Mastery of Motherhood: Is it possible? Take the Survey!

 

For the past several months I’ve been visiting with groups of incredible women and mothers all over the country, discussing “Mastery of Motherhood.”

I start each workshop with a question: “Is mastery of motherhood possible? Why or why not?”

The responses I’ve received have varied widely, from “no way!” to “absolutely,” and everything in between. These mothers have had a lot to say about the idea of “mastering” motherhood, including their reservations, hopes, fears, and their personal stories (my personal favorite).

Hearing the stories of these women has empowered me in this task I’ve set before myself–to write a book about the “Mastery of Motherhood.” I have felt their gut-wrenching emotions, I have experienced their doubts and questions, my heart has warmed at their hopes and dreams, and I have delighted in their motherhood successes. Yes, hearing from moms of all ages and stages and places and all walks of life has given ME hope that, together, we can figure this “mastery of motherhood” thing out.

 

I need you!

But I can’t do it without your help. That’s one thing that’s always been abundantly clear: I need your input! I need to hear your stories, to know your thoughts and feelings; I need to share your motherhood experiences, because the more I hear and know from you, the more I find myself on what I believe is the right track to crafting a book that will speak to you, a resource that will feel helpful and beneficial to you and moms like you.

And so, here I am, writing this post to implore you to join my “Mastery of Motherhood” cause by completing my Mastery of Motherhood online survey.

It’s easy. There are only a handful of mandatory questions and you decide how much of the rest you’d like to answer. I really hope you’ll take the 10-15 minutes to sit down and share your M.O.M. experiences with me, and then pass the survey on to all the moms you know.

 

 

Here’s what I need you to do:

 

1) Take the Survey: To get started, visit www.MasteryOfMotherhood.com, scroll down for the survey link, and follow the brief instructions. Or, you can go directly to the survey by clicking here.

 

2) Share the survey image above and the www.MasteryOfMotherhood.com website on social media with all your mom friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers! Without your help, I simply can’t reach all the moms I need to reach!

 

3) Email me your personal stories, thoughts, feelings, experiences, and whatever you think I should know as I prepare this M.O.M. book (support @drchristinahibbert.com). I hope to include as many personal experiences from moms like you as possible.

 

4) Stay tuned! For email updates on the M.O.M. progress and opportunities, please subscribe, above, and include your email on the survey!

 

 

That’s all for now!

 

I am grateful to each of you for taking the time to help me with this important and exciting project. I am doing it in honor of mothers everywhere, who continually astound me with their unending ability to show up every single day and love greatly.Mothers are simply amazing! Give yourselves a hug from me!

 

Questions? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email! support@drchristinahibbert.com

 

 

 

#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!

 

 

 

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 & NobleTarget.com, or Walmart.com, or visit your local bookseller today!

 

"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!

 

 

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"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

 

 

 

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Click here for details.

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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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Who Am I – in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood? Identity, Full Circle (#PSIBlog Hop 2016)

"Who Am I" in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood?- Identity, Full Circle. www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PSIBlog Hop 2016 #ppd #pregnancy #postpartum #motherhood #identity

“Who am I, now that you are here?” It’s the title of a song I wrote about my experience with postpartum depression, after my first son was born. For me, PPD was about so much more than feeling sad or anxious or depressed. It was about who I thought I’d been, who I was now, and who I would become.

Identity is at the core of becoming a mother. It’s an essential part of this experience, from pre-conception until the end, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that our identity—as individuals, women, and mothers—will ever evolve through our mothering journey.

 

 

Pre-Motherhood Identity
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a mother. I envisioned my little "Who Am I?" Identity in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood #PSIBlog Hop 2016; www.DrchristinaHibbert.comfamily (“definitely not six kids,” I’d told my mom. Having been the oldest of 6 , I would never be up for that kind of responsibility. Never say never.). I believed I knew myself well, and I could see the kind of mother I would be. I would play with my children, making memories with smiles, showing them the world, staying home full-time and loving it. They would be my life, I would be theirs, and life would be good. How little I understood of what lay ahead–of how this vision would be tested, of how I would be tested, pushed, pulled and often shoved–pruned, uprooted, and planted again, and again.

 

Before that tiny being is laid in our arms, do we have any idea of what will be?

Loving my baby, but exhausted. This is reality.

Loving my baby, but exhausted. This is reality.

Can we comprehend how much love will flood our heart? Do we sense the tiniest hint of the pain and struggle we will endure—physically, yes, but emotionally, even more so? Are we in any way prepared for the journey for which we are unknowingly enlisting–a journey of self-doubt, self-discovery, and self-transformation like no other?

 

 

Pregnancy Identity

The joy and misery of pregnancy hint at what’s coming, but we don’t realize it, do we? All I knew was my body was changing, my sense of attractiveness lost; I had to pee far too often and slept propped on 5 strategically-placed pillows to avoid acid reflux.

With my first and second pregnancies, I had pains no doctor could explain.

When my first was born, I think I was in shock. You can see a glimpse of it by my mouth as I listen to him cry.

When my first was born, I think I was in shock. You can see a glimpse of it by my mouth as I listen to him cry.

They’d wipe me out for days. Two years later, they could finally tell me what it was–gallstones–and I finally found relief through surgery.

Near the end of my first pregnancy, I couldn’t wait for the baby to finally be out! All we can think of is how uncomfortable, exhausted, and “done” we are. Little do we know what’s just around the bend. A breach delivery should have tipped me off. He came out bottom first, and as I say, “He’s been giving me trouble ever since”—haha! But the trouble was just beginning. And so was the growth.

A growing body and soon-to-be growing family hopefully grow our mind and spirit, too. Pregnancy is the true beginning, the reality, the point of no return when we start to question who we once were, who we are becoming, and who we will be. As our baby grows inside, we hopefully grow internally, too, allowing questions as they naturally arise: “What will this baby be like?” “What will our family be like?” “What will I be like as a mother?” We hope for the best and expect it–at least, the first time. Perhaps in later pregnancies, we still hope for the best, yet we know all too well the challenges we may face once our little one is finally here.

 

 

Postpartum Identity

Identity in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood: Full Circle #PSIBlog Hop 2016 www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

With baby #2, I thought I was better, and I was. But I still ended up with postpartum depression. (My 2 year old is being a dinosaur here.)

I had four very different childbirth experiences; you’d think they’d yield four very different postpartum experiences. No such luck: postpartum depression every time.

Identity in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PSIBlog Hop 2016

Beautiful baby girl was so loved! I only wish the depression and anxiety could have stayed away.

