The Benefits of Postpartum Depression

Yes, you read that title right.

I have long been an advocate for postpartum depression awareness, understanding, and education. I’ve helped hundreds of mothers and families heal through warmline support, support groups, education, and therapy. I’ve written articles about postpartum depression treatment, about the spectrum of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, about postpartum OCD, the stigma of postpartum psychosis, and produced an internationally-sold DVD, Postpartum Couples (now free online, click here). I’ve even shared my own experiences with postpartum depression and anxiety, including my biggest struggles and what I believe others most need to know.

But today, I want to take a different approach to this topic that’s so near and dear to my heart. Today, I wish to focus on the benefits of PPD.

 

After baby #3, happy in the hospital. PPD & anxiety set in just days later.

 

PPD is HARD.

If you’re in the thick of postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or psychosis, you’re probably thinking I’ve lost my mind. How could there be benefits to this thing that intrudes into your life in the very moment you most want to be at your best, that attacks your identity, sense of self-worth, and the ability to connect and bond with your baby, partner, and family?

If you’re mid-way through the healing process, you might feel some of these benefits, or you might not—yet.

If you’ve made it safely to the other side of PPD, you’ve hopefully experienced some of these benefits and understand first hand what I’m talking about, but again, maybe not. Each of us is different, and our experiences are unique.

Wherever you are in your PPD experience, one thing is abundantly clear: just because I’m writing about the benefits of postpartum depression in no way takes away from the pain, suffering, and heartache of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. It in no way takes away from how hard it is to finally find a way to overcome these disorders, to find the right treatment, and to do the work required to heal. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are absolutely among the most difficult of life’s challenges.

Loving my baby girl, but exhausted. This is reality.

 

The PPD Paradox

The paradox is that while postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and psychosis are gut-wrenching experiences for the whole family, they are also some of the most fertile soil for personal growth—if we “plant ourselves and grow.” (As I write in This is How We Grow.)

Yes, PPD is hard. AND, it also yields fruit, gifts for our growth and development. As a psychologist working with postpartum women and a 4-time PPD survivor, I’ve seen it over and again. Just like the “gifts” of grief and loss and heartache and other life challenges, of which I have also personally experienced many, if we look for and see them, the benefits of postpartum depression are plentiful.

 

Just weeks after our family went from three to six kids, I posed us for a Christmas card pic. Can you see the fear in my eyes as I pulled myself together to be the mom everyone needed me to be?

Top 10 Benefits of Postpartum Depression

So, what are they–these gifts? The following is my top 10 list of benefits of postpartum depression. You might have some of your own to add to my list. I hope you do. If nothing else, I hope this gets your mind focused on the belief that perhaps I’m right. Just maybe, postpartum depression can end up bringing benefits that somehow make it all worthwhile.

1) Understanding. Not only do we understand postpartum depression, or anxiety, or whatever it is we’ve gone through after childbirth; we understand similar experiences better, too. Experiences like death and loss and heartache and illness and pain and general life distress become more real and relatable after going through PPD.

2) Compassion and Empathy. This understanding brings greater compassion and empathy, which I’ve long believed to be one of the greatest benefits of going through PPD or any major life challenge. We simply “get it,” because we’ve been through it. That makes us more likely to know how to be there for others, as well, in ways we otherwise couldn’t have done.

3) Humility. When you’ve hit your lowest point, there’s no other way but humility. Humility in admitting something’s wrong. Humility in seeking help. Humility in letting help in. Humility is, ironically, one of the most powerful traits we can develop. It means we are teachable. It means we’re willing to see what needs to change and change it. It means we’re letting go of the ego and achieving personal growth.

4) Character. We’ve all heard how life challenges build character; sometimes we might roll our eyes hearing this, especially while in the midst of those life challenges. But it’s true. We develop newfound strength, fortitude, skills, and abilities through overcoming PPD. This has the potential to make us into someone even greater than before.

5) Self-confidence. Watching ourselves overcome PPD shows us we can do it, and if we can do this, we can do anything. We have the ability to do hard things. PPD can show us just what we’re made of, which in turn can lead us to overcome other life challenges, too. As we strengthen our self-confidence, we’re more likely to speak up when we need something, to ask for help before we get to a breaking point, and to talk to others about PMADs so we can help them do the same. (Watch “How to Speak Up, Ask For, & Receive What You Need,” or listen on Motherhood Radio/TV.)

 

6) Self-worth. Self-confidence is just one aspect of self worth, which is often crushed by perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Feeling embarrassed, guilty, self-hateful and worthless are part of these heart-wrenching disorders. I’ve found I almost always need to work on rebuilding self-worth my postpartum clients. However, doing the work of postpartum healing can lead to a deeper sense of self-worth, which can fuel your confidence, belief in, and even love for yourself moving forward. Such an important gift!

7) Charity. When we understand something like postpartum depression and have that newfound compassion, and empathy for others, along with a stronger self-confidence, character and self-worth, we often desire to give back. So many of the best PPD support persons, organizations, treatment providers, and advocates are PPD survivors. We’ve been there. We get it. We want to help others. This help is invaluable, showing others they’re truly not alone and modeling for others that healing is not only possible but we can flourish after PPD, too. (Watch “When the Bough Breaks: The Reality of PPD,” or listen on Motherhood Radio, here.)

 

8) Appreciation and gratitude. Those who have suffered greatly often find a new appreciation, awareness, and gratitude for life. We recognize the good and work to never take for granted when things go well. We feel grateful for ours and our family’s health and wellness, because we know how easily it can be taken away. We express that gratitude more, knowing how important gratitude is to our own, and others,’ healing and happiness. Yes, appreciation and gratitude are keys to flourishing.

8) Joy, hope, and love. Starting off with so many challenges may seem antithetical to hope, joy, and love, but in truth, it is an opportunity for greater abundance of these things. Being without hope or unable to feel joy or love shows us just how valuable these gifts are and just how badly we desire them. Working on feeling these things again can lead us to never take them for granted once they are replenished, and can lead to a greater ability to share these powerful experiences with our family, friends, and others, creating a cycle of joy, hope and love that repeats.

10) Deeper sense of who you truly are. All of these things help us see and feel and experience our true potential. We’ve overcome PPD. We’ve become more of who we’re meant to be, and now, we can use these experiences to flourish! Postpartum depression just might be the thing that leads us to become our best self; it certainly has been for me. PPD has fueled my work and compassion and service and love–for my family and for all others. As we receive all these gifts, these benefits of PPD, we just might find that without PPD we wouldn’t be who, and where, we are today. I know I certainly wouldn’t be.

This is us, Christmas Day, 2016. Hard to believe how far we’ve come–and how far I’ve come, because of the gifts of PPD.

 

What benefits of PPD have you discovered? Do you agree that PPD, as with all other major life experiences, offers gifts? I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings, so leave a comment, below!

 

 

 

 

 

Join the FREE “Birth Healing Summit” and listen to my interview, “The Benefits of PPD,”

along with a dozen other remarkable expert interviews on healing after baby–body, mind, and spirit.

Ends soon, so click here to join today!

Watch or listen to my interview on “Motherhood” Radio/TV with Lynn Schulte, creator of the Birth Healing Summit, here, or below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be part of my NEW book, “Mastery of Motherhood” by inviting me to come to you!

In preparation for my newest book, I am heading on tour and taking my “Motherhood” radio/TV show with me!

I’m looking for women’s and/or mom’s groups, conferences, gatherings, clubs–you name it–to invite me to speak, now through Jan 2018. In return, I ask that your group members talk with me about “Mastery of Motherhood”–about the stresses and successes of “being mom,” and what you most need from a Motherhood book, and that you record a radio episode with me, too! Everyone learns. Everyone has a great time. Everyone wins!

Learn more here, or click the icon above!

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise“ is

“…Enlightening and empowering…” ~Publisher’s Weekly

Order online at Norton.com, AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com, or visit your local bookseller today!

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
“Choose to grow” with my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

Build true self-worth, confidence, and love with “Who Am I Without You.”
Available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

Tune in to “Motherhood” Radio & TV!

New episodes weekly!

 

 

 

 

 

Register, just below, for INSTANT ACCESS to my FREE, 4-part series on “Essential Oils for Emotional Health, Hormones, Family Sleep, & Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood!” And subscribe to my “Motherhood Essentials” newsletter for tips, recipes, and how-to’s on using essential oils for your family’s health and wellness!

 

 

 

Learn more about how you can be part of my NEW “Motherhood Essentials” Leadership Team and work directly with me! Join us as I mentor and teach you how to promote family health, happiness, and wellness through the incredible benefits of essential oils. For more details, click below!

 

Take my FREE Webinar, “Intro to Women’s Emotions,” or register for my 3-part Webinar Course on “Women’s Emotions: Caring for your Brain, Hormones, and Mental Health to Overcome, Become & Flourish!’

Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for access.

rp_IMG_7423-320x290.jpg

 

 
  Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

Mommy Fails & Mother’s Day: 3 Things Every Mom Needs to Hear

Meditation for Mental Health, Personal & Spiritual Growth: The Spirit Meditation

Essential Oils 101: My Favorite Wellness Benefits for Moms, Kids, & Families

Motherhood Essentials: Empowerment for Family Health, Wellness & Finances

How to Sleep Better (part 2 of BONUS chapter)

Exercise for Mental Health: How to Get (& Stay Motivated)

Exercise as a Family to Build Stronger Relationship, Mental & Physical Health

50 Fun Ways to Exercise as a Family

Overcoming Mom Shame: #StopMomShaming Solutions (Mom.Life Q & A)

 

If you’re a mom, you’ve experienced it–unwanted advice, criticism, or shaming about your parenting, choices, or lifestyle that leaves you feeling devastated. Why are we so hard on each other? And why are we so hard on ourselves?

 

Mom.Life Mom-Shaming Survey Results

Mom-shaming is unfortunately an everyday part of today’s world, and the consequences can be heavy.

Recently, the creators of the engaging and popular Mom.Life app conducted a survey of over 225 women on the topic of mom shaming, or unwanted criticism of their choices or appearance, to understand the far reaching effects. Here’s what they found:

  • Nearly 80% percent of the women surveyed report being shamed.
  • 53% say that shaming happens frequently or is rampant.
  • The leading focus of the shaming was feeding choice, followed by parenting style.
  • Other moms are most likely to be shamers (70%).
  • Dads were the least likely to shame moms.

Why are these numbers so high? And why are moms feeling the most shamed by other moms?

 

Understanding Mom-Shaming

You would think other moms would be the most compassionate, sympathetic, and understanding. After all, don’t we all “get” how difficult motherhood and parenting can be? Aren’t we all in the thick of hectic schedules, lack of sleep, and worry that we’re just not doing as well as every other mom?

The sad truth is mom-shaming is a rampant problem, and Mom.Life has taken up the charge to do something about it–a cause I heartily support.

I recently sat down with Mom.Life co-founders, Dee Anna McPherson and Charong Chow, to discuss solutions to #StopMomShaming (the title of their campaign), and also did a Q&A in the Mom.Life app (so fun!), both of which I’m happy to be sharing with you. Listen to or watch our entire conversation in this Motherhood Radio or Motherhood TV episode, and read my take on mom-shaming solutions, below.

