Five Ways To Talk To a Mom Friend You Think Has Postpartum Depression

After battling and surviving postpartum depression, I have received the following question repeatedly: “Jen, I think my friend might be going through something like what you went through. I want to say something to her about it, but I don’t want to upset her. How do I bring up that she isn’t acting like herself lately?”

I wish I had a simple answer to this question, but it’s never simple when it comes to postpartum depression, which is not a one size fits all illness. Every mom’s experience with PPD is unique to her. Her risk factors, symptoms, feelings, and length of illness won’t look like that of any other mom suffering. Just like PPD, every mom is different and motherhood is also not one size fits all.

Before you confront a mom and suggest she might be suffering from PPD, here are some factors I think you should consider: How will she react? How receptive would she be to the idea of needing and asking for help? I think you should also ask yourself, “Am I the best person for this conversation or is there someone else that should be having this conversation?”

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The Motherhood Edition of The Jewish Holidays

By Jen Schwartz (The Medicated Mommy) & Rachel Sobel (Whine & Cheez – its)

Early fall is Jewish holiday season. That means going to temple, eating apples and honey in hopes of a sweet year ahead, family dinners filled with equal parts kvelling & kvetching, and a day of starvation fasting that culminates in the annual carb loading frenzy with bagels, lox, noodle kugel, and cookies. Lots of cookies. You know…a “light” meal.

And if your child attends a Jewish preschool/day school, you are basically screwed and they may as well close for the month of October with the amount of days you have off.

That’s right folks, we are currently living in the space between the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) where we ask forgiveness for our sins and hope to make it into the Book of Life for another year.

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Dating For Mom Friends

Making new mom friends isn’t always easy. Actually, it’s a lot like dating. You fear rejection. You want to have chemistry with that new mom you meet at mommy and me class. You want her to like you. Will her friends like you? What if she’s not looking for something serious? What if she’s not currently on the market for a new friend?  What if she judges you for feeling bored at mommy and me class?

You might fumble over your words when introducing yourself to a new mom at the at the park for the first time. You hope she looks through Instagram on her iPhone while her kids play, just like you do. You spend hours getting ready for your first playdate. You want everything to be perfect so there will be a second playdate. 

You question and doubt yourself. What will she think of me if the cookies I serve contain gluten? Does she know I sometimes feed my kid too many afternoon snacks when I’m just too exhausted to argue? How soon is too soon to share I had postpartum depression when my son was born? Will she conveniently lose my number if I call my kid an asshole behind his back for not sharing?

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Happy Valentines Day! #ThisIsLove Is All Of This

Love is my close mom friend putting me in bed, rubbing lotion on my feet, and staying until I fall asleep after the exhaustion of postpartum depression and anxiety have set in for the day.

Love is my mom who always answered the phone each morning so I could walk laps around my neighborhood, sobbing to her that I would never get better.

Love is my husband coming to therapy with me so he could better understand what was I was going through and how to support me.

Love is my husband sending me flowers just to tell me he is proud of the fight I am putting up.

Love is my sister crying on the phone to me because she is worried and just wants ME to be okay.

Love is my sister holding my hand in person and from afar because she knows what it’s like to feel how I feel.

Love is my best friends talking and emailing behind my back because they want me to get healthy and happy.

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Written For Suburban Misfit Mom: Five Moms That Just Aren’t My Type

All moms are different. We find what works for us. We do what we have to do. We parent in our own unique ways, but the stuff of motherhood makes us all part of the same tribe. We all carry life. We all bring that life into the world by destroying our vaginas or cutting open our stomachs. We sacrifice our tits to be food sources. We give up the privilege of full nights of sleep, daily showers, and the right to pee or poop in privacy. We rock our scars and battle wounds with pride. We sport our children’s leftovers, spit up, vomit, even poop that somehow made it on to our clothing without us noticing. We love and give and teach. We juggle and schlep and sacrifice, fight for, and would die for our children.

