Failing Motherhood

When Productivity Masks High-Functioning Anxiety with Becky Gleed, PMHP

October 17, 2023 Danielle Bettmann | Parenting Coach for Strong-Willed Kids Episode 126
Failing Motherhood
When Productivity Masks High-Functioning Anxiety with Becky Gleed, PMHP
Show Notes Transcript

Motherhood is hard for everyone, so how do you know when what you’re experiencing is not what everyone is experiencing? 

Today’s guest, Becky Gleed is a busy working mom of two fun, spirited girls, a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified perinatal mental health professional ! She owns and operates a private mental health practice right outside of Washington, D.C. specializing in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. 

In today’s episode we talk about how the egregious policies and lack of support she witnessed while working in emergency psychiatric care for moms informed the work she does now. We covered the breadth of mental health and mood disorders postpartum parents experience and why it’s critical to seek support sooner than later.  

In a world that equates busyness with success, how do we differentiate when productivity is a mental health concern?  Becky shares key indicators, next steps and power thoughts for moms struggling with high functioning anxiety, and insight on when and why to get help.


IN THIS EPISODE, WE COVERED...

  • How to recognize the root of what's driving your productivity
  • Why you need to differentiate your identity from your symptoms
  • What happens years down the road when you DON'T get help 

DON'T MISS-

  • Key take home messages to remind yourself of often

// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //
Postpartum Support International: postpartum.net

// CONNECT WITH BECKY GLEED //
Website: rebeccamgleedlmft.com/
Instagram: @employedmotherhood
Audible Promo Code: 2NSL4SARSEWAC

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Becky Gleed:

I struggled with postpartum anxiety. And I I'll tell you I searched high and low for a pmhp who I could see. everybody's either booked or doesn't take insurance. There are so many barriers that I saw. I said, Hey, this is -this is a gap here in a very high need demographic, it's under resourced, under supported. So I am dedicated solely to supporting perinatal and reproductive mental health for moms. That is all that I do.

Danielle Bettmann:

Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood I mean? Have too much anxiety... Not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. This is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up. And you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You aren't good enough. And you're not alone. I hope you pop in earbuds somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend. We're so glad you're here. Hey, it's Danielle. Motherhood is super hard for everyone. So how do you know when what you're experiencing is not what everyone else is experiencing in their head? Today's guest Becky Gleed is a busy working mom of two girls, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a certified perinatal mental health professional. She owns and operates a private mental health practice right outside of Washington DC specializing in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Her sub specialties include ambitious women, first time parents and infertility.

She's written four books:

Employed Motherhood, How to healthfully transition to motherhood, Thankful for Motherhood, a gratitude journal, and Momnesia, a practical journal. In today's episode, we talk about how the egregious policies and lack of support she witnessed while working in emergency psychiatric care for parents informed the work she does now. We covered the breadth of mental health and mood disorders that postpartum parents experience and why it's critical to seek support sooner than later. The big topic we zero in on is in a world that equates busyness with success. How do we differentiate when productivity is a mental health concern? Becky shares key indicators, next steps and power thoughts for moms struggling with high functioning anxiety, and insight on when and why to get support. Key take home messages from this episode include that rest is productive, you are not your symptoms, and a good enough mom is a good mom. So let's dive in. Welcome to Failing Motherhood. My name is Danielle Bettmann. And on today's episode, I'm joined by Becky Gleed, who is a certified perinatal mental health professional. Welcome, Becky, thank you so much for being here. Go ahead and just give a quick -Who are you, who's in your family?

Becky Gleed:

Sure. Good morning. I'm so happy to be here. My family consists of myself, my husband, a nine year old daughter and a five year old daughter it's and a dog. A little dog named Rocco. He's the best.

Danielle Bettmann:

Rocco?

Becky Gleed:

Yeah.

Danielle Bettmann:

What kind of dog?

Becky Gleed:

A little chihuahua so we called Rocco the taco. Yeah.

Danielle Bettmann:

Cute. Cute. Okay, and before we dive in, I always have to prequalify for my listeners. Have you ever felt like you were failing motherhood?

Becky Gleed:

Every day. This comes up every day. You know, last night I was sitting on the couch trying to rein in my daughter for her violin practice. And she hops on her segway with the violin. And I'm thinking she's in her element. How in the world do I raise this child? And we did it somehow. Tt was less than what we were supposed to do. But it was good enough, which is my motto all the way. Good enough.

