I’m thrilled to be guest posting today for the lovely Shell at Things I Can’t Say. She has an awesome blog that I’ve been following for a long time. Please click over and check it out!
There was a time during my first pregnancy that maternity swim wear was relegated to a swath of dull and unflattering colors, a one-size-fits all mentality, where suits were a function over form design. This need not be the case anymore. As a matter of fact, today’s modern maternity swimwear is comfortable, cute and for under $100, very cost-effective.
With spring just around the corner, it may not hurt to take a look at some summer fashions, especially if you are in the market to dip more than your toes in the pool. Don’t forget, just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean that you can’t still hold on to your fashion sense.
Let’s take a look at some swimsuits that are practical and fashionable.
Celebrity Fashion Sense: Yes, celebrities become pregnant just like the rest of us mortals, and a lot of people look to the stars to guide them through their own fashion dilemmas. Take for example, this beautiful black number, not only formfitting but Kate Hudson proudly wore it during one of her pregnancies. Use care when shopping online, make sure that you read through their sizing guides, after all when you are shopping for an item that won’t be worn for five months, your body will have changed and grown during that lapsed time as well. Many times reading over a brand’s sizing policy should reassure that the item you are purchasing should fit during the course of your pregnancy. A site like Seraphine Maternity can provide the necessary assistance as well as fashion-savvy pieces that you will love and ensure that much needed support for you and your growing baby.
Modest Wear: At times, some women begin to feel a bit self-conscious about their changing body, not so much in the idea of be pregnant, rather they would feel more comfortable focusing on the changes going on inside (being responsible for the new life developing in their bellies and their emotional states) rather than worrying about how they’ll look at the local swimming hole. If this sounds at all like something that might appeal more to your comfort levels and fashion sensibilities, do not fret; there are choices for you, too. Modesty wear has been gaining a certain level of popularity for a segment of the pregnant population who just do not feel comfortable in a smaller suit or a bikini. They come in bright, fun colors and though there is a lot of material, the cut is flattering, still emphasizing the women’s belly while providing that much needed comfort and support.
Cover-ups: Let’s face it, whether we dunk in the water chasing after those slippery little toddlers, or if we want to swim a few laps to get a little exercise, after all, with those aching joints and growing belly, water can provide a that so-needed little cushion, some weightlessness after feeling ginormous for nine months. However, even after floating around for a bit you’ll still need to step out of the pool. This is where a pretty cover up can help dress up your suit as well as keep you feeling like your still at the poolside or at the beach. Fortunately, there are plenty of styles and designs to choose from; tropical print and form fitting solids will flatter the biggest belly.
At the end of the day, nine months may seem like an eternity, but when you think about how busy you will be the next eighteen years, nine months will be just that proverbial blink of the eye. Go ahead and enjoy the warm summer months. Better yet? With these fashionable and functional pieces available at the click of a button and the convenience of your own home, you can shop even with morning sickness (mine was always, ‘all day’ sickness) or a napping toddler.
Kristen Hurst is a stay at home mother of three who enjoys blogging. She received her bachelor’s degree in fashion marketing, and writes often about online maternity swimsuits. When she’s not trying to juggle the lives of Casey, Austin and Ben, she enjoys painting and catching up with a great Jane Austen novel.
My wonderful sister-in-law, Jen, wrote this post for us today! She writes over at On The Night You Were Born, she has three beautiful girls, and she’s super awesome. Show her some love for me!
Long before we had three kids, I remember saying to my cousin (who’s like my sister), “I have what I think must be the perfect job situation — I work part-time, my kids aren’t even home when I work, and yet I still can’t find time for some things. Other moms work full-time, and still have to cook and clean and do laundry and all the same things that I do. How on earth would I do it all if I had to work full-time when I can’t even do it all now working part-time! Something would have to give, but I don’t know what!”
I don’t remember specifically what I was even disappointed about not being able to fit into my life.
And my cousin, who has a very big job that she absolutely loves, said to me, “You do things that I don’t do. You make more meals than I do. You go out of your way when you buy people gifts. I click ‘buy’ on Amazon. You spend time planning events and hosting gatherings. You bake. I don’t do those things.”
