What we still don’t understand about postpartum psychosis (The New Yorker)
Trigger warning: filicide, suicide, mental health
This is a thoughtful and nuanced piece about the Lindsay Clancy case, and about postpartum psychosis more broadly, that weaves in discussions of legal, sociocultural, and identity considerations. The author points out that perinatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders are poorly understood. This lack of understanding—compounded with a managed care system that focuses on getting people stabilized and out of treatment as quickly as possible—does a great disservice to women and families.
If you or someone you know might be struggling with a postpartum mood disorder, please reach out to Postpartum Support International.
This is a fascinating piece that is even more important when read in conjunction with the article above. In Germany, parents are legally entitled to an insurance-funded, three-week stay at a retreat/clinic—called a “kur”—every four years. Kurs are meant to provide preventive care to at-risk parents, but in the aftermath of COVID, they are seeing more acute distress among patients. Meals, childcare, and treatment are all covered as part of the stay.
Lest we think Germany is some sort of parental utopia, the article makes clear that these clinics have historically provided respite for parents (usually mothers, and particularly single mothers) who often feel under-supported by German society. But still, data has revealed positive outcomes for both parent and children. Programs like these have the potential make a huge difference.
More than 3,000 workers from 61 companies in the UK participated in a research study in which they worked 80% time at complete pay. The expectation was that they would continue to do all of their work, but would have less time to do it in—either by working a four-day week, or by working shorter hours 5 days a week.
The results speak for themselves: companies increased revenue while reducing absenteeism and turnover and improving employee wellbeing. In fact, 15% of study participants said there was no amount of money that would entice them to work a 40-hour week again. Earlier this month, Rep. Mark Takano of California introduced a bill that would make a 32-hour work week standards in the US. You can learn more about it here.
This article isn’t really about Elizabeth Holmes—it’s about the impact of maternal incarceration. As the article states:
Separating mothers from their children has devastating consequences for both parties, research shows. Prisons and jails are ill-equipped to deal with the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy and the vulnerable period after birth. Mothers who wind up in prison are far more likely than their male counterparts to have their parental rights permanently terminated. And parental incarceration is considered by public health experts to be an adverse childhood experience that can inflict lifelong harm on children’s health and well-being.
Even if her request is denied, Elizabeth Holmes has far more access to resources than most other incarcerated parents. I’m more concerned about the parents who don’t have these same privileges.
I did an accelerated masters program, which means I was 20 years old when I started my MSW program. Though I loved the program and am deeply satisfied with my career now (trust me, that hasn’t always been the case!), there have been times I wondered what career I would have chosen if I hadn’t rushed into graduate school. I know I’m not alone in wondering about “the path not taken”. In fact, the authors of this article found that 94% of the people they interviewed wondered about alternative career choices not taken at least sometimes.
This type of speculation is normal, but it’s not always helpful—especially if we dwell in regret. The authors suggest two key strategies to avoid obsessing about past decisions: 1. Craft your current job to meet your needs (I’ve written about job crafting before) and 2. Cultivate an internal locus of control, that is take ownership of your choice, acknowledge why you made it, and redirect your energy towards the future.
It’s Spring Break season, which means many of you are about to embark on (or, have recently been on) a trip. Yes, a trip—certainly not to be confused with a vacation (see here, if you need a further explanation 😉). So I thought I’d round up top travel tips from Instagram followers for ways to keep your sanity intact and enjoy yourself.
Set a souvenir budget for each kid—you're teaching money management skills and capping costs.
If you’re taking a long flight or if the flight falls in the middle of nap time, bring a gallon baggie and fill it half-full with air. Wrap it in a hoodie or blanket and—voila!—instant pillow.
Several followers suggested various brands of compression packing cubes. I really like these Cadence capsules for toiletries.
Negotiate a plan in advance so each parent gets some solo time.
Go out of your way to stay at a hotel with a pool and pack swim goggles!
Someone recommended these blister bandaids and I already added them to my Amazon cart.
Don’t overschedule and keep your expectations low 😂
Feel free to add your travel suggestions in the comments!
My four-year-old daughter came downstairs the other day dressed in a collared shirt and sweatpants and announced “I’m ready for work!” 😆 She was 21 months when the pandemic hit and I started working from home full-time, and she clearly doesn’t remember a time when I wore actual dress pants for professional purposes.
We all know this, but it can be easy to forget that our kids are constantly watching us and internalizing lessons about the world based on what they see—even if we aren’t intentionally trying to “teach” them something. It made me reflect on what kinds of lessons I want to model and how I can be more intentional about doing that. In that spirit, I invite you to reflect on the following questions…
In terms of your career, professional life or experience as a working parent, what do you hope to model for your kids?
In what ways do you succeed in modeling this? In what ways do you fall short?
How can you be intentional about modeling the kinds of behaviors and mindsets that are important to you?