This Sunday (Oct. 15) is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and all of October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. To honor that and the moms* who have lived through the experience of a miscarriage or baby loss, I wanted to share with you just how common the occurrence is, what the experience can feel like for some moms, and ways friends and family can help.
Parenthood is never easy, even when life seems perfect. And those times when life is not so perfect? Harder. And those times when loss, tragedy or trauma happen? The hardest. Lately, it’s hard to listen to the news log onto social media. It seems like there’s a new natural disaster or political mess every single day. It’s starting to feel normal, even though we know nothing about any of this is or should be normal.
With details about the Las Vegas Shooting coming out nearly a week later (and will probably continue to roll out in the weeks and months to come), we might be in for a rough emotional ride. Especially because of how particularly senseless or inexplicable this event feels. Especially especially if you know someone was there or otherwise feel some connection to that particular place.
Ugh, potty training. Am I right? It can be so challenging, so stressful. For you AND for your little one. I want to help you get through potty training a little more pleasantly (Is pleasant potty training a thing? OK, maybe not. But let’s at least make it a little less torturous, shall we?)
There are a lot of good articles all over the internet on HOW to potty train your child, so I’m not going to spend time saying the same things many experts have already done. My aim here instead is to take into account the big emotions you and your child will likely be feeling during this process so that you can get through it calmly and with empathy.
DO WE REALLY LOVE EACH OF OUR KIDS THE SAME?
When I was pregnant with my daughter (our second child), I distinctly remember being really worried that I would not be as in love with her as I was with my son (our first). In fact, my husband and I use to joke that we shouldn't have a second kid because he was so awesome and perfect--there was just no way our second could live up to that. “Our next kid would probably be a total nightmare,” we’d tease.
This is not a post about how to plan a Pinterest-worthy, uniquely-themed first birthday party that will wow your guests and make impressive Instagram photos.
I’m not going to talk about smash cakes, decorations, or party tutus. You can find plenty of that with just a quick Google search.
What I really want to talk about is WHY baby’s first birthday is such a momentous day worth celebrating, and how to celebrate it in ways that honor that WHY.
I don’t know about you, but lately, my Facebook newsfeed is filled with adorable first-day-of-school photos. I love it. You can see the anticipation in their little faces and I completely understand what those moms and dads posting them must be feeling.
This time of year always makes me a bit reflective about transitions. And I can’t help but think about how parenthood is constantly insisting we grow right along with our kids.
Quick--If you had to guess, when do you think our children first begin to notice racial differences?
You might guess that it begins in grade school, when kids are under more pressure to fit in or have had more time to absorb their parents’ perceptions and commentary on different races. But, you’d be wrong. These concepts begin taking shape much, much earlier than that.
Has your baby or toddler hit the “separation anxiety” phase in their development yet? Our littles can start feeling separation anxiety as early as 6 months and usually phases out by age 2, but the peak age range is 8-18 months. It usually looks like clinginess, tantrums or resistance to other caregivers. It often happens when mom or dad leaves the room for a moment, or during bedtime routines, or when a child is dropped off at a caregiver’s place.
What is it like as a dad or co-parent when your partner has Postpartum Depression or Anxiety? Well, "difficult" would be an understatement. Imagine you and your partner have the baby you’ve always wanted, but mom is just not herself anymore and you don’t know how to make things better. It can feel helpless or hopeless. It can feel frustrating. You might feel angry or impulsive. Or worried or sad. Or numb. Or way too preoccupied with tending to her needs and feelings that you have no idea how you even feel about it.
Remember back when you had roommates and it was so easy to divvy up the chores list and make sure everyone paid their share of the bills? And if someone wasn’t pulling their weight, it was really clear, right? Everyone knew who the lame roommate was and a simple house meeting could nip it in the bud or that roommate would be finding a new place.
First-time dads, do you (or did you) ever feel like you’re unsure of what you’re supposed to even do in those first few weeks after bringing baby home?
Do you (or did you) feel like you don’t even exist or that there’s not much reason for you to be around because the baby needs mom and mom is doing it all?
Every new parent will tell you that those first few weeks after baby comes home are rough.
