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Is Postpartum Depression Worse After Having Boy?

by Amanda on April 29, 2009
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Health and Fitness,Pregnancy

mom_and_little_boy While discussing my emotional roller coaster after having my baby boy 8 weeks ago with friends one mom made the comment that Postpartum Depression (PPD) is worse after having a boy. She attributed it to the higher testosterone levels while pregnant with a boy.  I have unscientifically surveyed my friends and most have agreed that their PPD was worse after having a boy than when they had a girl.

In the last few weeks I have had a few episodes of baby blues and anger. Now at 8 weeks I feel like my symptoms are calming down and my hormones are leveling out. My baby blues mostly consisted of my crying at night while watching a commercial or a t.v. show.

When I was angry I wasn’t angry at my new son, but at my husband and 23 month old daughter. My husband got sick and I was angry that he couldn’t help and I had to do everything. I know it wasn’t his fault that he got sick, but I still didn’t like it. I have been angry at my toddler daughter too. One day after I got angry with her I emailed my friend Amelia about my feelings and it read:

I do get really mad when Annabelle wakes up her brother. And then last night she was doing her usual – i don’t want dinner, but want to be in your lap while you eat – thing. In the process she swatted her plate of food away and it landed on the floor. I grabbed her, spanked her, ran her up to her room and put her in her crib and left her.  But i was so upset and upset at myself for getting so upset about it. (i hope that makes sense.)

After I had gotten angry I remembered that Amelia had written a blog post about anger and PPD here on The Mom Crowd and I went and read it. In her suggestions on how to deal with it, she suggested that you talk about it with a friend. So I emailed her and she called me back. Our conversation helped me, because it made me not feel so crazy. She told me that she had gotten mad at her husband for being sick too. She said that it was good that I put Annabelle in her crib and walked away. She encouraged me to watch my symptoms and to keep an eye on how often I get angry.

Thankfully my bouts of anger have pretty much subsided. I am normally an easy going person. I also don’t cry at every sad thing on t.v. anymore. I was also able to talk this out at my 6 week follow-up appointment with my midwife. She brought it up and asked me how I was doing emotionally. We talked while I nursed my baby. This would have never happened at my former OB/GYN’s office.

After the birth of my daughter I only had some baby blues. I remember bawling during the Series Finale of Gilmore Girls and texting my husband to come home from Target so I could have a hug. I don’t know if my Postpartum Depression was worse after my boy, because I also had a toddler to deal with.

In February the BBC reported that French scientists found a “statistical quirk” in their research suggesting that the mothers of boys have a greater chance of having a severe case of PPD.  I have also researched around the web and it doesn’t seem like their is difference in the severity of PPD in relation with the gender of your baby.

Have you noticed a difference in PPD between genders? Have you experienced a form of PPD and how did you handle it?

While we are on the subject this is a great post about not judging what form of PPD treatment people use over at Postpartum Progress (click here).

Happy Earth Day! Book Review: Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan

Happy Earth Day!

The purpose of Earth Day is to promote awareness about the environment and to inspire people to join in the cause to take care of our planet.  There are so many ways to be involved in taking care of our planet that sometimes it can be overwhelming.  It is important to remember that we can all do our part, start slowly, then keep building on the changes we DO make to help reverse some of the problems we have created by NOT taking care of our planet.

hc-logo1 For this Earth Day, I want to highlight a book called Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan.  Healthy Child Healthy World is an organization founded by parents Nancy and James Chuda, who lost their daughter, Colette, to a rare form of cancer when she was 5 years old.  They felt like her cancer was triggered by environmental factors and started to research how toxic substances and environmental exposures have an impact on children.  With the help of some friends and family, they started the organization to help educate the public and be an advocate for children and their environmental health. Christopher Gavigan is the CEO and executive director of Healthy Child Healthy World and is comitted to helping families make their homes safer for children.

hccover1 The chapters cover just about every aspect of making your home a safer, cleaner, greener place for you and your children–even beginning with pregnancy and what you can do to help prepare your home for the baby. First and foremost, the way you eat during your pregnancy has a big impact on you and the baby’s health.  Avoiding preservatives and additives like MSG and artificial food coloring are a good first place to start.  In my birth classes we have one whole class dedicated to nutrition during pregnancy.  Good nutrition is important for everyone–especially when you are growing a baby!

