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Post date 10/1/2019

October Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Star Legacy Foundation

For more resources, also visit the Resources|Websites|Videos page on my website.

Post date: 9/9/2019

September 8-14, 2019; National Suicide Prevention Week Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255; CALL 24/7

HRSA: Health Resources & Services Administration

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

NIMH: National Institute for Mental Health

AFSP: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Post date: 7/22/2019

How Baby’s Cries Bores Into Mom’s Brain

Baby Love? Oxytocin-Dopamine Interactions in Infant/Mother Bonding

‘Love Hormone’ Turns Mothers Into Moms

Post date: 6/18/2019

How I’m Mothering the Wounded Kid Inside Who Just Wanted Love

Post date: 2/25/2019

“Period. End of Sentence”

Post date: 2/18/2019

The Ethical Ob/Gyn: Don’t Dread the Birth Plan

Post date: 2/11/2019

The Mother I Wanted To Be: Having a Second Child After Postpartum Depression

Post date: 2/4/2019

Keeping the Conversation Going on PMAD’s

Post date: 8/22/2018

Debunking Depression Myths

10 Depression Myths We Need to Stop Believing: Huffington Post

Breaking Down the Myths About Depression: Mental Health America

Depression Among Women: Centers for Disease Control

Postpartum Depression Facts: National Institute of Mental Health

Post date: 7/30/2018

After 40 Years, Why Is IVF Still Not Covered by Insurance?

CNN Article

Massachusetts’ Infertility Insurance Mandate

Post date: 7/2/2018

10 Ways to Deal with Mom Shaming

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll

Post date: 6/25/2018

Mindful Mothering

Incorporating Mindfulness into Mothering

Post date: 5/31/2018

Are You A Turkey Mom?

Oxytocin: The “Love” Hormone

Post date: 5/8/2018

In Celebration of Mother’s Day 2018

History of Mother’s Day

Post date: 4/30/2018

May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month


2020 Mom – closing gaps in maternal mental health care through education, advocacy, and collaboration

Post date: 4/24/2018

Medical Treatment for Postpartum Depression (PPD) Is Moving Towards Approval

Yesterday, Cambridge-based Sage Therapeutics filed a new drug application (NDA) with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for approval of its new drug, Brexanolone, for the treatment of severe postpartum depression (PPD). It would be the first-ever drug approved for treatment of PPD. Postpartum depression is a complication of childbirth that affects 1 in 7 women.

Open-label, proof-of-concept study of Brexanolone in the treatment of severe postpartum depression

Sage Postpartum Depression Drug Heads to FDA Review 

Post date: 4/16/2018

Self-Worth – Vital to Your Happiness

Self-worth or self-esteem is the measure of one’s sense of value or worthiness. It is how we think of ourselves, describe ourselves, and what we believe about our own abilities and personal strengths. It’s fundamental in building resiliency. Low self-worth leads to low confidence, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger and depression.
Good news! Building a more positive and stronger self-worth is possible! And it doesn’t take forever. By challenging our beliefs about ourselves, by identifying the hurtful messages of our critical inner voice, and by learning better thinking and coping skills, our ideas and beliefs about ourselves will shift, increasing our sense of value and worth, self respect and self love while improving our emotional health.

Post date: 3/26/2018

How Do You Talk to Your Self?

Are you your own worst enemy? Do you procrastinate in making decisions that support a healthier lifestyle? Do you struggle with intimate relationships? Do they often end in rejection? Do you make decisions that prevent you from advancing in your career? Your life? Your relationships? Maybe the way you talk to yourself isn’t so very complementary.

Psychologist Robert Firestone, Ph.D. developed the term “critical inner voice”. This self-sabotaging critical inner voice produces feelings such as shame, guilt, self-doubt, worthlessness, and disgust. These negative thoughts attack our sense of who we are; our self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. Self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors are destructive, cruel, demeaning, and filled with self-recrimination and self-accusations that can lead to anxiety and depression.

To learn more about the concept of the “critical inner voice” as well as information and tips to turn that voice into a more compassionate, forgiving, and loving voice, check out the links below.

Dr. Robert Firestone, Ph.D.

The Glendon Association: About the Critical Inner Voice

Do You Have a Critical Inner Voice?

Huffington Post: How to Stop Emotionally Abusing Yourself

Psychology Today: Stop Making the Same Mistakes

PsychAlive: Self-Sabotaging: Why We Get in Our Own Way

Psychology Today: Steps on Overcoming Your Critical Inner Voice

Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice, book by Robert Firestone, Ph.D. and Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.