Danielle Bettmann:

Good enough. Yes. Yes. The struggle is real with practicing instruments at home. That is my day to day as well. So I don't think we ever get to the limit of what we're supposed to do either. But absolutely full plates multitasking and playing an instrument while on a Segway. I mean that's talent right there.

Becky Gleed:

We can tell it really is I don't know how she does it.

Danielle Bettmann:

You can't stop the talent.

Becky Gleed:

I mean, this is true. This is true, Segway and all.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes, yes. Okay. So there's a whole lot of your story I want to dive into first and then we're kind of going to narrow in on your work with moms. And you know, the the goal that we have to share with listeners today. So just back up a little bit, and talk me through before you became a mom, you know, some of your career journey. How did you end up doing what you're doing today?

Becky Gleed:

Yeah, great question. So I'm actually trained as a marriage and family therapist. I'm licensed since 2010. So I've been practicing since about 2007, fully licensed in 2010. And I practice here in Northern Virginia, which is just outside of Washington, DC. I serve moms in Virginia, New Mexico and Hawaii. I'm hoping to expand to Georgia and Arizona. So mom's in those areas, get ready. But before I had my daughter, I had her in 2013, I had done a few different clinical practices, I worked with youth and families, I did some emergency psychiatric care, where I also was pretty taken aback by the lack of care for new moms who I saw in the emergency setting. I also did some private practice, it really wasn't until about 2012, during my pregnancy, where it was shocking how few PMHPs there were and that's a certified perinatal mental health professional throughout the United States. In New Mexico at the time, I was the only pmhp in the state, if that can help give kind of a flavor of the real need.

Danielle Bettmann:

Wow.

Becky Gleed:

And then good luck in emergency psychiatric care of having a doctor with any type of training, who can actually treat a mom with postpartum depression or psychosis, let alone even allow a breast pump on the unit.

Danielle Bettmann:

Really?

Becky Gleed:

Believe it or not yeah, it's it's egregious. So that's sort of my my background.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, take us through a little bit more of that journey in that, you know, emergency setting. I know, you said you had, you know, some compelling experiences that, you know, started to inform your why from that point on.

Becky Gleed:

of course, yeah, in emergency psych, I would be on the front end. So I would be doing emergency evaluations for let's say, a mom in crisis, perhaps she hadn't slept in, you know, literally 15 days, and she's starting to show some psychosis. That's a very serious clinical presentation. And oftentimes, it results in emergency hospitalization. There are not a lot of hospitals, specifically treating postpartum psychosis or postpartum depression, for example, there's a great program in North Carolina. But that's not very helpful. If you're in the middle of the United States, it takes a lot to get, you know, a mom to North Carolina to get her the treatment that she needs. And so there were certain cases where even if I could find a hospital, I would have that one on one conversation with the admitting doctor saying, what's your experience? Do you have any training, treating severe postpartum depression? And nine out of 10 times the answer was an honest no. And then part of the role that I would play is really advocating for this mom is how do we safely get her there without police escorting? How do we advocate for a breast pump on the unit? Or oftentimes children are not allowed as visitors. Can the baby be an exception? Right? Can the mom and the baby have some type of contact during, let's say, a seven day hospitalization? So it was equally difficult to navigate these systems. But also heartbreaking for me as you know, transference obviously came up as a, as a clinician, because as a mom myself, you know, I'm thinking, Oh, my gosh, what if I was on the other side of this? And then on more of a personal note, I struggled with postpartum anxiety. And I I'll tell you, I searched high and low for a pmhp, who I could see everybody's either booked, doesn't take insurance. There are so many barriers that I saw. And I said, Hey, this is this is a gap here in a very high need demographic, it's under resources under supported. So I am dedicated solely to supporting perinatal and reproductive mental health for moms. That is all that I do.

Danielle Bettmann:

Which clearly sounds very needed at this point. Has there been a lot of development, you know, since you started this work, or is it still very much under the need?

Becky Gleed:

Yeah, I think we really as moms, we're doing a really good job of finding our voices and using our voices, whether it be on social media, or just, you know, the grassroots mom to mom at the grocery store. But one really tangible needle that's moving is through Postpartum Support International, psi, their website is postpartum.net. And they've gotten really incredible funding, both nationally and internationally. They have an emergency line for moms, they have a mentor program. They have peer support. There's also a wonderful referral network for psychiatry and pmhp. So you can just go on their website and search for a pmhp in your area. I'm on the directory, obviously. But that's a wonderful resource. And I'm hopeful that it's going to keep growing, um, it has in the last five years, so I'm hopeful. That's great.

