Welcome to our updated website and new blog!!

We are so glad you are here!!

After months of planning and discussions (and endless cups of coffee!) we are delighted to announce the launch of our new blog, IMA’S BLOG.

As postpartum advocates, we understand like so few can- the pain, guilt, and shame you may be experiencing through your journey and recovery.

But we also know that with the right support and encouragement there is HOPE.
Continue reading ‘Welcome to our updated website and new blog!!’

Natural Happiness

Using Exercise & Nutrition to Help Fight depression!

 exercise 2018 4

Exercise and Depression

Want to learn more about exercise and depression? Many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.

What are the Psychological Benefits of Exercise with Depression?

Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.

exercise 2018 2

Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often is described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive energizing outlook on life. Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain.

exercise 2

 

It appears that any form of exercise can help depression. Some examples of moderate exercise include:

tennis

  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Housework, especially sweeping, mopping or vacuuming
  • Jogging at a moderate pace
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Playing tennis
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Yard work, especially mowing or raking
  • Yoga

exercise with bike 2018

Because strong social support is important for those with depression, joining a group exercise class may be beneficial. Or you can exercise with a close friend or your husband. In doing so, you will benefit from the physical activity and emotional comfort, knowing that others are supportive of you.

 

The Best Foods to Ease Anxiety:

Anxiety disorders typically require medication or psychotherapy or both- but that doesn’t mean lifestyle changes are totally out of the question. A balanced diet and a regular exercise routine might not be cures, but they can help improve overall mood and wellbeing.

Similarly, to the way certain foods have been shown to reduce stress, a number of foods and drinks may help to limit anxiety, too. Here are a few of the most well- documented:

1. Fatty Fish

fatty fish

In a small study from the Ohio State University, students given an omega-3 fatty acid supplement exhibited a 20 percent reduction in anxiety compared to students given a placebo pill. Rather than encourage the public to rush to buy supplements, however, “people should just consider increasing their omega-3 through their diet,” study co-author Martha Belury said in a statement.

***Tip- Salmon is a versatile fatty fish. All you need to do is stick a few fillets in a foil pan, sprinkle salt/pepper and olive oil and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Good warm or cold- serve as a main or in a salad.

2. Chamomile Tea

chamomile tea

Chamomile has been utilized for its natural healing properties since ancient times, but modern science is beginning to catch up. A small 2009 study found a “modest” improvement on anxiety in people with mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) treated with chamomile extract.

 

3. Eggs

hard boiled eggs

The brain needs a wide range of B vitamins to operate optimally. When we’re lacking in the B department, we may experience confusion, irritability and anxiety, among other effects, Psychology Today reported.

Make sure you’re getting enough by incorporating B-heavy foods into your diet, like beef, citrus foods, or, one of our favorites, eggs. They have the added benefit of being one of nature’s richest source of choline, a crucial B vitamin for brain health.

****Tip- Boil a pot of eggs at the beginning of the week. You’ll be able to take one a day by slicing it into a salad, layering it in a sandwich or just eating it on the go with a sprinkle of salt!

4. Probiotics

yogurt bowl

We know that our brains and our bellies communicate-how else would we explain hunger, after all-but growing research suggests the bacteria in our guts are at least somewhat involved in the conversation.

The good ones, probiotics, live in the intestines and promote healthy gastro functioning. But in a 2011 study, Irish researchers found that feeding a certain probiotic bacterium found in yogurt to mice reduced “behaviors associated with stress, anxiety and depression,”, Discover magazine reported.

The study’s author called the findings “encouraging” in a interview with NPR, but cautioned that further research is needed.

****Tip- Stock your refrigerator with yogurts- reach one as a snack or pair yogurt with a banana or berries for a refreshing breakfast!

5Green Tea

green tea

Green tea is rich in an amino acid called L-theanine, which has been reported to have calming effects in general.

In one study, taking 200 milligrams of L-theanine before a test helped anxiety-prone university students stay calm.

However, it’ll take you anywhere from five to twenty cups to get that much from tea alone, Health.com reported

***Tip- Because coffee and caffeine are a big no-no for anxiety, make the switch to tea!

 

Printed from WebMd.com

 

 

Breaking the Myth of Perfection

By: A Yad Rachel Mentor/Volunteer

 

I once attended a lecture years ago about postpartum depression. I volunteer at Yad Rachel, and this training like many others was mandatory.

