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  1. Like many milestones in motherhood, I turned to social media and my friends who were moms to set my expectations for returning to work after maternity leave with my first daughter. The narrative was this: You will dread the end of maternity leave and curse the swift passage of time. You will feel your heart break and probably sob as you leave your child with another care provider. You will spend your entire work day trying to focus while only being able to think of your child. You will feel pulled in two directions, but mostly in one direction: home with your baby. When my turn came to drop off my 3-month-old at daycare, however, I found that very little of my experience mirrored the typical tale. Although I had some anxiety about leaving her with relative strangers for the first time, after just one week back at work, I felt unexpectedly happy and at peace. [Related: 3 things working moms shouldn't feel guilty about] Perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that I felt relief when others felt dread. After all, much of my postpartum experience to that point had veered from what seemed to be the norm. I struggled with postpartum depression, which left me feeling distant and somewhat detached from my daughter. I felt lost, scared and completely out of my element. My daughter was a horrible sleeper, making me a jittery, barely-present zombie just trying to make it through every day. When I was back at work, it felt like a gift to put my mind toward a challenge outside the eat-sleep-diaper routine, laugh with coworkers, look presentable and use the bathroom or drink a cup of coffee uninterrupted. After three months of total shell shock, I felt like I was seeing the sun again. As the months passed and I slowly overcame PPD and yet still had no greater desire to be at home, I started to feel guilty. I wondered what my happiness at work said about me. How could I be the only one who seemed absolutely certain that working five days a week was the best thing for me? If I were a more natural mother, would I want to be home with my baby like everyone else? [Related: Navigating the Great Resignation as a parent] But motherhood, it turns out, is much like the introvert/extrovert dichotomy. Where some moms derive their energy and sense of purpose from working, others find it at home with their kids (or some combination of the two). When motherhood worries consume me or I have a bad night of sleep, work provides a chance to step away, surround myself with other adults and remember that life goes on. Work helps me recharge my emotional batteries and regain my sense of self so that I'm a happier, healthier, more confident mom. Best of all, the fulfillment I get from work makes me the best version of myself so that I can be the best mom to my daughters. After several years as a working mom, I've become more comfortable in my skin. And the more conversations I have with other moms, the more I realize I’m not actually alone after all. During a daycare social event last summer, another mom confessed to me in a hushed tone, “Sometimes the weekends are so long and hard for me. Sometimes…I look forward to Monday. Am I a horrible person?” I smiled as I told her, with confidence and not an ounce of guilt, that I felt the exact same way.
  2. NPN Lauren

