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Only last wPSI LOGO best copyeek, Flower Power Mom announced plans for Celebrating Midlife Mother’s Day 2010—a campaign launching on 11th April to 9th May (Mother’s Day) aiming to relieve stigma and highlight the unique gifts of wisdom, strength, and truth of over-40 moms.

Since then, momentum for the project has shot forward like greased pablum off a silver spoon.

Postpartum Support International (PSI) (http://www NULL.postpartum NULL.net/) is now on board as an official recipient of money raised for donation during the Celebrating Midlife Mother’s Day campaign (10% of net profits of our Special Edition shirts for moms and kids).

PSI (http://www NULL.postpartum NULL.net/) is an international nonprofit dedicated to helping women suffering from postnatal mood and anxiety disorders (including postpartum depression), with volunteer supporters in every one of the United States and in 36 countries.

Why PSI (http://www NULL.postpartum NULL.net/)?

There’s a good reason for it—at the bedrock of our common sense lies the innate understanding that later life motherhood must, at times, seem a Herculean undertaking.

An over-40 mother doesn’t have far to walk down the street to pass by at least a few nodding heads of disapproval, all too ready to condemn her as an old lady’s fool, wheeling a perambulator instead of a Zimmer frame.

Yet, what we give up to become mothers after 40 is often tantamount to an entire fiefdom of personal and financial independence, a career, long-term goals—an identity, a life.

Ergo, beginning with pregnancy and thereafter, we are often dealing with profound loss that could make us even more vulnerable to triggers for postpartum depression (PPD) (http://postpartum NULL.net NULL.gravitatehosting NULL.com/Get-the-Facts/Depression-During-Pregnancy-Postpartum NULL.aspx).

Fifteen percent of women experience PPD—those who’ve had fertility treatments are at higher risk. According to a 2009 Swedish study (http://www NULL.news-medical NULL.net/news/2009/02/10/45753 NULL.aspx), older mothers are nearly 2 ½ times more likely to develop postpartum psychosis (http://postpartum NULL.net NULL.gravitatehosting NULL.com/Get-the-Facts/Postpartum-Psychosis NULL.aspx).

PPD is also an issue that over-40 mom celebrities such as Brooke Shields and Marie Osmond (http://archives NULL.cnn NULL.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0005/30/lkl NULL.00 NULL.html) have jammed under the limelight and that FPM has blogged in the past.

For the Celebrating Midlife Motherhood campaign and tribute, it’s as natural as childbirth that we could—and should—do more to ameliorate the suffering of mothers experiencing perinatal (from pregnancy through the first year of baby’s life) mood disorders (PMD).

PSI Program Director, Wendy Davis (http://postpartum NULL.net NULL.gravitatehosting NULL.com/About-PSI/PSI-Staff/Wendy-N NULL.-Davis-PhD NULL.aspx) has a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology and has worked in depression and anxiety counseling since 1987.  She knows the PPD beast from the inside as a sufferer, and from the outside as a clinician.

“I began specializing in perinatal mental health and recovery after going through postpartum depression and anxiety after the birth of our first child in 1994” she says.

While recovering from an acute phase of depression and anxiety herself, she was invited to help start a mom-to-mom support group for PPD “out of the blue” called the Baby Blues Connection (http://www NULL.babybluesconnection NULL.org/) in Oregon.

Soon after—when the original founder moved out of state—Wendy was managing the support group now with a website, resource list and telephone “warmline” which has operated every day since 1994.

“I decided to take it on and to create something that would have been such help to me,” she explains.

It was in 1998 that Wendy became a support volunteer with Postpartum Support International (PSI) (http://www NULL.postpartum NULL.net/) after the birth of her second child.

After 16 years of dedicating herself to the aid of PMD sufferers—through private practice and PSI (http://www NULL.postpartum NULL.net/) in organizing self-sustaining support groups—Davis’s hands-on experience with mothers over 40 and mood disorders has enriched her wisdom.

Although it appears PMD is evenly represented across all ages, according to Davis: “It does seem that perimenopausal women are at greatest risk because they are already going through hormonal shifts and their bodies are trying to find equilibrium.”

“Women who are sensitive to those hormonal shifts are greater risk for developing a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder” she continues.

Like many clinicians, she has also witnessed the common observation that moms over 40 often experience challenges related to the loss of the independence and identity that they have developed as an adult before motherhood.

“They are more likely to have greater fatigue and slower recovery from birth, and might be dealing perimenopausal symptoms that might be interfering with sleep, moods, appetite, and physical well-being” adds Davis.

She goes on to say that “probably the biggest challenge is that by 40 it that it is completely unsettling to land in the world of being a new mother, where we quickly learn that we might set the goals but we definitely don’t write the script. “

“Add depression or anxiety, and [older] women feel frightened, angry, and powerless. ‘Who am I now and why can’t I figure this out?’”

In the end, however, Wendy Davis is sanguine and appreciative of later-life mothers and their challenges.

Another common observation about over-40 moms is how anxious they feel about their new role.  For Wendy Davis, these feelings can be transformed:

“The most gratifying experiences of working with new moms over 40 has come when we work together to find a sense of themselves in the experience of mothering.”

“It is really rewarding to witness a mom as she allows her own needs, gifts, and goals to come to the surface. “

“All new mothers have to recreate their identities” she says, “and that is more challenging if you’ve had longer to get that sense of yourself.”

Notes & Links For This Blog:

10% of net profits from the sales of Celebrating Midlife Mother’s Day 2010 up to 1st June 2010 will be donated to Postpartum Support International (PSI) (http://www NULL.postpartum NULL.net/). Please join us from 11th April to Mother’s Day (9th May) to purchase an elegantly gift-wrapped and specially designed Mother’s Day moms, babies and children’s shirts.

PSI Related Links:

Postpartum Support International (PSI): www.postpartum.net (http://www NULL.postpartum NULL.net/)

PSI Guidebook for Developing a Sustainable Social Support Network in Your Community: http://postpartum.net/Resources/PSI-Guidebook.aspx (http://postpartum NULL.net/Resources/PSI-Guidebook NULL.aspx)

Baby Blues Connection: www.babybluesconnection.org (http://www NULL.babybluesconnection NULL.org/)

Postpartum Progress—Blog by Katherine Stone (http://postpartum NULL.net NULL.gravitatehosting NULL.com/About-PSI/Board-of-Directors/Katherine-Stone NULL.aspx) supporting PPD sufferers: http://postpartumprogress.typepad.com/ (http://postpartumprogress NULL.typepad NULL.com/)

FPM Related Blogs:

FPM Plans First International Tribute to Midlife Motherhood: http://www.achildafter40.com/wordpress/?p=1245

And Out Came The Sun:  http://www.achildafter40.com/wordpress/?p=1229

Midlife Postpartum Depression Gets No Respect: http://www.achildafter40.com/wordpress/?p=890

Research:

Swedish study February 2009: http://www.news-medical.net/news/2009/02/10/45753.aspx (http://www NULL.news-medical NULL.net/news/2009/02/10/45753 NULL.aspx) Moms over 35 were nearly 2 and a half times more likely to develop postpartum psychosis than mothers under 19.

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