A guest blog post by April Lovelace Simmons
One of the most poignant emotions of motherhood, in my experience, has been longing. I have intense, heart aching longings that are as huge as the cosmos and as persistent and unignorable as birthing pains. Before becoming a mother, I wanted things, even longed for certain things- connection, true partnership, stability, motherhood itself. But I never experienced the overwhelming, conflicting, and indescribably intense longings that accompanied motherhood.
My entrance to motherhood was not simple, or natural, or beautiful. Becoming a mother took so many things from me that I never expected to lose- things that I didn’t even know a person could lose. All at once, in an avalanche of loss, my entire life and being slid into a mushy, yawning, all-encompassing sink hole of love and sacrifice. I loved my baby wildly, with complete abandon. But I also felt the betrayal of resentment at what this miracle had cost. I craved the autonomy...
by Danielle D Jenkins, PsyD
As we round the corner into the second Mother’s Day in the pandemic I find myself struggling with celebrating Mother’s Day even more than usual. Don’t get me wrong, I love greeting card holidays. Love them! Valentines is my favorite, and the other non-religious ones like Mother’s Day follow closely. I adore days where we set aside time to reflect on certain types of people and say thank you for what they do and who they are. Even in times when I have been sad or at odds with the idea of motherhood, I have still liked Mother’s Day. I was still able reflect on the various types of mothers I’ve had in my life and I am totally a sucker for the sweet preschool Mother’s Day projects my friends and clients post on Facebook or show my in sessions. I mean come on that stuff is pure gold!!
However, this year, I am struck anew by the fact that we don’t listen very well to women and what they need and want. We glorify...
by Nichole Eliason, FNTP, CCHT
Have you ever left a visit from your provider with a healing plan for your chronic symptoms feeling hopeful, only to soon find yourself feeling so restricted by the long lists of comforting foods you cannot eat and overwhelmed by all of the supplements to take? Did you find yourself feeling deprived and exhausted? Perhaps reacting poorly to the supplements? Was it difficult being in the present moment with a sense of calm as your thoughts anxiously circle back to “what am I going to eat next?” When is my next handful of supplements? Am I eating the right things? And Ugh! Why do I still feel awful? “Maybe I’m not being strict enough?” Sound familiar?
When a friend invited you out for dinner, did you feel like you couldn't go because there wouldn't be anything that was safe for you to eat?
If you watched a movie and saw the characters happily drinking wine and laughing, eating cheese and cake, did you feel a sense...
by Danielle Jenkins, PsyD
By Nichole Eliason, NPT, C.Ht
Many of the common mild to moderate symptoms of PMS can be eased with diet and lifestyle changes. These changes can include eating for your specific needs, limiting sugar and alcohol consumption, getting adequate amounts of magnesium, and tracking your cycle to support shifting needs for rest and movement.
For some of us it’s not quite so simple. We may feel like we have tried everything and still struggle with overwhelming symptoms. It can feel hopeless and lonely, but there is a path for you to find healing. I struggled for years with debilitating PMS symptoms that derailed my life every month. My stomach distended so far after meals that I looked like I was six months pregnant. I had itchy rashes on my feet and legs, terrible anxiety, panic attacks, migraines, mood swings, and crying. Lots and lots of crying. I felt so unsafe in my own body. It was a nightmare. I am so thankful to now have an understanding of what is going on in my body and to...
By Danielle D Jenkins, PsyD
There is a club no one wants to be in that is filled with women of all kinds. Until it happens to you, you may not even realize how many people in your life have experienced miscarriage. Once people hear about your situation, they often share, “It happened to me, too.” It’s one of the loneliest large groups around. Miscarriage happens in about one in four recognized pregnancies and about one in five women have experienced this type of loss, yet many women do not talk about it or even share their loss with anyone except their partner and sometimes their provider.
There’s so much mystery, and confusion around miscarriage. I want to be part of reducing the unnecessary stigma around this sensitive issue. So I thought I’d begin by sharing some of the things I am learning in the process of healing from my own loss (and from supporting other women in their losses).
Grief comes in waves
You may be fine one minute and...
By Danielle D Jenkins, PsyD
As seasons shift, many people feel worsening mental health. Particularly in the fall and winter in places like the Pacific Northwest where I live and work. The days go from being full of opportunity to spend outside with lots of light to short, dark, and wet. It becomes more difficult to get out and move one’s body in positive ways. It’s cold and damp for at least part of the day. We begin the running here and there for various activities. The leaves are blowing with frenetic energy. And the sweet and spicy drinks and cookie snacks are everywhere beckoning with their promises to feel better after a treat.
Depending on the year, sometime between September 1st and October 15th I start giving my fall mood talk. We go over how much sugar they are eating/drinking and how they are taking care of their bodies. This year, I know it’s been harder for me this year to practice what I preach so I’m guessing I’m not alone...
By Danielle Jenkins, PsyD
If you know me or have followed me on social media at all, you’ve definitely heard me quote Mr. Rogers a time or two. My favorite Roger’s quote is “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” This quote is one that I live by and has helped me support myself and my therapy clients in times of stress chaos, and trauma. This week as the entire West Coast has looked like something out of an apocalyptic movie, I had another reminder that helpers are everywhere.
This week, my hometown was burning down amidst the unprecedented fire events all up and down the West Coast. Most people who know me now know that I live and work in Washington State and believe that Portland is my hometown. I don’t usually correct them because hardly anyone outside of Oregon has ever heard of Molalla,...