Racism.

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It has been a couple of months since my last post, and the reason is simply: I was too busy mommy-ing. Today, though, I felt like I really needed to get something off my chest.

Growing up as a foreigner is not easy.  First off, when you are growing up, the immense pressure to fit in makes it that much harder to find out who you are.  Assimilation is so convenient and powerful – first it started with my clothes, then my friends, then my thoughts.  It eats away at you – little by little – and if you are like me, eventually it completely consumes you.

My husband is American, with little to no idea what his heritage truly is.  I am Vietnamese – I speak, read and write the language. But I also speak, read, and write English and French.  And like my husband, I don’t know my true heritage.

My husband has not dealt with racism – other than racist comments his family blurts out.  Usually, I smile politely when someone is being racist – it gets a little hard when these “someone’s” are your in-laws/family members/friends.  And I personally never saw the harm in it – I always justified it as “everyone’s racist, unless you act on it, it’s okay.”  But is it? Is it okay to be racist?

No.  The short answer is No.

It is NEVER okay to racist.  And when you’re a parent, it means that much more.

Racism starts in our thoughts. So if we can curtail our thoughts, we can change our perception and then, our behaviors.  Children are not born knowing races and colors – and I will ensure that my children are not going to be racist assholes.  This much I promise.

I am a parent and I am going to protect my children from ignorant fools who are out there bashing, degrading, belittling, name-calling, bullying, and hurting others by teaching them that that is wrong.  My children will not be racists.  They will not be jerks.

My children will learn to love, accept, understand and respect everyone.

Today – November 15, 2016 – I failed.  I did not stand up for me or my children’s heritage against racists.  Let this be the last time I fail.

My Experience with Postpartum Depression

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After I delivered my first born, I had postpartum depression (PPD).  I was never diagnosed. I was battling PPD for about 4 months before it magically disappeared thanks to hormones and being pregnant again.

I never admitted to having PPD until I was about halfway into my second pregnancy; when, as if a switch had been flicked, it just clicked. That’s why I was so anxious, upset, and groggy all the time!  That’s why I was unable to enjoy the first tender months of motherhood!  That’s why I was crying and irritated so often.

Postpartum depression is real.  Just like depression, it can lead to harming oneself or people around us.  Earlier this month, Allison Goldstein took her own life after months of battling PPD (see story here).  The CDC estimates that 900,000 women get PPD annually (source).

 If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from PPD, please seek help.


Q: How does it feel to live with PPD?
A:
I was overwhelmed with guilt, anger, frustration, and sadness.  I couldn’t think straight.  I did not have mommy bliss – I did not want to take care of my child. There was an endless feeling of emptiness and because I was unable to feel, I lost my appetite and willingness to do anything.  And the worst part is, I knew something was wrong – but I didn’t know what.  And it was like a cloud. It was hanging over me. It dictated my life.  There was nothing I could do.  This cloud made everything so blurry and so distant.  I was hopeless. I was helpless.  I never had thoughts of harming myself or baby, but I think that if I hadn’t gotten pregnant again when I did, I probably would have become suicidal.

Q: I don’t need help. I can just confide in my husband or family.
A:
My husband is my best friend.  We talk a lot, about anything and everything.  When I had PPD, I didn’t want to talk to him.  I forced myself to tell him how I felt, but some things I could not put into words.  The one thing that helped, temporarily, was crying.  He would hug me and let me cry.  And I would stop crying as soon as the cloud came back over me – and I could hear my inner voice saying, “why are you so weak? just get over it!”

In hindsight, I should have gotten help.  Someone who was trained professionally could have helped me realize that I had PPD.

Q: I’ll just get over it.  I just need time.  I just need to keep busy.
A:
That was my mindset.  I thought that the imbalance of hormones coming off of pregnancy was just throwing me off.  The days, nights, weeks and months kept coming and the feelings only intensified.  Every morning, I longed for the evening to come so my husband would be home and he could play with the baby.  I kept the house noisy with music or TV all day.  I did crafts, something I used to enjoy, but it had become a chore.  I didn’t want to go outside, I didn’t want the baby to cry and people to judge. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, friends or neighbors, their voices bothered me. 

I was withdrawn.  I didn’t even know it then.  People thought it looked perfect – our life: my baby was adorable and healthy, my husband doting and loving – but no one is to blame for PPD.  Not me, not my husband or baby, not my friends. Again, if I had gotten help sooner, I would have battled PPD better.


I don’t have PPD today.  I was lucky.  I’m using my experience to spread awareness because it can happen to anyone.

If you’re battling PPD right now, please know that you are not aloneYou do not have to be alone.

 If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from PPD, please seek help.