The arrival of a little bundle of joy brings heart-stealing smiles along with many opinions and advice about breastfeeding. Undoubtedly, nursing creates a physical and emotional attachment between mother and baby. It strengthens babies’ immune systems, and for moms, can reduce the risk of disease and bring joy and fulfillment. But not always. For some mothers, breastfeeding is extremely painful. Others cannot supply enough milk, which can lead to extreme feelings of guilt. Breastfeeding and anxiety often go hand in hand as infants on breast milk require frequent feedings. The resulting lack of sleep causes stress, which can reduce mom’s milk supply, creating a vicious cycle. “Feeding and sleep deprivation — which, of course, are connected — are two of the biggest triggers for moms’ anxiety and mood disturbances,” says Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, a psychiatrist specializing in women’s mental health, in The New York Times. Depression and breastfeeding Does nursing reduce the risk of postpartum depression (PPD)? For most new mothers the answer is yes. Yet those who have a negative breastfeeding experience are actually at greater risk for PPD. Another mental health issue, but one rarely discussed, is post-weaning depression. Once baby moves to the bottle, sadness is common as the feel-good hormones released while breastfeeding drop significantly. For post-weaning depression and PPD, antidepressants are often prescribed. But what [...]
Talking to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide is challenging to say the least. It presents challenges beyond the discomfort we commonly feel in the presence of grief. Despite our hearts being in the right place, the eagerness to comfort someone may mistakenly cause us to say something hurtful. The fear of compounding the loss survivor’s pain by saying the wrong thing may cause us to avoid those who are grieving. Let them know about the Suicide Loss Support Groups that happen throughout the month in our area. And below are some tips from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on navigating conversations with suicide loss survivors in a kind, thoughtful, and responsible way: “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you.” Suicide loss is complicated, devastating, dumbfounding. There are no easy answers and no easy fixes. Be a patient, nonjudgmental listener. Be a safe place for the loss survivor to give voice to their anger, frustration, fear, relief, sadness, or any other emotion they may feel. Or just be there with them – the reassuring presence of someone who cares may offer a lot of solace. Refrain from saying, “I understand what you’re going through.” Because suicide loss is not like other losses, you cannot truly understand how the loss survivor is feeling. [...]
Akpan is a toddler from Nigeria. His parents adore their little champ, even though he’s unable to call them “mummy” or “daddy.” They know he will speak someday, but when? They watch him struggle daily to mutter a sweet word. He can’t run to give his parents a hug. When will their child speak and walk? Who will help and what can we do to help him?
Summer is here –- at last -– and for many people, thoughts turn to fun family getaways, sitting out by the pool or on the beach and sweet treats like ice cream or water ice to cool us down. But for people who are living on the street, these options of summer escapes aren’t so readily accessible. Hundreds of people experience periods of street homelessness in Philadelphia, using street corners, transit hubs and parks as shelter. Heavily-traveled areas, particularly in and around Center City, reveal the faces of this sad reality. And while being homeless can be devastating enough for an individual, the problem is only compounded for those who are also living with an untreated mental illness, addiction, or both.