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How’s Mama-To-Be Really Like: 10 Pregnancy Advice For The First Time Moms

How’s Mama-To-Be Really Like: 10 Pregnancy Advice For The First Time Moms

For every first time mom, there are those rules and regulations, that advice of oh-so-many do’s and don’ts; the list just goes endless, that you have to abide to. On one hand, you are experiencing pregnancy for the first time, your body is going through major changes, you are emotionally fluctuated: excited, tensed, anxious, happy, blessed, impatient, so on and on. And on the other hand, you have been advised to do this, not to do that, to eat this, not to eat that, don’t go there, please go there! Driving you nuts? Well, here is an article that might come to your aid. From my very own first hand experiences, I would like to chime in your life for a bit. Hope I can help you!

1. No diet for you, first time mom!

Always remember, you have to eat for the two (or three, maybe?) of you. Whatever you eat, whether it’s a slice of cake, or a buffet dinner, make sure you eat two slices of cake, and adequate amount of meal that will leave you full and super satisfied. In simple words: eat food to your heart’s content. But of course, always, and always maintain a healthy balanced diet. It doesn’t mean you can’t have KFC or Burger King. You can. But keep one to maximum two junks per month. It really won’t affect your baby’s development. I have had my shares of junk food, and my babies turned out amazing! Another important advice: you can have sea food. Have plenty of fish. But make sure you avoid sushi, or any fish that is raw or half raw. Frozen fish are better. And cook them thoroughly. Fish in a curry is the best option.  Also, bear in mind that these extra food will go to your baby, and even if you grow fat, you will eventually shed them down. Or I hope you will shed them down!

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2. Don’t forget your exercises, though.

Don’t go overboard on your exercises. Minimum, appropriate exercises are what you require throughout your pregnancy. Here are 5 simple steps of exercises that you can do in your special nine months. Exercises, from the very beginning, will make you flexible, and will make your labor a tiny bit easier (please read “tiny bit”)! More importantly, make sure you are gaining weight at a steady pace. Exercises are not to keep your weight in check. It is to make you feel good.

3. Sex is a brilliant exercise too.

As long as you are going through a normal pregnancy, you can have sex till your water breaks. You are only exempted if you have some sort of complications. Don’t let your weight gain bug your desire to have sex. And don’t worry about your partner. They find us sexy regardless of how fat we grow. There are some who find it quite difficult to make love in their last trimester, because of the big balloon in front of them. Ease back, and relax. You should enjoy your sex, rather than panicking. Remember, sex is a brilliant exercise too.

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4. Losing hair or having luscious locks? Don’t fret if things go opposite after delivery.

During my first pregnancy, I had beautiful, thicker, luscious locks that I ab-so-lutely enjoyed. But couple of weeks after my delivery, my hair started to decline. Man, was I upset! It’s a normal thing, or so science says. If you are lucky, your hormones will play the good cop role, and allow your hair to grow. Once your hormones settle down back to normal, the excess hair that grew will shed off. And it will get back to your normal shedding routine. 100 per day. They grow back too. And during my second pregnancy, I started to lose my hair. This time, I was told, that the hormones played the bad cop role. But during my second trimester, my hair was back to normal, or maybe I was used to the thinning hair. Do not fret. All these are temporary. Once your baby pops out, give your hormones some time. They will settle down themselves (my hair is back to normal, Thank God!).

5. No hair coloring at home.

Really? I heard the same thing too. Apparently the chemical fumes that is released from the hair color is extremely bad for your fetus. Let me tell you one thing. It is bad. Very bad. But if you have enough fresh air flowing in and out of your room, then coloring won’t be a factor at all. I have colored my hair, during my second pregnancy, not once, but twice! But I made sure the door and the window were wide open, the fan at its fullest speed. And don’t inhale the smell deeply. While coloring, make sure you face the other way when you need to breathe deeply.

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6. Wear fitted, yet comfy clothes.

This is another factor we have to face a lot. There are people who would tell you to wear loose fitting clothes so that you can move freely, and there are some who would advice you to wear fitted clothes. You wanna know the truth? Wear fitted but comfy clothes. Example, you can choose maternity lines, and you can also opt for 2 to 3 sizes larger your regular size. My favorites were my partner’s ones. A cotton leggings and a cotton shirt. Or a skirt with a cotton tank top. Just make sure the garbs you pick are pure cotton, and soft.

