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Support group interest

Hello, and Happy New Year!

I am in the process of setting up a virtual support group for expecting and postpartum moms. The Mamas Haven will be it's name and it will be held weekly. You can drop in whenever you need support and connection. Who would be interested in attending? Please comment below if you are interested! I will add you to a list and invite you when the group is up and running!

#PostpartumDisorders #MentalHealth #OtherMentalHealth #PostpartumDepression #PostpartumAnxiety

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Surviving Perimenopause: Year One

Part 1 of 2 Sometime in 2022, I started bleeding and just I didn’t stop.

It would help to have a little background. At that time, I was a 43 year old woman with 2 children. I was newly divorced and trying to feel very hot, and very datable. I mean, I was wearing lingerie!

And then one day, my period came, and it just didn’t stop.

When I say “didn’t stop”, I mean this was a mess. Postpartum levels of carnage. I was soaking through tampons and pads, and I could hardly leave the house. And those little thong bodysuits I had recently acquired? Please.

This was unusual for me, so I made an appointment with an OBGYN. We thought that perhaps the stress of my divorce had thrown my cycle off. She had me wait it out. Weeks later; I was dizzy, depressed, and exhausted. I went into urgent care and I told the doctor that every woman on my maternal side has had some sort of cancer. (I was so afraid that I was a newly single parent, and now I also had cancer. It felt like a ‘universe piling on’ type of situation. This was not a chill time for me.)

They did tests. Pelvic exams, uterine biopsies. Those seemed to be clear, and what my gynecologist eventually said to me changed my life. She said, “Well, Natalie, you’re 43. This might simply be perimenopause.”

This was not welcome news. I thought I was way too young for menopause, I didn’t actually understand what perimenopause was, and I had no idea what my next move ought to be.

So, I went home and did some digging.

Turns out, 43 is exactly the right age for the first stages of menopause to creep in. Our ovaries are slowing down, and our entire body can be affected. The symptoms might look different for lots of folks, but most of us will have some shared experiences. (I’m using ‘symptoms’ because menopause is caused by a hormone deficiency, and even though it happens to everyone with certain reproductive parts- I’ve learned more and more about ways that we can actually treat it.)

It’s very possible that nobody will tell us this is about to happen. Unlike pregnancy, women don’t tend to talk to each other about menopause. Doctors don’t tend to give us a head’s up that we can start looking out for signs and symptoms. Largely, we will feel unseen and unsupported as we try to navigate a very intense change that half of the human population is scheduled to go through.

1. Your cycle will change. Less frequent or sporadic periods are common, but what is also common is relentless bleeding. When you walk around and see 40-50 year old women going about their business, it’s very possible that many of them have been bleeding for months and months, without relief. Fun!

2. You gain weight! Hormones do so much to control our weight and metabolism, and even small changes can make a big difference. Quite suddenly, most of your clothes might not fit, and your decades old diet and exercise habits might not be working for you. Belly weight seems to be the most common- I’ve given away a lot of pants this year.

3. Your vagina will change. Mine became more sensitive, generally. I need more gentleness during any genital contact but especially during penetration, I’m much more prone to yeast and BV, and for the first time in my life, I constantly need to use lubricant. My body feels tender, and I’m learning to treat it with the care it now needs.

The more openly I talk about perimenopause- both to friends and on social media- the more symptoms I’m made aware of. Brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, lack of sleep, gut issues, food and alcohol intolerance, memory loss, body aches- the list goes on. It’s mostly women who are experiencing these symptoms, and women are notorious for soldiering through pain and discomfort (out of necessity), so it really takes a lot for many women to open up about what’s happening with them. For many of us, it takes multiple doctor visits, and often even switching doctors, to receive decent information and care.

As some of us have been doing this leg work, I think it’s helpful to share what we’ve found. For me, here are some treatments that have saved my quality of life during this time.

1. Hormone replacement therapy. That’s right- HRT is for everyone, and it can save lives! To control my own bleeding; I tried Estradiol, a hormonal birth control pill, and a hormonal IUD. None of those helped (and in fact, the IUD led to constant bacterial infection and discomfort). What eventually has helped is Synd, an oral contraceptive containing only drospirenone, which is a progestin. I’ve been taking Slynd for 3 months, and besides some initial weight gain, I haven’t noticed negative side effects. A very positive side effect has been stopping menstruation, which is significant for me due to the distressingly heavy bleeding I was experiencing. I have n

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Hi I’m new here

So here’s my autoimmunity story- had food poisoning in 2006, they discovered my Hashimotos in that hospital stay. I had no clue, thought it was postpartum truly. A quick year later I was in so much pain I sought out a rheumatologist bc my mom had RA . Sure enough, I had that too, also found type 2 diabetes. Later on I was told I have fibromyalgia as well. I have also been through the wringer with every symptom of MS, but no brain lesions. I am 54 and now that I have every disc bulging or herniated they say I have degenerative disc disease.