The first time, I penned the words, “Who am I now that you are here?” and put them to music. I’d purposefully dream of my beautiful boy at night, like I used to when I was dating my husband. But I no longer felt like a “me;” instead, I was a perpetual “we.” He was colicky, and I was not sleeping. We moved in with my parents and lived for 3 months on their living room floor because I had no clue what else to do. The first time I left to the store for a pacifier, alone, I felt like I’d broken out of jail.

With my second beautiful boy, I convinced myself I was better. I knew what postpartum depression was. I had my plan and support team. I was ready. My journals betray me, however, with the words “I want to run away. Not forever. Just for a while, so I can feel like me again.”

With the third–a beautiful baby girl–postpartum anxiety was thrown in the mix, just for kicks. And the fourth? That’s a long story. I wrote an entire book about it, but the Cliff Notes version is that after inheriting our two nephews

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?

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?

when my sister and brother-in law died, giving birth three weeks later, and going from three to six kids, needless to say, this postpartum experience was so much more than depression or anxiety. It was grief and trauma and desperation to help my family heal–to be strong enough to bear it all and to do it well. This postpartum experience was giving it all I had so I could be there for my children ages 11, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 0, even though my world and identity had been ripped to shreds. I was re-building my family, but really, I was re-building myself. “I’ll never fulfill my dream of being an author or speaker. How could I? I have six children! I am not made to handle this like other mothers are.” The things I told myself! Talk about self-doubt; at times, it was more like self-loathing—a sure sign of depression, once more.

Our postpartum experiences are so varied between us, and they also vary within

On vacation, in the midst of PPD, after baby #3. I do love this pic, because I felt happy for a little while.

On vacation, in the midst of PPD, after baby #3. I do love this pic, because I felt happy for a little while.

us. Though the common denominator–a periantal mood or anxiety disorder–is there, the manifestation of that denominator is never exactly the same. As we struggle and overcome and heal and move forward, we change. We grow. We become. And we find it’s the challenges we’ve faced—like PPD—that have made us who we are becoming.

 

 

Mom of Young Children, Teens, Young Adults Identity

Currently, I’m in the midst of all three of these mothering phases. With two in

After visiting my sisters' & other family members' gravesites, at the funeral of OJ's grandfather, we tried to stay enthusiastic about life even in the midst of so much death.

After visiting my sisters’ & other family members’ gravesites, at the funeral of OJ’s grandfather, we tried to stay enthusiastic about life even in the midst of so much death.

college, two in high school, one in middle school, and one in elementary, I feel like I’m just trying to keep up most of the time. The busyness, the activities, the emotional needs, the school projects! So much to do, so little time, and still, so many opportunities for personal growth.

I have faced non-postpartum depression and anxiety. I have overcome new traumas, losses, and grief. I have experienced so many trials and lows, and yet I have experienced so many joys, and so much love. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The very things that break us down ends up being the stimulus for unfathomable new growth.

As our little ones become not-so-little anymore, our identity changes again, especially as they begin to form their own identities as teenagers and young adults. It’s a new version of postpartum–watching them individuate and leave the nest, and it can pull at our heartstrings, especially when we see them flail or fail. It’s a time of wondering, “Who am I as a mother now—especially if they don’t seem to need me like they once did?”

Questioning brings answers, however, and if we are brave enough to face those answers, we will find our role as a mother isn’t so much fading as shifting once again. The opportunity for a new identity–one of the supporter, advisor, and simply lover of our children presents itself, and we begin to see ourselves evolve as our children do the same. In doing so, we just might find a new sense of freedom we haven’t had since our journey began—knowing our children are their own beings, and we are merely here to support and love them.

 

 

Mothering Identity is Ever-evolving

As mothers, our identity is ever-changing and, if we are willing to continually

Later years are an opportunity to develop new parts of our identity--especially our marriage and relationships.

Later years are an opportunity to develop new parts of our identity–especially our marriage and relationships.

examine ourselves, will be every evolving in positive, joyful ways. Our postpartum journey continues as we become grandmothers, as we nurture our own daughters and sons through their pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting journeys, as we share the wisdom we wish we’d known, and provide the support we wish we’d had. The gift of these new postpartum experiences is that we get to watch our grandchildren grow without the responsibility of being the parent, without the self-doubt that too often accompanies our own parenting journeys. We get to re-experience life through young, fresh eyes, and hopefully, find the joy we might have missed the first time around simply because we were too busy trying to figure it all out to stop and notice.

 

 

Full circle Back to “Me.”

And so we’ve come full circle. As we grow through motherhood, purposefully

Biking along the beach in Belize, with OJ. Gorgeous!

Biking along the beach in Belize, with OJ. Gorgeous!

seeking our truest self, pushing, learning, and taking our lessons in stride, we find we come back to the beginning, at the end. That’s what full circle means to me—coming back around to myself, and feeling more “me” than I ever have before.

 

 

What have your mothering identity changes been like? What’s been challenging for you? What lessons have you learned? How have you seen your experiences come “full circle?” Please leave a comment, below, and join the conversation!

 

 

  • If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • If you are looking for pregnancyor postpartum support and local resources, please call or email us:

 

 

2016 PSI Blog Hop: Invitation: "Full Circle" www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Join the 4th annual Postpartum Support International Blog Hop! Read the guidelines here, write your “full circle” story, and then link up, below or here. Help raise awareness, support and hope, in honor of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month!

 

 

Join me at the Postpartum Support International Annual Conference, June 2016 in San Diego, where I’ll be speaking about postpartum identity, self-esteem, and tools for healing!

More information/to register, click here.

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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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!

 

 

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“Mom Mental Health” through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond!

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise-Pregnancy, Postpartum, & Beyond! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Childbearing Years Mental Health & Exercise

The years of childbearing and parenting young children can be some of the most challenging. For one, the hormonal shifts that accompany pregnancy and childbirth can throw many women into a struggle with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, like postpartum depression, and this can significantly impact her partner/spouse, children, and the entire family. Men also experience shifts in emotional functioning after a baby is born and can develop Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND).

Lack of sleep is another issue that’s common in the childbearing years, with most parents fighting off fatigue and exhaustion on a daily basis. Time is suddenly consumed with caregiving, providing for, and spending time with children and family, in addition to previous work and personal responsibilities. It’s a season of high stress and no sleep that can take its toll on a mother or father’s mental health.

