Let's talk about touch.
It is believed that this is the first sensation in the womb and that this incredible sense of ours is developed as early as 8 weeks in utero.
It is also the last sense you will most likely have and experience...
THINK ABOUT THAT...
There is no replacement for human touch, Babies who are deprived of touch have a whole host of issues associated with it: serious cognitive issues, delayed muscle development, behavioral issues and sadly a lack of empathy and trust. Sadly, these issues do not resolve themselves and will follow into adulthood.
Therapeutic touch in the form of simple massage can significantly lower the stress hormone cortisol and helps to release the feel good hormone oxytocin, and endorphins which decrease pain.
Even massaging your own skin will help to increase activity of the vagus nerve that runs from the base of your neck to the abdomen. This little piece of self care can assist in improved mood, enhanced circulation and improved digestion.
Studies also show that to give touch is just as beneficial as it is to receive. Dr. Tiffany Field of the Touch Research Institute has MANY documented studies from Mothers of newborns to family caring for elderly loved ones. The common link in all of the studies, was that anyone who is touched or is touching is better for it.
As we age our desire for touch and the need does not go away and unfortunately, as a generation they are the least likely to receive touch. This is also the generation that shows some significant gains in receiving touch.
Senior facilities that recognize the need for implementing touch as part of their care giving, report seeing fewer problems with behavior, residents are more comfortable physically and are opting for healthier foods.
Some senior facilities in metropolitan areas are offering up "Cuddle Parties"" where participants can receive touch in a safe non-sexual environment. I for one don't hate the idea of a stranger touching me, I'm a massage therapist after all, touch is what I do. It is an interesting development in this world where an organized party of strangers is called to do the work of what we should be doing with our friends and family...
In todays climate of the world, where the ability to trust and have empathy for your fellow human seems to be on the decline, perhaps we could turn things around.
I'm hopeful for a turn around. I'm hopeful for a place where touch is welcomed, expected and accepted, where touch is a thing of honor and love. Do yourself a favor and TOUCH someone today.
As the election draws nearer and our nerves are shot from the stress of it all, its important to remember...
UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT means unconditional support
We don't cut off relationships because we fundamentally disagree, or do you?
And if you have chosen to do so, how certain are you that you made the right decision?
In our culture it seems it is not enough to agree to disagree...
We bully, harass and try to shame others into thinking and believing like we do. How do you know without a shadow of a doubt your way is the right way?
The truth is we have no idea and can only make decisions for ourselves. It isn't right for me to force my beliefs, values or causes on others. Our higher power gave us a brain to do our own decision making.
As a friend, colleague, peer, parent, sister or daughter we owe our fellow human beings the courtesy to not be judged, coerced or shamed for thinking differently.
It is my pledge to do my best to remain judgement free and honor the decision you have made. From parenting to politics the choice is YOURS! Whether I agree or disagree is not part of the conversation. I honor your ability to make your own educated decision.
The same courtesy should be given to any person on our planet. Young, old or in between... Practice peace, humility and patience. Life is difficult, let's make it a little easier and stop the judgement.
These same beliefs hold true in my practice. I vow to let you have your own ideas, customs, beliefs and values. After all, it is your baby, your choice...
SIGNS ANY SYMPTOMS of PPDD
Loss of Appetite
Inability to Sleep
Intense Anger or Irritability
Diminished ability to Process Thoughts
Feelings of Worthlessness or Shame
Withdrawing from what you love
A rare condition but a very serious one.
***Please seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms***
Hallucinations (visual and or auditory)
Obsessive thoughts around baby
Attempts to harm yourself or baby
Fears that you will harm yourself or baby
When to See a Doctor or Medical Provider
As I stated earlier should you have ANY of the symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis please seek help immediately.
A recent study done by the National Institute of Mental Health has found that out of 10,000 women in this particular study, 14% tested positive for PPDD, of that 14%, almost 20% had thoughts of harming themselves.
Suicide accounts for 20% of postpartum deaths
It is the 2nd leading cause of mortality to postpartum women
Complications of PPDD
Mothers: Depressive period that can last several weeks, months even longer in some cases. There is a risk of development of chronic depressive disorder.
Fathers: Emotional Strain, risk of developing depression, fathers can be at risk even if their partner is not affected
Babies: More likely to have behavioral or emotional problems, such as ADHD, eating disorders as well as delays in language development.
The long and short of it is, this is an epidemic in our country. We stay silent out of fear of being judged. It is estimated that about 20% of women who have given birth experience some level of Postpartum Depression... However that is only what is actually reported. The estimation is that the number is actually close to 40%.
