Mental Health

  • Asking for Help Doesn’t Make You Less of a Parent

    A mom of twins explains why she said yes to every offer.

    Article courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    I was 40 years old when I got pregnant with my twins. Because of my age, I would have been happy to have one baby. Having two was icing on the cake. I was really excited to be a mom. I would daydream about all the fun I was going to have with my babies — what we would do, where we would go. Only joyful thoughts. It never occurred to me to be nervous or that having twins was going to be incredibly hard. I just assumed that I was going to be able to do it. The plan was for my husband to go to work while I stayed home (alone) with the babies and took care of them. Naive? Crazy? Maybe. I like to think I was blissfully unaware.

    When I came home from the hospital with my babies (my little guy came home the same day as me, my little girl spent a few days in the NICU and then came home) I was so happy to take care of them. I was happy to feed them, bathe them, hold them and so on. I was running on pure adrenaline.

    Within a few days, the adrenaline wore off. I was tired. I was doing all of the feedings (both day and night) and taking care of them for the most part by myself. I thought I could do it all and actually believed that it was my job to do so. I was wrong...

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  • How to Make Mama Me-Time

    6 tips on making time for yourself from the founder of Solly Baby.

    Article courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Elle Rowley knows a thing or two about needing ‘me-time.’ A mama of 3 and the founder of Solly Baby, a super light and luxurious wrap for babywearing, Elle’s spent a lot of the past 5 years with lots of babies in very close proximity. As Solly Baby has grown since its birth in the little sewing nook of Elle’s Salt Lake City home in 2011, so has the team that depends on her, as well as the legions of mamas who look to her for babywearing, style and parenting inspo.

    Four pregnancies deep, Elle says she’s learned a lot about being efficient and letting go of the things that are not essential to the business — or family. And now, here’s Elle’s 6 tips to get some well-deserved mama me-time...

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  • 4th Trimester Truths

    Real moms reveal what those first few weeks with a new baby really feel like.

    Article courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    For a lot of mamas, the 4th Trimester is the hardest part of pregnancy. Sure, you’ve weathered the aches and pains of a growing belly, the anxiety of adding a little one to your life, and even the intensity of birth, but those first three months after baby arrives fully encompass you in a way you just can’t prepare for.

    Postpartum life is physical, emotional, mental and existential. Your baby’s adjusting to the big, new world while you’re adjusting to life as a mother — all while recovering from one of the most traumatic experiences it’s ever gone through: birth.

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  • 5 Benefits of Meditation During Pregnancy

    Plus one pregnancy meditation you can do right now.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    If you have ever watched a laboring woman work through a contraction, or if you yourself have gone through one, you may have noticed her enter a moment of deep or even serene concentration . It may have even looked like she was meditating.

    As a doula and frequent meditator, I have always been deeply interested in exploring the mind-body connection. Birth is a physically and emotionally demanding process; just like an athlete training for a marathon, it is important for pregnant women to explore beforehand some of the sensations and feelings that they may experience the day they go into labor. By practicing meditation throughout pregnancy, you are ultimately providing yourself with a blueprint for a calm and peaceful birth. The techniques you employ during meditation you will carry with you when it comes time to have your baby.