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The Ultimate Parenting Hack: Choosing the Right Partner for a Lifetime of Support

As you embark on this incredible journey of transitioning into #Motherhood #Motherhood and becoming a parent, it's important to remember that having a strong and supportive partner can make all the difference. The number one #hack for being a parent and alleviating the challenges of #postpartum is choosing a good partner to begin with.

While this realization may come after having kids for many of us, it's crucial to seek out character traits that indicate a person's ability to be a true teammate in parenting. In this article, we'll explore the importance of finding the right partner and how it can positively impact your parenting experience.

The Power of Partnership

Parenting is a lifelong commitment, spanning over 18 years of your life. It's crucial to consider the long-term implications of choosing a partner who will be an integral part of making your daily life more manageable.

From the beginning, we should prioritize the desire for a true partnership and a teammate who will support us not only during #Pregnancy but also throughout the period and beyond.

Identifying the Right Traits

Finding a partner with the right traits is essential for a successful parenting journey. Consider the following qualities when choosing a partner:

Communication and Empathy:

A partner who excels in communication and empathy will create a nurturing environment for your growing family. They will be there to listen, understand, and provide emotional support when you need it most.

Shared Values and Goals:

Finding a partner who shares your core values and parenting goals will ensure a harmonious upbringing for your children. Aligning on important issues such as discipline, education, and family values is key to creating a cohesive parenting strategy.

The Crucial Role of a Supportive Partner in the #postpartum Period

The #postpartum period, particularly the first six months, can be an intense and challenging time for new mothers. #hormonal fluctuations, sleep deprivation, physical recovery, and adjusting to the demands of caring for a newborn can feel overwhelming. Having a supportive partner during this time can make the transition into #Motherhood that much easier.

A supportive partner understands that is a period of adjustment and exhibits patience and empathy. They validate your feelings and thoughts related to the changes of becoming a mother, offering reassurance and understanding when you need it most.

They actively participate in caring for the baby, easing the burden on you as a new mother. From diaper changes to late-night feedings, a supportive partner is willing to help as much as possible with the baby, allowing you to get much-needed rest and self-care.

Additionally, a supportive partner recognizes the importance of taking care of you as a mother. They understand that when you are well-rested, emotionally supported, and nurtured, you can better care for your baby. They encourage you to prioritize self-care and provide the necessary support to make it happen.

Modeling Healthy #Relationships

As parents, we play a vital role in shaping our children's understanding of relationships. By modeling a healthy and respectful partnership, we can teach them the qualities to seek in a future partner.

Even if your current partner doesn't possess all the desired traits, it's essential to have open conversations with your children about what's important in a partner. This will empower them to make informed decisions in their own lives.

Nurturing Your #relationship

Maintaining a strong and fulfilling partnership requires investing time and effort into nurturing your relationship.

Carve out quality time together and prioritize self-care as individuals to strengthen your bond as parents. Recognize that #Parenthood is a shared responsibility.

Encourage open communication about parental duties, delegate tasks, and provide support to each other to ensure a balanced and harmonious parenting experience.

Building a Strong #Parenting Team

A strong parenting team relies on open and effective communication. Your partner should be someone with whom you can discuss parenting challenges, share responsibilities, and find solutions together. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of unity and strengthens your bond as parents.

Recognize the importance of balancing parenting responsibilities. A supportive partner actively contributes to household chores, childcare tasks, and daily routines, ensuring that the load is shared equitably. This balance allows both parents to feel supported and appreciated.

During the journey of motherhood, emotional support from your partner is invaluable. They offer a listening ear, a comforting presence, and words of encouragement. Their unwavering support helps you navigate the ups and downs of motherhood with confidence and resilience.

As you embark on your journey into parenthood, remember that choosing the right partner is the ultimate parenting hack. By seeking a partner who embodies the traits of a supportive teammate, you can create a nurturing environment for your child's growth and development.

Remember, it's never too late to model the kind of parent you want your children to have and to have open discussions about what's important in a partner. With the right partner by your side, your parenting experience will be enriched, and you'll be better equipped to navigate the joys and challenges of raising a child.

Parenthood is a beautiful adventure, and with a loving and supportive partner, you'll have an even greater chance to create lasting memories and forge a strong foundation for your family. Embrace this incredible opportunity and enjoy the journey together!

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I'm new here!

Hi, my name is Megan Stander. I'm here because I had a difficult postpartum experience due to my anxiety and depression diagnosis as well as having a rare breastfeeding disorder called Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (DMER). My goal is to help other pregnant and new moms prepare for and manage postpartum by offering information and advice.

