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postpartum depression, mental health

Depression and other mental health issues after giving birth are more widely recognized.

Nowadays, postpartum depression is so widely known that people who have never birthed a child know many of the warning signs. But when I had my first child, I was unaware that what I was experiencing wasn’t normal.

I was young, and living away from family who could’ve picked up on the signs. Doctors were not as vigilant then as they have been in recent years. I was given a postpartum depression screening at my six-week checkup, and no one asked me any follow-up questions. They handed 19-year-old me a child and essentially said “good luck.” Now, mothers are screened at every well-baby visit for their child, and if you’re a parent, you know those happen every couple of months, gradually spreading out as the infant gets closer to a year old.

By screening at every well-baby visit, doctors are now catching many more cases of postpartum depression before they become severe. They can prescribe a course of medication or advise you to seek out therapy with a licensed therapist specializing in perinatal or postnatal parents. Doctors, midwives and therapists are all taking the development of postpartum depression seriously, but rarely do we hear about other postpartum mental health conditions.



Having an infant can be a challenging time for parents.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

After giving birth to my fourth child, I began to be concerned that something may be wrong with me, but I was too afraid to say anything. I passed the postpartum screenings with flying colors. I was not crying uncontrollably, I felt deep attachment to my baby and never had thoughts of harming myself or my child. Check. Check. Check. But as the weeks and months passed, I grew more concerned. I was constantly in a deep fear of something being wrong with my child or of me somehow hurting him. I would have awful intrusive thoughts that included graphic images of my son falling from my arms and him splattering like a watermelon.

I was concerned that if I told his pediatrician this, they would certainly take him away and remove my other children. This being my fourth child, I knew what to expect, and this was far outside the realm of normal, so I kept quiet. On one of my visits with my midwife to follow up on birth control, she noted my increased anxiety. She deviated from the standard script when she noticed me tense when discussing the baby. It was the first time I had heard of postpartum anxiety. She didn’t think I was crazy and she was able to normalize it for me, while providing me with medication safe for nursing. I felt a weight lifted that day, but so many birthing parents struggle in silence with postpartum conditions they don’t know exist.

Postpartum can activate other mental health conditions outside of depression and anxiety. Some people experience postpartum psychosis, which can be marked by paranoia, auditory or visual hallucinations, as well as delusions. People can experience OCD as well as exacerbation of other underlying mental health conditions that the person may have been suffering from.

It's estimated that 50-85% of people that give birth will experience a mood disturbance in the postpartum period. It’s important to take note of your moods after giving birth, such as with a mood tracking app. It's also helpful to surround yourself with people who will be honest with you about what to expect after birthing a child. Building your support system before your child is born can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with welcoming a new child into the home. Don’t fall into the trap that society sets up for birthing people: You do not have to have it all together, at all times. Having an equal partner in daily tasks far beyond the first few weeks in postpartum is a tremendous help.

If you’ve recently given birth and are struggling, reach out to your doctor or midwife. They’re there to help and often have a working referral network for therapists specializing in the postpartum period.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Joy

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Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Holy moly—it's fall, y'all!

As pumpkin spice swoops in and we start unpacking our cozy sweaters and cute boots, we can practically taste the seasonal change in the air. Fall is filled with so many small joys—the fresh, crisp smell of apples, the beauty of the leaves as they shift from greens to yellows, oranges and reds, the way the world gets wrapped in a warm glow even as the air grows cooler.

Part of what makes the beauty of fall unique is that it's fleeting. Mother Nature puts on a vibrant show as she sheds what no longer serves her, inviting us to revel in her purposeful self-destruction. It's a gorgeous example of not only embracing change, but celebrating it.

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This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

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via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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