Yes, the subject matter is dark. Yes, the topic is heavy. Yes, the films tells the hardest stories. But friends, the conversation must begin. Improving the maternal mental health of women in our communities is IMPERATIVE. It cannot wait for the perfect conditions. It must start now.
Whether going through pregnancy or postpartum, we are constantly in motion – externally and internally. Even when asleep our bodies are hard at work to create and sustain life. This makes it easy to become overwhelmed, exhausted, and emotionally drained. Because of this, self-care should be our first priority, not our last.
Within every mother , there is a warrior. This warrior desires deeply to fight, to thrive and to live. But for a mom struggling with postpartum anxiety and other mood disorders, this warrior is imprisoned.
Their prison must be unlocked, so the doors of communication can open. The key to unlock that cell is support. The medium is education, and the vessel to utilize that medium is you.
Looking back, I wish so much that I had done something sooner because I barely remember that stage of my life, and as we as moms know, the early baby stage is so fleeting even if you are fully present. If I can leave you with anything, it is this. Please don't wait to get help. Please know that you are a good mom, an amazing mom. If you are going through something that you need help with, please get help as soon as possible, you will not be judged. If this is something that you did go through, and it has passed, please know that you did everything you could. Enjoy your now. You may not remember those scary and hard days in the beginning, but you can make memories starting today.
Applying these things to my fourth trimester helped tremendously during our transition to a family of six. I still had a few bad days, but they were few and far between. Because we had “been there” and “done that”, I knew my limitations and my husband knew when to step in and help me where I needed support.
I’m a mental health professional and I hate the phrase “mental health.” Just like I hate the term “mental strength,” in case you had the joy of seeing that blurb go around Facebook last year. Why? Because it suggests polarity. If there is mental “strength” or “health,” then there must also be mental weakness, mental illness. For the record, mental strength (and by extension, mental weakness) are made up, pop-psychology, BS terms that mean nothing. I’ve consulted multiple versions of the DSM and those phrases are poppycock. That’s right, I said poppycock. Ok, all done there.
"As women in this season of preconception through postpartum, we are united by a common thread. We need each other... Your stories remind us why we do the precious work we do. Your bravery inspires us. You are beautiful. We need you. "
What a beautiful week for us as a staff of The Motherhood Collective. On Saturday we welcomed you to the Café Express. On Monday we held both the Café and our PPMD Support Group. Wednesday brought our Grief Support Group. What a gift to have the opportunity to serve so many women in such different ways. If you are new to our programming this week, welcome. As an organization we long to advocate for a societal shift in maternal health. We feel the way we accomplish this best is through education AND support by connecting you to each other and to your communities.
Education empowers. Education expands our knowledge. Education, on it's own, can also overwhelm and leave us without tools for success. This is where we feel woman to woman support must come in.
It is within the framework of support that women discover variances of normal. It is through the safety of support that women find assurance that they are not alone.
Thank you. Thank you for allowing us to serve you. Thank you for allowing us to learn what it looks like to connect you to each other and to your communities. Again, welcome to our new faces. Please let us know if there's anything we can do to further your education and support from pre-conception through postpartum.
All my love,
PS - Do you follow us on instagram? Here is a peek at what we've been up to this week!
A photo posted by The Motherhood Collective © (@themotherhoodcollective) on Jun 25, 2015 at 5:16am PDT
A photo posted by The Motherhood Collective © (@themotherhoodcollective) on Jun 24, 2015 at 5:03am PDTA photo posted by The Motherhood Collective © (@themotherhoodcollective) on Jun 23, 2015 at 7:00am PDT
As we have been working our way through Maternal Mental Health Month I have been mulling over the biggest obstacles that we, as women, face in achieving stable mental health. Continually, it comes back to this - we do not believe we are worth it. It takes time, sacrifice, and a mindset of worth to get to a PPMD Support Group. If we feel the time is too expensive, the sacrifice to our families too great, and our worth not equal to those we care for; then, quite simply, help will not be sought.
I would say, in this culture, that women have a history of being self-proclaimed martyrs. We learned these behaviors from the women before us. We eat the piece of chicken dropped on the floor, we share the cup - receiving backwash in return, we get up early and go to bed late all for these precious people entrusted to our care.
But, my loves, we must acknowledge that caring for ourselves enables us to care for those we love even better! The time taken to attend a Postpartum and Perinatal Mood Disorders Support Group is well spent! The walk around the park while a friend keeps the children is time well spent. The cup of tea sipped while still hot is time well spent. We must make our Mental Health a priority.
Depression and anxiety are the most common complications surrounding childbirth. They can be experienced in both pregnancy and the postpartum period. There is nothing to be ashamed of and there is hope. But we must take the first step - we must decide that we are worth the fight to be well.
Join me in encouraging mothers around us to fight for their Mental Health, together we are serving women and changing lives.
With all my love,
January is almost over. Winter storms cover the East Coast. What an honor it has been to serve you wherever motherhood finds you this winter. Are you familiar with our tagline? "Nurturing the mother to grow the child." Do you know how deeply we believe this? Motherhood is challenging. Our primary goal is to nurture, support and educate you; enabling you to make the choices best for your family. We are passionate about cheering you on - helping you find your truth.
My heart was filled to overflowing as I watched so many of you play with different baby carriers at the Saturday Café Express and Monday Café. Your laughter and encouragement was contagious. For those of you who joined us for the first time, I applaud you for your bravery in stepping out to connect with women you did not know. For those of you who missed your time with us, be sure to visit the blog for recaps and valuable information.
Be sure to check out all of the upcoming events listed on the calendar. There are many opportunities for connection and support wherever you have need. If there is any way in which we could be serving you better, please let me know.
All my love,
Ever wonder who's behind The Motherhood Collective? Over the next few weeks we'll be introducing you to our dedicated team of volunteers. These women are all mothers - once, twice or many times over. While they come from different backgrounds and have various approaches to pregnancy, birth and parenting, each one is dedicated to creating a place where ALL mothers can find education and support. Meet our Director of Hospitality! Carrie is such fun, you should get to know her too!
We met sweet Carrie after the birth of her first son, and had the privilege of walking alongside her during her second pregnancy! After observing all the ways in which she naturally encouraged and supported her fellow mothers, we asked her to come on board as our Director of Hospitality in the Spring of 2013.
Carrie's most important task is the organizing of Postpartum Meals. She interviews mothers who have requested this special service; then, upon the birth of their child, sets up a "train" of meals. These meals are provided by other women of The Motherhood Collective© and are tailored to the needs of each postpartum family's needs. She also volunteers her time on Mondays at The Motherhood Café, serving as a Group Leader and an oh-so-valuable Kitchen Worker.
With a mischievous sparkle in her eye and free-flowing laughter, Carrie's creative thinking, hard work and professionalism bring such value to our team!
Thank you, Carrie, for serving the women and families of The Motherhood Collective©.
Are you a cook? Would you love to serve by bringing a meal to those in need? Do you have a heart for mothers figuring out the postpartum stage of motherhood? Would you like to send a gift card from afar? Email Carrie at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to add you to our hospitality team!