    Nanny shares 101

    A nanny share seems like the best of both worlds: Your little one gets daily socialization with another child like they would in daycare, but you still get the benefits of having a dedicated caregiver while (importantly) splitting the cost with another family. All of that is pretty much true. But a nanny share also requires a delicate arrangement between two busy families and one nanny, and it can get complicated, especially in the age of COVID. Having just finished a successful nearly two-year nanny share, I feel qualified to offer this guide to starting a nanny share, along with some tips from fellow NPN members. What comes first, the family or the nanny? That’s a matter of personal preference and circumstance, but I think finding the family first makes sense. That way, both families can search for and interview the nanny and come to an agreement. Which leads me to… Finding a family The prevailing wisdom is to start looking for a nanny at least one month before you need one to start, so if you’re finding a family first, give yourself at least a month before that. That means that if you’re taking the standard three-month maternity leave, you basically need to start looking for a family while you’re preparing your birth plan. An exaggeration, but…not really? Connecting with families who are pregnant and similarly far along (NPN is a great source for this!), isn’t a bad idea. [Related: How to find a nanny] But assuming you have your baby already, use the time you are mindlessly scrolling on your phone while rocking that little rascal to sleep to search or post on sites about sharing a nanny. Options include NPN’s Childcare Classifieds, of course, as well as neighborhood parent Facebook groups, neighborhood association email lists, and sites like Nanny Lane. What should you look for in a family? That depends on what’s important to you as a parent, but here are some things to consider: How they feel about vaccines for themselves and their baby (a thorny but important subject these days) Age of kids (it’s really helpful if both kids are roughly the same age) Proximity (easiest if the family is close to you or your office) Hours needed Start date — and end date, if they know it More nuanced issues to talk about with a potential family: parenting philosophy and discipline preferences. If you don’t discuss this, as one NPN member says, “the nanny ends up having to navigate why Brynnleigh gets fruit gummies and timeouts but Xyaedan can only snack on dried kale and must be rocked to sleep.” Not necessarily deal-breakers but important to agree on before the nanny share starts: What to do when one of the kids is sick Where you want the childcare to happen (your house, their house, a split of both?) Aligning nap schedules (recommended!) Whether the host family provides food or if you need to pack food for each day Kid equipment you’ll need — such as a double stroller, crib or pack ‘n’ play, high chair, diapers, dishware and bottles — and how you will split the cost COVID complications Like most things in our lives these days, COVID makes navigating nanny shares more complicated. The importance of being in agreement with the other family and with your nanny on safety protocols, masks, and all things pandemic-related cannot be overstated. This NPN member summed up well all the factors to consider: “…Clear communication on illnesses and behavior, both COVID and non-COVID illness … as well as expected behavior/testing for known exposures and feelings on masks indoors in public. When we visit the museum, are both families on the same page as well as the nanny? Also, will you follow the 24-hour fever-free rule schools use or the 72-hour fever free that is actually recommended by pediatricians? Or do you split the difference and do 48 hours? … And what is the plan if nanny is sick? Does each household rotate responsibility for the whole share or is each person responsible for their own kid(s)?” Whew. It’s a lot. All the more reason to hash out these issues ahead of time to avoid conflict in the future. [Related: What to ask in a nanny interview] All about the Benjamins Now down to the nitty gritty. You need to agree on the salary you’ll offer the nanny, which is typically the market rate plus 33%. The nanny will be watching two kids at once, after all. A nanny contract is essential. In it, you’ll lay out how and when the nanny is paid; vacation, sick days and holidays; bonuses and raises; and when and how any of the parties can end the agreement. (Read a more in-depth guide to nanny contracts.) Each family should employ the nanny separately and each give her a W2. The pay rate and the contract will be finalized once you’ve found your nanny and they weigh in on what’s important to them. Finding a nanny Together, you’ll find the nanny of your dreams. There are many ways to go about it: NPN’s Childcare Classifieds, nanny agencies, word of mouth, and sites like Care.com are just a few. But first, discuss with the other family what you’re looking for in a nanny. Do you need the nanny to be able to drive and have a car? Would you prefer a nanny who speaks another language and would be willing to teach it to your kids? Do you expect the nanny to do household chores and food prep? Beyond these qualifications, talk about the personality that would fit best with both families. Do you want a nanny who has that calm, warm, grandparent-y vibe, or would a nanny who has boundless energy and tons of silly ideas for fun activities work best for both kids? There are countless things to consider when interviewing a nanny, checking references, extending an offer and maintaining a strong relationship. This article, How to find a nanny, succinctly covers it all. Just like you would at your 9-5, you might want to have a quarterly check-in with the other family and your nanny. This helps make sure you are all aligned and communicating any issues or concerns. The relationship you have with your nanny and nanny share family is one of the most important in your young child’s life. When a nanny share works well for all parties, it’s truly wonderful. I was very sad when our nanny share family moved to the suburbs, but I will always be grateful for the time our families and our nanny spent sharing the work of raising two small humans.
  3. until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-12 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! Join our current NPN new moms, for these monthly video chats. Here you can connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Group meets the second Thursday of each month from 7:15 PM - 8:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every month! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer!