Ask for help.
This is a moment in time that will pass but you do not need to suffer alone.
Don't get me wrong. I love using FB and Intstagram. Facebook has been kind enough for me to allow social media marketing to help people in my area get to see what my business is really all about. People are confident enough to make a call and schedule with me because they feel they "know" me. As a result FB has helped me grow my business in ways I've never imagined.
That said I am reminded EVERY TIME I get on FB and read through my news feed, just how insanely easy it is for people to post terribly opinionated, one sided, small minded things in response to a persons post. Especially in response to how someone has decided to birth, feed, diaper or raise a baby. Raising a new baby is a scary, isolating experience. We all need help and support during this time.
Truth is that just because you think it doesn't mean you say it. How someone chooses to birth is their choice. We live in America. There are plenty of options and ways for doing things and what is right for you may not be right for someone else, regardless of what you think. It really is none of our business (even if its in our news feed)
Truth is that as women there is an underlying current of self doubt and wanting to please. At least to your face. When we are perched on the sofa behind the keys of our laptop it seems to be a free for all pile on for anyone who posts.
It is terrible. As a woman who lives, works and breathes to make life a better place I am saddened by this. I wish for a judgement free place where we can all together and celebrate our differences and also what we all hold dear to our hearts. Our children and families.
Please take a minute to re-think what you have written as a reply or post and make certain you have given time to think about the other side of the issue. We are all human. We are all struggling and looking for answers. Lets celebrate our decisions and stop worrying what other people think or have to say about it. Lets stay positive and nurture each other using social media... Make it less about "me" and more about WE...
Like your Mother taught you, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"...
The following is a list I have compiled with 10 years of listening to mothers talk... These are gifts that come from the heart and have so much to offer, how could you pass it up? Rather than purchasing another baby gadget or piece of clothing or a stuffed animal, let your gift be the one that stood out and meant so much.
1. Prenatal Massage Gift Certificate - A pregnant body is a RAPIDLY changing body and with it comes rapid weight gain and all the aches and pains you can imagine. A prenatal massage is a gentle affirmation of love and comfort to an expecting mother and will offer relief. Find out who she uses and see if her current Therapist is able to accommodate prenatal and postpartum massage. If not inquire at ABMP.com to find a pregnancy massage specialist. Also, don't ignore the need for massage postpartum. It is a gentle reminder to have her take care of herself and will be a welcomed session after the birth.
2. Infant Massage Classes - A perfect gift for the new Mother. Especially an anxious Mother, massage will help her to read her little one and learn his or her language. It empowers, calms and helps the infant in the same way it helps us, reduced stress, calming and relaxing and will help baby sleep better and be happier. Find a certified Infant Massage Instructor at IAIM.net
3. Meal Train - You know how nice it is to come home from a long day to a prepared hot dinner that you didn't lift finger to do. Why not put together a series of meals for her with a few friends. Make sure you are aware of any allergies or food restrictions before starting this task. What we eat is always important but with a nursing or healing mother it is paramount. During this time we need to take time to nurture ourselves and our bodies, what better way than with a home cooked ready made meal. Find out what she loves and do it. Also, don't forget the people stopping in. Bake cookies or coffee cakes or quick breads. She can grab a quick bite during her midnight feeding and feed the neighbors stopping in to see the new baby...
4. Babysitting Coupons - Finding someone you are comfortable enough with to leave your newborn or even toddler with can be nerve wracking. Chances are that as a guest at the shower you are already a trusted friend. She will be more likely to ask for help if you offer in this way.
5. Social Contact - Our society takes it as normal that we give birth then hide in our homes, alone until we have a spouse come home or you go back to work. Isolation is a terrible thing we have come to accept as a norm of young mothers. Nothing good comes from isolating a mother and new baby. A new mother and infant need to be card for and nurtured. Take her a warm beverage and treat of her choice and let her talk. Catch a Moms and me yoga class or baby wearing gym class, meet her at the park, trail head, Mall or wherever she prefers just let her lead the way with conversation.
6. Potpartum Doula - Someone to help, guide and support during the postpartum period. Find one at ProDoula.com they can help with all of these resources locally. They provide non medical support and care that is judgement free. There are some that will even do overnights to help a new mother get her rest, do light cleaning and even meal prep.