 

Mom Shame Q & A with Mom.Life and Dr. Christina Hibbert

A short while ago, I was a featured expert for one of Mom.Life‘s incredible live events. These events are geared toward creating a safe, supportive environment in which moms can engage, live, with one another and discuss topics important and relevant to motherhood.

The topic for the event I was part of was #StopMomShaming, and there were excellent questions by app users and incredible feedback that created an enlightening conversation. Below are some of the most helpful questions and answers from this event. My hope is it will get you thinking about mom-shaming, and how you can be part of the solution, too. (Download the Mom.Life app now to follow me and join the #StopMomShaming movement, and leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!)

 

Question 1 (Mom.Life):

What is your take on mom shaming? We recently surveyed our moms, and the results were astounding. About 80% of mom have been shamed, mostly for parenting choices? And most shamers were moms themselves. Could you shed some light into this dynamic?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

It’s awful so many are still feeling shamed on a regular basis, but unfortunately it’s not surprising to me. It’s so easy for us to get stuck in “our way” and then to beleive it’s the “best” or “only” way. This leads to intentional or unintentional shaming about choices, when in reality, it’s CRUCIAL we each do this parenting thing our own way.

No one knows your specific situation. No one knows your specific children. And no one is the expert on your family’s needs but YOU. If we could hold our tongues, see the differences in our situations and what works, and just love one another, we’d all be so much happier and feel so much more loved and supported.

 

Question 2 (Mom.Life):

Love your response and insight! Mom shaming is so hurtful. Why do you think it affects us so much, especially our self-confidence?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

It’s the worst to feel “attacked” at the heart of what matters most to you, and that’s exactly what mom shaming does. We are all just trying to figure this motherhood thing out, and as I said before, we each have our own unique situations. Since we’re all doing this without a map, we don’t KNOW 100% what we’re doing, right? Even if I have 6 kids, I still don’t know what I’m doing with every one of them, because they’re all so unique and what worked for one doesn’t work for others. This makes us vulnerable from the start. When someone criticizes in that vulnerable area, it hits extra hard. It makes us question, “Am I a terrible mother?” when really, the criticism says so much more about the person who gave it. It’s called “projection,” and the things we criticize others for are usually the things WE most need to work on. That’s why they bother us in the first place and we feel the need to criticize.

 

Question 3 (Mom.Life):

So, it’s not really about us, then? I love that. Here’s a question from a mom in the app: It seems like no matter who we are we get mom shamed, I am a young mom (20) and get mom shamed by my own mom…how do I shut this down?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

Being shamed by our own parents/in-laws is the worst, and it’s unfortunately quite common. Often it’s unintentional and just your mother’s way of tell you how “she did it”. Other times, it’s on purpose. I think this comes from insecurity, as all shaming does. If we feel that sense of self-worth, we don’t need to shame others.

Perhaps your mother just doesn’t “get” what you’re trying to do as a mom. Perhaps she is jealous of how you are as a mom. Whatever the reason, you don’t have to just sit and take it. Boundaries are a wonderful tool for this. Boundaries are rules you set up to protect yourself and your family. It’s like a fence you construct and you decide if it’s a picket fence or a tall brick wall. You decide what is and is not okay for you as a mom with others, and then you talk with them about what you’ve decided, and if they’re ok with it, then great. If not, you’ll need to be tough and keep your boundaries nonetheless. You can still love someone and have strong boundaries. In fact, it’s healthy.

Question 4 (Mom.Life):

Any tips on not allowing mom shaming to bother you to begin with?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

I think it all comes down to a strong sense of self-worth, and I’ve learned that we moms struggle with this the very most. I believe there’s a difference between self-esteem (or what we think, feel, how we behave, look, and what others think about us–the “outward” things) and self-worth (who we truly are–the inner truth). I’ve developed a “pyramid of self-worth” to help people work on building this sense of self-worth, to FEEL that self-love and KNOW they’re truly valuable and worthy.

Almost all the issues I see clients for, at their core, have to deal with self-worth, and I started to see this pattern of women especially who’d say, “I know YOU say I’m worthy, and I can tell myself that, but I don’t FEEL it.” It made me wonder, “how to you help someone feel self-worth?” That’s when I developed the pyramid of self-worth, which is made up of 1) self-awareness, 2) self-acceptance, and 3) self-love practices. I write about this in both my books “Who am I without You” and “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise,” as well as on my YouTube channel!

 

Question 5 (Mom.Life):

Here’s a great question from the community: How do you make sure you’re sharing the love when you bring another baby home? How do you make sure you’re there for your partner and also for your other children?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

I used to worry so much about this when I was pregnant with my second! I’d wonder, “How could I ever love another baby like I love my first?” But you do. And it’s amazing how your love just grows and amplifies with other children and meaningful family relationships–as a mom of 6 I can say this for sure!

What IS truly challenging is making time so everyone feels they’re getting “enough” of you. It’s important to also get some of yourself, too, so I suggest writing down your priorities–what matters most, in order of most important to least. Then, write down how much time you’re willing to give to each thing each week (including work, relationships, the house cleaning, etc). Focus on getting your top three done everyday, and you will never feel like you’re lacking. The house can be messy, especially if it means you played with your toddler and spent time with your spouse. Let go of what’s not as important in favor of what IS.

I love the saying, “Saying no to something is really saying ‘Yes’ to something better.” Write this on your wall if you need to, but remember that a little of your time and attention, especially if it’s full of love, goes a long, long way. One other suggestion for bringing another baby home: Give the older child a “gift” from the new baby. It’s a great way for big bro/sis to start feeling like and love for their new sibling!

Singing & rocking my youngest, Sydney. Though I was able to breastfeed her, I introduced a bottle early on. I knew I needed it to help me survive PPD.

Question 6 (Mom.Life):

One mom writes: I can’t help but to keep blaming myself for my weight gain. It is my fault and I feel worse because I didn’t “bounce back” like everyone else. Any advice on how I can gain my confidence back and stop blaming myself so much?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

Self-blame is a tough cycle to live in. It’s so easy to look at others and compare and think, “They are so much better than I am. I stink!” when really we don’t know their struggles, and they’re probably doing the same thing with us about something else. We compare our worst to others’ best, and that’s a vicious cycle. Our sense of self-worth is so tied up in this. If you don’t love yourself or if you can’t practice compassion with yourself–with who you are, your strengths, weakness, the “good, bad, ugly, and exceptional”– of course, you will blame yourself for every perceived “failure.”

The key is to work on building that sense of self-worth, as I mentioned above. Then, you will feel stronger and able to say, “I don’t like that I haven’t lost this weight, but I accept this is where I am right now.” Then, you have the option to change where you are, to improve. And you’ll be coming at it in such a healthier way. As far as weight loss, my newest book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise,” there’s a whole chapter on Self-worth, and I don’t even discuss setting up a fitness program until Key 7! That’s because, if we really want to set and achieve goals–like the goal to exercise or be healthy–we first need a LOT of mental preparation. We need to change how we view “success” and “failure,” we need to build our self-worth so we’ll stick with it, and we need to learn how to stay motivated. Working on these things is a great start to eventually loving all of who you are and achieving your dreams! (Join my “Exercise to Mental Health” course here!)

 

Question 7 (Mom.Life):

Here’s another good question from a mom: How can I feel less lonely as a new mom? How do I make sure I am my own person and not be known as JJ’s mommy? Is it selfish sometimes to be my own person? I don’t want to only be my son’s mommy.

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

What a great question! First, let me say this clearly: IT IS NOT SELFISH FOR YOU TO BE YOUR OWN PERSON. I see so many mothers who are empty nesters and can’t even answer what they like to do because they’ve given ALL their time and energy to their children and lost themselves along the way. Our goal as mothers is to raise children who become healthy, productive, independent adults, so we do ourselves AND them no good by not remembering who WE are. In fact, I have seen in my own life and so many others’ the power of being YOU as a mom. As we develop our own talents and gifts and share them with others, we SHOW our children how to do the same. We give them permission to “go for it!” because we’ve done so, too. I took my 11 year old daughter with me to an event where I was speaking and doing a book signing, for parents who had all lost a child. She watched me speak and helped with the book signing and at the end of the day she said, “Wow, mom. You are important. You help so many people. I’m so proud of you!” This has helped her want to do the same. We can’t be selfish if we don’t have a SELF. And trust me, as mothers, we give our children so much more when we let that self shine boldly through!

 

 

Have you ever been shamed? By whom, and about what? Do you feel mom-shaming is a problem? Why or why not? What are the solutions to #StopMomShaming?

Join the conversation below by leaving a comment!

Join my “Exercise to Mental Health” 6-week online course! Visit www.ExercisetoMentalHealth.com for information!

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise“ is here!

“…Enlightening and empowering…” ~Publisher’s Weekly

Order online at Norton.com, AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com, or visit your local bookseller today!

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
“Choose to grow” with my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

Build true self-worth, confidence, and love with “Who Am I Without You.”
Available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

Register, just below, for INSTANT ACCESS to my FREE, 4-part series on “Essential Oils for Emotional Health, Hormones, Family Sleep, & Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood!” And subscribe to my “Motherhood Essentials” newsletter for tips, recipes, and how-to’s on using essential oils for your family’s health and wellness!

 

 

 

Learn more about how you can be part of my NEW “Motherhood Essentials” Leadership Team and work directly with me! Join us as I mentor and teach you how to promote family health, happiness, and wellness through the incredible benefits of essential oils. For more details, click below!

 

Take my FREE Webinar, “Intro to Women’s Emotions,” or register for my 3-part Webinar Course on “Women’s Emotions: Caring for your Brain, Hormones, and Mental Health to Overcome, Become & Flourish!’

Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for details.

rp_IMG_7423-320x290.jpg

 

 
  Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

Exercise for Mental Health: How to Get (& Stay Motivated)

40 Physical & Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Get Mentally & Physically FITT: How to create an exercise program that works

Exercise as a Family to Build Stronger Relationship, Mental & Physical Health

50 Fun Ways to Exercise as a Family

Exercise to Improve Self-Esteem

Exercise for Mental Health: Key 1, Make it Fun!

Meditation for Mental Health, Personal & Spiritual Growth: The Spirit Meditation

Mother’s Day: The One Thing ALL Moms Need

Mother's Day-The One Thing ALL Moms Need; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

There’s a lot of talk this time of year about what to get Mom for Mother’s Day, of what we moms want, what we deserve, and what we truly desire. While all of these are undoubtedly important, I want to talk for a few minutes about what moms actually need for Mother’s Day.

 

If I asked, “What do you need right now?” the answers would vary. “A nap.” “A shower.” “To go to the bathroom without someone banging on the door!” “A couple hours just to myself.” “To get out of the house and have some fun.” “A hug.” “Encouragement.” “Support.” “Help.” “Love.” Our needs are important; as moms, I’d even say they’re crucial. When we fail to address our needs, we, and those around us (especially our children, spouses and families), suffer. We become worn out, burned out, depressed, and ill. As I often say, “It’s called a need because you need it.” (More on How to Get Your Needs Met, here.)

 

 

The One Thing ALL Moms Need

It’s one thing to be told we’re great. From familyMother's Day-The One Thing ALL Moms Need www.DrChristinaHibbert.com, friends, at church or even on TV on Mother’s Day, we hear praise for mothers. Our children’s poems, gifts, and cards tell us we’re wonderful. The question is, “Do we believe it?” Do we feel it, deep inside? Do we let ourselves feel good about the good job we’re doing as moms?

