How to Reach Out

How to Reach Out

    Postpartum depression can make you feel alone, but when you don’t know how to talk
about it with those close to you, it can feel incredibly isolating. The Mothers' Nest
wants you to know above all that you are not alone. This is not because of anything you did or
didn’t do. There are others out there with your same struggles, and we are here to support you on this journey. Though we are just a message away. We also know it is difficult to feel like you
can lean on the support of your own family or significant other because you don’t know what
to say.

Talk to anyone you feel comfortable with. 

Talk to anyone you feel comfortable with. 


    As women, we want to reach out to those closest to us--be it a spouse or a close friend. It
doesn’t matter who you are going to first. What matters is that you are going to someone you
trust and breaking a window in the wall of isolation your mind has built. Find a time you feel
comfortable and in a casual setting. Maybe once the kids are in bed and the adults are finally
getting time to wind down before bed themselves.


     Start with something like “I’ve had some things on my mind lately. Can we talk about
them?” Tell them you haven’t been feeling like yourself lately and wait for their response. If they
respond well, this is a good time to go into more depth about the symptoms of postpartum mood or anxiety disorder you have been experiencing and examples of times they may have seen you experiencing them. It is important for them to know this, so they can try to better understand and find ways to help. If you need help explaining things even more in depth or in a different way, you can direct them to our website or an online article or video you may have seen.


    If they have responded well to your conversation and are willing to help you, use their
support. Sometimes we know we need help, but we don’t know with exactly what. Try to
brainstorm a list and be as specific as possible. If you know you need to find a doctor but feel
completely overwhelmed, ask for help. Something as simple as “I need to make a doctor’s
appointment. Could you help me find one in our area?” If an actual appointment makes you feel
uneasy, ask for them to come with you for support. Asking for help doesn’t need to be only for
“big” things. If there is a moment you feel overwhelmed and need a moment to practice self-care
to re-center yourself, ask them to hold or feed the baby so you can take a shower or take a few
minutes to listen to your favorite music- whatever your self-care of choice is. Know they are
there to help on this journey.

    If they do not respond well, know it is not a negative reflection on you. Know that it is
okay, and encouraged, to reach to another person. You can always contact The Mothers' Nest,
or call a support line. Just because one person doesn’t respond well doesn’t mean it will be the same with everyone. Do not give up. You deserve to overcome this, and you will.

References

Hibbert, D. C. (n.d.). I'm worried that I have postpartum depression. How can I talk to my
partner about it? Retrieved from Seleni: https://www.seleni.org/advice-support/ask-an-
expert/depression-anxiety/im-worried-that-i-have-postpartum-depression-how-can-i-talk-
to-my-partner

How to Help a New Mom

A baby is born, and all attention goes to them. People come to the hospital to see the baby. People ask for pictures of the baby. People who weren’t involved in the pregnancy or have even met the baby see pictures online and comment “Look at my baby! Auntie loves you!” Moms are hardly the focus of the event even though they just went through something incredibly difficult and life changing. Moms are even less of a center of the attention after they get home from the hospital. We at The Mother’s Nest recognize this and want all moms to know we see you and are here for you. If your friend has recently had a baby, and by recently we mean at all, hear are a few ways that you can help her still feel seen and important.

  • Take her food and play with her kids

So often life gets in the way and it can be dinner time before a mom realizes she hasn’t had anything to drink or eat all day and tells herself she still doesn’t have time. Don’t just take food and drop it off. Allow her time to eat it while it’s warm.

  • Clean for her

You don’t have to hire a cleaning crew. Just fold the laundry that she has been staring at for days feeling the overwhelming pressure to get done but not being able to find the energy or strength to do it. Put a load of dishes in the dish washer. Vacuum for her. Anything to show her you are on her team to get things done and to take some anxiety of things not being done off her shoulders.

