Breast or bottle: your call

Breastfeeding is a much-discussed topic in our society. When we were in America for a few months, I noticed a lot of slightly obsessive talk about breastfeeding—about all the benefits of breastfeeding and how superior this natural way of feeding was. I barely heard anyone talking about the disadvantages. First of all, I want to make it clear that I’m also in favour of breastfeeding, but (and this is a major but) only within the limits that are feasible for you. I don’t think it’s right that all new mothers should be pushed or even pressured into a pattern of nipple shields, pumping, and the whole enchilada. The way that breastfeeding is often regarded as the only ‘correct’ form of feeding seems completely over the top to me.

I believe that every mother has the right to choose how she wants to feed her child. Yes, a lot of research has been done on breastfeeding and its many benefits for the baby. But there are also disadvantages, such as the stress a mother experiences if her child doesn’t get enough nutrition. Some babies don’t latch on properly, some mothers produce milk that isn’t enriched with all the normal nutrition but instead is watery, and some babies don’t drink for long enough and never get to the hindmilk. (Hindmilk is the high-fat, high-calorie breast milk your baby gets toward the end of a feed. It’s richer, thicker, and creamier than foremilk. This issue can happen if your breastfeeding doesn’t get off to a good start.) In general, people don’t speak openly about breastfeeding problems. Every mother who has just given birth wants to provide the very best for her child. In addition, the uncertainty that comes with being a new parent means that mothers can be particularly susceptible to the opinions of others, especially the women who belong to the ‘breastfeeding mafia’. I think this is a rather heavy term, so I call them the breastfeeding gurus—that sounds a bit nicer.

A pregnant client once told me that she had already decided not to breastfeed. She didn’t want any more demands on her body after giving birth and wanted her breasts to be hers and hers alone. I find this perfectly understandable. However, people in her immediate environment questioned her about it all the time: ‘Wouldn’t you like to at least try to breastfeed? It’s said to be so good for your baby.’ Once the baby was born and she was bottle feeding, complete strangers would ask her out of the blue, ‘Why aren’t you breastfeeding?’ My client was completely disconcerted by this. On the one hand, she felt guilty, and on the other hand, she wondered why people weren’t minding their own business.

 

Fiddling

I started breastfeeding right after giving birth to my oldest daughter because I felt that it was my moral duty (here we go again). I felt pressured by society, by the breastfeeding gurus. I felt as though giving my baby a bottle would mean I was failing as a mother. Why didn’t I think for a moment, What am I getting myself into? Is what’s best for the baby, also best for me? Maybe I can bottle feed as well? No, I felt I had to breastfeed. In retrospect, I don’t understand why I was so rigid about it. But when I tried to breastfeed, the drops of colostrum came out with a lot of difficulty. I literally milked my chest with a shot glass under the pump, because that way we could measure if any milk was coming out at all—three full days of ‘fiddling’! I remember this time well, our desperation mounting because our baby was losing too much weight and we were told she’d have to be admitted to hospital if she didn’t gain weight soon. Her skin was continuing to turn yellow, something that should have already disappeared, and she also became a bit drowsy. I was horrified and so anxious. When I saw that of the six drops of colostrum I had managed to squeeze out with a lot of effort and pain, at least three drops had accidentally leaked into my shirt, I couldn’t stop sobbing. I really bawled my eyes out. I was so upset that those three drops of milk went to waste, because my baby needed them so badly.

This is how I drove myself crazy. Fortunately, before I gave birth (back when I could think with a clear head), I bought a package of formula, just in case. That formula was our salvation, and I just gave it to my baby at night. I also kept on pumping during the nights. I was determined as hell. All the pumping finally paid off, because on day four after the delivery, my milk started to come in. It no longer seeped but spurted and, before I knew it, I could pump with bottles underneath the pump instead of those idiotic shot glasses. So off I went. Even though it was ‘great’ to be able to feed my child, ‘great’ was the last thing I was feeling, because I was in so much pain whenever she latched on. I know that many mothers experience this initially and then after half a minute the pain fades away; however, that wasn’t the case for me. That stinging, intensely vicious pain stayed and sometimes became even worse. What is this? I kept thinking, shocked. Do all mothers hurt so much when breastfeeding their child, or am I the chosen one forced to suffer while all the other breastfeeding mums carry on blissfully? When our midwife arrived with nipple shields, I even let myself be talked into those as well. Nipple shields can help a baby latch on better and drink more easily. I couldn’t even handle water from the shower touching my nipples, they were that sensitive. You can probably imagine that when the nipple shield came off my nipples, it hurt so much I screamed and started to cry again. Fun times.