Critical Inner Voice concept video with Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.

Critical Inner Voice animation video

Taming Your Gremlin, book by Rick Carson

Post date: 3/21/2018

5 Tips for “Feeling” Spring

1.Visit your local greenhouse or nursery! They are warm and humid and smell like earth and the outdoors. The winter chill is replaced with a gentle warmth and comfort. There are brightly colored flowers and generally, birds are flying around cheerfully flapping and chirping.  Some nurseries display ornate, European-style working water fountains as well as whimsical garden decorations. You can use this time to get ideas for your planters, window boxes and outdoor spaces.  New England Flower Shows 2018

2. Look for “evidence!” Take a walk in your neighborhood with a friend, your partner, your children and look for buds appearing on shrubs and trees. See if you can find purple crocus, small green daffodil shoots, tulip leaves, forsythia, snow drops, and the small, purple-blue flowers of the scilla plant. Spring Hiking in Massachusetts

3. Listen for the sounds of birds (and frogs)!  Although the weather is still chilly, many varieties of native New England bird species are busily building their nests for their young. In the morning, find a sunny outdoor space and listen to the cheery chirp of the black-capped chickadee – our Massachusetts state bird – the sounds of the robins, cardinals, and the tufted-titmouse. And at night, listen for the sound of the small “peeper” frog.  Birding Programs in Spring

4. Taste spring! Nutritionists use the seasons as the “buying guide” for the healthiest diet. According to the state Department of Agriculture, there are only 5 truly seasonal types of produce in the state of MA from January through May: apples, shiitake mushrooms, potatoes, sprouts, and mung beans. Find a recipe, go shopping, and make a meal with friends or family and enjoy an authentic New England food experience! Of course, there’s always the Cadbury mini eggs that are available only during the spring season!

5. Smell the scent of spring! Romantically, if spring had a smell, I would describe it as fresh and clean. So, if your home has been plagued by sickness and flu this winter, open the windows, even if the day is chilly, and rid your home of that stale, stagnant, germ-infused air. Scientifically, the smell of spring comes from the thawing of snow and earth and the decomposition of organic matter. This process is called “mineralization”.

Winter is melting away and Spring is arriving. You can see it, hear it, taste it, feel it, see it, and hear it. You can FEEL it!! Hello Spring 2018!

Post date: 3/8/2018

Importance of Friends

“People with more friends have higher pain tolerance”, reports a study by Oxford University.

So ladies, grab your village and go have some fun!

Post date: 3/8/2018

International Women’s Day

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day – a celebration of the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women across the world.

The theme for 2018 is #PressforProgress, a push for gender equality across the world.

Post date: 3/7/2018

Would You Like To Learn How To Be A More Mindful, Self-Compassionate Parent?

“Do you struggle to remain kind and compassionate with your kids, but often fall short? Do you feel exhausted and burnt-out? Sometimes, parenting can seem like an impossible task.”

The Center for Compassion and Mindfulness of the Cambridge Health Alliance is offering the following workshop: “Mindful Self-Compassion and Parenting”. The workshop offers tools for compassionate parenting of all ages.

Post date: 3/5/2018

Why Should I Have To Ask?! 

A topic of discussion that comes up repeatedly with my clients is the disproportionate responsibility they have for managing and organising family and household obligations, regardless of whether they work inside or out of the home. The term that has been coined for this, “mental load“, was popularized by French illustrator, Emma, in her highly popular 2017 cartoon entitled “You Should’ve Asked”.

For articles on mental load, Emma’s cartoon “You Should’ve Asked”, and tips on balancing the uneven load carried by moms with their partners, click here.

Post date: 2/28/2018

Is Co-Parenting part of your family dynamics?

Click here for the research study from ScienceDirect.com.

Click here for article entitled Co-Parenting Tips for Divorced Parents: making joint custody work after divorce or separation from helpguide.org.

Click here for article entitled Do’s and Don’ts of Visitation from the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court at jud6.org.

Click here for article entitled The Do’s and Don’ts of Co-Parenting Well from PsychologyToday.com.

Post date: 2/19/2018

Can you imagine being a mom AND training for the Olympics?!

Well, there are 5 moms competing in the PyeoungChang 2018 Winter Games…….And, one is legally blind.