Avoiding chemicals, like phthalates, in (some) lotions and other cosmetics can also help protect the baby. The book offers itself as a guide as you think about everything from baby showers to products to put (or avoid) in the nursery. Gavigan offers specific recipes for replacing the harsh, store bought cleaners with safe, homemade cleaners.  Store bought cleaners have chemicals in them that can cause problems like poisoning, respitory difficulites, organ damage, and deteriorating the freshwater supply.

The book offers interesting information about the ingredients in our beauty supplies–it is enough to make you consider replacing some of the products you probably use on a daily basis.

The chapter on Child’s Play is helpful and a great place for new parents with young children.  We have all been awakened to the idea that perhaps not everyone has the best interests of our children at heart after all those recalls of toys with high levels of lead in them.  Choosing toys, clothes, and baby products is most helpful early on–and gets more difficult later on if you are trying to avoid large amounts of plastic toys (that is from my own experience).  We have a lot of toys in our house–many of them plastic. If I could start over I would have a lot LESS plastic, and more long-lasting toys.   The chapter even has some recipes in it for safe art supplies!

Pets, pesticides, and indoor air pollution is also covered in the book.  I was surprised at how easy and simple some of the ideas were for minimizing and eliminating pests in the household without resorting to the more toxic chemical solutions.  I’m telling you, this book covers everything!  The back of the book is filledwith TONS of resources of retailers and organizations to help you along in your journey to making your home safer and greener.

If you are interested in having a resource on hand, this is a good one to have.  As you read through it, remember: “No one can do everything. Everyone can do something.”

What “green” things do you already do at your house?  Have you read this book? Heard of it? What did you think?

When Your Child Wakes Up Too Early

by Amelia on December 3, 2008
category: 3 – 5 years (preschooler),5 – 12 years (kid),Health and Fitness

wakingup.jpg I am not a morning person.  I love to sleep.  The lack of sleep that comes with having children is probably my biggest personal challenge (and sacrifice)–well, that and staying calm when the children are not listening to directions–but that is a whole other topic. We prefer to have our kids go to bed on the earlier end (oldest and middle child with no nap=b/t 6:45 and 7, with nap= 8:30 or maybe 9, baby=b/t 6:30 and 7:00).  We parental units like to enjoy some sit in front of the tv time to decompress quality time together.  The unfortunate problem with this is that our kids tend to get up early and when they get up TOO early–it is often way before the chickens are stirring from their coops.  Like before 6am.  Anytime before 6:30 is too early in my book–7:00 is perfect.

When we moved the oldest and middle child to the same room this summer we ran into some problems.  They either accidently or purposely woke each other up.  Middle child had a habit of pooping around 6 a.m. in his diaper.  Rolling around in poo and smelling up the room probably woke up oldest child.  Before we moved older child into middle child’s room, middle child would hang out in bed for a long time quietly talking or resting and would get up when he heard others up.  Older child loves people so when he wakes up wants to be around ANYone and EVERYone.  No leisure time in bed for him. You can see how this could be a problem with room sharing.

4 and 5 year olds don’t always understand that waking up their siblings can be a very selfish thing to do–not to mention it can really make mommy’s day miserable. Especially if she is dealing with 2 children who did not get the right number of hours of sleep.  More whining and fighting anyone? We recently took out their lamp on their nightstand because one brother (I’m sure you can guess who) would decide to turn it on when he woke up–didn’t matter what time in the morning, and didn’t matter if other brother was sleeping. And trying to explain that other brother was whinier, grumpier and less pleasant to be around didn’t phase him.  Grrrrrrr!  And of course the lamp lighter brother had the biggest attitude about going back to bed. So what do you do when your kid gets up at the crack and refuses or “can’t” (aka WON’T) go back to bed for sleep or rest?

