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Happy New Year 2019

As the new year rolls in, here is wishing you a beautiful start to the year. We would like to thank you all for been a part of our 2018 and making it a memorable year. Thank you to our members, prolific partners, volunteers and the lovely moms who have reached out to get help. We would like to wish you a happy new year 2019. May the new year bring great health.

PS: We will be making a couple of changes in the days to come. Look out for that on our Social Media pages.

 

 

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8 Things No One Tells you About Pregnancy

Pregnant woman holding belly

D-day is nearing, and you are likely counting down to the birth of your baby. You have scoured the internet to read up on every article about pregnancy. You have also likely signed up for a lamaze class, and watched every birthing video you can stand. The truth is that amidst these preparations, there are still many things that moms-to-be do not learn before delivery. We are here to let you in on 8 things no one tells you about pregnancy.

  1. You may experience emotional upheavals

Whether due to the upsurge of pregnancy hormones, or just the sheer thought of bringing new life to these world, your emotions will likely be all over the place. Pregnancy is expected to be a happy time. Moms-to-be are expected to be filled with excitement for the coming bundle of joy. This is not always the case. Many pregnant women will experience fluctuating emotions, and a number may develop pregnancy depression.

Read More: Depression during pregnancy – what you need to know

  1. You will experience increased vaginal discharge

Many pregnant women will experience increased vaginal discharge. This is attributed to changes in the cervix. During pregnancy, the cervix and vaginal walls begin to soften. This allows the body to produce increased discharge to prevent infections. In the later stages of pregnancy, the baby’s head adds pressure to the cervix. This also increases the production of the discharge. It is important for pregnant women to note that this vaginal discharge is normal. It is called leukorrhea, and has a thin milky consistency with a mild smell.

  1. Your birth plan may not go how you envision it

Many moms-to-be will create a birth plan to help with preparation for labour and delivery. While this is a good idea, the truth is that delivery does not always go the way you want it to. The process of childbirth can be very unpredictable. Sudden turns of events may call for an unplanned emergency c-section. The most important thing to remember is that having a healthy baby and healthy mother is what matters. The mode of delivery does not define you as a mom. As such, it helps to be open minded about it.

  1. It is a whole new season of adjustments with breastfeeding.

New moms will often experience cracked nipples. Now, picture cracked nipples, and a little clueless human being trying to latch. This is HARD. And on many days, you will want to give up, because sore bloody nipples are not anyone’s cup of tea. Good old Vaseline will be your friend, amidst all the shrieks and tears. It does get better over time!

  1. You will experience lochia

Lochia is the medical term that refers to the vaginal discharge after birth. This discharge contains blood, tissue from the uterine lining and bacteria. Some women will experience cramps too, so painkillers will come in handy.

To contain the lochia, you will need to wear a mommy diaper. This comes in two variations: the mesh underwear that comes with a maxi-pad or the adult diaper. Both options can be used as they are. The use of ice is optional, but helps to soothe the soreness. Many hospitals will often provide the mommy diapers, but you may want to carry a pack or two in your hospital bag.

What you need to know when pregnant
Pregnant? Here are 8 things you should know
  1. You may have to re-invent your wardrobe

As the pregnancy progresses, you will need to change a few clothing items. This allows for comfort in the last trimester. Depending on your choice, the clothes may also double up as nursing wear for easy breastfeeding. Invest in button-down blouses, zipped tops and comfortable pants in the first few weeks after birth.

  1. You may not experience that magical bond with your child immediately

Not all moms will have an instant bond with their child. This may happen due to the trauma of labor, or depression during pregnancy. Sometimes, it happens simply because of the overwhelming experience that this new chapter represents. And that is okay, to a certain extent.

Baby blues are fairly common, and will often die down on their own. In Postpartum Depression however, these blues only intensify. They have a vice-like grip on any mom, and will often wash up like mighty waves on the shore of your heart. If you do experience this, do not be afraid to get medical attention. There is no shame in asking for help.

Read More: When moms are unable to bond with their infants

  1. The kids will grow

In spite of the challenges at the onset, the kids grow. It is easy to get lost in the overwhelming duties of taking care of a newborn. The unending diaper changes and sleepless nights can easily take a toll on new moms.

The different stages may feel like they last forever. The truth is they don’t. As often as you can, try to live and enjoy the moments. Remember to take care of yourself too. You cannot pour from an empty cup.

 

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10 things NOT to tell someone who is suicidal (and what you can say instead)

There is nothing as dreadful, as scary, as heart-wrenching as hearing someone say the words,

“I want to kill myself”

These are words you do not want to hear, at all. What do you do from that point? How do you help? What do you say, and more importantly, what shouldn’t you say? As scary as this scenario is, hearing this words is a subtle gift that a friend who is struggling gives. It is their way of crying for help, it is their way of giving you an opportunity to help in their journey, as hard as it is. Your response is critical as it could either be an doorway to healing, or it could be the end as they know it. Granted, it is an emotional moment and you may not be sure how to respond. Below are 10 common (cliché, need I add?) responses that only make it harder for suicidal people to speak up and ask for help.

NOTE: While these responses/questions are generally deemed to cast judgement on the affected, a number of people may respond in the positive. Secondly, in as much as you can help by been present, it is important to get medical attention immediately. Do not hesitate to do so. Check out this page that has suicide crisis helplines in Kenya.