I managed a total of three months of pumping and feeding my daughter. Three months with chest inflammation and extreme pain. Never again. With my second child, born over three years later, I bottle fed from the start. Yes, there will be people who call me selfish. Yes, there will be people who judge me and call me a bad mother. To these people I want to say, ‘Live and let live.’

My American friend was more or less forced to breastfeed by her mother-in-law. When I heard this, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. Unfortunately, I hear many similar stories from my clients. Mothers, or mothers-in-law, foist themselves upon these new mothers with well-intentioned advice about breastfeeding. Even with the best intentions, because they often only want to ‘help’ their daughter (or daughter-in-law), they don’t realize that their advice often has the opposite effect, and the mother in question starts to feel more insecure about her own capabilities as a mother. It seems like that was the case with my American friend. ‘Once I switched to bottle-feeding,’ she said, ‘I hid the packs of formula food from my mother-in-law. In fact, I pretended it was expressed milk.’ It was so sad to hear that she felt the need to disguise her own choices and lie about it, too. I think every mother should be free to make her own decisions without feeling the weight of the world’s opinions on her shoulders. A new mother already has so much on her plate, let her be who she is and accept her choices. Let it be.

 

Facts and fictions about breastfeeding

When I was breastfeeding, I heard from many people that breastfeeding could help with postpartum depression. A Dutch website published a study by the University of Cambridge, which had conducted research among over thirteen thousand new mothers[1]. The findings showed that breastfeeding could even halve the risk of postpartum depression, that is, if all works properly and runs smoothly. But not if you experience a lot of pain and your child does not latch on properly. In the same article, they explained that if breastfeeding does not run smoothly, this can actually make the symptoms of postpartum depression worse. Not just that, but breastfeeding problems actually doubles the chance of postpartum depression occurring. In other words, if breastfeeding goes smoothly for you, there will be loads of benefits for you and your baby. If it doesn’t go well, it can cause problems.

‘The women who did want to breastfeed, but who did not succeed, eventually appeared to have the highest risk of postpartum depression of all the groups that were included in this study,’ says researcher Maria Lacovou. Like many other mothers, I hadn’t known that. This researcher recognises that ‘it is, of course, wise to encourage women to breastfeed, because of all the benefits it has. But we must not forget to continue to pay attention to those women who are unable to breastfeed while they are so willing to do so. They have such an increased risk of postpartum depression, so it is wise for maternity nurses and other professionals to keep an eye on things.’ Maria Lacovou also states in the article that the new mother’s fear of failing in the eyes of society also contributes to her risk of mental health problems after childbirth.

 

Just a few months after giving birth, I read about the phenomenon D-MER (Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex), a condition that occurs in women who are breastfeeding. The symptoms involve experiencing such adverse emotions that breastfeeding becomes associated with very negative feelings. The moment the milk starts to flow freely toward the nipples, negative emotions are triggered—fear, anger, depressive feelings and restlessness—and can last for a few minutes. The good news is that the condition, which is caused by a disturbance of dopamine levels in the blood, can be treated. If you recognize these symptoms and think you may have D-MER, please check out the website d-mer.org.

 

Stop if you need to stop

If you add up all the evidence, women who aren’t feeling mentally well after giving birth shouldn’t be pushed into breastfeeding. I think nurses in maternity wards at hospitals, obstetricians, doctors, midwives, and health visitors who visit mothers at home should be specially trained to recognize all the signs of PPD. If you’re a health care professional and you suspect that the mother in front of you suffers from PPD, please advise her to do what she feels is right, not what is expected of her by society, friends, family, or anyone else with an opinion on the matter. Unlike the women who think it should be illegal to not breastfeed, I would strongly advise women who are already depressed or who are genetically more at risk of developing depression to stop breastfeeding if it isn’t going well. Don’t get me wrong; I’m definitely not against breastfeeding and, if it’s going well, I would advise you to continue with it, for all the benefits it provides you and your baby. But if you’ve been trying for a week and it’s still not working or running smoothly, please stop. Or stop even earlier, if you notice signs of D-MER or you feel complete aversion to nursing. It’s perfectly okay to stop. Really. Stop driving yourself mad. Stop pushing past your own limits. It isn’t necessary. Children grow strong and healthy when fed with formula milk. They function perfectly well, and twenty years later, no one asks your son or daughter whether or not they were breastfed. In fact, here in the Netherlands, the quality of our formula milk is so good the Chinese are importing it to China. Not too shabby.

