My Struggle With Postpartum Anxiety

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Oy. That’s a difficult title to type out.

So, some of my classes have heard me talk about having Postpartum Anxiety after the birth of my son. I’ve talked about how it created this cloud over my life, and how I was too overwhelmed to even want to get help. Ironic, isn’t it?  The childbirth educator, after talking for years about how it’s OK to ask for help…couldn’t.

But let me back up.

In retrospect, I’ve had bouts of anxiety off and on for years. When my son was born, though, it was a perfect storm for anxiety to spring up: We moved weeks after he was born, from our house in Rochester to a tiny townhome in Woodbury with a teensy kitchen and noisy neighbors.  Money was tight, as I was on unpaid maternity leave.  We had moved away from most of my support structure.  There were no grandparents closer than 45 minutes away.  I was in a new city with two little ones.  And when I had a falling out with one of the few people I knew in the area prior to moving, well….hello anxiety.

I’d like to think that I did ok-ish, but I did find a lot of things completely overwhelming. I struggled with simple things, like figuring out how to juggle one sick kid and one healthy one on my own. Small issues would become so major to me. My sweet husband deserves an award for being kind and patient and supportive and helpful while I floundered.  But the main thing was that I started having issues sleeping at night.  I would lie in bed for hours and hours, thoughts racing through my mind.  My saving grace, the one thing that kept me going through those dark nights, was the iPod touch my sister gave me and the podcasts I would listen to when I couldn’t sleep.  I would have been better off, though, had I asked for help.  And ironically, as I started to get to know local psychologists who worked with Postpartum Mood Disorders….I still couldn’t find the strength to admit how much I was struggling.

I am glad to say, though, that while my youngest is now in Kindergarten (and so I’m out of the “postpartum” window), a few months ago I FINALLY found the strength to ask for help. My anxiety was getting in the way of my life again, and it took a friend who also was being treated for anxiety to look me in the eyes and tealk to me about getting help.  Maybe it’s becasue she knew what I was going through that I was willing to listen.  All I know is that I made an appointment that day, and by the end of the week, I had a plan to start feeling better.

Do I feel anxiety-free? No, not yet.  But I do feel so much better than I used to.  And guess what?  It wasn’t as scary to get help as I thought it was going to be.

If you are struggling, there ARE resources out there.  My favorite organization is Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota; they have lots of local mental health workers who specialize in Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Disorders and they even have a help line staffed by trained volunteers who will return your call in 24 hours and will help you find resources.  And no, it does not make you a bad mom to ask for help.  If you’re breastfeeding, taking medication doesn’t usually mean you have to stop breastfeeding.  But really, take it from me–ask for help.  It’ll be OK.

I’ll admit, too, that I would never have wanted to write this post, had I not read over the weekend that one in six American adults are dealing with anxiety at any given time.  So at least I know I’m not alone. 

Thanks for listening.

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

traveling while pregnant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling while pregnant by any mode requires a little bit more planning and foresight than traveling while not pregnant.  In some ways, this is just a precursor to traveling with little ones in tow.  However, there are a few special precautions and extra steps that need to be taken to make your trip as safe, stress-free, and prepared as possible.

  • Always wear your seatbelt, and make sure the lap potion of the belt goes on your upper things, not your belly.
  • During long trips by car, train, or airplane, make sure to stretch your legs every hour or so to prevent blood clots.
  • Stay hydrated. Although it seems counter-intuitive, it’s really easy to get dehydrated, especially when flying. Also? The increased need for bathroom breaks ensures that you’re stretching your legs often enough.
  • Always pack healthy snacks.  You never know if you’re going to hit some sort of delay, and we all know how horrible it is to be super hungry while pregnant. It’s not good, so bring food with you, just in case you don’t have access to other food for awhile.
  • Check out area hospitals in the town you’re traveling to. Check to see what’s in network with your insurance company.  Maybe check to see what the various cesarean rates are by checking out cesareanrates.com.  Have a plan, just in case.
  • If you’re high risk or have special circumstances or going on a longer trip, get a copy of your medical records to have, just in case.  If you’re trying for a VBAC, always bring a copy of your medical records with you when you travel.
  • If you’re flying, always have a note from your doctor or midwife that says how far along you are, even if you don’t think there’s a chance anyone will questions you. Each airline has various rules about flying while pregnant, and it’s always best to be prepared rather than have someone question if you can get on the plane and you have nothing to prove that you can.
  • Bring comfort measures with you.  If possible, pack your pillows. If you need a band to support your belly while doing a lot of walking, bring it.  And make sure you have comfortable shoes.