7. High heels much?

Yes, you can wear high heels (you read it right, women!) but make sure you are one hundred percent comfortable in them. Doctors usually don’t allow heels in case you lose your balance and fall. But if you are a pro, and have a clear history of never falling down while dancing, running, cat walking in your stilettos, then go for it! But one thing I would advice, the safest shoes are flats, without a doubt, but if you have to wear heels, then go for wedges. They’ll keep your balance, and make you tall.

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8. No perfume? No deodorant?

Seriously? Well, you can’t stay stinky all day now, can you? Especially during the hot summer days, you are all sweaty… okay, I’ll stop. You can use deo, and please use perfume. I know they contain alcohol. The thing is you are not drinking your perfume, are you? No? Then it is absolutely safe to use it. The alcohol containing in a perfume evaporates into the air. It is exactly the same as using ethanol after drawing your blood for various medical tests.

9. Visit the movie hall while you can.

Many will refrain you from visiting the movie hall while you are pregnant. The reason being the surround systems, and the amount of loud sound the movie theaters will produce. They say it is bad for your baby’s hearing development. To be honest, I did watch Avengers in the theater. And my baby can hear better than me. Just make sure you sit in the middle of the hall, not on the sides where the speakers are the loudest. And you can watch movies as much as you want to. It is a great way to unwind your anxious you!

10. Stop reading too much pregnancy blogs!

These will drive you nuts. Just stick to one website that you think has enough information, and follow the updates every week. Not every day. Please! And don’t compare the weekly development of your baby and the website’s baby too seriously. Every baby is unique and has their own pace of development. What the websites provide are based on an average study. If your baby weighs less than the website’s given weight (or more), don’t panic. These are just to give you an idea of your weekly development. They are fun to read, and look at. Do this with your partner. Keep him in loop as well. And besides reading weekly development, why don’t you sit with a nice novel and read it? This is a great therapy to keep your mind off any anxiousness.

Pregnancy is an experience of a lifetime. We all should enjoy it as much as we can. Because when we’ll look back, even the little thing will make a wonderful memory. So, don’t let the silly advice blog your path of enjoyment. This is your first pregnancy, an experience to be a first time mom. So do what you like, see what you like, eat what you like. Doing a little research on certain topics isn’t harmful. But doing a lot of researches might put mountainous pressure on yourself. Relax, get enough sleep, get out, shop, hang out, eat, pamper yourself. These nine months are your months. You are on the limelight. Make use of it before the tiny human being(s) steals your show!

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Sumaiya Kabir

Sumaiya is a passionate writer who shares thoughts and ideas to help people improve themselves.

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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

Signs of Depression in Children (And How to Help Them to Overcome It)

Signs of Depression in Children (And How to Help Them to Overcome It)

Children, just like adults, can be depressed. Sometimes seemingly normal children with no major life issues can become depressed. It is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes clinical depression to occur. There are specific signs that you should recognize in your child if they are depressed. Getting them help and treatment is crucial to their mental wellness.

In this article, we will look into the signs of depression in children and how parents can help them to overcome it.

Signs of depression in children

The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder) is the widely accepted instruction guide that professionals utilize for diagnosing mental disorders. The DSM characterizes a Major Depressive Episode as depressed behaviors that consistently last for two weeks or longer. Therefore, if your child has been “down in the dumps”, feeling hopeless or having sadness for more than two weeks, it should be cause for concern and investigated.

Below are signs of depression according to the DSM manual. The individual must have at least five of these behaviors present for a period of two weeks or longer to be officially diagnosed as having MDD (Major Depressive Disorder). Below is a summary/generalization from the DSM manual:

  • Feelings of deep sadness or depressed mood that last most of the day (for two weeks or more). For children they can present as irritable rather than sad.
  • Diminished interest in activities (again majority of the day or all the time).
  • Significant weight loss (not through dieting), or a decrease in appetite. In children, they fail to make expected weight gains while growing.
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
  • Either a slowing of psychomotor abilities/actions or an apparent agitation of these psychomotor abilities. This means that they either have moments that lack purpose and seem to be done because of agitation and tension or there is a significant slowness/retardation of their speech and physical actions.
  • Fatigue and loss of energy.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt every day.
  • Difficulty thinking, making decisions, or concentrating every day. This may be reflected in their grades.
  • Preoccupation with death and dying or suicidal thoughts.

