depression

How to turn sadness into contentment

When I gave birth to Grace (now 5 years old) I was so excited to be a mom. I thought motherhood would be a one way ticket to connection with my husband, extended family, and a way to make new friends while also getting closer to old friends. Well, I was in for a rude awakening. In the first 3 months I had a lot of attention and support from my husband, family and friends. Actually, scratch that! GRACE had a lot of attention. But starting around month 4 the support began to fade. Hubby wend back to work and the meals stopped coming in. My friends sort of assumed that I had it all figured out. Since I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby I can't blame them. From the outside this probably appeared true. But on the inside I was overwhelmed, lonely, and sad.

So, my second time around (with baby Ben- now 9 months old) I knew I didn't want the same thing to happen. Yet, around the 4 month mark all the support faded AGAIN. COME ON PEOPLE! But I was ready. Here are some things I did to turn my sadness into contentment:

  • Take time to mourn the things you've lost since becoming a mom. This is a really important one. Your life, especially in the beginning, is unrecognizable. It's not bad- just the new normal and it's OK to miss the "old you."
  • Talk back to helpless, pessimistic thoughts- "Is it true that my husband doesn't find my 'mom body' sexy?" 
  • Make it a priority to get out and have some fun. Call a friend to take a walk or join a moms group.
  • Take time to be grateful. It's true that an attitude of gratitude can change your life.
  • Get professional help for depression or other mood disorders. I did this right away and am so glad.
  • ASK for support from your friends- they really do want to help, they just don't know what you need until you tell them.
  • Keep your sense of humor and perspective. Come on, poop in your hair- now that's funny!
  • Pay attention to everything that's going well. This period will pass and you don't want to miss all the sweet moments because you are focusing on all the shitty ones.
Parents are often so busy with the physical rearing of children that they miss the glory of parenthood, just as the grandeur of tress is lost when raking leaves.

-Marceline Cxox

 

Some resources I find helpful:

  • Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

  • The Little House on the Prairie Seris by Laura Ingalls Wilder

  •  All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior

 

Postpartum depression

Did you know that at least one in ten mothers will have an episode of PPD?! This will increase her risk for hormonal problems a year or two later. I didn't know this stat when I gave birth the first time. And since I had never really been depressed before it hit me like a ton of bricks. Even more good news (NOT!)... If you too suffered from postpartum depression with your first baby, it triples your chances of experiencing it again with a second child. I also did not know this stat and YUP, it happened to me, again.

Being on this side of depression (that's the much happier, less anxious side) and looking back I can see that what was most depressing was how alone I felt. A part of me knew it was not normal to feel this way and that's because it's not normal to raise children this way! Historically, mothers have raised families in small groups of hunter-gatherers. THIS feels like the "right" way to raise children. Doesn't it?!

I feel nostalgic for this old fashioned way of life in which it was normal and free to eat local, fresh, organic foods and breath smog free air and drink water free of chemicals. Mostly though, I long for a time when mothers spent most of their days with other mothers, surrounded by a community. 

Unfortunately, compared with our ancestors few of us eat whole foods and much of our daily diets consist of white flour, sugar, and artificial chemicals. It literally leaves my skin crawling to think about how my own innocent children are absorbing toxins released into the environment and that even my breast milk has traces of toxins in it.

Raising kids is not meant to be like this!

If you are one of the few mothers to have low demands, substantial resources, and low vulnerabilities count yourself as one of the lucky ones. I know I do, every single day. And still, my cupboard gets emptied out and I struggle to put anything back in. THIS is why I wanted to create a community where wise women (nutritionists, acupuncturists, therapists, outdoor educators, midwives, doulas, yoga teachers, parenting coaches, massage therapists... and more) come to educate and commune with us and remind us that we do not have to do this alone. Because, I am DONE with that. 

If you would like to join our circle you can do so here. Take care of yourself and let others take care of you too. xo, mama.