1. Marit Bjoergen, age 37; Norway
6x Olympic gold medalist in cross-country skiing
Son, age 3 2. Marie Martinod, age 33; France
free-style skier
Daughter, age 5 3. Sarah Schleper, age 38; dual citizenship US & Mexico
4x Olympiad alpine skiier
Two sons; ages 11 and 5 4. Danelle Umstead; age 44; US
3x bronze medal winner Paralympian in alpine skiing; she is legally blind. Her husband Rob is her guide.
Son, Brocton 5. Kikkan Randall; age 35; only mom on Team USA
cross-country skier
Son, age 3

Kikkan Randall on balancing motherhood and her beloved sport:

“I was pleasantly surprised by what a powerful and positive influence becoming a mother was on my ski racing……I also hope I’ve set a good example for all female athletes that it’s possible to combine family and sport with the right support and the right attitude”.

~Kikkan Randall, TIME, 1/4/18

Post date: 2/12/2018

“Nagging is an enemy of love, if allowed to persist.”

~Dr. Howard Markman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies

An excerpt from this article in TIME;

“Women are more likely to nag, experts say, largely because they are conditioned to feel more responsible for managing home and family life. And they tend to be more sensitive to early signs of problems in a relationship. When women ask for something and don’t get a response, they are quicker to realize something is wrong. The problem is that by asking repeatedly, they make things worse.
Men are to blame, too, because they don’t always give a clear answer. Sure, a husband might tune his wife out because he is annoyed; nagging can make him feel like a little boy being scolded by his mother. But many times he doesn’t respond because he doesn’t know the answer yet, or he knows the answer will disappoint her.”

TIP: Try a Complaint Box. Each of you writes your needs and wants on a piece of paper and places them in the box. Once a week take them out and discuss. This can also work with children. It can help foster health, clear communication of emotional needs and wants, encourages better listening skills, and can help work through the uncomfortable feelings of vulnerability and disappointment.

Post date: 2/8/2018

Babies Feel Our Stress

Infants are born with the ability to pick up on their mom’s feelings.

An article in the latest Psychology Today reports that research has found that “infants can become physically attuned to their mother’s stress levels”.

If you are a mom who is experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, and/or depression, please reach out for some professional support. Your baby and children can feel it.

For more information on this research, please click here.

Post date: 2/2/2018

The Mom Factor! #2

MMHW is proud to introduce another powerful mom influencer through our Mom Factor series!
I hope you enjoy getting to know this lovely woman who is making a difference for families and children in the town of Milton. If you or a mom you know is out in their communities making stuff happen, I’d like to share their story!

Moms are powerful influencers. They have the ability to encourage, support, educate, and model positive skills, behaviors, and values. They can make stuff happen.

Moms never cease to amaze me! It seems that no matter how busy moms are, they somehow find enough time and energy in small and not-so-small ways to positively affect the welfare of their children, families, and communities.

Here on my Maternal Mental Health and Wellness FB page, I would like to highlight moms who are not only positively influencing the lives of their own families, but also the lives of others. Periodically, I will be featuring moms who are busy in their communities supporting the arts, fostering compassion, promoting well-being and fitness, offering educational programs, organizing events – in other words, making stuff happen!

The Mom Factor: Susan Dolan
Group: Milton Early Childhood Alliance (MECA)

I met Susan in early 2017, shortly after opening my private practice in E. Milton Square, when I was pounding the pavement introducing myself to local businesses, reaching out to various organizations, and talking to whomever would listen! With her grace and warmth, Susan agreed to meet with me, proceeded to welcome me into the community, and has been a true supporter ever since.

Susan is the mother of 2 sons in their early 20’s, both college graduates. When her sons were in preschool, Susan wanted “my own financial freedom while being at home with my children”. She began some limited work at MECA, increasing her hours as her boys grew. She became their Administrative Coordinator, moving up to Director in 2013. Susan’s passion for working with, supporting, and assisting local families with young children is evident in her smile and in her 22-year commitment to MECA; “all of our programming is free! I love my job!!”

