Hello you! I’m so happy to meet you, and grateful that you wanted to learn more about me. This is what I’d like you to know:
I’m a mama on a mission to remove guilt, shame, and blame from parenting. I offer gentle guidance: to mothers struggling with anxiety, postpartum depression and debilitating guilt who want to create healthy emotional patterns for themselves and their families.
I hold safe spaces for mothers, in real life and online:
1. IRL: The Ithaca Mother’s Support Group which meets monthly in downtown Ithaca, free and ongoing.
2. Online: Mama’s Comfort Camp online refueling station for moms (a free and private Facebook group), where over 200 mamas from around the world support each other through the ups and downs of motherhood. What we write in this group is invisible to non-members, so Mama’s Comfort Campers feel safe to share some very vulnerable stuff, and get the kind of support and validation rarely seen anywhere else. We have a uniquely nurturing group culture you can read about here.
I offer individual coaching sessions, and also teach Self-Kindness to mothers (and others) in my self-pace home study course (Not)Secret (Not)Weapon: Practical BodyMind methods and emotional safety nets for disarming anger and anxiety. It’s the first stop on the UnGuilt Trip, a curriculum of emotional skills for happiness which I dish out of a Kooky Jar. It’s the kind of stuff they really should be teaching all of us in middle school, and it is a synthesis of the many methods of coping skills I gathered on my journey of recovery from my PPD related suicide attempt in 2004 (boy, I tell you, a suicide attempt is a good thing to fail. More about that here). My biggest lesson on that journey is that guilt can be deadly. Therefore the UnGuilt Trip is my life’s work.
My work was created by a mother, for mothers, while mothering my two boys. When I started out in 2010, I imagined I would only work with mothers. But recently I’ve been asked to work with fathers, and then with, you know, people who are not parents, who feel attracted to my Self-Kindness and Permission-Based Healing work. While mothers are the people I write my programs for, it turns out that my offerings bring comfort and relief for any human looking to replace painful emotional patterns with supportive ones. I am grateful for that, and feel deeply honored to do this work in the world.
This is what I look like (on a good day).
My first twitter bio:
@yaelsaar lost her mother to ppd, later struggled herself, til she got better. She now works to liberate other moms from their own PPDemons.
(Exactly 140 characters, take that!)
The longer version is more complicated, of course, and much richer.
If you are looking for the part about the mother and worst of my own struggle, you can read my This is Why page here.
I was born and raised in Israel, and moved to NYC when I was 21 years old, in order to follow a man and a dream. The dream was becoming an artist, and involved 4 years at SVA (the School of Visual Arts), and later, a small graphic design company called Design for Good, that worked only with sustainable businesses and nonprofit organizations. My work included clients like Cornell University and NYU, Planned Parenthood, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and other good eggs.
I was good at making beautiful designs, and quite bad at making money (Helping non-profits make the most of their tiny budgets? Yep, no wonder that didn’t make me rich. Still, it was amazing.) When my first son was born and PPD hit, I closed the swanky office in Soho (for which I never made quite enough money to cover the rent) and proceeded to lick my wounds while lactating profusely into a pump: the boy couldn’t nurse, and I produced almost two quarts of milk a day! Oh, the irony. Thankfully, my husband (the man I had crossed the ocean for? He lasted longer than my graphic design career) was totally there for me, and with his support, and that of my family, friends, and therapists, I got help and I got better.
My more distant past includes being a flight attendant with El Al, the Israeli airline, and being a tour-guide at the United Nations. Some of my ability to handle people in distress was developed while 30,000 feet above-ground, and my appreciation to cultural differences was honed at the UN. Isn’t it amazing how all of our experiences prepare us for our true calling? (Yep, sappy, but still true.)
In 2005, we moved to Ithaca NY, where I later became a Crisisline suicide prevention volunteer. I found a community of amazing mamas through BirthNet and they helped me recover from the traumatic unnecesarean in which my second son was born. In the process I found myself becoming a political birth-activist (now that was never something I expected to do when I grew up). Our work led to changing NY State midwifery law, which was eye-opening as an experience of mother-power. All that gave me the oomph and the courage necessary to launch Postpartum Depression to Joy.
I hope my work will help you or someone you love. I hope the tools and suggestions I share on this blog will make your day easier. And I hope to get to know you, so please share your thoughts by commenting below. Yes, I hope a lot. Being a hopeful gal is helpful in overcoming ppd, and this is yet another skill that can be practiced. Wishing well and hoping well are integral to te healing process.
Signing up to my mailing list (upper left or below) will get you updates and support call details, “Like” my PPD to Joy Facebook page to give me warm and fuzzy feelings (talk about outside validation, sheesh…), and by all means, follow me on Twitter, I’m @yaelsaar. Yes, if you @me to let me know who you are, I will gladly follow you too.
If you want to read my blogposts in the comfort of your inbox, go to that nifty Feedburner signup form on the left.
If you are a mother (of kids of any age), come hang out with me and the rest of the lovelies at the Mama’s Comfort Camp facebook group. You can ask to join the group here: https://www.facebook.com/mamas.comfort.camp . To maximize privacy, we have it set up as what facebook calls a secret group, which means you need to be friends with one of the members in order to be added, so feel free to send me a friend request with a message asking to join the Mama’s Comfort Camp. https://www.facebook.com/yael.d.saar
OK, enough about me. How about you? What keeps you up at night? What are your hopes? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Look, for a while I had my hair like this. One of those asymmetric, messy,“one-less-thing-to-take-care-of-in-the-morning” hair cuts. Then I decorated it with some blue and purple. And it’s fun to see those colors, and you can only see them in bright light, which means that most of the time I can walk among the humans undetected. When we go outside, or I happen to stand by a lamp, people do a double-take, and usually it makes them smile. Trouble is, this stuff doesn’t stay on very long. After all, it’s not quite what mother nature intended. If I could have it be permanent, I would. Having to re-do this every 3 weeks is really annoying, not to mentions that it stains the pillows. So I’m not sure how long this picture will be relevant.
So yes, time went by, my hair grew longer, and I did let it get un-blue for quite a while. And then my friend Cristi (@motherunadorned) started the #bluebloggers campaign where a bunch of fabulous bloggers colored our hair blue to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention. To learn more about this effort and donate even as little as $1 (every penny helps) go visit Cristi here.
My hair is blue curtesy of the lovely Emma of Fresh Salon in Trumansburg, NY. Thank you Emma!