Please note that if your child is suffering from the loss of a loved one and is processing through the stages of grief, it is normal to have these signs of depression. If they seem to be stuck in the depression stage, then it is time to pursue grief counseling to help them along in the grieving process.

However, if they are not suffering from a bereavement or a medical condition that would cause the above symptoms, then they should be taken to a professional for possible diagnosis and treatment of MDD (Major Depressive Disorder).

How to help your child with depression

Depression is not to be taken lightly. Especially if suicidal thoughts are present. The child’s feelings and emotions are real and must be taken seriously. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), suicide is the number two cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.[1]

Professional help is recommended if you believe your child fits the criterion for MDD (Major Depressive Disorder). You can take your child to their paediatrician for an evaluation and referral. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, they may benefit from medication such as anti-depressants.

Most professionals do not dispense medication as the first remedy for depression. Instead therapy is the first line of defense against depression, with medication being paired with therapy if the therapy is not enough or the symptoms are severe enough.

Testing

There are assessment tools that professionals can utilize to help in properly determining whether your child is depressed. The three tools used in assessing depression in children are:

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  • The Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS)
  • Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI)
  • Clinical Global Impression (CGI)

Taking your child to a professional mental health counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist can help ensure proper testing and assessment occurs.

Therapy

There are many types of therapy available today. It is important to find a professional that specializes in childhood depression and the treatment of such.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the leading therapy methods in treating childhood depression. For younger children, play therapy is useful in treating childhood depression as children are often able to better communicate through play than conversation alone.

What parents can do at home to help their depressed child

Besides seeking for professional help, there are a couple of things that parents can do at home to help their depressed child:

1. Talk with your child about their feelings in a compassionate and empathetic manner.

It can feel high pressure to sit face to face and ask your child about their feelings. However, going on a walk, playing a board game or playing alongside your child (chose whichever is age appropriate for your child) can allow them to relax and open up about their feelings.

Ask your child open ended questions that require more than a simple yes or no to engage in more meaningful conversations. Never judge while they are being open and honest with you because it will inevitably cause them to shut down and move away from being open with you.

It is okay to allow for periods of silence during the conversations because sometimes the child is processing their thoughts and emotions during your time together. You don’t have to fill the space and entire time with talking as silence at times is helpful.

2. Provide activities that help them relax and de-stress.

For smaller children, there are simple ways to help them relax.

Provide play opportunities that they find relaxing such as coloring, painting, working with Play-do or clay, or playing with sand and sand toys. Again, find activities that interest your child and are age appropriate are helpful in making them relaxed.

3. Limit screen time.

Technology is not helpful in making your child less depressed. It can often be an escape that keeps them from further opening up about their feelings and emotions.

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Limit time in front of the TV, laptop, smart phone, video games and tablets, etc. Any electronics that seem to prevent your child from face to face interactions should be limited. Ask Dr. Sears cites that researchers have found kids who have higher levels of screen time are at greater risk for anxiety and depression.[2]

Provide alternate activities to replace the screen time such as hiking, crafting, drawing, constructing, biking and playing outside, etc. Some children may be so dependent on their screen time as their source for entertainment that they may need you to participate in alternate activities alongside them in order to get engaged in the activities.

You can’t simply tell your child to go outside to play if they are suffering from depression, lack friends and are used to sitting down and playing video games each day after school. Go outside with your child and do a nature hike or take your child to a playground and have fun together to get them engaged in these alternate activities.

4. Promote outdoor time and physical activities.

Encourage your children to take part in activities that especially involve nature such as nature hikes. Do these activities with them to help them engage in the activities. Again this is an opportunity for open conversations to occur and quality time to take place.

5. Help your child when problems and difficult tasks arise.

Assist them by helping them break down the task into smaller and more manageable parts. Children with depression often have difficulty taking on large problems and tasks and find them overwhelming. Helping them by breaking down the task into smaller and more manageable tasks will assist in helping raise their confidence when the small tasks are mastered.

Small tasks mastered lead to bigger tasks being mastered over time. It is a process over time, patience and a willingness to work alongside your child. This does not mean doing the task or taking on the problem solely yourself. Many times all the child needs is for you to break down the larger task into smaller more manageable tasks and for you to patiently talk your child through the completion of these smaller tasks.

6. Help your child reduce life stress.

When children are depressed, they have greater difficulty handling life activities in general. Cut back on activities that cause stress to increase and look for ways to help reduce stress in your child’s life.