 

I’ve had many Mother’s Days when I didn’t believe this. Mother’s Days when all that praise backfired drastically, leaving me feeling lower than low, guilty for all I wasn’t doing, unable to see all I was. I believed there was no way I could ever be as good as other moms, or even as good of a mom as I wanted to be. All I could see were my faults, how I didn’t measure up. It’s easy to do–to question, resist, and twist the praise into fuel for self-doubt and self-loathing.

 

It’s a miserable place to be, and yet as a psychologist working with countless moms over the years, I know I’m not the only one who’s felt this way on Mother’s Day. It’s tragic–the one day we’re meant to be built up can put such pressure on us, we end up feeling deflated.

I love spending quality time with my kids, but I love it even more when I've had some time to myself, too. How can I ever doubt my worth as their mother when we love each other so?

I love spending quality time with my kids, but I love it even more when I’ve had some time to myself, too. How can I ever doubt my worth as their mother when we love each other so?

 

Through these experiences, I’ve learned it’s not the holiday itself or the words of others that takes what’s meant to be good and makes it something miserable. It’s something going on inside of me. It’s only when I’ve been focusing too much on my weaknesses, or in a period of anxiety or depression or postpartum depression, or intense grief, trauma or heartache; when I’ve been overcome by a wayward child or struggling with my true worth–these are the times when I couldn’t believe the kind words said. And no amount of reiterating would help. The issue needed to be resolved at a deeper level.

 

My 8 year-old daughter gave me this today. I'm believing what she says--that I'm good at loving, caring, & making them happy!

My 8 year-old daughter gave me this today. I’m believing what she says–that I’m good at loving, caring, & making them happy!

 

How can we believe we’re doing great, good, or even good enough as a mother, when we just don’t?

By focusing on building ourselves and our self-worth as moms. We can:

 

1. Identify the thoughts and feeling that hold us down, telling us we’re not good enough. We can challenge and learn to change them, and as we do, we can progress to tackling the unwanted beliefs we hold, too. (Learn how to tackle unwanted thoughts and beliefs in this post and video.)

 

2. We can let ourselves FEEL (Freely Experience Emotions with Love) what Mother's Day-The One Thing ALL Moms Need, www.DrChristinaHibbert.comcomes, so it doesn’t get all stuck inside, causing blockages to our mind, heart, and soul. (Learn how to FEEL in this post and video and in my memoir, This is How We Grow.)

 

3. We can seek Divine help and guidance, remembering the honor of being a mother, no matter how hard it is. We can remind ourselves that we are being led and cheered on by those on High. As we seek, listen, and obey the whispers, we will find a peace and joy in our role as “Mom,” knowing we are doing an important work, and that we truly are not alone.

 

4. We can actively work to build self-worth, not only for our own benefit, but so we can show our children how to do the same. (Learn how to build self-worth using my “Pyramid of Self-Worth” here and in my books Who Am I Without You and 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. Listen to How to Teach Your Daughters Self-Esteem & Self-Worth.)

 

5. Finally, we can choose, just for this moment, to believe. “You are good enough.” “You are a good mother.” “You are actually a great mother!” What if you chose to believe any or all of these things, moment by moment this Mother’s Day? How might that change you for the better? 

 

 

This Mother’s Day, Believe…

Mothers, trust me, you are doing better than you think you are. You are loving, Mother's Day--The One Thing ALL Moms Need, www.DrChristinaHibbert.comserving, getting up and trying again and again, and again. You are sacrificing, weeping, rejoicing, and seeking self-improvement through it all. If one of these things feels lacking in your life right now, guess what? It’s okay. It’s an opportunity to open yourself up and become even “better than better”–to eventually flourish!

 

Motherhood is truly the best soil for personal growth. Plant yourself. You’ll be amazed by how vast and high and far you will grow. Choose to believe it this Mother’s Day. Help other mothers believe it: You’re better than you think you are. You’re worthy, you’re remarkable, you’re doing the most important work. Let yourself feel the honor of bearing the name, “Mom.”

 

 

 

“You are good enough.” “You are a good mother.” “You are actually a great mother!” What if you chose to believe any or all of these things, moment by moment this Mother’s Day? How might that change you for the better? Share your thoughts below, by leaving a comment. 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

“Overcome, become, & flourish” with me by subscribing!

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

 

 

Listen to my latest episode of “Motherhood” radio and “choose to grow through motherhood” with me!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise“ is here!

“…Enlightening and empowering…” ~Publisher’s Weekly

Order online at Norton.com, AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com, or visit your local bookseller today!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
“Choose to grow” with my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

Build true self-worth, confidence, and love with “Who Am I Without You.”
Available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for details.

rp_IMG_7423-320x290.jpg

 

 

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

 

Take my FREE Webinar, “Intro to Women’s Emotions,” or register for my 3-part Webinar Course on “Women’s Emotions: Caring for your Brain, Hormones, and Mental Health to Overcome, Become & Flourish!’

Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

 Mother's Day-The One Thing ALL Moms Need; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram

 

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

Improve Your Self-Esteem with Exercise–Key 2 (Excerpt from “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise!”)

 Improve Self-Esteem with Exercise!--Key 2, Free Excerpt from %228 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise%22 #books #exercise #mentalhealth #selfesteem

Enjoy this Free Excerpt from my NEW book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise!

 

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

 “Most experts see self-esteem as an important aspect of mental health. I agree: self-esteem seems to underlie almost every issue for which my clients come to therapy. They say they’re there because of depression, or anxiety, or relationship problems, but at its core, the real problem is almost always a struggle with self-esteem.

 

Self-esteem can be defined as the opinion we have of ourselves, or how we Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.comfeel about ourselves. Healthy self-esteem means we have a positive outlook about ourselves, others, and life. The world calls this “high self-esteem,” and it is associated with healthier behavior, including greater independence, leadership, life adaptability, resilience to stress (Fox 2000), more sports involvement and exercise, healthier diet, less smoking, and lower suicide risk (Torres & Fernandez, ).

 

On the other hand, “low self-esteem” is correlated with the absence of wellness and is a frequent underlying aspect of depression, anxiety, low assertiveness, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal ideation, and a poor sense of personal control (Fox 2000). Low self-esteem is also associated with higher self-criticism, negative thinking, an inability to cope effectively with life, and poorer overall mental health, including a greater chance of developing clinical depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, eating disorders, stress, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses (Mann et al., 2004).

 

In fact, self-esteem is one of the strongest predictors of subjective well-being. It is an essential aspect of mental wellness and quality of life (Diener 1984). Feeling good about who, and how, we are helps us feel good about life’s situations and other people, and helps us face challenges with confidence and compassion. Healthy self-esteem is also correlated with greater physical activity, and greater physical activity is correlated with higher self-esteem (Fox 2000). It’s therefore crucial we develop healthy self-esteem if we want a rich, healthy, and happy life. As we’ll discuss below, exercise can play a valuable role in helping us achieve this.”

 

“Which Comes First—Exercise or Self-esteem?

Researchers have long been asking, “Which comes first—self-esteem or

[ File # csp2089335, License # 2226530 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / val_th

exercise?” We know there is a high correlation between those who are physically active with healthy self-esteem. Common consensus is that this relationship goes both ways. Those who already have high self-esteem are more likely to exercise and participate in sports, especially those who feel confident in their physical abilities and appearance. On the flip side, those with lower self-esteem and physical self-perceptions, including those who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, are less likely to engage in regular physical activity. However, this group has the most to gain from exercise, and research shows that regular exercise increases positive self-feelings and evaluations, meaning they feel more confident, capable, and healthy through regular exercise and activity, leading to higher overall self-esteem (Fox 2000).

 

While research can’t exactly pinpoint, it appears there are several mechanisms that lead to improved self-esteem from exercise.

First, as we already know, exercise improves mood and enhances positive self-regard. This, in turn, seems to have a positive effect on self-esteem.

Second, exercise can improve body image, satisfaction, and acceptance for some, which increases overall self-esteem.

Third, exercise leads us to feel more physically competent, which may then improve how we feel about ourselves overall.

Fourth, exercise helps us feel more in control of our appearance, health, and bodily functioning, which can increase a sense of self-efficacy.

And finally, exercise, and especially group exercise, can improve relationships and increase a sense of belonging, which is important in the development of self-esteem (Fox 2000).

 

Overall, it’s likely that each of these factors interplay to create improvements in mind, body, and self-esteem. Since exercise helps us improve our physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health, it makes sense that this would lead to a greater quality of life and improved sense of self-worth. When we stick with an exercise or fitness routine, we demonstrate motivation and dedication, both of which are associated with greater self-esteem and self-perceptions (Fox 2000). Bottom line: no matter how it works, exercise and self-esteem go hand in hand.

 

 

“Exercise, Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

Why, then, if exercise holds so many secret ingredients for our mental health and wellbeing, is it only weakly correlated with how we perceive our ourselves, especially our bodies? I have a theory. I believe this happens because too many of us still don’t feel our self-worth. Even when the outward evidence says, “You’re important! You’re valuable! You’re an amazing human being!” we don’t believe it. We believe our own “evidence” instead, evidence we’ve collected through our whole lives via true or untrue thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions of experiences. This “evidence” says, “I’m not good enough.”

 

One of the main problems with self-esteem is that it’s mostly based on external

Zion Ponderosa Women's Adventure Retreat www.ZionPonderosa.com

Zion Ponderosa Women’s Adventure Retreat www.ZionPonderosa.com

sources. Research shows that basing our worth on external sources—like appearance, academic or physical performance, or approval from others—leads to greater anger, stress, relationship and academic problems, and higher alcohol and drug use and eating disorders (Crocker 2002).

 

In contrast, those who base their worth on internal, constant sources, such as being a virtuous person or sticking to moral standards, tend to have greater success in life, including higher grades and lower likelihood of eating disorders and drug/alcohol use. In fact, students in one study who based their self-worth on outward sources, like academic performance, were found to have poorer self-esteem, even when their grades were higher than others (Crocker ). This shows the power of having a true, deep sense of self-worth versus basing our worth on self-perceptions and self-esteem.

 

Understanding self-worth is crucial in exercise for mental health success; it helps us believe we can do it, stick with it, and reach our fullest mental and physical health potential. When we feel confident, we’re not only more likely to exercise; we’re more likely to let go of the self-perceptions and beliefs that hold us back and make us feel like a “failure.” We’re more likely to overcome the roadblocks, stop unhealthy thoughts and beliefs, and stay motivated and dedicated to exercise. As psychologist Nathaniel Branden writes, “The level of our [sense of self-worth] has profound consequences for every aspect of our existence: how we operate in the workplace, how we deal with people, how high we are likely to rise, how much we are likely to achieve—and in the personal realm, with whom we are likely to fall in love, how we interact with our spouse, children, and friends, what level of personal happiness we attain” (1995, p.4-5). Yes, we need self-worth.”

~Excerpt from 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise, Key 2

 

 

Read all of “Key 2: Improve your Self-Esteem with Exercise,” in my NEW book, 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

And read more excerpts, like “How to Get (& Stay) Motivated!” and posts like “Mental Health  Through Exercise–Key 1: Make it fun!”

Learn more about building self-esteem and self-worth here.