Any other tips that you have, share below!

Warmly,

Veronca

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

How To Get Ready To Breastfeed

How to breastfeed

I hear it over and over again from people– that they thought breastfeeding was natural and it would just make sense–but then they hit hurdles, struggled, and either managed to overcome those hurdles or gave up before they wanted to.  With breastfeeding (and birth, by the way), things can go much more smoothly if you do a few things ahead of time to prepare before the baby is born.  Here are my 7 suggestions for steps you can take to make breastfeeding less stressful– and make it more likely that you’ll make your breastfeeding goals.

1) Take a breastfeeding class-  And make sure you take a GOOD breastfeeding class.  How can you tell?  Well, if anyone tells you to initiate breastfeeding by “tickling the baby’s mouth with your nipple, wait for baby to open up all the way, and then shove the breast into baby’s mouth”…..just, NO.   Make sure they talk about laid-back breastfeeding.  And make sure you walk away feeling prepared, not scared.

2) Get your partner on board- The best way to get your partner on board is to bring him or WITH you to class.  That way you’re both hearing the same info, getting both of your questions answered, and can work through any concerns with a (hopefully) qualified educator there to help.

3) Attend a breastfeeding support group while pregnant- First of all, if you go while pregnant and get a feel for the group before you have a new tiny baby and feel overwhelmed, then you’ll be more comfortable with going when you do need help later on. Need help finding a group locally? Well, Tiffany from The Book Geek just put out an updated list today.

4) Figure out what you’ll do for lactation support if/when you need it- How do you find good support?  Look at the options you have related to the place you’re giving birth.  Ask friends who have found good help who they would suggest.  Oh, and ask the educator of the good breastfeeding class you took.

5) Get some good books- My two favorite books are Breastfeeding Made Simple and The Nursing Mother’s Companion.  Both of them are easy to read, provide evidence-based info, and can help you troubleshoot unexpected problems at 2am.

6) Get some comfy nursing tanks- In the first few weeks, you’ll want to be comfortable and it’s hard to really feel comfortable while wearing a nursing bra; they won’t always fit right as your breasts change, and not every shirt will be conducive to breastfeeding.  The beauty about nursing tanks is that they are more forgiving on fit, can be worn alone as a shirt, or you can throw something over the tank if it’s chilly out.  Plus, you won’t have to worry about your stomach showing.

7) Create a nursing nest- Right after your baby is born, it’ll seem like you’re spending a lot of time breastfeeding.  It’s critical to create a place to feed your baby in your house that’ll have the food, beverages, and entertainment you’ll need to stay happy and comfortable.  Some moms put some must-have items into a little tote with handles so they can move it around the house.  Some find one corner and claim it as their own, even moving a TV and dvd player nearby.  Whatever you do, create that cozy place now, while you still have the hands and energy to do it.

If you have other tips, I’d love to hear them!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

How to save money on cloth diapers

Save Money Cloth Diapers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make no mistake:  The cost of putting diapers of any kind on a baby is an expensive proposition. Most estimates of how much parents spend on disposable diapers and wipes in one year are in the $750-$1000 range.  Even if you purchase 24 of the most expensive one-sized cloth diapers you can find, you’ll still come out ahead once you consider that most kids in the US potty train around age 3.  However, lots of parents see the initial cost of diapers and have a bit of sticker shock. There are ways to save on cloth diapers– some better than others.  Here’s what I usually suggest:

