THE FACES OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

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A powerful video from non-profit organisation, Postpartum Progress, shows the different faces of postpartum depression from real women experiencing the illness. The collaborative effort between the organisation and Baby Rabies blogger Jill Krause, shows a group of mothers candidly sharing their experiences with postpartum depression with the aims of ending the stigma associated with perinatal mood disorders.

Krause has told The Huffington Post, “We are working to erase the stigma of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and to let people know where moms can start to find help.”

This video is incredibly important because it opens up the public discussion of postpartum mood disorders on a major scale and will hopefully encourage widespread discussion between mothers who were previously uncomfortable to do so.

The women in the video maintain that their feelings of despair and frustration are completely unrelated to their love for their children. They also all agree that they are better parents, not in spite, but because of their struggles.

As one mother states, “I am a good mother… even with postpartum depression.”

…because there is always #BeautyInTheMess

MM

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ARE MOMS PEOPLE TOO?

MomIsADirtyWord

“Mom Is A Dirty Word”, a documentary by Samantha Rife which was previously discussed in this post, addresses the difficult balancing act that many new mothers are faced with. Rife examines the “Mommy Wars” argument of choosing to be a ‘stay-at-home’ mum and ‘career’ mum.

Due to disproportionate societal expectations of child rearing responsibilities for women and men, working mothers often face unnecessary pressures regarding their work-life balance, resulting in feelings of guilt and stress.

With her documentary, Rife aims to target the hypocrisies in American culture and public policy surrounding working mothers, with the aims of initiating governmental support for mums and families, such as, paid maternity leave and equitable business practices.

Fortunately, for expecting mothers in Australia, paid parental leave entitlements have been available since January 2011. The paid maternity and paternity leave scheme in Australia is government-funded, giving the main carer 18 weeks Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage. This scheme is incredibly helpful in allowing mothers to maintain their career and income whilst caring for their child, therefore aiding the difficult decision between returning to work and being a stay-at-home mum.

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AFTER THE BABY IS BORN…

‘The Honest Body Project’, created by photographer, Natalie McCain, explores postpartum body image in an authentic and candid way. McCain has aimed to shift the societal postpartum discussion from how mothers intend to return to their pre-pregnancy bodies (and as swiftly as possible) to simply embracing the wonder of what those bodies have done.

The ‘After the Baby Is Born’ series not only focuses on the unique body of shapes of women post-delivery but refers back to the intimate connection between mother and child. McCain has stated her objective of the beautiful photo series was to put an end to the pressure faced by new mothers to return to the bodies that had before conceiving.

“Society puts so much pressure on women to ‘bounce back’ after giving birth and I want to help break that cycle…These women are baring their hearts and souls to help show the variations of bodies after giving birth.”

In an interview with Huffington Post, McCain stated that it is unlikely for women to “bounce back” in the ways celebrities do and as portrayed in the media. “Some women certainly do slim down quickly after birth, but this isn’t the norm for most mothers.” Nor does it have to be. If it is, terrific. And if it’s not, well, that’s also terrific.”

Below are the beautiful images from McCain’s series, ‘After The Baby Is Born‘.

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Photos from Fit Pregnancy

NO FAT MOMS!

Flick through any tabloid or gossip magazine and chances are you’ll be inundated with articles discussing celebrities’ weight. Not only that, but celebrities’ postpartum weight. We are bombarded with amazing celebrity postpartum transformations and weight losses in the mass media and this unfortunately, this often dictates the societal expectations of body image for mothers after giving birth. What is omitted from these articles is that although these transformations are possible, they are not realistic or common. The celebrities that are applauded in magazines for swift transformations after delivering often receive assistance in the form of personal trainers, dieticians and nannies…luxuries that most mothers are not privy to.

The media obsession with women’s postpartum bodies, which constantly calls our attention to the figures of new celebrities mothers such as Beyonce and Kim Kardashian, is feeding a social fixation that needs to be stopped.

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What exactly have all these women’s bodies been “taken” by? 

Instead of the highly-retouched images seen above, we need the media to broadcast more realistic images of postpartum bodies, like the following image published by Taryn Brumfitt, found of Body Image Movement.

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The Truth About Post-Baby Bodies?

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Image from theglow.com.au

Following up from this post, here is a wonderful post from the Scary Mommy website, “4 Truths About Out Post-Baby Bodies“.

