When we think of postpartum mental health challenges, we often think of depression and sadness. But postpartum issues can present in many ways; people can experience anxiety, rage, or OCD-type symptoms, together with or separate from depression.
If you or someone you know is going through any of these challenges, talk to a doctor, public health nurse, or counsellor. Recognizing the range of postpartum symptoms is the first step in seeking help.
"There’s actually a spectrum of symptoms and illnesses that fall under the umbrella of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. However, because they don’t get the same limelight as depression, women who are struggling with them can feel even more broken, or hesitant to reach out for help."
Like many people, I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week about the “Me Too” movement on social media. I hope the momentum will lead to further conversation and action around boundaries, consent, and trauma caused by harassment and assault.
For those who are not sure what to do next, sexual health education is a great place to focus. In BC, we are lucky to have two amazing sex education gurus, Saleema Noon and Meg Hickling. Together, they have published a new book called Talk Sex Today. Meg Hickling also wrote a fantastic book called The New Speaking of Sex: What Your Children Need to Know and When They Need to Know It. If you are a parent or educator (or both), or anyone who is interested in changing the way we approach these issues, please take a look at these books. Pass them on to friends, teachers, and family members!
The take-home message from these books: It is essential that we start talking to kids about their bodies from preschool age, and that we continue our discussions all the way up through the teenage years. It is important to invite and answer all questions, even when we feel uncomfortable or awkward. We need to raise kids who respect other people’s bodies and have the emotional skills to recognize when they are being hurt and when their actions could hurt other people. This starts with having honest conversations between kids, parents, and educators.
It was moving and heartbreaking to see so many “Me Too” posts. I know there are many people out there who chose not to post, or who were not interested in being a part of yet another viral event, and I understand that too. No matter what your choices around this issue, I hope that we can continue talking about this, not only to change our current culture, but also to encourage more confidence and caring in the next generation.
My favourite new resource!
Mindful Games Activity Cards, created by Susan Kaiser Greenland with Annaka Harris. 55 Fun Ways to Share Mindfulness with Kids and Teens.
These activities are fun, well-designed, and easy to do. Some games are for all ages, others are aimed specifically at younger or older children. The activities are designed around six core life skills: connecting, quieting, seeing, focusing, caring, and reframing.
If you're looking for ways to incorporate mindfulness into your family's daily routine, check these out!
Happy Thanksgiving! After a lovely weekend with my family, I've been thinking about how to help my kids learn to appreciate the things we have and to learn the value of giving back to our community. This article from CBC Kids offers some simple ways to foster children's love of giving and caring by starting with the small things.
“If a child sits on a bench with the kid who no one will play with and hangs out with him, that’s a daily give. If they pick up garbage from the playground, that’s it. If it’s putting positive notes around the school, that’s it. It’s the really simple things we’re celebrating that we know kids can do at a grassroots level.”
Another great infographic on behaviour and self-regulation! This one, from www.self-reg.ca, helps parents and educators understand "stress behaviour" in children.
Often, we misinterpret stress behaviour, thinking a child is intentionally misbehaving. In doing this, we neglect to consider the underlying reasons and function for the behaviour. Adults who are knowledgeable about the five domains of self regulation are better able to help kids identify and cope with stressors. This illustrates the concept beautifully!
Daydreaming is a beautiful and constructive activity, especially for kids! It is so important to allow and encourage mental downtime and imaginative thinking. Mental downtime, by the way, does not involve screen-related activities. Read on:
"Daydreaming only appears lazy from the outside, but viewed from the inside... a complicated and extremely productive neurological process is taking place. Viewed from the inside, our children are exploring the only space where they truly have autonomy: their own minds."
Check out: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/10/teach-kids-to-daydream/280615/