Mission of MECA: to serve Milton’s families with young children. MECA is funded through the Coordinated Families and Community Engagement grant from the MA Department of Early Education and Care and is administered by Discovery Schoolhouse, Inc. The First Congregational Church generously provides their office space. MECA aids Milton families through the continuum of services and supports needed to raise their children from birth to age 8. Services consist of:

• providing low income families with guidance, support, and referral to the appropriate state agencies so they may receive services and be added to the state’s centralized waitlist for child care vouchers;
• providing all families with referrals to many local and state agencies, and maintain an extensive Milton Parents’ Resource manual on their website;
• encouraging and supporting parents as their child’s first teacher through their many playgroups, Story Walk® events, Story Hours, and STEM programming, which focus on brain building, growth and development, early literacy, science, technology, engineering and math;
• helping educate parents by offering various parent education workshops and series, because they know how difficult raising children can be;
• assisting families with the challenging task of locating child care or a preschool program for their child;
• supporting Milton’s children with their transition into Kindergarten by providing many Kindergarten initiatives and events.

ALL programs are offered free of charge. To learn more about MECA and to check out their many programs, please visit their website at  http://miltonearlychildhoodalliance.org/home0.aspx

For MECA’s winter programs, please check out their winter newsletter at https://connect.xfinity.com/…/Skip%20and%20Hop%20Co-op%20In…

Post date: 1/31/2018

Ever feel as if your child(ren) are literally a piece of you?

Well, it turns out they are in more ways than you think!
Check out this fascinating article in Smithsonian Magazine on research that reports that some cells from our children remain within a mother’s body for the rest of her life. Incredible!!

Post date: 1/23/2018

We all have a story.

Be inspired.
Check out Herstryblg.com, where their mission is to empower women through storytelling.

Post date: 1/16/2018

Motherhood: The Responsibility Of A Woman For Raising A Child

Can a working mother do justice to both her work and her Motherhood?
The answer, interestingly enough, does not lie in her ability to balance both work and home responsibilities, but rather in the availability and the dependability of her support system.

Trying to “do it all” puts a tremendous amount of pressure on mothers, increasing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. This is not just a family issue but a societal issue.

Our moms need help from support systems to provide the much needed physical, social, and emotional support so that they can continue the job of Motherhood from a more emotionally and mentally healthy place.

9 ways to get the support you need:
~ share with your partner ways they can help
~ share with family and friends ways they can help
~ minimize children’s activities
~ carpool!
~ spend time with friends
~ schedule dates with your partner
~ give yourself permission to say No
~ allow yourself some downtime
~ be content with being a “good enough” mother; there is no such thing as a “perfect” mother

Post date: 1/13/2018


I was in Haiti at the Be Like Brit orphanage for the 4th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. It was an experience of a lifetime.
The Be Like Brit foundation was created by one family out of tragedy and love for their daughter, Britney Gengel, a college student who was volunteering in Haiti at the time of the earthquake.
It is a story of how one family managed their deep despair and grief of losing a child into making a difference by giving dozens of other children a chance to overcome the effects of poverty, malnutrition, and lack of education. It is a story of hope. It is a story of love.

Post date: 1/1/2018

Is Reducing Your Stress Level a Goal for 2018?

The new year prompts opportunities for setting goals and working on a new and improved you. If reducing stress in your busy, over-scheduled life is one of your 2018 goals, here are some easy tips from the Mayo Clinic.
My tip – just breathe………

Post date: 12/29/2017

Baby It’s Cold Outside (and inside)!

Due to our severe cold temps, infants and children are more at risk of hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature).

According to the Center for Disease Control (cdc.org), infants and children are more prone to hypothermia​ because of their large body surface area, small amount of subcutaneous fat, and decreased ability to shiver.

What to look for in infants and children:
*Bright red, or cold skin
*Very low energy The American Academy of Pediatrics (apa.org) recommends the following to help keep babies and children warm in severe cold weather:
*Wear proper cold-weather gear
*Avoid severe cold
*Find alternate shelter if the home or residence has lost its heat
*Use safe indoor heating sources. Ensure that all stoves and fireplaces are adequately vented, do not use charcoal indoors, and do not use gasoline or diesel generators indoors or outside near an open window or vent that could bring in fumes.

Post date: 11/26/2017

10 Things Happy Moms Do Differently

Tips that have helped one mom find a healthier work/life balance.

Huffington Post

Post date: 11/22/2017

“Why Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong”
~ Emily Oster

In her controversial new book, Expecting Better: Why The Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong — and What You Really Need to Know, economist Emily Oster argues that pregnant women can have wine, drink coffee and eat sushi. So why have moms-to-be been told those items are off-limits? In the following excerpt from the book’s introduction, Oster explains why she started questioning the standard pregnancy rules in the first place — and why, like her, moms-to-be should know more and worry less.