  • Talk to her

Talk to her about things other than her baby. Ask about her. If she tells you she is “fine” when she is clearly not, tell her it is okay to not be okay and that she is loved and supported. Tell her she is brave and strong for talking about hard things.

  • Listen to her

Justify her feelings if she confides in you. Don’t tell her she just needs a nap or a shower. She probably would love either of those, but her feelings are still completely valid. Let her be heard.
Tell her she is a good mom.

Odds are good, she is comparing herself to everyone else just like every other human being on the planet. With this comparison comes self-doubt and judgement. Tell her she is a good mom, but also tell her how. “You are a good mom because your baby is warm, and fed, and changed. You are exactly the mom your baby needs.”

  • Check on her more than once

Show her she isn’t as alone in the world as she thinks. Ask how she is, even if it’s only over the phone or through a text. Tell her what she needs to hear where she is having a hard day. Show her you are there for her no matter what or when.
Support her in decisions to seek help.

Tell her she is making a good choice when she reaches out for help. Watch her baby so she can see a doctor or go to therapy. Offer to drive her there and stay with her during the appointment is she wants you to. Be on her team no matter what.

Remember! These needs don't go away as baby leaves the newborn stage. Keep up with these things throughout the first year. 

Is this normal, or Postpartum Depression?


By Amy Higashiyama

Pregnancy often comes with a million questions from strangers. One question pregnant women are bombarded with is always “aren’t you SOOO excited?” You smile and nod, even if you might not feel so excited at the moment. When you have questions of your own, you are often countered with such sentatments as, “don’t worry. Having a child is the most amazing experience ever! You’ll love every minute of it!”

But what happens when you don’t love every minute of it?

The baby is finally here, and you don’t feel the love and connection you were expecting. You have a constant headache and you can hardly drag yourself out of bed. You’re confused all the time, and feel like you would lose your head if it wasn’t attached to your body. You can’t stop crying. Maybe you’ve noticed you’re just waiting for your significant other to get home to pick a fight because you’re angry and you don’t know why.

Having a baby sweeps you into a new world like Dorothy to Oz and you tell yourself you’re just tired from the baby waking up in the night. You’re just confused from the lack of sleep. You’re angry with your husband because he just won’t put his clothes in the hamper. Even through your rationalization, you can’t shake the feeling something is off.  

With hormone changes, it is completely normal for these symptoms to exist for a few weeks after the end of a pregnancy. According to the Recognizing Postpartum Depression, by NJ Speak Up, up to 80 percent of new moms have the "baby blues," characterized by crying easily or feeling stressed. This normally only last a few weeks. It is also completely common for these feelings to stick around longer, this can be postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression can come up to 4 years after childbirth*. The warning signs are different for everyone but can include:

  • Trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much

  • Changes in appetite

  • Feeling, irritable, angry, or nervous

  • Lack of interest in friends, family, or baby

  • Lack of interest in sex or any physical interaction with your partner

  • Feeling hopeless or guilty

  • Crying uncontrollably

  • Thoughts of hurting yourself, your partner, or your baby

When I had my first child, I had to tell my midwife I had postpartum depression before I was offered a screening sheet. I knew something was off about how I was feeling, and if I didn’t get help it could be a matter of life or death. I had to diagnose myself to get the help I needed. To most, this sounds ridiculous, but I needed to recognize what was going on with myself before I could tell anyone else. Postpartum depression does not have an overnight fix. It is an intense journey of healing and self-discovery the requires support from doctors, family, friends, and community. The Mother’s Nest is here to support you in this journey. We are here to be your tribe to help you when you are low and celebrate your successes.

While these symptoms listed above are the classic signs of postpartum depression, there are other maternal mental health issues you could be experiencing, such as postpartum anxiety, OCD, PTSD, psychosis, and postpartum onset bipolar.

If you feel you are experiencing any of the listed signs of postpartum depression, or even just feel there is something off, but you can’t tell what, please reach out to a physician. Be upfront about the feelings you are having. It does not make you any less of a mother or person to ask for help.