 

How does exercise impact your sense of self-esteem and self-worth? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment, below!

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

“…Enlightening and empowering…” ~Publisher’s Weekly

Pre-Order on Norton.com and SAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT,
 or order on AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

Listen to my episode of  “Motherhood” radio, “Overcoming Roadblocks (& Excuses) to Exercise for Mental (& Physical) Health” for more tips on self-esteem and exercise!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

 

 

Improve Self-Esteem with Exercise!--Key 2, Free Excerpt from %228 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise%22 #books #exercise #mentalhealth #selfesteem

 

Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

How to Get (& Stay) Motivated: (Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise”)

Exercise for Mental Health: Key 1, Make it fun! (My “8 Keys” Book Launch at Zion Ponderosa Women’s Adventure Retreat!)

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond!

40 Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Essential Oils 101: My favorite Wellness Benefits for Moms, Kids, & Families!

New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Personal Growth & Change

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

Becoming the Butterfly: The Power of Personal Transformation

Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

Get Mentally & Physically FITT: How to create an exercise program that Works!

6 Strategies for Mind-Body Wellness & Empowerment

Personal Growth & Self-Actualization

 

 

10 Ways I “Choose to Grow” Each Day

Living a Life of Purpose & Meaning: The Key to True Happiness

Exercise for Mental Health: Key 1, Make it Fun! (My “8 Keys” book launch at Zion Ponderosa’s Women’s Adventure Retreat!)

Exercise for Mental Health-Key 1, Make it Fun! My %228 Keys%22 Book Launch at Zion Ponderosa Women's Adventure Retreat www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

When it comes to mental health, happiness, and life satisfaction, there’s one common denominator: exercise.

 

The research on exercise and mental health is clear and solid: exercise is like medicine in the treatment of mental issues and disorders. From greater creativity, insight, and spiritual connection, to higher energy, less stress, and better sleep; from calming the anxious mind to relieving the depressed spirit, exercise is key. I’ve long been an advocate of exercise for mental health, but after writing “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise,” I have a new, eye-opened appreciation for the power of physical activity in our lives.

 

Exercise for Mental Health, Happiness & Life Satisfaction!

Exercise for Mental Health at ZionPonderosa Resort!

Rock wall climbing at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

When many of us think of exercise, however, we think of pain or suffering or misery! Just the other day, while visiting my mother-in-law, I was doing my “P90X, Kenpo X” workout. When she saw me breathing heavy and sweating like crazy, she said, “This is what makes me want to run from exercise. When I see you doing that, it looks so hard, and that’s what makes me feel like I just want to go to the beach and read a book instead.”

 

Now, let me tell you, my mother-in-law is highly active. She’s a wonderful example of keeping moving, no matter your age–playing pickleball almost every morning for several hours! But to her, what I was doing didn’t look like fun at all. And even though it’s not necessarily my idea of “fun” either, it is fun for me to do different activities to keep my body adapting and changing in new and healthy ways, and that’s exactly what I was doing.

 

Hear this: You don’t have to suffer through exercise. You can, and should make it fun for you! Do what you find enjoyable. My husband golfs and plays basketball. My mother-in-law plays pickleball. My sons lift heavy weights. My daughters run on the golf course with the dog, ride bikes, and play tag. I don’t do any of these things regularly, like they do. I do what I like to do–walking, jogging, hiking, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing, bike-riding, weight-lifting, core training, and back in the day, I used to enjoy teaching step aerobics! (Yes, I was one of those up there with my leotard and tights calling out, “up, up, down, down, turn step, step kick….)

 

Times change, and so do our interests, but one thing remains the same: exercise can be, and should be fun!

 

 

Fun, Adventure, and Exercise for Mental Health: Zion Ponderosa Women’s Getaway!

Isn't this place gorgeous?! Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort.

Isn’t this place gorgeous?! Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort.

So, get this. My brand new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise” officially comes out on April 26th (unofficially, you can pre-order through Norton.com with code HIBBERT, get 25% off, free shipping, and get it now!).

 

Guess where I will be on April 26th? At an incredible women’s adventure retreat at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort! They’ve invited me, as a guest blogger, to experience this retreat with all kinds of amazing activities and natural beauty, and it just happens to be the same week as the release of my new book on exercise! Talk about meant-to-be!

 

8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise_978-0-393-71122-6 copy

Horseback riding is a great physical activity, too!

And talk about making exercise fun! For an entire week, I will be hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, zip-lining, ATV-riding, rapelling, and exploring the grandeur of Zion National Park. I will also get to go paint-balling, sand surfing in the sand dunes, swimming surrounded by the beauty of Utah, and on a helicopter tour! And the best part? I get to share it all with you through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, here on this blog, and even on my radio show, Motherhood!

 

Zion Ponderosa’s Retreat is a perfect example of making exercise fun, adventurous, and enjoyable. It’s a way to reap the mental and physical health benefits of exercise while touching nature in a grand fashion. (Just see the amazing pictures in this post!)

 

I cannot wait to get out, have some fun, and be adventurous at this getaway retreat, which has been called the “Best Active Women’s Getaway Experience.” (For more on Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, and their Women’s Getaway, click here.)

 

 

5 Ways to Make Exercise more Fun

I realize we can’t all go away on an adventure retreat. I was just lucky that they selected me to participate. And certainly, we can’t do big adventurous activities every day. But, we can apply the same idea of fun and adventure to our daily lives, and when we do so, we will reap all the incredible benefits exercise has to offer. Here are a few ways to get started today!

 

1) Pick activities that make you smile. It doesn’t have to be an exercise video, jogging, or going to the

The benefits of hiking--incredible views! Mark Wade, from Zion Ponderosa, at Observation Point.

The benefits of hiking–incredible views! Mark Wade, from Zion Ponderosa, at Observation Point.

gym. Exercise can include dancing, swimming, Zumba, playing with your kids, rollerblading, and so much more! Pick activities that get you moving while helping you have fun. Pick activities that you love!

 

2) Get outdoors! Exercising outside is not only beneficial because it gets you moving; it also gets you into the sun, which has been shown to improve mood, too. Nature is also an important element in boosting the mental health benefits of exercise.  The more you get outside to get moving, the happier you’ll feel!

 

3) Try something new. If you’re not sure what you enjoy, pick something you’ve always wanted to try and go for it. Perhaps you want to go kayaking or try paddle-boarding, or give skiing or snowboarding a try with some lessons. It’s good for us to break out of our rut by trying something new, and especially by trying something adventurous. You just might find a new favorite activity, and in the meantime, your brain and body will enjoy learning new skills.

 

4) Exercise with those you love. Friends, family, your partner–whomever you enjoy being around,

Ziplining--a new adventure at Zion Ponderosa Resort.

Ziplining–a new adventure at Zion Ponderosa Resort.

exercise with them. This not only improves your own mental and physical health; it will improve your family member’s health, and can also improve your relationships. That’s a win-win, and plus, it’s a lot more fun being adventurous and active together!

 

5) Let loose! Don’t hold yourself back for fear of looking or feeling silly. If you feel like dancing, crank up the music and dance! If you feel like riding your bike along the beach, go for it! If you want to try a new class at the gym, give it a shot! When we let go of our inhibitions, exercise becomes fun. When exercise is fun, we enjoy it, and stick with it, so much better.

 

 

 

For more on exercise and mental health, check out my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise.”  

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Pre-Order on Norton.com and SAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT,
 or order on AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

Listen to my episode of  “Motherhood” radio, “How to ‘Choose to Grow’ & Make Lasting Change,” for more tips on motivation!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

Exercise for Mental Health-Key 1, Make it fun! My %228 Keys%22 Book Launch @ Zion Ponderosa Women's Adventure Retreat www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

 

Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

How to Get (& Stay) Motivated: (Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise”)

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond!

New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Personal Growth & Change

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

Becoming the Butterfly: The Power of Personal Transformation

Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

Get Mentally & Physically FITT: How to create an exercise program that Works!

6 Strategies for Mind-Body Wellness & Empowerment

Personal Growth & Self-Actualization

Let Your Heart Desire

10 Ways I “Choose to Grow” Each Day

Living a Life of Purpose & Meaning: The Key to True Happiness

 

Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do

Anxiety & Women-Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #anxiety #women #hormones #sleepIt’s 3:30 a.m. I was simply rolling over to fall back asleep, when my brain switched on like a 100-watt light bulb, and now I’m flooded with stress, worries, and thoughts of what I “need to get done” or about “my overwhelming life,” when I thought I’d put those thoughts to bed hours ago. I know I won’t fall back asleep. Still, I try. I try belly-breathing, then progressive muscle relaxation, then letting myself think for a while, to tire me out. Then, I pray. I pray for sleep. I pray that this knot of tension inside me will leave, that the fatigue my body is feeling will overpower the thoughts that hold me hostage. Finally, at 5 a.m., I get up and begin to type. It helps to get these thoughts out of me and maybe do some good for others in the process. Finally, I sneak down to the basement and exercise; I know it’s one of the best things I can do to not only distract my mind, but to provide much-needed energy for the day and hopefully later, the ability to finally rest.

 

This is anxiety, and trust me, it’s miserable. I don’t know why I haven’t written more about it before. That’s one thought that was spinning through my mind while I wasn’t sleeping this morning—Why haven’t I written about anxiety, when it’s the predominant symptom with which I struggle? When it’s one of the most common issues for all women, for all people? (Read “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety): Overcoming the Stigma”)

 

 

Anxiety & Women

It’s not only my predominant symptom: “Anxiety disorders include phobias, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD, and separation anxiety disorder, and are considered the most commonly occurring class of mental disorders (CDC 2015)” [2].”

 

Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in women. Yes, more common than depression. Anxiety will affect one in three women throughout their lifetime [2], and often, depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Women are also twice as likely as men to develop an anxiety disorder, and symptoms tend to appear earlier in life for women [1].

 

 

What is Anxiety?

So, what, exactly, is anxiety? Clients have described it to me as, “I’m on edge all the time.” “My mind won’t shut off.” “I can’t stop thinking about everything I need to do” or “worrying about everything that could Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What you Can Do; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comhappen.” “I can’t relax;” “I’m on edge all the time.” Or, I described it, above, “I can’t sleep even though I’m exhausted: My mind is holding me prisoner.”

 

Anxiety is, first and foremost, a feeling. We need anxiety to warn us of danger or to make us to take action when something needs to get done. If something is wrong and we feel worried, stressed, or afraid, anxiety helps set off the sympathetic nervous system, raising our heart rate and blood pressure and setting off stress hormones, like cortisol, in the brain, preparing us for action, telling us, “You need to do something about this!” When we take action, or when we are able to relieve the stressor or resolve the situation, our mind is supposed to shut off, our parasympathetic nervous system returning our body to a calmer state, heart rate slowing to normal, stress hormones subsiding.

 

What is an “Anxiety Disorder?”