The speaker, a popular social worker who specialized in treating women of child bearing years, was asked to educate us on perinatal mood disorders. After spending time giving over many scientific facts and percentages, she suddenly shared a message that was both powerful and direct. “Ladies, there is a disease that is rampant in your community that is causing untold amounts of stress and anxiety. No, not postpartum depression. It’s called the disease of perfectionism. It’s destroying women and their families, and we must fight it!” She went on to share that in her many years of practice, she has counseled women of all different ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds. ” in general, women especially mothers, can be hard on themselves. But of all the women I’ve seen, Orthodox Jewish moms have placed unrealistic expectations upon themselves that are impossible to achieve or maintain that are bringing them to a breaking point ”

perfectionism
She listed the demands we make on ourselves one by one, and we all nodded along.

Perfect Wife – We need to be supportive, encouraging, and expected to look beautiful at all times or else we feel that we are responsible for our husbands’ unhappiness.

Perfect Neighbor – We need to do untold amounts of chesed for our friends in addition be able to entertain or host at any given time or else we feel we have failed as a good community member.

Perfect Daughter – We live in enmeshed communities where we worry endlessly about our parents and extended family of origin and are responsible for their wellbeing and need to be a present and caring daughter in law or else we aren’t loving enough.

Perfect Jewish Soul- We need to attend a certain amount of Torah classes, refresher courses, read and study and learn and grow or else we feel we have disappointed   G-d.

Perfect Housekeeper -We need to maintain an optimum level of cleanliness, a constant rotation of mouthwatering gourmet nutritious meals, all with seamless order and routine or else we feel we will be labeled dysfunctional.

Perfect Breadwinner – In addition to all this, it is expected to at least have one additional job, and be best in your field, or else we feel we are labeled someone who is lazy and unmotivated.

Perfect Parent – We need to have large beautiful families, and treat each child like they are an only child, which means, seeing that all their emotional needs are met via attending yearlong parenting courses, hiring therapists and tutors, all while seeing all their physical needs are met by feeding them bathing them clothing them playing with them spending extra time with them schooling them etc. or else they might end up in the streets G-d forbid and it will be all our fault.

She added Yom tov and Shabbos. She added external pressure – obsessing over appearance and weight, beautiful clothes in the latest most modest fashions.

She added chesed- being involved in tzedakah, bike-thons, Chinese auctions, and the like.

perfectionism 2

She continued on about this insane juggling act that we do. The toll is takes on all of us. How impossible it is to do it all. How impossible it is to achieve this level of success in all these areas and how it’s called the disease of perfectionism. How it’s created a rat race where mothers are depleted and drained from all this multi-leveled constant giving and nurturing and worrying about so many things and so many others. How so many of these “perfect” women are crawling into her practice anxious, depressed, overworked and overwhelmed. Isn’t it Ironic, she observed, how these women ended up being inadequate mothers and stressed wives and needing assistance from the community since they were falling apart from taking upon themselves too much. And new in truth, if they would let go and just “be,” they would be fine.

It seems obvious now, but at the time It was eye opening for me. I never heard it put that way before. Labeled as a “disease”. Referencing it as such created a negative image which adequately depicted the insanity of it all.

Be gentle with yourself, your doing the best you can

When I think of a mother, a woman, I think of a tree. Strong, fruit bearing, reaching her branches out to provide shade to those around her. Growing higher and higher touching the heavens. If I continue this parable, I think of the expectation for the tree to grow and bear fruit. But it’s understood. By both G-d and man that for that to happen, the tree must be watered, must be exposed to sunlight, and must be pruned and treated for disease or rot.

 

fruit tree
The tree is also expected only to produce one specific fruit. No farmer expects the apple tree to suddenly give forth oranges or blueberries. No one waits each spring for the trees leaves to grow feathers or develop stripes or spots. It has one purpose. The fruit that G-d assigned it to grow. No one judges the tree for not doing more than its G-d given capability. Everyone is okay with the fact that the tree only blossoms one season a year. No one turns to G-d demanding otherwise. We must have this level of acceptance for ourselves, too…

So how do we fight the disease of perfectionism other than listening to lectures about it?
It takes time and work and a lot of self-awareness to get there. Sometimes we need to be broken and hit rock bottom before we do. Sometimes we are lucky enough to be open to these concepts before we are affected by it.
You see, we need to fully accept and realize that we too, have limitations. We are humans, not super machines. We too need to be accepting of performing less than perfect.

the strongest ppl perfectionist
How?
We need to work on loving ourselves and not judging ourselves by society’s yardstick. We need to really truly understand that children need parents to be present, not perfect. That being a role model means doing the best with what we have at that moment and not doing what others deemed acceptable.  We must put on our blinders to avoid getting distracted by the high standards that others have placed which creates the impossible demands we make on ourselves. Only then can we focus on being happy productive mindful mothers.