We have tried several things, some worked better than others:

1. A few years ago, we put a lamp on a timer so older child would know when it was okay to get up and out of bed.  It seemed to work for a while but then he figured out how to mess with the timer and/or unplug it so we stopped being consistent with it.

2. We have finagled with bedtimes to see if that helps.  We love the book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and have moved some bedtimes up earlier so they would sleep later.  Counterintuitive I know, but it does work.  Overtired children are more likely to wake up more often in the middle of the night and wake up early.  Have you ever noticed that when you have a late night out your kids wake up at their same ol’ time or EARLIER?  I am always hopeful they will sleep in–but I keep reminding myself that when they become teenagers and hibernate in their rooms sleeping through the mornings on the weekends I’ll get to really get to sleep in myself.

3. Patiently (keyword: patiently) leading them back to bed to rest until mommy or daddy come get them.  It may only be enough time for some slight dozing or snuggling on the parental end but at least I am cozy in bed and not starting my day yet.  I have had my fair share of mornings being grumpy, mad mommy insisting they go back to bed but that only makes it WORSE–they resist more and I get all riled up so I’m definitely NOT getting any more sleep.  I’m too busy kicking myself for getting frustrated and trying to tell the adrenaline to shut off.

4. Teach them about time with a digital clock.  This is obviously better for older kids but it has been working a little at our house.  We had a special “training session” where I taught the kids how to get out of bed, open and shut their bedroom door quietly so they wouldn’t disturb the other person sleeping.  We practiced getting out of bed and using “quiet feet” (we have wood floors on 3 of the 4 levels in our house so it often feels like we live inside a drum) several times. They had a lot of fun with it.  I also have been going over with them almost daily that when the clock says “6:0_, 6:1_, 6:2_, 6:3_” then it is too early to get up and out of bed.  They can lay in bed quietly (and we practiced several examples of what is NOT quiet) and then come out when the clock says “6:4_”.   They can say it verbally back to me but when it comes down to practice they are still a little sketchy about it.  Sometimes they forget to look at the clock, sometimes they read the numbers in the wrong direction–I mean they are 4 and 5 so of course it is going to take them a while to get it down.  They have surprisingly had a lot of fun with all this training and are proud of themselves when they get it right.  It still seems like they wake up at the same time more often than not. We have also been working on teaching about time with an analog clock just to help them with time in general.

5. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I just saw a little blurb in Parents Magazine about it and I am seriously considering ordering one.  A Good Nite Lite was designed by a dad whose kid kept getting up at 5am. He designed the night light to glow like a sun when it is daytime and okay to get out of bed, and like a moon to show that it is still nighttime and to stay in bed.  It costs $35 bucks which might be worth it for some extra sleep.



I realize that this post is geared for older kids in big beds, not babies.  That is a different post that maybe I’ll write about another time.  I have some experience in babies that get up too early too.

So, what do you do when your kids wake up too early?  What has worked for you?  What has been the biggest disaster? 

Half-Marathon: I Finished and Lived to Tell About It!

by Dawn on November 14, 2008
category: Health and Fitness,Healthy Mom,Inspiration

dsc07489.JPG Last week I shared with you how I prepared myself for a 13.1 mile race.  Then, I did it! Here are a few things that caught me by surprise:

  • I wasn’t anywhere near as nervous as I expected to be.
  • I was literally the last person running for the entire first mile (slowest starter).
  • Overall, it was easier than I expected it to be.  Oh trust me, it was still hard, but it was manageable.

I wrote a detailed post with more specifics on my personal blog, so I’ll link you to that, if you desire to know more.  Thanks for sharing in this experience with me, and if you participate in something like a half marathon, a 5 or 10K, or any other major athletic triumph, be sure to let us know in the comments.  Accomplishing a major physical goal is something to be so proud of! Have a great weekend, all! 