And I just kind of shrugged, unconvinced, because I still wasn’t seeing all of these “extra” things that I was supposedly doing that other moms with more responsibility in other areas weren’t doing.
What I’ve come to realize though, is that I have been making tradeoffs all along in exchange for things that are more important to me — buying gifts, planning parties, baking. And the key is not necessarily figuring out how you can fit MORE in your life — it’s figuring out what is and isn’t important to you, making the tradeoff, and then not feeling bad that you’re not doing MORE.
Having three kids definitely helps you lose that MORE inferiority complex. It’s pretty dang near impossible to maintain any sort of long-term status as a superhuman mom who does EVERYTHING AND MORE when you have three kids.
I think this was honestly a revelation for me — I could come really close to doing EVERYTHING AND MORE with two kids. So close that I would (sometimes) kill myself trying. But with three you can’t even come close to pretending that you can do it all and you just say f&ck it and embrace ENOUGH. At least that’s been my experience.
And ENOUGH is liberating and freeing. There’s happiness and satisfaction in the subpar status of ENOUGH. ENOUGH has much less anxiety than MORE. ENOUGH is comfortable in its wisdom.
For sure one of my “gives” is housework and laundry. My house is not fastidiously clean. We don’t have a toy room, so our living room — which we do not use for any other purpose — has become our defacto toy room. Our living room doesn’t have a door, as living rooms are reckless and carefree like that, and you have to walk through it to get to the other side of the house. And while our kids are generally pretty good picker-uppers if we’re overseeing them, they’re otherwise kind of sucky at it since the two oldest are 5 and 3. Therefore, more times than not, there are itty, bitty, teeny, tiny pieces of Strawberry Shortcake doll clothes, squinkies, Barbies, princesses, play food and dress-up clothes vomited all over the room. I think this not-so-secretly drives my mom crazy because she often comments about how the room “just needs some more organizational storage.”
Me, on the other hand? I don’t care.
I’ve given up caring. It’s one of my “gives.”
I used to care when we just had one baby and the toys were still fairly well contained, and it appeared to be an actual achievable goal. But now with three? Just forget it. Game over. I don’t care. It’s just not important to me. In another 5 years, ALL those toys will be gone and replaced with tiny electronic gadgets.
For me, I would rather cook or bake or plan something than make myself crazy over cleaning up those toys every night. Not that we don’t ever clean or organize — every month or so I go on a spontaneous and crazy toy organizing spree where I bark orders at everyone in the house and I don’t rest until every last shape block is found and in the shape clock, every last dress-up shoe is in the designated shoe bag that I’ve showed them for the umpteenth time, and the bin for baby clothes and accessories contains only those items instead of the pretend can of green beans and random drum souvenir from Punta Cana — and then .3 hours later it’s back to the same.
Oh and the laundry.
These FOUR wash baskets of clean clothes sat right here for an entire week, until my MOTHER-IN-LAW came over and folded them for me.
With two kids I would have looked at those wash baskets and thought, “Oh my God this is embarrassing. These have been sitting here for a week. A WEEK! There’s no excuse.”
With three kids, I’m like, “Meh. I have three kids. Eventually this will become a problem for me, and then I’ll be forced to deal with it.”
See what happened there? Having all my laundry promptly folded and put away is not important to me. So it “gives.” Maybe that’s not what gives at your house, and that’s okay.
There’s an ebb and flow, too. Sometimes I have to make “gives” even for things I like doing. My BFFs aren’t getting the favorite dessert I make for them nearly as often because I just don’t have the time.
And around the time of my three-year-old’s birthday I was managing an extremely heavy workload. I was THRILLED when she decided to have a Hello Kitty-themed party instead of a Daniel Tiger party after my not-so-subtle “LOOK AT ALL THE HELLO KITTY BIRTHDAY SUPPLIES!” hint at Target. Because I knew a Hello Kitty party would be a hella lot less work for me than producing from-scratch Daniel Tiger party supplies.