Do you see a theme here..? its about support. Its about empowering and nurturing the new Mother. If you'd like my help with this, I am here to serve. Give me a call. 360-791-7861
This is a picture of my son and I in a tearful embrace. Saying goodbye for 5 months before he embarks on a vacation and studying on the other side of the planet. Places I have never really imagined visiting because they were so exotic and seemingly unattainable. The fact is that I was sad. I was heartbroken to see him go and to let it happen causes me a lot of anxiety.
But the truth is this, as soon as I got my cry out after dropping him at the airport, I became very appreciative of the fact that at the ripe of age of 22 Wyat is setting and attaining goals.
To me that is amazing and while I am incredibly proud I am also very humbled by him. I have tried to give him a sense of autonomy and let him know that anything he wants he can achieve. He has taken that to heart and has excelled in all that he sets out to do.
It may all be a little disorganized and done differently than I would have done it, but here is the thing... I DIDN'T DO IT. I led a life paralyzed with fear of the unknown and didn't think I could ever do the things he is doing. I didn't have faith in the future or trust the process of the universe.
At the ripe old age of 47 I am learning to trust the process and the universe, To ask for what I want and to take steps to make it happen for me... It may seem a little disorganized and approached differently than you would have done it but here is the thing. I AM DOING IT! My way... trusting the process, trusting the universe. Making it happen.
Thank you for the lesson Wyat. I love you, happy trails and travels to you!
I read an amazing little blog today about being "low maintenance" and the virtues of what really matters in our lives.
It got me thinking about being high maintenance and why we create that cycle in our lives. My day is too full of work, worry, caring for others, and my hair too crazy and time consuming to tame. My nails are kept short because of what I do. Clothes and makeup just aren't as fun as it was at 16. A high maintenance lifestyle is not for me.
As a self described low maintenance woman, there is one exception, massage. I try and be diligent when it comes to my self care. Not because of the reasons you'd think. Its not about being pampered or getting the royal treatment at the Spa. My connection to massage was formed when I was pregnant with my son 22 years ago and started receiving massage. It was a life saving, course altering event my life.
Massage for me is a way of life. I know that it makes my life better. We can all hear the facts being listed to the benefits for stress reduction and dealing with life's little aches and pains. That said, the true benefit for me is that it helps me stay connected with my body. Letting me know when I have worked too much or stressed too much and even when I have taken it too easy for too long.
Sometimes the conversations with my body are full on screaming matches, other times its a quiet conversation with gentle reminders of daily affirmations. These conversations get me to do a little more yoga, walk a little more, eat a little better. Its all good.
Massage enhances all the systems in the body and helps you quietly achieve that high maintenance lifestyle without the time consuming, money sucking mall shopping, shoe mongering, hair products, makeup, spa days, tanning salons... You get the picture.
Do something for yourself and start a love affair with massage. Your body, mind and soul will thank you
As I sit here today thinking about the upcoming Mothers Day, I am acutely aware of the absence of my son. It makes me think of the day my own Mother will no longer be here for celebrating or how she has had to learn to live and celebrate without her own Mother around.
"It doesn't matter what other people think", we tell ourselves this as women and young girls all the time. Its a sad sentiment really, because ultimately it does matter to us what others think, especially when we are young and struggling to find our way in the world. I am so happy that I did not have "social media" while I was home trying to nurse and figure out just what Wyat was trying to tell me.
Having a baby is a scary proposition, not for the weak or timid and make sure your armor is ready for battle when and if you decide to "share" whats going on with you on Facebook. Whether its about breastfeeding, diapers, bottle feeding, immunizations, or even a picture of an outing at a local play space.
Immediate comments come flying in with either loads of support or "what were you thinking" and "I would never" or even worse. The fact of the matter is I am trying to remain judgement free. Who am I to judge what other Mothers have chosen to do. Its our own journey to walk.
In training as a Postpartum Doula I became acutely aware of the pressures and judgment we put on other women simply because their choices are different from our own. In this case it TRULY DOESN'T MATTER. If you decide to try scheduled parenting, or attachment parenting or attempt any of the myriad of parenting philosophies out there, it is going to outrage someone and they may throw around knives. Is your armor ready?
I have seen it happen. Countless times. I am guilty of it on occasion and admit that it is something I have to remind myself of on a daily basis. But here's the thing, practice makes perfect. Be kind, do good and practice peace and stop judging. We are all doing the best we can. Lets applaud the effort...
Lets support all women and leave the judgments to the professionals...
Author Michelle Moody
I lead a happy little life, where my mission is to spread love, empathy and healing through massage.