28
Jul

Postpartum Depression

postpartum depressionRecently, I became a mother once again.  Once again, this baby had severe reflux.  Once again, our life was turned upside down.  Yes, a new baby will do that.  A sick new baby that cries and writhes in pain for hours and hours on end will do that big time.
 
I am grateful, very grateful for another healthy baby.  It's just hard, really, really hard to recover from a c-section, help a baby in pain & still be a mother to another child.  After all, the world keeps spinning; homework needs to be done and the home still needs upkeep.
 
Hormonally, I was also emotional. I was feeling sad at what was & sad at what is now.  Yet, I was grateful.  And I was keenly aware that it would all get better.   In fact, it would be better than before. So, why did I still get moments of sadness?  Suddenly, it dawned on me that once again, I had the Baby Blues.  I had it after the birth of my son.  It lasted about 3 weeks before I improved.  And I  finally returned to "me" at 6 weeks postpartum.  It may not seem like a long time.  However, when your mind is stuck in a trap, it feels never-ending.  Support of family and friends has been critical to my sanity.  Without it, I'd suffer so much more.  So, here's a big thank you to all who have helped in many little and big ways.
 
This is just a reminder to all new moms and dads to be aware of the Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression & even the not-so-common Postpartum Psychosis.  The Baby Blues typically last about 1-2 weeks and start within the first few days after delivery. Postpartum Depression typically lasts longer than 3 weeks.  Also, Postpartum Depression may not start immediately after birth; it and can start anywhere from 6-12 months after delivery.
 
Be watchful of the signs of Postpartum Depression.  If you or the new mom is showing any signs of depression, loss of appetite, or difficulty sleeping even when baby us asleep, consider discussing it with her OB/GYN or her regular doctor. There is help available.  Also get help from those around you. Meals, kind words & reassurance can make a big difference.
 
For more information about Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression, including signs and symptoms and available treatment options, please go to http://bit.ly/Qc9wj5.
24
Jul

Imagination Affirmation

Imagination Affirmation

Imagination Affirmation

21
Jul

Concussions in Football and Children

imageedit_4_8211374059 - concussions in football and childrenChildren in Football and Other High Impact Sports

In the July 7, 2014 issue of People magazine, there was an article called, "6-Year-Old Football Players, Too Young to Tackle?"  The article discusses the Tri-County Titans, a competitive tackle football team in the Texas Youth Football Association.  What makes the Tri-County Titans so unique? They are a team comprised of 6 year olds.  They were highlighted on Friday Night Tykes, a TV show on Esquire Network.  There's been a lot of controversy regarding these elementary kids playing football.  So what's wrong with 6 year olds playing football?  Nothing, except, these young kids are playing tackle football.  While the article discusses the potentially negative impact of competitive football among elementary school kids, I would like to focus on an important issue, concussions in football and children.
 

Concussions & Concussion Symptoms

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that typically occurs when there is a sudden movement of the brain due to an injury such as a blow to the head, a jarring of the head, or a fall.  Concussion symptoms can be various and linger.  Symptoms may include disordered thinking, memory loss, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, difficulty sleeping, and more.  There are new guidelines for returning to sports after a concussion.  These serve to promote brain healing and  prevent additional injury.
 

Concussions in Children

Concussions and other injuries are more likely to occur with tackle football than flag football.  Concussions have a huge impact for children.  The reality is that once someone has had a concussion, they are more likely to have additional concussions. Repeated concussions are repeated brain injuries.  What does that mean for the brain?  It increases the likelihood of chronic lifelong brain damage.  What does that mean to our youth?  The younger the child has a concussion, the more likely they are to have more concussions in their sports lifetime.  The growing brain in the child with repeated concussions is uniquely susceptible to brain damage with prolonged effects, especially if the family and child are planning a life with many years of football or high-impact sports participation.
 

Traumatic Brain Injury

Concussions have come to public attention in recent years due to all of the attention received by concussions in the NFL.  Many NFL players have lifelong effects from repeated concussions.  In 2013, there was a  "$765 million settlement over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players, agreeing to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research."   Repeated concussions can cause a degenerative brain disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).  CTE can manifest as Alzheimer's, dementia, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.  Measures are being taken in the medical and school communities to help prevent our children from getting concussions during all sports, not just football. Doctors, coaches, and parents are also more aware of concussion symptoms.
 

