I bet you thought the F word in this post was going to be formula, nope, it's feeding. Believe me that alone is enough of a trigger word. There is nothing that I have personally encountered this is a more polarizing subject for mothers than how you feed your baby.
There is not enough space to launch into breast-feeding's science, too small trials, non-sibling variables, not accounting for socioeconomic status, discounting crucial variables such as maternal IQ, maternal prenatal and postnatal care etc. Or enough space to discuss how breastfeeding has evolved as a moral imperative. Or conversely to discuss the past shady practices of formula companies that gave them their demonized status.
What I want to say is, let's call a truce! Let's recognize that mom's are doing their best. If you choose to breastfeed, awesome, anywhere, anytime ladies, feed your babies. As a Postpartum Doula, I am trained and excited to help assist and support you. If you are bottle feeding out of need or choice, cool, whip your bottles out without shame. As a Postpartum Doula, I have lots of great information on safe practices when formula feeding.
Making a specific feeding choice doesn't make you a better mother, it just means a particular method has been successful for you and your baby. Be kind, we always have far more in common than not. The following are two great feeding resources.
When we think of maternal mental health, we automatically think Postpartum Depression, and yes it is the most common type of postpartum mental health disorders. But would it surprise you to know there is a whole spectrum of disorders. They include the Baby Blues and Postpartum Stress Syndrome. Both tend to pass quickly and don't require intervention. The rest of the spectrum includes; Anxiety and Panic Disorder, Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Postpartum Depression and the least common Postpartum Psychosis. All of the later aspects of the spectrum tend to respond well to a combination of medication and talk therapy. Postpartum Psychosis will require serious swift intervention.
It is important to know if you are at risk. Talk with your partner and family members before giving birth, know the warning signs, make sure the people around you can identify the signs if you are displaying them, as you may not be thinking your clearest. Approximately 15-20% of women will find themselves on this spectrum in the weeks and months after giving birth. I was part of the 15%. I am not embarrassed, I did not cause my Postpartum Depression, it was not my choice to cry more than my baby. NO WOMAN causes a Postpartum Mental Health Disorder, it happens to you. The causes are complex. You don't have to figure out the why, you do have to be honest with the people around you and to yourself. Be brave, get help, it is not your fault. With treatment you can and will get better. You and your family can THRIVE:)
Sunday is the designated day to celebrate mothers....and boy do we need to be to be celebrated!!! Lets take a moment from our curated social media pages for a moment and discuss just how hard being a mother is. Granted being a parent is hard, being a mother is really hard.
Does your partner know your kid(s) shoes size? When was the last dentist appointment or eye exam that they scheduled. Who calls the teacher? Bakes the gluten-free, peanut-free cupcakes for daycare? If your lucky, you are partnered ( or are doing it all without one) with someone who participates in these tasks, but most women are not. Equality has come a long way, but realistically, we have not come far enough yet. Working mothers today spend more time with their children than a 1960's stay at home mom. That's a mountain of expectation. I was tired just reading that statistic.
So I hope on this Mothers Day we can all be kind to each other, in the knowledge that we are doing our best, doing more than ever before. We do it because our children are our hearts. So I hope you get all the love you deserve this Sunday, relax and enjoy!