  4. Children are wired for language from birth, and can pick up skills without any formal lessons. Even still, parents play a big role helping their children develop the expert language and literacy skills they need to thrive socially and in school. To learn more about these skills and how parents can nurture them, we sat down with Samina Hadi-Tabassum, literacy and language expert at Erikson Institute. When do children begin learning language and literacy skills, and what are the stages of their development? Babies pick up on the sounds of human voices in the womb. After birth, they begin to recognize these voices and turn their heads towards familiar ones. In their first three months, infants begin to “coo,” as they learn to control their vocal cords and the muscles they’ll need to speak. Around six months, the baby begins to string together vowels and consonant sounds repetitively, such as “mamama” and “dadada.” Most children don’t begin producing words until age two. Before then, they are actively listening and decoding sounds around them. Babies and toddlers catalogue language in their minds, almost like statistics, until they're finally able to voice some of what they’ve learned. By age three, children are typically speaking in simple phrases, (i.e. “blue ball”) and sentences that can sound like directives (i.e. “Mommy give ball”), since the ability to pose and ask complex questions comes later at age five. By the time they enter elementary school, most children can string together sentences like little adults. There are many instances, however, where children don’t begin speaking until much later on (around four or five), even though they have still been perceiving and making sense of language around them. There are many reasons for this, some more serious than others, but parents should consult their pediatrician if they feel there is a cause for a child’s delay. What can parents do to support the early development of their child’s language and literacy skills? The most important thing a parent can do is engage their children in conversation from day one, since infants are perceiving and making sense of the language code. When conversing, parents should look children in the eyes, have them watch and observe their mouths, and teach them about taking turns when communicating. Never rely on technology to help your child learn language; it doesn’t work. They can only learn from other humans, and need to be exposed to rich oral language before they can learn to read or write. [Related: 6 ways to teach your child a foreign language this summer] How can parents partner with teachers to promote their child’s literacy skills? Parental nurturing of literacy skills is critical, as reading is an artificial system that we created to convey messages, and children are not wired to naturally pick up on how to read. Parents should begin reading to children soon after birth and incorporate books into their home environment. Ask children questions about the stories you read to foster their comprehension skills. To promote print recognition, parents can point out the letters that make up their names and take them through the alphabet visually and phonetically. Note that no matter how much you read to your infant or toddler, it takes time for children to learn to read. They need to learn the sounds of letters, how to decode words, and understand the meaning of multiple words strung together. Doing this requires logical skills, which children don’t usually develop until age five or six. If a child is bilingual, how might this affect language and literacy development? Bilingual and multilingual children have a cognitive advantage. By switching from one language to another, children learn to think flexibly and sort the world in different ways. Bilingual children might be delayed in mastering both languages equally, and might struggle to keep up with their peers at first. But research shows that by the time they are in middle school, bilingual children often outperform their monolingual peers. What can parents do to support their development in two languages? The stronger the foundation of the child’s first language, then the easier it is to learn others. For bilingual parents, this means speaking the child’s home language and teaching them to read and write in it. Pass down the culture associated with your child’s native language as well. Research demonstrates that bilingual children who keep their language and culture while learning English in American schools do much better academically in the long run. [Related: How I'm teaching my young kid 4 languages] For monolingual parents who wish their child to become bilingual, consider a dual-language preschool.This provides them with an immersive second-language experience while enabling them to get a solid grasp on their first language at home. What should I do if I feel my child needs extra support in language and literacy? Observe your children as much as possible to recognize any language patterns unique to them. Keep in mind, though, that each child is different, so their language and literacy journey is, as well. Factors such as gender, birth order, and genetics can play a role in language development. Speak with your pediatrician about developmental milestones and whether or not they are noticing differences and delays. If there are delays, there are plenty of experts who can help — including developmental therapists who can come to your home. Parents play a big role in their child’s language and literacy development, but it’s important to know that if you need extra help, it’s not a role you have to play alone. Samina Hadi-Tabassum is a clinical associate professor at Erikson Institute where she teaches graduate courses in cognitive and language development. Her research interests include examining race, culture, and language.
  5. until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-12 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! Join our current NPN new moms for these monthly video chats. Here, you can connect and talk about sleep, feeding, and all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Group meets the second Thursday of each month from 7:15 PM - 8:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every month! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer!
  6. until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-12 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! Join our current NPN new moms, for these monthly video chats. Here you can connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Group meets the second Thursday of each month from 7:15 PM - 8:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every month! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer!
  7. NPN Tareema

