Posts Tagged 'Pregnancy'

Fears about being a Good Parent

Most people with a baby on the way have fears about being a parent. There are those people who either had younger siblings (alot) or are teachers or work with kids all the time who seem to have less of them. But then there are the rest of us.

I see this come up in my Prenatal Yoga Classes allllll the time. Pregnancy is the time when those fears come to the surface and really rear their heads. Here’s the question . . .

“Will I be a good parent?”

Yes, big one –  big, giant question.

Most of us are decent parents most of the time. Most of us are great parents some of the time (think Christmas morning). And most of us are, well . . . not the best parents some of the time.

We get tired and snap at the kids. We get exhausted and just want to sleep. We run late and have to pick up dinner or throw something together. We get lonely and just want to talk to our friends. We get bored and feel like we’re going to die if we have to play that game or read that book even one more time.

So let’s reframe this question. Let’s ask it a different way.

How about “Can I be a good parent some of the time?”

The answer is probably Yes. Now let’s ask, “When I’m feeling less than about 75-80%, can I get some help, ask for support, take a break, take some time to myself to regenerate?” That’s the way you get back to “good” parenting. Not by pushing through it or working until you snap.

Hopefully your answer is Yes, yes, and yes again. In the meantime, give yourself a break. We’re not perfect all of the time. We’re human. Human parents.


Acupuncture helps with Prenatal Depression

This is a significant study in terms of treatment options for pregnant women struggling with depression. Most pregnant women are reluctant to take antidepressants during pregnancy for good reason. There are risks associated with them and the health of the mom vs. the risk to the fetus must be considered carefully. If someone is not able to function (i.e., is crying constantly, not able to go to work, can’t pull themselves out of bed, not taking care of already born children), then treatment becomes a necessity, not a consideration.

This study found that acupuncture is as effective as antidepressants or counseling. This is HUGE!!!

Read it here:

Some people need counseling, they need to talk about it, to get feedback, to explore what’s going on in order to remedy it and prevent it in the future.

Others prefer not to talk or don’t have room in their schedules for regular counseling sessions. Looks like acupuncture is an excellent treatment alternative for them.

Exercising during Pregnancy can help with depression

Yep, the study is in . . . exercising during pregnancy can help relieve depression both prenatally and postnatally. If it’s too hot to take a walk or you can’t make it to a prenatal yoga class, consider using an exercise ball. Mary Lou’s Get on the Ball video is the perfect way to roll the hips bringing in a good blood supply, to stretch, to relax the back, and to release body tension. It’s extremely affordable and it’s set up in a format where you can download it to your ipod even. It really is exercising made easy and you’ll use that ball during birth and afterwards!

About the Study . . .
A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine was conducted on a multi-ethnic group of women during and after their pregnancies. It found that over the course of a pregnancy, there were significant declines in the womens’ health, including a reduction in their ability to perform daily routines and an increase in the incidence of depression.

The researchers found that exercise is an effective way to prevent or mitigate the impact of these changes, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day for pregnant women at least several days a week. The recommendation is particularly important for lower-income women, who are more at risk for depression during pregnancy.

Blackwell Publishing Ltd. (2005, April 2). Pregnant Women Should Exercise To Keep Depression Away. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 3, 2009, from­ /releases/2005/03/050326003922.htm


There has been a lot of media attention about the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act. John Grohol at PsychCentral does a great job refuting that there are false claims of PPD, complete with a mini-research review to back up what he’s saying. That’s in contrast to most of the mainstream media articles published about this topic. It’s as if the reporters somehow forgot that there’s an incredible amount of research on this topic.

It’s a no-brainer that we need more screening, more education, more awareness about this issue, not less. Imagine more mothers getting the help that they need and being happier during early motherhood (at least).

Birth Disappointments

One of my students just gave birth. She planned a natural birth, as most of them do, but it ended in a cesarean birth. Her heart ached for missing the moment when they put the baby on your chest and it’s all gooey and you’re ecstatic and in bliss.I missed those moments with both my babies as I had two unplanned cesareans. I also had mama guilt about not birthing “well;” about not being able to “give” that moment to both my children, as if it was in my control at all and I had somehow decided not to give it to them. It was years later before a therapist said to me that our job as mothers is not to be perfect all the time; rather to be available to “repair.” And I was able to let go of not having had the “perfect” birth.

The repair comes even before birth sometimes, when we go deep and connect with that child in utero, about to be born, and let them know what’s going to happen, as my student did. Or when we touch that child for the first time. Or when we hold them for the first time.

Particularly for mothers who have had postpartum depression or anxiety, repairing becomes important. Not that the baby knows much what’s going on; they don’t. But that the mom can repair for her own sense of self; of not enjoying the baby or the babyhood.

You repair when you start to recover; when you come out of the fog and start to feel clear again.

It’s quite impossible to be the perfect mom, whatever that is to you in your head. We have bad days and good days. We get frustrated. We don’t always like our children or ourselves. Sometimes we even get postpartum depression, quite outside of our own control!

You don’t always know heading into motherhood what’s going to happen but instead discover it along the way. Let me say that better . . . you never know heading into motherhood what’s going to happen. Pretty much no one thinks they’re going to get PPD.

Particularly when you’re depressed, sometimes your friends can see it better than you do. Once my first child hit 2.5, one of my friends said one day, “you must be loving motherhood now.” She knew I loved imaginative play in children which starts to emerge around that age. Yes, I was loving motherhood at that point. But until she said that, I hadn’t really realized how much infancy . . . and postpartum depression . . . and birth . . . had impacted my sense of self as a mother. And that it was just then starting to recover. And that I was starting to “repair” for both myself and my child.

What does “Perinatal” mean?

I attended Postpartum Support International’s (PSI) seminar this last weekend in Tampa and was blown away by the presentations. The main presenter was Birdie Gunyon Meyer, the current president of PSI. Her committment and knowledge of the area of perinatal support is just incredible. And she was funny, which always makes a seminar or conference more enjoyable.

Most people are not familiar with the term “perinatal.” It covers the period from prenatal to postpartum, so is all inclusive. People tend to think of depression and anxiety as only occurring during the postpartum period, after someone has the baby. But there is a significant amount of women (about 10%) who experience depression and anxiety during pregnancy. If untreated, it puts them at higher risk for postpartum depression as well, but it should be acknowledged and treated during pregnancy.

PSI works to raise the awareness of the emotional changes that women experience during the entire perinatal period.