May 6, 2012, 12:04 pm
Recently I have been learning a lot about mindfullness. It really is a way of life and requires a lot of practice...but the principles of mindfullness really resonate with me.
Being Mindful is being aware- but it is more than just awareness: we mostly use our analytical mind(brooding, rumination), not our awareness part- not all problems(emotional ones) need to be fixed with logic- some can be dealt with intuitively. When we can switch from automatic pilot to acceptance of thoughts, emotions, sensations without becoming attached to them then we are living a more attuned existence.
It really makes sense to apply mindfullness to parenting. When we are mindful with our children we stop struggling to do things "the right way" , we stop judging ourselves and stop trying to fix our emotions...instead we are emapthic and curious with ourselves and our kids- we see things from their point of view and understand where our own reactivity is coming from...we parent at a much deeper level...what a gift to give your child!
Are you a mindful parent?
April 20, 2012, 8:37 am
This is a question I hear very often. This is a question I have asked myself many times! Many people wonder why there is not much focus on perinatal depression during the antenatal classes, when it is such a common illness.
Having run my workshop a few times now on “emotional preparation for parenthood” I can now see that it is a very finely tuned skill to educate parents on how this massive transition might feel like, without freaking them out at the same time! I think it would take some quite intense training for hospital staff in order to deliver information in a sensitive and balanced manner on peri natal depression and the transition to parenthood in general.
So perhaps the hospital educators have little time, the big institutions not enough money and tradition not enough incentive to create change in the way things are done.
I also think there is an element of denial. Perhaps women think “post natal depression won’t happen to me “or “I’ll deal with that later if it happens”. Some experts say women do not want to hear about peri natal depression or emotional issues, they are more interested in the labour and birth- other studies say yes they do want to hear about it, but in a dedicated forum and perhaps at a time when they are less focussed on the birth.
A recent study has shown that parents, who have been given information and support to help them prepare for the challenges of having a new baby, were more likely to seek help, felt more competent and had less depression than those who did not have the information and support.
By Dr Melanie Strang
April 20, 2012, 8:35 am
It is really common for new dads to feel resentful and left out when a new baby arrives on the scene. Up until this point it has just been the two of you and now you are a family; becoming a family is a massive transition, not to be underestimated! It is incredibly common for partners to feel disconnected around this time, in fact one study quotes that 50% of couples rate the quality of their marriage as “in decline”, around this time.
It’s ok that there is a bit of space between you and your partner as long as an effort is made to reconnect again when baby is not as dependant on mum any more….and newborn babies ARE really dependant. Human beings are the most vulnerable of all mammals- think about how other mammals are born and can immediately stand and walk! It helps to remember that this is not forever – your baby will grow bigger and stronger and soon be able to be left in the care of others: this is when mum and dad need to commit to dates in the diary to reconnect with each other!
It is really normal for intimacy between you and your partner to appear to be in decline when bub is on the scene! Often Mum has had so much physical contact with the baby during the day that any further skin to skin contact seems just too much- it might be hard not to take this personally but it truly is not because she has gone off you- she just needs a little bit of space.
Even though there is increasing awareness regarding support for new dads, there is not as much support for dads in the community as there is for mum around the time of becoming a parent. Dads also don’t have the luxury of talking about how they feel with a network of friends, like women tend to do.
If you are a new dad and struggling, the best place to start and find some support is your local GP. Another great resource is the Post and Antenatal Depression Association (Ph: 1300726306) – you may call up during the week and speak to a telephone counsellor, and you don’t have to have postnatal depression to give them a call- you may just want to talk through some of your worries. There are a few male counsellors available that you may feel more comfortable talking with.
Did you know that 10% of dads suffer from post natal depression? They are even less likely than women to seek help for their symptoms and often if they do get help it is only much later on. This I think is for a couple of reasons: firstly the dads are often not as connected to health professionals like the mums are. (New mums spend a lot of time at their maternal child health nurse and GP!) Secondly they are often holding the family together around the time when mum is diagnosed with postnatal depression and fail to look after themselves too. (One of the biggest risk factors for men to be diagnosed with postnatal depression is having a partner who has postnatal depression)
This is a difficult and challenging transition for mums AND dads- so being aware that men need support too, is a good start!
By Dr Melanie Strang of Well Mum Well Baby
April 20, 2012, 8:33 am
- I wish I had been aware that motherhood is about more than routines and settling- motherhood to me, is when a woman is re-born herself; when emotions come to the foreground and demand to be dealt with.
- I wish I had been aware that the risk of being diagnosed with post natal depression was so high (1 in 7 women) and where to seek support.
- I wish I had known that the risk of an anxiety disorder is even higher.
- I wish I had known that it is normal to grieve the loss of the old me- that didn’t make me a bad mum, at all.
- I wish I had known that it’s ok to feel shock, worry, resentment and anger when you become a new mum- that didn’t make me a bad mum either.
- I wish I had known how to manage my mother guilt! Most mums are too hard on themselves.
- I wish I had been trained in assertiveness to deal with all the comments and unwanted advice. It takes confidence to go with your own gut feelings and block out all the other stuff.
- I wish I knew that it is completely normal to not feel bonded straight away with my baby.
- I wish my expectations had been more realistic and flexible…. it is very common that there is a mismatch between reality and expectations.
By Dr Melanie Strang from Well Mum Well Baby
For more information see www.wellmumwellbaby.net.au, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0412667520