Chronic anxiety, like an anxiety disorder, however, comes from an overactive stress response. Instead of resuming a calmer state once the threat has been overcome, the parasympathetic nervous system doesn’t kick in for those with an anxiety disorder. Instead, the mind stays on, keeping the body on high alert, even when there is no actual present threat. This keeps cortisol coursing through the body, blood pressure high, and heart rate working over time. This, understandably, makes it very difficult to relax, for the brain to shut off, to sleep. In turn, poor sleep and little relaxation contribute to anxiety and depression, among other things, and the cycle continues. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

 

Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are several forms of anxiety disorder, including: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (intense, pervasive anxiety), Panic Disorder (including panic attacks), Specific Phobias (or extreme fears), Social Phobia (or fear of social situations), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD, consisting of obsessive, stress-filled thoughts and compulsions to alleviate the stress), and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD, with a traumatic trigger, followed by re-experiencing the event, like in nightmares of flashbacks, numbing/avoidance of things associated with the event, and heightened state of arousal).

 

Additionally, as mentioned above, anxiety may co-occur with major depression or other mental illnesses.

 

Anxiety & Hormones

In women, anxiety is also a common component of hormonal shifts, like those in pregnancy, postpartum, with PMS, PMDD, or in perimenopause. In fact, many women experience the most anxiety during the years leading up to menopause; and many of these women have never experienced anxiety before!

 

In pregnancy and postpartum, anxiety is common, as well, with approximately 6% of pregnant and 10% of postpartum women experiencing a perinatal anxiety disorder. Approximately 10% will experience pregnancy or postpartum panic disorder (with associated panic attacks), 3-5% will experience pregnancy or postpartum OCD, and 9% will experience postpartum PTSD, usually following a traumatic childbirth.

 

Unfortunately, thanks to society’s “myths of motherhood,” many believe it’s “normal” for moms to feel anxious or worried, so too many mothers live with unnecessary anxiety that can make life miserable. The truth is constant anxiety is not normal, and it’s important for women to recognize their symptoms so they can seek and receive treatment to overcome the anxiety and to heal.

 

 

Anxiety, Hormones & Sleep

Anxiety is often associated with insomnia or other sleep issues. Again, this is a vicious cycle, as lack of sleep continues the cortisol and adrenaline in the body that only make anxiety worse, and vice Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.comversa.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, women are much more likely report sleep issues than men, one reason being the many hormonal shifts women experience premenstrually, in pregnancy and postpartum, and during perimenopause. A few days or a week before a woman’s period starts, she may find she can’t fall asleep or, more commonly, can’t stay asleep, as I described above. As I’ve studied the link between sleep, anxiety, and hormones it’s become clear: women are much more vulnerable to sleep disturbance during times of shifting hormones, and each month those hormones shift twice! First, there’s a drop in Estrogen around day 14, or around ovulation, and then the bigger drop in Estrogen and Progesterone occurs a few days to a week before her period starts. This can make sleep feel impossible for women who are sensitive to these shifts, with terrible sleep one or more weeks every month. (For more on this, read myWomen’s Emotions blog series, parts 1, 2, and 3.)

 

What can You Do for Anxiety?

You don’t have to suffer, living with anxiety. Treatments are available and highly successful.

 

  • The “gold standard” for anxiety treatment is a combination of anti-anxiety medication (including antidepressants, which also reduce anxiety) and psychotherapy. The medication works to correct the overactive brain chemistry while therapy teaches techniques and skills for how to manage daily symptoms. Either one of these treatments on their own will likely be beneficial, as well, research shows. (More on “Antidepressant or Not?” here.)

 

 

  • Learning relaxation skills, like mindfulness, deep breathing, and meditation are also beneficial in treating anxiety. Research shows these self-help techniques allow you to train your brain and body to let go and relax. Additionally, anything that helps relieve tension and stress can help–like massage, naps, quiet time, a hot bath, reading, watching a television program (not a scary one!), or time with friends and family.

 

  • Exercise is another helpful treatmenteither alone or as an addition to these other options. The benefits of exercise are proven and extensive, and for anxiety, exercise can not only work out the tension and give the mind a way to let go; it also helps the body become tired, so you’re more likely to sleep better. Though some who struggle with anxiety find cardiovascular exercise difficult, because it may mimic the feeling of anxiety (heart rate up, shortness of breath), lifting weights, doing yoga or Pilates, or very mild walking have shown incredible benefits in rAnxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.comeducing symptoms of anxiety. (Read more about this, as well as strategies to make exercise work for you, in my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise!” [See Coupon to save 25%, below!])

 

  • Realize anxiety is not you! Then, FEEL the anxiety. One of the most helpful things I’ve learned over the years is that I am not the anxiety. It is a feeling in my body, not me. Too often, anxiety takes over like it’s running the show—the show being your life! And too often, we let it run the show. We feel like we are the anxiety. We fight feeling it because it’s so uncomfortable and we don’t know how to handle it. Or, at least, we think we don’t. One thing you can try is to sit and FEEL the anxiety. Notice where it is in your body. Breathe as you feel it and recognize it is not you. I find it helpful to imagine the anxiety is slightly in front of me as I lean my body away from it. It reminds me I am in charge of my life; my emotions are not. As we FEEL powerful emotions, like anxiety, they truly lose their power. (Read How to FEEL Powerful Emotions & watch the related 3-Minute Therapy video, here.)

 

  • Treat the sleep issues to treat the anxiety. If your sleep is severely affected by anxiety, it may be better to start by treating the sleep. Temporary sleep aids, including melatonin supplements, can help you finally get some rest, and just getting some sleep can help the anxiety begin to decrease. CBT can also help in treat the thoughts associated with sleep disturbances. Sometimes, there may be another sleep disorder, mental illness, or physical illness in play that’s causing your symptoms, so it’s always best to get a full physical evaluation first and talk to your doctor about what’s right for you. (Read Sleep Better, Cope Better: 6 Insomnia Causes & Cures, here.)

 

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is worth looking into for perimenopausal/ menopausal-related anxiety, and some women benefit from hormone therapies for perinatal anxiety disorders, PMS and PMDD. It can be tricky getting hormone therapies right, however, and many women are sensitive to hormone-based treatments, which may make symptoms worse, at least at first. It is therefore important that you work with a knowledgeable doctor about the best therapies for you. S/he can help monitor your mind and body’s response to hormone treatments as well as your progress. It may take some time to get it right, but when you find a treatment that works, it’s well worth it.

 

  • Avoid/limit caffeine and other stimulants. If it’s your routine to wake up with a heavy dose of caffeine and/or to keep it pumping throughout the day, you may need to tackle that habit first. Caffeine and other stimulants only exacerbate anxiety. If you want the anxiety to diminish, first the caffeine has to vanish.

 

 

 

You can beat Anxiety!

Bottom line: you don’t have to live with constant anxiety. Yes, it will take work. Yes, it will take time. Yes, it will take patience–with yourself, and with others. But anxiety is not a normal part of life—for women, for moms, for men, for dads, for kids, for anyone.

 

If you’re suffering from any form of anxiety, please seek help. Talk to your doctor or mental health provider and ask what treatments might be best for you. And if you’re not finding the right answers, keep searching and asking until you do.

 

Don’t let anxiety get the better of you. Start right now. Breathe. Deeply. In and out. And again–in and out. Then, repeat after me, “This anxiety is not me. If I seek help and let it in, I can, and will overcome this anxiety, one breath, one moment, one step at a time.”

 

 

Do you struggle with anxiety? What is most helpful for you in treating symptoms of anxiety? What lessons have you learned that you can share with others experiencing the same thing? Please leave a comment, below, and let us know.

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is almost here!  “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Pre-Order on Norton.com and SAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT,
 or order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

Take my FREE Webinar, “Intro to Women’s Emotions,” or register for my 3-part Webinar Course on “Women’s Emotions: Caring for your Brain, Hormones, and Mental Health to Overcome, Become & Flourish!’

Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

 

Listen to my latest episode of  “Motherhood” radio–on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe!

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

 

 

 

Anxiety & Women-Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #anxiety #women #hormones #sleep

 
 

Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 

 
 
 
 
Related Posts/Articles:

New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Personal Growth & Change

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

 

 

 

[1] Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2016). Anxiety and Women: Facts. 

[2] Hibbert, C. (2016). 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. W.W. Norton Publishing: New York, NY.

Perinatal Loss & Grief: Coping, Hoping & Healing Together (in honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day)

Perinatal Loss & Grief-Coping, Hoping & Healing Together www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #perinatalloss #grief #loss #pregnancy #postpartum #miscarriage #stillbirth #infantdeathToday is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day for families to remember the loss of their baby. Whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death, the loss of a baby is one of the most difficult experiences a mother, father, and family can go through, and today is a day when we can all reach out in support, and love, as we remember, too. Tonight, at 7 pm, millions will light a candle to remember the lost babies. Will you light a candle with us?

This post is for all remembering their babies today, and each day, for all who are grieving, healing, and finding hope again. May these words buoy you up as you seek to cope with and heal from perinatal loss. May you feel my love for you!

 

Coping with Perinatal Loss

One thing that makes perinatal loss especially difficult is the many associated losses that accompany the loss of a baby. Not only has your baby died, but you may also experience:

  • The loss of the future–dreams, hopes, and what “could have been.”
  • A loss of innocence–knowing now how painful life can really be.
  • Loss of support–from friends, family, and even partners who just don’t understand the grief you feel.
  • Loss of confidence–doubt about your body, your habits, and your ability to cope. Loss of confidence in life, in others, and even in God.

Perinatal loss often feels like a “silent” loss, like you’re grieving alone and wondering why no one is feeling this devastation, this hole in the world. You may feel you’re all alone, isolated, like no one understands your pain, like you’ll never be whole again.

 

Allow me to say the words you need to hear, and I pray you’ll believe them:

1. “You’re not alone.” Perinatal loss is, unfortunately, all too common. According to research, more than a million miscarriages occur each year in the United States alone.[1] In 2006, there were 25, 972 reported stillbirths, and 28,509 reported infant deaths.[2] This means millions of women, men, couples, and families are grieving the loss of a child each year. Though you feel isolated in your experience and your grief, reach out. There are many who understand. You’re not alone.

 

2. “You have a right to feel devastated, to feel cheated, angry, depressed, fearful, overwhelmed with The Skills of Overcoming…Depression, Anxiety, PPD, Grief, Hormones, Stress, etc., etc.; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comgrief.” You have a right to feel however you feel–it’s part of grief, and it means you loved your baby. Let yourself feel what you feel.

 

3. “Many people really don’t understand your pain, and that is a horrible truth. But, many people can, and will, understand, if you let them in.” You may feel like nobody “gets it,” like your loss is trivialized or forgotten. Unfortunately, this is common. Many people don’t understand perinatal loss, and few who haven’t been through it really “get” it.  Even couples going through it together experience perinatal loss in unique, and often completely opposite ways. This may make you feel like even your partner doesn’t understand how you feel, that even he or she isn’t grieving the loss of your child as you are. Help them understand by bringing them into your world. Talk about your grief. Explain how you feel. Keep searching until you find that someone who truly understands. (Visit MISSFoundation.org to find support groups for perinatal loss.)

 

4. “As a mother, you’re likely to experience this loss more profoundly than even your partner will, because this baby was carried by you.” You knew this baby best, and often it can feel like no one cares but you. But, they do care. It’s just that you were closest to the baby. It makes sense you would grieve the most deeply. Grief is a sign of love, and you loved your child.

 

5. Pregnancy and postpartum loss not only affects mothers; it can have a significant impact on the father/partner, the couple’s relationship, other children, and the entire family system. Loss and grief have long been considered an individual process, but couples and families who turn together in times of perinatal grief will not only heal as individuals, they will strengthen the family, too.

