A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

There came a day, about 10 months into motherhood, when I lifted my head from naptime routines and baby-led weaning and wondered just when the old ‘me’ had wandered out the door.

That was the day I decided I had to get back to doing the thing that defined me before the word ‘mom’ did, and to find space for both versions of me.

Babies are wonderfully all-consuming little creatures. They’re designed that way. But for the 10 to 15 percent of moms who suffer with postnatal depression or anxiety, part of the struggle is an overwhelming sense of loss – the feeling that you’ve surrendered yourself along the way, that you’ll never get back to who you were or be able to find time for yourself again.

Although medication has traditionally been the first port-of-call, studies are investigating different methods of treatment for mild cases. According to Christina Hibbert, clinical psychologist and founder of the Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition, medication is often not an appropriate first treatment. Many women take the wrong drug for their needs or don’t want to take medication while nursing.

Psychotherapy or “the talking cure” is the tried-and-tested alternative. But could creativity have a complementary part to play in tackling PND, too?

In 2008, researchers in the UK set up a group called Time for Me designed for mothers experiencing mild to moderate PND. The group provided a safe space where they could express their creative side, and this, in turn, led to behavioral change. Although the study was small-scale, the researchers suggested that arts therapies could complement conventional treatments.

Even if it feels like there’s just no room in your schedule, here’s why you need creativity in your life:

Creativity charges up your happiness

Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand found that creative activities led to an “upward spiral” of wellbeing. Those taking part in the program reported feeling more enthusiastic and “flourishing” more than usual following days when they’d done something creative.

While successful completion of the bedtime routine often just has to be marked with a movie and a large glass of wine – you know, just for survival – it can be primetime for creativity, too. Making that effort to create, rather than consume, can leave you feeling more balanced and relaxed for whatever the next day has to throw at you.

It gives your mind something else to work on

Whether you’re painting seascapes, sewing patchwork quilts, or growing a garden, creative pursuits can help call time on overthinking. It’s about making something from nothing, instead of making something out of nothing.

Physician Carrie Barron, author of “The Creativity Cure”, recommends choosing manual activities, claiming that using our hands to make something serves to “honor anatomical intent.” In other words, it gets us out of our heads and puts us back in our bodies.

It helps you carve out time for yourself

That concept certainly isn’t on the ‘features and benefits’ billboard for motherhood. Before I started writing again, my anxiety would focus around my daughter’s nap schedule because I was starving for time to myself, desperate for a break and not sure how I’d cope without one. Now, once a week, I take time to just go write stories.

Of course, I feel guilty as I kiss my daughter goodbye, hold my breath, and march out of the house. And, of course, none of us need a justification to have time alone. But somehow this feels more worthwhile to me, because I’m going to do something with my time – to make something new.

It offers you community

When my child was born, I didn’t want to talk about anything but babies. Then suddenly, I needed to talk about something – anything – else.

Whether it’s online or in person, your creative hobby gives you something in common with people who just aren’t that interested in the Gina Ford debate. Heck, they may not even know you’re a mom. Perfect.

It teaches you to handle failure

Edwin Land famously said, “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” If we can learn to live with our mistakes in crochet or watercolor, then we can apply the same to our parenting fails.

Our kids need us to model trying new things, making time and space for our own mental health and treating ourselves with kindness when we fail. That’s how they’ll learn kindness, toward themselves and others.

That’s how they’ll figure out that their best is good enough, too.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

You might also like:

Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

Keep reading... Show less

As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.