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Gin Schaffer is a former higher education administrator and works part-time at MWHC's Regional Cancer Center as the Coordinator of Integrative Medicine. She lives in downtown Fredericksburg and enjoys walking and biking with her husband and 2 kids (especially if coffee is involved).

Pillow Talk

As much as I thought I was prepared for my youngest to start kindergarten this week, my tears said otherwise. Of course, she is ready and quite excited to be heading to school. And, in many ways, I am excited as well, actually, I think the emotion I'm looking for is overwhelmed. We're starting a new chapter and that means the closing of one too.

Being a mom means constantly making decisions with the best information you have at the time (and then beating yourself up with guilt about those decisions). I have found myself looking at Anna very closely over the past few days, noticing her hair, her eyes and listening to her speak, admiring her for all that she can do. I look at her, wondering if I've done enough for her to prepare her for school - academically, socially, and psychologically. I know I will be asking myself that question with every new experience my children embark upon, I just need to work on the feelings of inadequacy I attach to that question. It's natural to want the very best for my children, but I have to get better at embracing the fact that I am doing my best. Some days are better than others and that's o.k.

I didn't sleep well the night before Labor Day. My hot flashes, nausea, and pain were a trifecta of yuck. I imagine, like many other families, I am experiencing the varying anxieties about the school year ahead of us. Anna, like usual, came to wake me up. There's nothing better than having the cute faces of children be the first thing you see in the morning. As she stood there, I was trying to rally myself out of the roller coaster of anxiety and depression. I knew I just had to do something to get myself moving. It's not easy getting out of bed when my television has so many enticing Hallmark and Lifetime movies to watch.

Anna and I have had a tradition of going out to breakfast, usually on Fridays, ever since she was about 3 years old. She says, "Can we go to a breakfast place?" about as much as she says her name. It really has been a wonderful way to start the day, time for just the two of us to spend together. I'm going to miss that special time but hopefully, we'll find a new tradition.

On Labor Day, in my effort to hold onto the present for a little while longer, Anna and I took a walk to get our weekday morning, "Mommy and Me" breakfast one last time. We went to Mercantile and found out that pie (chocolate creme to be exact) is perfect for breakfast. As we sat there, in a restaurant filled with families, tourists, and regulars at the bar, I felt a sort of kinship to everyone. I think we were all there, looking for our summer lives to last for just one more day. And, yet, there was also excitement in the air about the fall season to come.

As Robin Roberts says, "Everybody's Got Something" - it was beneficial for me to wake-up this morning, get out of the house, and have the realization that I'm not alone, these feelings I'm having are valid. If you're feeling anxious or sad about the changes you and your family are going through, get out there and talk to people so that you can experience that feeling of togetherness, not loneliness.

As parents, let us pledge to ourselves that we'll just keep moving forward, not judging ourselves (and others) right out of the joy that each day brings. I will learn to appreciate the past, live in the present, and not stress about the uncertain future.

"Life fails to be perfect, but never fails to be beautiful."

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Pouches' Community Corner

Postpartum Support Virginia

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For new and expectant mothers in the Fredericksburg area, Postpartum Support Virginia stands as the help and support for women and their families who are experiencing postpartum depression. Founded in 2009 by Adrienne Griffen, Postpartum Support Virginia offers one-on-one support, free peer-led groups, a robust site of information including screening and diagnosis overviews, fact sheets, and training sessions.