Gee, pre-made birthday banner, plates, napkins, table covers, stickers, and goody bags on one hand … versus … NOTHING on the other hand. NO BRAINER. And I TOTALLY took the easy way out of planning the dinner by ordering pizzas and just making salads.
Thirty-six hours before the party, I was the most utterly unprepared I’d ever been for a party in my life, ever. The house had not been cleaned, there were toys everywhere, there were three baskets of laundry in the kitchen that had been sitting there since the prior weekend and we had been foraging through them all week, both of the girls’ hampers were overflowing again, I had not been grocery shopping yet and still needed to buy the rest of the party supplies and wrap the present.
I had to decide right then and there — was I going to sleep that night and be relaxed and enjoy my daughter’s party the next day? Or was I going to stay up all night and make myself and everyone around me miserable trying to hold onto my imaginary self-anointed Perfect Party hostess status.
There were lots of “gives.”
I distinctly remember carrying those clean baskets of laundry back down to the basement. We decided not to scrub the floor before the party, because … why? It just got sticky and trampled with cake. We focused on what was most important in that critical time period and let go of the rest. The bottom line was that I knew my daughter would still love the party, even with my shortcuts, and she did.
Wanna know another thing I’ve learned? The things that are important to me, are not necessarily important to others and vice versa, so there’s absolutely no value in comparing or using others as our yardstick for how we’re doing. Because as Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.”
My neighbor and good friend has a daughter in 4K like my daughter. My neighbor loves to go all out on these intricate and painstaking snacks when it’s her daughter’s turn for snack day. I think she’s nuts (and that’s said with great love). I will happily bake healthy breakfast cookies or muffins for my daughter to take for snack — if time allows that week — but I am not about to run around town looking for round orange cheese sticks that I will somehow magically turn into pencils with the help of bologna and raisins. That would pretty much make my head pop off. I don’t have a problem throwing down apple slices or plain ‘ole string cheese and calling it a day.
But that’s not my friend. My friend would rather “give” in other areas because she really likes going all out for snack day. When I saw the Hungry Caterpillar-themed snack she put together with grapes and strawberries, I had a momentary pang of “That’s totally doable. I should really do something cooler for the next snack day.” But then I remembered … it’s just not my thing. I don’t want to spend time on that. I would rather do something else. It’s so cool that crazy intricate snacks are what she loves doing, and it’s okay that it’s not what I love doing.
Whatever it is you’re doing, however you’re doing it, it’s ENOUGH. YOU’RE enough. You’re DOING enough. Because you’re likely making those “gives” based on whatever is most important and critical to you at the time. And it doesn’t matter if someone else’s talents are not your talents. It doesn’t matter if your ENOUGH is less than or more than someone else’s.
Let those things go and live in ENOUGH.
And please don’t think that I’m living this perfectly. I’m not.
The bottom line is that I still think I could use my time more efficiently and productively. I still want to fit in time for MORE — more personal reading, more blogging, more exercise and a gratitude journal. I haven’t figured out how to do that just yet.
And I still vacillate between wanting to do MORE and cutting myself some slack and being okay with ENOUGH. The reality is that I have three kids and I’m feeling pretty rockstar that we’ve been weekly meal planning and making weeknight meals and make-ahead breakfasts. I was struggling to keep up for a long time, and even though we throw in a frozen pizza twice a month, and make tacos quite a lot, I’m feeling good about it and it’s ENOUGH.
I hope you find yourself embracing ENOUGH, more than you condemn yourself for not doing MORE.
I’m happy to welcome Nicole Connolly, PhD, today to talk about reducing stress in light of Mental Health Awareness Month. I must say, motherhood has brought me more stress than anything else has! Thank you for being here, Nicole!
If you are like the typical mom, you are on the go from the moment your feet hit the ground. Between family, work, and household demands, stress can begin to accumulate quickly, with little time left over to manage it.
According to results from the American Psychological Association’s recent study on stress in America, women tend to report significantly more stress overall than men. Women also report that their stress has been increasing at a much faster rate over the last five years compared to men. About 68% of women surveyed said that they feel that managing stress is important to them, but only 34% of women surveyed feel that they are actually being successful at managing their stress.
