Womens issues

Characteristics Of A Healthy Mother Part 1

Characteristics Of A Healthy Mother Part 1

Mother's Day is this Sunday! I know this day can be exciting for some as they celebrate motherhood, while for others it can be painful due to loss of a mom, having a strained relationship with a mom, or having difficulty in trying to become a mom. Regardless of your feelings on Mother's Day, we thought it would be helpful to write about traits to help you understand what a healthy mom looks like.

Non-Traditional Addictions- Busy Addiction

Do you ever find it difficult to sit still and just "be" without having to do something "productive" with your time?  Does idle time without having a "schedule" or having something planned make you anxious?  When you have "down time", are you able to just relax, or do you need to be busy and doing something? Do you constantly have background noise playing, like the television or the radio,  or does having silence make you uncomfortable? If you have a few minutes of silence  to stop and catch your breath, do you have trouble relaxing or do you feel like you need to check something off your list of things to do? If you have a moment of pause, do you find yourself reaching towards your cell phone to play on the internet or waste time with social media? All of these point to what we call "busy addiction".  Down time, or time where we can just sit and reflect is so important to our mental health.  Those moments are where we can collect our thoughts, re-group, reflect on where we are at with our life and relationships, or do something that takes care of ourselves.

When we feel anxious by not doing something "productive", or if we feel like we need to constantly fill our time with things that keep us "busy" (even though we might complain about how "busy" we are!), it doesn't allow us to sit with feelings.  I tell clients that our feelings are like a beacon or a light that shines on what we are truly needing to feel fulfilled in life. Constantly being busy begins to be a cover-up for our true feelings and our ways of coping with life.  Anything we use to avoid uncomfortable feelings such as loneliness, fear, boredom, hurt, or betrayal can be addictive.  Having an addiction to being busy is one of these things.

Do you connect with "busy addiction"?  How is your busy addiction impacting your relationships?  Does it make you unavailable to those around you?  And is it covering up feelings that might actually point you towards more fulfillment in your life?

 

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

Characteristics of a Healthy Mother 3

This week after Mother’s Day we are examining what characteristics make a healthy mother.  Most moms want to do their best to raise happy well- adjusted children.  We are often blamed for the troubles of our children by the media, psychological theories (thanks Freud) and most of all, other mothers.  The best way to inoculate our families from the harmful effects of the universe is attunement.  No I am not talking about barber shop style acapella singing groups (thank goodness), but really connecting with, or being in tune with your child.  Attunement is being aware of, and responding to your child.  This is not an easy task.  Mothers are famous for being pulled in a myriad of different directions, so staying attuned with your child takes planning and effort. Keep your eye on the prize: Attunement

Understand that you will be distracted immediately.  During pregnancy, mothers are immediately attacked by other mothers with “well meaning” questions like, “you eat gluten while gestating?”, or or “ breast or bottle?” or “stay at home or return to work?” or “will you deliver naturally, silently, in the woods and plant the placenta as fertilizer, or in a cold hard hospital bed with an epidural that will make your baby thinks it’s a rhinoceros for the first five years of its life?”  It seems that you have to choose a side or all will be lost.  It seems impossible that you can trust yourself and your child to become attuned to be able to decide these big decisions for yourself!  Some of the star performers in the judgey child rearing world make Texas cheerleading tryouts look welcoming.  These mothers have a sort of gravitational pull, like a black hole, and they will suck your intelligent confident self into the abyss never to be seen or heard from again. They will try to make you question your every move from choice of prenatal vitamins to your relationship with your grandchildren.  The mommy wars are fought long and hard, but they are not winnable wars.  A healthy mom knows her prize is not the admiration of other moms, but a happy well-adjusted child.  Avoiding the mommy war is the only way to win it.

When you are attuned with your child, you will not need other mothers to tell you what is right for your child.  You will know by communicating with your child through eye contact, conversation, gentle touch, quality time and simply being engaged.  This is where you recognize facial expressions and gestures and respond to the needs of the child.  That is, as long, as you put down the other distractions.  Yes, that means your smart phone, portable e reader, lap top or other form of cocaine for the mind that we drift toward when we have five seconds of free time.  You child knows when she is talking to you and your reply is “uh huh, uh huh, mmmmmm, just one second…” that you are not really attuned with them.  They know because they perfected the move. Park the gadgets for dinner time, or car time, or time when you could actually have a discussion with your child instead of trolling their Facebook page to see what is going on.

When your child is young and has limited vocabulary, getting down on the floor and playing with your child creates wonderful attunement.  Play along with your child (not sit by the child and read while he plays, that does not count).  Ask your child about the play, ask how they want you to play, reflect what you see them doing while they play.  This kind of activity allows children to know you are engaged in what they are doing and you find them interesting.  Sometime children will appear to be disinterested in attunement.  This is a developmentally appropriate response in tween to teenage years.  It is also a ruse designed to throw you off course.  The thing about tweens and teens is that they still crave your interest and attention.  Now, they may not crawl up in your lap and want to cuddle anymore, but they still want to be heard, seen, and valued.  Do not let these kids push you away.  Stay attuned.  It may be uncomfortable for you, but you are a mother.  And as mothers, it is not our job to be comfortable.