 

The benefits of formula

Although there are many benefits to breastfeeding, formula also has a lot of pros. For example, it’s full of vitamins, meaning you don’t have to supplement your child with vitamins D and K, which is sometimes recommended for mothers who breastfeed, because of certain health risks for the baby. You have less stress about whether you’re producing enough milk and whether your baby is short of any nutrients. Above all, you know exactly how much food your child is getting, because you can monitor his formula intake easily. Of course, this is also possible if you’re pumping and giving your milk to your baby by bottle, but that does mean more work for you. During the three months I was breastfeeding, I lived the life of someone feeding twins.

Another advantage of bottle feeding is that your partner can do the night feed without you needing to pump, which gives them quality time with the baby, too. It also means that you can sleep through the night and rest up. Take a moment to let that sink in. You’ve just given birth, which has a major impact on your body and mind. You’re exhausted, hormonal, and perhaps overwhelmed. You need time to rest and absorb the momentous change in your life.

Whether you opt for breast or formula (or both), it is solely up to you and your partner to decide, no one else. I just want to reiterate that I think breastfeeding is an excellent choice, but only if you make that choice. I recommend, if possible, talking through your decision with your partner before the birth, because afterward, you’ll be a bit of a mess because of the hormones, lack of sleep, and so on, and making a rational decision is hard to do in those circumstances. You could for example say, ‘We’ll try breastfeeding for five days. If it doesn’t work by then, we can switch to formula.’ Have you already given birth? No problem, it’s never too late to switch to formula.

A client once told me that she didn’t dare stop breastfeeding. It wasn’t going very well and she was feeling like a failure. I hear this a lot in my practice. So much emphasis is put on breastfeeding, and mothers feel a great sense of failure if it doesn’t work out as they hoped. My client was pumping at work and hating it. At some point she had such a low supply of milk that after weighing the pros and cons, we agreed that she would stop. She was very happy with her decision.  something she reqally enjoyed.

 

Meet in the middle

Of course, you can also choose the middle road by combining breast and formula and giving both to your child. There is a lot of talk about ‘nipple confusion’, that babies no longer want the breast once they’ve drunk from a bottle. There are ways you can help prevent this. For example, if you give your baby a bottle (in addition to breastfeeding), you should first gently rub the bottle over his lips, so he slowly gets used to the teat. He’ll then search and latch on to the teat of the bottle. (That’s how your baby latches on to breastfeed, as well. Your child searches calmly where the nipple is located, before latching on.) In this way, your baby will not become ‘lazy’ but will automatically look for the teat.

 

De 5 moeilijkste dingen aan moeder worden

Wanneer je voor de eerste keer moeder wordt, komt er een hoop op je af. Er zijn momenten waarop je overloopt van liefde voor je baby en je enorm kan genieten van het moederschap. Maar, er zullen ook momenten komen die uitdagend zullen zijn voor jou en ook voor je partner. De dingen waar niemand het over heeft, omdat je als mama nu eenmaal blij en dankbaar moet zijn. Ik denk dat deze dingen los van elkaar staan Dat je als mama happy en dankbaar kan zijn, maar het moederschap evengoed heel zwaar kan vinden.

Dit zijn de vijf ingewikkeldste dingen aan mama worden:

  1. Je hebt vrijwel geen tijd meer voor jezelf. Dat vond ik zelf heel ingewikkeld toen ik net mama was. Ik kolfde, ik voedde, ik vouwde tien kilo was weg op een dag. Maar tijd voor mezelf had ik niet. Dat miste ik soms enorm, maar tegelijkertijd wilde ik ook niet weg bij mijn kindje. Heel dubbel en heel ingewikkeld. Veel moeders die ik zie in mijn praktijk worstelen hier enorm mee.
  2. Je verlangt soms terug naar je oude leventje. Het leven waarin je kon gaan en staan waar je wilde, zonder dat je een halve volksverhuizing met je mee hoefde te slepen of na hoefde te denken voor je de deur uit ging. Veel moeders durven dit niet hardop te zeggen, uit angst om veroordeeld te worden. Omdat ze niet als ontaarde moeder bestempeld willen worden. Maar juist het delen van dit soort gevoelens is heel goed. Het opkroppen maakt dat je je als moeder soms heel eenzaam kan voelen
  3. Je slaapt een hele lange tijd bar weinig. Er zullen ouders zijn die dit kunnen beamen, maar er zullen ook ouders zijn wiens kind al heel snel doorsliep. Hoe dan ook, de nachten waarin je weinig slaapt, hakken er enorm in. Je relativeringsvermogen is gedaald tot een historisch dieptepunt en de hormonen maken je soms tijdelijk ontoerekeningsvatbaar. Ik herken dit volledig, bij mij was het niet anders. Het is niet voor niets dat de CIA slaapontzegging inzet als martelmethode. Niet slapen is zwaar en het lijkt soms eeuwig te duren. Hou vol, lieve mama’s! Ooit ga je weer slapen, heus!
  4. Je relatie met je partner verandert en kan soms onder enorme druk komen te staan na de komst van een kindje. Dat is heel logisch, want een baby slaapt ’s nachts weinig en heeft veel zorg en aandacht nodig. Dus de focus verschuift van aandacht geven aan je partner naar alle aandacht geven aan je kindje. Dat zorgt soms voor wrijving en kan de sfeer er thuis niet altijd even gezellig op maken. Blijf dus goed met elkaar communiceren en deel je gedachten en emoties met elkaar. Probeer zonder veroordeling naar elkaar te luisteren en blijf met elkaar in gesprek.
  5. Het enorme verantwoordelijkheidsgevoel wat je hebt als je net mama bent geworden is alles omvattend aanwezig. Dat geldt niet alleen voor mama’s, maar ook voor papa’s. Ineens realiseer je je, dat je kindje heel kwetsbaar is en hem of haar niks mag overkomen. De verantwoordelijkheid gaat soms ook gepaard met angsten en de zogeheten intrusies. Dit zijn heftige gedachten die je soms als moeder kan hebben uit angst je kindje per ongeluk iets aan te doen. Sommige mama’s die ik zie in mijn praktijk weten zich hier geen raad mee en slapen nog amper door alle stress en dit enorme verantwoordelijkheidsgevoel. Als dit bij jou ook het geval is, trek aan de bel en vraag om professionele hulp!

 

Heb je een steuntje in de rug nodig?

Als nieuwbakken moeder kan het enorm aanpoten zijn. Je aanpassings- en relativeringsvermogen wordt constant op de proef gesteld. Uit schuldgevoel en schaamte wil je het er vaak niet over hebben. Toch is het heel belangrijk om erover te gaan praten. Want als je niet op een roze wolk zit, of het moederschap simpelweg hel zwaar vindt, moet je hier niet alleen mee rond blijven lopen. Ik begrijp als gene ander hoe dit voelt, want ik heb dit zelf ook meegemaakt. Mail naar info@froufroubegeleiding.nl Samen gaan we werken aan een positiever gevoel en maken we de start naar herstel.

 

When your relationship suffers after having kids

Many couples have a hard time during that first period, after child birth. Not only because they sleep very little. But, because having a baby, often has a huge impact on both of you as parents. Where you used to be able to go your own way, one of you two is now at home with you child(ren), more often then the other one. This often causes friction while you are adjusting to all tis regarding to parenthood. In addition, you still have to master that new role as a parent. Something, that most new-born mothers and fathers find very challenging at the beginning of parenthood.

Can I take a break?

This is perfectly normal, because the enormous responsibility that you now have for the care of your child (ren) is intense and asks a lot of you on a daily basis. It feels as if you will never “switch off” ever again. The “on button” is in effect and rarely switches off. Many mothers who come to my practice, have one or more issues with their partner. A lot has changed since the birth and there is a lot of pressure on both of your shoulders. There is also more arguing between you two and the atmosphere at home is not always tranquil. Take this from me: a relationship is HARD work. Most certainly, after the arrival of one or more children. People who say it is not, are not entirely honest about this, if you ask me. I don’t know a couple who doesn’t struggle after becoming parents. It such a big adjustment, so it is also completely ok if you don’t like being a parent all the time. Continue reading

When giving birth has been traumatic for you

Many mothers who come to my practice, have had a tough or negative birth experience. I rarely speak to women who have given birth like it was a piece of cake. I find that a strange expression anyway, because what does this mean, anyway? And what kind of cake? Of course, there are also mothers for whom this was the case and for whom the delivery went nice and smoothly. This article is for the mothers, for whom this was not the case. The mothers who have had a trauma because what happened during giving birth and still suffer from that from it until this day.