    NMG Pediatrician Q&A (0-12 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-12 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN program manager, Tareema, hosts these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, and all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. Our new moms group meets every Wednesday from 12:15 - 1:00pm. In this special meeting, pediatrician Dr. Allison Foster from Child and Adolescent Health Associates will join us and answer all of your baby-related questions. This event is for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer! FEATURED PEDIATRICIAN: Allison H. Foster, MD , Staff Physician Dr. Foster joined CAHA in 2011. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (BS) and Northwestern University Medical School (MD). She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Memorial Hospital. She is board certified in Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In her spare time, Dr. Foster enjoys spending time with her husband and children and is an avid runner!
  8. NPN Lauren

    The perks of a pandemic baby

    In June 2021, we visited friends in the suburbs for a “pandemic baby” party. With all adults vaccinated and the older kids wearing masks, we gathered outside to hug friends we hadn’t seen in 18 months and meet the eight new babies among us who had come into the world during that time. Although COVID-19 was far from gone, the event was symbolic — something of a bookend to my pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience, all of which took place during the pandemic. My husband and I had planned to try for our second baby in late spring of 2020, but the uncertainty of the pandemic threw all that into question. However, after realizing that our lives were in many ways safer than ever with strict quarantining, and based on the encouragement of my OB, we decided to go for it. Many people over the course of the year asked me how it felt to be pregnant and have a newborn during the pandemic, often commenting, “You must be so nervous!” Admittedly, some parts were nerve-wracking. I wish my husband could have attended the 8-week and 20-week appointments with me, for example. And it was certainly stressful to worry about having my parents quarantine for long enough before coming to help after the birth. But more often than not, the experience proved to be a bright light in an otherwise dark period. Here are the four reasons I enjoyed having a pandemic baby. 1. I didn’t have to see many people in person. As most second-time moms can attest, you start showing a lot earlier with the second pregnancy, often well before you’re ready to share the news. Without in-person gatherings and in-office work, I didn’t have to take pains to hide my growing bump or morning sickness. In fact, some of my coworkers from other departments didn’t even know I was pregnant until they saw my out-of-office maternity leave message. [Related: A tale of two postpartum experiences] 2. I didn’t miss out on social events. When I was pregnant with my first, I found it difficult to adjust from having an active social life to sitting on the sidelines. Pregnancy can feel like you’re frozen in time as the rest of the world moves forward without you. Although I tried to remain as social as possible, I couldn’t help but feel left out when I had to drink water at a work happy hour or duck out early from a late dinner with friends. With a pandemic baby, most social events fell to the wayside for everyone. I didn’t feel like I was missing out because, unfortunately, everyone was missing out. 3. I got to savor the final months of having a family of three. Although the pandemic introduced an overwhelming degree of chaos for parents, particularly those of school-age kids, it also provided an opportunity to spend more quality time with the family. Without the distractions of playdates, activities and trips to visit family and friends back home, my husband and I were able to soak up time with our 3-year-old. Christmas, which usually involves a whirlwind tour of Wisconsin to see as much family as possible, last year consisted of the three of us making dinner and enjoying a quiet evening opening gifts in front of the tree. I remember moments where I just sat and marveled at my daughter’s beautiful face, grateful for her, our health, and our safety. I had time to be in the moment with her, before life changed drastically once again. [Related: Is your relationship ready for baby? 4 tips to prepare your partnership] 4. I had hope for the future when every other part of life felt hopeless. The degree of uncertainty, fear of illness, sadness over the thousands of deaths in the U.S. alone, and stress of working with a child at home were enough to feel like the world was ending. Pregnancy provided an escape, a chance to see the future through a hopeful lens when the world was crumbling around us. Bringing new life into the world felt like an act of defiance in the face of a relentless virus that took so many lives. I’ll always be grateful for the joy my pregnancy provided when little else did. As fortunate as I feel to have had a positive experience with pregnancy during the pandemic, nothing compares to the privilege of living a safe, healthy, and normal life. When I attended the pandemic baby party last summer, it was emotional and somewhat surreal. The other moms and I found ourselves reminiscing about the experience and swapping stories from the previous year. But soon enough, the pandemic talk got old. With our spouses laughing on the deck and our children playing together in the sprinkler, we decided to spend the rest of the day looking to the future — to the joys of normal, routine life we hoped were right around the corner.
  9. NPN Tareema

    New Moms Group (0-12 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-12 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN program manager, Tareema, is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Groups meet every Wednesday from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every week! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer!
  10. NPN Tareema

    New Moms Group (0-12 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-12 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN program manager, Tareema, is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Groups meet every Wednesday from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every week! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer!
  11. NPN Tareema

    New Moms Group (0-12 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-12 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN program manager, Tareema, is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Groups meet every Wednesday from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every week! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer!
  12. NPN Tareema

