Repost: Podcast with Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress

Today I’m re-sharing my interview with the fabulous Katherine Stone, talking about postpartum depression and reproductive mental illness. This is an important one, and it’s definitely worth a listen – or, for that matter, a re-listen.

Seven years ago right now I had a two-and-a-half week old baby, and I was depressed. I cried for long periods of time, often for no specific reason. I was convinced that I was a terrible mother, and that I had made a terrible mistake. I did all of the things that I was supposed to do for my baby, but I really wasn’t myself, and I didn’t feel the way that I had expected to feel. To complicate matters, I didn’t really see my own depression for what it was. The people around me did – and I thank my lucky stars for that – but I wasn’t really able to acknowledge what was going on.

It’s taking all of my personal strength to not delete that paragraph, by the way. The shame surrounding depression is strong, and I think that when we’re talking about postpartum depression it only ups the ante. When you have a new baby, life is supposed to be blissful. You’re supposed to be overwhelmed with love, and just spend your days gazing at your new little bundle of joy in wonder. Only, it’s not like that for everyone. And it doesn’t make us bad mothers, it makes us human beings who are suffering from a disease that is categorically not our fault.

Strocel.com Podcast Katherine Stone Postpartum Progress Postpartum DepressionIn my case, my depression was reasonably short-lived. By the time my baby was a couple of months old – and sleeping longer stretches at night – I was through the worst of it. I didn’t suffer in isolation for months, as some women do. My healthcare providers didn’t dismiss me, and no one suggested to me that I was in any way to blame, even if I sometimes felt that way myself. In many ways, I got off easy. All the same, I carry the weight of that time with me every day, and it colours my memory of my first child’s arrival in a profound way. I know that I am hardly alone, and I strongly believe that we need to fight the stigma of mental illness related to pregnancy and childbirth. So I decided to speak with Katherine Stone, Founder and Editor of Postpartum Progress, the most-widely read blog on postpartum depression and reproductive mental illness.

I heard Katherine speak at BlogHer, and I knew that she was passionate and committed to creating positive change. That passion came through during our conversation. She’s working hard to help mothers find the help they need, and to break down societal and cultural barriers to accessing that help. I find her inspiring, and I’m so glad that she’s created the resource that she has for mothers. I wish I had known about it myself as a new mom. Listen to what Katherine had to say about postpartum depression and other reproductive mental illnesses:

I’m still deciding what I’ll be sharing next week on the podcast, but I can promise you that you’ll want to tune in. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute! Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Podcast: Melissa Vose on Canadian Maternity Care

When I first came across the Mothers of Change website, I felt as if I had found my people. Mothers of Change is a grassroots advocacy group, advocating for quality maternity care for Canadian mothers. It recently occurred to me that I had never interviewed them for my podcast, and I decided to remedy that immediately. Luckily, founding board member Melissa Vose agreed to chat with me, and I’m excited to share our conversation in today’s podcast.

strocel.com podcast mothers of change melissa voseWe hear a lot about the state of birth in the US. Even here in Canada, most of us are far more conversant with what childbirth looks like in American hospitals, thanks to shows like TLC’s A Baby Story. There are far more books, movies, and TV shows portraying, documenting and exploring birth from the American perspective. While birth is birth regardless of the country in which it happens, different medical systems and standards of care definitely impact the experience and course of labour. This is why I was especially pleased to come across Mothers of Change in the first place. It’s also why I was eager to discuss childbirth in Canada on today’s podcast.

During the podcast, Melissa and I talked about how the American and Canadian approaches to birth differ. We discussed some of the pressing issues facing birthing women in Canada today. And we talked about what expecting mothers can do to stack the odds in their favour when it comes to having the birth they want.

strocel.com podcast mothers of change melissa vose

Whether you’re pregnant, you’re a birth junkie like me, or you’re interested in how a grassroots group is working to birth better maternity care, you’ll want to listen to today’s podcast:

Next week on the Strocel.com podcast I’ll be sharing an interview with Teresa Pitman. She’s the former chair of La Leche League Canada, and a co-author of the latest edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. She’s also been widely published in other books, magazines and so on. I consider her something of a role model, and I interviewed her for the Crafting my Life Online Course. Whether you’re interested in breastfeeding, or you’d just like a little bit of inspiration as we talk about role models, you’ll want to tune in. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute! Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

What’s in a Baby Name?