 

Mom Mental Health: The Facts

To better understand the unique mental health needs of the childbearing years, let’s look at the facts:

  • Pregnancy and the first year postpartum are a particularly vulnerable time in a woman’s life. In fact, a woman is thirty times more likely to experience a psychotic episode in the days immediately following childbirth than any other time in her life. This shows just how stressful and challenging the childbearing years can be.
  • Postpartum mental health falls on a spectrum, with disorders ranging from mild to severe. On the mild end, up to 80% of women will experience some change in their emotional healthMother Holding Infant --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbisduring or after childbirth. This is most commonly referred to as “The Baby Blues,” and typically goes away without treatment. In the middle of the spectrum, we see depression and anxiety disorders. Up to 15% of women will have depression in pregnancy, and as many as one in five will experience Postpartum Depression. Approximately 6% of pregnant and 10% of postpartum women suffer from an anxiety disorder, while 3-5% experience pregnancy/postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and 1-6% experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (PSI, 2014). On the severe end of the spectrum, 1 in 1000 women will experience postpartum psychosis, a serious and potentially life-threatening mental illness that requires immediate treatment to protect both the mother and the baby.
  • If untreated, pregnancy/postpartum mental illness can become chronic. Maternal depression affects approximately 10% of mothers, after the postpartum period, each year. Only about half seek and receive treatment, and it is estimated that at least one in ten U.S. children has a depressed mother in any given year (Ertel at al, 2007). Maternal depression is one of the strongest predictors of future behavioral and cognitive problems in the developing child (Canadian Pediatric Society, 2004).
  • It’s estimated as many as 10% of fathers worldwide, and 14% in the U.S., experience Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND) (Paulson, 2010), which can also become chronic if untreated. Some estimate these numbers to be even higher, considering many do not discuss their symptoms nor reach out for help.
  • About half of men who have depressed partners are also depressed. When both parents are depressed, it can have a significant impact on parenting, bonding, and the overall development and wellbeing of the baby and other children.

 

The Benefits & Challenges of Exercise in the Childbearing Years

As you can glean from the facts above, if we want healthy children, we need healthy mothers and fathers. Considering the high risk of mental illness during the childbearing years, it’s crucial for parents to be Mom Mental Health Through Exercise; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #pregnancy #postpartum #ppd #mentalhealthprepared. Receiving education, like the statistics above, is a first step, and understanding the treatment options is a second.

Psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two, are considered the go-to treatment for maternal and paternal mental illness. Psychotherapy, it’s now shown, should be considered a first-line treatment for postpartum depression (Stuart et al, 2003), which makes sense, since it can also teach skills and new coping strategies for the stressors of parenthood. Considering the drastic effects of untreated maternal depression on the child, antidepressants are often recommended for moderate to several maternal mental illness. Research has shown that antidepressants and some other psychotropic medications are considered relatively safe for use in pregnancy and while breastfeeding (Chad et al., 2013). Yet, medication use in the childbearing years can be a tough choice for a pregnant/postpartum mother and her partner; they may fear the risk to the infant, and some mothers who do take medications, knowing it’s the right thing, still harbor terrible guilt about it.

 

Exercise as Treatment!

Exercise is a valuable preventative and treatment method for mental health in pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond.Mom Mental Health Through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum, & Beyond! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

  • Research has shown exercise can significantly elevate mood in pregnant and postpartum women and should be considered a first-line treatment option, especially since so many mothers worry about the risks of antidepressants (Daly et al., 2007).
  • It’s not only safe for moms and dads; it’s safe for babies and children, too.
  • Exercise also promotes physical and mental health in pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting, and thus it’s truly a win-win.

 

Barriers to Exercise in Motherhood

Many parents do not exercise, however, and for many reasons. Becoming a parent shifts priorities from self-focus to child-focused. While this is no doubt a good thing, many parents give up their own physical and mental fitness as a result. Some feel, with such a full life, physical activity is no longer as important as it once was.

Of course, lack of sleep can also impact motivation and ability to exercise, as well as the heavy responsibilities new parents face. Finally, having a baby or young children can make it tough for many parents to find the time and space to exercise.

 

Tips for Exercise in the Childbearing Years

It is possible to maintain a regular exercise program with babies and young children at home. With six kids of my own, trust me, I know. And the good news is that developing an exercise program now will not only benefit your physical and mental health; it will benefit your children, as well. Here are a few suggestions for how to make exercise work for you:

  • Involve your child in your exercise program. Put the baby in the sling and do squats or lunges. Place him in the bouncer and do a yoga video, making faces and interacting with him while you do. Use a stroller or sling and go for a walk. Research shows that stroller, or pram, walking is an excellent way to improve mental health with your baby.
  • Exercise during naptime. Babies typically enjoy a ride in their stroller or sling while they sleep, and you can benefit by getting out in the sun and moving your body, too.
  • Create a home exercise “studio.” This can help you cut your exercise time. During naps, head to your exercise area do a home video, lift free weights, or stretch.
  • Join a gym with babysitting included. I taught aerobics for years using the free babysitting, and my kids loved it!
  • Exercise together, as a family. Put the kids in the stroller or sling and go for a family walk at the end of a busy day. Great bonding time, and you’re modeling self-care, too.
  • Trade off. Couples can take turns watching the kids while the other exercises. My husband and I used to do this: he’d watch the kids while I went for a jog or did a Pilates video, and then he’d head to the gym to play basketball, while I stayed with the kids.
  • Involve friends. Meet at the park and take turns watching the kids while the other goes for a jog, or start a babysitting co-op, where each person takes a turn watching all the children, and rotate.
  • Little kids can workout “with” you. When my kids were very young, they used to stretch and do yoga with me, or follow along with my exercise video, or they’d ride their Big Wheel up and down the street, while I ran alongside. It’s a great way to instill in kids a love of exercise, too.

 

~Exclusive, editor-deleted excerpt from my brand new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise” Coming April 2016, and available for pre-order TODAY on Norton.com (COUPON: save 25% plus free shipping with code HIBBERT) on Amazon & Barnes & Noble! Watch for more sneak peak excerpts, coming soon!

 

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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

 

 

 

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For the first time ever, my internationally-sold DVD, Postpartum Couples, is available online for FREE!

 

I’ve seen Postpartum Couples probably a couple hundred times, and yet I still get choked up as I listen to the stories of these three couples–as they honestly share what it was like for them to go through postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, and psychosis.

 

The men especially get me choked up as they openly express their feelings about their wives and the experience of PPD, getting emotional right off the bat as they describe the challenges and how they overcame them together.

 

Postpartum Couples was actually the first video to explore both the mothers and the father’s experience of postpartum mood/anxiety disorders. It’s also the only video to discuss the impact on the couple’s relationship.

 

I’ve used Postpartum Couples in therapy, support groups, and presentations. I’ve shown it to pregnant and postpartum women, men, and couples; to mental health providers; and to doctors, nurses, and anyone working with postpartum families–to educate, illuminate, and raise awareness of the truth of postpartum depression and the hope of treatment and healing.

 

If you or someone you know might benefit from better understanding:

1) The symptoms,

2) The treatment, and

3) The prevention of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders;

4) The mother’s experience,

5) The father’s experience,

6) and how PPD may impact a couple’s relationship…

and many other important truths about postpartum depression

then, please click on this link, or on the image above or below, for more information and for INSTANT ACCESS to my Postpartum Couples DVD! And don’t forget to share this post!