 

  1. “Suicide is for weaklings”

The truth of the matter is, by the time someone is getting to the point of struggling with suicidal thoughts, they have already gone through so much. By the time one is searching on how to die by suicide, all rationality is gone and that statement is a cry for help. Saying suicide is for weaklings invalidates their feelings and only causes one who is struggling to keep to themselves – with dire consequences.

Instead: You can let them know you care instead. Assure them of your love and compassion. Be present. Stay with them. Offer a hug – it creates a safe space for someone who is suicidal

 

  1. “It is all in your head – snap out of it”

This is another common response given from an ignorant point of view. Depression and suicide are conditions that affect the mind. The mind does get sick, just as the physical body does. Do we tell people suffering from diabetes to snap out of it? There you have it. Additionally, people who are not aware of mental health illnesses have the warped view that suicidal people are doing it for ‘attention’ – which is absolutely wrong.

Instead: It is better to admit that you may not understand what they are going through, but that you will offer to be present and seek help for them.

Read More: Support Group Therapy for moms with PPD

 

  1. “You should be grateful. There are people who have it worse”

I hate to burst the bubble, but someone who is suicidal has likely thought about that already – and it feels like they can never measure up. This only adds to their brokenness because, while they are well aware they ought to be grateful, their mind just cant reconcile that with the utter hopelessness and emptiness that they feel.

Instead: Show empathy. You may not understand, but that doesn’t give you permission to be insensitive.

 

  1. “Suicide is selfish. Think about your family/kids/loved ones”

Suicide is NOT selfish.

Suicide is NOT selfish.

And there’s a reason why. Suicidal people genuinely feel worthless and absolutely hopeless. They feel like there’s nothing to leave for, and worst of all, feel like a burden to the very people you are asking them to think about. The mind convinces them the world would be a better place without them. Telling them suicide is selfish not only invalidates their struggle, it also makes it less likely to ask for help again.

Instead: Ask how to help, find out what they need and check up on them constantly.

 

  1. “But your life is not that bad, how can you think of suicide?”

Truth is that there are invisible scars that suicidal people carry which you may never ever get to see. The pain is underneath – whether it is getting molested by an uncle, getting raped by a work colleague, losing one’s family or even a still birth. On the outside, it may seem all okay, but the pains and ache remain etched in their minds forever. Asking how someone can think of suicide speaks of disbelief and judgement, not empathy.

Instead: sometimes, all you can do is listen and be present.

Read More: 5 celebrities who have struggled with PPD

  1. “You are not praying enough”

I can’t stop saying it, but, this is simply belittling someone’s struggles. It is likely that the depression/ mental health condition that has gotten them to the point of been suicidal has not allowed them to be able to pray in the first place. Telling someone they have not prayed enough/ do not have faith is just judgemental.

Instead: Consider affirming your love and support to someone struggling with suicidal thoughts. Taking a minute can save a life.

 

  1. “You will go to hell”

Regardless of one’s religion, telling someone they will go to hell when they are suicidal only enhances the feeling of isolation and loneliness (which in many cases, only pushes them over the edge). In any case, the judgemental attitude does not show any compassion or empathy.

Instead: It helps to assure a suicidal person that their thoughts are not permanent (even if the person believes that they are), and then to offer a listening ear without any judgement. This offers hope and communicates empathy.

 

  1. “ Don’t do anything stupid”

This is a very dismissive response for the simple reason that it takes away from the importance and the urgency of someone’s struggles. Often, such a statement only alienates a person even more. You may be worried/ concerned – rightly so, but whatever you do, don’t dismiss it as simply stupidity.

Instead: You may ask, “I have heard you mention suicide, and I am concerned about you. Are you safe? I want to reach out to you, know I am here for you”

 

  1. “How’d you want to hurt me like that?”

First, this is not about you. Secondly, it is likely that someone who is suicidal knows that their absence is going to hurt you and their loved ones. It already makes them feel terrible. Getting them on a guilt trip is counterproductive, and often exacerbates the alienation.

Instead:  You could say, I am sorry that you are struggling and hurting. But I will be here for you. You matter. You mean a lot (to me)

 

  1. Aaaand finally, one of the most cliché statements: Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

At face value, this statement ‘sounds’ right, but a closer look reveals it is a fallacy, a popular one at that. First, the statement seems to suggest that suicide is a ‘solution’, and also belittles one’s problem as merely temporary. What of chronic mental health disorders, lifetime diseases and emotional scars?

The bottomline: When someone opens up to you about suicide ideation, it means that they have found a safe space in you. Responding harshly not only makes it harder to speak up, it also alienates them further. Granted, you may feel disappointed, hurt, embarrassed, even betrayed – but how you respond can make a big difference.

PS: This article was inspired by my last post which you can read here. I am, by no means, a health expert, but I struggled with suicide ideation and thoughts of harming my baby when I had Postpartum Depression. Some of the above statements are things I was told when I shared about my thoughts – and I switched off. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel alienated in their struggle with depression, so I put up this list with insight from the following websites:

Speaking of suicide

Purple Persuasions

The Mighty Site

 

PS: Do not struggle alone, reach out for help. Use the contact page or get in touch through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

 

 

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