#MightyTogether #Anxiety #Depression #Migraine #ADHD

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Need advice

I don't know how to help this person I know who might have postpartum or something similar she's having a hard time she's usually super positive very strong but this has knocked her down I don't know how to help even a little or what to say and not make worse.🙀😭🙏♥️😣😵🤯😱😓
#anxiety #Depression

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When Psychosis Said My Son Wasn't Real

If you have ever experienced psychosis, you are probably aware that what you KNOW and what you BELIEVE are two very different things.

All throughout my pregnancy, from beginning to now (he was about about four weeks old at the time of writing) I have had trouble bonding, connecting, and otherwise believing in my son’s existence.

Which, truly, is worrisome and slightly terrifying.

Is this just some elaborate hallucination? That’s what my brain tells me.

From the first visit at the birthing center where I shared my concerns with the midwives that this pregnancy wasn’t “real” – it was one of those pregnancies where I went through the whole process physically, but with no baby at the end – to during labor when he finally emerged and I kept asking “is he real?”, this whole experience has yet to connect properly in my brain.

The trauma after birth didn’t help matters – between a huge blood clot, hemorrhaging, and postpartum preeclampsia – but recovery is a work in progress.

How I Cope with the Psychosis:

-I’ve surrounded myself with support, for one. There is rarely a time when no one is available to help

-Breastfeeding, cuddling my son, and skin to skin contact don’t make my son feel any more real, but they do seem to help keep my psychosis from getting worse.

-Honesty with my care team (midwives, psychiatrist, and probably a therapist soon) about what is happening so I can be properly cared for and medicated as needed

-Walking away (with my son left in good hands) when needed is invaluable. Although I have not in any way felt aggression or anger towards my son, sometimes a meltdown happens, and it’s easier to recover from a meltdown when you AREN’T holding a crying infant.

Next Steps:

As hard as it is to gather the motivation to breastfeed and otherwise care for an infant that my brain tells me doesn’t truly exist, I rely on my support system (primarily the people I live with) to help encourage and push me to do what needs to be done. When I simply cannot function, communication with my support people is key.

If you are going through something similar, please, surround yourself with as many supportive people that you can be fully open and honest with as you can. Their help can make or break your pregnancy and later your ability to function when caring for your newborn.

Have you gone through a pregnancy or birth while experiencing psychosis? Were you able to properly bond with your child later? Please let me know in the comments. I’m still holding out hope that this mental state isn’t forever.

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Within the dark cloud: My journey of Postpartum Depression and Birth Trauma.

From the moment your baby is born, they are held by many hands - yours, your partners, nurses, doctors, family members - but who holds the mother?

Your baby is cared for, checked on, tests given -

but who checks on the mother?

I was forgotten.

They say that from the moment your child is born, you are instantly connected and in love - but what happens when you only get less than a minute to hold your baby and by the time you finally do you feel empty?

You see, my son was born a month early, due to my medical condition he had to be - my body, the place that was supposed to keep him safe, wasn’t. He was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice - I held him in my arms for less than a minute when they noticed he was having difficulty breathing and then he was taken into the NICU. Two moments that will live with me forever are me sitting in my hospital room without my baby, and several days later the empty car seat in the back as my husband and I drove home because our son wasn’t able to leave NICU yet.

The entire experience did something to me, it changed me, and with each passing day I became less of the version I’ve always known myself to be.

Postpartum depression hit me hard. I felt like I was in a room, surrounded by people, screaming for help, but no sound would come out. How is it that my mind was constantly racing with thoughts, but my voice was silenced? I didn’t even feel like it was my life that I was living, as if I was watching a movie, my life was playing on the screen, but I wasn’t truly living it. Most days, it felt like work to physically lift my body out of bed, let alone breastfeed (which I pressured myself into because society has told me that I’m an awful mom if I don’t), hold my baby, eat, or even drink water - I just wanted my bed to swallow me whole and relieve me of this overwhelming sense of nothingness. I felt certain that my family would be better off not having me around, my dark messy cloud pouring rain all over them.

I’m not sure what was worse, the hollowness inside of my body or the excruciating guilt from having this amazing baby and not feeling like I could connect to him. I’ve spoken to many women before, women that shared my struggles, that have experienced the very thing that I was and where I showed them compassion, I had none of that stored for me. I was a failure.

I was given a lot of well-intentioned advice: Go for a walk, play with your baby more, pray, go to church, find a hobby, just wake up and choose to be happy - but what no one understood was that I was drowning and no amount of forced positivity was going to remove me from the dark hole my mind crawled itself into. All of this advice that was given to me, any and everything except for what I really needed which was Zoloft and talk therapy. Those were the things that I personally needed, but there is so much shame around mental illness and medications that I deprived myself of the help I needed because I was more worried about the opinions of others. Now, I was failing myself.