 

It is my hope that, in making this video available for free online, we can increase awareness, education, and support for families and providers dealing with perinatal mood/anxiety disorders.

 

May all pregnant and postpartum moms, dads, and families feel and know:

You truly are not alone, you are not to blame, and with help, you can (and will) be well! (PSI’s Universal Motto)

 

FREE Postpartum Couples DVD! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #postpartum #depression #anxiety #ppd #motherhood

 

For immediate postpartum support, help, or referrals in your area,

please visit Postpartum Support International.

 

 

 

 

 

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Motherhood Radio Show! 

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Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Dads & Partners

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Postpartum Depression & Men: The Facts on Paternal Postnatal Depression

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Womens’ Emotions & Hormones– Series

Achieving Balance–Why You’ve Got it Wrong, & How to Get it Right

Pregnancy & Postpartum Loss, Grief, & Family Healing (Part 1)

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (Part 2)

The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety): Pregnancy & Postpartum–Caroline’s Story

The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety): Pregnancy & Postpartum--Caroline's Story; #pregnancy, #postpartum, #ppd, www.DrChristinaHibbert.comWomen are particularly vulnerable to depression and anxiety in pregnancy and postpartum. In fact, 15% of pregnant and up to 20% of postpartum women experience depression, while 6% of pregnant and 10% of postpartum women experience anxiety in the form of extreme worry, panic, PTSD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. And it doesn’t just affect moms. An estimated 14% of dads in the U.S. experience Paternal Postnatal Depression, too!

 

I have had my share of postpartum depression (PPD) and anxiety, and I know it’s a very hard thing to bear. I also know that I’m not alone in my experiences. Millions of other women (and men) have experienced PPD, too, and we must keep talking about it if we want others to know that they are not alone, if we want others to know help is available, and that, if they seek help and let it in, they will be well.

 

Caroline’s story is another example of the many faces of depression and anxiety. Hers is another face to add to this movement, and another voice to help raise awareness, reduce the stigma, and let all who suffer from (and overcome) depression and anxiety know: “You truly are not alone.”

 

Caroline’s Story…

“I am the face of anxiety and depression.

In November 2006, when I had my first child, a son, I had heard of Postnatal depression and was determined never to be struck by it, I was naive then, thinking I could control such a thing as PND.

‘Overall, my experience postpartum with my son was very positive. I made sure I kept busy and built up a good social network through going to mums and bubs sessions at the local library and joining the local breastfeeding support group and going to meetings. However, there were times when anxiety would kick in, I’d feel shaky and thoughts would rush through my head. I’d worry about dropping my precious baby down the stairs or stress about driving in the car with him. I thought about what I could do to help me feel calmer, I bought lavender and used the drops on tissues under my pillow and in my handbag and in an oil burner. I also started listening to guided meditations both before going to sleep and during the day"The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION"- #Pregnancy & #Postpartum Caroline and taking daily exercise – walking and swimming mainly. While these strategies helped, I really felt I needed to work with a counsellor, so I contacted the doctor (Dr Cate Howell) who narrated the mediation CD I was using and formed an ongoing therapeutic relationship with her and saw her as needed over the next three years.

‘When anxiety kicked in BIG time after the birth of my daughter in December 2009, I was so grateful that I already had a great doctor in Cate, I also knew that Cate didn’t reach for her prescription pad straight away as I had never taken medication for my anxiety before. My second episode of post-natal anxiety was much more intense than the first. I was having trouble sleeping (it’s torture when your baby and toddler are asleep and you can’t sleep!), I was pacing, felt shaky, had racing thoughts and couldn’t make simple decisions or complete simple tasks like packing a baby bag, something I had done hundreds of times before. I didn’t trust myself to be a safe driver as I was so shaky and sleep deprived so I gave my car keys to my husband.

‘I went to see Dr Cate as soon as I could and she was the most supportive doctor I could have wished for. Initially I was shocked, because I was much worse than last time. She said I would need to look at going on medication and she referred me to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist did prescribe medication and also referred me to an in-patient mother-baby clinic. This experience was very scary as even though ultimately it was part of my recovery, it took me on a “medication roller coaster,” as I was determined to keep breastfeeding so could only try “breastfeeding friendly” medications first, some of which caused awful side effects. In the end, I gave up breastfeeding to go onto a medication which I have been on for nearly 5 years, except for a one year break.’

 

Depression, Anxiety, & Medication

‘I tried going off my medication at one point, because I figured I was no longer “postnatal,” so couldn’t experience severe anxiety or depression. I was wrong! My psychiatrist knew that I had reduced my medication, but not that I’d gone off it completely. I was fine for a year without medication, then became unwell again in 2013, very shaky, racy thoughts mainly around being not good enough, like a big bully in my brain was how I described it later to my son. I knew I’d need to go on medication again and didn’t want to risk the “medication rollercoaster” of side effects while being home caring for kids, so I checked myself into a private clinic for treatment both medication and group therapy.

 

 

Health & Healing

‘This most recent episode, while upsetting and disruptive, was also amazingly healing, as I was able to recognise the signs of what was happening to me and seek treatment first as an in-patient and then go on to do some courses as an outpatient. Of particular interest and use was an ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy)/mindfulness course. It also helped me to realise that medication is an essential part of my treatment plan.

‘Even though we don’t choose all of what makes up the rich tapestries of our lives, we can embrace all of life with gratitude and love and be open to the lessons that it holds. For example, I carry a lot of grief over the fact that, because of how severe my post-natal anxiety was and the medication I’m on, I probably won’t have a third, fourth, fifth or sixth child. I feel anger and frustration that I can’t raise the big family that I wanted to.

‘At the same time, however, I realise that the family I do have is such a gift! I have a healthy 8 year boy and a 5 year old girl who light up my life each day, and I have my health and a lifelong commitment to and passion for growth and healing.”

~Caroline

 

 

Help the Movement!

Read & Share Stories from ‘The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION” series:

Overcoming the Stigma of Depression & Anxiety: “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety)”–My Story

Men, Illness, & Mental Health : Pernell’s Story

Motherhood, Postpartum, & Spirituality: Jami’s Story

 

 
 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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Postpartum Support International’s 2015

Third Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month

Blog Hop!

2015 PSI Blog Hop: You are not alone! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

2015 Theme:
You Are Not Alone: Focus on Support Groups and Resources

Read this post for rules, and then link up!

 

 

 
 
 

Join me & my incredible guests, each week, as we “Overcome, Become, & Flourish”
on my new radio show, “Motherhood!