This is the chemotherapy of this awful soul-draining disease.
This is a huge huge undertaking. Easier said than done.

never comapre your beginning
At Yad Rachel, where I volunteer, we are helping mothers heal from this illness of perfectionism. We see time and time again how much of a trigger it is, especially post birth when we are so vulnerable and fragile.
We stop women from beating themselves up for not being perfect enough, and we teach self-love, self-care, self-acceptance. We guide our wonderful beautifully imperfect women to embrace themselves. We believe that asking for help takes so much more strength and courage than pretending to be an all-around super star. That G-d doesn’t roll out the red carpet for mothers that are martyrs. (That it’s ok to serve frozen pancakes and instant hot cereal for supper, that it’s ok to text a friend “Mazel tov” after she has a baby and not feel compelled to make a four-course supper for her family of six if you’re not up to it!) We help eliminate the fear that eats away the self-confidence of parents and help them tap into their G-d given mother’s intuition. And with our women’s Wellness initiative, we encourage mothers to nurture themselves, so they can properly nurture others.

With our commitment to spread awareness in the community and educate women about PPD and other mood disorders, we have opened up dialogues about mental and behavioral health and have helped reduce the stigma which stops so many from reaching out.

We have come so far since that lecture. We have helped heal and empower countless of women. We have a long way to go. But hey, that’s fine. We are doing amazing work and we are doing the best we can. We are far from perfect.

 

The Fifth Trimester

The “Back to Work after Baby” Blues

By: Dena Neuman

fifth trimester 2018

So, you’re going back to work after having a baby. How are you feeling? Elated? Terrified? Wracked with guilt? Are your feelings exactly the opposite of what you expected them to be?

I can see you, brand new Mommy, on the night before your first day back at work after maternity leave. Everyone else in your house is asleep, but you are not. You can’t sleep. I see you sitting at your desk, illuminated by the soft glow of the computer. You are typing Baby’s daily schedule for the babysitter, checking it over three times to make sure that you included everything in it, because how else will the babysitter know that Baby takes one short nap and then a longer one only an hour later? How will the babysitter know that he likes to be swaddled, but with one arm out, free to touch the world?

 

This article first appeared in Ami magazine. Please Click here to continue.

Lifting My Cloud of Depression

By: Tehilla Vanfossen

LiftingCloudDepression 2017

 

It runs in my family. But depression is a sneaky disease and it did its insidious work without anyone putting a name to it.

As I was growing up, no one said that my father was depressed — instead, he was ‘moody.’ My grandmother, who couldn’t pull herself together long enough to make dinner, was described as ‘eccentric.’

But clinically depressed? Not in my family, thank you very much.

By the time I reached adulthood, I was forcing my way through most days in a blur of emotional pain. Negative thoughts constantly pounded me: I was worthless — lazy and stupid — with no redeeming qualities. I didn’t expect anyone to like me — I didn’t even like myself. I never seriously considered suicide, but if I’d had a huge cosmic eraser, I would have used it on myself.

This article first appeared Aish.com . To continue reading, Click  here

 

 

Dear Yad Rachel…

I was recently perusing through one of the local newspapers and spotted an ad from Yad Rachel. You weren’t asking for donations, your weren’t hosting a dinner, and you weren’t advertising a Chinese Auction. Your ad was inviting all women who are experiencing pre or postpartum distress/depression to reach out to you for help.

The advertisement brought back a rush of memories- all the way back when I was in 8th grade. My mother had given birth to our youngest, and everyone knew there was something wrong. My mother was completely not herself, constantly crying, and was hardly talking. I didn’t understand at the time what it was that she was going through, and I thought that I could do something to help the situation. I took to cleaning the house from top to bottom, bathing and caring for my younger siblings, and acting as the mommy at bedtime. All the while waiting for that expression of thanks from my mother. None was forthcoming. This continued for weeks, and I felt like I would crack. That’s when Yad Rachel, then a fairly new organization stepped in. Someone started coming to make suppers, someone got the extended family to get involved to come and take the children on outings, and most importantly, Someone was helping MY MOTHER GET BETTER.