    New Moms Group (0-12 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-12 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN program manager, Tareema, is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Groups meet every Wednesday from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every week! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer! Thank you to our New Moms Group presenting sponsor, Erikson Institute. NPN is proud to share information about Erikson Institute's Fussy Baby Network: The Fussy Baby Network offers a range of parent support services around crying, sleeping, and feeding issues for babies and toddlers up to age 3. We provide free phone support through our warmline, staffed by our warm and caring family/infant specialists. We also offer free virtual home visits to families no matter where they live. Finally, we provide support groups for parents to talk together about the challenges they face and how they cope. All of our services are available in English and Spanish.
  13. NPN Tareema

    New Moms Group (0-12 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-12 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN program manager, Tareema, is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Groups meet every Wednesday from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every week! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer! Thank you to our New Moms Group presenting sponsor, Erikson Institute. NPN is proud to share information about Erikson Institute's Fussy Baby Network: The Fussy Baby Network offers a range of parent support services around crying, sleeping, and feeding issues for babies and toddlers up to age 3. We provide free phone support through our warmline, staffed by our warm and caring family/infant specialists. We also offer free virtual home visits to families no matter where they live. Finally, we provide support groups for parents to talk together about the challenges they face and how they cope. All of our services are available in English and Spanish.
  14. NPN Tareema

    New Moms Group (0-12 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-12 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN program manager, Tareema, is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Groups meet every Wednesday from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every week! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer! Thank you to our New Moms Group presenting sponsor, Erikson Institute. NPN is proud to share information about Erikson Institute's Fussy Baby Network: The Fussy Baby Network offers a range of parent support services around crying, sleeping, and feeding issues for babies and toddlers up to age 3. We provide free phone support through our warmline, staffed by our warm and caring family/infant specialists. We also offer free virtual home visits to families no matter where they live. Finally, we provide support groups for parents to talk together about the challenges they face and how they cope. All of our services are available in English and Spanish.
  15. A day or so after giving birth to my first baby, a terror set in — a realization that my life had forever changed. I felt like a stranger in the world, going through the motions of being a mom on the outside while quietly panicking on the inside. As someone with lifelong anxiety and OCD tendencies, I had prepared myself for the possibility of increased anxiety after birth. I figured I’d be able to manage any slight fluctuations like I had during other periods of my life, so I was confused when, over the coming weeks, I couldn’t seem to get a grip. I was tired — and not just from lack of sleep. I felt emotionally overwhelmed and wanted nothing more than to go to bed, alone. I cried daily, sometimes without warning. I couldn’t focus on anything, including even the most lighthearted, simple TV shows. I longed for my pre-baby life with just my husband, when everything was familiar and easy. Worst of all, I felt detached from my daughter, yet unable to leave her side. Eventually, I came to realize that I wasn’t experiencing increased anxiety; I was experiencing postpartum depression (PPD). Recovery and reset Even after acknowledging that I had PPD, it took months for the feelings to subside. Only after my daughter turned one did I feel like I could breathe again. I remained incredibly scarred by those dark early months and couldn’t fathom going through it all again. Yet my husband and I had always known we wanted another child. So, eventually, I decided to reach out for professional help. [Related: Is your relationship ready for baby? 4 tips to prepare your partnership] Well in advance of trying for a second child, I contacted Flourish Wellness & Counseling, which provides therapy, advocacy and resources focused on perinatal mental health. I met with a therapist there who helped me process the lingering sadness, regret, and guilt brought on by my first postpartum experience. We revisited the difficult moments and, over many months, came up with a plan for how to handle my next postpartum period, whenever that time came. This plan involved: • Increasing my anxiety medication during my third trimester, a move whole-heartedly supported by the OBs at Northwestern Medical Group • Leaning on a solid support system, including my husband, parents and friends • Signing up for couples therapy through Flourish to give my husband and me the tools to collaboratively manage another potential experience with PPD • Joining a virtual second-time moms group through The Chicago New Moms Group to stay connected during the isolation of the pandemic Round two I became pregnant with my second child — another daughter — during the pandemic and gave birth in early January 2021. I felt an immediate bond with her, which was surreal, beautiful and welcome. I didn’t feel the terror I did the first time around because I had been through it all before. I also felt much more mentally balanced, thanks to the increased medication and a focus on getting at least one solid stretch of sleep each night by sharing feeding duties with my husband. [Related: Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders - The Most Common Complication of Pregnancy and Childbirth (members-only video)] By the time I returned to work at the 3-month mark, I felt triumphant. I had made it through the first few hard months and had even enjoyed parts of it. But just as I was celebrating my lack of depression, I started to notice some other troubling behaviors. I felt jittery and unsettled. I would often lie awake after night feeds, unable to turn my brain off. I started to have intrusive thoughts about something terrible (and terribly unrealistic) happening to my girls. I became snippy and irritable with all the worry swirling inside. Talking to my therapist, I realized that, while I had been hyper-focused on PPD, postpartum anxiety (PPA) had crept in. Using the resources I had already built in, however, I felt equipped to handle this unexpected turn of events. I talked to my husband, friends and family about what I was feeling. I visited my primary care provider, who adjusted my thyroid medication, and I spent many hours talking to my therapist. She helped me sort through my anxious thoughts, telling me that each postpartum experience differs, falling somewhere new on the spectrum of anxiety and depression. She also helped normalize my feelings, saying how common and even natural PPA is, given the fluctuating hormones and massive responsibility mothers feel. With her help, I was better able to compartmentalize my ruminating thoughts and prioritize self-care to get to a healthier place. The other side As I'm writing this, seven months into my second postpartum experience, I can honestly say I feel back to my normal self. I’m happy, healthy and (mostly) relaxed. Although I wish some parts of my postpartum experiences had been different, I’m grateful that I have an understanding of both ends of the spectrum so I can be a sounding board for other mothers going through the same thing. Mostly, I’m grateful for the resources available that gave me the courage to have a second child and discover some of the joy I had missed out on before.
  16. NPN Tareema