Here in the US, May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month. In addition to promoting greater understanding of mental health issues and reducing the stigma of seeking help, this month is also about reflecting on our own lives and finding new ways to improve our overall wellness and mental health.
So how can busy moms who are being pulled in hundreds of different directions every day do something positive for their mental health and their stress levels?
Here are my 5 favorite tips for improving your mental health this week:
- Do something you enjoy to pamper yourself every day. As moms, we are often called on to take care of everyone else, leaving taking care of ourselves on the back burner. While this can work in the short term, taking care of others without taking time to replenish ourselves eventually just leaves us worn out and depleted. Taking a little time for yourself can help you be a more effective mom in the long term.
- Find time to exercise. I know almost every stress management article for women mentions exercise, and I know many of you will groan and roll your eyes at the suggestion. Despite the bad rap, exercise is often on the list of top stress management techniques because it works. It releases feel-good chemicals in the brain and has been shown in research to be as effective as medication for reducing mild depression symptoms. Adding exercise doesn’t have to be an overwhelming chore involving long trips to the gym or an expensive personal trainer. Something as simple as going for a short walk can have a positive impact.
- Take a momentary time out when needed. Especially when the stresses and frustrations of dealing with the demands of motherhood pile up quickly, most women could use a short time out to regroup and refocus. When overwhelmed by the latest antics of your little ones, just taking a two minute break to take a few deep breaths in another room can help get your emotions back under control. Plus, it models positive anger and stress management strategies for your kids.
- Try learning a new relaxation technique. Different techniques work for different women. Finding relaxation strategies that work for you is an important component of managing your stress and your moods on a regular basis. If you’ve never tried formal relaxation techniques, All About Depression has a wonderful library of free sample clips of many different relaxation techniques. I find that progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness meditation are the most popular and effective techniques among my clients.
- Seek out support from others. For many women, talking to a supportive friend, acquaintance, or family member can also help with managing the ups and downs of daily life. However, it can be easy to become isolated as a busy mom. Building social supports is an important, but often neglected, part of being a well-balanced mother. If this is an area of weakness in your life, look into joining a mom group in your community, seek out interesting volunteer work, or join a community organization that sounds interesting to you. Many women may also benefit from speaking with a therapist who can provide support and help you find even more ways to manage your stress and moods.
What small change can you challenge yourself to make this week to prioritize your own wellness and better manage your stress?
Nicole Connolly, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and is the mother of one rambunctious boy and a second baby boy on the way. Dr. Connolly received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she conducted research examining the relationship between stress and anxiety and depression in young women. She currently operates a private practice in Santa Clarita, CA. In addition to working directly with women and families on managing stress, depression, and anxiety, she regularly writes a blog on her website at http://drnicoleconnolly.com, discussing issues relating to mental health, parenting, and relationships.
Today, I’m happy to introduce you to author Pauline Wiles! Pauline writes articles on lifestyle and organizing and when she offered to write a post about low-cost mood boosters, I was excited to read her ideas. Enjoy!
For the days when you’re feeling just a little bit blue, taking action before your mood sinks further can be really helpful. But that doesn’t mean buying shoes or feasting on chocolate cake. Below are some calorie-free, low-cost options for lifting your spirits.
First, though, are you an introvert or an extrovert? Did you know your personality type makes a difference in how you like to recharge? Introverts tend to regain their energy from being alone, whereas extroverts get a boost from being around others. So do consider that when picking your tactic:
- Check Meetup to see what’s happening in your area. With 13 million members in almost 200 countries, you’re sure to find like-minded souls.
- Organize a swap session with your friends. Pick an item like handbags, books, baby gear or home accessories and enjoy an afternoon of wallet-free ‘shopping’. Real Simple has tips here.
- May is national photo month! Pull out an album from an especially happy time and reawaken your memories. Or, take new pictures of the people you love and refresh the contents of the frames you see every day.
- Play with an animal. If you own a pet, great, if not, see if you can borrow a neighbor’s dog or hang out with their rabbit for a while. Contact with animals is a proven mood-booster and now widely used in the nursing world.