Finding childcare for your little ones can be an incredibly overwhelming thing for new parents--especially if you are bracing yourself to go back to work for the first time.
There’s so much to think about just logistically: the research involved, phone calls to make, interviews to conduct, budgeting to figure out, and so on. And when you factor in all the emotions that come with it--The guilt! Oh, the guilt!--it can almost feel like too much to handle on top of everything else you already have to do everyday.
Ah, summer travel… Second maybe only to the Christmas/Chanukah season, this is probably the most popular time for travel. Vacations are always worth it--it’s great family bonding and relaxation time for parents, and little ones always have a blast when experiencing new things. But, let’s be honest: the traveling to and from our incredible family vacations is not always so restful. Or even pleasant. Whether flying or driving, the challenges often the same--keeping our little ones content and occupied.
So often in my practice, I see women who are struggling with a loss of identity now that they're a mom. I also see many parents--both moms and dads--who feel like it just isn't feasible for them to continue certain activities. That it would be impossible for them to enjoy it, to focus, or do it the way they want to with a little one tagging along. It can feel very literally like a monkey on your back while you're trying to do your thing. Or, like you can't just lose yourself in the activity because you have this other person to tend to.
Motherhood has a way of catalyzing change and growth. It's like the one great equalizer: Motherhood doesn't care if you're a so-called "expert" or not. We ALL struggle. And we all acquire our own set of mothering wisdom to share.
This week, I had the pleasure of being featured on PsychCentral's article, "Women Reveal the Biggest Lessons Mothering Has Taught Them." I'd love it if you'd check it out. Then, share your own wise mothering lessons in the comments!
Fourth of July weekend will soon be upon us. This is a popular time for many of us to make lasting memories from barbecues to fireworks. For my family, this is typically vacation time and we all look forward to it every year.
It is with this in mind that I want to talk about the importance of slowing down and just being present with our families. So easily, our lives can become a rapid pace of go-go-go. There’s school and work and extracurriculars and birthday parties. (Don’t even get me started on the holiday season or back-to-school time!) If your littles are too small for this hustle to be your norm yet, consider yourself lucky. And really, that’s all the more reason to enjoy this slower pace now. It doesn’t last. Nothing does, does it? That’s exactly the point.
Last week, in anticipation of Father’s Day, I talked on the blog about ways that dads can get involved during those first few weeks after baby comes home. This week, I want to continue the conversation about dads by looking at the bigger picture: Why dads matter so much and why the experience of fatherhood is so profound.
By now, we’ve all probably heard some statistic or another about how kids are likely to perform better in school, live more healthfully, be better behaved, and grow up to be more successful in life. You also may or may not know that the relationship the father has with the mother of his child can have significant impacts on her chances of postpartum depression after baby arrives.
Fathers Day is just days away, so in honor of all the World's Best Dads everywhere, I thought I'd share my best tips for new dads (and parenting partners) so that you can come into your own as a daddy. I think it's often assumed that dads will just step up after the baby arrives (and more often than not, YOU DO!), but we all say it so casually--as if it isn't just as disorienting, confusing, challenging or exhausting for dad as it is for moms.
That really isn't fair, is it?
Parents and Parents-to-be, this is so good: Catherine O'Brien, LMFT was featured on the podcast "The Family Couch", hosted by Mercedes Samudio, LCSW. In it, they discuss what surprised Catherine the most when she first became a mom, how to make sure both parents are connecting with baby (and with each other) and feel supported and empowered, and they even take on the "mommy wars" hot-button issue to help moms move past the judgment and guilt. Catherine gives the top three questions she asks every parent to consider at every stage of their parenting and how to have a plan but also remain flexible enough to change or modify your plans when life throws you curve balls.
Written by WENDY ROHIN, PT, DPT
Parenting in the modern world is unnecessarily cluttered with distractions and multitasking. Unfortunately–despite all the current advances and technology of our time–no one has yet to invent the SuperMom pill. (Don’t worry, I’m working on it.) So, in the meantime, you have to prioritize with intention, or the important things (people) will become neglected and…well…less important. Please, read on if you interested in some ideas on how to simplify your life and focus on family.