Therapy: A Sneak Peek Inside

BOUND TO HAVE BOUNDARIES Listen to me. You may find yourself in this scenario. For months you have been miserable. Maybe years. You have spoken to friends, confided in mentors, consulted with rabbis, and vented to sisters. And you just couldn’t seem to feel better. So you let your husband, your friend, your Rav, even your own dear self, convince yourself to try therapy. And you do. And, it must be a coincidence, but within a few weeks of beginning therapy, you are actually feeling better. Like I said, a coincidence. Probably nothing at all to do with therapy; but okay, you will continue with therapy because just in case it’s therapy actually that’s making you feel better….. But not only is therapy starting to bug you, the therapist is beginning to bug you, too. You feel stupid paying her just to talk to her. I mean, can’t you just talk to your sister? And you hate the way it’s exactly fifty minutes a session and as soon as that stupid clock ticks and tocks onto the fiftieth minute of the hour, your therapist tells you that time is up. Like, why can’t she just let it be an hour, […]

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Delivery from Darkness

This article originally appeared in Mishpacha/Family First (Issue 425, January 14, 2015). @Mishpacha Magazine 2015 www.mishpacha.com WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR NEW BABY BRINGS YOU ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION, INSTEAD OF JOY AND DELIGHT? HOW TO RECOGNIZE – AND RECOVER FROM- POSTPARTUM REACTIONS “MOMMY, I WANT TO MAKE YOU A BIRTHDAY PARTY,” Shloimy said, eyes bright. “Hmm,” Leba mumbled, her head ensconced in a novel. “You know why, Mommy? Maybe if I make you a party, then you’ll smile.” An English teacher by profession, Leba Katz was as normal as they come. She was geshikt too: Despite giving birth to her sixth child just months earlier, her family always had fresh suppers, clean laundry, and sparkling floors. Which is why, despite repeated red flags, it never dawned on her that something was wrong. “My son’s remark should have been a bulletin from Shamayim,” Leba reflects. “But depression was for weirdos. I was Leba Katz, the oldest of a well-known heimishe family from Boro Park.” It took another alarming incident for Leba and her husband to realize they needed help. At 11:30 p.m. one night, Leba began walking out the door, wearing only a robe and socks. “Where are you going?” her husband […]

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S.E.L.F Care

HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT TIPS AND TOOLS TO HELP NEW MOMS TRANSITION INTO THEIR NEW ROLE AFTER BIRTH. FOLLOWING THESE STEPS WILL HELP KEEP YOU HEALTHY AND STRONG. Sleep–  A lack of sleep increases anxiety and depression. Mothers need a minimum of a 5 hour stretch with naps during the day to function. Exercise– A little exercise moves your body, even when you don’t want to a little exercise is better than none. It promotes sleep and helps our mind by releasing endorphins (the feel good hormone). Laugh– It feels good to laugh. It helps our immune system  and reduces stress. Look for fun in life, its there. tip: look in the mirror- stretch your lips to a smile. Your facial expressions are hard wired to our brains. Then look in your eyes and say something silly.. you will laugh😉 Food– Always eat healthy. Low carbs, limit sugars and eliminate caffeine.  Keep hydrated- 6 glasses of water a day. Increase vegetables and protein for energy. ex: start your day with oatmeal covered in nuts and cranberries. IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH AND SUSPECT YOU MAY NEED ADDITIONAL HELP, HERE ARE A FEW MORE IMPORTANT SUGGESTIONS: Journal– Write about your baby’s day, rate […]

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Acceptance

By: A grateful Yad Rachel client who struggled with and overcame postpartum depression. It’s hard to accept when i always EXPECT!! I know that my expectations are unrealistic. I expect my life to go according to my script that I have personally designed and imagined with all the details included. It’s hard to accept when I’m rigid with my planning and curve balls keep getting in the way. And so… When I expect to feel calm, relaxed, and clear when my mind just cant get there, I have a hard time accepting the fragmented, anxious, jittery feelings. It surprises me that these moods can come at serene times and catch me off guard. It makes me feel so frustrated why I’m feeling anxious without a person or situation to put the blame on. It’s at these moments that I’m learning to ACCEPT. I must accept that it’s okay to feel down, moody and fragile for a period of time or days. I must accept these moods, and view them as a heavenly sent situation that comes and goes according to his will. When I berate myself for feeling so “yucky” it only prolongs my situation and pulls me down further […]

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Recovering from PPD- It’s a process!

Most women who reach out to us are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. The pain, sadness and almost constant anxiety is more than they can bear, and they are desperate for a quick and fast solution. It’s important to realize that the recovery process is like a JOURNEY. A number of steps leading up to an amazing goal- BUT one needs patience and time to get there. The process of recognizing, getting treatment and recovering can take weeks and sometime months. “WE KNOW THAT CAN BE FRUSTRATING” Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand- we wish there was. Healing can’t be rushed- it takes baby steps and time. It might take effort, hard work and lots of acceptance. But you’ll get through it- and G-d willing reach a complete recovery- WE PROMISE!!! You will be able to experience the joy of motherhood- without the fears, loneliness or insecurities! Your confidence and love of yourself will return. You’ll be stronger and wiser, and will trust yourself more than ever! IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: Don’t compare your recovery to others. Don’t expect that you should before your time. Don’t give up! You will get there!

