THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- New child? Baby yourself for support, survival

In the past few years, postpartum depression has had a lot of press. Brooke Shields and Marie Osmond had it. Tom Cruise denied it exists. Now everyone knows it exists, and maybe some know the warning signs. But what if you have post-partum depression and you have to work?

Here's what you need to know about postpartum depression if you're a breadwinner of the family:  

1. Take maternity leave.

Try to think of ways to craft an unofficial maternity leave by getting ahead before the baby's born.

2. Plan ahead, for the worst-case scenario.

We know that best case scenarios don't actually need planning for. So why make plans assuming best case? Make contingency plans.  

3. Admit that no time off means you're high-risk for postpartum depression.

Right after my second child arrived, I had to finish a book, which was behind schedule. My agent told me that there was no way I could promote the book when I was 40 pounds overweight. So I spent two or three hours at the gym every day. The baby came everywhere with me– to my book publisher, to my agent, to the gym. I breastfed in everyone's office. I breastfed in the cardio room and the weight room.  

I cried all the time, and I felt that I had no idea how to take care of the baby, but I looked okay in all my meetings, so I kept going.  

4. Ask for help from people you don't work with.

5. Postpartum depression is one of those times when you should break the bank.

When I left the hospital after my second child was born, I told myself I would just ignore the doctor's advice because it would be impossible to not be alone with the baby. My husband had to take our older son all over the city for school and activities. And we could never ever afford round-the-clock care.

But on the way home, I remembered Andrea Yates. I had always felt empathy for her, but now I felt like maybe I could be her. I know it came out of nowhere to her: first she was just sort of depressed, and then she was killing her kids.

Plus, I remembered two times when people had asked me how the baby was, and I said, "Sometimes I want to slam his head into the wall." Both times I got very concerned looks. So stopped saying it, but I knew it was not good.

So I hired someone to stay with the baby and me. Only then did I realize that I was terrified to be alone with the baby. I still cry thinking about how I was probably a danger to my own child. The babysitter was as much for me as for the baby.

I kept working. I kept seeing a therapist. And we went into huge debt in order to pay for the babysitter. In hindsight, I wonder, What could I have done differently?  

My career could not have handled a three-month maternity leave. But I should have hired the nanny at the first sign of trouble, even though it caused a lot of debt. I was so scared of spending money. I cut corners on things that I thought I could handle but couldn't. And the biggest thing, in hindsight, that I thought I could handle, was being a working mom with no support system. No one can do that and stay sane.    



This is why I have become a postpartum doula. I help women to have a quicker,happier & symptom free recovery. We use information centuries old to cook a very specific diet so mom can avoid or decrease pp depression, colic in infants, constipation & gas in mom. We give her different herbals to help digestion, lactation & general recovery. We use essential oils for many issues that arise during pp recovery. Essential oils have been used for centuries for healing. We also teach self & infant massage.
I have seen incredible results from taking care of moms in this way. A women is very vulnerable after birth & has many emotional & physical needs after birth. Some insurance companies are starting to see the benefit of this care & avoid paying for months or years of counseling & drug therapy. I feel this is a continuity of care & every OB/GYN should give this beneficial information to their patients. We give so much emphasis on pre-natal care, but nothing about pp care. This is a very neglected area of womens health care. We need to wake up & realize happy moms make happy families!

My teacher said about the postpartum time, "Look at it as 42 Days for 42 Years"! Because we are so wide open, with all tissues and systems having gone through so much change and lots more to go...we may be able to look good but inside there is tons of invisible work. That's on top of caring for baby, being on call 24/7, lactating which is like running 10 miles a day and the sleep deprivation.

It really does take a village to raise a child, and everyone having a baby needs to learn how to engage their village or create their community if they have recenltly moved - in the west this means also educate them too, for the special support needed in the early postpartum weeks.

Marcia is so right. No debate with her, she was one of my students who got the big picture and takes it to the families, especially the mothers. When those first "42 days", more after surgery, which is about 30% of mothers now, when these days are not wisely managed and supported, the effects compound deeply and for long term.

Penelope, every mom sometimes gets frustrated with their babies. Our children starting right away push our buttons, as do our other nearest and dearest. This is part of growth windows that happen when we relax and open more to others. But with the cultural imbalances on our system such as, yup, brazenly assuming we can do anything and everything, added to the side effects of antidepressants which often create more violent emotions, then we are looking at really scary.

It is unfortunate that so many women assume the slightest negative emotion is cause to actually run for antidepressant prescription. There are much better ways. The SSRI meds appear by my training to both cover the symptoms and deepen the cause, even if they rescue some in the short term and we have to honor that.

Ayurvedic medicine offers very simple and practical solutions. REST, TLC, and mothering the mothers is #1. Marcia has listed many of the modalities I've seen work for very rapid results over my 15 years in the field.

KUDOS for investing in yourself, which was a profound investment of course in your family and your community!

Warmly, Ysha Oakes, Postpartum AyurDoula

Postpartum planning is as important as the birth plan. I second the post by Marcia & Ysha

You and other moms like you are not alone, and do not have to suffer in silence.