Postpartume Depression to Joy

Yael Saar is on a mission to remove guilt & shame from mothering: free support groups, UnGuilt Trip classes & coping skills from a Kooky-Jar. Some ideas are utterly serious, some silly side up, all designed to help mothers disarm depression and...

Yael is a winner of Top 25 Postpartum Depression Blogs by Moms - 2012

What advice would you give to moms who are struggling with PPD?

When you have PPD you feel a lot of emotional pain as well as physical exhaustion. First, hugs for the hard. Don't use up your precious energy on fighting yourself or your depression. Healing cannot happen in a war zone. Try to shift your perspective from fighting to interacting with your pain and guilt. I call this process Permission-Based Healing:
Permission-Based Healing is about learning the gentle art of Self-Kindness -- the process of healing through interacting with your pain rather than fighting it tooth and nail. Why be a warrior if the detective and the scientist heal first?

Permission-Based Healing means meeting yourself where you are.
It means allowing yourself to hate where you are.
It means allowing yourself to hate yourself while hoping to love yourself someday (even if this feels scary and impossible).
It means being imperfect. Being content with being Very Good Enough, and sometimes no good at all.
Permission-Based Healing is about bringing ease to what is when what is hurts.
It’s about learning from pain. And more than anything else: it’s about learning how to be kind to ourselves when we are in pain.

Learning the gentle art of self kindness saved my life. Literally.

When you're struggling with a physical or mental illness, how do you keep up with all the demands of motherhood?

I ask for as much help as possible, and focus on meeting needs rather than expectations. And sometimes it means redefining some of the demands of motherhood according to my own and my family's needs. For example: I need to feed my family, I don't NEED to have a clean kitchen before I go to bed. When I have the energy, I do clean it in the evening, but on the terrible, no good, very bad days, I go to bed early and leave my kitchen in a state that would make any mother in law shudder, and clean it the next day, because sleep meets a need that is more important.

What's a mood booster that helps you get through a bad day?

On the bad days I read an re-read my Permission Based Healing page:
And I do my best to be kind to myself instead of continue to fight my emotions. I allow myself to lick my wounds instead of judging myself. And I do my best to distract myself from the inner critic who lives in my head by engaging my body in Tired Mama Yoga: gentle, restorative movement and breath patterns to nourish the body and the mind and calm anxiety and help me through the day.