A Return to Food Blogging in the New Year

This post will be short, because I really want to go back to blogging about food, and not about myself, and since Kat only sleeps so much in a day, I have to make this quick post very brief.

First of all–to all the loyal readers and new readers who have been checking in this past month and a half or so when I have been AWOL–I give you my hearty thank yous, good wishes and general love. For the outpouring of love and concern from around the world–I have to say that words are not enough to express how helpful all of you have been, even if you never knew it.

You see, the reason I have been away from the ‘net is because after we came home with Kat, and all should have been well, she began to improve and grow by leaps and bounds, and I began to sink into a miasma of post partum depression. It was not the worst case that anyone has seen, but it was bad. Bad enough to sap my will to do anything having to do with food or writing, and bad enough to convince me that I was the worst mother in the world.

Of course, logically, I know that I am not a bad mother at all, but at the time, I was struggling to feel anything other than despair, self-loathing and extreme sorrow. The chemical, hormonal imbalance that is the root cause of PPD was compounded by my memories of traumatic events surrounding Morganna’s birth and early childhood, such that I struggled daily to keep myself together enough to get up in the morning, take care of my daughters, cook dinner, eat enough to lactate properly and care for myself.

I just had no strength left for the ‘net.

For a while I kept up with email, but as my therapy continued and the traumatic memories kept being unburied and the emotions that they evoked in the present began to surface, I gave up even on that.

So, that said–for those who have commented on this blog over the past month or so–I am going through all of the comments and reading them over the next several weeks. If you asked a question here or on email, I will strive to answer it and I apologize profusely for the help coming late. For those who have wished me well, and asked me to return–here I am, with bells on! I am going to strive to post at least three times a week from now on, and if anyone has any requests for recipes or essays they would like to see, leave me a comment on this post and I will see what I can do!

For all of the love sent in my direction over these dark days–I can never thank you all enough. When I did get a glance at the net, and saw the sweetness of readers’ words, it was a tonic for my heart.

Bless you all, and may all the new year bring everyone great joy and wisdom.

29 Comments

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  1. Welcome back, dear Barbara! It’s so good to have you back at the blog – and the days will grow sunnier and sunnier from now on.

    Comment by Hadar — January 1, 2007 #

  2. Oh, I am so sorry, well I’m really glad you’re feeling good enough to be back. I’d been missing you but hadn’t stopped back or stopped enough to really give it good thought. I got caught up in all the season. I’m very glad to see you back. Here’s to sunnier and sunnier in 2007!

    Comment by tanna — January 1, 2007 #

  3. I didn’t know what was going on, but really, thank you for talking about it. I recognize some of that in myself, and it helps.

    As for topics, and forgive me if you’ve written about this before, but I’ve been missing the Indian food I was constantly eating when I lived in London. I’d like to recreate some of it, but I’m a little intimidated by all the spices and steps that seem to be required. Any suggestions for how I can get my toes wet?

    Comment by Becca — January 1, 2007 #

  4. Barbara, it’s lovely to hear from you again. Post partum depression can strike anyone, no relationship to your mothering capabilities whatsoever – but it’s a tough thing to deal with. Be kind to yourself and take the time that you need to be well.

    And remember there’s a big group of readers out there, just waiting for you to start posting again.

    Best wishes for 2007 to you and your family.

    Comment by kathryn — January 1, 2007 #

  5. I was very moved by your courage in sharing such a personal struggle. Looking forward to reading more of your interesting food experiences this coming year. Best wishes.

    Comment by Kalyn — January 1, 2007 #

  6. Oh, Barbara, I’m so sorry to hear about the PPD, but pleased to hear that you figured it out and started addressing it. I had post-partum/maternal depression undiagnosed for two years. I only figured out what it was after I finally started feeling better, almost exactly at my daughter’s second birthday. The past four months have been better, much improvement, but little backslides when I beat myself up over all the things I didn’t/couldn’t do during the previous two years. I wish you nothing but the best, and of course I look forward to your up-coming posts!

    Comment by Kristi — January 1, 2007 #

  7. How brave of you to be back. I know how hard it is.
    Hard, hard, hard.
    I encourage, applaud, witness and rejoice in your improvement.
    Take it easy. We can wait.
    xx

    Comment by cookiecrumb — January 1, 2007 #

  8. Welcome back! I’ve been very concerned and have checked your web-site several times a day for weeks.
    Elaine in Canada

    Comment by Elaine — January 1, 2007 #

  9. Barbara – I am delighted you have surfaced once again. We have been concerned and are glad to hear things are getting better. Take your time – you have your priorities straight by taking care of yourself and your family. We will be here waiting when the time and energy is more readily available for you. Know that there are many of us that wish you well, sending our warmest and heartfelt wishes to you.

    Comment by Maureen — January 1, 2007 #

  10. We are so happy to have you back!!!

    Striving to post three times a week is all well and good, but most importantly, be gentle with yourself. If you WANT to do that fine. If some days or some weeks you can’t, well that’s fine too. Just know our thoughts are with you.

    Comment by Diane — January 1, 2007 #

  11. I’m so glad to see that you are back, I was beginning to wonder but I didn’t dare to ask. I’m happy you’re on your way back and that Kate is fine, I’ve missed you!