Danielle Bettmann:

That's good news. Yeah, good deal. We'll take progress. I mean, we know it's not going to be a system overhaul. But if we can have something that's so accessible as a directory, and as a, you know, online resources. That's, that's a huge first step.

Becky Gleed:

Totally.

Danielle Bettmann:

That's really cool. I'm glad to hear that. And we will definitely share the link to that in the show notes of this episode so that moms can can find it afterwards. What type of work does a perinatal mental health professional do?

Becky Gleed:

That's a really great question. I think first and foremost, the benefit of seeing a licensed mental health professional, and a pmhp is the diagnostic piece. It's wonderful to get online and to try to self diagnose. But we are specifically trained for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. And we have the tools for diagnostic clarification. So we have evidence based assessments, we know what to look for, we can do risk assessments, that's really first and foremost, because you don't know what you need help with or what to treat, unless you have a full diagnostic impression of what's really going on here. So if you know a good first question to ask yourself is, how am I feeling? And I know that sounds so basic, but if you're not feeling well get help, you deserve to feel better, and to enjoy motherhood. This is like hard enough, you can have support and feel better while doing it. Yeah, yeah.

Danielle Bettmann:

And I'm sure that it's very common for moms to kind of write off their experience because everyone's tired. You know, it's hard, we knew that either going in or, you know, have had that normalized. And so you know, nothing I'm experiencing is unique. I just have to power through, what would you want to want all listeners to know or like some of the indicators or, you know, symptoms that they really would benefit from more support?

Becky Gleed:

Absolutely. That's a great question. I'll start with a statistic, which is 10% of postpartum moms will experience anxiety. It's higher for postpartum depression, which is about 15%. And then also, if you've had any birth trauma, that's lingers around 9%. And so if you're having... I'll start with anxiety, which if you're excessively worrying, if you had that feeling that something bad might happen, if you're having a sleep or appetite disruption, you're having a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, you have over appetite under appetite, any physical symptoms like hot flashes, or racing heart or even nausea. Those are some of the basics to look for, of, if you're having any of those add on with a PTSD is like maybe flashbacks from a birth trauma. Those are indications that it's time to pick up the phone and call a professional. Or even you can start with your OB or the pediatrician and I tell moms when you go to the you know your six week checkup at the OB or you're going to the first second third pediatrician appointment, more and more providers are handing you something called the Edinburg assessment, which is going to screen for the depression piece. I'm hoping they're also giving you something called the GAD which assesses for anxiety. But this is I hear a lot of mom's say, I lied. I under reported I minimize my symptoms because I didn't want to call from CPS. I didn't want to get that extra question. I'm already stressed enough. I don't want to be interrogated. And I'm here to gently remind you that they're screening for a reason because they care and they want to help coordinate services if you need it. It's okay to answer honestly, you're not going to have CPS called you're not going to be referred to the ER. It's okay to answer those honestly.

Danielle Bettmann:

That's really important to speak to because there's so many barriers to getting support but if you are limiting yourself and you know kind of censoring your experience out of fear that that's only going to isolate you more and keep you from getting help. It's going to make you stay stuck. And that's affecting not only your well being but the well being of your whole family. Absolutely. Yeah. And what typically, would the follow up look like? If they answered honestly, on one of those screenings,

Becky Gleed:

Of course, it would be a referral, say, here's our, you know, go-to folks in the community, who are the experts for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. There's also typically a reproductive psychiatrist somewhere in your state, who is specialized in reproductive medicine, psi has, has a psychiatrist who can coordinate with your PCP, if you don't have a reproductive psychiatrist in your area. So your OB or your pediatrician can be wonderful resources. They're there to help.

Danielle Bettmann:

Good. Thank you for clarifying that. And what what are all of the disorders that you typically see? Is there a kind of a shortlist?

Becky Gleed:

Yeah, so I'd say like the top three are postpartum anxiety, perinatal obsessive compulsive disorder, which I can speak more to. And then postpartum depression, the psychosis is is rare, but it does happen. And that's an Emergency acute situation, that's not something that I would treat on an outpatient basis. Okay,

Danielle Bettmann:

that's more of a temporary, exactly. Okay. Yeah. So speak more to kind of that OCD,