The whole episode took about 2-3 months at most, but while we were going through it, it felt like forever. Only many years later did it dawn on me what my family actually went through. It was a truly frightening experience. Now, as a young mother myself, b”h, I realize the tremendous chessed that Yad Rachel does and how it gives everyone involved a new lease on life.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

My Anxiety Disorder

MyAnxietyDisorder230x150-

We are not transparent. Our fears and struggles are hidden under the façade of confidence and nonchalance. An acquaintance once told me, “You’re the calmest, most relaxed person I’ve ever met!”

If she only knew! I thought to myself! I am the one who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia and fatigue, racing thoughts and heart palpitations. I am the one who clutches the little bottle of pills hidden deep inside my pocket while I struggle to breathe deeply and take it easy.

To Continue article click here.

When a Loved One Has Depression

8 tips to help you cope.

WhenALovedOneHasDepression-230x150

 

The suicide of beloved comic actor Robin Williams has again brought the topic of depression to the forefront. I cannot imagine what it feels like to have the weight of such unendurable despair that is so intense you cannot bear even staying in this world. But I know all too well what it is like to live with family members who have depression. One of my parents, a sibling, my husband, and one of my children have also suffered from this black cloud, in varying degrees, and for varying lengths of time. I have spent much of my life living with people I love with all my heart who often have trouble feeling happy or optimistic. This is in itself is very, very painful.

Depression runs in families, and seems to be especially common among Ashkenazi Jews. Maybe our difficult history somehow let it seep into our psychological DNA. Depressive episodes don’t necessarily have causes. While traumatic events can trigger depression, in many cases it is part of a person’s psychological make-up, and I was at first baffled when years ago, my daughter, who had everything going for her, including friends and success in school, suddenly descended into a black cloud, seemingly “for no reason.”

Too often I have seen “that look” on a loved one’s face: the grimly set mouth, eyes slightly hooded, shoulders slumped, the entire demeanor broadcasting the message to stay away, that she cannot cope now. I had to learn that my daughter’s or sister’s or father’s or husband’s depression was not my fault, that I didn’t do anything wrong as a child, sibling, spouse or parent to “cause” it. I have also had to learn coping skills to deal with it. Here are some of the most important lessons I have learned about living with someone who has depression.

1. Offer your love and support emphatically and consistently, especially when your loved ones are in their least lovable states. A depressed person has trouble believing in herself, no matter how much she has going for her. Hearing someone say, “I love you” and “I believe in you,” and knowing that they mean it emphatically, is hugely important. Your expressions of love will register, even if they cannot be returned at that time.

2. Get help to deal with your own stress. You need to still try to live your life to its fullest, and you have to balance all your other obligations in addition to being a caretaker of sorts for a depressed person. Confide in wise and close friends. Support groups or short-term therapy could be a good idea.

3. You cannot “convince” someone not to be depressed. Nor can you “cheerlead” her out of an episode. Accept the reality that these episodes will repeat from time to time, but that they will pass. Offer that same reassurance to your beloved family member that you know it will pass, like a wave.

4. It is not okay for someone with serious depression to refuse treatment or stay in denial. If that is the case, she has no right to expect ongoing unconditional support. The behavior and moods of a person with depression affect everyone around them, and it is their responsibility to acknowledge the problem and agree to a plan of action. It is helpful to reassure the person that there is nothing to feel guilty about if they need to take medications to stabilize moods. Just like a diabetic needs insulin, someone with significant depression will need medication on a short-term or perhaps long-term basis, as well as therapy. I have been fortunate that most of the relatives I have dealt with have recognized the need to be proactive and been willing to get help.

5. Take care of yourself and do not let the wave of depression engulf you. Just like when you are in an airplane and advised that if traveling with children, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first before putting it on your child, you need to do things that lift you up, provide you with satisfaction and joy. In fact, it is extremely important for your loved one to see that you are making self-care a priority, especially in cases where a relative, consciously or not, uses their depression as a tool to exert power over you.

6. People predisposed to depression are predisposed to it in their own individual ways. When life’s accumulated stressors or traumas line up in a certain way, the result can be anxiety, depression or even schizophrenia. Our genetic make-up is God-given, and because our make-up is so unique, it is not easy to find the right therapeutic modality right off the bat. For some people, a combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy works well; for others, dialectical-based therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, or mindfulness based stress reduction work better. This is only a short list of treatments that can help. Start with a good therapist who will be willing to offer referrals to other practitioners if he or she cannot help get results.

7. Take it one day at a time. Don’t allow worrying thoughts to pile on, imagining “what if” scenarios that have bad endings. A friend of mine gave me a little laminated card with this bit of wisdom: “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strengths.” Stay strong by pushing long-term worries away.