    New Moms Group (0-12 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-6 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN program manager, Tareema, is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Groups meet every Wednesday from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every week! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer! Thank you to our New Moms Group presenting sponsor, Erikson Institute. NPN is proud to share information about Erikson Institute's Fussy Baby Network: The Fussy Baby Network offers a range of parent support services around crying, sleeping, and feeding issues for babies and toddlers up to age 3. We provide free phone support through our warmline, staffed by our warm and caring family/infant specialists. We also offer free virtual home visits to families no matter where they live. Finally, we provide support groups for parents to talk together about the challenges they face and how they cope. All of our services are available in English and Spanish.
  17. NPN Amy J.

    New Moms Group (0–6 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-6 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN team member Amy is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. This group will meet Wednesdays, August 11th, 18th, and 25th and from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. Join any day that works for you! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation immediately after registering. Amy will email you the Zoom details shortly before the meeting. Not a member of NPN? Join now! Thank you to our New Moms Group presenting sponsor, Erikson Institute. NPN is proud to share information about Erikson Institute's Fussy Baby Network: The Fussy Baby Network offers a range of parent support services around crying, sleeping, and feeding issues for babies and toddlers up to age 3. We provide free phone support through our warmline, staffed by our warm and caring family/infat specialists. We also offer free virtual home visits to families no matter where they live. Finally, we provide support groups for parents to talk together about the challenges they face and how they cope. All of our services are available in English and Spanish.
  18. NPN Admin

    New Moms Group (0-6 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-6 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN program manager, Tareema, is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. NPN New Moms Groups meet every Wednesday from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. We encourage you to attend every week! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link immediately after registering. Not a member of NPN? Join now and enjoy everything NPN has to offer! Thank you to our New Moms Group presenting sponsor, Erikson Institute. NPN is proud to share information about Erikson Institute's Fussy Baby Network: The Fussy Baby Network offers a range of parent support services around crying, sleeping, and feeding issues for babies and toddlers up to age 3. We provide free phone support through our warmline, staffed by our warm and caring family/infant specialists. We also offer free virtual home visits to families no matter where they live. Finally, we provide support groups for parents to talk together about the challenges they face and how they cope. All of our services are available in English and Spanish.
  19. NPN Amy J.

