleeping space with me), but either way, I’m psyched to have you here, and thank you.
It’s common knowledge that you’ve long been committed to changing the world and turning it into a land of empathy and wonder, where you’ll be happy for your son (and all of us) to live, but how did you come to write for ‘Mothering Through the Darkness’?
One of the first blogging friends I met was Stephanie Sprenger. She and her business partner, Jessica Smock, run The HerStories Project. I’ve been involved in their community since its inception and, when I saw the call for submissions about Post-Partum Depression (PPD) and Post-Partum Anxiety (PPA), I thought that my story may be a good fit. I wanted to share the not-knowing early days of motherhood in hopes that my state of mind then may help others who are experiencing similar anxieties and fears.
I appreciate that, and I can see why you wanted to help, if you could. Both conditions sound nightmarish, but also there’s sometimes a lot of stigma attached to admitting you’ve suffered either – what compelled you to share such deep, challenging circumstances in such a frank way?
My biggest challenge during my first few months of adjusting to motherhood was loneliness and isolation. I thought that finding a “mom club” would come more easily and was convinced that the heavy worry and fear that I carried inside while I carried my son around our neighborhood was unique to me. As he’s aged, and I’ve come out of my sleepless haze, I realize that I was alone because I didn’t reach out. I didn’t voice my fears or my emotions to anybody. I wish that I had.
Sharing my experience was cathartic and something that I believe has been one more step in forgiving myself for not feeling as if I were enough back then. I also hope that by putting it out there, that a woman struggling today may realize that she’s not alone. That she’ll know that there’s no shame in reaching out and asking for help.
I love that the writing of your experience is something you feel has helped you, as well as something which might make another woman realise she’s not alone. But having experienced PPD (or PPA), and having committed to your reasons for writing about it, how was that?
Well honestly, I’m not sure it was PPD. I think it was likely more PPA, and, either way, I never asked for help and was never diagnosed with either. Writing about it made me sad, but not because I was sad for now-me. It made me sad for then-me, that mama who found herself sitting on a sidewalk in the dark making wishes at stars, worrying about whether she was worthy. About whether her body would protect her son’s in a tragedy. I wish she’d known that she wasn’t alone. I wish she’d known that she would find greater light and life with her boy than she’d ever known before. She had the love for him, but she didn’t have the peace. Does that make sense? Overall, I’m really glad that I wrote it. I’m glad to have been able to share, to possibly help somebody else, and also to look back and see how truly beautiful this journey has been and will continue to be.
That’s such a beautiful message, and I truly hope that women who have similarly challenging thoughts will take comfort from the sharing of your experience, and will benefit from your wisdom and perspective. Is there anything else you hope your readers will take away from your piece?
That none of us are ever truly alone in how we feel. Right now, somewhere on this amazing Earth that we call home, somebody else feels the same way that we do. That right now, somebody is laughing, somebody is grieving, and somebody needs a friend. That it’s always okay to reach out and ask for help. If you don’t find it in the first handhold, reach for the next, and the next. Because it’s there.
Beautiful, true, and very affirming statements. There is a lesson for everyone, right there. So in order to get your message out to people, and help the way the world’s getting changed for the better by this book, how can we best support you as an author?
We’d all very much appreciate people spreading the news about this important book and hope that it will end up in the hands of women experiencing PPD and PPA. Purchase a copy for yourself or for a friend here.
You SEE how awesome she is? My lovelies, this anthology is SO good, and has such beautiful purpose. I hope that you’ll support Kristi and the other writers who shared their deep challenges with PPD/PPA by either buying a copy or sharing the HECK out of this post, and any other promotions for the book. We know that there are some glorious ways to help mend the world, and I truly believe that this kind of anthology is one of them. Support Kristi – support each other – support CHANGE.
Kristi Rieger Campbell’s passion is writing and drawing stupid-looking pictures for her blog, Finding Ninee. It began with a memoir about her special-needs son Tucker, abandoned when she read that a publisher would rather shave a cat than read another memoir. Kristi writes for a variety of parenting websites including Huffington Post Parents. She has been published in several popular anthologies, received 2014 BlogHer’s Voice of the Year People’s Choice Award, and was a proud cast member of the DC Listen to Your Mother show. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.