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
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"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

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The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety): Pregnancy & Postpartum--Caroline's Story; #pregnancy, #postpartum, #ppd, www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
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Related Posts/Articles:

10 Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

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

Join my Free, Online “This Is How We Grow” Personal Growth Group!

“This is How We Grow:” Understanding the Seasons of Personal Growth

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Motherhood 101: 12 Realities & 12 Lessons from a Seasoned Psychologist & Mom of 6 (PSI Blog Hop 2015)

Motherhood 101: 12 Realities & 12 Lessons from a Seasoned Psychologist & Mom of 6 (#PSIBlog Hop 2015)  www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #mothersday #moms #ppd #postpartum #pregnancy #children #familyIt’s that time of year again–May, or as my friends and I call it, “May-hem!” The end of the school year, commitments galore, graduations, the summer-shift approaching, and all month long, what do we celebrate? Motherhood. How fitting! Between mother’s day, Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month (May) & day (May 7th), I’m in the mood to speak a little truth about good old motherhood!

 

I’ve been at it for over 18 years, and with six kids, now ages 7, 11, 14, 16, 18, and 18 1/2, well let’s just say, I know the reality and I’ve learned a few lessons. As a psychologist, I’ve learned some important lessons, too–the first being that we need to talk about the realities of motherhood, and that we need to open ourselves up to the lessons motherhood has to offer.

 

So, hold on tight and grab a notebook! It’s time for “Motherhood 101.”

 

(And be sure to join me for my new radio show, “Motherhood!” Starting May 18th on WebTalkRadio.net! And don’t miss my exclusive offer–FREE Postpartum Couples DVD!

 

 

MOTHERHOOD 101

Reality #1: It’s hard!

No matter what “season of motherhood” you’re in, it’s the hardest work in the world. It’s a 24/7, 365-day job, and a highly demanding one at that. Up early, no sleep, go-go-go all day long, keep going all night too, worrying yourself awake in the

Just weeks after our family went from three to six kids! Talk about motherhood being hard! Some days, I didn't think I could do it. (Read about it in "This is How We Grow.")

Just weeks after our family went from three to six kids! Talk about motherhood being hard! Some days, I didn’t think I could do it. (Read about it in “This is How We Grow.”)

early hours, exhausting yourself, giving your all. But we do it because we love our children, right? As I wrote in a song about motherhood a few years ago, “It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done, but somehow, it’s the easiest to do.”

When I ran a postpartum support group a few years ago, the moms struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety would desperately ask, “It gets easier, doesn’t it?” To which, I’d reply, “Yes… And then, it doesn’t. And then, it does…” We are happy to leave behind the sleepless nights of having an infant only to find our house is destroyed by an energetic toddler. We finally leave behind “the terrible twos” only to find the “threes” might be even more terrible as they develop greater independence. Not to mention the teen years! (I have 4 teenaged sons right now! Aye-yi-yi!). But, it’s all worth it. They grow, and hopefully, so do we.

 

Lesson #1: Recognize that it’s hard.

Even if it looks easy on TV or on a friend’s Facebook page, trust me, it’s not. You’re not alone in this crazy thing called motherhood–it’s hard for all of us, and some times are harder than others. Discover which phases and seasons of mothering are easiest and most rewarding for you and which are not, and then, give yourself a break in the harder times and recognize your strengths and put them to good use in the easier times. Oh, and hang in there! It does get easier. And then it doesn’t…

 

 

 

Reality #2: Hormones, brain chemistry, and life experiences can make it even harder.

Women’s mental health is made up of a unique blend of our hormones, brain chemistry, and life experiences. Monthly hormonal shifts, pregnancy,

Me, during my most recent hormonal quarantine, watching Project Runway and eating chocolate with the door bolted shut! Thank you, hormones!

Me, during my most recent hormonal quarantine, watching Project Runway and eating chocolate with the door bolted shut! Thank you, hormones!

postpartum, and perimenoupause can all significantly affect our coping abilities. Hormones also directly impact the neurotransmitters that make our brain feel well, and life experiences do the same. Trauma and loss change our brain chemistry and, over time, can leave us feeling depressed, anxious, or worse.

 

Lesson #2: Understand all you can about your emotional health and take care of yourself.

Learn about Women’s Emotional Health and what it means for you. Then, take care of your body and brain through good nutrition, sleep, exercise, regular health exams, emotional processing and support, and spiritual self-care.

 

 

 

Reality #3: You won’t love every moment, and you won’t feel happy all the time.

As I wrote in This is How We Grow, “I love every moment of being a mother. I even love the moments I don’t love.” Yes, if there’s one thing we can count on, it’s that we won’t love every moment. But, joy in motherhood is found in the small moments, and joyful moments are everywhere in motherhood, if you’ll open your heart and seek them out.

 

Lesson #3: Look for joy in the moments.

Happiness in motherhood is found in the small moments—in the laugh, the love, the play, the hug. As we seek out these moments we see them more clearly, we’re more present, and we soak them up. As we connect these moments we find that motherhood really is joy-filled, or it can be if we look for the joy in the moments.

 

 

 

Reality #4: During some seasons of motherhood, it may a struggle to feel happy at all.

Pregnancy or postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, and psychosis together affect one in five moms and can make it rough to feel happiness or joy; it can also crush your sense of self-worth. Maternal depression is also common and can last for years if untreated.

 

Lesson #4: It’s not “normal” or “okay” to live with depression, anxiety, or even with no self-worth, and it’s definitely not good for our families either, so SEEK HELP.

With help, you can and will be well, which is not only good for you; it’s good for your children, spouse/partner, and family, too. And if you keep working, you can be even “better than better!” Acknowledge your needs and seek help. Then, let that help in. There are fabulous support groups, counselors, doctors, and resources for pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond. Postpartum Support International is a wonderful resource, with support coordinators in every state and around the world. Your church or faith community, friends, and family are another good place to start for help, support, and referrals.

 

 

 

Reality #5: We can’t do motherhood alone.

We need each other in motherhood more than perhaps any other time. Support is crucial in motherhood—support for us, support for our children, support for our husbands/partners—we cannot survive without it. We may feel like we don’t know where to turn, or like

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

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

we don’t have anyone to rely upon, but we must prioritize building our support system.

 

Lesson #5: Build your support system.

Make a list of everyone who supports you and what they can do. Include your family, including family, friends, faith/community members/resources, support groups, online support, professional support like counselors, doctors, etc. One person might be great at helping with childcare, while another is the one you can talk to when times are tough. If you feel your support system is lacking, then start building a better one. It takes time, but support is out there if you’re patient and willing to work.

 

 

 

Reality #6: Loss is a big part of motherhood.