- Make something. Chances are, you’ve already saved a bunch of ideas on Pinterest: pick one and let your creativity flow. You might also challenge yourself to use only the materials you already have on hand.
- Visit your library and browse for a while, or download an e-book for less than the cost of a latte. The top 100 free books on Amazon can be found here, while Ereader News Today curates free and bargain books.
- Volunteer. The saying is absolutely true: volunteering is one of the best examples of giving that gives you something back. If there’s a local organization you feel passionate about, give them a call and see how they could use you. Or, for a one-time commitment, I love the opportunities listed by One Brick. You can even change the world in your pajamas: visit Help From Home for ideas.
- Each of us probably has five or six songs which never fail to get us singing along at the top of our voices. Try creating a feel-good play list to use when you’re blue. Or, tune into Pandora and search for zumba, disco, or pop from the decade you were a teenager.
- Meditate: it’s free, it’s quick and you can do it anywhere! There is a great guide for beginners here.
- Go outside, just for a few minutes. Breathe deeply and let the oxygen work its magic. For even greater benefit, get moving. A brisk walk is good, a gentle jog even better. It’s the cheapest, most effective way I know to feel terrific.
Once you identify a few tricks for banishing the blues, make a note of them, or even put a few on slips of pretty paper, to be drawn randomly from your ‘good mood jar’.
Have you tried any of the ideas here? What are your best tips for boosting your mood?
Pauline Wiles has written articles on lifestyle and organizing for House of Fifty, The Savvy Life, and Open Exchange Magazine. British by birth, she moved to California eight years ago and, apart from a yearning for historic houses and afternoon tea, has never looked back. Her first novel, Saving Saffron Sweeting, has just been published and was a quarter finalist in this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. When not writing, Pauline loves running and zumba.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Jessica Michaelson. I’m so happy to have her here to write about a topic that I struggled over – deciding to have another baby after a postpartum mood disorder. If you’re currently making that decision, I hope you’ll find this post very helpful. Thank you, Dr.!
If you suffered through postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, or psychosis with your first child, the thought of trying to have another brings up complicated and intense feelings.
These feelings often range from terror and resolve to never get pregnant again to excitement and hope that this time you’ll be able to do it without unnecessary suffering.
Whether you’re considering having another child, or already have one on the way, here is some information that might be helpful:
First…..The Bad News
- If you had postpartum mood, anxiety, or psychosis before you are at 50-80% risk of developing symptoms again postpartum
- You might experience symptoms during pregnancy
- If you are on medication and you discontinue medication during pregnancy, you are at 50-75% risk of relapsing during your pregnancy
- Having two children is more stressful than one in terms of physical and emotional demands on you, and stress can increase risk
Now….The Good News
- You know what being sick looks and feels like
- You know what being well looks and feels like
- You know how to ask for help when you start noticing symptoms (or others around you do)
- You know that individual therapy, support groups, and sometimes medication can really work to bring your symptoms to remission
- You know that many medications are safe to take while breastfeeding
- You know that if you need a medication that isn’t safe while breastfeeding, formula will be just fine
- You know that sleep, food, and family support are essential to good mental health
- You know that being a mother is hard work, but it doesn’t cause intense and endless suffering; it’s the illness that does that.
Above all else, you know that you never want to be sick like that again.
Take responsibility for your care, get information, and surround yourself with people who truly support you. If you do get sick again, it is not your fault, you will get better, and you can’t do it alone.
With love and optimism,
Dr. Jessica Michaelson
Dr. Jessica Michaelson is a psychologist, mother of two, and survivor of postpartum depression and anxiety. www.DrJMichaelson.com
Today, I’m happy to introduce BunkinMama! When she found out that I was looking for guest posts, she asked right away what I needed help with and I’m so thankful. Enjoy her tips for freezer meals!
Congratulations to Kristin and her family on the birth of their beautiful baby girl!
Hey, I’m BunkinMama, my blog is Country Bunkin Mama. I post about my daughters, M is 8 months old, born in September 2012 and V, 5 years old, started Kindergarten this school year. I also share some tasty recipes. You can find me on facebook, twitter, and pinterest. I am a guest poster here for Little Mama Jama. Trying to help Kristin while she spends some extra time with her new family of four.
