How To Be A Good Mother: Why Imperfection Is The Only Way

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imperfectionPerfectionism.  Oh, the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect!  Or at least, if not “perfect” then definitely Good.  The phrase: “I feel like such a bad mom” bounces off of the walls in my office every day.  It echoes after the women with whom I work leave my space.  These words sometimes seem to follow them down the street, into their cars, and back home with them to where they haunt these mamas throughout the night.  These. Are. Powerful. Words.

But, what do they really mean?  What, exactly, is a “Good Mom” anyway?  Is a good mother the one who breastfeeds her baby until he is 2?  Is she the mom who never ever loses her patience?  Is this good mom the one who stays home with her kids?  Or is she the mom who returns to work and manages to juggle both with grace and ease?  Is a good mom the one who cooks all of her meals from scratch?  Is she the mother who always puts others before herself?  Is this good mom the one who is constantly smiling, has a perfectly clean house, home made (organic) cookies on the counter top, and clean, folded laundry put away before anyone notices it was even dirty?  Or is she the mom who never feeds her kiddo sugar or lets her watch TV?  Is a good mother the one who manages a totally happy marriage that includes frequent sex and date nights and also manages to keep happy and loving siblings from fighting?  Is she the one who is always happy, never sad or angry, definitely not anxious, and seems to know exactly what to do with her kiddo at every developmental stage?  Is she the one whose baby is never crying?  Is she the one whose children are always happy too?

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Top 50 Pregnancy Mom Blogs Includes Postpartum Depression

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I’m very proud to announce that Babble.com has just published its list of the top 50 Pregnancy Blogs, and Postpartum Progress is among them.  So happy that our postpartum depression support will be promoted among all the other great blogs on this list.

Even more exciting than that, we are actually in the top 10 — #8 to be exact!!  We are also listed as the second friendliest experts, just behind Birthing Beautiful Ideas.  It’s thrilling to think that a postpartum depression blog would be recognized among all the potential blog topics that could have been included in a list of pregnancy blogs.  It’s so crucial for pregnant women to know more about postpartum depression (and depression during pregnancy) and to be prepared for how to deal with it.

There are a lot of amazing bloggers on the list, including those who focus on everything from infertility to breastfeeding to postpartum bodies to pregnancy loss to baby decor to the latest science and MUCH MORE.  Go check it out! They’re all great resources.

Here are the top 10:

  1. Pregnant Chicken
  2. The Shape of a Mother
  3. Birthing Beautiful Ideas
  4. Stirrup Queens
  5. Lay Baby Lay
  6. The Girl Who
  7. My OB Said What?
  8. Postpartum Progress
  9. Science and Sensibility
  10. Cool Mom Picks

 

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Does Summer Break Overwhelm You?

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This time of year makes me think of when I had postpartum OCD and was afraid to be alone with my baby. I still get that same twinge when summer comes and I worry about how to keep my two kids entertained all day long. Whether I have what it takes to get through two-and-a-half months of stay-at-home momdom. I wrote about it in my ParentDish column: Why Summer Break Scares Me

Wondered whether any of you who have survived a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder get that same feeling when summer break arrives. Is it just me? I mean, I know I'll be fine and we'll have fun, but I always have this temporary feeling that I'll be overwhelmed. I hate that feeling. A lot.

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How Pregnant Women React to Information About PPD: A Baby Expo Case Study

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Attempting to generate awareness of postpartum depression and eliminate stigma among an audience of pregnant women is a great reminder of the various attitudes about PPD that still exist.

This weekend I was at the Atlanta Baby & Child Expo sharing information on PPD. I got three general responses from the pregnant attendees there as I tried to chat and hand out educational materials:

1) With her head nodding, the pregnant or new mom says, "Postpartum depression is REAL. Hope I don't get it, but I'll take this information just in case."

This mom stops and listens, even if just for a moment. She is genuine when she says she understands PPD is real. She is willing to consider the possibility that anyone can get a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, and feels there is no harm in grabbing some information about it. She may mention knowing someone who had it. If it's not the mom that stops, it's her friend or her mother who says "I'll keep this and watch out for her. Thanks for the info."

I love these people. I could hug these people.

2) The pregnant or new mom giggles and says with a big smile, "Oh, no thanks! I won't be needing that!"

This mom thinks she's immune. She is completely confident that there is no way in hell that she will have PPD, so she laughs breezily at the thought that she might need information about it. She sashays by, off to try and win the car seat raffle and watch the maternity clothing fashion show.

I worry for these moms, because I had that same attitude once, and then I got hit by a Mack truck.

3) The pregnant or new mom offers a dismissive smirk and a wave of the hand and says "I don't have time for postpartum depression."

This mom thinks postpartum depression is BS. PPD is for people who are lazy, or don't have better things to do, or aren't smart, strong effective mothers like she is/will be. PPD is for losers.

This woman offends me, truth be told. I know there are lots of people like this, who are ignorant about mental illness. I bite my tongue and smile as she walks away.

I'm so grateful to the Atlanta Baby & Child Expo for allowing me to promote education on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to the very important target audience of women who might get them any day now. I hope at least one woman finds comfort and support with the information she received. I also hope the great majority of them never go through what the readers of this blog have.

In the meantime, Saturday's experience reinforced how much work we still need to do.

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