Becky Gleed:

of course. And so OCD is when you have severe, repeated anxious, intrusive thoughts, and then there's a compulsion attached to it. So perhaps the anxious thought is, I'm going to drop the baby, or fear of SIDS, or a car crash. So the compulsion might be that you're, if you're driving, and you're scared of a car accident, or that the baby's breathing in the car seat, you might pull over and check. Or you might have an oxygen monitor that's kept on the foot at all times, when it says it may be that you can't sleep and you're constantly, you know, is the baby's chest moving up and down, that's more of the OCD flare that it happens more than you think. And it can be really disruptive to daily life. Many moms, you know, won't go up and down stairs, or, you know, it prevents them from socializing, or getting a good night's rest, when sleep actually treats what we call P meds. And so it it's a risk factor. If you're not sleeping, that you know, it's this, you know, the chicken or the egg, you need sleep to treat it. But then the disorder prevents sleep. So it's really tricky.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah. So what would a mom like that need? Like? How do you help?

Becky Gleed:

Absolutely. So I break it down into two pillars, what we know from the research is a combination of medication and therapy. And the type of therapy that we know is evidence base for P meds is cognitive behavioral therapy. And you can also pepper in some mindfulness. So cognitive behavioral, think about it this way of like a triangle, that there's a bidirectional relationship between your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions. And so for example, we feel the way that we think so if we have a negative, maybe distorted thought, like, I need my house clean, otherwise, people will think that I'm lazy, we would examine that thought, which results in an anxious feeling, let's say, and see if we can transform that a little bit. And so that's some of the cognitive behavioral work that I would do with them on. And then also some other ways to transform the thinking is through affirmations? Or what are those? How do you want to restore your narrative? Those are some additional CBT strategies that we'd see. And then, or even being mindful of what are you thinking? What are you feeling? Just that awareness? What are the triggers? Is it that really loud toy that keeps going off every hour? That's very bright and loud. And if you step on that Lego one more time, you might lose it? And then also the behavioral kind of lifestyle pieces? Which are you drinking enough water? Are you resting? Are you gently moving your body? Are you having fulfilling interactions with family and friends? How's your sleep hygiene? Some of the more lifestyle behavioral aspects would be also integrated into the work that you do with a therapist or a psychiatrist. I can speak to more different tips and tricks if you want me to, but that's kind of the cliff notes.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah. What is what is one thing that most of your patients benefit from, you know, like, either where you start or something that's a little universal?

Becky Gleed:

I think, really that negative, like storytelling, like what are the stories that you're carrying? How did those develop? Where do they come from? Is it you know, years and years of conditioning? Is it Hollywood? Are these stories from your childhood that you're telling yourself? Is it the social media comparisons? I really, when I get to know a mom, I've never seen the same presentation twice. And so when I see a mom sitting in front of me, I want to get to know her. I want to get to know them, and really understand what what's going on underneath the hood. And so while there's some themes, it really is so individualized, and I want to help moms understand that. So you're not just lumping yourself into a bucket. Everybody has a story. Everybody has their own unique thoughts and feelings. It's okay to acknowledge your own.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes, yes. And sometimes it does take some uncovering, with the support of someone that feels safe to. So, big emotions from little people are running the show at your house. Is that right? Do they fall apart when something doesn't go their way? Just once, why can't they accept the fact that the answer is no. Am I right? The struggle is real, you're not alone, and you're in the right place. When your days are filled with relentless push back, it is so hard to feel like a good parent, especially when you're in laws aren't shy and sharing how they think your kids just need a good spanking. Every time you lose it, when they lose it, you feel like a failure. The worst part is, without addressing the root of your child's behavior, you're doomed to play a fruitless game of Whack a Mole reacting rather than preventing the next conflict. And next time, nothing's gonna go differently. The good news is, when you have a handful of effective discipline tools in your pocket, you're able to step into full confidence as their parent, parenting actually becomes a whole lot easier. I promise, you're not failing them, you just need more tools. So if you have a tiny human, who's full of love, and yet so, so difficult, if you can only be so nice for so long. If you've tried everything and still feel defeated on the daily, I free class, authentic and unapologetic is for you. In this free training, I share five huge misconceptions in parenting strong-willed kids that inadvertently invite defiance for mistaken goals, they're using their behavior to meet and what to do about it. How to let judgment roll off your back and truly feel like the parent your kids need, and why what you're currently doing just isn't working and isn't going to anytime soon. So go to parenting wholeheartedly.com/unapologetic To access this exclusive free training immediately. That's parenting wholeheartedly.com/unapologetic The link will be in the show notes. So what does it look like if a mom struggles postpartum and doesn't receive support? And you fast forward five years? How does that stay with her? Like, how does that affect her? What does that start to look like when you're not holding a baby in your arms, but you're still knee deep in motherhood?