The article, written by Lisa Sadikman, is inspiring and perfectly sums up what The Modern Motherhood Project is about – seeing that there is beauty in every aspect of motherhood. In the article, Sadikman tells her readers what she wants them to know about post-baby bodies.

Below is a powerful excerpt from Sadikman’s article that shows that post-baby body pressure is something that not only mothers but society needs to rise above. A mother’s body is worth far more than its appearance and it’s important to recognise the amazing things its capable of during and after pregnancy. We need to realise that despite the chaos, beauty is always present in motherhood, it is just up to us to find it.

“Your body will do amazing things you never dreamed it could do. Your body will not fail you as you get up for the fourth time in the middle of the night to feed a hungry baby. You will be able to hold an infant or a 1-year-old or a toddler for ridiculously long periods of time — cuddling, soothing, shushing — and your biceps will grow strong and defined from it. Your core will tighten and hold you firmly in place as you lift your child from the crib or catch her as she jumps from the bed into your arms. I didn’t know how fast I could sprint until my toddler slipped from my grip and darted towards the parking lot. You will surprise yourself. Marvel over what you are capable of with this new mama body.

Beauty is where you find it. The talk about post-pregnancy beauty is relentless. We get it: yes, our bodies have sagged and crinkled and jellied and no, that doesn’t mean we’re suddenly ugly, but we each catalogue those changes with varying degrees of self-acceptance. Our body-obsessed culture doesn’t help prepare us for our newly hewn post-baby bodies or feel good about them. The challenge is to blow all of that off and realize it’s not just our bodies that have changed. The way we view the world is different too. Beauty abounds in the most unexpected places, making the minor and mundane suddenly magnificent. I remember looking at my daughter’s impossibly long eyelashes as she slept thinking they were the most gorgeous things I’d ever seen. And who hasn’t called their new baby’s poop beautiful? The trick is to include yourself in this expanded version of beauty: the soft lines around your eyes, whether from smiling or lack of sleep, make you more interesting. Your rarely used singing voice now sounds sublime as you soothe your child to sleep. And that rounder booty? It’s hot. Period.”

…because there is always #BeautyInTheMess

 

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MICHELLE BRIDGES SAYS NO TO POST-BABY BODY PRESSURE

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Michelle Bridges proudly shows off her beautiful baby bump (Image from smh.com.au)

From stretch marks to leaky boobs to a few extra pounds on the scale, the “post-baby body” is undoubtedly an issue that crosses many expecting mothers’ minds.

Michelle Bridges, trainer on Australia’s The Biggest Loser, did something pretty important for postpartum body image when making a rare appearance on Channel 10’s The Project last month.

When asked about how her fitness routine fit into her new phase of life, Bridges made it clear where her priorities laid and that was with simply enjoying her time as a new mother with her child. Rejecting the strain women feel to get fit after giving birth, Bridges stated, “I’m pretty clear cut about that. I don’t accept the pressure…I get it that it’s around and some women do feel that pressure, but I’m also just looking forward to spending time with my baby.”

“My fitness will come, this is a different chapter in my life right now and I’m relishing it…I’ll get back into training in my own time and at my own pace.”

What Michelle Bridges has stated about doing things at her own pace and time is important. Through all the societal pressure on mothers to return to their pre-pregnancy weights after delivering, it’s easy to forget that their bodies belong to themselves and no one else. 

And what their bodies are doing is something amazing – creating life. And after that, their bodies are feeding and nursing and nurturing that life for years. In comparison, it’s difficult to see how not being able to button that one last button would even matter.

 

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PANDA leads the way in tackling perinatal depression

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Continuing from yesterday’s post, Hayden Panettiere opens up about postpartum depressionthis post is about PANDA: Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia, a great Australian organisation working towards providing support for those who are “concerned about how they or someone else if coping during pregnancy or after having a baby.” More information about PANDA’s services can be found here.

PANDA provides a free and confidential hotline with a desired outcome for each caller, whether they are currently pregnant or not, to receive support and an education about the condition that they and/or their loved one might be currently experiencing. Additionally, they aim to provide information about they caller may seek further ongoing support locally.

This sort of service is especially important in encouraging open and honest discussion about the common mental issues that are prevalent during and following pregnancy, ranging from general anxiety to postpartum depression.

We, at The Modern Motherhood Project, hope that providing a safe space for mothers and their partners to privately discuss these issues will encourage open conversation about them within the wider society, eventually reducing the stigma associated with perinatal mental issues.