Yesterday I heard a story on the radio about choosing baby names, and current trends in naming. This is a topic of some interest to me at the moment, as my children are about to welcome their fourth new cousin in under 10 months. While I am very decidedly not part of it, there’s been a baby boom in my family as of late. While I have absolutely zero input into the decision, I find it somewhat fascinating how parents go about it. Everyone’s approach is different. Everyone takes a different amount of time to settle on a final choice.

My husband and I settled on baby names very early in my two pregnancies. While I was still in my first trimester, I compiled a list of my top choices for both boys and girls. Then, together, we chose first names from those lists. My children’s middle names were chosen for family members. Hannah’s middle name, for instance, is Lauren, for her grandmothers Laura and Laurie. Jacob’s middle name is Theodore for his grandfather and great grandfather. Once we’d chosen, we stuck with the names. I got lucky in this regard, because when I was pregnant with Hannah I started to sour on our boy name, and when I was pregnant with Jacob I started to sour on our girl name, but this ended up not being an issue either time.

I know other people who wait to meet their new baby before they settle on a name. Here in British Columbia you have 30 days to register the birth, and I’ve known parents who’ve gone right down to the wire in naming their little ones. In fact, I’ve even known people who’ve gone over, and had to pay fines. I know others who, once they see their baby, decide their chosen name just doesn’t fit and start the search all over again. There’s a lot of responsibility in choosing a name, and you want to make sure you have the right one for your new arrival. I can understand that. This is the label your child will carry for life, after all.

choosing a baby name

As is probably obvious based on the fact that our children are named Hannah and Jacob, Jon and I weren’t searching for particularly unique names or spellings. Vancouver is a very multi-cultural city, and I thought that the simpler my name choices, the easier it would be for everyone to pronounce my kids’ names. My own parents, by contrast, wanted unique names. In the 70s when I was born, Amber was still a pretty unusual name. Now it carries certain, er, connotations. My middle name is Dawn, and if you combine the two, you have Amber Dawn. As you can see, I don’t need to do a quiz find my stripper name, I already have it. (Although, for the record, I actually do like my name quite a lot.)

There are some countries where the parents’ name choice isn’t the final word. In an effort to avoid possible trauma, governments have implemented laws around what you may name your baby. For instance, in Germany the baby’s gender must be obvious from the choice of first name, and in Denmark parents must choose from a list of 7000 approved names, some of which are for boys and others for girls, or go through an approval process. And in Iceland a teenage girl is fighting with the government to get her name back.

The real truth about naming your baby is that whatever you choose, you’re probably going to choose wrong. Either it will be too common or too unusual, too hard to spell or too boring, too hard to pronounce or too long or too short. There will be too many weird nicknames, or not enough personalized products with the name printed on it. There are so many ways to mess up, but a choice must be made. In the end, we all just need to shut out the outside ideas and opinions, and do our best. And maybe choose a really good middle name or two, so our kids will have options.

What approach did you take to naming your babies? Did you choose names early on, or at the last minute? I’d love to hear!

Podcast: Stephanie Bonn Talks Chiropractic Care

When I was a teenager I visited a chiropractor often. But then, for a variety of reasons, I stopped going. It’s been well over a decade since I’ve had an adjustment, and I’ve heard that a lot has changed since the 1990s. Recently, I had the chance to get some information straight from the source. I spoke with Dr. Stephanie Bonn, a Vancouver chiropractor at Coco Chiropractic Wellness and a mom of three, about chiropractic care and other complementary therapies. Stephanie has a particular focus on caring for families, including new and expectant moms and their babies. I was curious about how things have changed since I last saw a chiropractor myself, and I was also curious to learn more about how conventional and alternative medicine can work together, especially during the childbearing years.

Strocel.com podcast Dr. Stephanie Bonn Coco Chiropractic WellnessHow can you protect your back through pregnancy and early parenthood? What does a chiropractic appointment for a new baby actually look like? What if you’re scared by the idea of someone cracking your back? And how does being a mom of three change your perspective as a health care provider? Stephanie answered these questions and a whole lot more. If you’re curious about chiropractic care, or you just want a few tips about how to take better care of your spine and your overall health along with it, you’ll want to listen to this week’s podcast.