    New Moms Group (0–6 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-6 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN team member Amy is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. This group will meet Wednesdays, August 11th, 18th, and 25th and from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. Join any day that works for you! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation immediately after registering. Amy will email you the Zoom details shortly before the meeting. Not a member of NPN? Join now! Thank you to our New Moms Group presenting sponsor, Erikson Institute. NPN is proud to share information about Erikson Institute's Fussy Baby Network: The Fussy Baby Network offers a range of parent support services around crying, sleeping, and feeding issues for babies and toddlers up to age 3. We provide free phone support through our warmline, staffed by our warm and caring family/infat specialists. We also offer free virtual home visits to families no matter where they live. Finally, we provide support groups for parents to talk together about the challenges they face and how they cope. All of our services are available in English and Spanish.
  20. NPN Amy J.

    New Moms Group (0–6 months)

    until
    Are you a new mom with a baby 0-6 months old (or about that age)? If so, this is the group for you! NPN team member Amy is coordinating these video chats for moms to connect and talk about sleep, feeding, all of the unique challenges and joys you face as new moms. This group will meet Wednesdays, August 11th, 18th, and 25th and from 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM via Zoom. Join any day that works for you! These chats are for NPN members only. Please login to RSVP for free. You will receive an email confirmation immediately after registering. Amy will email you the Zoom details shortly before the meeting. Not a member of NPN? Join now! Thank you to our New Moms Group presenting sponsor, Erikson Institute. NPN is proud to share information about Erikson Institute's Fussy Baby Network: The Fussy Baby Network offers a range of parent support services around crying, sleeping, and feeding issues for babies and toddlers up to age 3. We provide free phone support through our warmline, staffed by our warm and caring family/infat specialists. We also offer free virtual home visits to families no matter where they live. Finally, we provide support groups for parents to talk together about the challenges they face and how they cope. All of our services are available in English and Spanish.
  21. NPN Admin

    Partum Health

    Partum Health helps families get essential support from Chicago's best birth and postpartum doulas, physical therapists, lactation consultants, mental health providers and nutrition experts. We love taking care of moms, dads, and families to help you start and grow your family with less stress, more joy and better health. We offer a modern take on pregnancy and postpartum care, building personalized care plans and offering 24/7 messaging to every Partum family. When you join Partum Health you get proactive care, a community of parents and get curated resources to help them on this amazing journey into parenthood. We believe all families deserve the best care, starting with yours! Initial consults are FREE, and easy to book on our website. Contact: Meghan Doyle Additional Information: Services overview
  22. Lurie Childrens Primary Care - Town and Country Pediatrics is a pediatric primary care practice with over 45 years of service and innovation. We provide personalized, family-centered care seven days a week at three neighborhood locations. Services include check-ups, sick visits, sports physicals, vaccinations and pre-operative visits. Contact: Karen Patel Additional Information: Services
  23. NPN Doloris

    Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool

    Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool offers quality, year-round programming and a number of convenient child care locations throughout the Chicago metro area, including the City of Chicago and Evanston, and suburban towns. Working parents shouldn’t have to choose between child care and early education. Our programs ensure you don’t have to, offering convenience for your workday, and enriching learning experiences for your child. Most of our Chicago child care centers serve children ages six weeks to six years. Bright Horizons is more than daycare. We have programs with developmentally appropriate curriculum for infants, toddler, preschool and pre-K. Contact: Cassie Mckeown
  24. NPN Admin

    Chicago Family Doulas

    Chicago Family Doulas, LLC is a full service Doula Agency providing families in Chicago, the North Shore, Hinsdale, Oak Park, and many suburbs with the most professional, compassionate and personalized support. We offer birth doula support, newborn care and postpartum doula support, virtual childbirth and baby classes, and placenta encapsulation services. Our committed birth and postpartum professionals are honored to support you and your family during this important time. Contact: Annamarie Rodney Additional Information: Services
  25. NPN Admin

    Daycare 101: Choosing a Daycare

    Choosing childcare that is right for your family can seem like an overwhelming process, especially in Chicago where there are so many options to consider. In this intimate live discussion, we talk with three Chicago daycare experts about safety, curriculum, daily activities, enrollment/finances, family-teacher relationships and transitioning into group care comfortably. Our esteemed panelists are Sarah Cudnik of Kids' Work Chicago and Kids' Work Chicago Too, Mia Cubrilo of Choo Choo Chicago, and Madi Johnson of Children's Learning Place. Special thank you to our presenting sponsor, Kids' Work Chicago and Kids' Work Chicago Too.

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