  • Find a place that resells used diapers- Locally, there are a few places that buy used diapers for resale.  The three that I know of are Peapods in St. Paul, Bellies to Babies in Richfield, and All Things Diapers in Blaine.  Look carefully at the diapers before you buy, though. Make sure the hook and loop fasteners are in decent shape.  Make sure the elastic isn’t shot.  And while a little staining is fine, diapers that are very discolored might have buildup that will make your diapers leak. 
  • Check Craigslist-Again, though, make sure you carefully inspect the diapers before purchase. Find out what kind of detergent they used to wash the diapers (the wrong kind can cause the nasty buildup I mentioned above).
  • Check out online swapping forums- The one that I know of and used when I was looking to buy cloth diapers for my son was Diaper Swappers. They’ve FINALLY updated their website, so it’s a little easier to use than it used to be. However, since you’re dealing with people you can’t meet face to face, buyer beware.
  • Make your own- From time to time, this national fabric chain will offer cloth diaper classes.  There are lots of websites that offer both supplies and instructions for sewing your own diapers.  You can also make t-shirts into diapers.
  • Crowdsource your stash- Finally, my last tip is not as much to get used diapers, but rather to ask for cloth diapers as shower gifts. One diaper can make the perfect present for a friend or co-worker, and family members might want to purchase half a dozen of them for you. Update: It turns out you can register for those diapers that you want at Peapods. Check out the details here.

And, as always, if you find cloth diapers overwhelming and confusing, remember that I offer a Cloth Diaper and Babywearing combination class for only $25.  You can check out the schedule and register here.

Those are my tips.  Have other ideas?  Share in the comment section below!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

What is “The BabyLove Difference”?

Everyone makes resolutions for New Years, and I decided that at BabyLove, I wanted to put into words what every family can expect when coming to classes here.  So, with that, at BabyLove, everyone here will strive to:

  • To create an atmosphere that’s respectful of all families
  • To provide positive class experiences
  • To promote healthy birth outcomes via informed consent/refusal
  • To encourage families to make informed choices about birth places and care providers
  • To emphasize patient rights and autonomy
  • To offer classes that are family-centered and based on the most current medical evidence
  • To have classes taught by appropriately trained and certified professionals
  • To refer families to the most professional and proficient resources as needed

At the very beginning of BabyLove, the slogan was, “Affordable, excellent independent childbirth education for all”, and that’s still a great slogan.  As I’ve said before, I’ve taught so many different families in the hundreds and hundreds of classes that I’ve taught over the years that I understand that not every situation is the same and not every mom has the same goals and desires. HOWEVER, every family deserves great classes, right? Right.

So as you consider your options, consider BabyLove. You will not be disappointed.

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

2013 Holiday Cloth Diaper Drive Wrap-up

The 2013/14 Holiday Cloth Diaper Drive was a huge success!

The donations have been sorted and counted, and here’s the final total (give or take):
Prefolds: 300+
Covers: 106
Pocket Diapers: 88
Contour Diapers: 3
Fitted Diapers: 47
All In One Diapers: 55
Wipes: 53
Wet Bags: 12
Snappies: 5
Wool Covers: 4
Lots of liners
One Diaper Sprayer

Below is a letter from Renee, the local coordinator.  I would also like to thank Dan and Millie at Peapods, Crystal at Bellies to Babies, Dr. Parno at Parno Family Chiropractic, Sharewear in Prior Lake, for their help and Peter at Do Good Diapers for his donations!

-Veronica, Owner and Educator, Babylove

On behalf of the St. Paul Share the Love site, thank you for your diaper donations! Because of your generosity, we will be able to assist numerous families in the twin cities who are forced to choose between diapers and other essentials, such as food, utilities, housing and childcare. This program relies solely on local donations from the community, and we are grateful for the support!

We would also like to thank BabyLove for their ongoing support. At times it has been difficult to get a new program like Share the Love off the ground and running, and we have really appreciated the support you have provided us. We look forward to continuing that relationship!

If you are interested in learning more about the program, or becoming involved with our site, please email sharethelove@cottonbabies.com. In addition, if you know of a family currently participating in WIC who would be interested in a diaper grant, please encourage them to apply online at http://www.cottonbabies.com/cblovelocations.php. The program provides a set of diapers (15 diaper changes) for each child under the age of 3 at no cost. Volunteers with the St. Paul site are also available to answer cloth diaper questions and work with recipients on any diaper-related issues that may arise.

Once again, thank you for your support!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CD(DONA), CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE

DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.