 

6. Each will experience the loss and grieve in his or her own unique way. Mothers can feel alone in their grief process—like they carry the weight of grief for the family. Fathers/partners may isolate into work or activities to cope with grief, making it difficult for couples to come together and work through grief as a team. Siblings or other children are often forgotten in the grief process because parents are so overcome by their own grief. Thus, families often bear the stress of grief symptoms, with family members feeling isolated or like the family is pulling apart. Yet, families who FEEL together HEAL together (This is How We Grow). (Read “Dealing with Grief,” “Siblings & Grief” and “Children & Grief”). 

Watch my episode of Motherhood Radio, “Coping, Healing & Carrying On After Perinatal Loss,” on YouTube, here

 

Grieving the Loss of a Baby

How can one find hope again after perinatal loss? The first step is to grieve your loss. Until you grieve sufficiently, it will be challenging to fully heal. And until you fully heal, it’s tough to feel the hope you desire.

Grief is part of pregnancy and postpartum loss, and can have a wide range of emotional, physical, and mental symptoms, including: sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, numbness, fatigue, tightness in chest/throat, sleep disturbance, changes in appetite, restlessness, confusion, inability to concentrate, poor memory, and even experiences like hearing or seeing the deceased.

In fact, experts estimate there are over 100 symptoms of grief. That’s why it can feel so hard. We become overwhelmed with a horde of emotions and symptoms that leave us wondering, “How do I deal with my grief?”

Perinatal grief, like that after miscarriage or stillbirth, can be even more complex and unique. It often involves a sense of biological failure and a loss of self. It can be tough to process because, as we discussed above, the loss is often minimized by others, leaving mothers, fathers, and families feeling vulnerable. Loss in pregnancy and postpartum can also be accompanied by a loss of innocence, a knowing that death and painful loss are real and do happen. This can increase anxiety, worry, and fear in mothers and their family members, and these fears often carry over into future pregnancies as well. (Read Sharon Martin, LCSW’s post, “Healing Perinatal Loss“).

 

What is a family to do in times of perinatal loss and grief, to restore hope and to heal?

1)   First, know that your loss is real. It matters. And it is real and matters for your family members, too. Even if they feel or express their sense of loss in a different way, know that it matters to each of you.

 

2)   Know that grief is the body and mind’s healthy response to perinatal loss, and grief work is necessary to move forward. You must grieve your losses, and your family members must as well. Help children, partners, and other family members understand their need to grieve and give permission for family members to talk about or work through grief openly. (Read “How do I grieve? Grief work & TEARS)

 

3)   Remember it is normal for each of us to experience and work through grief in our own way. Try to respect your family member’s methods of grieving, but also try to turn together and bridge the gaps. (Read Dealing with Grief Together, www.DrChristinaHIbbert.comGrief & the Family“)

 

4)   Grieve individually AND grieve together, when possible. Grieving individually is important to help you process and experience your own grief reactions. But turning together and grieving as a family is powerful and can protect and strengthen family relationships. Mark the loss with a memorial or creative project, talk about it, cry together, ask, “How are you feeling today” and listen. Families who can do these things will not only heal; they can and will grow stronger through perinatal loss and grief. (Read “The 5 Stages of Grief“)

 

A few more things to remember about coping with and grieving Perinatal Loss…

1)   There is no set time frame for how long grief “should” last. However, actively working on grief in the ways described above or through counseling or other methods can help grief resolve more quickly.

 

2)   Honor special anniversaries and occasions. It helps process your grief to remember the people and things you have lost. Involve family, friends, and your children. (Read “Grief & Children: What you can Do?“)

 

3) As much as possible, turn toward your partner in times of perinatal grief. As we turn toward one another, instead of away, we offer one another the opportunity to grow as a couple, to heal, and to move on, together.

 

4)   Involve other adults if you feel unable to cope with parenting while you treat your grief. It can be tough for parents to maintain their parenting role in times of grief. If it gets to be too much, ask a family member or friend to step into a “parent” role for a while. This will give you time to heal yourself while insuring your other children are not left to cope alone.

 

5)   Seek grief counseling and support. Working with a grief counselor or perinatal loss support group can be incredibly powerful. It helps to have someone to guide you through and to remember you are not alone. (Visit MISS Foundation for info on support and counseling.)

 

 

Healing from Perinatal Loss & Finding Hope Again

Through grief work, turning toward one another, and relying upon family, friends, and other supports in your time of need, you can, and will heal from this loss.

This doesn’t mean you “get over it.” You never “get over” the loss of a loved one, especially a child. But you do move on. You carry on. You heal. You grow. And you begin to feel that seed of hope sprouting once more in your soul. Hope for the future, hope for seeing your little one again in that bright day, hope for Join PSI's Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop! www.DrChristinaHibbert.comfamily growth and healing, and hope that everything we go through we can also choose to “grow” through (from my memoir, “This is How We Grow).

So, today and everyday, remember your child. Honor your child. Talk about your child. And for all who wish to support a family through perinatal loss, I say the same: Remember their child. Honor their child. Talk about their child. Use the child’s name (if s/he has one). Remembering is healing. It is keeping them alive. (Read Sharon Martin, LCSW’s post, and “How to Support a Friend Grieving Pregnancy and Infant Loss“).

Today, on this Day of Remembrance, remember. Remember all the children who have been lost. Remember all the parents who have survived and are carrying on. Tonight, at 7 pm, join families around the world in lighting a candle to remember the babies who’ve been lost (more info here). Remember, today. Love, today.

 

 

Please share your memories, feelings, and thoughts about this article in the comments, below. 

 

 

Listen to “Coping, Healing, & Carrying On After Perinatal Loss,” featuring Sharon Martin, LCSW, personal and professional expert on perinatal loss, on “Motherhood” radio. Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, or visit iTunes to subscribe to the show.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss my FREE Webinar, “Introduction to Women’s Emotions: What you were Never Taught about Hormones, the Brain, & Your Mental Health.”

Click here to claim your spot, today!
Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is almost here! “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Pre-order today!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
 TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

 Perinatal Loss & Grief-Coping, Hoping & Healing Together www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #perinatalloss #grief #loss #pregnancy #postpartum #miscarriage #stillbirth #infantdeath
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (guest post from Postpartum Progress blog)

Dealing with Grief

Siblings & Grief

How do I Grieve? Grief Work & Tears

Grief & the Family

Grief & Children: What You Should Know 

5 Skills of Overcoming…Grief, PPD, Stress, etc.

Understanding & Overcoming Anger

FEEL: How to cope with Powerful Emotions

Women & Depression: 12 Facts Everyone Should Know

Postpartum Depression Treatment: What Everyone Should Know

Postpartum Depression & Men

Women’s Emotions: Part 3, The Menstrual Cycle & Mood 

Relationship Rescue

15 Proven Ways to Stress Less

12 Facts on Depression & Medication 

References 

1 Ventura SJ, Curtin SC, Abma JC, Henshaw SK. Estimated pregnancy rates and rates of pregnancy outcomes for the United States, 1990-2008. National vital statistics reports; vol 60 no 7. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.

2 MacDorman MF, Kirmeyer SE, Wilson EC. Fetal and perinatal mortality, United States, 2006. National vital statistics reports; vol 60 no 8. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.

Depression, Loss & A Grieving Husband’s Plea: “Too Short a Fairy Tale,” by Brandon Gerdes

Too Short a Fairy Tale-A grieving husband's plea www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #depression #loss #suicide #prevention #marriage

I am deeply honored today to share a very important guest post. I recently published an article here, titled, “Mental Illness, Stigma, & Suicide: Finding hope in the darkest times,” in which I shared several of my encounters with depression, loss, and suicide. In particular, I shared the life and loss of my dear friend, Naomi.

Today, I am grateful to be able to share this post by Naomi’s husband, Brandon. It’s only been a few weeks since he lost the love of his life, yet Brandon is already determined to speak up, to continue the work Naomi was so valiantly doing, to make sure others do not have to suffer as he has had to.

Please read Brandon’s story. Then, share. Help him spread his, and Naomi’s, message–in honor of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month; in honor of Naomi, and all others we have lost; in honor of all who are fighting today, whom we still have time to help heal and to keep safe…

 

**For those who may find this beautiful article triggering, please do not read this at this time. Focus on getting well. That’s what really matters–that we take our mental health seriously–that we reach out, and talk, and let help in.** 

 

 

 

“Too Short a Fairy Tale”

By Brandon Gerdes

“Naomi Knoles and I were married on November 15, 2014. We only knew each other for 3 or 4 Too Short a Fairy Tale-A Grieving Husband's Plea www.DrChristinaHibbert.com#depression #suicide #loss #mentalillnessmonths before we were engaged and I DO NOT…DO NOT regret any part of that! I did not realize it was possible to love someone so much.

 

Naomi’s history is a long one. A very long and unimaginable one. It is better for her to explain it, and she does so beautifully on her website at www.naomiknoles.com with a post called “We All Have a Story to Tell”.

 

Omi told me several times that she could not believe that someone could love her after all she’d been through, but I told her to believe it. She was loved and needed by many. We had our rough times early on in married life, but all that I can remember now are the good times.’

 

 

The Good Times

‘Like the time we got caught by security behind the store as if we were high school kids, or the simple things, like going to the movies or to sporting events. In just our 9 months, 6 days, and about 20 hours, we experienced a lot.

 

Too Short a Fairy Tale-A Grieving Husband's Plea www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #depression #suicide

From Naomi’s Facebook page…

Omi’s first time leaving the state of Arizona was when she and I took a little vacation to San Francisco. We had upgraded to first class, because this was an important experience for both of us, and as we sat next to each other, we shared glances several times before we left Phoenix. The thing I remember most is when the airplane left the ground. When we finally sped down the runway, our excitement was the same, but also different. I knew that Omi was nervous about takeoff and landing, so I looked at her, to my left. She had her head back in the seat and was looking straight ahead. She was nervous. The aircraft broke the anchor of the ground and tears were rolling down her face. My first reaction was to make sure she was physically okay, and soon after, she told me that she was happy. This was the first time in 12 plus years that she had left the state of Arizona! Her tears were tears of joy! I do not have a physical picture of that moment in time, but I will never forget that view of my teary babe.

 

My own history is also a long one, but without nearly as much turmoil as Omi. I have been battling a diagnosis of End Stage Renal Disease/failure since 1991. I have been graced by God’s healing for some years. I have been through every form of dialysis known, and I am currently awaiting my 3rd transplant. It is more of a physical battle, whereas Naomi’s battle was mental.’

 

 

The Worst Time

‘The date was August 24, 2015, just 5 days before my 40th birthday. I was at work. It was a "Too Short a Fairy Tale," by Brandon Gerdes, "A Grieving Husband's plea..." www.DrChristinaHibbert.com“normal” day. I was busy that day, so I did not get my usual chances to call or text message Naomi as often as I did some days. I did not think it was terribly unusual for her to not respond to me earlier that day. However, when she did not respond to me by the time I got ready for dialysis (I went to dialysis right from work), I was a little concerned.

 

I called my Mom, who was just getting home from work. Mom answered my call right when she was walking in the door. I asked her if Omi’s vehicle was there. “YES.” I asked if her phone was there. “YES.” I asked if the dogs were there. “YES.” That was strange; Naomi was going through some very, very rough times with her social anxiety, and she did not go out in public without me.