Here’s my interview with chiropractor Stephanie Bonn:

Next week on the podcast I’ll be sharing an interview with Sarah Joseph, a social worker-turned-doula and childbirth educator. She’ll be talking about Bringing Baby Home, a workshop to help new parents maintain and strengthen their relationship with each other. Are you a master or a disaster? You’ll have to tune in to find out. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute!

Podcast: Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress

Seven years ago right now I had a two-and-a-half week old baby, and I was depressed. I cried for long periods of time, often for no specific reason. I was convinced that I was a terrible mother, and that I had made a terrible mistake. I did all of the things that I was supposed to do for my baby, but I really wasn’t myself, and I didn’t feel the way that I had expected to feel. To complicate matters, I didn’t really see my own depression for what it was. The people around me did – and I thank my lucky stars for that – but I wasn’t really able to acknowledge what was going on.

It’s taking all of my personal strength to not delete that paragraph, by the way. The shame surrounding depression is strong, and I think that when we’re talking about postpartum depression it only ups the ante. When you have a new baby, life is supposed to be blissful. You’re supposed to be overwhelmed with love, and just spend your days gazing at your new little bundle of joy in wonder. Only, it’s not like that for everyone. And it doesn’t make us bad mothers, it makes us human beings who are suffering from a disease that is categorically not our fault.

Strocel.com Podcast Katherine Stone Postpartum Progress Postpartum DepressionIn my case, my depression was reasonably short-lived. By the time my baby was a couple of months old – and sleeping longer stretches at night – I was through the worst of it. I didn’t suffer in isolation for months, as some women do. My healthcare providers didn’t dismiss me, and no one suggested to me that I was in any way to blame, even if I sometimes felt that way myself. In many ways, I got off easy. All the same, I carry the weight of that time with me every day, and it colours my memory of my first child’s arrival in a profound way. I know that I am hardly alone, and I strongly believe that we need to fight the stigma of mental illness related to pregnancy and childbirth. So I decided to speak with Katherine Stone, Founder and Editor of Postpartum Progress, the most-widely read blog on postpartum depression and reproductive mental illness.

I heard Katherine speak at BlogHer, and I knew that she was passionate and committed to creating positive change. That passion came through during our conversation. She’s working hard to help mothers find the help they need, and to break down societal and cultural barriers to accessing that help. I find her inspiring, and I’m so glad that she’s created the resource that she has for mothers. I wish I had known about it myself as a new mom. Listen to what Katherine had to say about postpartum depression and other reproductive mental illnesses:

Next week on the podcast I’ll be sharing an interview with Emma Kwasnica, who’s working to ensure that Facebook adheres to its own policies regarding breastfeeding photos. At present, while Facebook’s official stance is that breastfeeding photos are welcome, many mothers report having their photos removed and their accounts disabled, when their breastfeeding images are flagged as obscene. Emma – and many other nursing mothers – are unhappy with that. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute!

Podcast: Talking Family Size with Three Moms

How do you know when you’re “done” having kids? It’s a question I’ve been grappling with since about 20 minutes after my son Jacob was born. He was my second, and my husband was quite convinced that with one girl and one boy, our family was complete. I wasn’t. The babylust is strong in me. I know moms who have a very strong feeling that their family is complete, but I’m just not there. There may be many rational reasons to shut down the baby factory, but biology doesn’t always respond to reason, and so the desire to procreate remains.

Strocel.com Podcast Stephanie Precourt Family Size

Stephanie

I decided that a discussion about how moms decide that their families are complete would make for an excellent podcast. I knew that I couldn’t interview just one person, though. The decision is too individual for that. So I decided to speak to a few mothers who are “done” having kids, to get their perspectives. And so, this week in the podcast I’m bringing you interviews with three mothers:

  • Stephanie of Adventures in Babywearing – Stephanie has four children. Her youngest, Ivy, is just one month younger than my son Jacob. While she hasn’t completely shut the door on the possibility of having more kids in the future, for the time being she believes that she’s “done”.
  • Allison the Bibliomama – Like me, Allison has two kids, one boy and one girl. Like me, Allison still feels babylust. But with her younger child about to turn nine, she’s decided that she won’t be fulfilling that urge. Allison’s situation is closest to mine, and so I really wanted to hear her thoughts.
  • Strocel.com Podcast Allison Family Size

    Allison

  • Amanda, a.k.a. pomomama – Amanda has one child, and feels emphatically done. Her husband has had a vasectomy, and any babylust is gone. I remember feeling quite done when my own first child was a toddler with an extremely healthy set of lungs, but things changed for me. They didn’t for Amanda, and she’s enjoying having just one older child.

