Healthy Family

Mamas on Bedrest: Depression in Dads

April 16th, 2014

Greetings Mamas!

I have a question for you. Could your partner be depressed? A recent study has noted that as many as 5-10% of dads become depressed following the birth of their children and remain in a depressed state sometimes until the child goes into kindergarten! Even more alarming, young dads-men who become dads in their 20’s-are at increased risk of becoming depressed and have a 68% risk of increasing depression for the first 5 years following the birth of their children.

This is really sad to hear. At a time when we would expect joy, many men are experiencing sadness/depression. The researchers who are reporting this work in the May 2014 edition of Pediatrics, Craig Garfield, MD, Associate Professor at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and Eric Lewandowski, PhD, Clinical Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychology at NYU Langone Medical Center, say that there is so little data upon which to draw that much more research needs to be done to figure out is this more prevalent in younger men because they feel ill equipped to be fathers? Are they stressed out about providing for their families? Are they worried about finances? The reasons are likely multifactorial and the truth is that we really don’t have any of these answers. We also don’t know if these rates hold for dads in their 30’s, 40’s or beyond. Again, much more research needs to be done.

I Wrote a blog several years ago about depression in dads and in that post shared some signs and symptoms of depression in Dads. It is critical that depression in dads be identified and treated as dads’ interaction (or lack there of) with their children can have long lasting developmental effects on the child.

Having a baby is a major life changing event and while the focus of this website is on mamas, we have to be aware of the fact that the birth of a child affects everyone-mamas, dads, siblings and even pets! The addition of a new family member completely alters the family dynamic such change needs to be acknowledged and supported for all family members.

So keep this information in your memory bank. I hope that you won’t need it, but if you do, I hope that it will help you to find the support and resources that you need to help the man that you love.

If this blog helps you, please be sure to let us know in the comments section below. If you have a resource to help dads, please share it in the comments section. If you have a question that you would like to submit privately, please send it to info@mamasonbedrest.com

Reference:

Young Dads at Risk of Depressive Symptoms, Study Finds. MedlinePlus

 

Mamas on Bedrest: Stop the World I Want to Get Off!

April 7th, 2014

Greetings Mamas!

CaseWesternDepressed Woman2Catchy title, huh? This title came to me after reading my dear friend Kate’s blog post, Sometimes I Don’t Want to be a Mother I applaud her for her honesty and candor. Kate is the mama of a 5 year old, a 1 year old and is pregnant with her third child. Kate loves her children immensely and she is an awesome mama! I could just eat her little ones up! But the truth of the matter is, I visit with Kate, hang with her and her youngins for a few hours and then I leave. Then there she is doing the “mommy shuffle”; shuffling love and attention between her two little ones, managing her household, working her business, dealing with the fatigue and physical changes going on within her own body and trying to save some time and energy for her husband when he comes home. Sound familiar? It is a balancing act to say the least, and sometimes mamas simply want to say, “Stop the world I want to get off!”:

Now before you all go twisting your sheets in indignation, I want to pose this question to you. If you knew beforehand that you were going to have the problems that you are currently having, would have to be on bed rest and face all the stress and discomfort that you are experiencing, perhaps have a difficult labor and/or delivery, a child in the NICU and/or with special needs, would you have gotten get pregnant? Now I’m not going to ask you to reveal your answers. How you feel is between you and the One in the Great Beyond! But I want to take this moment and let you know, you are not judged nor are you a horrible person, awful mama or undeserving mama if your answer is “No, I would not get pregnant if I knew that all of this would happen.” Anyone of the aforementioned issues is a lot to take on. Many of you Mamas on Bedrest experience one or more simultaneously. And I am here to tell you, as I told Kate, it is perfectly normal to every now and then gaze to the heavens and say, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”

I am in no way dissing motherhood. As you know, I have two kiddos myself. Currently I am being ushered into (ready or not!) the teen years and let me tell you, it is no easy ride! But even before this point, I had a difficult pregnancy and delivery with my daughter, she had breathing problems and asthma that sometimes required that I be up with her round the clock. She has some significant food allergies (which prompted the upcoming free tele seminar Managing Meals with Food Sensitivities) and right now, truth be told, she is often a snarky pain in the &*^%! But I have to admit, I love her and her brother more than I have words to say. Yet the truth of the matter is that some days I would love to retreat to a quiet cave somewhere and just chuck it all.