 

I was on the phone with my Mom when she saw Naomi slumped in the backyard. I ran out of work and could not drive fast enough! My world was turned upside down that day. I am having to learn to live without her now, and it is far harder than any of my renal problems.’

 

 

Depression & Loss

‘Omi had her tough times that added to her depression. On December 10, 2014, we were both

Image Naomi created and shared on her Facebook page...

Image Naomi created and shared on her Facebook page…

extremely elated when we were shown in an ultrasound that we were pregnant! It was a wonderful saga in our short time together. In early January 2015, we were first told that our baby boy would be plagued with Down Syndrome. It was decided after a short discussion that we would see baby boy, Tommy, through. Later, we were told we’d had a miscarriage. This was a devastating loss, and one more painful thing among other tough issues that compounded her depression.

 

Naomi wanted to take care of everyone except herself, but I want to continue to do that—to take care of her by sharing my story, our story. Omi was right—“We all have a story to tell.”’

 

 

My Plea

‘After what we have been through, after what I am going through now, I feel compelled to speak up, just like Omi did:

 

  • The important thing I can tell those of you who are struggling and suffering, and that I Brandon & Naomi; "Too Short a Fairy Tale: A grieving husband's plea www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #depression #suicide #preventiontold Omi many times, is to have patience. Have patience with whatever you are going through.

 

  • You are not the only one that has to show the patience. Your loved ones also must know they need to have patience, and they need to show it.

 

  • Another thing you absolutely must do is to talk about it. Talk about everything. My Omi did not do that with me. She felt that she did not want to burden me with her problems. She felt that I had enough problems of my own without hearing her issues also. I wanted to hear her problems, because we were husband and wife. That is what married couples do. She had other outlets, but she did not tell them enough. Please, please talk, find someone who will listen. Don’t stop until you do.

 

‘I do not want anyone to experience anything like what I am now going through. I BEG of you, all who are suffering from depression, mental illness, pain, heartache, or grief–GET HELP from somewhere!

God bless you and your families.” ~Brandon Gerdes

 

 

 

Naomi Knoles, from "A Grieving Husband's Plea...Too Short a Fairy Tale" www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

Naomi Marie Knoles Gerdes

8/9/77 – 8/24/15

“I LOVE YOU and MISS YOU BABE! You will FOREVER be LOVED and MISSED by many!”

~Brandon Gerdes

 

If you’d like to leave a message for Brandon or share your thoughts/feelings, please leave a comment, below, OR email Brandon at brandongerdes34@gmail.com.

 
 
 

**If you or someone you love needs help…**

If you’re feeling like…

  • “I’m in crisis or am experiencing difficult or sucidal thoughts”: Call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
  • “I’m looking for more information, referrals or support”: Please call the NAMI HelpLine 800-950-NAMI (6264)
  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

– See more at: https://www.nami.org/suicideawarenessmonth/hp#sthash.pv7PHdxk.dpuf

 

 

 

 

Listen to my powerful “Motherhood” radio episode, “Shedding Light (& Hope) on the Dark Side of Motherhood” to learn more about Naomi, & what we can do about this important topic.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
 TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

 

Join my new webinar course

“Women’s Emotions Across the Lifespan:

Understanding Your Brain, Hormones, & How to Care for all of YOU”

Starting in October!

Details and registration here: 

http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/products/webinars/

 

 

 

 

 

 Too Short a Fairy Tale-A grieving husband's plea www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #depression #loss #suicide #prevention #marriage
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Related Posts/Articles:

Mental Illness, Stigma & Suicide: Finding Hope in the Darkest Times

Mental Illness, Stigma, & Suicide; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com**I realize this is a tough subject to talk about, and I do speak very candidly in this article about some painful, but important, things. If you are in a vulnerable place right now and in any way feel triggered by these topics, then please do not read this at this time.**

 

I didn’t plan to be writing about death and suicide this week. I wanted to be writing about happier things, like back-to-school or fulfilling your life’s purpose (like we’re working on in my Personal Growth Group). But I’m compelled to write on this topic today,b because, once again, suicide has reared its ugly head in my life, by taking the lives of two more of those whom I loved.

A couple weeks ago, my husband’s cousin lost his life after over four decades of struggling with self-esteem, mental illness, and just plain old life. And just two days ago, a dear friend who had suffered so much and overcome so much, finally lost her battle with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

This friend, Naomi, suffered from postpartum depression and psychosis years ago, which resulted in her committing infanticide, killing her own daughter. She served ten years in prison for this–a tragedy in itself–and even knew my friend, Hope, who is serving 40 years for child abuse as a result of postpartum psychosis (read about Hope). She was finally out, had recently married, and was finally building her new life. We met just over a month ago for lunch here in Flagstaff, because she wanted to talk with me and with my dear friend, Carole, about how she could get involved with the postpartum work we’ve been doing for years here in Arizona. She had started the Phoenix Postpartum Wellness Coalition, to advocate and support other moms struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, and psychosis. She was even advocating for Hope, to get her out of prison, and will be featured in a forthcoming documentary on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. She was full of life and love, and she was a beautiful person–bright and hopeful. And she lost her life to depression. (Read Naomi’s blog, her legacy, here.)

I’ve been surrounded by death my whole life, but lately, it’s been suicide. As many of you know, last year, my close friend, Jody, took her life after silently struggling with depression and anxiety. a week after Jody died, a young man at our kids’ school took his life by jumping in front of a train. Later that week, I received word that a young client of mine who also attended our kids’ school had been planning to hand herself. She’d been “inspired” by Jody and the other young man. Her mother had luckily found her suicide notes just in time to get her admitted to the hospital. And of course, almost 8 years ago, my dearest sister, Shannon, accidentally overdosed while drunk one night, after struggling on and off with depression and alcoholism (Read about my experience in This is How We Grow.)

I’m raising children who have lost a parent to mental illness and addiction. I’m a second mom to 3 more children whose mother is no longer here because she couldn’t feel how loved she was and she couldn’t accept the help that was surrounding her; the depression was too dark. And now, I’m once again grieving the loss of two more dear lives, all because of mental illness, stigma, and the dark call of suicide.

 

How can we help those who are suffering find hope i their darkest times, and how can we find hope in these dark times after such loss?

My family with my friend's family, sending balloons to Jody in heaven to remember her one year death anniversary. We need each other.

My family with my friend’s family, sending balloons to Jody in heaven to remember her one year death anniversary. We need each other.

It’s hard to know when someone is suffering so sorely, to know that they are considering taking their life. It’s hard to tell which of those who feel like dying (which is quite common) will actually plan and complete that death. Even when we know someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts or intentions, it’s hard to know what they’re really thinking. When Jody asked me to watch her daughter the next day for her, I knew she’d been struggling with suicidal thoughts. I thought, “What if she’s trying to be alone so she can do something to herself?’ I replied to her text, “Sure, I’ll watch her. But I’m worried about you, my friend. How are you doing?” She replied, “Doing great! Don’t worry about me! xoxoxo.” I believed her when she said she would use that time to go for a jog, to take care of herself. Instead, she took her life.

It’s hard to talk about this; we’re not supposed to talk about it. We’re not supposed to say on Facebook, “My friend died today after leaving her daughter at my house, sending her husband and older boys to school and work, and then grabbing a coffee before driving to the Grand Canyon and jumping off.” No. We can’t say that. So, instead the posts say, “It is with great sorry that I inform you that so and so died last night.” No explanation of how they died. No “died of cancer” or “died in a terrible car accident.” None of that. The silence lets us know what really happened.

But the silence is also what leads to suicide. The stigma surrounding mental illness, addiction, and thoughts of wanting to die is so huge, it keeps people who most need to scream, silent. Why can’t they just scream? Why can’t they just scream, “I’m suffering! I need help! I am NOT okay!”? One word: stigma.

 

Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness & Suicide

Stigma gags us. It puts a dirty hand over our mouth, or shoves a dirty rag inside, and stops us from speaking up when we need it most. It tells us, “You can’t admit your’e struggling. That’s weak. That’s embarrassing. No one will like you. You’ll be rejected, humiliated, or worse, feared.” Stigma IS fear. It is fear of not being good enough, fear of not being “normal.” It is others’ fear of the mentally ill, fear of seeing themselves in the mental illness, fear of becoming “like them” one day, too.

The truth is, deep down, we are all the same, mental illness or not. We all struggle in some way or another–it’s no secret! We are ALL ill, in some way, at some time of our life. Physical illness isn’t you. Mental illness isn’t you, either, and it’s not weakness. It’s like diabetes, migraines, cancer–an illness that can come and cause trouble or stress, an illness that needs attention, treatment, and care to overcome. It’s an illness, like physical illness (and maybe even more so), that needs love to overcome.

 

What can we do? Understand. Talk. Love.

Before we can stop the stigma, before we can begin to heal from mental illness and the pain of loss when those we love can hold on no longer, we must first understand, talk, and love. It is our only hope.

 

Understand. Understand that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. Understand that, Mental Illness, Stigma, & Suicide- Finding Hope in the Darkest Times; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comeven so, it is very hard to admit and seek help for mental illness. Seek to understand those in your life who struggle. Listen. Hear.

Understand that it’s “normal” to feel like you don’t want to be alive when you’re suffering from mental, or physical, illness, pain, or heartache. It’s NOT, however, normal to start planning to die or to act on that feeling. If this is happening, you need immediate help (see the numbers below). Seek that help. Reach out. Help others get the help they need.

Understand that suicide often follows after the darkest days have passed, when the person is starting to feel a little bit better. Watch more closely, talk more openly during this time.

Also, understand that, often those who are set on a plan for suicide seem better, happier, more relaxed. They know what they’re going to do and it feels like the right thing in that state of mind. Be there. Look at them. Look deeply to understand.

 

Talk. Talk about mental illness. Talk about how you feel, ask others how they’re really doing, and then listen. Connect. Be there for one another and let them know it’s okay to struggle. We all do.

Talk about receiving help and help them reach out and find the help they need. Talk to them face-to-face if you have any doubts or worries. Stay with them if you’re uncertain. Oh, how I wish I’d run out to the car that night when Jody dropped her daughter off, to SEE if she was really okay or not. I know it’s not my fault that she died, but oh how I wish I would have taken that extra step. Who knows what it could have done.

 

Love. Last week, my dear cousin, Eddie, and his beautiful wife, Mary, lost their sweet angel Love Greatly, "Mental Illness, Stigma & Suicide: Finding Hope in the Darkest Times"; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comdaughter when my cousin accidentally backed over her in a parking lot. She was three years old. It has devastated our entire family and the community where they live–another reason death has been on my mind. Yet, the outpouring of love for them and their other two children has been incredible. You see, not only has this tragedy occurred, but Eddie has been battling inoperable brain cancer for three years, and beating the odds. Now this. It’s too much for any family to take. And yet, they move on in faith and love, and they reach out for help and for donations to cover the funeral and thousands of dollars of medical bills, and they accept that help. And they carry on; I know they will. (More on dealing with grief, grief and the family, and grief and children, here.) (To donate to Eddie’s family, click here.)

Why can’t we have this kind of support for all kinds of people who are suffering? For those who tragically lose a child, for those who suffer from depression, for those who are battling terrible physical illnesses, and for those who struggle to find enough value in this life to keep themselves alive. Why can’t we talk about this? Why can’t we seek to understand, to be there, to tell stigma to take a hike because we won’t allow mental illness to sit in silence any longer? Why can’t we choose to love greatly?

