How Moms Can Manage Their Well-Being
Being a mom is a full-time job. It’s demanding, exciting and extremely unpredictable. Motherhood is an emotional roller coaster that impacts your entire life.
Cindy Bjorkquist, director of health and well-being programs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan wants more women to discuss the ups and downs of parenting. “Back 30 years ago, when I got in this industry, there was still that stigma; 20 years ago, still that stigma. You don’t need help. You don’t need to go to a counselor. You got anxiety. You got depression, whatever.”
She wants these issues brought to light so all mothers can feel heard and validated. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with new responsibilities, especially if you have a burgeoning career. “I was the working mom, worked ungodly hours, and did that whole system,” said Elizabeth Lewis, founder of Detroit Moms Blog.
“Then I went to working from home which is a whole other beast because, if you work from home and you don’t have childcare… chances are kids are possibly at home and you’re 24/7. Someone who stays home, you’re never off.” It’s difficult to find time for yourself because someone else’s needs always come first. As a mother, you’re focused on feeding, clothing, and nurturing your child. Your well-being takes a backseat and is often forgotten.
On the latest episode of the A Healthier Michigan Podcast, hosted by Chuck Gaidica, Bjorkquist and Lewis encourage moms to prioritize their mental and physical health, by establishing healthy boundaries.
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“Research says the most important thing about well-being is sense of purpose,” explained Bjorkquist. “We love our children, you know, to the end of the earth. They’re the most important thing in our life.” But you can’t lose yourself in that. You can’t be defined by your children’s existence.
It’s important to be present in everything that you do. Monitor your health and take note of any physical or mental changes. Shortly after having her child, Lewis knew something was drastically different. But she didn’t have the words to describe it.
“I kind of felt I was a little off,” revealed Lewis. “I think that’s the hardest part for women with postpartum is you don’t know how it feels because, if you’ve never experienced it, you don’t know it… I remember my husband and I were heading to D.C., and I had this thought, and I knew I needed help.”
Postpartum depression often goes undiagnosed because some mothers are ashamed. The symptoms can be debilitating and make one feel incompetent. Yet, that shouldn’t be the case.
“That’s the biggest message of this entire podcast,” said Bjorkquist. “Being a mother is the most rewarding thing in the world. That is just, to me, in my heart, but it’s super hard as well.” There is nothing wrong with seeking and accepting help. It’s a benefit to everyone involved.
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Photo credit: skynesher