To make the first few weeks at home with your newborn a little easier a good idea is to prepare frozen meals. Frozen meals made at home are healthy and more cost effective than eating out or ordering in. Recipes can make dinner as simple as using a microwave, or placing a pre-prepared meal into the crockpot or oven. So if you are currently pregnant and you can add a little more to your nesting to do list I have a few tips and tricks to share.
A freezer kept at 0°F can store foods from 2 months to 6 months. This can give you time to plan and prepare some meals before baby is born. You can prepare entire meals as you have time, or over a weekend making several different recipes all at once. Another approach to this is when you are cooking a meal for a typical dinner double the recipe. After you and your family have eaten the meal package the leftovers and freeze them.
To be sure that your meals keep well you need proper packaging. Plastic freezer containers work well and are what I mostly used. These can range in sizes from half-pints to gallon size. Use a size appropriate for the amount of food you will be freezing. Other packaging you can use include plastic freezer bags and glass casserole dishes with plastic lids. The glass casserole dishes are great for prepared, uncooked meals, such as lasagna, that can be thawed and placed right in the oven. Gallon size plastic freezer bags can hold all the ingredients you need for a crockpot meal, just thaw the day before, place in crock pot, turn it on and let it cook. Freezer bags are also good for baked goods, especially if you remove the excess air first. I did this by zipping the bag until at the very edge I slipped a straw in and sucked out the air, then sealed tightly. If you have a vacuum sealer that’s even better. The less air in the packaging the better, foods freezer faster and will have less ice crystals.
It is a good idea to mark each container with the ingredients of the meal and the date it was made. You can do this with a permanent marker on freezer bags, or with some masking tape on the reusable containers.
Most of the meals I prepared were all precooked. We just thawed and heated in the microwave. This made it easy for my husband to warm up a plate for us whenever we were hungry. A few of the meals I froze were, beef and barley soup, stuffed peppers, chili, meatloaf, chicken pot pies, zucchini muffins, zucchini and bacon pasta, quiche, pizza, pancakes, cabbage and noodles, lasagna, and meatballs with spaghetti sauce.
Freezing Precooked Foods Tips
- Cool meal completely before freezing
- Undercook vegetables (they will be cooked more during reheating)
- Season lightly (peppers, cloves, garlic and onion become stronger after freezing)
- Don’t add salt until after reheating (the flavor of salt washes out during freezing)
- Fried foods are not ideal for home freezing, they become tough and dry
- Milk sauces are not ideal, they can curdle and separate
- Frozen potatoes become watery and grainy
- Tomato based sauces and soups freeze great
- Pastries, dough, and other baked goods freeze best when baked first
- Do not fill your freezer all at once. This will over work your freezer and dishes will not freeze fast enough. Previously frozen food could thaw.
- Reheat all meats and vegetables until the internal temperature reaches 165°F
If you are pregnant I hope this information helps you. If you know someone who is expecting a baby please share this information. Freezing meals is a great way to prepare for a newborn. Once you baby has arrived you will not have to worry about what and when you are going to eat. Leaving more time to spend with your baby and your family.
I’m honored to have Kathy Morelli, LPC, here today to share her story about her transition to parenting. I met Kathy through #PPDChat, and she is an excellent advocate for those suffering from PPMDs. Thank you for being here, Kathy!
Growing up when I did was confusing- to say the least. My parents were raised
with a traditional mindset that valued stay at home moms in the 50s; women of my
mom’s generation were taught to believe that SAH parenting was the “right” thing
However, the Feminist Movement was hot on the heels of those years; encouraging
women to get educated and launch successful careers. For me, that meant that I
was constantly caught between the desire to have children young and stay at home
and the desire to follow those around me to college and career.
From the beginning, this was a recipe for disaster engineered to force constant
feelings of failure and inadequacy. I was constantly worried about whether or
not I fit in once I was on Wall Street. Men surrounded me and I was forced to
accommodate a style of communication with which I wasn’t entirely comfortable. I
felt out of place and uncomfortable.
