MMHA Month Recap: Perinatal Mood Disorders, Sharing Your Story, & Simplifying Motherhood *BONUS RESOURCES INSIDE*
Well, May has come and gone and summer is in full swing. But, just because Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month is over doesn’t mean the conversation is over. Maternal Mental Health is important 365 days a year.
So, we might be well into June by now, but I want to recap what we discussed in the last month and share with you some weekly tips videos I did over on my Facebook page.
I completed and shared with you 7 all new Expert Edition Momma Interviews:
Jennifer Moyer talked with me about her experiences with Postpartum Psychosis and the book she wrote on the issue.
Jacqueline Cohen told me about her experiences with anxiety and ADHD.
Nikki Reeves shared how she felt a real lack of community support in her area when she was a new mom, so she started and grew an incredible online community of her own.
Jessica Porten and I talked about her activism around maternal mental health, after her traumatic experience in seeking help for postpartum depression.
Elizabeth O’Brien told me about the ways she practices self-compassion and self-care as a mom, while also supporting mothers through her therapy practice and through her work with the Georgia Chapter of Postpartum Support International.
Cassie Owens gave us some incredibly actionable tips on setting boundaries and practicing self-care.
And, Michelle Peterson explains how she recognized a serious lack in the value of community in modern motherhood and how she came up with her own system for new moms to create the community they need and deserve.
And, we can’t forget the helpful info in Rebekah Fedrowitz’s guest blog contribution sharing 5 tips to help us heal from postpartum depression and anxiety from a holistic nutritionist’s perspective.
So, if you’ve missed out on any of those, be sure to check them out.
As end caps to Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, I did a couple short Facebook Live videos sharing tips and info with you on:
what the various perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are (everyone should know these and the signs to look for!)
the power in sharing your story in connecting with others and healing yourself
why we should let go of the mom guilt (hint: the expectations are often self-imposed!)
and how to simplify and streamline all the to-do’s that drive us crazy!
These videos are featured in this post, so scroll down to watch those or read the transcripts.
And, FINALLY I want to leave you with two FREE downloads that I hope will really help you out:
My guide on the various types of perinatal mood disorders, what they are, what the symptoms look and feel like, and how to get the support you need.
My Postpartum Support Matrix worksheet and actionable next steps. Are you overwhelmed with all the things you have to do as a mom? Not sure of how to ask for help or what to ask others to help you with? This will get you started. (Guess what--Dads can use these too!)
You can grab your free downloads here:
[Video previously aired as a Facebook Live video.]
Hey, happy Friday everybody. It's Catherine at HappyWithBaby.com. And usually I have this time, my daughter's at preschool and my son is at school, but today we had a field trip early. And so I'm actually hiding in the other room while she's playing. So, we might have a guest, but if not, I'll make this quick.
I just kind of wanted to do a recap. This is week one of Maternal Mental Health Month and we've had some exciting things going on out there online and everything. There was the #realmotherhood challenge. There's a hashtag going around, #noshame. Cause we all know that parenthood, motherhood is hard. And we all have different challenges and struggles. And I think the more we talk about it the better.
And for those of you that don't know about the difference, you know, the number one complication of childbirth is a postpartum mood or anxiety disorder. So, that's anything like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, or postpartum bipolar disorder. And this can be anytime within that first year. I'm sorry, yeah it happens within that first year postpartum, including during pregnancy it can start. And so I think I said, so perinatal mood or anxiety disorders, which is postpartum depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (or you'll hear OCD), postpartum psychosis.
Which we had a great interview with Jennifer Moyer, the author of A Mother's Climb Out of Darkness. So, if you didn't catch that, you should definitely catch that. It's there on my Facebook feed. But then also will be going up on the blog with a transcript with it, which will be great.
I know I'm one of those people that doesn't always have time to listen to a video, but I will definitely read something a lot quicker. Especially if maybe you're nursing a baby or something, you don't have--you can't listen to something out loud but you can read something.