Please stay tuned this week as Natalie and Christy continue to share characteristics of a healthy mother.  As always, thanks for stopping by.

Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT

Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield

What are the signs of Postpartum Depression?

After the baby comes, women are often overwhelmed with many feelings.  A mother may feel tired, happy, anxious, frustrated, in love, and blue.  Sometimes all at once!  A breast feeding specialist once told me, when the milk comes in, so to the tears.  So many feelings! However, PPD steps these feelings up a notch.  Signs that you may be experiencing PPD are:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day every day
  • Feeling shame, guilt, or like a failure
  • Feeling anxious or scared all the time
  • Severe mood swings

Changes in daily habits are to be expected with a newborn.  However, signs that you may have PPD are:

  • Having little or no interest in things you normally like to do
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Gaining or losing weight (not justified by the fact that you just had a baby)
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much (not justified by the fact that you are up at strange hours tending to your baby)
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions (not justified by the fact that you just had a baby and have little sleep)

An important sign that you need to pay attention to is how you feel about yourself or your baby.

  • Are you having trouble bonding with your baby?
  • Do you think of hurting yourself or your baby?
  • Do you think about killing yourself?

Can having PPD affect your baby?  Yes!  If you are suffering from untreated PPD your baby may:

  • Have trouble bonding with you
  • Cry a lot
  • Be delayed in development
  • Show behavior problems

If you feel you may have PPD, call your health care provider right away.  There are medical interventions and therapies that can help.  If you are feeling suicidal or like you will harm your baby, please call 911 immediately.

Please come back tomorrow as Natalie discussed treatment options for PPD.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

*Source: March of Dimes “Postpartum Feelings” from www.marchofdimes.com

Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT

Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield

 

Spring Book Recommendations- Alexa

Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton I do not follow many blogs, but there are some I follow regularly: Brene Brown’s Ordinarycourage.com; Jenny Lawson’s thebloggess.com; Andrea Owen’s Yourkickasslife.com and finally Glennon Melton’s Momastery.com.  All of them have published wonderful useful entertaining books in the last year, so I was so excited two weeks ago when my copy of Carry On Warrior by Glennon Melton arrived in the magical brown Amazon box at my door!  I immediately told my husband and sons to go do something manly because I was headed to the bathtub to read and did not want to be disturbed.

If you follow momastery.com, you are familiar with Glennon’s story.   She is a mother of of three children who writes for her own popular blog site as well as Huffington Post.  Even if you do not follow her, you have likely read some of her viral posts like “Don’t Carpe Deum” and “A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On”.  If you have not read these posts, you should.

Glennon is someone most of us can relate to.  Although she has a checkered past, she has learned from her addictions, eating disorders, recovery and redemption.  She is candidly honest about her imperfect life, maternal experiences, and close relationship with God, painful marital struggles, and tender caring heart.  Glennon believes that women should stop competing with being suspicious of, and stop hiding from our honest selves.  Her blog is a place where we stop making parenting and marriage harder by pretending that it’s not hard.  Glennon emphasizes three main thoughts through her work:  She teaches us “We can do hard things” and “We belong to each other” and “Love Wins”.

I enjoyed learning more about Glennon’s story through her book.  I especially enjoy hearing about parenting challenges since they make me feel more normal in my own parenting journey.  Her writing is familiar and funny and feels like reading a letter from a long lost friend.  The book made me laugh and cry throughout.  Others are touting this book as self-help but I do not see it that way.  I read it as more of a connection to another human’s amazing story.

If you are looking for a light beach read, and to regain some centeredness in the often competitive world of wifedom and motherhood, this is the book for you.  And if you get a chance, read her post called For Maggie Who Lost Her Lobster.  Awesome beautiful post on addiction and loss.  Enjoy!

Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT

Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT  is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapyfamily counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Fall Book Recommendations- Fresh Brewed Life

Do you need hope for the daily grind? Are you sleepwalking through your days?

Are your responsibilities and commitments robbing your life of joy?

This is your wake-up call to a "Fresh Brewed Life".

Excerpt by Nicole Johnson's "Fresh Brewed Life"

This really grabbed my attention and did I hear a million "Amens" out there from the women readers? This book is so well written with insight, wisdom, and my favorite- humor! Nicole has a way of telling stories so we can all relate and being real about her own life in a way that keeps you wanting to read and learn more.

She addresses how we all get in the mundane of life and loose our zest for it. She addresses common issues among females such as our self image, the anger we hold in, sexuality, and friendships.

Then she rocks the book out with ways to enrich our relationships, enjoy our freedom, and ultimately, change our world! It is so inspiring.

I highly recommend doing her journal exercises. You will get the most from the book if you do. They are pretty open and honest but it's what we need in order to have a "fresh brewed life".

I hope you enjoy this book-- it's good to the last drop!!

Thank you for reading and have a great day. Joleen will be back with a great recommendation tomorrow!

Written by Natalie Chandler

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.