02 April 2012

HAWMC Day 2: Quotation Inspiration

Quotation Inspiration. Find a quote that inspires you (either positively or negatively) and free write about it for 15 minutes.

First, I'd like to take a moment to say that I love this prompt, except for the tiny detail that I had trouble narrowing it down to just one quote. I"ll have to keep this prompt in mind for the future when I have writer's block. Also, since it's a free write, I only went back and edited the spelling. And now, let the 15 minutes begin.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. -Winston Churchill

When I first read this quote, it grabbed me. If words could literally jump off a computer screen and yank at your hair, this quote would have done just that. When I first read it, my mind went immediately to blogging about PPD. To the people who have the guts to speak up when they see something that's not right. To the people who are so brave as to be able to tell their story and make themselves vulnerable to the entire world in the hopes that their story will help others.

But then, i realized that it applies to so much more than that. It applies to being able to reach out and ask for help. When you're struggling with PPD, one of the hardest things out there, one of the scariest thoughts, is to say "Hey, I know that I'm supposed to be blissfully happy right now and overjoyed at the fact that I have a new baby who is beautiful and healthy, and supposed to be overjoyed at the fact that I can now roll over in bed without knocking the pets and my husband off the mattress, and at the fact that I can now get up out of a cushy char without needing to enlist the assistance of a crane and other construction equipment, but I'm not. I'm sad, I feel hopeless, the world is bleak to me. I need help".

For me, it was scary for a multitude of reasons, and I'm pretty sure that other people would agree that they dealt with the same fears. I was scared of being made fun of. I was scared of being looked down upon. I was scared that people would think there was something wrong with me. I was scared that it would negatively impact my husband's military career. I was scared that CPS would come and take my baby away until I was deemed safe for her to be around. I was worried that admitting I needed help meant that I really did need help. I was scared that I would be judged and found wanting as a wife, mother, Christian, human being, friend, daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, cousin, and did I mention as a wife and mother? I was worried that this meant there was something wrong with me, that I would be told that it was all my fault. Saying I needed help, calling the Chaplain and agreeing to meet him at the ER and then actually getting in the car and doing it was one of the hardest and most absolutely terrifying things I have ever done in my entire life. The fear was almost palpable.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not speaking out of turn to say that this type of fear (if not these exact concerns) are what face other women dealing with PPD too. It's a big part of what keeps many women from speaking up and reaching out for help earlier on. And every woman who faces that fear, who stands up and says "Hey, something is not right here, I need help" shows an inordinate amount of courage that I have the utmost respect for. I have just as much respect for the women who make that choice as I do for the men and women who volunteer to join the military and go overseas, as much respect as I have for the men and women who choose to become firefighters knowing that they will be put into situations where they will have to run into a burning building to risk their life to save others, as much respect as I have for the men and women who volunteer and train to become Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers and jump into insanely cold and violent waters "That others may live", as much respect as I have for any men and women who volunteer to take up any profession that they know will ask them to literally put their lives on the line for others. This is not hyperbole. These women who speak up and reach out are every bit as brave, every bit as much my hero, as any of those I have just mentioned and all the others (tere are way too many professions to name).

But something else strikes me about this quote. IT also takes a lot of courage to be willing and able to sit down and just listen when someone needs to talk about the things they're struggling with as a result of their PPD. It's not an easy thing to sit there and listen as someone bares their soul, as they admit to having dark thoughts that we are trained from childhood to see as selfish and reprehensible. It's no simple task to listen and stay open and loving instead of saying "OMG, what is the MATTER with you, why can't you just get over this? Just choose to be happy instead of wallowing in this pity party!!!". It's not easy to just listen and respond with "I love you and I'm there for you, no matter what" instead of responding with pithy sayings, cliches, and your best guess as to what that poor soul needs to hear to drag them out of the depths of despair, instead of responding with "Well this is what you're doing wrong and here's how you should fix this".

It takes courage to stand up and speak and courage to sit down and listen. The trick is to know which is needed when.

/free write

What is the quote that most inspires you?



  1. Such an amazing quote. I had to read it a few times to let it sink in. You are absolutely right, it takes an incredible amount of courage to speak up about ppd. But it also takes courage to sit there and listen, not many people do that. As always, I'm impressed at your writing.
    I saw your little picture up on my blog, Yay!

  2. I understand what you mean about the courage to listen. It is hard sometimes because of the feelings it brings back to you as you relate to the speaker and it require some courage to be ready to respond in the best way to the person you are listening to.

    I enjoyed reading your post today