Post date: 11/15/2017

The Goddess Myth:
How a Vision of Perfect Motherhood Hurts Moms

A recent article in TIME magazine by assistant managing director of the magazine, Claire Howorth, reports that in a survey commissioned by the magazine of 913 mothers;

“….half of all new mothers had experienced regret, shame, guilt or anger, mostly due to unexpected complications and lack of support.”

Post date: 10/30/2017

This is the reason I do what I do.

“Treating maternal depression can trickle down to improve mental health in kids.”

Maximizing Children’s Resilience

Maternal Mental Health Matters Because Moms Matter.

Post date: 10/24/2017

Self-care is NOT selfish. Self-care IS self-compassion.

When we nourish our mind, body, and spirit in ways that calm the anxious mind, we reduce stress and worry and begin to create a sense of wellbeing and balance in our lives.

Some simple ways to practice self-care:
Drink lots of water, read your favorite magazine or book, breathe, go for a walk, pray, try yoga, meditate, schedule your yearly dr’s visits, take a bath, turn off your cellphone, close your eyes and sit quietly, prepare your favorite meal, spend time in nature, have coffee with a friend, rest.

Post date: 10/22/2017

Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

In a recent New York Times article, parents, therapists and schools are struggling to figure out whether helping anxious teenagers means protecting them or pushing them to face their fears.

Post date: 10/16/2017

The Mom Factor: #1

Moms are powerful influencers. They have the ability to encourage, support, and model positive skills, behaviors, and values. They make stuff happen.

Moms never cease to amaze me. It seems that no matter how busy moms are, they somehow find enough time and energy in small and not-so-small ways to positively affect the welfare of their children, families, and communities.

Here on my Maternal Mental Health and Wellness facebook page, I would like to highlight moms who are not only positively influencing the lives of their own families, but also the lives of others. Periodically, I will be featuring moms who are busy in their communities supporting the arts, fostering compassion, promoting well-being and fitness, organizing events – in other words, making stuff happen.

And I need your help in finding these moms by soliciting entries from you, my facebook followers! If you, or some other mom or groups of moms you know is making a real difference in your community, please private message me their contact information. If I use your entry, you and your nominee will receive a gift certificate from Body Benefits Day Spa in East Milton Square for your support.

The following article is the first in a series of stories of ordinary moms doing extraordinary work in their families, neighborhoods and communities.

Group: The Milton Playground Planners
Community: Town of Milton
I recently met with the very gracious mother of two, Regina Malley from the Milton Playground Planners at The Plate to find out exactly who and what this organization was doing. Regina, I also learned, is the Park Commissioner for the town of Milton.
Influence on the Community: The Milton Playground Planners is a non-profit group founded in 2015 by 3 moms, Carolyn Mackay, Sarah Skillen, and Kelly Ballestracci, all Milton residents, who are collectively the mothers of 10 children. These moms saw a need in Milton to improve the four town-owned playgrounds; 1) Shield’s Park, 2) Andrews Park, 3) Kelly Field, and 4) Mary C. Lane Playground, by updating playground equipment and improving the surrounding landscape.
Carolyn is the mom to 4 children, all under the age of 5 and works as an on-line food instructor.
Sarah is the mom of two children and is the owner of Ice Creamsmith in Dorchester.
Kelly is the mom to 4 children and is a nurse anesthetist at Boston Children’s Hospital.
In November, 2015, the group held its first meeting at Cunningham Hall with an attendance of 20 Milton residents. Regina shared that as the group of volunteers began discussing their backgrounds, many members happened to be professionals whose talents and skills would be crucial to the success of the project. Among the group was a professional fundraiser, graphic designer, public relations specialist, photographer, and journalist, prompting some volunteers to utter “Is this magical or what?!”

In January, 2017, the group held its first fundraising event at Steel & Rye in Milton and raised $4,000 to a sold out crowd. The group has since held other fundraising events such as yard sales, kids’ dance parties, photo sessions, trivia night, and dance parties in an effort to raise money for the project. Their next fundraiser is The Masquerade Ball to be held on Saturday, October 21st, at Milton Hoosic Club. Last year’s event raised $45,000. To this date, the group has raised more than $657,000 to upgrade and improve the four playgrounds. Regina reported that the work on Shields Park is complete and Andrews Park is set for demolition in September, 2017. Please check out the Milton Playground Planners Facebook page and their website www.miltonplaygroundplanners.com for more information on their organization and for ways to get involved.

Maternal Mental Health Matters Because Moms Matter

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