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Happy Mama…….

pregnant-sad-face

Muchof the focus during early parenthood is on the baby, and new mothers are

given very few opportunities to talk about themselves. A few weeks ago, a mom remarked, "This group is one of the few places where I can actually talk about myself–what I want to do with my career, what I am going through with my husband, and just what I THINK in general. Everyone always asks about the baby and her sleep and her weight gain, but when I come here, I can actually talk about myself and know that people will listen." In response, another mom said, "Yes. The first time I came to this group, I cried because it was the first time someone asked me how I was feeling about breastfeeding. Every other conversation was about the baby’s weight and my milk supply, but no one ever asked me how I felt about any of it."

Mother-centered support groups give new moms an opportunity to share what they’re thinking and feeling. .Belly Beautiful believes that speaking honestly about our experiences as mothers is a radical, revolutionary act; no statement about motherhood rings truer to me. When mothers are able to speak honestly, they can affirm what is true for themselves, regardless of the glut of images, advice, and instructions about how they should parent. Moreover, when mothers speak honestly, they can help other mothers feel validated and less alone.

Particularly for a new mom who is experiencing anxiety, depression, or other perinatal emotional complications, being in a space where she can speak honestly can be therapeutic and beneficial. Anywhere from 10% to 20% of mothers will experience postpartum depression, and 15% will experience postpartum anxiety. If you do the math, in a room of 12 new moms, it’s likely that a couple of them are experiencing a mood-related complication. I remember one mom who started weeping while

listening to another mom talk about how she was feeling down and anxious. When it was her turn to speak, the woman who was weeping said, "This is the first time that I have heard someone else say that being a mom is really hard. I had thought that there was something wrong with me because I’m having a really hard time." And a third woman said, "No, it’s not just you."

And we were all silent for a minute as we let those words ring in our ears… It’s not just you. As a facilitator, I wanted to jump in and validate these statements and feelings, but I stopped, took a breath, and just let those words settle into us for another few seconds. It’s not just you.

Join us on January 20th for a group we call

Happy Mama.

a certified Postpartum mood disorder specialist

will walk us through the signs, symptoms

and ways to try to avoid experiencing

postpartum depression and anxiety.

 

Divya Kumar, Sc.M., CLC, PPD

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