Whether struggles with postpartum depression or anxiety, relationship changes and challenges, wayward children, death, job/career loss, or sending them off to preschool, kindergarten, college, or beyond, motherhood carries with it a lot of loss. These losses, if not dealt with, can build up and create more trouble for our emotional and physical health over time.

 

Lesson #6: Recognize your losses, then grieve them.

Here’s how.

 

 

 

Reality #7: Motherhood is not just a “job”; it’s a calling.

I’ve long reminded myself that though I don’t really love the “job” of mothering—the late nights, early mornings,

Motherhood isn't just a "job;" it's a calling. My forever family, April 2015.

Motherhood isn’t just a “job;” it’s a calling. My forever family, April 2015.

cooking, cleaning, diaper-changing, problem-solving constant-ness of it all—I do love being a mother. Motherhood is a high and holy calling: I believe that, 100%, though it doesn’t always feel that way. It’s a forever kind of deal, so it’s important to work it out, to believe in that calling, to find our gratitude for our role as a mother.

 

Lesson #7: Motherhood really isn’t about the “job” at all; it’s about love.

The house, dinner, bathtime—that can all come or go. What matters is how we love.  What matters is how we value our role as a mother. Do we recognize the gift it truly is? Do we remind ourselves in the hardest times how grateful we really are to be called, “Mom?”

 

 

 

Reality #8: Motherhood isn’t about how our kids turn out.

So many moms I know focus on the choices their kids make as a measure of how well they’re doing as moms. I’ve been there before, too, and trust me, it’s not pleasant! The truth is, we have no real control over our children’s lives when they get to a certain point. That’s not the way it works, and really it’s what we’re striving for as we parent them over the year—independence and self-reliance.

 

Lesson #8: The “fruit” of motherhood is how we turn out. It’s about how motherhood changes us. It’s about how motherhood transforms us.

 

 

 

Reality #9: It really does fly by.

As I was dropping my oldest son off at college last fall, I hugged him, got in the car and forced myself to drive away, watching him excitedly return to his dorm in my review mirror. All I could think was, “They were right. It really does fly by. We have them for such a short time and then, they’re gone.” I bawled the entire four hour drive home! When I called my husband, he thought I was crazy, and to be truthful, so did I. But it really hit me—it goes so, so fast.

 

Lesson #9: Pay attention and be grateful now.

Years ago, when I’d have those stressed-out, frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted mothering days (and there have been plenty!), my older friends who were missing their little ones would say, “Enjoy it while you can; it goes so fast.” I knew they were right, but I couldn’t feel it in those moments when I just wanted to get through the day and crash to sleep. Then one day, I really did get it. I decided I didn’t want to miss those precious years when they were young because I was stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, or tired. And so, I made a goal to stop and stand still in the chaos. I’d briefly close my eyes and imagine my kids grown and gone and my house quiet and still. Though a luxury in the busy mothering days, I’d let myself feel how a quiet house may feel lonely when it’s permanent. I’d say a little prayer, ask for help to be grateful for this very moment, and take a snapshot of it. Then, I’d breathe deeply, smile or sometimes even chuckle to myself and just say it like it is, “Motherhood is a crazy ride!” And back to business. Truthfully, years later, the chaotic moments are some of the most memorable.

 

 

 

Reality #10: We mothers need to be a little (or a lot) kinder, more compassionate, more forgiving, and more loving toward ourselves.

We’re harder on ourselves than any other group on the planet! It’s such a shame, because I’m convinced no one works or loves harder than mothers.

 

Lesson #10: Practice self-love.

Self-love involves: 1) Self-care—take care of your physical, emotional, mental/intellectual, social and spiritual needs. It’s not selfish Motherhood 101-12 Realities & 12 Lessons from a Seasons Psychologist & Mom of 6 www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #ppd #postpartum #ThisIsHowWeGrow #books to practice self-care. In fact, it’s the only real way to be healthy and strong as a mom, and it teaches your kids to do the same. 2) Self-compassion—forgive yourself, accept your weaknesses, be gentle when you make a mistake. 3) Self-kindness—do nice things for yourself. Time alone or with friends, a bath, a nap, a walk, a “girls’ night”—whatever feeds your soul, do that. 4) Let others love you. Let your children’s love in. Let your husband’s/partner’s love in. Let your support system’s love in. Let God’s love in. Open your heart and let it receive love. Then, give and open again and again and again. (more on Self-Love here or in my new book, Who Am I Without You?)

 

 

 

Reality #11: At its core, motherhood is really about love.

That’s what it’s really all about–growing in love. Receiving love. Giving great love. Motherhood is truly all about a beautiful cycle of giving and receiving love.

 

Lesson #11: Love greatly.

When hard times hit, love. When great times are rolling, love. When you’re fearful, worried, overwhelmed, at your limit, love greatly. It is love that overcomes the pain and stress of motherhood. It’s really all about love. Again, love greatly.

 

 

 

Reality #12: Motherhood is a crazy ride.

Trust me, I know! In fact, if you google, “My Kids are Driving Me Crazy,” my blog posts come up on page 1, so it’s really no secret. But oh how exhilarating! It’s the up, and down, and spinning around, upside-down ride of your life! And it doesn’t end there. Motherhood is forever. So, learn your lessons, buckle up, and hold tight!

 

Lesson #12: Enjoy it while it’s here.

Don’t take motherhood for granted. Don’t wish away your moments or your days. Identify your challenges. Seek help. Let help in. Choose to grow through motherhood. Then, sit back, buckle up, take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride. It’s the greatest ride of your life!

 

 

What are some of your motherhood “realities” and “lessons?”

Leave a comment, below, and join the conversation!

 

 

 

 

An Invitation to YOU!

Join us for

Postpartum Support International’s 2015

Third Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month

Blog Hop!

2015 PSI Blog Hop: You are not alone! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

2015 Theme:
You Are Not Alone: Focus on Support Groups and Resources

 

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#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 Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

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

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 “Who Am I Without You is the light at the end of the tunnel!”

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Motherhood 101: 12 Realities & 12 Lessons from a Seasoned Psychologist & Mom of 6 (#PSIBlog Hop 2015)  www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #mothersday #moms #ppd #postpartum #pregnancy #children #family

 

 

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16 Things I’d Like My Postpartum Self to Know, 16 Years & 6 Kids Later (PSI Blog Hop 2013)

Motherhood Mental Health: Self-Care & Letting Help In–the 2 Most Important Things (PSI Blog Hop 2014)

Moving Beyond Shame: The Ultimate Power of Support & Time (PSI Blog Hop) 

Beyond Depression: Understanding Pregnancy/Postpartum OCD (Part 1)

Pregnancy & Postpartum Emotional Health

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Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Dads & Partners

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In Praise of Fathers: 10 Research-Based Ways Dads Impact Kids for the Better

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Womens’ Emotions & Hormones– Series

Achieving Balance–Why You’ve Got it Wrong, & How to Get it Right

Pregnancy & Postpartum Loss, Grief, & Family Healing (Part 1)

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (Part 2)

“The Many Faces of Depression”: Motherhood, Postpartum, & Spirituality–Jami’s Story

"The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION": Motherhood, Postpartum, & Spirituality--Jami's Story; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

I am pleased to continue my “Many FACEs of DEPRESSION” campaign this month with Jami’s story.

