Much like the new mama trying to learn how to mom from Google, as friends and family, most of us don’t have the guide book on how to help. Especially for those of us who don’t have children of our own, we may draw a big blank when it comes to knowing what to do, but we can show up the best we know how by offering specific support.
It is my sincere hope that women feel strong and encouraged by their doctors and their families the INSTANT they feel uneasy, and more importantly, it is absolutely vital to have strong support systems in place.
Postpartum Support Charleston knows that some of you have been grappling with the scary events that have occurred this week in our area and in Florida.
A home invasion and abduction of a child, as well as a shooting at a school, are among a parent’s worst nightmares. We held our breath and were overjoyed that 4-year-old Heidi Todd was found alive in Alabama and will be reunited with her family on Johns Island. And we grieve for the family members of the teachers and high schoolers who were murdered in a senseless act of violence at the hands of a young man. It is our hope that these families receive the mental health support they likely need to help them through the grieving process over the next days, weeks, months and years.
You may be feeling anxious and terrified right now, as parents, at the perceived lack of safety for yourself or your children. Please know that whatever feelings you are experiencing, they are not wrong. No one can or should tell you that your feelings are wrong. Everyone handles tragedy differently. Some may feel paralyzed, and some may feel compelled to take action. Both are healthy.
We reached out to Cynthia Lenehan, a North Charleston licensed professional counselor who works with a lot of our moms, and asked her what parents may need to hear right now. This is what she said:
“When tragedy strikes our community, especially one involving a child, it is natural that our fear mechanisms are aroused,” Cynthia said. “It's a way that we learn to stay safe, by recognizing risk so that we can take appropriate action. But, it is also important to do so with facts. We need to ask ourselves in what ways is our situation like the tragedy that just unfolded? What is the actual chance of risk to me or my child? Is there anything different I can do to lessen that risk? And, this is very important, what are the consequences of my actions to lessen the risk? For example we know that the risks of automobile accidents are real, so we put our children in safe car seats with safe drivers rather than never let them get in a car.”
In regard to the Johns Island abduction, Cynthia said that these kinds of abductions are extremely rare, and while our instinct may be to shelter our children even more, it’s important to remember that there are risks involved for children if they are not given unstructured and unsupervised playtime. As parents, especially after events such as these, we must try to find middle ground to allay our fears and give our kids room to grow.
“We know that children need unstructured playtime, they need to learn to trust people in their community, and they need to learn body autonomy,” she said. “The consequences of them not developing the skills are dire. The chances of them being abducted by a stranger are incredibly rare. Mothers need to organize their children's life around accurate risk assessment.”
Bottom line: It’s OK to turn off the TV and disconnect from social media for awhile. The news can be overwhelming. Develop boundaries with your media consumption, such as not scrolling through your phone at night in your bedroom. Find healthy distractions such as exercise, going for a walk outside, talking with a friend, arrange a playdate or seeing a health care professional. (For more ideas, check out this insightful link.) Lean on Postpartum Support Charleston and/or professionals such as Cynthia in times like these if you need to talk. We are here for you.
A HUGE thank you to everyone who made the 2016 Moms’ Run + Family Fun Day such a success. We raised more than $27,000 at this year’s event and topped out at almost 500 registered participants. Be sure to check out the photos from the run on our Facebook page (thank you, Jerry Coli from Main St Rock Magazine for capturing the days festivities). The race results are posted online.
We also wanted to thank all of our participants that provided race feedback through our online survey. We heard great things from you all and are excited that everyone enjoyed the event again this year. The one area that we got the most feedback from as an area to improve was our race course. We anticipated this feedback this year and hoped that the extra entertainment on the course would help make for an exciting course. We do see that this is an area that will still need improvement for next year. Due to certain restrictions and at the request of the city, we are unable to route our race through the beautiful Daniel Island neighborhoods as we have in years past. We understand that this is the most desired route, and we miss it just as much as all of you! Since this aspect of the race is out of our control, we will work to make some small course adjustments and amp up entertainment on the route to make your race experience an enjoyable one. And with that, we are already gearing up for our 2017 event! If you’re interested in being on the planning committee, sponsoring the Moms’ Run or participating as a vendor, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all of your support and thank you for helping mother's and their families in the Lowcountry!