03 November 2012

Of oxygen masks, airplanes, and being "selfish".

Last week, I had the chance to make a quick trip back home to visit my family and let them meet Aaron. As is my preference, I flew with my favorite airline, Southwest. At the beginning of the flights, the flight attendants did the requisite safety demonstrations about how to use a seat belt, safety vests, and oxygen masks.

I never would have thought that an airplane safety demonstration would inspire a Postpartum Depression blog post but it did. For those who have never flown before, the Flight Attendants give a little spiel that if the plane loses cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling and then go over how to use them properly (you have to pull on the mask to get the air flowing). At the end, they say that if you are traveling with a small child or someone else who will need assistance, you should put your own mask on first. The thought process is that if you don't put your own oxygen mask on first, you're not going to be any help to the person you're sitting with if you pass out.

It occurred to me that this is a perfect parallel to the need to take of ourselves as moms. If I run myself into the ground, I can't take care of my family properly. It's vital that I take some time for myself on a regular basis. But sometimes (okay, too often) I buy in to the idea that taking time for myself is selfish and that I should be putting my kids and my husband first 100% of the time. This is false. Don't let yourself go there. Don't let other people try to send you there. There's no reason for us to be martyrs, it doesn't do anybody any good to sacrifice our own well-being, it actually negatively affects the well-being of the entire family. We HAVE to start looking out for ourselves

Taking care of yourself is taking care of your family. Next time you catch yourself in this mindset, remember to put on your own oxygen mask first and take a few minutes to take care of yourself.



  1. "Taking care of yourself is taking care of your family."

    Perfect summary of an excellent analogy. This applies to all of life, not only to PPD.

    Preach it!

  2. Just found your blog... Thank you. I needed to hear this and am now, after a long day full of baby crying, headed to the gym.