And then also, I don't know, did I say postpartum bipolar disorder? I feel a little distracted. And then I hear them doing yard work outside too. So, alright.
So, yeah, up to 1 in 5 women will suffer from a maternal mental health disorder. And, even dads. They say 20% of moms, and up to 10% of dads. And dad's risk goes up even higher if mom is suffering from a postpartum mood or anxiety disorder.
[Hi, Dr. Sajota, so good to see you.]
So, you guys, this is really, really important that we take care of moms, that we check in with our moms that have just had babies. And make sure, ask them how they're doing, ask them how they're feeling. We need to take care of our families.
So, my tip for the week, the thing that I kind of want you to think about (I wrote this down to make sure I remember what I was going to say) is, I shared a post on my Instagram account. If you're not on there, I'd love for you to follow me on there, but it was about just May being Maternal Mental Health Month and one of the moms commented that she didn't realize--Let's see, how did it go--that she said that she was glad that it was being publicized more, that more people were talking about it because, until she talked about her own postpartum depression, she didn't realize that all the other moms that were suffering. Because she had a lot come to her that said thank you for sharing her story. Because they had suffered in silence and alone because they were too ashamed or felt like they what they had--that people would judge them and that type of thing.
So, so important that we share our stories, that we support our moms, our dads. You know, because when we're supporting them, we're supporting their children. So that we can help, you know, end the stigma. And this helps, when we talk about our stories, it helps our own healing.
I hear that over and over again from people that when they share their stories, it helps them heal their own story.
So, I'll keep it brief, like I said, before my daughter comes in here and wants to know who I'm talking to. But, thank you guys so much for being here and keep a look out. I have really awesome interviews coming up in the next couple of weeks. I have a few more Facebook Lives to do. I have one I'm really excited about, about self care and balance and boundaries that I'll be doing with Cassie Owens, Licensed Professional Counselor out of Georgia. And, super excited about that. That will be in two weeks. So you guys keep a look out.
And, if you want to make sure that you get the information, go over to my website www.happywithbaby.com and you can sign up for my email list and you'll get all the first clue-ins to what I have going on. So, thanks again. I hope you guys all have a great weekend. And don't forget to take care of yourselves. Take some time out and do what you need to do to fill up your cups, you guys. Alright, have a great weekend. Bye.
Want more info about the various types of Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders mentioned in this video?
My guide explains what the various types of perinatal mood disorders are, what the symptoms look and feel like, and how to get the support you need.
Facebook Live #2: Simplify Motherhood with Systems
[Video previously aired as a Facebook Live video.]
Hey there. It's Catherine at HappyWithBaby.com. Thank you guys. So I'm excited to be here. I'm a little bit late being here but I was just talking to this to a couple moms today about this and even yesterday about this feeling of not being good enough. I don't know if you've had that feeling before. And sometimes it comes up for dads, but primarily I hear it mostly from moms. And often times I think it's like this pressure--the pressure and expectations we put on ourselves.
So for instance, I have a prime example for myself: Like I had this expectation this month that at the end of every week so every Friday I was gonna do a review of the content I've been putting out here from Maternal Mental Health Month. Like I had some great interviews last week and have some great ones this week. And I really wanted to review that and share a tip and share that with all of you, just if you didn't catch them.
And so I was like, "Okay, I'll do this on Friday." But my Friday kind of got away from me and I didn't really get a chance to do it. And I kept thinking in my head, like "Okay, I'll do it now... no that's not gonna work." And then, "Okay, I'll get up early on Saturday before everybody gets up and I'll go ahead and I'll do some, you know, get ready and and do something really quick." I already had the ideas of what I wanted to do and kind of this that day came and went and I didn't get it done. And then Sunday, the same thing happened. And Sunday was Mother's Day, right. And I had this expectation that I was gonna put something out there on social media. And again, my day got away from me and I wasn't really on social media.