By the time I had my 6-week postpartum checkup, my depression had gotten so bad that I was pretty sure that at any moment I was going to be eaten alive from the inside out, by the monster it had become. I finally decided it was time for help and completed the survey provided to me as openly and honestly as possible, and I’m so glad that I did.

I didn’t start my medication on a Friday and feel like a brand-new woman by Saturday - this was not a get better fast process, it was going to take time and patience. At first, it felt like I had the flu, and I was suddenly more tired than ever, and I really wanted to give up. But the first day the medication began to work, it was as if my vision was suddenly clearer. I slowly started to find it easier to get out of bed, and with every day that passed I began to feel lighter and laughed more. My senses were heightened - the air was crisper, the sun shined brighter, and I was able to look at my son and feel so greatly connected to him, and revel in his warmth and scent. I was beginning to feel like me again. I was beginning to feel like a whole person.

When I look back at that time, there are a few things I wish would have been different:

I wish that mothers were checked on before their 6-week appointment, and definitely more than once. We need to hold the baby AND the mother. Our bodies just went through this earth-shattering journey, our lives are drastically changing, we’re sleep-deprived, hormonal, and we are no longer living for ourselves - we need to be held.

I wish that there wasn’t a stigma against mental illness and medications, we should all be able to openly get the help that we need. Sure, things like exercise and sunlight can be helpful, but they are not the only solutions, and they definitely weren’t the only solutions for me.

I wish that I gave myself more grace - why do we never grant ourselves the same love and care that we do to others?

Lastly, I wish that there wasn’t so much societal pressure to be perfect. Does anyone do everything right? We’re all flawed. No one can do everything right 100% of the time. It’s not possible and putting that pressure on ourselves to be perfect is only setting us up for failure (admittedly, I’m still working on this one).

I am not a perfect mom or person; I’ll probably never be and that’s okay - sings to myself “I can see clearly now the rain is gone…”.

#Depression #PostpartumDepression #MentalHealth #MentalIllness

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10 Secrets to Reclaiming Your Mental Health as a Mom #MentalHealth #Motherhood #Healing #postpartum

1. Don't be afraid to ask for help

We get it, moms are superhuman beings who can juggle everything on their plate. But let's be real, it takes a village to raise a child. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Whether it's from your partner, family member, or friend, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Remember, you can't pour from an empty cup.

2. Take time for yourself

Yes, I said it. Moms need to take time for themselves. It's like the airplane safety announcement: put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others. Taking time for yourself can be as simple as taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, or reading a book. Whatever it is, make sure it's something that brings you joy and helps you recharge.

3. Prioritize self-care

Self-care is not just a buzzword, it's a necessity. As a mom, it can be easy to put your needs last, but taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your children. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. And don't forget about mental self-care – do things that make you happy and give you peace of mind.

4. Don't compare yourself to other moms

Comparison is the thief of joy, especially when it comes to motherhood. Don't compare yourself to other moms on social media who seem to have it all together. Trust me, behind every perfectly staged Instagram photo is a messy house and a stressed-out mom. Remember, every mom has her own challenges and struggles.

5. Surround yourself with positive people

As the saying goes, you become who you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people who support and encourage you. Being around negative people can drain your energy and affect your mental health. So, choose your tribe wisely.

6. Practice gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful tool for mental health. When you focus on the good things in your life, you attract more positivity. Take a moment each day to think about what you're grateful for, whether it's your health, your family, or simply a beautiful sunset. Gratitude can shift your mindset and improve your overall well-being.

7. Set boundaries

As a mom, it can be easy to spread yourself too thin. Setting boundaries is essential for your mental health. Learn to say no to things that don't serve you or your family. It's okay to prioritize your own needs and say no to things that don't align with your values.

8. Don't neglect your hobbies

Remember the things you used to enjoy before becoming a mom? Don't let motherhood take away your hobbies or interests. Whether it's painting, gardening, or playing an instrument, make time for the things that make you happy. Pursuing your passions can bring you joy and help you take a break from the demands of motherhood.

9. Talk to someone

It's okay to not be okay. If you're struggling with your mental health, don't be afraid to talk to someone. Whether it's a therapist, a friend, or a support group, reaching out for help is a sign of strength. You don't have to go through it alone.

10. Practice self-compassion

Last but not least, practice self-compassion. As mothers, we can be our own worst critics. Don't beat yourself up over mistakes or shortcomings. Be kind and gentle with yourself, just as you would to a friend. Remember, you're doing the best you can with what you have.

In conclusion, motherhood is an incredible journey, but it's not without its challenges. Taking care of your mental health is essential for your well-being and the well-being of your family. So, don't forget to take time for yourself, practice self-care, and surround yourself with positive people. And always remember, you're doing an amazing job.##

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Bipolar and pregnancy

How was your pregnancy while being bipolar?
How was it after labour? Did you end up having postpartum depression?

#Bipolar2Disorder

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