Becky Gleed:

Sure, I mean, chronic symptoms, right? If you don't treat the symptoms, they will persist. And sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. If you become so familiar and comfortable that you have a hard time relating to, let's say anxiety. One example is if you become accustomed, that your productivity for example, is is tied up in anxiety, why in the world would you be motivated to get rid of the anxiety, but what moms that I work with, you can be as productive, but with positive narratives with support with healthy functioning. But sometimes we put you know make those links of this anxiety actually helps me in some way to be productive and you don't have a different way of figuring out this productivity thing, but doing it in a way that serves you well and is healthy. Also some of the medical pieces that I am seeing more and more of his chronic burnout, endocrine disorders, autoimmune issues, issues with the thyroid, if your endocrine system and your limbic system is constantly under stress with cortisol and adrenaline, you'll start to see medical, medical symptoms along with it. And, you know, you don't need one more thing on your plate, like you have so much going on. As a mom, we don't need anything else on our plates. So I say, treat it as early as you can have fun with your kiddos and enjoy life. Like, you know, that's the point, right?

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, yeah. But it can be something that, you know, maybe a mom didn't have anyone else in her life kind of model, this journey of getting more support. And so she didn't even really know that that was something that she could have benefited from or even existed. And so now she has a five and a three year old, and, you know, just found this podcast. And so this is all new information. And she can't she needs to be able to kind of recognize that this is what's going on for her that it applies, you know, to her. So paint that picture a little bit more about the productivity piece. What does it look like when your productivity is tied to really negative narratives?

Becky Gleed:

Absolutely. Another really good question. If you feel like, you're worried that you're going to let the shoe drop, right, waiting for the next shoe to drop, or you know that you might be perceived by the preschool teacher as a hot mess, or you kind of project if the playdate is hosted in my house and there's a mess on the floor, they're going to assume X, Y and Z. And so those become the motivations for cleaning your home or perhaps doing those school forms at one in the morning when you should be getting a good night's rest, as opposed to different thoughts of the teacher is going to be completely understanding if the forms are turned in on Tuesday instead of Monday night. And that's also modeling healthy behavior for other moms. And I'm going to really model that and put more value on rest and mindful tasking versus grinding and doing whatever I need to do to get this task done. Hmm, what's the driver to the behavior? Hmm.

Danielle Bettmann:

So it could look circumstantially like the same thing where it's two moms handing in paperwork to the teacher, but the motivation and the thoughts that they had while doing that could be completely different. Is that what you're saying?

Becky Gleed:

You nailed it. Yes.

Danielle Bettmann:

Okay. And, you know, I guess being a devil's advocate could be like, well, it's getting done, right. So like, where's the downfall? What does that play out? You know, like, if that's your motive, every single time, every single time you clean the house in hand and paperwork and you know, help your child's tantrum in the middle of Target. And all of these times, you're so flooded with trying to avoid and control the assumptions and stories and beliefs that other people have a view. And, you know, trying to get ahead of things trying to constantly create this front. Where does that lead?

Becky Gleed:

Well, what you said, I think what I heard you say was just it got done, right? Yeah. And I'd say it got done. And what are the consequences? Are you now running on three hours of sleep? And if we use that example, three hours of sleep, are you going to be productive today? Really, truly. And so it's a bit backwards thinking, if you say, Okay, I'm going to quote unquote, get it all done till three o'clock in the morning, and maybe get some sleep till seven o'clock, if you're lucky, your productivity is going to be impacted the rest of the next day, versus skipping those few tasks. For the let's say, it took you two or three hours. But the next day, if you have rest, and you're cognitively sharp, and everything in between, you may get seven hours of productivity. And so something I tell moms is, you know, an affirmation to keep in mind is, rest is productivity. Giving your body mental physical rest will result in more efficiency and productivity.

Danielle Bettmann:

So hard to believe sometimes because it feels like it's not true, it's can't possibly be true.

Becky Gleed:

You know, you've got to consider the long game too. It's like, we live in a society of instant gratification, but you keep perspective that, you know, not sleeping on a day to day also has chronic benefits. So keep that in mind, too. That not just the short term perspective, but the long game. You want to be there for your five year old and your infant. Yeah,

Danielle Bettmann:

yeah, because it really does. feel like everything is right in front of our face. And if we just get this one more thing done, then I can rest. And if I just get through this week, next week will slow down. And it's never true.