Priceline and its Priceline Sisterhood Foundation campaign is doing great work with PANDA by donating profits from Sisterhood products to the organisation! Please get involved for a great cause!

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For further information on PANDA’s work, please visit their official website here.

Find us on Facebook here and tell us your thoughts!

 

MM

Hayden Panettiere opens up about postpartum depression

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Pregnancy and childbirth have countless effects on the female body, many of which we are familiar with: weight gain, fatigue and painful breasts. However, we often largely ignore one of the major mental effects that is common amongst new mothers: postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is estimated to affect 16% of women giving birth in Australia. Furthermore, approximately 85% experience some type of emotional disturbance post-delivery. With nearly 1 in every 6 new mothers experiencing depression following childbirth, the topic is  shockingly neglected and under-discussed.

Societal expectations of motherhood as a exclusively happy experience result in the stigmatisation of postpartum depression and therefore, can cause feelings of shame in mothers who experience it. The lack of discussion of postpartum depression in the public sphere prolongs the vicious cycle, as awareness is lacking, particularly in realising how common this issue actually is.

In a recent interview on Live! with Kelly and Michael, American actress, Hayden Panettiere, opened up about her negative experiences following the birth of her child in December 2014.

“When [you’re told] about postpartum depression you think it’s ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child. I want to injure or hurt my child. I’ve never, ever had those feelings. Some women do.'” Panettiere stated.

“But you don’t realise how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal.”

Panettiere’s acknowledgement of her own experiences with postpartum depression has been important in creating mainstream and widespread awareness, particularly in addressing many misunderstandings surrounding the issue.

Healthy discussion about the prevalence, causes and impacts of postpartum depression are needed to destigmatise a condition that is all too common in modern motherhood. It’s important that we recognise and accept the wide spectrum of experiences, positive and negative, that are encompassed by motherhood. Because there is always #BeautyInTheStruggle.

MM

TIPS FOR MOTHERHOOD & ACCEPTANCE

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Image from sheknows.com

Recently, I came across this excellent article on Smart Parenting, titled “Newbie Primer: 20 Helpful Tips for New Moms”.

What really resonated with me about the article is that along with the usual expected tips (“wearing” your baby gives you extra, much valued hands, people!), it really had a strong emphasis on really being okay with where you are in your experience of motherhood. There’s a really clear message of encouraging acceptance, which is what The Modern Motherhood Project is all about.

I’ve listed down below some great “newbie” tips from the article that a worth a read!

Let it out
“Cry if you need to. Admitting you are overwhelmed doesn’t make you any less worthy of being a mom. Getting it out of your system can be therapeutic— much better than keeping it all bottled up inside.” — Abigail Falcon, yoga instructor; mom to Raj, 3

Let go—for now
“For the first two months at least, let the room be messy, stop watching the clock, and subsist on takeout every few days or so. Your priority is your baby, and the only way you would survive is if you let go of the little things.” — Jill Chan-Sia, educator; mom to Evan, 4, and Elise, 2

Don’t worry
Remember: babies are stronger than they appear  “Babies may be delicate in some respects, but they are quite resilient in others. During my first few weeks of breastfeeding, I kept worrying that my newborn would starve to death because I felt he wasn’t getting enough breast milk. My pediatrician assured me that the milk would come and that I shouldn’t worry because my baby has fat deposits in him to tide him over in the meantime.” — Clarisse Morillo, administrative officer; mom to Jordan, 3

Don’t compare
“Every baby is different, and each one develops at his own pace. If your friend’s baby is already sleeping through the night at three months while yours still demands to be fed every few hours, don’t fret. If your two-year-old nephew is tall for his age and your son is just of average height, don’t worry! Comparing will make your more stressed because it is unrealistic. If your pediatrician isn’t worried, neither should you be.” — Farrah Copino, sales manager; mom to Jaime, 3

…There is always #BeautyInTheMess

 

MM

IS “MOM” A DIRTY WORD?

MomIsADirtyWord

Image Source: Mom Is A Dirty Word

“Mom Is A Dirty Word” is a feature-documentary by American mother, Samantha Rife, that explores the negative stigma surrounding motherhood. Interestingly, it explores a dichotomy of praise and discrimination within American society.

“American culture praises motherhood and family, while simultaneously discriminating against mothers and their children through the media and public policy.”

The documentary is a great insight into the inequality experienced by mothers, featuring real life experience from Rife herself.

You can watch the trailer for “Mom Is A Dirty Word” here.

 

MM