The delivery plan

Becoming a mother is a big deal. For some mothers it has been clear throughout their lives that they wanted to become a mother. For others, this feeling came much later in life and with another mothers this feeling may never be fully realized. Is that a bad thing? No! You try to do the best you can as a mom, nothing more and nothing less. When the delivery finally starts after nine months, most women are very happy that the time has come. The last few weeks are often challenging for most pregnant women and they look forward to the moment where they can finally hold their baby. Usually, you have written a delivery plan together with your partner in advance, which you have discussed with your midwife or gynecologist. In this document, you often describe what you do and do not want during your delivery. For me, this was, for example, that I did not want an intern at my bedside, but an experienced and empathetic obstetrician. She was experienced. Empathically: not so much. And I got an intern at my bedside. Need I say more?

So, I might as well not have written my birth plan, to begin with. I actually think that this birth plan is very nice especially for you as a pregnant mother, so that you get the feeling that you have a little grip on the situation. Once the time has come and you are having your baby, it is often different than what you had previously thought or hoped for. For a few reasons. First of all, Mother Nature does not allow itself to be regulated by our devised rules. For example, your birth can suddenly take three days and you have to go into the hospital, even though you thought you could have a natural birth in a warm bath at home. Secondly, communication is often poor or unclear during a birth, between medical professionals and the mother and father. For example, the communications go between the medical professionals and not to the mom herself. They talk over her head, as we say in my country. When it comes to a situation that is balancing between life and death, that is understandable. But even in less critical situation, this often happens. Many moms tell me, they had an episiotomy and a cut is made, without explaining or even telling this in advance to the mother in advance. I find this unbelievable and very rude towards the patient. I mean, they cut your vagina open. Can it get more intimate then that?

Giving birth is not a walk in the park

This causes a lot of fear and panic among the mother who is going through the struggle of her life. Giving birth is not a walk in the park and poor communication often makes a huge (negative) contribution to the situation. I am not writing this to try to point belittling fingers towards the midwives or doctors. I say this, because I hope that the bad communication during child birth will improve. And that the numbers of labor trauma will decrease considerably as a result. Because, I think that is desperately needed. My husband is a trauma surgeon and he tells me often about childbirth ruptures, where he often has to help recovering, together with the gynecologist. Because it has to be done well and as a woman you don’t want to be stuck with the consequences of an injury like this for the rest of your life. Often, women do not know this all can happen in advance. In the moment of child birth itself, the intoxication of the entire situation is often so all-embracing that mothers just let it all happen. Because they are  so overwhelmed. To be left behind with a very unpleasant and sometimes empty feeling afterwards, once the birth is over and they return back home.

EMDR

If I notice that mothers have a real trauma after giving birth, I continue to ask questions. For example, I ask them: what are your complaints, do you often have nightmares, flashbacks about the birth, do you experience heart palpitations, stress, anger outbursts, etc? Because this is just a small sample of the symptoms that mothers with birth trauma walk around with. If therapy with me is not enough, I always refer these mothers to a good EMDR therapist. I think this is essential to get rid of your trauma and to enjoy life and your baby again. Not that suddenly everything in your life after EMDR is just fantastic, but your life does gets a little lighter, it gets color again and you can handle motherhood a lot better. I am going to follow an EMDR therapist training next year because I think it is so important that mothers with trauma can be helped by someone who understands what this is like.

Experience Expert

I had a birth trauma myself, after the birth of my oldest daughter. I was constantly angry with the entire world and didn’t understand why I was feeling this way. When my therapist then suggested EMDR, I didn’t know if it would help me. In retrospect, it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. The feelings afterwards, the relief and no longer feeling angry or sad about my birth story, cannot be expressed in words. I can therefore recommend it to everyone! In any case, keep talking about your birth trauma. Start talking as soon as possible in the maternity week with your maternity nurse, your husband, a good friend, anyone you trust or feel comfortable with. But, also with your own midwife or doctor, Tell them that you were left feeling unpleasant after the birth. Then state your limits afterwards and tell them what you experienced as difficult and what you think caused all of that. In this way, you get it of your chest and the healthcare professional in question can (hopefully) learn from this all.

