No more mom guilt

I have a cold and today I would have liked to spend the day alone, in bed, under the covers. But as a mom, I don’t have that luxury anymore. Or do I? Could I have called in sick? I guess so. But then I would have felt guilty because moms are supposed to carry on despite their suffering right? Wrong. Instead of trudging through and being a martyr, I should have taken time to myself, something I so covet but can’t bring myself to do because of incessant mom guilt. I feel like I need to be everything to everyone at all times and I’m realizing that thinking this way just leaves me burnt out and resentful. 

Maybe that’s why when I came across all the coverage today of Hayden Pannettiere’s comments about how she feels she’s a better mom because she suffered through postpartum depression left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Besides being a strange message to send to women to wear PPD proudly on their sleeve when in my mind we should be doing everything we can to prevent and eradicate it, not turn women into heros for it, it kind of woke me up to the fact that the suffering I’m experiencing as a burnt out mom these days does not in fact make me a better mom and that I need to incorporate more self-care into my life. Instead of lamenting that it’s impossible, I need to find routes and paths to make it possible because I need to take care of myself and my mental health. I need to find a way to practice yoga in the way that I want to everyday, I want to eat well, I want to stay organized, I want to keep my space tidy and clean, I want to make my outward appearance a priority and I want the time and energy to do it all and not feel guilty about any of it. 

In 2017, I’m going to make an effort to try to find pathways to greater self care and at least start by allowing myself time to recover when I am under the weather.

In the News:

1. 12 celebrities who have come out about postpartum depression 

Speaking of Hayden, eonline did a story today about more celebrity moms who have spoken publically about their battle with postpartum depression. There are more than 12 out there but it’s a great round up and the more that we speak out about it, the better. 

2. What is D-MER?

Romper has a post today about a little know maternal mental health issue called D-MER or dysphoric milk ejection when a mother feels depressed each time her milk lets down to breastfeed. I experienced this to a small degree in the first few months following labour. I would feel nostalgic and weepy each time my milk let down and had no idea why. I went on to suffer from severe PPD later on and I wonder if there’s a connection between the two. Also, when I weaned, I experienced tremendous anxiety. Oh hormones… or neurotransmitters… or whatever it is that causes maternal mental health issues, we’ll get to the bottom of you sooner or later so long as we keep talking about it.

3. Study linking beneficial bacteria to mental health among top 10 list for brain research 

This story caught my eye as I work to get my eating habits on the right track. I’m a nutritionist for god’s sakes and I used to be a health nut and it’s not like I eat terribly but I want to be back at the nutty level I was at before when I used to be on raw diets and beet sandwiches and felt great – physically, emotionally and mentally – on a level I had never experienced before. I want to be in that space again. And I do believe and wish I could heal my gut once and for all where many of our feel-good neurotransmitters reside. But…I…just..can’t…seem…to…get…

away…from…chocolate…….

4. Missing: a child and youth mental health strategy at provincial and national levels

While in theory, I like this Hill Times opinion piece that calls for a provincial and national strategy for children’s mental health, I don’t like the fact that it reads as though mental illness is solely an environmentally-caused condition that can be prevented through education and positive parenting. While there is a huge environmental component to the development of mental illness, this article completely overlooks the biological aspect of it and the fact that many children are born with mental illnesses which the environment can then worsen but that in addition to environmental supports such as more awareness and education in schools and at home, we also need better and more scientific research and science-based medical treatment by way of medicine, psychotherapy, yoga, exercise, meditation and nutrition. I especially take issue with the author calling ADHD a “behavioural” disorder. More on that to come…

5. Antidepressants may be doubling risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, study suggests

Really don’t like this story making the rounds on a study suggesting a connection between antidepressant use and a greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s later in life. I’m big on debunking bogus reporting on questionable studies and to me, this is another example of unnecessary, fear-based journalism based on a study of other studies, only five to be exact with absolutely no causation to be proved between the use of antidepressants and development of Alzheimer’s. All it does is scare people with mental disorders who desperately need antidepressants to survive. If I had read this story before going on meds for PPD, I might not have gone on them and probably would have ended up in the hospital or worse. Stop the bad reporting! It’s not like we’re hurting for stories. There are much better studies to be reporting on than sensational, headline-grabbing, damaging reports with little to no scientific merit.

Got a story or comment to share? Email Patricia at tomasi.patricia@gmail.com.

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