Becky Gleed:

It's insatiable, it really is.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes. So what other what other thoughts can we hold on to it? Because I love the affirmations piece that with my kids, I call them power thoughts. You know, it's it's something that you can cling on to and and it grounds you and gives you perspective and energy for the future. So give us some power thoughts if we find if this really resonates with you as a listener and productivity is your quote unquote downfall seek some life into that?

Becky Gleed:

Yeah, I say my, I've already shared my one power out of this rest is productivity. But I love in this moment is good enough. Right? Good moms have bad moments. But that's good enough. In this moment. What is good enough look? Like? I say that is powerful.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah. And what could that look like? Like, what are some examples of in your personal life moments, you've said, this is good enough. We mentioned the one with the violin on the Segway. But what are some other examples of what good enough could look like

Becky Gleed:

good enough could look like meal prep, it could look like bedtime routine, it could be that presentation at work that you gave, you know, when you chose to prioritize running around in the backyard with the kids to regain energy instead of doing those, you know, that last extra 10 minutes of the PowerPoint presentation that this is good enough, right, the meal that you spent 15 minutes on, but has some fruit and veggies? That's good enough?

Danielle Bettmann:

It doesn't have to be like a three hour recipe that you know, is Pinterest. Perfect. And yes. Where does this compulsion to be a perfect mom? Or I have to be perfect to even be a good mom? What are some of the places that moms, you know, come to you with that thought and that feeling? Where are they getting that?

Becky Gleed:

You know, that's that's another really wonderful question that I think will resonate with a lot of moms. And again, it's so personal depending on, you know, the household that you're grew up in the culture or subculture, the geographic area, you know, something I hear a lot of is comparison is a trap of social media, I say unfollow, mute, repeat if you need to, if you're getting sucked into the vortex of Oh, my gosh, she has it all together. Or if only I could, you know, achieve this type of brand of motherhood, when you are the mom that your child needs. You can't replicate that love and that connection. And so I'd say social media, for better or for worse, the movies that we watched as little girls, seeing our own moms and what they modeled for us or moms in our communities, and then our social circles. What are you hearing? What do you want to incorporate? And what do you want to maybe distance yourself from? You don't have to replicate all of the moms in your playgroup? Yeah, you

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, you can't have, be it all, can't be everything to everyone. But I think if I'm trying to bring in my personal experience into this, that I've heard, I've overheard commentary of, you know, judgment on another mom, that wasn't me by loved ones, or even, you know, acquaintances, or even, you know, comment sections. And I think that in our day and age, like we all then turn that light on to ourselves and say, they could have said the same thing about me. Or maybe they are saying the same thing about me. Or, you know, how do I avoid that type of criticism? How do I get ahead of that? How do I not find myself being, you know, ridiculed in that way, or judged in that way? And it seems like, if I can just do everything I need to do, then, you know, my facade will be solid. And, you know, no one will have a thing to say about me, or I'll be able to avoid that criticism in some way. Does that resonate at all with what you've heard from other moms? Or what would you say to you know, someone in your chair that would say something like that?

Becky Gleed:

Yeah, it's a risk to be vulnerable. It really is. I don't know if you've experienced this, but I know I have is when we have the bravery to, you know, show those parts of ourselves that are perhaps a little messier or vulnerable, or, you know, sharing something that feels scary. Like, that resonates. That is a universal connection with another mom and I say, hey, why don't we challenge our own selves, as well as this tribe that we're all part of, to, you know, maybe pull back a layer or two and be brave enough to show the messier parts of ourselves that It aren't shiny and glamorous, but we know that we're all struggling, why not sharing that? And then say, hey, what do you need? What does support look like for you? And I also think when we feel good about ourselves, the criticism abates, the judgment goes down. And so really, are you doing the work on yourself to then not be a self critic to not judge not only yourself, but then project that onto other people?

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes. Because it's so close a correlation, that that projection is is real, the people that are in the comment section that are saying those hurtful things...Would you also say that they are very self critical of themselves?

Becky Gleed:

Oftentimes, that's just anecdotally, what I see is, how can you be a little bit more self compassionate and less critical? And how do we soften that voice a little bit, that internal dialogue, and oftentimes, that helps social connections and functioning in social groups? Because when you're softer and kinder to yourself, that emanates to other people, too?

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes? How big of an impact does it make on you know, some of the moms you work with? To have one solid friends? They can be like, super vulnerable with?