Before I share the podcast, I’d like to acknowledge something. I know not every family comes about as the result of a heterosexual couple conceiving without assistance. I also know not every pregnancy is planned. Deciding to conceive a child, or deciding not to conceive a child, is no guarantee of any outcome. However, for the purposes of this podcast, I decided to focus on people who were making decisions around family size, knowing that they likely could become pregnant with relative ease if they chose to. Since I’m trying to make a decision based on the assumption that if I wanted to get pregnant I could, it seemed most fair to talk to people in a similar situation.

Strocel.com Podcast Family Size Amanda

Amanda

I had a really good time speaking with Stephanie, Allison and Amanda. It was a fun change for me to include multiple interviews in a single podcast, and I loved gathering all the different perspective. While I didn’t have any startling revelations about my own family size as I spoke with these other moms, it was good to hear how they made their own decisions. If you’ve ever wrestled with the question of whether or not to have another baby, or you just want to hear how other people reached their own conclusions, I think you’ll enjoy this one. Listen here:

Next week on the podcast I’ll be talking to Suzanne Bertani of Green Planet Parties. We’ll be talking about choosing sustainable, safe products, making environmentally-friendly choices, and what inspires her as a small business owner. Suzanne has a really great energy, and I enjoyed speaking with her immensely. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute!

Podcast: Leilani Johnson of Circle of Health International

Circle of Health International (COHI) is a non-sectarian, grass-roots, non-profit organization that works with women and their communities in times of crisis and disaster. They ensure access to quality reproductive, maternal, and newborn care, at a time when that access may otherwise be interrupted due to a natural disaster, conflict or other crisis. Some examples of their projects include sending a rapid response team of 11 women’s health professionals into Sri Lanka following the tsunami and partnering with the Acadiana Outreach Center in Louisiana to support women surviving the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Babies will come when they come, even in the middle of a disaster zone, and COHI strives to be there to help.

When an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, COHI responded. And now, as the second anniversary of that earthquake nears, they’re responding again. They want to send Karen Feltham, a Certified Nurse Midwife and Clinical Instructor of Nursing at Binghamton University, on a 10 day trip to Haiti. While there, Karen will review existing protocols for managing emergencies, run emergency drills for complications and improve monitoring processes at the clinic. In short, she wants to teach evidence-based approaches to Haitian midwives, which will improve outcomes for mothers and babies. To help get her there, COHI is raising money, and they need your help.

The “Get Karen to Haiti” campaign is trying to raise $1000 to … wait for it … get Karen to Haiti. True to their grassroots style, they’re asking you to donate whatever you can afford, even if it’s only $10, to help ensure that women in Haiti have access to appropriate maternity care. When I was having my babies, I always knew that emergency services were there if I needed them. Most of you enjoyed that same luxury. While we may feel that many interventions are overused in modern hospitals, we also know that in some cases the ability to access them can mean the difference between life and death. So give what you can to help get Karen there. Then follow COHI on Facebook to get updates on their work.

Strocel.com Podcast Circle of Health International ClinicAfter hearing from my friend Hillary about COHI and their work, I was privileged to be able to interview Leilani Johnson, the organization’s Executive Director. She talked about the what COHI does, including the current effort to send Karen to Haiti. She also told me about a very exciting upcoming project they’re working on. If you’re a birthy type like me, and you want to hear about some very important work to protect mothers and babies, take a listen:

Next week I’ll be sharing an interview with blogger Anna Hackman. She’s an environmentalist who’s passionate about green building and renovation. Her passion is so infectious that I left our conversation feeling excited about caulk and energy conservation and picking non-toxic paint. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute!

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