    Comment by ilva — January 2, 2007 #

  12. Barbara, a Happy New year to you and your beautiful family! I echo Diane’s thoughts. Hugs to you!

    Comment by manisha — January 2, 2007 #

  13. Really glad to see you back, and I hope that you make a speedy recovery!

    Comment by Sadie — January 2, 2007 #

  14. Oh Barbara, I am so glad you are back! I have been checking the site every other day or so. I really missed you.

    I am sorry that the birth of your second daughter has been less than delightful. I know that you have had such a rough time when it should be full of joy. I am so very sorry to hear that. I hope that you are now well on the road to recovery and that this year will be full of the joy and blessings that you should come with a new addition to the family.

    I wish you health and happiness in this new year!

    You are in my thoughts!

    -Kit

    Comment by Kitarra — January 2, 2007 #

  15. Hey! welcome back and Happy New Year. I hope you and your daughter experience excellent mental and physical health. Peep into my blog at http://gifts4birthday.blogspot.com for some unique birthday gift ideas.

    Comment by kate rogers — January 2, 2007 #

  16. Good to see you again :) Sometimes what seems like going backwards at the time is really going forwards, you know…. love to you all Stephxxx

    Comment by Steph in the UK — January 2, 2007 #

  17. If you see your shadow will there be 6 more weeks of winter now?? :)

    Really, glad things are going better. Ill leave you with a quote from my favorite non-fiction author :

    “Walk tall, kick a**, learn to speak Arabic, love music and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers and warriors.”
    - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005)

    Comment by Bryian — January 2, 2007 #

  18. Hi Barbara, I’m so glad to see you back. I’m sorry things have been so difficult these past few months, and I admire your strength in fighting it and bravery in talking about it. May the new year bring you joyful and your family joyful new beginnings. Looking forward to reading more from you, and know that your readers aren’t going anywhere when you need a break.

    Cheers, RS

    Comment by Raspberry Sour — January 2, 2007 #

  19. So happy you are back !
    I wish you and your family all the best.
    J.

    Comment by Jess — January 2, 2007 #

  20. Welcome back Barbara!

    I am very happy to learn Kat is doing so well. I am glad to hear that you are feeling better yourself. As a long-term depressive myself, I can sympathize.

    I am very much looking forward to your future blogging. I wish you and yours the best.

    Comment by Dan Jenkins — January 2, 2007 #

  21. Welcome back Barbara!

    I hope everything in your household continues to improve and that the new year brings your wealth and prosperity!

    Rosie

    Comment by Rosie — January 3, 2007 #

  22. Welcome back – you’ve been missed.

    Comment by Sally — January 3, 2007 #

  23. Yay for Barbara in all things!

    Comment by Benjamin — January 3, 2007 #

  24. I’m so glad you’re back– especially back in yourself. I’ll be holding my thumbs for you and your family. And I agree– don’t worry about posting three times a week or whatever, and especially, please don’t make it a Standard You Must Meet?

    Deliciousness, Mary Ann

    Comment by Mary Ann — January 3, 2007 #

  25. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’ve returned. Very glad to hear that you are all well and look forward to reading your new posts.

    -Elizabeth

    P.S. All because of your excellent post entitled “The Path of Pie II: Tools Without Tears”, I received a flour wand for Christmas. I was so excited to get it and can’t believe how well it works! As you say, it’s not an essential gadget but it sure is cool!

    Comment by ejm — January 3, 2007 #

  26. Welcome back! I’m so very glad that it’s slowly sorting itself out.

    As for wishes – in May 2006 you posted up Stir Fry II – Chicken; and you mentioned that you were intending to do a Tofu step by step guide. I’ve long wanted to try out tofu but haven’t got the first clue what to buy or where to start …

    No urgency naturally :o)

    Comment by Kath M — January 3, 2007 #

  27. Welcome back to the Internet and to health! I had no idea that you were struggling with depression because I just assumed that you were busy with new baby. I’m glad, very glad to hear that you are getting better. May 2007 be filled with food, friends, healthy baby and healthy mommy!

    Blessings BE!

    Comment by Nancy — January 3, 2007 #

  28. Becca–about Indian food–check out my archives under recipes-Indian for a start.

    I will say–one thing about the way I cook Indian food and the way it tastes in London restaurants–there will be differences. Restaurant Indian food is a different beastie than home Indian food–and London Indian is different again from American Indian. BUT–I promise that if you look at some of my recipes and try them out–especially the Chicken Tikka Masala, you will find them both doable and tasty.

    Have no fear–I will write more on Indian food this year, especially about how to learn it–it takes baby steps, and learning about the spices, but it is doable.

    I knew nothing about it when I started and had eaten very little of it, and now I cook it at least once or twice a week, and often for holidays and dinner parties.

    Kath–I promise the stir-fry tofu tutorial–earlier rather than later, too! It is an important post to write, I think, and can be of great help to cooks everywhere, especially ones who want to make good vegetarian stir fries. Too often they turn out watery, bland and just plain icky. I can help fix that!

    Everyone else–thank you for the welcomes! It does my heart good to hear so much love now.

    As for the PPD–I am probably going to write about it again, more in depth, because I think it is an important topic that more women need to hear about. People are just now becoming aware of it, but even though I had heard of it–I had no idea how crippling it could be until I felt it.

    I do not ever want another woman to have it and no know what it is and not know what to do about it. It can be cured, it can be dealt with, and no woman needs to suffer with it, nor does any woman’s family need to suffer.

    I guess that I am becoming a bit of a crusader about it…..

    Comment by Barbara — January 5, 2007 #

  29. I am so happy to have found your wonderful blog. Wishing you happy and healthy new year and years after…
    -Jill-

    Comment by Jill — January 6, 2007 #

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