Have you noticed that you also have negative thoughts after you have given birth? Do you feel lonely and do you have gloomy moods that pass with difficulty? Do you often have nightmares and do you notice that you have angry episodes? Then please e-mail to info@froufroubegeleiding.nl! I know better than anyone else how this feels and I can help you!

Help! I’m a mom!

If you just became a mother, a lot will come your way. First of all, you now suddenly have this little creature in your arms, which you have felt tramping, moving and growing in your belly for nine months. For some mothers this feels very unreal, right after child birth. In addition, you are tired of the birth and you have often not slept for two nights. Add to the above, raging hormones and all the new responsibilities you feel as a new mom and you’re in for a treat. It takes a lot of getting used to for many new mothers.. You all of sudden have the enormous responsibility for the care of your baby. Something, that gives many mothers a restless feeling and a lot of anxiety. Some mothers ask themselves daily: what if something happens to my child because of something I did? New mums also don’t always like motherhood in the beginning and sometimes that can last for months post partum. Because, they miss their old life, because they lost a part of who they used to be and have to reinvent themselves completely. Maybe you were a party girl and were used to be the last person to go home at parties. Now, all of a sudden you spend a lot of time at home with your baby. And no matter how much you love your child, you sometimes long to go back to the time when you went to parties and festivals and saw the sun rise together with your partner. The thing is, most mothers don’t speak about this in public, because they don’t want to seem ungrateful or even worse: like a bad mother. Continue reading

De vloek die vergelijken heet

Veel moeders vergelijken zichzelf constant met andere moeders op Instagram, Facebook of Snapchat. Als je sommige moeders op social media moet geloven, is elke nieuwbakken) moeder zielsgelukkig, super zelfverzekerd en ziet ze er altijd tiptop uit. Ze heeft geen last van post-partum kwalen, een uitgezakt lichaam of onzekerheden. Ze straalt van oor tot oor, vindt het moederschap het leukste wat er is en doet alles zonder pijn of moeite. Herkenbaar?

Dit is totale onzin natuurlijk. Geen enkele moeder voelt zich na de bevalling meteen geweldig en vol zelfvertrouwen. De meeste moeders klooien maar wat aan en dat is heel normaal. De quote: “Die andere moeders doen ook maar wat”, is de meest gebruikte in mijn praktijk. Want echt, we doen allemaal maar wat! Het moederschap is nu eenmaal wennen, bij tijd en wijlen super zwaar en soms vindt je er gewoon geen snars aan. Als je na de zoveelste slapeloze nacht beneden komt, de was drie verdiepingen hoog opgestapeld ligt en je nog steeds niet in je skinny jeans past. Continue reading

Als je op reis gaat met je kindje(s)

Omdat voor veel moeders de vakantieperiode is aangebroken of voor de deur staat heb ik besloten om uit mijn boek “Toen kreeg ik weer lucht”, het hoofdstuk “Ga op reis met je baby” te publiceren. Dit hoofdstuk is een must-read voor alle ouders die voor het eerst met hun kindje(s) op vakantie gaan. Ik heb dit hoofdstuk met veel plezier geschreven en ik hoop dat jullie net zoveel plezier beleven aan het lezen ervan:

Uit je comfortzone kan ook heel fijn zijn

Moeders die geen lucht krijgen, blijven vaak thuis. Lekker veilig binnen in hun comfortzone. Weg van alle prikkels en confrontaties met de buitenwereld. Dat is heel begrijpelijk en niets om je voor te schamen. De gedachte om dan op vakantie te gaan, staat deze mama’s vaak enorm tegen. Logisch, want als je de prikkels van het dagelijkse bestaan al amper aankunt, is zo’n vakantie voor je gevoel drie stappen te ver. Op vakantie gaan, als je een depressie hebt, kan echter heel helend werken. Je bent even weg uit de gebruikelijke contreien. Je hebt een andere omgeving, nieuwe uitzichten en ontmoet nieuwe mensen. Tel daar lekker weer, fijn eten en afleiding bij op en je hebt alle ingrediënten om een depressie verder te overbruggen.

