Maternal Mental Health Awareness
1. May is maternal mental health awareness month. Raising awareness for pre and postnatal mental health is vitally important to the wellness of mothers, children, families, and communities all over the world.
Research tells us that 13% of women experience postpartum mood disorders, primarily depression and anxiety.
When we think of postpartum health, we tend to look at it from our place in the world. It’s important to understand, though, that at a global scale, the issue is complicated by a lack of education, resources, and biases found in a particular culture.
Domestically, there is still a stigma associated with PPD, though, the more we talk about it and share personal stories, the more perceptions shifts.
I’ve been open about my struggle with postpartum depression after my oldest was born 12 years ago. Often, we think of PPD in extremes. We hear horrible, heartbreaking stores of a mother hurting herself or her children. We assume it means not loving your new baby and not being a good enough mother.
But the truth is it’s often a feeling of disconnect, deep sadness, and darkness that you can’t explain, and quickly leads to feelings of shame.
When I had Maddie, I had an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. Like I felt bad for her for having me as a mother. At times, I felt out of my body. I went through the motions of my day to day life, but never felt fully grounded.
I was so in love with her, but the PPD felt like an invisible forcefield. It was as if couldn’t connect the love I was feeling in my soul to what was happening in my brain. Because I was so embarrassed by how I felt I kept it all these emotions to myself, which only made me feel worse.
And then, one morning, several months later, I got out of bed, put my feet on the floor and felt like a veil was lifted. My wires had been crossed for so long and then were suddenly perfectly connected.
In an instant, all the negative feelings went away, and it was only after it was gone that I realized just how deep I was in it.
Interestingly, when I was pregnant with Vivian I had extreme prenatal anxiety. I frequently woke up in the middle of the night in a full panic attack. Once she was born, it’s been the exact opposite. I’ve been calm, present and out-of-my-mind in love with her since her very first breath.
My experience as a brand new, first-time mom is one of the reasons I’m (1) so adamant about de-stigmatizing PPD and (2) focused on being transparent online about motherhood. I don’t think social media and the way women portray motherhood in extremes is healthy to anyone.
On the one hand, you have accounts on social platforms filled with snark about being a mom. Others pit working moms vs. stay at home moms and breastfeeding moms vs. formula moms. Then there are the moms posing in ballgowns while holding their babies, or sitting in their Pinterest worthy playroom looking like no one has ever had a tantrum in their house (mom included).
All this noise only exacerbates the struggle of moms who are dealing with PPD. It’s hard enough comparing yourself to the mother you think you should be in your head, but then to see non stop images of “perfection” or read online comments of women who think your choices as a mother are insufficient, it becomes too much to bear.
I hope when the time comes for my daughters to choose to become mothers, they do it in a society that openly supports them, and doesn’t judge.
If you or someone you love is struggling with pre or postpartum depression, you can find helpful resources here.
Other things we’re wearing, reading, cooking and generally digging this week:
2. They are called “Saturday sneakers” and they are pure perfection.
3. Steve Madden is bringing back the platform sandal from my college years, and I’m feeling nostalgic, confused and old all at once.
4. The bath towel situation in my house was embarrassing. They were starting to resemble the rags we use for house cleaning. I picked up a few fresh and fluffy sets from Amazon at a can’t beat price and am starting feel like a functioning adult again.
5. Known for it’s focus on price and production transparency, Everlane’s Choose What You Pay Event is full of their better basics. This bomber jacket is super chic, this tank dress is divine, and nothing beats a cashmere sweater for under $100.
6. A quick yet important article on why you need a living will and how to get one.
7. Speaking in public is terrifying, but often a huge point of leverage when taking your career to the next level. That’s why these tips will help you overcome your fear and look and sound cool as a cucumber, even when you’re not.
8. What I’m reading: I’m finally finishing up Educated: A Memior by Tara Westover this week. (Reading takes so much longer with a baby). Her interview with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday is incredible.
9. Recipe of the Week: Gordon Ramsay’s Chicken Parm is involved, will leave your kitchen a mess and so delicious it’s worth it.
10. In case you missed it: Last weeks best sellers are cool and updated pieces that lean away from basics. These loafer mules work with straight leg ankle pants, a wrap-style jumpsuit that you can wear three ways was extremely popular, this pricey cami will make your sheer tops wearable again, and this sweater jacket from WHBM looks way more than it’s $60 price tag.