If you need help, please contact Postpartum Support International warmline at (800) 944-4PPD (944-4773), where you can talk to trained volunteers and moms. All calls are returned in 24 hours. If you need immediate help or are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, please reach out to the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or use the text crisis line at 741741 or go directly to the closest ER. You will feel better. It is okay to not feel okay. We are here with you. 

Citations

http://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/maternalchild/documents/PPD-brochure.pdf

Self-Care Packages

Being an ER nurse, all I could think about after I heard of the shooting in Las Vegas was the first responders. I saw a lot of groups I am in raise together to help them. I knew I had to do at least something to help. But what could I do here in Riverdale, Utah? So the leadership of The Mothers' Nest brainstormed and came up with the idea of making small self-care kits. It would be perfect, we can make them for ourselves as our first official meet up of the Mothers' Nest to kick off the holiday season, and make extras to send to some mental health first responders. And how appropriate was it that a mental health hospital there had a postpartum depression program and a lot of their workers there spent days at the site of the shooting offering counseling?

Photo by Dezarae Weyburn

Photo by Dezarae Weyburn

On November 14th, we had over 10 people show up to make the self care kits. Everyone got to make one for themselves and we sent off over 20 to Seven Hills Hospital in Henderson, Nevada. It was a great night. We ended the evening with a discussion of what self-care is. And guess what? self-care can be more than just bubble baths and chocolate, although those things are nice too. Learning to set personal boundaries and saying no is just as important. 

Starting in January, we are going to hold hybrid meetings with education/self care components and support at the end. We feel like this best fulfills our mission in the small scale. If you have an idea on topics or things to do leave them in the comments! Ideas include, physical exercise for the postpartum mom, babyfeeding support, a showing of a ppd documentary, message therapy. If you have connections on an expert who would be willing to volunteer their time one evening also let me know. You can contact us at themothersnestutah@gmail.com

A big shout out to Salon Centric and all the individuals who donated to our self-care night. We couldn't have done it without you!

All is Merry and Bright...or is it?

December is supposed to be a time of happiness and celebrating. What if you don't feel up to it? What if it is too much to handle?

Do what you can, and realize your limitations. It is not mandatory for you to go to every holiday event thrown at you. It is ok to say no. You mental health is enough of a reason. You don't have to find a better excuse. It is valid as it is!

christmas blog.jpg

If the thought of decorating gingerbread houses is too much for you. Don't do it! Use your resources. If you can call grandma and let her take charge of that, do it. If you can convince the kids that driving around looking at lights can be fun instead do that. I am a big fan if car rides, because I know for just that short time the children are contained in their seatbelts and can't climb all over me. This mama needs her space!

Do your shopping online or at 2AM at Wal-mart when the crowds are down and your husband is home. The best part of middle of the night shopping is no one judges you if you go in your pajamas! (But don't tell my mom I said that).

Your kids will still love you, despite not really feeling it.

My last baby was born November 18th. I was not prepared for the mental and physical issues that I would have over Christmas. Needless to say, my husband did most everything and I just watched. I felt awful that I just couldn't do it. I didn't decorate a tree much, so they did. Our elf stayed in the same place for over a week. I just sat on the couch and we watched movies. But, you know what? They remember that Christmas as being the time they got to snuggle and watch Elf for the first time. I had always been so busy in December, we hardly got to do much Christmas movie watching in. They don't remember it as the most horrible Christmas ever.

So it is ok if you aren't feeling very merry and bright this month. Its ok to not be ok. Be gentle with yourself. Take a look at our resources on our webpage here. Text the crisis text line at 741741 if you need additional help. You will feel better.

Self-Care

The Mothers' Nest recognizes the importance in self-care, especially while going through postpartum depression or related illnesses. Self-care comes in lots of different shapes. Only you can know what YOU need. Sometimes, it is simply saying no. It is knowing your limits. It is a bubble bath at 1 AM because the house is finally quiet. 

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