7. Foster a positive home atmosphere.

Reduce or eliminate negative attitudes, language and conversations. Also avoid raised voices, passive aggressive behaviors and any form of physical violence in the home.

Make your home a safe haven for your child instead of an atmosphere that is ever volatile (in words, emotions or physically). Make it a calm environment that makes your child feel safe and secure mentally, emotionally and physically.

8. Help your child see the positive in life situations.

Point out the positives in a situation rather than the negatives. Help them see the bright side of any situation.

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Be a model of seeing the positive in life by speaking words that are uplifting, encouraging and positive. Resist the temptation to voice negative thoughts that come to mind as your child can feed off your emotions and words.

9. Believe your child when they talk about how they are feeling.

Listen to them patiently and take their words seriously. Do not discount or minimize their feelings. Express empathy and compassion when they do open up about their feelings. Help them utilize “I feel” statements in expressing their emotions.

10. Keep watch for suicidal behaviors.

Such behaviors include your child/teen researching this topic online, them giving away their possessions and a preoccupation with death.

Seek professional help immediately with the presentation of suicidal behaviors or thoughts. Keep this number on hand and use it when in doubt: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number 1-800-273-8255.

11. Keep all prescriptions, alcohol, drugs and weapons locked and away from children and teens.

This is a given for all children, but even more imperative for children who are depressed as they have an increased likelihood to abuse drugs and alcohol. They also have an increased likelihood to attempt suicide. So keep weapons and tools such as ropes and knives that can used for suicide out of the child’s ability to use.

12. Spend quality one-on-one time with your child.

Make the time during your day, every day, to spend quality time with your child. You may have limited time and cannot provide an hour or more a day to dedicate to one-on-one time with your child, but you should provide a minimum of 20 minutes a day with your child spending quality one-on-one time together. Try the suggested activities listed in point #3.

13. Be an encouragement and supporter of your child.

Show love and not frustration or anger because of the situation and your child’s condition. Help keep your attitude positive so your child can also see the positive.

Provide daily words of affirmation that are not based on end results (such as a grade or a win) but instead praise the effort they put forth. If you praise the outcome, they will be disappointed when their efforts don’t pan out. If they are praised for their efforts regardless of the outcome, their confidence is built based upon something that they can control (the effort they put into things).

14. Help your child to live a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep is a very important factor in your child’s mood. Not getting enough sleep can cause an entire day to be upset. According to Sleep Aid Resource, children between the ages of 3 and 18 need between 8 and 12 hours of sleep each night:[3]

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    Ensure your child is eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting physical activity/exercise daily and plenty of sleep time.

    15. Help your child foster positive relationships and friendships with their peers.

    Set up play dates for your younger child and encourage older children to invite friends over to your home.

    16. Talk about bullying.

    It can be one of the causes of your child’s depression, so discuss their life outside of home and their interactions with their peers. Help them recognize bullying and discuss how to handle bullying properly.

    17. Help your child follow the treatment plan outlined by their doctor, counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist.

    Make sure you know the treatment plan that your child’s health care professional has outlined for child. This may include counseling session recommendations, medications and recommendations to follow through with in the home. Completing the plan will help provide optimal results for your child in the long run. A plan doesn’t work unless it is followed.

    18. Recognize that professional treatment takes time to show results.

    Don’t expect results for the first few weeks. It may take a month or longer, so be patient and understanding with your child.

    Depression in children is curable

    Depression in children can happen for a variety of reasons. It is quite treatable.

    Professional help is recommended if your child can possibly be diagnosed with a depressive episode. There are interventions that can be implemented in a professional setting, at home and at school. The key is having a plan of action to help your child.

    Ignoring the problem or hoping the depression will just go away is not a good plan. Treatment is imperative to curing depression in children.

    The first step is talking to your child’s paediatrician to get the ball rolling. He or she will refer you to specialists in your area that can help your child overcome and conquer their depression one day at a time. With you by their side, each step of the way you will get through it together and it is quite possible for your relationship with your child to be strengthened in the process as well. That can be your silver lining or positive outlook on the situation at hand.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] National Institute of Mental Health: Suicide
    [2] Ask Dr. Sears: It’s a Virtual World: Setting Practical Screen Time Limits
    [3] Sleep Aid Resource: Sleep Chart

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