Support & Resources

If your child suffers a sports related injury, make sure to go to his or her doctor.  Also, make sure your child receives an extra exam that clears him or her to return to their sport.  More importantly,even before a potential injury occurs, make sure you know the facts about concussions.  Make sure your children's school and coaches know the facts as well.  The CDC has many concussion education resources available, such as "A Fact Sheet for Teachers, Counselors, and School Professionals."  They've even created an "Heads Up" app to help parents identify concussion or traumatic brain injury symptoms.  For more support and resources about concussions, concussion symptoms, and treatment, please refer to the  CDC concussion support website.
14
Jul

Music is Good for You

We saw Despicable Me 2 last summer.  I must say, the fun has continued this summer even after we saw the movie.  My son loved the "Happy" song in it.  (Click here for the YouTube video, http://bit.ly/1c7vfBJ.) He asked me to get it for him.  As it turns out, I downloaded the entire soundtrack.  There were several good songs that he & I each liked.  It was more cost-effective to download it in its entirety. I didn't think we'd benefit from the whole soundtrack, but I downloaded it anyway.
 
Funny thing is, we've been singing and dancing a lot to it.  Well to be honest, I do most of the singing, while he does most of the dancing.  Our favorites are "Happy" by Pharell Williams, the "Irish Drinking Song" & "I Swear," both sung by Minions. "I Swear" is a cover of the Boys 2 Men song.  It's hysterical partly because it sounds like they are saying "underwear." Seeing my son act out moves while belting out "underwear" makes me laugh and brings a smile to my face that lasts quite a while.
 
Music definitely has mental and physical benefits (http://bit.ly/15KC9qK). Laughter does too (http://bit.ly/17voulc). Music & laughter increase our antibody production. They also decrease our cortisol levels.  Cortisol is a stress hormone, so lowering it naturally decreases your stress level. These are great boosts to our immune system. Other benefits include improved blood pressure and flow, positive impact on blood sugar, less aggressive behavior, increased coping skills, and improved socialization.
 
Personally, There are many great aspects of laughing, singing, and dancing.  The best part is the happiness together.  It's fun, silly, unscripted quality time together.  It's super funny when my husband joins in, all 6'4" of him hopping and spinning in a circle on one foot while clapping at the same time.
 
My favorite lyrics of "Happy" are:
"Clap your hands, if you feel like a room without a roof.
Clap your hands, if you know that happiness is the truth.
Clap your hands, if know what happiness is to you.
Clap your hands, if you feel like that's what you wanna do."
 
In these serious times, it's important to have a reminder to be happy.  It can be as simple as a song.  It cost $1.29 to download.  And I can honestly say, it's definitely worth it. Simple silly times filled with song and dance, are happy priceless moments.
7
Jul

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Ahome, familys a working mom, it's been a delicate balance to juggle work and home every day (http://bit.ly/1odULFX).  I've admired stay at home moms; raising children and caring for your home, exclusively, is a tough task indeed.
 
Like many of you, I'm at the point in my life where my family needs me home. Recently, were blessed to have another child. With the addition of our daughter, it became clear, that each family member had their own unique needs that weren't being met.  In addition, with my husband's growing practice, it became harder to justify each of us spending less and less time with our family.  After all, what's it all for, if not for family? As part-time work was unavailable, we discussed our options...continue to work or stay at home.
 
The decision to stay home was a difficult one for may reasons.  I had practiced at the same site for 12.5 years.  I have attachments to many of the families I've helped, even forming friendships along the way.  I've seen many children grow up into lovely young ladies and men.  Undoubtedly, I would miss them.  In addition, being a one income home would mean many changes were in order.  Such a big life change required close scrutiny of finances, creating a detailed household budget, & most of all the cooperation of each member of our little family. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that I need to pause my career, placing a priority on my family.  And so, for now, I'm a stay at home mom.
 
The transition from being a full-time Pediatrician to a homemaker is exceedingly difficult, as I imagine it would be for any working mother. It's a huge adjustment to a very different life.  I miss the atmosphere in a pediatric office; I sorely miss the spirit of the children. In addition, being a homemaker is hard work.  While it is true that the demands of the office and hospital are no longer present, it is also true that the personal demands of home life are much more than those at work.  After all, there is an end to a work day.  However, there's never an end to the work at home.  As many of you homemakers know, being a stay at home mom is a seemingly never-ending unappreciated and undervalued job. There's lots of repetition of cooking, cleaning, caring, organizing, and being supportive of each family member, while somehow learning and trying to find time for yourself.
 
On the other hand being a stay at home mom has its great joys.  I'm happy to know that I am here for my husband, our children, and our home life.  For the first time, I am able to dedicate myself completely to family and home. At the end of the day, I must say that it feels pretty darn good to set aside my doctor's hat for a while and be a mommy, a wife, and take care of myself.  Staying at home is difficult, but it is very rewarding and fulfilling.
 
2
Jul

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