Jami is a counselor,  speaker, and mother of seven! Her story shows how depression can hit not only during hard times, but also how it may come unbidden when we most want to feel happy and well.

Jami shows us, once again, that depression can come to anyone, any time, and that it does not in any way reflect weakness on the part of the sufferer. Jami has worked very hard to overcome her depression. She shares specific strategies that have helped her, including focusing on spirituality, and how depression has impacted her spiritual connection and beliefs. Jami seeks to keep smiling, despite depression; again, as I always say, “You can’t always tell by looking.”

That’s why I’m doing this series, each month for this entire year–to keep this topic open for discussion; to keep reminding us that we’re not alone and that depression does not mean we are weak; to educate and help people understand depression more fully so we can stop the stigma that holds so many captive. I am grateful to Jami for lending her face and voice to help break down the walls, and stigma, of depression!

 

Jami’s Story

“Depression…Maybe it’s that feeling of being a caged tiger that intermittently erupts and threatens to consume you. Maybe it’s the negative, nagging thoughts of running away, disappearing, and hibernating that are nipping at your heels. Maybe it’s the subtle simmering of certain words that would usually never occur, words like death, sleeping pills, and funerals.

 

‘Maybe it’s the shroud of numbness as you sit amongst utter chaos, yet you feel nothing. Maybe it’s the veil of mental fog and utter disconnect from those you see around you but the stark realization that even in a room full of people, you feel no one. Who knows. But somehow, you’re left stumbling in slow motion through the deep dark dismal abyss of depression.

 

Depression can happen any time, to anyone…

‘Here I find myself venturing my way through the murky waters of depression once again. Painfully, depression is no stranger to me. It hit me as I battled my way out of an abusive marriage with a three month old. It choked me as I faced months of handling a screaming colicky baby. It kidnapped me while I attempted to celebrate the surprising birth of our long awaited baby girl. It swarmed me following a life threatening experience of our infant son. And now it nearly consumes me as I send my son off to college and cradle the little bundle in my arms that we hadn’t anticipated.

 

‘It has robbed me of clarity, celebration, and contentment. Some would say I should be tougher mentally or question why I, as a counselor and speaker, can’t help myself. The stark truth…Depression can happen at any time, to anyone. And that includes me.

 

Depression in Marriage, Motherhood, & Postpartum…

‘The first time I experienced depression, people could understand my struggle a bit, After all, I was leaving"The Many Faces of Depression": Motherhood, Postpartum, & Spirituality--Jami's Story www.DrChristinaHibbert.com an abusive marriage with a tiny baby, and the whole situation seemed dark and horrible. Then, about seven years later I was mothering an extremely colicky baby who had horrible reflux issues. After just a few moments in his presence most people could understand why I might be struggling. His constant crying would get anyone down!

 

‘But then two years later, we were overjoyed to be surprised by the addition of a baby girl after having three boys and being told she was expected to be a boy. Despite my pure excitement, I could feel the depression overcoming me. And no one understood! By everyone else’s measure, I should be ecstatic. And as much as I wanted to feel that, I could feel only the dark cloud of depression overtaking me. I remember vividly sitting in my living room, thinking about my funeral, and what it would be like to have others walk into my home once I was gone. I felt convinced my kids would be better off with me dead. (Read more about postpartum depression here.)

 

‘Those were long and scary days. The depression felt as though it lasted forever. Even with counseling and medication, I didn’t feel much relief. Depression hit again six years later, two months after we had our sixth child and he experienced a life-threatening incident. The fear of picking him up and having him feel near death will never leave me. I felt anxious and dreadful. I constantly relived the events and felt certain I should be able to keep anything from harming him. I lost sleep and grew into a depression with anxiety looming. Now, here I sit following the surprise addition of our seventh child (sixth son) who arrived just five short weeks after sending our oldest son off to college. Who knows if the launching of a child or hormones after the addition of another bears greater weight on the depression I feel over whelming me. The fact remains. I am once again where I have desperately tried to never be again.

 

What helps…Self-Care & Spirituality

‘As hard as the struggle is proving to be, I am at least trying to stay afloat and have found some of these things helpful.

Supplements/Essential Oils–I am taking quality supplements that are supporting my overall health and supposed to be a good tool for combatting depression. Even though they are not inexpensive, I find that I feel worse if I miss just one or two doses. I am also using some mood supporting oils. I apply them topically and diffuse them as well. I can really feel a difference and can tell when I am not using them consistently.

Sleep—I make a point to nap a little each afternoon. Sometimes that is my motivation to get through a difficult morning! I also find that it is like building a small energy reserve to finish the day. And at night, I diffuse essential oils that help support better sleep. (Read, “6 Insomnia Causes & Cures” here.)

Diet–I make sure to eat and drink well. I really hate drinking water, but adding lemon oil to my water is another method of gently flushing my system and fighting depression.

Exercise—Okay, maybe I fail here just a little, but with the busy schedule of a family with seven kiddos…I feel like I am constantly running! (Read about Exercise and Mental Health Benefits here.)

Counseling—Obviously, as a counselor I believe in the value of counseling. Even then it can be hard to take that step to trust someone and go. It really is valuable to have a place that you can leave your “junk” and return to life. (Read more about postpartum depression psychotherapy treatment here.)

Grace—More than anything, I am really trying to give myself grace for this race. My house is not as clean as I would choose. The laundry is often overtaking me. I’ve had a kid or two go to school with bedhead, and I have even gone three days with the same hair do…but THAT’S OK!

Spiritual Connection—Depression makes me feel disconnected from everyone, and honestly, that includes God. But during this time, I remind myself of the things I know to be true. He is always there. He’s got His eye on me, and He will never let me go. Thankfully, He’s a big God and He can even handle my anger and extreme emotions. (Read about The Mind-Body-Spirit Connection here.)

 

This has been my journey through depression…

‘Yes, I am a face of depression. It may come as a surprise to many, as I walked out most days feeling as though I had to choose the shallow smile and suffer in silence. How refreshing it would be to remove the stigma and be able to talk about it and get the support we so desperately need!”

~Learn more about Jami on her website, jamikirkbride.com!