And I felt bad, right, because it's Maternal Mental Health Month, I supposed to be acknowledging Mother's Day for sure. I'm a mom I am a mom. I know lots of moms. And I didn't do any of that. And then, again, felt really guilty and felt really bad about that. And so then now it's Tuesday. So how many days is that since Friday? So already Sunday, Monday, Tuesday... sounds like five days. It's like feeling bad about something that I should have done.
And then today I was talking to my or this she's my virtual assistant or I like to call her my sanity saver extraordinaire, Nikole. I could not do most of what I have been doing, especially this month, without her and she's like amazing.
So I was like telling her how I did not get this done. And she was like, "Why did you have to do it on Friday?" It's like, well I said I was gonna do it on Friday. You know, I had had this big plan how I was gonna do it every Friday. And the more we talked about, it's like, that was all in my own head. That was what I had down. Nobody was calling me up or saying "Where's your Facebook live?" Or, you know, "You didn't go over a review" or anything like that. It was all my own making.
So I decided I could do it whenever I want because, you know, it's my business. It's my Facebook. So here I am sharing with you guys now. So thank you for letting me be delayed. But you know I think it's just a reminder that it's to be careful about what we put--what pressures and expectations we put on ourselves. Because you know parenting is hard.
And I think we see a lot of things, you know, online or we see the other moms at school or daycare, or our own parents are telling us things, our in-laws or whatever. And so we get this a lot of pressure and things that we either need to do things a certain way, we're feeling like we're expected to do things a certain way, but there's not one right way to do things or only one way to do things. So I think it's, you know, letting yourself off the hook, you know, and ask for help. Ask for some perspective. That's what I did and it's sure, my gosh, it took this like load off of my back. And that I didn't really expect and I wish I would have said something to someone sooner because I had this huge dialogue going on in my head all weekend about what I wasn't doing.
And I'm not sure if you caught my expert interview last week with Jacqueline Cohen. She's a licensed professional counselor and I adore her. I met her a couple years ago, her and actually Cassie Owens, who I had interviewed last year as well. And I met them and like instantly I was like these are like the amazing women and so I'm so glad to be connected to both of them.
I had this great interview with Jacqueline, and she talked a lot about women and ADHD, right. And how we have like a bazillion things like we're supposed to be doing, you know. We have work, we have home, we have kids, and they all have their lives. And we have, you know what, we have partners. Or maybe we don't, and so then we even have more stuff that we need to be worrying about, you know.
So there's like all these things that we're supposed to be doing you know so what is it that we can do, you know, to like make our processes simpler? Like what are the things that we can, you know, eliminate in that? Or are there things that we can delegate in our processes? You know, can somebody else do it? Can we, you know--sometimes it's a matter of like having a chore list or something. Like who's gonna do--well I think sometimes we can have it written down or like, you know, this is what we do every Monday, this is what we do on Tuesday, and you know throughout the week. It can make things a lot simpler.
It's like, okay, I always know when I come home, this is where I put my purse. This is where I put my keys. This is where the books go. Or my phone, I plug it in here. Whatever. So it's like I'm always doing this, you know. It's making things simpler. And then feeling less scattered.
So what are some things that we can do to help just to make maybe even some organization, large daily tasks a little bit easier? What we're sending other things I was thinking about. And I think it's also identifying like, what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? And as your partner or other family members have opposite strengths, you know. So that you can you can do the things that you do well and let them do the things they do well. And figure out how to do the things that either none of you like to do or want to do or don't do well at all, you know. So how does--how can you make that a little bit easier for you? And this is where I think it's really important that we're talking with our partners our support people about what what are the things that need to get accomplished. Like do we have a list of these?