Half-Marathon: How I Prepared for 13.1 Miles

by Dawn on November 7, 2008
category: Health and Fitness,Healthy Mom,Husbands and Dads,Inspiration

running-2.JPG Tomorrow, I am hitting the pavement for a leisurely 13.1 mile run.  :)  Wow.  You can’t see me, but I am totally turning into the fetal position as I write this.  I am nervous!

We’ve talked before on The Mom Crowd about running races.  AmandaMcKenna, and I have all run 5Ks this year, and it was a great experience for each of us.  Over the summer, I realized that I prefer slower distance running over trying to beat my time in shorter races.  So when I read about a half-marathon that starts and runs through the area right around my neighborhood, I knew I had to give it a shot.

My first step was to look for a training schedule for beginners, to see if it was something I could feasibly accomplish.  I found this through my local Fleet Feet, and I was excited to learn that the largest sacrifice would be in carving out 2 hours or so each weekend to do the long run (and longer towards the end).  The weekly short runs were already the same amount of time I was taking during the week to run for exercise anyway.

Next, I needed to ask my husband for his support in this endeavor.  Since our children are so young, I knew I’d need him to watch the kids for many extra chunks of time.  I knew the training would also keep us from family time, somewhat, so I wanted to be sure that was okay with him.

After he gave me the thumbs-up (what a guy!), I thought about it for a few more weeks (I had room in our calendar to do this).  I didn’t just decide overnight that this was my goal; I spent lots of weeks stewing over it.  I liked running the other races I’d done earlier in the year.  Ultimately, I knew it was exactly what I needed to do for myself this fall.  We have a treadmill and lots of local greenways for running, so I knew I’d be able to incorporate the runs into our family’s schedule without too much stress.

I had good running shoes, the appropriate attire, a fantastic, ever-changing running playlist on my iPod, and the desire to make it happen.  There wasn’t much else to do but get going on the training.  At first, I decided to keep quiet about it, but after a couple of weeks, I knew I needed to share my goal with as many people as possible.  I created a special page on my personal blog to get the ball rolling and keep a little journal of my highs & lows.  I also kept a written log of each run on a clipboard.  In addition (because I am a list checker-offer), I made little signs of each week’s training so I could “X” them off after completion.  It’s these little things that served as fun rewards for me.

Throughout the past 3 months, I have experienced injuries and illness, though not related to my training.  I dealt with debilitating neck pain for about two weeks, which forced me out of running for awhile.  I read that it was best not to run while ill, but to get back in it when you’re ready.  So that’s what I did.  And my body quickly got back on track, even with a missed run here or there.

Once I hit the 10-mile mark, I got cocky.  I started thinking I was unstoppable, and lessened my commitment level.  I even tried to get away with skipping short runs in general and just running on Saturdays.  (You don’t need to tell me what an idiot I am – believe me, I figured it out just fine on my own! :) )

Despite all of my highs and lows, successes and mistakes, I think I am ready to take on the big 13.1 tomorrow.  There is more I could read online or in magazines to prepare, but I don’t want to psych myself out with too much info.  I know I’m a little out of my league, but that’s okay.  My goal is to make it across the finish line in 3 hours.

Last week, I asked my husband if I was a moron for thinking I could or should do this back in August.  He said I wasn’t.  He reminded me that this was the right choice for me because:

  • I wanted to do it.
  • it gave me tons of self-confidence.
  • it was good for me, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

I share this with you because you might need a new outlet for stress or a new hobby.  Maybe you’re struggling with your weight and you need to feel like a rock star a few times a week.  That’s how I feel when I finish – most of the time, anyway.  Maybe you just want to have bragging rights – to say, “Yes, I ran a half-marathon.”  These are all the reasons I decided to give it a try.  Let me encourage you by saying, GO FOR IT.  You never know unless you try.  And to quote my friend Jan, who did this last year: “If I can do it, anyone can.”

I’ll be back next Friday with the full story.  Keep me in your thoughts & prayers this weekend!  Thanks!

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