 

 

 

Read and share the stories from 

“The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION” series:

Overcoming the Stigma of Depression: “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety)”–My Story

Men, Illness, & Mental Health–Pernell’s Story

more coming soon!

 

Did Jami’s story touch you in some way? Could you relate, or did you learn something? What would you like Jami to know? Please leave a comment, below, and show Jami your gratitude and support!

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
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 "The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION": Motherhood, Postpartum, & Spirituality--Jami's Story; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

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10 Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

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

Join my Free, Online “This Is How We Grow” Personal Growth Group!

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Personal Growth & Self-Actualization: What Will Your Choice Be?

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Learning Self-Love: 5 Tricks for Treating Yourself More Kindly

 

Join “The Many Faces of Depression” Movement & Stop the Stigma! Submit Your Story/ Photo!

The Many Faces of #Depression: Join the Movement & Stop the #Stigma @ www.DrChristinaHibbert.comLast week, I shared my personal struggles with depression in my post, Overcoming the Stigma of Depression: “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety).” I have been deeply touched by the outpouring of support from so many who have joined me, stating, “I, too, am the face of depression.”

 

 

Overcoming The Powerful Stigma of Mental Illness & Depression

It’s a wonderful start: getting people talking and asking about depression, and hopefully increasing understanding and support. But there’s much more to be done if we hope to one day overcome the stigma of depression.

 

Even though I’ve received dozens of messages of support from online friends and followers, I’ve only had three real-life friends/family members reach out  to me after reading my article, and two of them are really more like acquaintances than close friends. All of them have also been affected by depression, either themselves or in a close family member. They didn’t do much other than say, “I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling. How are you doing now?” Or, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Or, “I think you’re brave to have written that article. You’ve helped me be brave, too.” It helps to hear my own friends talk about it.

 

But there were only three. While I didn’t write the article to get sympathy or support from my friends and family, I was surprised by how few of them have spoken to me about it. I’m sure I shouldn’t be surprised. That’s why I wrote the article to begin with–because the stigma of depression is so strong, it silences us.

 

I’m sure most of my friends and family don’t judge or criticize me for my depression. It’s just that, unlike with other types of illness (injuries, cancer, surgery), they don’t know how to react. People don’t know what to say, so they say nothing (kind of like how people don’t know how to handle grief). They don’t know what to do, especially if they haven’t experienced depression first hand. So, again, they do nothing and hope I just “get better” so we don’t have to talk about it. They click “like” on the picture of me holding my sign, and I am grateful for that. But they say nothing.

 

This is the power of stigma, my friends.

 

 

“The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION” Movement

I am getting better, day by day, thanks to my ability to overcome the stigma of depression, seek help, and let help in. I’m feeling stronger again, thanks to the support of my husband, children, and a couple of close friends."I am the face of depression & anxiety": Overcoming the #Stigma of #Depression; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

But no matter how I’m feeling, I continue to feel the need to make sure this conversation doesn’t die. I need to keep giving depression a face and a voice, to lend it mine, to keep us talking about depression, and anxiety–for my children, for my clients, for my family, friends, and for myself.

 

Thus, I present “The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION” Movement. My hope is that you will join me. My hope is that we can give depression a face and a voice. My hope is that one day things will change and we will no longer feel the need to stay silent. We will no longer feel the need to hold depression as a shameful secret.

 

 

Submit your Story/ Photo & Help Me Stop the Stigma!

I invite anyone who has been touched by depression–either personally or in a loved one–to share your story and/or your photo, to publicly declare, “I, too, am the FACE of DEPRESSION.” After the submission deadline (see rules, below), I will then select 6 stories to publish in full on my website throughout 2015. I will also publish excerpts from other stories, along with as many photos as I receive. Together, we can show the many faces of depression. Together, we can help people face depression, to ask about it, and to understand it.

 

We can stop the stigma of depression. One face. One photo. One story at a time. We can give this illness a voice and, one day, stop the stigma.

 

The Many Faces of #Depression: Join the Movement & Stop the #Stigma @ www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Join “The Many Faces of Depression” Movement! 

Submit Your Story and/or Photo!

Submission Rules & Guidelines

  1. Written submissions:
    1. Posts must focus on the theme “I am the face of depression” and share your personal story.
    2. Length of post: 600-1000 words. Longer posts will not be considered for publication.
    3. Submissions must be received no later than January 10, January 25 2015, midnight PST.
    4. Please focus on: 1) Brief details of your experiences with depression, 2) What depression feels like for you or your loved one (symptoms), and 3) What methods of treatment have been helpful for you? 4) What have you learned from depression, or how have you grown? And what would you like others to know about it? (You can use my post as a model, though keep in mind that mine is much longer than the allotted length above.)
    5. To be considered for a full post, you must include at least one photo of you, holding an “I am the face of depression” sign. To download a sign, click here: “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION” Sign    “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety)” Sign
    6. If you do not wish to post a photo and do not wish to be considered for a full post, you may submit a short post with no photo.
    7. By entering, you agree to allow your article to be posted on my website, www.DrChristinaHibbert.com, either in full or in part, and you also agree for your photo to be posted in “The Many Faces of Depression” collection on the same website.
    8. Authors of the 6 articles that are selected to be posted in full will be notified by email prior to publication. Others will be notified that they have not been selected and will be given information about the publication dates for excerpts.
    9. Please do not include any profanity or inappropriate material. Such articles will not be considered for publication
    10. Please subscribe, below, and then share the articles and photos as they are posted!
    11. Must be at least 18 years of age to enter.
  2. Photo submissions
    1. All are invited to submit a clear photo of yourself holding an “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION” sign.
    2. You are welcome to download a sign, or to create your own. If you create your own, it must say, “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION” or “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety)” and include our web address www.DrChristinaHibbert.com in font large enough to read in the picture. To download a sign, click here: “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION” Sign   “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety)” Sign
    3. Only one photo entry per person, and entries must be received no later than January 10, January 25, 2015 midnight, PST.
    4. Please, no inappropriate attire or materials in the photos. Such will not be considered for publication.
    5. Please subscribe, below, and then share the articles and photos as they are posted!
    6. Must be at least 18 years of age to enter.

 

SUBMISSION DEADLINE for Articles and Photos:

DEADLINE EXTENDED!

Due to the holiday busyness and getting back into the new year, I’ve extended the deadline for submissions! I hope this is helpful to those of you who asked for more time. I know it’s helpful to me! 

January 10, 2015
January 25, 2015!

 

SUBMISSIONS & Questions Should Be EMAILED to:

support@drchristinahibbert.com

 

Thank you for adding your voice to mine! I look forward to seeing what we can do together! 

 

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 Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

"I am the face of depression & anxiety": Overcoming the Stigma of Depression, Dr. Christina Hibbert; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

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

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