By Sara Petersen| February 12, 2020 at 11:30 AM EST
"He only sleeps if he's being held," I told my pediatrician at my son's 2 week checkup. "Or," I paused, fearful of shame, "in the swing."
Without looking up from his doctor computer thing, my pediatrician immediately lectured me about safe sleep and SIDS. When I told him we had tried everything and nothing else worked and sleep deprivation had plunged me into postpartum depression after the birth of my two older kids, he lectured me about therapy. When I told him I was on Zoloft and in weekly communication with my therapist, he told me to hang in there.
I left the office in tears, feeling unsupported, feeling as though I had no workable options, and mostly feeling as though I was somehow wrong, that I was a bad mother.
To many mothers, my story is simply another drop in the bucket of ways our health-care system abandon mothers. Babies recieve at least six well-visits with their pediatricians in the first year of life. The mothers of those babies, whose bodies and emotional lives have been entirely upended, recieve one well-visit.
I was lucky enough to turn to my postpartum doula after that demoralizing appointment, and together, we had a nuanced conversation on how to attend to my son's sleep safety while also prioritizing my own sleep needs so I could show up for my family and feel like myself.
But far too many mothers are left unsupported and exhausted, desperate for sleep."
Grieving patients are encouraged to see and hold their stillborn infacnts--and in some cases even bring them home.
By Sarah Zhang February 12, 2020
Katie Marin/The Atlantic
"AARHUS, Denmark-When Ane Petrea Ornstrand's daughter was stillborn at 37 weeks, she and her husband spent five days in the hospital grieving with their dead daughters body. They held her and cried. They took photos. They welcomed family and freinds and visitors. And then they brought her home for four more days, where she lay on ice packs that they changed every eight hours.
If you had asked Ornstrand before she herself went through this in 2018, she might have found it strange or even morbid. She's aware, still, of how it can sound. "Death is such a taboo," she says. "You have to hurry, get the dead out, and get them buried in order to move on. But that's not how things work." In those moments with her daughter, it felt like the most natural thing to see her, to hold her, and to take her home. The hospital allowed--even gently encouraged--her to do all that.
This would have been unthinkable 30 or 40 years ago, when standard hospital practice was to take stillborn babies away soon after birth. "It was and have another and forget about it," says, Dorte Hvidtjorn, a midwife at Aarhus University Hospital. Since then, a revolution in thinking about stillbirth has swept throught hospitals, as the medical profession began to recognize the importance of the parent-child bond even in mourning. These changes have come to American hospitals, too."
Women's Mental Health At Key Stages In Life
Photo: Katherine Streeter for NPR
Menopause Can Start Younger Than You Think: Here's What You Need To Know
By Emily Vaughn & Rhitu Chatterjee
"Would you recognize the signs that your body is going through the big hormonal changes that lead to menopause? Here's what to look for-and what you can do about it."
"Sarah Edrie says she was about 33 when she started to occasionally get a sudden, hot, prickly feeling that radiated into her neck and face, leaving her flushed and breathless. "Sometimes I would sweat. And my heart would race," she says. The sensations subsided in a few moments and seemed to meet the criteria for a panic attack. But Edrie, who has no personal or family history of anxiety, was baffled.
She told her doctor and her gynecologist about the episodes, along with a few other health concerns she was starting to notice: Her menstrual cycle was becoming irregular, she had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and she was getting night sweats. Their response: a shrug.
It wasn't until Edrie went to a fertility clinic at age 39 because she and her partner were having trouble conceiving that she got answers. "They were like, 'Oh, those are hot flashes. It's because you're in perimenopause,' " she says.
If you haven't heard the term "perimenopause," you're not alone. Often when women talk about going through menopause, what they're really talking about is perimenopause, a transitional stage during which the body is preparing to stop ovulating, says Dr. Jennifer Payne, who directs the Women's Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins University."
HOW PUBERTY, PREGNANCY AND PERIMENOPAUSE AFFECT MENTAL HEALTH
Listen to the four podcasts below:
"January 14, 2020 • NPR's Morning Edition explores the key reproductive shifts in women's lives — puberty, pregnancy and perimenopause — and how the changes during those times could impact mental and emotional health."
"January 16, 2020 • Women with a history of depression and anxiety are at a higher risk of having a flare-up during the time leading up to menopause. And getting doctors to take the issue seriously can be challenging."
"January 15, 2020 • Nearly 1 in 7 women suffers from depression during pregnancy or postpartum. But very few get treatment. Doctors in Massachusetts have a new way to get them help."
"January 17, 2020 • NPR's Rachel Martin talks to menopause expert Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, division director of the Midlife Health Center at the University of Virginia, who answers listeners' questions."