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I am a new mother and feeling very overwhelmed and torn between all my obligations, my baby, my job, my husband, my parents. Don’t even have time to think about myself! Any advice?

When you were single, the focus was on yourself. Dont you laugh how you sometimes thought life was hectic back then? You got married and then there was someone else’s needs to consider. But now there’s a baby and you feel like, “who comes first?” It’s great that we have the Priority Pyramid. In Birchas Hamazon we specifically request Hashem to bless us in the following order “Harachaman Hu Yevoreich Osi, Vees Baali, Vees Zaari, May He The compassionate One bless me, my husband, and my children and all that is mine”. Guess who’s on top of the pyramid?YOU!Your relationship with Hashem and your physical and emotional well being comes first. Doesn’t it sound selfish? Actually, it’s selfless. A women who takes care of herself can take care of others. If you’re nursing, you can see the message very clearly, ‘If you nourish yourself, you can nourish your baby. When we were in the desert we were given the well in merit of Miriam Hanevia. We women are the sources of life-giving waters to those around us. However, we must be connected to the Source of all Waters; Hashem. By respecting our bodies which house our greatest gift; our souls, […]

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Your Voice

The following essays were sent to us by a grateful Yad Rachel client who struggled with and overcame postpartum anxiety. Feel free to respond, comment and share your thoughts! Please note: All views and opinions expressed do not necessarily state or reflect those of Yad Rachel.   Don’t Label Until I was faced with the challenge of anxiety, I viewed the term anxiety and depression as a scary mental disorder that only happens to “someone” else. While experiencing the symptoms, the actual word anxiety and panic were so provoking that just reading or hearing THAT word caused my mind to go into a tizzy. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office when the screen flashed the words “Anxiety” with strange pictures following. Instinctively, my blood pressure went up and my body broke out in a sweat. My “escape- panic” emotions engulfed me as I tried to stay composed in public. It took me quite some time to relax my mind and return to my normal self. After searching for a solution to prevent my intense reaction, it occurred to me that just by mentally switching the word anxiety to “a flash of worry that will soon dissipate,” made a world […]

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Welcome to our updated website and new blog!!

We are so glad you are here!! After months of planning and discussions (and endless cups of coffee!) we are delighted to announce the launch of our new blog, IMA’S BLOG. As postpartum advocates, we understand like so few can- the pain, guilt, and shame you may be experiencing through your journey and recovery. But we also know that with the right support and encouragement there is HOPE. All of us here at Yad Rachel have been paying close attention for a long long time; always looking for opportunities to help new mothers, particularly after a perinatal mood disorder. (By the way, you’ll be seeing those words a lot on our website- PERINATAL MOOD DISORDER. It simply means mood and or anxiety symptoms that can occur during pregnancy or up to a year after.) We are on a mission to help liberate women of their suffering and eliminate the stigma. We know the importance of the kind of quiet subtle help that clearly understands. Available, but not obvious. Discreet, but devoted. And so, we heard your requests. And are honoring your wishes. Creating a safe forum for new mothers to meet and connect during the challenging times of being diagnosed with […]

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I’ve just been diagnosed, NOW WHAT???

In this section of our Blog, we hope to be submitting questions and topics to various social workers, doctors, Rabbis and other professionals that are involved with counseling or treating women diagnosed with PPD. If you have a specific question that you’d like to see addressed here, please email our office at blog@yadrachelnj.org   If you have been recently diagnosed, or you suspect you have a perinatal mood disorder, its time to find a doctor. We cannot stress the importance of finding a professional that SPECIALIZES  in woman’s mental health, preferably in reproductive psychiatry. Having a discussion with your OB-GYN is a good start, but it’s not something we encourage. Just like you wouldn’t go to your pediatrician for a root canal, seeking guidance with someone who hasn’t been trained in this particular specialty can backfire. We encourage you to either ask your PCP for a referral, or reach out to a referral agency for a suggestion. You deserve the best care possible!! Sometimes it can take awhile for the effects of the treatment to kick in, or at times medication needs adjusting. Unfortunately, we can’t just take a simple blood test to determine the diagnosis and treatment. It’s a […]

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My Journey…

Below is a letter we received detailing the woman’s journey through depression: Dear Readers, My childhood was a very happy one. I have loving parents, many brothers, and a sister who is very close to me. I excelled in school and at home. I gave my parents a lot of nachas and I was every teachers dream. I had friends. I had virtually no medical issues at all. After graduating, I b”h got a job and my employees were happy with me. I really enjoyed my work. I met my future husband and got engaged! I was very happy throughout my engagement. The day after my wedding, I awoke with a not so pleasant mood. It continued throughout sheva brachos. I guess I had a pretty rough adjustment. I felt horrible about myself and extremely inadequate. I cried a lot and had a hard time sleeping. At times, I was so miserable that I just wanted the earth to swallow me up- I told my husband that I will never be able to be a good mother and that I don’t want any kids. I knew I shouldn’t be thinking or saying those things, but I couldn’t help it. For […]

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