Last week I spoke in New Jersey about the importance of self-care during pregnancy and post-birth, but my conference highlight was visiting with three moms who’ve survived postpartum depression/anxiety/OCD who are trained to support other women going through it. There was a fourth mom there who offers support online but didn’t know any moms locally and these three embraced her like they would each other.
It reminded me again that we must be the ones to lead the charge to dispel society’s myths about motherhood and to ensure that all moms, whatever point of motherhood they’re at, get the emotional health care they deserve. We must challenge our own biases about anxiety and depression, and accept them as “health conditions” just like heart disease or diabetes. We must accept that self-care is self-preserving and that women who make their emotional health a priority have more not less to give. As Laura Nash said beautifully, “You can’t give away what you don’t have.”
So, we’ve decided to declare November “Self-Care Month” with the self-care contest/challenge running from Nov.14-18. We think this is the time when women need to be most reminded to keep their emotional pitchers full with all the season’s demands. Please get your friends, co-workers, moms, daughters, neighbors and all your female peeps to join us for fun and great giveaways.
Also special thanks to my friend Susan Ellis Murphy who mentors the SNJPC support moms and works tirelessly to ensure the health of SNJ moms.
Sometimes all a mom needs is hope. When buried under the despair of postpartum depression (PPD) or anxiety, it’s hard to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel. The doctor might tell you it’s there, but you don’t see it.
You need proof.
Since there’s no crystal ball to show you the happiness you’ll regain, you have
to get the proof another way. You have to talk to moms who have been there,
living examples of a full recovery from PPD. They exist. In fact, they are
I love connecting moms to others who have been down the same road. Nearly one million women suffer from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like PPD, and I want them to know they are not alone and that they will get better. I’ve seen many times that all it takes is a few words from a mom who has been there to a mom with PPD, who’s feeling isolated and lost, to realize help is available and that she is worth it.
To offer women with postpartum depression and anxiety hope and support, I founded Postpartum Progress and Daily Hope, the nation’s first daily support service featuring emails to moms with postpartum depression and anxiety. Both provide encouragement from survivors, the country’s top perinatal mental health specialists and others who care. If you or someone you love has PPD, help is only a click away.
Today’s author is Katherine Stone, PPD survivor and spokesperson.
Cultivating healthy relationships and eliminating harmful ones is essential to proper self-care. Whether it’s with a spouse, child, parent, sibling, friend or co-worker, a healthy relationship is one that is characterized by RESPECT- for us and the other person.
Courtesy – Be polite. Follow through. Be on time. Avoid shouting, insults, nagging, and manipulation.
Boundaries- It’s okay to set limits, to say “no,” and to expect respect. Honor the other’s personal limits as well.
Personal safety- Violence is NEVER justified or okay. Everyone has a right to be safe from physical and/or emotional abuse.
Honesty- Deception and lies hurt both parties. The truth always comes to light. Trust is easy to keep but almost impossible to repair.
Clear communication- Say what you mean. Don’t expect others to read your mind. If you are unsure about what someone means, ask questions.
Realistic expectations- Consider the other person’s role and the limits of that role. Don’t expect the same intimacy from co-workers as spouses. Even if the other person doesn’t like what’s said, we are each responsible for our own happiness.
Flexibility and understanding- Plans change. People disappoint. Life is a moving target. Learn to adapt and adjust.
Grace- No one is perfect. Sometimes we have to forgive and overlook shortcomings. Other times, we must ask for forgiveness.
Good relationships (including with ourselves) are treasures. They must be nurtured. Make time for them. Cherish them. Enjoy them.