Becky Gleed:

Oh, huge difference! Yeah, I think we all need that, that mom or friend or Sister, Sister in law, you know, the connection is really important to feel heard and seen, validated. And this experience that's so unique.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, that's one of the big reasons why I run a group coaching program, rather than working solo with with families anymore is because I've seen it's like a transformational power that happens when you can be in a container where you feel like you can actually say what you really mean. And people are not only not judging you, you don't have that fear of judgment, but you see the nods. And there's solidarity there. And like you just feel like I verbalize something that I haven't been able to verbalize in a long time. And I'm not alone. Oh, I can finally take that weight off my back.

Becky Gleed:

Absolutely. I think we can all connect with that, that to feel heard and seen and validated is just the best.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, yeah. What are some other like, environmental changes that you recommend moms that are struggling with their mental health? Do Is there anything else that's like, you know, homework, you would assign of like, well make a friend, that can be one?

Becky Gleed:

Absolutely. Yeah, join Danielle's group. I mean, visuals can be really powerful. Like if you have a quote that resonates, put it on the fridge. There's tons of apps that can be helpful. Psi, I think I mentioned already has wonderful pure programs. Some of the more granular exercises might be anything from you know, postpartum yoga, or a visualization exercise, which is you close your eyes and imagine, what type of energy do I want to bring to the family today? Or what's a safe place that can ground me when I'm feeling particularly stressed? or anxious? Grounding techniques, like a simple sensory exercise of What am I smelling? What am I seeing? What am I hearing, a body scan, like head to toe check in with every body part. Breathing? Breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds out for you get what I'm saying?

Danielle Bettmann:

I love box breathing.

Becky Gleed:

Yes. Yes. So those are some different strategies that are in kind of the basic toolbox.

Danielle Bettmann:

Okay, and what would you recommend for knowing where that tipping point is? Like, when does it change from I got this, I'm working on it, you know, by myself to a point where it's like, you know, you would you would really benefit from seeing someone right now.

Becky Gleed:

So the basics are, again, the negative excessive worry, two hallmark symptoms to watch for asleep, if you can't sleep if you can't stay asleep, and an appetite disruption, and then always, and I'll say a trigger warning before I say this, but if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or hurting your baby, those are, you know, emergency signs, go get immediate help. And also, if other people are gently giving you feedback of hey, you don't seem like yourself, or I've noticed that, you know, you've gone a couple days without sleeping, you know, what do you think about that? So if your loved ones are pointing it out, that can also be helpful because it can be hard to see it when you're in it.

Danielle Bettmann:

I think a lot of times we almost have the capacity to address it when we're coming down from it, you know, rather than going into it..

Becky Gleed:

Totally.

Danielle Bettmann:

...and so you do need to rely kind of on on those people who know you best to be able to say like hey, something, something's off. You're not yourself and try not to take that personally because it really is much more of a representation of the capacity you have not the person you are, they're not trying to attack you.

Becky Gleed:

I love that.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes, as you know who you are and your identity that you are being a bad parent, or you are making bad choices, it's much more representative of you are doing the best you can with the sleep you have and the thoughts you have. And with support and being able to get more sleep or being able to take care of your body, being able to address some of those thoughts, you will be able to do so much better and feel so much better. And we love you. And we want you to find that path.

Becky Gleed:

Yeah, another power thought that I'm just thinking of is, you are not your symptoms. Hmm, yes. It doesn't take away from who you are the mom that you are, you're not your symptoms.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, I think we just wrap up so much of our identity. And you know, the report card of how our kids are doing or how much we got done that day, or, you know, the lack thereof of maybe some of these symptoms. So when it feels like we really are in the weeds, then we're failing! We're failing. Yep. That sums up so much. The last thing I wanted to circle back to was the return to work, because I know that that is a big part of your journey and some of the resources you've created. So speak to some of the the challenges that moms have when returning to work. And what you found, you know, makes a big difference.

Becky Gleed:

Oh, we could have a whole podcast on this one!

Danielle Bettmann:

Totally!