This is my hope–that we will begin to love greatly today. Begin to reach out, to smile, to ask, to talk, to listen. Begin to hug, to understand–to cry together, to FEEL together. Begin to expose mental illness and discuss it and seek help and let help in.

Together, we can stop the stigma that strangles us. Together, we can save lives.

 

Leave a comment with your thoughts, below, and let’s keep this conversation going.

 
 

If you or anyone you know needs help, please call one of the following numbers:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

Postpartum Support International Support Line: 800-944-4773

 

Listen to my powerful “Motherhood” radio episode, “Shedding Light (& Hope) on the Dark Side of Motherhood” to learn more about Hope, Naomi, & this important topic.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
 TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

Join me for one of my new webinar courses!

“Women’s Emotions Across the Lifespan: Hormones, The Brain, & Emotional Health”

 “Growing Through Postpartum Depression & Anxiety”

Starting in October! 

Details here: http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/products/webinars/

 

 

 

 

Mental Illness, Stigma, & Suicide; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 

 
 
 
Related Posts/Articles:

Depression & Motherhood: Facts, Help, & How to Overcome

Depression & Motherhood-Facts, Help, & How to Overcome, www.DrChristinaHibbert.comDepression affects one in five women throughout their lifetime and is especially prevalent during the childbearing years. Pregnancy, postpartum, hormone shifts, sleep depravation, and the pressure of parenting and raising children while also dealing with life changes and stress, all combine to make depression in motherhood common.

 

Motherhood & Depression

In fact, motherhood does make us more vulnerable to depression. While the lifetime rate for women and depression is about 20%, the majority of these episodes occur in the childbearing years. 10% of women experience depression in pregnancy, 15% experience postpartum depression, and if untreated, maternal depression can last for months or even years. It makes sense, doesn’t it, considering the extreme stress, lack of sleep, hormonal shifts, and life changes that occur in the mothering years?

There are various types of depression in motherhood, including major depression, which is a clinical disorder and includes symptoms like:

  • sadness, crying

    Singing & rocking my youngest, Sydney. Though I was able to breastfeed her, I introduced a bottle early on. I knew I needed it to help me survive PPD.

    Singing & rocking my youngest, Sydney. Though I was able to breastfeed her, I introduced a bottle early on. I knew I needed it to help me survive PPD.

  • fatigue
  • hopelessness
  • feeling worthless
  • changes in sleep or appetite
  • lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • guilt, frustration, and/or anxiety
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • possible suicidal thoughts

Dysthymia is a form of milder depression that persists most of every day for most days, for two years or more. Seasonal depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is also common in women of childbearing years, and is believed to be more common in women who are also vulnerable to PMS. Finally, situational depression may occur because of loss, change, or life stress. This type of depression may go away when the situation clears up, or it may persist, especially if it was never dealt with.

 

Hormones, Depression, & Motherhood

And then there are hormones. Hormone-related depression can come in the form of postpartum depression, perimenopause, and/or PMS (premenstrual syndrome). It’s estimated 85% of women experience at least one significant symptom of PMS each month, and PMS is most common and at its worst among women in their childbearing years.

Approximately 3-8% of women experience Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD. PMDD most commonly affects women who have at least one child, are in their late 20’s-early 40’s, and who have a family or personal history of depression or postpartum depression. [1] These facts just speak to the role our shifting hormones and compiling life experiences play in the development of mood changes, and especially in depression. (More on hormones and women’s emotions here.)

 

How do we know when we’re experiencing depression, versus just having a bad day or week or month or year?

People often say, “I’m depressed,” but what they really mean is that they’re sad, stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted. True depression lasts for two weeks or more, and includes symptoms like those above, like: sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings; feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt. It also significantly impacts your daily life, your relationships, and your functioning. Major depression isn’t something you just wake up and “get over.” It’s something you must work to overcome. But, remember that, with help and time and work, it IS something that can be overcome.

 

The Impact of Depression on Kids, Partners, Family

The hardest part of depression in motherhood is often the fact that we moms can’t afford to be Depression & Motherhood- Facts, Help & How to Overcome www.DrchristinaHibbert.comdepressed. We have to be “on,” 24/7; we don’t want to feel depressed, and we especially don’t want our children to suffer as a result. All this can add up to some pretty hefty guilt, and sometimes, even shame.

The truth is that untreated maternal depression does impact our children. In fact:

  • Untreated maternal depression is the number one predictor of future behavioral and cognitive problems in the child.
  • It is associated with less positive parenting practices, like smiling, reading to, and talking with children.
  • It can affect social development, since children of depressed mothers often take on the low self-esteem their mothers tend to exhibit.
  • And untreated depression can negatively impact marriage and relationships as well, often leading to depression in one’s husband or partner, or too often, to separation or divorce.

Yes, the stakes are too high, moms. We can’t afford to let ourselves remain depressed. We can no longer kid ourselves by saying, “It only affects me.” It doesn’t. And even if it did, is that what we really want? To feel miserable? To feel unworthy? To feel so low all the time?

I don’t say this to add more guilt. Trust me, as a mother who struggles with depression myself, that’s the last thing I would want to do. I say this because it’s true. Motherhood does not mean depression. We can, and will, overcome depression, if we take it seriously and seek help. We can be happy, full of hope, and joyful as we raise our children. But first, we need to be honest with ourselves and seek help. We need to take action, to let go of the guilt that holds us captive. We must trust that we can, and will, be well again.

 

Help: What can we do about Maternal Depression?

There are many ways we can treat depression, including self-help, social support, and professional help like therapy and medication. In order to know what will work best for you, it’s important to create a game plan.

In this week’s episode of my “Motherhood” radio show, I spoke with Jennifer Peterson, mom of 5, writer, and creator of the blog “The JoyFinders.”  Jen has struggled with depression and is very candid about the lessons she has learned, and I share some of my own struggles and lessons as well. Listen to the episode on demand, on WebTalkRadio.net or download it for later. Or, watch it on my YouTube channel. Then, read how to create your game plan, below.

[stream provider=youtube flv=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DaSQrCikl660 img=x:/img.youtube.com/vi/aSQrCikl660/0.jpg embed=false share=false width=640 height=360 dock=true controlbar=over bandwidth=high autostart=false responsive=16:9 /]

 

How to Overcome: Creating Your Game Plan

One thing Jen shared was how important it is for her to have a game plan, and I agree, it’s crucial. How do we create a “game plan” for dealing with depression? Here are a few ideas:

  • Be honest about where you are. Before you can be honest with others, you need to be
    I started the "I am the FACE of Depression" campaign to get people talking. It's okay to admit you struggle with depression. It doesn't define you.

    I started the “I am the FACE of Depression” campaign to get people talking. It’s okay to admit you struggle with depression. It doesn’t define you.

    honest with yourself. It’s okay to say “I’m struggling with depression.” In fact, you may find it freeing. Sort of like an exhale—it can be a relief to just be where you are. Sometimes, your body is screaming at you: “Hey! I’m not doing so well. We need to be depressed for a while and figure some things out!” Are you listening? (Read “Women & Depression” for a new view.)

 

  • Find what you need. What do you need to overcome depression? This will look a little bit different for each person, but pay attention and see what things help you feel better. Your list may include things like, “I need to talk with a friend each day, to go for a walk, and to get to bed early.” It may include, “I need to give myself a break, to say “no” more for now, and to go out with my husband at least once a week.” What do YOU need when you’re in the throes of depression? Some common items include: sleep, exercise, activity, social interaction, doing less, alone time, time to rest, serving others, quality time with kids/partner/friends, a support group, therapy, massage, medication, etc.

 

  • Seek support. We need each other, especially in times of discouragement, grief, heartache, and depression. Yet, depression can make us want to isolate. That’s one of the hardest things about it. But healing comes through seeking and finding support. Search out those people in your life who make you feel comfortable, who “get” you, who understand depression and will be there for you. Sometimes, it helps to have a friend or family member who will check up on you, who will push you out of the house or stop by to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Professional help is important, too. Therapy is a great place to start—to learn coping strategies and help solidify your game plan. If your depression is moderate to severe or if self-help and therapy don’t work, you may want to talk to your doctor about trying an antidepressant. (Read “Antidepressant? Or not? )

 

  • Schedule activity. Even one little activity each day that gets you dressed or interacting with people or out in the sunshine or out of the house can make a big difference on your mood. It’s one of the best things you can do to “treat” your depression. And getting in the sunshine is also excellent for lifting depressed mood.

 

  • Talk about it. Depression isn’t something to be ashamed of. The more we talk about it, the more we see we are not alone. I wrote about my battles with depression in this article. Jen shares her struggles in our Motherhood interview. Be honest with your family, with your partner, with your close friends. No, you don’t have to tell everyone you meet. But, explaining to those who love you most that you’re having a hard time and are working on it is very helpful. I encourage you to talk with your kids about it, too, in words they can understand. Many moms fear that telling their kids will make them afraid or worried. The truth is, they probably already know something isn’t “right,” and talking honestly with them about it can be reassuring, if it’s done right. Same goes for husbands/partners. My close friend struggled to even tell her husband she was suffering from depression and anxiety. She tried to handle it all on her own, and she eventually took her own life. Again, the stakes are too high. We can’t afford to remain silent. Talk about it. It is healing.

 

  • Write it down. Once you know your game plan, write it down. Post it somewhere you will see it often so it can remind you of what you’re aiming to do.

 

  • Follow your plan and adjust as needed.  It will take time to figure out what you need to become depression-free, just like it will take time to heal from depression. It’s okay to let yourself be where you are, to take the time you need to do it right. Make changes as you learn new elements of your plan for wellness. For instance, if winter hits and you suddenly realize how much sunshine has to do with your mood, you may make sitting in the sun each morning a part of your routine, or exercising outside a “must do.”

 

Remember:

  • Depression isn’t you.Motherhood & Depression-Facts, Help & How to Overcome, www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #depression #mentalhealth
  • It’s doesn’t make you weak, and it’s not a character flaw.
  • Depression isn’t something to feel ashamed of; it’s something to work on.
  • While it’s normal to feel guilt when you’re a mom who’s depressed, it’s also only helpful if you use that guilt to help you grow. Let it guide you toward the help and plan you need. Then, let the rest go.
  • With honesty, openness, and work, your family will not suffer as a result of your suffering. They are resilient, and so are you.
  • You are not alone. Seek support and love. Then, let it in.
  • With help, you will be well.

 

What is the hardest part of depression in motherhood for you? What helps you overcome? What does your game plan contain? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, below.

 

 

References:

[1] Premenstrual Syndrome Fact Sheet, http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.html.

[2] More facts on Postpartum Depression: http://www.postpartum.net

 

 

 

Join one of my new webinar series!

“Women’s Emotions Across the Lifespan: Hormones, The Brain, & Emotional Health”

 “Growing Through Postpartum Depression & Anxiety”

Starting in September!

Details here: http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/products/webinars/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to check out my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!

Link for this episode: Depression & Motherhood: What is it? And what can we do about it?

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
 TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

 Depression & Motherhood- Facts, Help, & How to Overcome; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

SITE DESIGN BY DESIGNER BLOGS