8. Pray. This is an opportunity to grow closer to God and to ask Him to help you. I have told God very directly, “I cannot do this without You. I need Your help.” And I have found comfort and solutions in this. One year ago, right before Rosh Hashanah, I began to pray like I never prayed before for my daughter to heal from persistent depression. And for the first time, I replied to an advertisement from an organization in Jerusalem to have someone pray for my child at the Kotel for 40 days. While I believe in prayer, I had considered these annual pray-for-something-or-someone at the Kotel pitches to mostly be about fundraising. But last year, when things looked very dark, I figured I had nothing to lose and possibly much to gain. I wrote to the organization about my very wonderful child and all her talents and potential. I sent a picture of her. I also had everyone else in our immediate family also say the special prayer that was being said for her during those 40 days. At first things got worse, but after two weeks we had a wonderful breakthrough, finding a new and different treatment that has worked better than anything else has over the course of many years. I believe that heartfelt prayer does work, and that the Almighty is the ultimate Healer.

Depression is an illness that can be pernicious and debilitating, and it takes a toll on those near and dear. But there is always hope for a better tomorrow, and with effort, teamwork, faith and patience, you and your loved one will survive those occasional black clouds and see the sun shining through again.

 

by Pearl Goldman.

http://www.aish.com/

 

Dealing with Depression

DealingWithDepression-230x150

 

There is a world of difference between clinical depression and having a bad day.

When I was a young rabbi and I first encountered someone with depression, I vividly remember thinking to myself, why can’t he just snap out of it? What does he mean when he says he sleeps most of the day and can’t concentrate on anything? We are all tired and dealing with stress. Just resolve to get out of bed and get going. I remember not being able to understand why he was so depressed. After all, by all measures, his life was pretty good. If he were to just focus on the blessings and simply choose to be positive, he wouldn’t be depressed at all.

Looking back, I am incredibly grateful that I didn’t articulate any of these sentiments to him, but nevertheless, I feel ashamed and even guilty for having being so ignorant and insensitive to what depression is all about.

We perpetrate a terrible disservice by using the exact same word to describe how we feel when our favorite team gets knocked out of the playoffs or when our cell phone breaks, and a chemical, clinical illness that can be debilitating and incapacitating. Clinical depression is not about feeling blue, or down in the dumps or terribly sad. It is a serious illness that can be the result of a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Depression is no more the fault of the person suffering with it than cancer or Alzheimer’s are the fault of someone suffering with one of those conditions. Just as the patient with cancer cannot simply will his or her cancer away and the individual with Alzheimer’s cannot simply determine to stop forgetting, the person with depression cannot just decide to not feel anxious, worthless, or exhausted. It is terribly unfortunate and unacceptable that depression remains stigmatized even today. Having a physical illness can be awkward, but should not be a source of embarrassment or guilt. Similarly, having depression, equally out of one’s control, should not be a source of shame or inadequacy.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of depression like decreased appetite, inability to sleep or excessive sleeping, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or thoughts of death, I urge you to seek support. If you recently had a baby and despite the newfound blessing you just can’t get yourself out of your rut, you may be suffering from postpartum depression. You are not the first person to experience this, and you have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a local Rabbi or Rebbetzin who will guide you to the resources and people that can help you without judgment.

Like any illness, depression requires diagnosis, intervention, and treatment. Like all illnesses it also requires the love, patience, understanding, and support of family and friends. However, for the most part, while people extend themselves remarkably to cook meals, shop for groceries, babysit children, or even just send a thoughtful text to check in on someone recovering from cancer or another physical condition, the person with depression or another mental health diseases often feels isolated, alone, neglected, and ignored.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a perfect time to educate ourselves. As we resolve to be more sensitive, please consider the following:

  • Don’t use the term “depressed” unless it is clinically appropriate. Find another way to say you are sad, bummed out, disappointed or feeling blue. Saying you are depressed over a relatively minor issue minimizes the suffering of someone struggling with true depression.
  • When someone you know is acting differently or unusual, don’t judge them or jump to assumptions about them. Ethics of the Fathers (2:4) quotes Hillel who said: “Do not judge another until you have stood in his place.” Since it is impossible to stand in another person’s place, to be them, to have their baggage or to live their struggles, we can never judge another. Instead, we should be kind, sensitive, supportive and understanding of everyone around us.
  • Never assume you know everything going on in someone’s life or what motivates his or her behavior. Ian Maclaren, the 19th-century Scottish author once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”  Cut others slack; give people the benefit of the doubt.
  • When you know a friend or family member has depression or other mental illness such as bi-polar, anxiety disorder, etc., be as supportive as you would be with someone suffering with a physical illness or disability. Offer help and assistance, check in, and let them know you are just thinking of them. Unlike acute illnesses, most of the time, depression is chronic. Once diagnosed, it can be controlled, lessened, or perhaps, even go into “remission.” But it is never cured. Support will be needed in some form always.
  • When reaching out to someone with depression, never judge, criticize or make comparisons. Don’t offer advice or minimize the person’s suffering. Simply listen, be present, and be a friend.
  • When someone has depression it places a tremendous burden on other members of the family who often need to take over chores, responsibilities and even produce greater income. Go out of your way to be inclusive of them, to check in on them and seek to unburden them.