I tried to rely on my status as a “self made” manager on Wall Street, but it didn’t
take long for me to realize that this wasn’t enough to create a self image with
which I was happy. When I became a mother, these feelings were just exacerbated.
How was I to deal with the fighting desires to stay at home to raise my child and
my desire to go back to work? I suffered from a deep seated depression, as my
sense of self felt split.
I was not alone in these feelings: there is a lot of research that shows that women
report they believe they have “lowered their sense of self” as a result of juggling
motherhood and work. We can’t have everything at once.
After much personal emotional work, what I came to realize was that personal
identity isn’t based on your job title or what others think of you. It’s a complex
construct influenced by everything around you: your family, your work, your role
as a mother, daughter, wife, and person.
Instead of sacrificing your family or job, sacrifice your crippling self-doubt and
work to achieve a new understanding of yourself. It’s okay to want to go back
to work after your son or daughter is born- and it’s okay to stay at home. The
important thing is to balance these desires with a healthy, comprehensive sense of
I learned that self-love and self-awareness are not just words; they are something
real to fight for, something that takes effort and has big benefits. Strengthen your
self-esteem and strengthen yourself and your family.
Much love to you, Kathy
Kathy Morelli, LPC, has a professional marriage and family counseling practice with a focus on pregnancy, birth, postpartum and trauma in Wayne, NJ. Kathy also offers phone consultations and Strengthen Our Mothers® a web-based workshop. She has a long-term interest in mindbody therapies and is trained in shiatsu, acupressure and Reiki. She writes and speaks on birth comfort measures and perinatal mental health and has appeared at various universities and conferences across the country. She is the author of three books in her BirthTouch® series. Kathy blogs about perinatal mental health for Lamaze’s Science & Sensibility, is a board member of Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth (PATTCh) and is one of Postpartum Support International’s (PSI) Virtual Volunteers. Visit her at birthtouch.com and kathymorelli.com.
As you may or may not know, I’m going to have a baby on May 6. Based on my previous experience with a cute, squishy newborn baby, I expect that she’s going to keep me quite busy for a while. I probably won’t even know what day it is for a couple of weeks.
I’m looking to all of you wonderful people to help me out during those first couple of weeks! Would you be interested in being featured as a guest blogger here in May? I welcome guest posts about parenthood, pregnancy, postpartum mood disorders, family life, saving money and pretty much any other ideas that you want to suggest.
My request is that you would need to have your post emailed to me by Friday, April 26. This will give me enough time to schedule posts and allow time in case Baby Deuce decides to come early.
Spreading awareness about PPD and other postpartum mood disorders (PPMDs) is something that is very close to my heart. If it wasn’t for another blogger sharing her experience with a PPMD, I wouldn’t have realized that I needed help. I didn’t experience symptoms that one might typically associate with depression. I didn’t “feel” depressed. Here are some of the not-so-common symptoms of PPMDs that I’d like to share with you:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling guilty
- Feeling nothing
- Feeling disconnected or, conversely, hyperattachment (sometimes referred to as intensive mothering)
- Intrusive thoughts
- Racing thoughts
- Lack of concentration
- Sleeping disturbances
- Appetite changes
- Physical symptoms (i.e. nausea, headaches, stomach cramps)
For more information about PPD and other PPMDs, check out my guest article that is being featured at Our Mom Spot this week. For more on my personal experience with PPMDs, you may view all of my posts via my PPD page.
Today, I’m guest posting over at Mama’s Comfort Camp!
My friend, Yael Saar, is a mama on a mission to remove guilt and shame from parenting. She is the Founder and Keeper of the Mama’s Comfort Camp, a Facebook community that functions as a safe haven and refueling station for hundreds of moms from around the world. This community is free and open to moms of kids of any age, and we share our laughter, tears, and triumphs, all the while normalizing motherhood struggles and bridgeing the gap between expectations and reality in a uniquely nurturing environment.
I’m honored to be one of the Campers, and I would love for you to join us.
Come check out my guest post!