We should all be able to admit that some days we represent the picture of perfect parenthood while other days we epically fail. I’m not here to tell you what kind of mom to be, but some of you ruin it for the rest of us when you refuse to admit the clusterfuck of contradicting emotions and daily ups and downs you experience as mothers, just like the rest of us. So if you fall into one of these categories, we probably won’t end up becoming best mom friends. And that’s okay.

  1. The Martyr

Why make yourself extra miserable when there is so much built in misery that comes with this job —shitty sleepers, picky eaters, the tantrums, the nagging, and the obsessive neediness. Stop breastfeeding if it makes you seriously unhappy. Don’t refuse to ask for help if you need it. Quit ignoring the fact that you’re miserable in the first place. If you want to stay stuck like that, that’s your choice, but don’t make me feel like I need to join you. Don’t act like you’re better than me because you’re sticking it out. You don’t get a medal for being a martyr. I stopped breastfeeding after five days because it made me miserable and I chose to take care of my health so I could take care of my baby. I’m not interested in hanging out with any mom who would try to make me feel guilty for any of my parenting choices. And I’m definitely not interested in being the company to your misery.  

  1. The Doer

You know those moms who literally do it all, smile, and look like they love every minute of it? (I’m sure they are dying a little inside). They volunteer on the PTA, attend every meeting, sign up to be classroom mom, go on every field trip, never bring store bought anything, go to the playground every day and make you feel bad about yourself if you don’t? Well I don’t really like to spend most of my free time volunteering or monitoring my son on the playground. I won’t be the first mom signing up to be class parent or field trip chaperone. It’s MY time! I want to be friends with the mom who wants to come over and sit her child in front of the TV next to mine for a Mickey Mouse binge-watching session while sipping on some Sauvignon Blanc.

  1. The Every-mom

The every-mom is friends with every mom. When she hosts a party, she invites every mom she knows–close friends, acquaintances, moms she doesn’t even like that much. Why? Why don’t you just invite the people you actually want be with? And how can you invite someone to a party when you were badmouthing them yesterday? How do I know you weren’t gossiping about me before I got the invite to your party this weekend? No one expects you to be friends with everyone. I get being inclusive when it comes to children and parties, but when it’s just the adults? I favor small groups activities. I despise small talk. I prefer intimate conversations. Keep it small. Keep it real!

  1. The Pretender 

I do not believe in pretending when it comes to motherhood. Moms who pretend everything is perfect all the time make the rest of us who don’t, think there is something wrong with us. If you are a mom who repeatedly uses the word amazing, then I say you’re most likely full of shit. Be honest. You’re having sex at least three times a week? You cook a homemade, organic meal every night for your kids? Your child would never hit someone? You don’t believe in iPads, ever? You don’t imagine running away even just for a few hours? You’ve never hidden in your closet, crying, eating chocolate ice cream in secret? I don’t buy any of it. No one has it all together all the time. Fall apart. Cry. Yell. Confess that you fed your kid cereal for dinner last night or that he hasn’t had a proper bath in almost a week. Admit that it took you much longer than you expected to bond with your child. I want to be around other moms who aren’t afraid to embrace these common feelings. Moms who have no issues calling their children assholes when they are in fact, being assholes.

  1. The Helicopter 

I want to sit back and let my kid be. Let him figure out how to take turns, work out his own disagreements. Tell him to shake it off when he falls down. Not run to him or give him what he wants immediately when he wants it and screams for it. Most importantly, I want to have adult time and conversation, but how can we when all you do is hover over and tend to every single one of your child’s needs. How can we go out for a drink after the kids go to sleep when you won’t let anyone else watch them? How can we take a girls’ trip when you refuse to leave your little ones for even a few hours? How dare you try to make me feel like a bad mom because I do all those things. I will never agree with you that your kids should have been invited to that wedding. It’s an adult party and you probably need to dance your face off more than you realize. Get a friggin’ babysitter. Drop the kids off at Grandma’s. Teach your kids to be independent. Train them to be less dependent on you. I promise you will thank me for it later when you finally agree to meet me for that drink.

This post originally appeared on Suburban Misfit Mom.