 

This article originally appeared on aish.com by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg

 

NETHERLANDS: Mommy Shoes

mommy-shoes-300x199

It has been nearly two years since I asked for help.

Motherhood and life felt like too much of a burden for me. After years of thinking that the problem was me, it finally dawned on me that there might be something wrong.

I started therapy and found out that I had suffered from postpartum depression. Not once but three times. I also found out that the feelings I struggled with in my early teens were not just regular teen struggles. I found out that it was also depression that I had struggled with.

These past two years have been the most intense years of my life. I have experienced tremendous growth. I have opened new doors and have closed old doors behind me.

People talk about therapy lightly. They think therapy is nothing more than paying someone to listen and to give you advice. Therapy is no such thing. Therapy is facing yourself. Therapy is opening doors and looking into the dark corners of your soul. It is work. Hard work that sometimes  leaves you exhausted. Being as courageous, as walking into a lion’s den unarmed. Vulnerable. It is raw naked honesty and perseverance. Going down a steep, rocky and sometimes dark road without knowing when you will reach the end of it. It’s knowing that you can decide to leave that road at any moment, yet not giving in to that thought. Because you want to get well.

For the past two years I have been going down this road. To say it has been a roller coaster ride, is to take a devastating hurricane and to call it a warm summer’s breeze. The hardest part? Being a mother at the same time.

There is no time off. No time to lick my wounds or to take a break. When I come out of therapy I need to step quickly into my mommy shoes. Some days I come out of therapy feeling empowered. I stand tall and firm and switch roles like a pro. Other days I feel delivered, freed from a burden that has been carried for way too long. Those are the days that my mommy shoes feel like dancing shoes. Then there are days that I am exhausted from the hard work and I feel empty with little left to give. On those days my Mommy shoes are put on reluctantly.

Some days the carefully constructed bandages around my heart are ripped from their place and old wounds are exposed. My heart breaks and scatters into a thousand pieces. An hour passes as I work through the pain.  When the clock strikes reality, I hastily gather the pieces and put them back into place as best I can. I wear my mommy shoes, and though it is I that longs to be nurtured, it is I that gives the loving smile; it is I that spreads my arms in welcome;  I that carries and I that offers warmth and shelter.

On such days my feet struggle to find solid ground underneath my shoes. When my child reaches for me, my grasp is firm. And as I hold her little warm hand softly in mine, the ground underneath my feet gradually feels stable again.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our author in the Netherlands, Mirjam.  http://www.worldmomsblog.com.

Even though…

Even though you feel like a bad mother,
Doesn’t mean you aren’t a good enough one.

(There is NO such a thing as a perfect mother. It doesn’t exist. The desire to be one is what makes you great! Your willingness makes u great!)

 
Even though you feel like you are doing nothing,
Doesn’t mean you are worthless.

(You are valuable and precious to so many with a heart of gold that’s just broken right now.)

 
Even though you are angry at your kids and sometimes yell,
Doesn’t mean you don’t love them.

(Kids are resilient and more forgiving than any adult. They understand mommy’s not feeling well.)

 
Even though you feel weak and tired and can’t do as much as you once did,
Doesn’t mean you aren’t the strongest bravest person who is battling a huge battle with courage and dignity.

(Admitting you are broken and need help takes superhuman strength.)

 
Even though everyone around you seems to be managing and functioning,
Doesn’t mean they are judging you even if it feels that way.

(Compare and despair – not everyone’s outsides match their insides!)

 
Even though this PPD feels endless and hopeless,
Doesn’t mean there isn’t a light at the end of this tunnel.

(You will get better. You will feel stronger. You will become as a result a more empathetic, caring , loving person.)

 
Even though you have Postpartum depression,
Doesn’t mean it is your fault.

This too shall pass.