Self-care during pregnancy is about much more than midnight munchies.
True
Healthy Essentials

I jolted awake, in a cold sweat and gasping for air.

I was midway through my much-wanted, much-anticipated pregnancy with our second child, and in retrospect, I can say with some certainty that I was experiencing antenatal depression (depression during pregnancy). Little did I know, depression during pregnancy is actually pretty common — up to a quarter of women may experience it. But at the time, I felt hopeless. I knew I wanted this baby, but the depression led me to fear that the pregnancy was a mistake. To wake from a dream about this baby not making it into the world, just to dream it, left me feeling certain that I didn’t deserve to be a mom.

Image via iStock.


Depression can rear its head for any number of reasons, and I don’t know that I could have prevented it, but I do know that I wasn’t taking good care of myself.

Mercifully, during the pregnancy, my hormones shifted again and the darkness passed. (Though my depression passed, it doesn't always, so contacting a health care professional can be essential.) And not long after, my little girl was born, and all those feelings of fear and hopelessness felt so distant that they didn’t seem real. I was so glad to have her. I felt so fortunate that she was mine.

Now, finding myself at the beginning of a third pregnancy, I'm excited but also a little nervous that prenatal depression could creep back in down the road.

I didn't experience depression during my first pregnancy, and I don't know what my third will hold. But during this pregnancy, I’m determined to make self-care a priority. Because my emotional health matters.

Not only to me and my husband, but also to my children and most definitely to the little one growing inside me. What I’m enduring matters.

Image via iStock.

My self-care will include more "me time," more social activities, more days vegging out (at-home spa hour with body yogurt, anyone?), and more time talking to my doctor about what I’m going through.

What everyone needs is different, and there are many places to start — from easy things like taking a walk around the block to ones that take more of a commitment, like learning how to say no (check out this list over at the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® Program). I’m starting with daily meditation, deep breathing when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and a determination to have more girl time with my friends.

It wasn’t an easy lesson to learn, but now I know that sometimes it’s more than just "crazy pregnancy hormones." Sometimes my feelings are telling me something important. I’m finally ready to listen.

We don’t talk much about depression during pregnancy — isn’t it supposed to be a time of bonding and nesting and anticipation after all?

Image via iStock.

But according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, experiencing depression during that time isn’t exactly rare. Between 14% and 23% of women are reported to face some depression symptoms during pregnancy — but I have to wonder if those numbers would be higher if we weren’t so squeamish about the topic.

Your feelings are a big deal, but treating depression doesn't have to be. There are lots of approaches available for depression or anxiety that are safe for you and baby. And you shouldn't feel like you have to do it alone — doctors and therapists are there to help.

Image via iStock.

I'm a busy working mom, and we are in the middle of trying to sell our house. I know how hard it can be for us moms to find time for ourselves.

And when I leave the kids with my husband to have lunch with a friend, part of me feels guilty to even take a couple of hours for myself. But I know that by prioritizing self-care, I am investing in the well-being of my entire family. None of us likes the distracted and impatient mom I am when I’m burned out and overwhelmed, so I take some time for myself to make my time with my family so much better.

Sumo Citrus
True

Don Bay has been in the citrus business for over 50 years now, and according to him, his most recent growing endeavor has been the most challenging. Alongside his son Darren and grandson Luke, Don cultivates Sumo Citrus®, one of the most difficult fruits to grow. The Bay family runs San Joaquin Growers Ranch in Porterville, California, one of the farms where the fruit is grown in the United States.

Sumo Citrus was originally developed in Japan, and is an extraordinary hybrid of mandarin, pomelo and navel oranges.

The fruit is temperamental, and it can take time to get a thriving crop. The trees require year-round care, and it takes five years from seed to fruit until they're ready for harvest. Thanks to expert citrus growers like the Bay family though, Sumo Citrus have flourished in California. Don and his son Darren worked together through trial and error to perfect their crop of Sumo Citrus. Darren is now an expert on cultivating this famously temperamental fruit, and his son Luke is learning from him every step of the way.

Don, Darren and Luke BayAll photos courtesy of Sumo Citrus

"Luke's been involved as early as he could come out," Darren said in a YouTube video.

"Having both my son and grandson [working with me] is basically what I've dreamt about," said Don. "To have been able to develop this orchard and have them work on it and work with me — then I don't have to do all the work."

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Public education is one of the most complex issues under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has made it far more complicated. The question of how to meet the needs of kids who come from diverse families, communities, and socioeconomic circumstances—not to mention having diverse mental strengths, interests, and challenges of their own—is never simple, and adding the difficulty of living through a pandemic with its lack of certainty, structure, and security is a whole freaking lot.

Kids' individual experiences during the pandemic have varied greatly. While the overall situation has been hard for everyone, some kids have actually thrived at home, away from the rigid schedules and social quagmire of traditional school. Other kids have floundered without the routine and personal interaction, while still others are stuck in terrible home situations or have needs that can't be met by parents alone. Some kids are being greatly harmed by missing school.

Educators, politicians, public health officials, and parents have gone around and around for the past year trying to figure out what smart, what's safe, what's necessary, and what's not for kids during COVID-19. Many of us are worried about the mental health and educational struggles children are facing. There are no easy answers. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

However, there is an attitude that we can take that will serve all our children as more kids move back to the classroom. A 40-year veteran of our education system, former New York teacher and administrator Therea Thayer Snyder, wrote a letter on Facebook that has resonated with teachers and parents alike. In it, she describes what our kids have experienced during the pandemic, how academic standards and measures no longer apply, and what schools can do to help kids process what they've been through. It reads:

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Benjamin Faust via Unsplash
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

This morning, Joe and Jill Biden went out for a walk with their dogs, Champ and Major, to check out the surprise the first lady had installed overnight for Valentine's Day weekend. The White House lawn has been decorated with oversized hearts that have positive words like LOVE, GRATITUDE, COMPASSION, and FAMILY on them. The one that says HEALING is signed "Love, Jill."

As they walked along with coffee cups in hand, the first couple was met by a few members of the press. The conversation that they had has gone viral—not so much because of how extraordinary it was, but rather the opposite. It was delightfully ordinary, filled with normalcy, decency, and even a random act of kindness for good measure. And the simple goodness of it all is moving people to tears.

Keep Reading Show less
Sergi Cardenas/Instagram

Optical illusions are always fun to play with, and the paintings of Sergi Cadenas are no exception.

If you walk up to one of Cadenas's portraits from one direction, you'll see a face. If you walk up to it from the opposite direction, you'll also see a face—but a totally different one. Sometimes it's a young face that ages as you walk from one side to another, like this one:

Or this one:

Sometimes it's a face that has the...um...face part removed.

Keep Reading Show less