The books recommended below have helped me through my Postnatal Depression, some by providing me positive inspiration, others simply providing me a guide in how to deal with the LM’s (and my) day-to-day issues. Regardless of their initial introduction into my life, they have each proved extremely powerful in helping me get to where I am today.
Girlosophy – Anthea Paul (Soul Survival Kit / Love Survival Kit)
I know, I know… These books are aimed more at the spiritual, carefree, “young woman” market but I have to honestly say… I love them. I really love them! The imagery in these books, together with the beautiful quotes about womanhood are a true escape for the imagination. Not only uplifting, they provide a sense of self I personally was struggling to find as a single woman in my late 20’s. Admittedly, I hadn’t picked up either of these books for a very long time, but when the reality of my postnatal depression diagnosis set in I knew within them I could find the solace I was looking for (desperately needed!). And true to their word, after digging them out of storage, they have helped me considerably. I often find myself casually picking up either of these books on any given day and flicking through the pages. Some days I read the quotes, others I simply look at the beautiful pictures and let myself get lost in the tranquility they provide. If nothing else, I urge you to go into a bookstore and flick through the pages yourself… Let me know where they take you!
You Sexy Mother – Jodie Hedley-Ward
A wonderful girlfriend of mine (who I reconnected with on Facebook after 20 years!) brought this book to my attention during my pregnancy. Unbeknownst to me at the time, she had suffered postnatal depression 4 years prevoiusly after the birth of her first child. In hindsight it is easy to see why this book resonated so much with her as a new mum, because it resonated for me during my struggle with PND in exactly the same way. The advice offered in “You Sexy Mother” is simple, yet empowering. It simply reminds you of what is important in day-to-day life, the things you let slide due to the pressures of being a new mum. Throughout the book, Jodie shares her own diary excerpts about different issues, her thoughts and feelings. In particular, I loved her ideas about reconnecting with beautiful lingerie, creating the home of your dreams, and learning to accept yourself without being defined by your career. Oh, and her thoughts around weekly planners appealed to me also – being the habitual “organiser” I am!
Save Our Sleep – Tizzie Hall
This recommendation may not sit comfortably with all mums, however I must say it was a saviour for me. There is a great deal of debate surrounding the issue of “on demand” v’s “routine” for new and older babies when it comes to feeding, sleeping, and playing… Studies have proven many different outcomes mostly in favour of on demand feeding, for example: on demand feeding prevents obesity in later life, and babies fed on demand have higher IQ’s. Personally, I am not completely convinced either way is correct 100% of the time. I believe a great many other factors must be taken into consideration regarding a mother’s preference for raising her baby, be they with respect to both mother and bubs personality, environment, medical conditions, etc. The judgement quite often imposed on new mums for their choices isn’t fair and becomes a great deal more harmful than good in most situations.
For me, I was fortunate enough to have a baby who very quickly settled into his own routine with very little guidance from me at all. Save Our Sleep had been recommended to me by my bestfriend who had enjoyed success with her first baby utilising Tizzie’s routines. That being said, she made sure to explain that Tizzie’s routines are best used as a guide ONLY and obviously the natural connection between you and your baby is what’s most important. Flexibility is most definitely the key, and you as “mother” must still trust your own instincts and intuition. Taking this advice, I found Tizzie’s routines were very much in line with the LM’s natural rhythm. As he progressed through each developmental stage, I would notice his sleeping and feeding patterns changing. Sure enough, as soon as I looked up the next age appropriate routine in the book it would become clear he was naturally moving in that direction. So much has this been the case with the LM, I’ve quite often joked that he and Tizzie must have had some connection in a former life – it really is uncanny!
An example, however, of the need to be flexible with any advice you are offered with regard to your little one, is Tizzie’s advice on how best to express your breastmilk in preparation for growth spurts and the like. I for one could not express milk early on and only had enough for the LM himself. By not taking on Tizzie’s expressing advice, I soon developed my own expressing routine I could use when required. Had I become frustrated at not being able to follow her routine to the letter, it would have imposed a great deal more pressure and anxiety on me to do something I naturally just wasn’t capable of doing. And in the end, it all worked out well for us… So again, flexibility is the key!
A Happy Mum Blog – Jackie Hall (no relation to Tizzie, I believe – ?)
I personally think this blog speaks for itself, so won’t go into it in too much detail… Other than to say, if you are suffering from postnatal depression you will find this blog (and website) a wonderful resource and support centre during your darkest times. I spent a great deal of time simply reading through blogs and articles, finding some comfort in the fact I was not alone. Please do have a look for yourself.
Baby Love – Robin Parker
If there is anything at all you are wondering about your child, then this is your “go-to” book! Even though it was first published in 2005, I have found the advice offered in Robin’s book extremely helpful, simple and to the point. Whether it’s different types of rashes, how to recognise and treat a mastitis infection, types of car seats to buy, or different methods for settling your little one, Baby Love has it all. Simply go to the appendix and look up your desired topic – I guarantee it will be there! The other thing I liked about Robin’s style of writing was the fact she would always offer all available opinions regarding different issues (eg. “on demand” v’s “routine”). Whilst she would have her own thoughts and opinions, she would still offer the other side of each arguments as well. Very respectful and easy to read.
Of course there are many more, however these would be the main resources I would lean on during those times I found myself constantly questioning what I was doing and who I was becoming. Trust me… There were a great many fiction novels thrown in there too, but perhaps I’ll leave those for another time.
Thanks so much as always and hope you enjoy a wonderful weekend.