I’m excited to introduce my friend, Rachel, to you today. She and her husband blog about family life and their fitness journey on their blog, To Hab & To Hold. Thank you for being here to share your precious boy’s story, Rachel!
I am a momma of three, an auntie, a blogger, a runner and also the parent of a special needs kiddo. Sometimes when people find out that Aiden has autism they don’t know how to respond, how to treat him or really how having autism makes him any different then their kids. I find that sometimes it’s a lack of knowledge that leads to a misinformed response rather then a completely ignorant response. There are also times though that I tell myself that to keep from letting an ignorant comment made about Aiden ruin a friendship or cause a rift with a family member.
Almost a year ago our son Aiden was officially diagnosed with ASD, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Raising a special needs child can effect every area of your life. It has at times taken a toll on our marriage, our other kids & other relationships. One of the first phone calls to a family member after receiving Aiden’s diagnosis was “well can you return him for a non defective version?” It was in that moment that I realized that not everyone would see Aiden in the same way they did before hearing his diagnosis. Adam and I were crushed to hear that response. I couldn’t believe that someone who cared about Aiden could suddenly think so differently of him based on how his brain processes things and how he sees the word a little bit differently then anyone else does.
I have never thought differently of Aiden since receiving his diagnosis. Shortly after we got it, I did have a period of fear for the unknown, of loss because as his mom I had so many hopes for him and I didn’t know what his life would be like. My biggest fear of how others would treat him. As a mom I want to protect all of my babies and shelter them from cruel comments and from their hearts being broken. Unfortunately I can’t and that is a hard reality to live with, especially when you have special needs child who can’t always stand up for themselves.
I feel that having a child with Autism has made me a better person and a better mom! Don’t get me wrong, I have days when I want to pull my hair out too but thru it all I have three kids who will one day leave their mark on this world! Aiden has taught me more in the precious almost 4 years of his life then I ever knew before. He helps me to see the world in such a creative way! He brings out my inner child and makes me stop to play in the rain and to enjoy every moment. He has taught his big sisters to be accepting of everyone and to not judge someone based on a disability or difference. His big sisters have been by his side loving him and helping in any way that they could to help him be the best Aiden he can be. In our house, we have the rule “there is no perfection, just being the best you that you can be”.
If you don’t know what to say or how to act once you find out that someone has ASD then the best advice I can give is this … Treat them how you would treat your own children. Everyone, special needs or not just wants to be accepted and included. There is a chance that you may see a mom one day with a child throwing what looks like the biggest temper tantrum you have ever seen. You may see that mom trying to calm that precious kiddo down in any way that she can, so that she can talk to him. I mean no one can listen and respond when you are upset. You may not think she is parenting like you would, but don’t judge her without knowing the entire situation.
I know first hand what those judging eyes feel like. We get those looks when Aiden has a meltdown in the grocery store due to the intercom system being so loud it hurts his ears to the point of crying. It could be the buzzing of the lights is so loud it’s all he can hear even though I never heard it. It could be another child is screaming at the top of their lungs and he is simply overwhelmed. I can’t stop and tell every staring eye why he is so upset, it’s just not possible. Sometimes I don’t even know why he is upset or what is hurting. The only thing that I can do and try to do is inform as many people as I can. Maybe then the next time they see that situation they may look at it a little differently. Maybe next time you may not stare, judge or even go and tell that parent how horrible they are at parenting their child. Unfortunately all of those things happen a lot more then people think!
I can’t forget the stares, the judging comments or the the way that people treat Aiden. I hope that you never have to endure those things, and even more that your child doesn’t. I also hope that one day this world be accepting of those who may be different or process the world differently. I hope one day that those who know Aiden will treat him like the adorable, precious little boy that he is regardless of his diagnosis. I hope that one day we can have a play date with no meltdowns and go to the grocery store and come out as happy as we went in! Until that day, whether it comes or not I will keep doing the best I can to raise three amazing kids and advocating for my little man & so many others in the world!
This is my Aiden. He loves Lightning McQueen. Thomas the Tank Engine. Spiderman. He has one of the brightest smiles & lights up a room when he walks in. He may have ASD but he is also an adorable precious little boy .. My little boy!