    Here are 5 benefits of meditation

    1. Tuning out distractions. If you are giving birth in a hospital, chances are you will be surrounded by noises and people that are unfamiliar to you. Whether it’s the beeping of a monitor or a nurse checking in, it is important to be able to tune these distractions out so that you can relax and concentrate. Meditation is the single greatest way to practice inner concentration. Close your eyes or lower your gaze and practice letting all of those disturbances melt away.
    1. Lowered heart rate. When you release the mind, you release the body as well. Meditation is a great time to check in with your physical self. Where do you carry your tension? Where do you need to release? In taking deep, slow breaths, you will begin to notice that your heart rate will drop as well. A calm and steady heart rate will also indicate to your baby that you are happy. Enjoy this moment as a gift to yourself and your child.
    1. Deeper connection with your baby. Sitting quietly can often help in forging a deeper understanding of your baby. What is your baby doing in this moment? Is she/he moving around or calm and peaceful like you are? I like to encourage my client to visualize her baby, stroke her belly, or whisper encouraging words. Meditation is a wonderful time to deepen that
    1. Increased Theta. In the human body, there are five main frequency brain waves: Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta, and Gamma. The Theta State is one of deep relaxation and calm. When you meditate, you activate Theta. Theta is associated with creativity, visualization, problem solving, and intuition. The higher our Theta frequency, the more expansive our consciousness becomes, and the more expansive our consciousness, the more open we are.
    2. A chance to learn more about yourself. My favorite benefit of meditation is the  opportunity that it offers to connect with your subconscious mind. Quieting all the external chatter allows you to engage in a deeply personal and intimate dialogue with yourself. In meditation, you are encouraged to experience thoughts as passing clouds. Allow whatever comes up in this time to pass you by without holding on to it, or judging it. What are your hopes or fears about giving birth? Meditation will illuminate a lot of these answers for you. You may surprise yourself about how many of these answers are already within you. Trust the voice that arises when you meditate.

    And your meditation: Try practicing this breathing meditation in a way that is useful and personal to you.

    1)   Start with 5 cleansing breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth.

    2)   Exhaling breath should be long and slow. Imagine blowing bubbles, or air coming out of tire.

    3)   Inhale peace/exhale stress and tension.

    4)   With each breath in, go deeper and curl your breath around your baby.

    5)   Feel your baby vibrating with love.

    6)   Repeat 3 times.

    This article is by Sophie Browner, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.


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  • Joy to Your Baby

    How your emotions affect the baby in your belly

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Just as what we eat transforms into nourishment for the child growing in our womb, what we think and feel can become part of our developing baby. As a practitioner of Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM), I am trained to see how our emotional state affects every aspect of our lives—and, when we are pregnant this is no different. In fact, from a TOM perspective, when we are pregnant, emotions not only affect our health and wellness, they affect the health and wellness of the baby growing inside our belly. There are the negative emotions like fear, sadness, anxiety and just general worry. And then there are the positive emotions of courage, peace, ease and joy. They all affect both you and baby positively or negatively.

    In TOM theory, every organ in our body not only has a physiological function, but an emotional one as well. For instance, the positive emotional states of courage and will enhance and support the organ of the kidney, and the emotions of joy, love and peace affect the organ of the heart. So, when these emotions are experienced it is seen as not only supporting the proper function of the organs they correlate to but that these organs are in good health because their emotional states are balanced.

    Similarly, the negative emotion of fear impairs the function of the kidney, just as anxiety and lack of joy negatively affect the function of the heart. When it comes to pregnancy all of the organs are important but the heart and the kidney are of most importance as these organs both have a direct line of communication with the uterus.

    In TOM anatomy there are energetic channels—one running directly from the kidney to the uterus and one that runs directly from the heart to the uterus. In this vein, it is seen that the negative emotional states of these organs—namely, fear and anxiety have quite a negative impact of the emotional state of your child in utero.

    In TOM, this is taken so seriously that women are told to not even watch scary movies or be around arguments or stressful events. They are only to be around joyous, happy and peaceful situations. I know that’s not always realistic in today’s world, as life happens. But we can take caution in protecting our pregnant selves from too much of these negative emotions because the emotions we experience on a daily, even moment-to-moment, basis, are penetrating our baby and becoming part of their emotional framework.

    The biggest message I give to my patients (and that I try to embrace myself, as I am currently pregnant too!) is that we need to focus on joy and love in our lives. Do it not only for your own health and wellness, but for that of baby’s. Here are some easy ways to do this on a daily basis:

    1. Practice gratitude. Each morning, upon waking, list 5 things (either write them down or just go over them in your head) that you are grateful for. A focus on gratitude shifts your focus from worry or stress to love and joy.
    2. Meditate. Even if for only a few minutes each day. Doing this calms your nerves and baby’s too. This not only feels good for you but I’d venture to say it will create a more calm child (perhaps one that sleeps through the night from the beginning!).
    3. Laugh as much as you can. Surround yourself with lighthearted friends, or read or watch something that makes you chuckle. Laughter sends waves of joy right from your heart to your uterus.
    4. Make someone else happy. It is said that the best way to get more joy in your life is to make someone else happy. So do a good deed and fill your heart with love and feel that love warmly wrapping around your baby.
    5. Be healthy selfish. Being selfish is often seen as being self centered or egotistical. However, I think being selfish can really benefit our health, especially when we’re pregnant. Not only do we now have to conserve more of our energy (because so much of it is going to baby) but we should be protective of our emotional energy. Avoid friends or family members that are draining or dramatic. Avoid watching the news or fear inducing television. Exercise healthy boundaries and say no to anything that doesn’t feel good.

    Practicing these lifestyle tips will not only keep your health optimal but your emotional state happy and joyful. And, when you are feeling more joy that bliss is traveling from your heart right into your uterus and nourishing your growing baby with love and joy. Whether this makes sense to you or not, it can’t hurt, and who doesn’t want a loving and joyful baby?

    This article is by Aimee Raupp, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.


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  • Eating for Om

    6 ways that food can help reduce anxiety during pregnancy.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    It’s no surprise that pregnancy can be a jumble of emotions, including anxiety and nervousness. After all, so much of the experience is in the realm of the unknown, and what to expect–especially for first-time moms–is all is quite unpredictable.

    There are a variety of tools we can use when it comes to calming the mind, including yoga and meditation, sleep, time outdoors, finding and relying on support from others, and taking mental health days off work when possible. Did you know, though, that certain foods–in addition to nourishing your growing little one–could also bring a little calmness and levelness to your world?

    Here are 6 tips to eat your way to a healthy body and quiet mind.

    1. Eat often enough to keep your body fueled. A body that thinks it’s starving can’t keep calm: it will keep a vigilant watch for fuel, and this hyper-aware, hyper-hungry state produces many of the same internal responses as high-stress survival situations.

    2. Eat non-starchy fresh veggies. Veggies are an essential part of a whole foods diet, and many of the minerals they contain (like calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc), as well as Vitamins A, B, C, E and K play a substantial role in mood regulation and emotional well-being. When the body identifies its nutritional bases are covered, it more easily settles into calmness, rather than panic that the food supply might be running out. Four or more 1-cup servings per day is a great place to start.

    3. Eat quality proteins. Protein provides the body with amino acids that are the building blocks for many of the neurotransmitters circulating in our brains that control anxiety. Wild-caught fish, free-range eggs and vegan proteins like hemp, brown rice, legumes and fermented soy are great sources, as are pastured meats and organic dairy.

    4. Eat healthy fats. Fats are key for the nervous system, hormonal health and many other physiological processes that underscore anxiety. Not only do these help the body absorb vitamins from other foods, but they tell the oldest part of our brain that food is plentiful: when there is fat, the body knows we are not in the middle of a famine and won’t turn on survival-panic mode. Play with coconut oil and milk, avocado, olive oil, flax seeds, walnuts and other nuts, fish and full-fat organic dairy.

    5. Incorporate zinc and B-Vitamins. These play a role in balancing the body and allowing the system to feel calm. (In fact, a deficiency in either of these has been linked to depression and agoraphobia, so particularly during pregnancy when hormones are all over the place, it can pay off to be aware of these nutrients.) Great sources of zinc include grass-fed organic red meat, pastured chicken, wild-caught fish, soaked/roasted grains and nuts, pumpkin seeds, miso, mushrooms, and broccoli. We find Vitamin B in grass-fed organic meat, potatoes, bananas, chiles, carrots, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, brown rice, quinoa, blackstrap molasses and nutritional yeast.

    6. Avoid sugar, caffeine, processed foods and refined grains. As much as your cravings will allow, try to stick away from these. The up-and-down effect they have on blood sugar is jarring to the system and can actually make the body feel like it’s having an anxiety attack when it’s not. An even, calm mind doesn’t run well on the erratic energy provided by processed or high-sugar foods. Swap in whole grains and gentle sugars from fruit or root vegetables.

    This article is by Amy Height, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.



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