Zorgen om niets

Toen ons kleine meisje zeven maanden oud was, besloten we dat het tijd was om op vakantie te gaan. We hebben altijd ver gereisd, al zolang als we samen zijn en zijn altijd van plan geweest om dit te blijven doen. Ook als er een kleintje bij kwam (of meerdere). Natuurlijk hadden we toen niet kunnen voorzien dat ik in een postnatale depressie zou belanden. Ondanks de depressie, bleek ik erg veel behoefte te hebben om er even tussenuit te gaan. Want alhoewel mijn leven werd beheerst door angsten en depressieve gevoelens, kwam de oude Tilda na zeven maanden weer een beetje bovendrijven. Thank god! Ik vond het van tevoren allemaal heel erg spannend. Voor het eerst vliegen met mijn baby, zou het wel goed gaan? Zouden haar oortjes wel klaren, zou ze niet het hele vliegtuig bij elkaar huilen? Geen enkele van mijn doom-scenario’s vond plaats! Sterker nog, ze huilde één (!) keer tijdens die tien uur durende vlucht naar Kaapstad! Eén keer! Er kwamen zelfs mensen naar ons toe, om ons te complimenteren met onze zoete baby. Ze lag lekker te kraaien in haar mandje, die ze aan de wand hadden bevestigd voor ons. Ze sliep veel en als ze niet sliep, lag ze op het kleed onder onze voeten te spelen. Continue reading

Stop met voor anderen te denken

Veel moeders die ik zie ik mijn praktijk, hebben de neiging om dingen voor anderen in te vullen. Zo hoor ik bijvoorbeeld deze zin heel vaak: ”Dan denk ik, ze zullen me wel een heel slechte moeder vinden.” Of: ”Ik denk dat mijn man mij een enorme bitch vind.” Gevolgd door een aaneenschakeling van negatieve gevoelens. Als ik dan vraag, waarom ze denken dat anderen hun een slechte moeder vinden, vertellen ze me dat ze zich zo incapabel voelen als moeder. Dat ze het gevoel hebben, dat de hele wereld het moederschap van een leien dakje gaat, behalve bij hen. Natuurlijk is dit niet het geval, maar zo voelt het vaak wel als je naar anderen kijkt. Vooral als je alle gelukzalige postst van andere mama’s op social media ziet. Continue reading

Waarom een relatie hard werken is

Als je een of meerdere kindjes hebt, komt je relatie vaak op de tweede plek te staan. Dat doen jullie natuurlijk niet expres. De zorg voor de kinderen, de stress van alledag en een druk sociaal leven, slurpt al jullie energie op. Dan is het makkelijk en comfortabel, om ’s avonds uitgezakt op de bank te hangen tot het tijd is om naar bed te gaan.

Logisch, dat veel stellen met (jonge) kinderen worstelen, om de sleur uit hun relatie te weren. Vaak hoor ik van (nieuwbakken) moeders dat ze het hun partner wel eens verwijten dat hij “lekker naar zijn werk gaat”, terwijl zij thuis het huishouden “moeten” runnen. Sommige moeders verlangen zelfs met smart naar het einde van hun zwangerschapsverlof, zodat ze zelf ook weer aan het werk kunnen. Even iets voor zichzelf doen. En daar zit nu net de crux. Want die tijd voor jezelf, is super belangrijk. Zowel voor jouw partner, als jijzelf. Jullie moeten samen proberen iets leuks te blijven doen (als is het een keer per maand). Maar ook los van elkaar. Laat hem lekker op vrijdagavond voetbal kijken met zijn vrienden en ga zelf lekker een dagje naar een spa, winkelen of lunchen met je beste vriendin. Op dit soort momenten laad je weer even op en ben je niet alleen maar moeder, maar ook weer even je vertrouwde zelf. Continue reading

Hoe ga je om met ongevraagde adviezen?

Soms bevind je je in een situatie, waarin je ineens van ongevraagd advies wordt voorzien. Bijvoorbeeld: je bent net bevallen en je schoonmoeder komt op bezoek. Ze vraagt vervolgens: ‘Goh, moet je baby niet in zijn eigen bedje slapen?’ Waarop jij zucht en beleefd antwoord geeft. Dit is vervelend, maar overkomt veel mensen. Wat ik bedoel is, de echt schaamteloze adviezen van wildvreemden of soms zelfs vriendinnen. Omdat ze denken het beter te weten dan jij. Ik heb goed nieuws! Dat weten ze niet. Welnee! Jij kent je kindje het allerbeste, dus jij weet dan ook het beste wat je moet doen of hoe je dingen aan moet pakken. Ik weet uit de praktijk dat veel kersverse moeders zich niet zo voelen. Door de onzekerheid en de enorme rolverandering, voel je je alles behalve stevig in je schoenen staan. Continue reading