I was reading an article this morning about new moms experiencing a desire to get back in shape after the birth of a new baby and that exercise and meditation can reduce the chances of depression. It triggered an old feeling in me and I automatically went back to the way I felt over 40 years ago when I gave birth to my two girls, one in 1971 and the other in 1973. At the time there were no groups to reach out to that were a support system for new moms. I actually am feeling quite emotional writing this blog and remembering how I felt...isolated, depressed and at times so lonely that I wanted to scream. I was a very young mother, 23 when I gave birth to my first daughter and 25 when I gave birth to my second daughter.
A 2008 study by Dr. Cassandra Vieten from the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute looked at the effects of mindfulness meditation on prenatal stress and mood and demonstrated a 20-25 per cent reduction in stress levels and anxiety in pregnant women.
Meditation was literally a life saver for me; it allowed me to calm down when I was feeling sad, frustrated and lonely. By going into that calm place and reconnecting with myself I started to feel at peace, loving and very connected to my babies. There were ups and downs and being a young mom was not an easy task, however, having this wonderful tool to keep me focused really saved my sanity. I meditated every day for sometimes 10 minutes and sometimes 20 minutes depending on the demands of the day -- this was "my time." Babies napped and I meditated.
"For women at risk (of postpartum depression), it's definitely of value (meditation)...It's a non-pharmacological means of prevention and should be offered in addition to other parenting classes and skills."
Dr. Zindel Segal, one of the founders of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy and Cameron Wilson Chair in Depression Studies at the University of Toronto.
To this day I still meditate for 20 minutes per day and it allows me to re-connect with myself on a daily basis and have the energy I need to succeed in a healthy marriage, run a business, spend time with family and friends, be able to connect with my beautiful grandchildren and exercise daily with more energy than I could ever imagined having at the age of 65.
According to Canada.com, a study by from the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado is "showing the 'favourable' results of a first-ever study done on at-risk pregnant women who continued a meditation and yoga practice into the postpartum period."
Treat yourself, learn how to meditate and schedule it into your day even if it is only for a few minutes, I guarantee you will see a difference.