The Sweetest Birthday Yet…

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“We want to welcome you to this world, and yes there will be days and nights, when  you’ll wonder is the world right?  We want to welcome you to this world, and yes, there will be days and nights when you’ll know the world is alright!”  Toni Childs, “Welcome to the World”

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Chillin’ like a villan!

Ever since my Dad died in 2009, my birthdays have been bittersweet.  I wish he was here to call me and sing “Happy Birthday” the way he used to do.  A friend wrote on my Facebook wall this morning that he is always with me, and I know he is.   I’ll still have fun on my special day, and I know he’d want me to do just that – he’d also want me to treat myself to gourmet chocolate and that is definitely happening!

Apart from missing my father, I’m thinking a lot about the music I love that lifts my spirits.  Toni Childs is one of my favorite singers.  She’s also a humanitarian and fellow dolphin lover.  Any birthday or birth reminds me of Toni Childs’ powerful song “Welcome to the World”, which I’ve listened to literally hundreds of times.  I didn’t think there was an accompanying video since it wasn’t one of her big hits such as “Don’t Walk Away”, “Zimbabwe”, or her duet with Peter Gabriel “I Met A Man”.  Luckily I was wrong!  Yesterday, on impulse, I checked YouTube and I was so excited to find Toni’s video of “Welcome to the World”.  I watched it and found it to be very beautiful and moving. Here’s the link:

Right now, despite rough days and anxious moments, I’m finding the world “alright” as Toni sings in her song.  I’m especially grateful to hit 44 as a woman who has reached a hard-won recovery with bipolar disorder.

I know that inevitably hard rains are gonna fall down once again.

All I can do to deal better with deaths of loved ones, or serious illness of those I love (or God forbid, myself)  is to take my meds, exercise, eat (much) better, get enough sleep, see my pdoc & counselor, and stay productive.  Meditating would be nice, but I’m still not there yet! 😉

There’s more…there’s always more I can do, but that laundry list is a good foundation.

I already woke up this morning with the best birthday gifts.  I know it sounds corny, and I’m sure you’ve already guessed what these gifts are – my two daughters and my husband. It doesn’t get any better than that.

When it’s your next birthday, I hope your wildest dreams come true!

Dy twoDyane & Dad, the dynamic duo

Hilarious Cartoon (Possibly offensive)/My Book’s Cover & Toni Childs

I am writing this post on a rainy Sunday afternoon, as the next few days I plan to set my blog aside to focus on working on my book Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder.  The book will be an amalgamation of memoir, interviews with postpartum/bipolar experts, women’s mental health advocates, and profiles of women diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder.  I know that sounds like an awful lot to throw together, but I think it can be done well.  It won’t be easy (that’s a slight understatement…) but I’m going to give it my best shot!

Last week I suggested to  Chato B. Stewart, a talented artist friend of mine, that he create a cartoon for my book’s cover.  Chato blogs for BP Magazine (http://www.bphope.com/bphopeblog) and writes the popular “Mental Health Humor” column for PsychCentral.com.  I never dreamed he’d take me up on creating my cover image; he’s a busy bee, but he did.  He worried that it would offend me, but when I opened up the file of his cartoon in all its glory, I laughed out loud.  So did some mama friends of mine.  I hope you can see the humor in it as well; if not, I’m sorry – please don’t un-follow me!

I’ve thought of a similar idea in which my title is literally interpreted to appear as a woman giving birth to a brain.  So Chato and I are on the same page with that concept!

Other vivid, graphic birth images have appealed to me as well.  Before my second daughter was born, I listened to an incredible Toni Childs album over and over again called “The Woman’s Boat”.  Toni Childs’ music reached a peak in the 1980’s when she was nominated for two Grammy awards.  She has worked with many acclaimed musicians such as Peter Gabriel. Eve Ensler, writer and founder of V Day, asked Toni to write an anthem for her documentary Until the Violence Stops. Toni wrote a song entitled “Because You’re Beautiful” for the film and her song won an Emmy award in 2004 for Outstanding Music and Lyrics.  She is a long-term survivor of Graves Disease and has just released her newest album “Citizens of the Planet”.

“The Woman’s Boat” themes range from birth to death – the first song is “Womb” and the final song is “Death”.  This album has influenced me in very personal, profound ways.  I brought this CD with me to the maternity hospital when I went into labor with Marilla.  Not only did I want to hear Toni’s music while in labor, if possible, but I wanted to prop up the CD’s  liner note photos so I could look at them.  I felt deeply connected to these images; to me they visually represented the power of a woman’s fertility, and displayed the beauty of women’s bodies.   (I imagine that the insert picture of a woman giving birth to a flower could also offend some people, but I think it’s stunning.)  The cover art of a pomegranate as a symbol of fertility is gorgeous as well.

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Brainstorm New

***If you’ve never listened to Toni Childs, you are in for a treat!  Here’s a YouTube link that features a playlist many of her songs:

***For more information about my super-cool friend Chato, please check out his following links:

http://chatobstewart.com/

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/humor/about/

http://www.bphope.com/bphopeblog

***To see what Toni Childs is up to, visit the following link and be sure to look at her incredible Kickstarter video on the home page which she created:

http://www.tonichilds.com/