All posts by katie

Katie, CLD, Education Manager, joined the First Care Clinic staff in 2017. She has been a labor and postpartum doula since 2009 and is also a childbirth educator. Katie is excited to be “back in the birth world,” teaching and forming relationships with moms. She and her husband of 20 years have three teenage children.

Five Things Every Woman Needs (Whether She Has a Significant Other or Not)

Whether or not you are in a relationship, there are five things you need to be your best self and to be a great friend, girlfriend or wife.

Be Confident in yourself. Focus on your skills and talents. Work hard and be proud of what you accomplish. Don’t compare yourself to other women, be it in boyfriends, beauty, clothes or anything else. Never ever feel that your worth needs to come from someone else, such as popular friends or a boyfriend.

Be Self-Reliant. Just like your worth doesn’t come from anyone else, your life should not be dictated by anyone else either. Asking advice from friends is good and healthy, but don’t let anyone else run your life. You need to make your own decisions and figure out what you want to do and where you want to go with your life. Ask yourself – Are you happy with your life? What do you want to change? How do you want to direct your life to make it different?

Good girlfriends
Having some good girlfriends can help you be your best self.

Have some good Girlfriends. Whether you have a boyfriend, fiancé or husband or are single, you need some good girlfriends. If you need to vent or need good advice, go to them. If you want a friend with whom you can watch chick flicks and paint toenails, they’re the ones you go to. If you are in a relationship with a guy (or when you are), make sure that you make time for your girls. Don’t be a clingy girlfriend, ditching all your other friends and demanding all your boyfriend’s attention. Keep up with your own group of friends. Your boyfriend, your girlfriends and you will all appreciate it.

Have your own opinions and beliefs. This goes along with being self-reliant and is quite self-explanatory. Think about what you value, read about and consider issues and ideas. Figure out what you personally believe and find important. Not what your friends believe, not what your family believes, not what your boyfriend believes, not what is popular to believe, but what you believe. You need to believe things for your own reasons. Having your own ideas and rationale will make you stronger. It will make it easier for you to follow your own conscience and be confident in yourself, instead of second guessing yourself and your beliefs — or going along with what other people think.

Last but not least, you need Something You Enjoy Doing. Find an activity or a hobby that you enjoy and do it. As busy as you are – especially when you are in a relationship – make sure to take some time to do something for yourself. Take some “me time.” This is a great way to make sure that your life doesn’t get overly tied up in someone else’s and to relax and enjoy yourself.

1 in 7 Feel Blue

It was almost one week after my 21st birthday when I woke my husband up and said, “It’s time to go to the hospital.” I knew I was in labor with our first child.

Twenty years ago, I didn’t know very much about having a baby, but that night, I knew I was going to be having my baby. My husband and I drove through the empty streets to the hospital with mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness.

At the hospital, I wasn’t sure what to do, what to ask, or how to act. I remember the nurses coming in. They said that they were going to do this or that now, and then they would do it without me having much to say about it. I began to feel a little bit out of control of the situation and more anxiety set in.

The birth of my daughter was a little bit difficult. Instead of giving her to me right after birth, the hospital staff took her to the nursery. I didn’t hold my daughter until the next morning.

When they brought my baby to me, I looked at her with some indifference. I felt some shock at myself because my first thought was, “OK, can I go back to sleep now?” I had expected that I would have experienced a huge gush of love and tenderness. I thought any new mother should feel this love when first holding their new baby. That indifference, and the guilt I felt because of it, lingered once we went home for the next few weeks.

My experience is not all that uncommon. We have this myth in our society that “good” mothers gush and cry to prove their love and worth as mothers when they see their babies. This “good” mothering goes on to perform self-care and newborn care. The “good mother” also cleans, does laundry and makes dinner without batting an eye. We somehow believe that if we do not accomplish all of this while physically recovering from birth — and on two to four hours of sleep — we have failed as mothers. I felt like a failure. This soon evolved into feelings of despair and depression.

1 in 7 women suffer from postpartum depression
It is OK to ask for help and to admit this has happened to you. There is help available.

One in seven women experience mental health or mood disturbances after birth. Yet we often don’t give women permission to talk about these feelings. It is time to acknowledge that postpartum blues, depression and even psychosis happen. Nobody is at fault for it. It is OK to ask for help and to admit this has happened to you. There is help available.

It is not a blemish on your character or your worth as a mother or a woman if you are one of the one in seven women who experiences postpartum mental health issues.

I did find the courage to speak to my health care provider about my depression and I was given tools to help. My daughter is a beautiful 20-year-old and we have a strong, secure relationship. I’m thankful that help came for me in a non-judgmental way. Gratefully, I was able to come through that dark time into a loving relationship with my daughter.

If you find yourself in need of speaking to someone about your own experience, please don’t be afraid to speak out. You can talk to your own health care provider, find a support group, or contact us at First Care Clinic. We’re ready to listen and offer support and resources.

Not ready to call? Check out these resources for a first step toward getting the help you need:
Postpartum Support International -Phone Number: 800-994-4PPD (4773)
PPD Moms -Phone Number: 800-PPD-MOMS (800-773-6667)