Friday, July 10, 2009

Beyond the baby blues...

It’s a given that we all love our babies and children to the moon and back (and beyond). But let’s be honest: the transition to motherhood and the adjustment to caring for a new baby isn’t always easy. Sometimes it can be downright overwhelming. New moms can feel confused, lonely, and vulnerable.

Know that you don’t have to experience these emotions alone, and that there are plenty of resources in the Twin Cities (including Blooma) to find help, feel heard, create community, and get support.

I’ll admit that I was one of these women. Starting at 8 weeks postpartum, I was inconsolably depressed, though sprinkled in were really good days, too. Yes, I sought out counseling. I had to. It helped, along with getting out of the house, meeting other new mothers, breathing deeply, and practicing yoga.

If you’ve experienced postpartum depression or “baby blues” and want to share a word of encouragement for new mamas, leave a comment and let us know what helped you. If you want to learn more, read on.

Last month, Blooma staffers Sarina LaMarche (that's her, in the photo) and Amber Kay attended the Beyond the Baby Blues conference in St. Paul. Here are a few things Sarina passed along from the conference:

• 50 to 80 percent of new mothers experience the “baby blues,” which are gone by day 14 after baby’s birth

• 10 percent experience something deeper and more lasting Postpartum depression (PPD) can emerge three to 14 months after baby’s arrival and can include negative self-talk about themselves or the baby, lack of interest, and difficulty making decisions
• 22 percent experience postpartum anxiety (PPA), anxiety that includes intrusive thoughts and an inability to be reassured

Myths of motherhood:
• Motherhood happiest time in your life

• That it is instinctual and seems easy to everyone else

• You are bad mother if you aren't happy, can't breastfeed, or if caring for the baby is hard

If I say “I am unhappy” it means I don't love my child
I need to be a “perfect” mom
Asking for help is a sign of weakness

Research suggests that women can find incredible power through connecting in groups pre- and postnatally. Blooma strives to provide options to make this happen. This includes Personal Renewal Groups and Moms' Nights Out (led by life + wellness coach Sarina LaMarche) and classes like BYOB Yoga and Yoga For You.

If you’re a new mom in need of support (or if you have a friend who you think needs help), ask any of the Blooma staff for resources. You can also click here to learn more about the postnatal workshops offered at Blooma.

Other wonderful resources include:

The Parenting Oasis, a local center where you can go with your kids to relax, play, meet other families, have lunch, and participate in social and educational opportunities.
Postpartum Support International
Postpartum Support MN
Jenny's Light

Thanks for this information, Sarina.

Alisa, Sarah & the women of Blooma


Kate said...

The first few months of motherhood were extremely hard for me and it hurt so much when people told me that I should be appreciating every minute or that it was such a wonderful time. Now when I see mothers of newborns I make sure to acknowledge that it's a very difficult time, and never make any assumptions that mom is really happy. Several of my friends have thanked me for talking about what a stressful event having a new baby is. So many people smile and pretend all is good because they don't want people to think they're bad mothers or they don't love their children, but that just perpetuates the myth that having a baby is always the best period in a woman's life.

Alisa said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Kate. Good for you for being honest with your friends and working through tough times.