Our society touts motherhood as the be all end all, the great pinnacle to which all women must aspire. But truth be told, our culture and society (at least here in the US) does very little to support mothers in their child bearing or child rearing. Motherhood is a very demanding job for which we get no pay and no vacation. We give our bodies-blood, sweat and tears-and hope that in the end we raise well adjusted, happy, healthy, children. While great kids that grow up into great adults are an awesome reward, I want to remind you that for all you do, very business people would do the same job without a six figure+ salary! (I once read an article that showed that for all “stay at home mothers do, if they were to be financially compensated according to employment standards, their salaries would be around $130,000/year! Just sayin’…I’ll try to find that citation.) Our legislators tout time and time again that American Families are the foundation of America, yet when things get tough, women’s health services, aid to families with children, paid family leave, early childhood education, and other “family centered services” get cut. Is it any wonder mamas, families feel the squeeze and want off of the carousel?

I love that Kate was bold and brave enough to post that motherhood is tough and sometimes she just doesn’t want to do it. I find her candor encouraging and hope that many of you will take in her words and her candor and know that what you are doing as a Mama on Bedrest is hard, it is not fun and some days you just don’t want to do it! I am here to tell you that you are in no way wrong, selfish, ungrateful or any other word of judgement your may hear or feel. And I want to give a special shout out to mamas who may have utilized the wonders of technology to conceive and are now wondering, “Was this trip really necessary??” You are not crazy! You are not ungrateful! And you have every right to feel upset, frustrated, angry, sad, depressed, short changed, jealous, or…..whatever! It’s all normal! I would be more concerned if you were all saying, “Oh, I’m just so thrilled to be pregnant, I’ll take it any way I can!” There will be some among you that will feel this way. But for those of you that don’t. It’s okay.

Do take the time to read Kate’s blog in its entirety. It’s beautifully written and has some great nuggets of truth. You may not agree with everything she said, you may not be able to relate. But for those of you who have been quietly suffering and flogging yourself in silence, I would like to absolve you of your guilt by simply saying, “I know it’s tough. We’re here for you and we (mamas of this community and beyond) acknowledge all the hard work you are going through and we support you!”

Have you ever wanted to “jump off the carousel called life?” What did you do to get through that difficult time? Please share your story and your tips in the comments section below. Your words may be just what another mama needs today. Please be generous!

Mamas on Bedrest: To Spank or not to Spank-Parenting Research Update

March 26th, 2014

Greetings Mamas!

In today’s video blog I review some current research on parenting. The first “How You Parent Is Partly Genetic, Study Suggests” was a data analysis done by S. Alexandra Burt and colleagues at Michigan State University. They analyzed 56 different studies which included some 20,000 families worldwide. Their findings suggest that while parenting is primarily an interplay between parents and their children, there is a 23-40% genetic influence on how parents parent as well as influences from how parents themselves were parented.

The second study was “Spanking Triggers Vicious Cycle, Study Finds”. In this study, Dr. Michael MacKenzie, an associate Professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and his colleague Dr. Andrew Adesman, Chief, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York cite findings from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a decade long research study looking at 1900 Familes from 1998 to 2000 . MacKenzie and Andesman found that spanking appears to precede the unruly behavior, stating that there was strong evidence that when a child is spanked within the first year of life, this starts the negative behavioral cycle and the more children are spanked, the more their behavior becomes unruly and rebellious as they get older.

What is your take on these studies? Were you spanked as a child? Do You spank your children? Is how you parent markedly different from how you were parented? Please share your comments in the comments section below!