It Gets Better: Accepting Help as a New Mom

It Gets Better: Accepting Help as a New Mom

Most mothers caring for infants have more things to do than hours in a day. Mothers spend almost all of their time and energy taking care of their new baby, leaving little time for chores and other things like washing clothes, grocery shopping, preparing meals, entertaining visitors, writing thank you notes, packing lunches, cleaning the house. 

In the best of circumstances, with support and resources, having a new baby can be a challenge and an adjustment. In circumstances where a mother is experiencing depression or anxiety after childbirth, having a baby can range from a significant stressor to a crisis. There is no right or wrong way to transition into motherhood, but there is always a transition. Try to let go of perfectionist tendencies and know that you are doing the best you can, and that is just fine! Here are 9 things you can try to make your life easier.

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Mothering a Mother: 11 Tips to Take Care of a New Mom

Mothering a Mother: 11 Tips to Take Care of a New Mom

Having a baby is an overwhelming, emotional experience. The realization that this tiny and fragile being is completely dependent on you—paired with the physical exhaustion and recovery of delivery, rapid hormonal changes, and sleep deprivation—can be a challenge for any new mother. In recognition of these challenges, many cultures have adapted traditions and rituals for a mother to rest and recuperate and focus solely on bonding with her new baby.

In our culture, we perpetuate the notion that women should experience a smooth and euphoric transition into motherhood. However, practices in the United States do very little to promote this. Hospital stays usually vary from 2-3 days. New mothers are not encouraged to rest or take a hiatus from household responsibilities. In fact, most are expected to resume normal activities as soon as possible, neglecting the seriousness of a woman’s physical and emotional condition after birth. A new baby brings a lot of excitement and happiness to a home, but can also bring a lot of exhaustion. How can we better take care of our mothers?

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Tell Me What's Going Well: Changing Negativity

Tell Me What's Going Well: Changing Negativity

Catherine came to see me when her son was four-months old. She was suffering from postpartum anxiety. She tearfully told me how everything was going wrong. She described feelings of guilt (“I am letting my husband and baby down”), feelings of helplessness (“I just can’t do this) and physical and psychological stress (“I’m breaking out into hives”).  I asked her to tell me what was going well. She looked at me surprisingly as she wiped away her tears. It was as if she had never thought about this.

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has shown a lot of promise in reducing stress and improving overall mood. Therapies that connect the mind and body allow an individual to be more cognizant of present experiences, such as bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings. The practice of mindfulness focuses on increasing a person’s awareness of the present moment in a manner that is free from judgment, self-evaluation and distraction. But how exactly does mindfulness work? How can someone use it inside and outside of therapy?

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Maternal Mental Illness Impacts Everyone: The Struggle for Partners

Maternal Mental Illness Impacts Everyone: The Struggle for Partners

This past weekend 2020 Mom, in partnership with the March of Dimes, launched March for Moms®, a walk to raise awareness for maternal mental health and related disorders, including depression and anxiety. On Sunday, marches were held throughout the country in support of mothers and their families. While the walk was open to all survivors, families, supporters and health care providers, very few fathers were present. My husband noticed this as he sat blowing up balloons with maternal health statistics printed on them. As I looked around at the many women and their children, I did notice the absence of men. Where are all the dads?

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The Power of Shared Experiences: Shifts in the World & in the Room

The Power of Shared Experiences: Shifts in the World & in the Room

Last Thursday, thousands of Yemeni bodega workers and fellow supporters protested against Trump's "Muslim Ban". This occurred right outside of my therapy office. My clients passed  by protesters on their way to our session and many expressed feelings of sadness, admiration, fear, powerlessness, bravery, anger and vulnerability. I found myself also mirroring some of these emotions.  

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New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

With New Year’s around the corner many people are talking about their New Year’s resolutions. The New Year is traditionally a time to stop and reflect on the previous year. New Year’s resolutions are a popular way to approach self-improvement goals. However, six-months into the New Year more than half of resolvers have fallen off track. With all the practice we get at making resolutions year after year, why aren't we doing better at keeping them?

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