Or, you know, these are my priorities. These are the tasks I think we need to get done, these are the tasks I think that we need to get done. How do we prioritize those into different categories? So it's like, okay, this is what we're working on, and this is how we're gonna accomplish it. So it's not like I'm gonna--I'm thinking I want to do, you know, reorganize all the closets and, you know, my husband thinks that we need to work out in the backyard. And so I'm over here trying to organize a closet. And the kids are running around. And he's out in the backyard. And then none of us are getting anything done because we're like totally, you know, in separate places, where it's like, okay, no I think we need to organize the closets. I will work on this for a few hours. You can take the kids and do this. Or hey, we'll help each other and we'll, you know, you do this part, I'll do this part, and we'll set the kids up with some extra support over here with, you know, my mother-in-law or my mom or whatever. You know, so things like that.
Like what can you do to make things easier? So it's like even talking about like, you know, putting that on the calendar. What are the things that you need to do? I did a video blog a couple couple months ago now I guess about like doing at Google, sharing your Google Calendar, right. So these are the things coming up. These are some appointments that we,--like I need support, or I can't make these appointments, so I either need you to do it or we need to get somebody else. I can take care of them for us or we need to reschedule them, you know.
So it's really being able to look at it and just realign it and being like on the same page. Because I think oftentimes if I say in passing, "Hey, I've got this, the kids have this going on, my husband's not gonna remember it unless I send him a link. And sometimes I does I have been either you didn't remember that I sent him a link. Or you did put on his calendar but anyway, it's alright cause we checked in about it and so now it's on his calendar. So I think it's being able to do that as well.
So I'll post that link for the interview with Jacqueline because she was awesome. You guys are gonna love her, the interview I did with her. And then also the Google Calendars link. I've had some people say that was helpful to them, so I'm glad you guys could find those things helpful. And then let me know what else, what other information and stuff that you need.
So I would love to hear what your life hacks are like. What are things that you've found to help simplify you need to do in your home, at work, coordinating with the kids?
I do a monthly Meetup group and I was from doing the moms yesterday and one of the moms was saying how she's just you know this you know, all these dishes and all this laundry and she's just like, it doesn't feel like she's getting anything done. And I know that's like a common feeling for a lot of people, for a lot of moms, you know. And you have small, small children, small babies, and nothing seems to be happening.
And so I told her I had this mom share one time that she could never like she would get the clothes wash and then there'd be this big pile and she would never get it folded and never get it put away. And she was like always digging through trying to find matching socks for her youngest, and then one for her oldest, and then you know separating things for her partner. And so she finally went ahead and got a basket a laundry basket for each person. and so she would do the laundry, and then she would sort it into each basket for each person and it never got folded, never got put away, but it would be in that basket, so she knew where the clean clothes were and it made things so much easier.
So I think it's like finding things. And it's not like that's gonna be a forever thing like maybe eventually she'll get to the place where she can, like the kids aren't so little and she has more time, and she can fold the laundry and the laundry stays folded when it gets put in the drawers. And instead of having kids that dig through and then the clothes aren't folded anyways, but to be able to do that so things, you know, so make things easier, like what is easier for you right now. And eventually, you know, things change and you have more time to do other things. And eventually, you know, things are always gonna fluctuate. And what might be hard now will be easier later and be something else that will be challenging.
So how can you keep making things easy for you and so I guess I just want to go back to what I originally said in the beginning: is that you're good enough mom, you're good enough parents. And like look at where you’re at for lowering your expectations and that pressure that you're putting on yourself that maybe isn't it's only from you, right. Because there's not, again there's not one right way to do things and there's not one way to do things, so what you might do now will be different later and that's okay.
So I hope you guys all have a great day. I'm gonna sign off because I've got a couple appointments coming up. But I'm glad I finally got to check in with you all. And I'm glad now I could feel less guilty about that. So again, hope you all have a great day. Bye.
Want help figuring out how to simplify parenthood for you and your partner?
My Postpartum Support Matrix worksheet and actionable next steps will help you streamline, systematize, and get support.
Are you overwhelmed with all the things you have to do as a mom? Not sure of how to ask for help or what to ask others to help you with?
This will get you started. (Guess what--Dads can use these too!)
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