Mom Friends vs. Friends

Is there a difference between having friends who are moms and friends who are not moms? I use the term mom friend a lot when I write. I think it’s me subconsciously needing to specify the difference between a friend who has children and one who doesn’t. I don’t even know why I do this because I don’t care if you have zero, one, or five children. It’s not part of my friendship criteria.

I like my friends with a sense of humor, a little bit of crazy, and edgy with a side of brutal honesty. If you don’t fit those credentials, we might not end up getting along. Or you might not like me that much and we might just say hi and make small talk on the playground. That’s okay. I don’t feel like I need to be liked and accepted by everyone. You can’t win them all!

I’ll admit, sometimes it’s easier to hang out with other moms. Maybe that’s why I’m always making the distinction. We all have our issues, children or not, but moms get each other’s particular type and level of crazy. They usually don’t care if you’re late because your child swore fifty times that he didn’t have to go potty and then the minute you got out the door, he decided he needed to go potty. They don’t get offended if you forget to call. They would much rather text than talk anyway because most days that just takes way too much effort. They always apologize for their house being messy when it looks way more put together than yours. And real mom friends let you come over to hang out and don’t get angry when you decide to take a nap on their couch because…no child for a few hours.

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Q & A With Elizabeth Isadora Gold, Author of The Mommy Group (Cont…)

I’m back with Elizabeth Isadora Gold, author of The Mommy Group: Freaking Out, Finding Friends, and Surviving the Happiest Times of Our Lives Today she talks  more about motherhood, why we as moms need to advocate for ourselves, and the best ways to find your mommy group.

The Mom Of An Only Child

I’m an only child, and I didn’t think I would have just the one. But here we are. It is what it is. I’m a writer, we live in New York City, I’m turning 42, and I had postpartum mental illness. We are not financially, emotionally, or physically prepared to have another child. Sometimes I feel quite sad about that, and sometimes I’m good with it. The main thing is to make Clara feel that she has friends-as-family, both in terms of her kid friends and with other grownups. My mommy group has continued to be such a wonderful source of support and love for our family.

Advocating For Yourself As A Mother

Well, no one’s gonna do it for you, at least not yet. It’s feminism, it’s politics, it’s life. If we don’t organize as women and as mothers, nothing will change. The United States has (say it with me) the worst parental leave and benefits for parents in the developed world. This is a shame in all sense of the word. Advocate. Vote. Fight.

The Best Time To Find A Mommy Group

I was very happy that we started as a pregnancy group. It meant that we got to know each other before our worlds exploded.

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Written For Suburban Misfit Mom – Two Moms, Polar Opposites, Best Friends—How Does That Work?

My introduction to motherhood was through my best friend, the first friend I made when I moved South almost nine years ago. She and I were set up in true Jewish match-making fashion—by our parents. I walked away from dinner that night taking comfort in her recognizable brand of jeans and cute black top. Maybe I would be okay in the South after all. It wasn’t until later that I realized she saved the Lilly Pulitzer for more special occasions, like Saturdays and birthday parties.

She was my first friend to become a mother, long before I ever decided I wanted to get pregnant and pop a tiny human out of my vagina, or in my case, evict him from my belly with major surgery. Although both boys, her first baby has four years on mine and she had her second before my husband even knocked me up. Clearly I took the slower, more scenic route to motherhood. And the differences don’t stop there.

She breastfed her first born for 17 months. I breastfed (if you can even call it that) mine for five days. I chose formula, something her son will never know the taste of. I had a night nurse for two months, and basically never woke up in the middle of the night with my son, who was sleep trained by two months. She did it all that by herself. She crafted every decoration and baked every dessert herself for her son’s first birthday. I paid someone on Etsy to do it for me. She would labor as long as possible without the epidural and avoid a C-section at all costs. I would scream “DRUGS” the minute I got to the hospital and schedule my C-section if I were to have another baby. She went on to have two more children, making her a mom of three. I’m still a mom of one and plan to stay that way forever. She would never call her child an asshole. I dedicate entire blog posts to calling mine that. She cooks. I make reservations. She is up early in the morning to feel productive. I’m lucky if I can get out of bed and my child to preschool on time. Sometimes I go back to sleep after drop-off.

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