It’s estimated that worldwide, some 10 to 15 per cent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. According to studies, having a strong social network – both online and in real life – can help mothers cope with this common medical concern.
A DARKER SHADE OF BABY BLUES
Postpartum depression is not to be confused with what’s come to be known as the postpartum “baby blues”, which is common to 80 percent of women after giving birth, usually beginning within the first three days after delivery and sometimes lasting as long as two weeks.
The baby blues are typically characterized by mood swings, anxiety, crying spells, irritability and insomnia, and while undeniably unpleasant, the condition is temporary, very common, and doesn’t present any long-term health concerns.
Postpartum depression, however, is a different story, being a more severe, long-lasting affliction linked to the chemical, social, and psychological changes associated with having a baby. While similar to the baby blues, its symptoms are considerably more intense and can eventually interfere with a mother’s ability to take proper care of her newborn or simply perform basic daily tasks.
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When I met Johnson at WMN Space, my first question was how, exactly, she started doing this kind of work in the first place. (I mean, it’s not something you can major in at college.) The former yoga instructor and bodyworker told me she found her calling while dealing with a serious pelvic-floorinjury brought on by childbirth.
“I started researching [treatment], and all I could find were tens of thousands of entries on postpartum depression,” she recalls. “But I was like, ‘Of course I’m depressed.’ I was pooping in my pants, sex was impossible, my low back was killing me all the time—and I’m someone who was totally fit and healthy [before giving birth.]
(Click to read about pelvic floors on wellandgood.com)
We all know the definition of iceberg: a large mass of ice located in the water with just a visible portion protruding above the water’s surface. Ice floes, by contrast, are flat floating sheets of ice with no base underwater. Both beautiful and dangerous, icebergs and ice floes present no issue as long as you can sail around them or sail over them.
Often babies presenting with feeding issues can be viewed as icebergs or ice floes. These babies present with Tethered Oral Tissues (TOT), or oral ties. Upper Lip Tie and Tongue Tie have been implicated as causes of Oral Dysfunction related to both breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
Some moms who elect to have these tethers released via scissors or laser, find huge results from symptoms like: nipple trauma and pain; leaking milk around the mouth; gas; reflux (both silent and violent/vomiting); difficulty sleeping; snoring; weight loss; clicking-while-nursing; colic; and bowel issues, such as constipation. Sometimes the release of tethers seems like a miracle or cure-all for everything — even things not directly related to oral tethers — such as hating the carseat or disliking diaper changes.
The type of baby who gets a miracle cure from having
oral tethers released is dubbed the “Tether-Floe.”
Tether-Floe babies have all of their issuesfloating on the top of the water, so to speak. The tether is the clue and solution to their breastfeeding problems. For them, the laser or scissor frenectomy IS the answer.
The problems begin to melt away, whether quickly or slowly, and within a short amount of time (days to weeks) these babies are breastfeeding like champs, gaining weight, and not hurting their moms any longer. For them, there were no underlying issues (or at least it seems so). The presenting problem is addressed and the breastfeeding relationship is saved.
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The idea of a couple growing a family in isolation is new to human society. What we need, in the absence of our families and tribal support systems, is postpartum doulas.
Each of my postpartum experiences was different. For one I was largely dazed and happy, for another I felt upset and overwhelmed, and during one I was losing touch with reality. What they had in common was that I felt unanchored. Adrift. Lost in a sea of beautiful dreams and haunting nightmares that I felt obliged to keep to myself.
Surely this is just how it is. You struggle on, alone. Your triumphs are yours alone. Your grief and anger is yours alone. If you felt you could share, no one could understand anyway. Motherhood is a box.
For many of us, this is how it feels to enter into motherhood for the first or fifth time. You go to your box, sort yourself out, and occasionally over the next few months you’ll venture a peek outside, save up for a short staycation. But mostly, you are the box. You need the box and boy does the box need you.
(click link above to read the entire article on mothering.com)