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June 13, 2018
This morning I joined KATU News’ AM Northwest to talk about my new book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care For Your Infant and Yourself, aimed at new moms. The host, Helen Raptis, asked me to explain the inspiration behind the project, so I laid it all out there (as I always do). Check it out here.
Before I became a mother, I was a pediatrician. I trained at Stanford University, I worked hard and logged countless sleepless nights. Naively, I thought I was ready. Then I entered the world of new moms. To be honest, I entered it with a bit of cockiness. I thought all my training, all my experience, and all my education would make me the perfect mom. At my baby showers, people teased me, “Well, we won’t give you any advice. You already know it all.” I was beyond confident.
Well, you know what they say…pride goeth before a fall.
When my first daughter arrived, she was not easy. I loved her from the moment I met her, but I second-guessed my decision to change my life so drastically within about 1 week of having her. She cried nonstop, spit up constantly, and would not sleep. I can remember rocking her and holding her in the dark for hours, often crying right alongside her. Countless nights, after nursing and shushing and swaddling every 45 minutes to get her calmed, my husband would put her in the car and drive around town in a giant freeway loop. It was the only way to get her settled for any extended period of time.
It was the first time in my life feeling so completely out of control and, eventually, I started to fall pretty deeply into postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum anxiety. I would go on a walk to the grocery store, see a five-year-old child with her parent and think, “Wow, it is really amazing that you survived to grow so old.”
That’s when I realized I needed help. I reached out to my fellow pediatrician and other new moms for advice. After a few weeks, I started taking regular chunks of time for myself away from my baby—just small trips to a coffee shop or to the park at first—so I could come back more refreshed. I did a lot of babywearing and talked to my own obstetrician about support and resources for PPD and Anxiety. When possible, I made my husband the soother-in-chief. If I wasn’t breastfeeding, he was in charge. Slowly, I changed and my daughter did, too. As she got older, she got a little easier and I got a little healthier. We emerged from a place of dark hopelessness to—not a perfect rainbow- and pony-filled haven—but to a new manageable normalcy.
I wish, looking back, that I paid attention sooner to the clues that I wasn’t quite myself. I also wish that my partner and my village understood more about what I was going through. They could have more effectively helped me if they had known more about what I needed. I also wish I had the real information I needed to be successful with my infant—information about realistic expectations, about how to take care of myself, and about how to recognize and troubleshoot the tricky, awkward parts of the newborn experience.
That’s why, starting this month, we’re partnering with Postpartum Support International (PSI), a Portland-based organization whose mission is to promote awareness, prevention, and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing in every country worldwide. They provide support, education, and local resource information for families. Equally important, they offer training for professionals who work with those at-risk for perinatal mood disorders.
Every time you buy an online course, we’re giving 3% of our profits to PSI.
If you are a new mom, you know that this journey called motherhood isn’t very elegant. It’s amazing and, sometimes, it is better than you ever thought it could be. It is also really hard. If you’re expecting, you know you don’t need scary birth or postpartum stories to get you through the first days and weeks with your infant—nope, new moms need real help and real guidance.
Remember, if you are struggling with PPD or Anxiety, you are not alone. Ask for assistance, seek out support. Rely on the others around you. Take a giant step back and take a breath. You are an amazing mom, even if motherhood is not exactly the way you thought it would be.
Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint:
and our Newborn Gift Boxes!
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