Becky Gleed:

But you're right, I do have a book. And I will be launching a workbook in the next couple of months just specifically for working moms. But the book is called Employed Motherhood. It's on Audible. It's on Amazon, it's at Barnes and Nobles. But it really gives space and a voice to a major life transition. you undergo pregnancy, birth and delivery, immediate postpartum. And then you're expected to go under yet another major life transition, which is returned to work. Oftentimes, it is in tandem with the infamous sleep regression just because how timing works out hate that, yes, you know, it presents all sorts of challenges with perhaps you're exclusively breastfeeding. And you have to figure out the breast pump or maybe your baby's not taking a bottle, the child care transition. Again, we could spend hours on this topic, but I can refer folks to my book, which is saturated with support and resources. But it's a major life transition, I will just underscore that. So many different components and emotional, so emotional, whether it be separation anxiety from your baby, or some negative thoughts are popping up around, how do I be good enough in work and home life and do it on sleep deprivation. It's a really, really tough transition. And you again, I am just going to advocate for moms, it's like you deserve to have support and resources, not just grind, grind grind.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, you are not unique if you drop off your child at childcare for the first time in bawl (totally) all the way to work. Pretty universal. Been there. Yep. It is so hard. It's we know it's gonna be hard but you do not know how hard until you're there. And just being able to normalize that I think helps be able to recognize just how hard what we're doing is and not trying to play that off or say, Well, yeah, it's like that for everybody. But yeah, that's even more reason to, you know, create the support system around you that it's going to make it more feasible for you to get what you need to do done. And I think that the last thing I want to mention is, when we're talking through how hard things are, and we're talking through all the things that you can do, I think it can be hard, when you're the person that feels like they're drowning to feel like it's your responsibility to find all the solutions and you know, create that support network and reach out for help and you know, find the person to work with and do all the homework. Like that's a huge burden and weight of responsibility for you when you feel like you can't do another thing and are just trying to like, you know, breathe and sleep. So I think I just want to be able to give that disclaimer of are there things that you wish that you could change for moms like postpartum are there things that are out of their control that we can just name that also contribute that are like bigger than them bigger systems, bigger societal pressures, bigger things, so that we can also just normalize that there are things you can do and there are things that are the you know, tidal waves and powers that be that we also have to kind of reconcile with

Becky Gleed:

that. A big, big question. And I love that the answer is yes. You know, there's some elements within our control. There are some elements outside of our control, whether it be, oh, we decided not to give you this project, because we realize you're just coming back to the office. But maybe that project, you know, you really wanted. So we're dealing with, you know, individual workplace biases. There are some systems that can protect such as the American with Disabilities Act, there's some protections around requiring pumping brakes, but also, you know, if you're partnered, of having those conversations about sharing the workload, I'm sure every mom, you know, feels we know by research from I don't know if you've heard a Fair Play, but I love I love that documentary. I love that system, because it acknowledges the realities of the mental load that moms carry, we know that it's unfortunately, imbalanced. And at a grassroots effort, I am all about changing that to create more equality, but also acknowledging until we get to that point, how do you want to approach it with your partner or your support system or the systems you're operating in, so it doesn't end up backfiring. Because often what I see is resentment, which is completely valid, whether it be at your partner, or the system, or your workplace, completely valid to feel those feelings, and what's gonna serve you best. Is it advocating for that next mom going on maternity leave? Is it you know, advocating for a more flexible work schedule? Is it what do you need? What do you feel and what you need in this system? And how do you best get your needs met? But yes, sometimes it does require resourcefulness or self advocacy. But if you do have a few advocates that you can lean on, I'd say go for it. Use those advocates. Use your partner use your you know your communities to support you to lift you up. It's exhausting.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, nope. Well said. And so important for Applesauce in the hair, spit up. You name it. for moms to hear when they are in these trenches. Deep, knee deep. (Knee deep) right, yeah, spit up and all Exactly. So how can how can listeners connect with your work?

Becky Gleed:

Of course. So I'm on Instagram@employedmotherhood. My website is BeckyGleedLMFT LMFT is licensed marriage and family therapist. I'm also on Audible. You can find my books. I also have a gratitude journal, which is really gentle and 365 day gratitude journal for new moms. And then I also have a workbook how to healthily transition to motherhood and then a practical journal. So I have all sorts of resources. I'm so glad I came here. It's been so much fun. Yeah, but that's where they can find me.

Danielle Bettmann:

Okay, I will have all that in the show notes. And the last question I asked every guest that comes on to failing motherhood is, how are you the mom, your kids need?

Becky Gleed:

Oh, great question. It's the love. Like it's embracing the quirks and the chaos and the one day at a time, sometimes just one minute at a time. But I can tell you, it's like the love I have for my kids is you can't replicate that. Yes. So I'll end with that.

Danielle Bettmann:

No, that's exactly true. And they are the lucky to have you and everything that you've done to you know, continue to prioritize your well being and they are benefited from as well. So thanks again, for all your time today for your expertise and for joining us and feeling motherhood we really appreciate you.

Becky Gleed:

Yeah, had so much fun. Thanks.

Danielle Bettmann:

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child, and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.