Just spotted this on the BBC website – apparently drinking two or more cups of coffee a day reduces depression in women. Not sure if it also relates to PND – they’ve made the usual caveats about ‘more research being needed’ etc. But it’s nice to know that one of the ‘vices’ we’re being made to feel guilty about is actually more of a virtue!
Yesterday’s report by Save the Children and Daycare Trust revealed that many mothers are delaying their return or stopping work altogether when their children are small because of the prohibitive cost of childcare.
I realise I am very lucky because I am self-employed, and so can be flexible about which days, and indeed how much time, my child spends in childcare. And going back to work, at least for a short while after my first child was born, was probably the single most effective measure in helping me feel happier. Well, maybe that and the Sertraline in joint first place.
It didn’t change any of the guilt and sadness I felt about ‘losing’ a part of myself, or my feelings of inadequacy as a mother. But it definitely helped to temper them, and gave me a bit of self-esteem back.
This time it’s a bit different, as I’ll need to cover childcare for two, notwithstanding the free 15 hours you currently get when they turn three. There’s more pressure to earn, and with the unreliable earnings of the self-employed, the thought is making me quite anxious.
There are many women who stay in work, barely breaking even or even taking a hit on the family finances thanks to the costs of childcare. Knowing that none of the work you’re doing actually shows up as a plus on your bank statement at the end of the month can be particularly galling and not great for self-esteem.
A study last month found that working reduced depression in mothers – something that has long been acknowledged by psychologists. Work makes us feel important, useful and, hopefully, contributes to personal fulfillment.I’ve heard many people say that being a parent is the most important job you’ll ever do. But it’s not comparable – and anyway, who would think of saying that to a man?
If we are committed to reducing cases of postnatal depression, and the accompanying strain on the health service, we would do well to subsidise early years childcare to a greater extent. This would give women a genuine choice about returning to work, and the boost if so often gives to their sense of self-worth.
It’s about as obvious as it gets, but sleep deprivation absolutely does for me. I wasn’t planning on blogging about it so soon, but recent events have made me think of little else.
My eldest son is very accident prone and this week broke his collarbone for the second time in two months. Or maybe he’s not accident prone and I’m a careless and neglectful mother – it’s quite possible. Either way, he is now in a lot of pain and struggling to sleep at night. Combined with this his brother teething for the country and I’m not managing to string together more than an hour at a time. You expect that when they’re newborn and you have some reserves (and adrenaline) but this far in I’m struggling to keep it together.
I also don’t like the way it makes me behave as a mother, more impatient, less fun. Which has the knock-on effect of making me feel guilty and inadequate, and completing the joyous cycle of PND.
A few months back I asked a question on the mumsnet forum (of which I’ve been a member for 3 years, more on this lifesaver another time) about how to cope with very little sleep. I put in the proviso that I didn’t have loads of time for exercise, and one of the suggestions that came back was a CD which the poster couldn’t remember the name of, but which was supposed to be the equivalent of four hours sleep in one listen. If anyone reading this know what I’m talking about I’d love to hear!
Someone also mentioned a programme called pzizz. You can download it onto phones as an app, as an MP3 file, or onto your computer. It’s pretty pricey but you can download one of the shorter ‘sleep’ or ‘energiser’ tracks for less. I think I’ll give it a whirl (as it’s only the price of a few coffees I’m becoming ever reliant on) and report back when I’ve had a listen.