IG LIVE: How-To Manage Anxiety & Overwhelm w Maternal Mental Health Specialist Kate Kripke
Y’all! This IG Live may be one of the biggest ‘”gets” for the POCF community to date!
At times it can feel that anxiety and overwhelm are woven into the fabric of a partner of a commercial fisherman. However, this interview teaches that it doesn’t have to be.
Here is a BIG Mental Health Check-in with Maternal Mental Health Specialist Kate Kripke, who is also the founder of the Postpartum Wellness Center in Boulder, CO. I met Kate through a mastermind group we are both a part of, but I was first attracted to her message when she spoke at a virtual event last October. Since then, I’ve followed Kate on YouTube, podcasts, and through her Instagram. I love her relatable, non-judgmental, and caring energy; it is truly a gift to have her speak to our community!
Further down, I posted questions we tackled to give you an idea of how deep we go. The last two are from POCF mamas in our private community, and I am so thankful for their courage to share their current life challenges.
I hope you enjoy this special time and the valuable information that will carry us through the seasons.
Here’s to our mental health – you are not alone!
Questions Kate Kripke answered on IG Live, January 20th, 2023.
Q: Starting strong out the gates: Partners of Commercial Fishermen (POCFs) have a unique lifestyle comparable to military wives – our partners are in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, with little to no contact at a time. For example, women don’t regularly worry about their partners dying each time they show up to work. With that comes anxiety, overwhelm, and sometimes, depression. What do you recommend is a good “safety plan” when POCFs begin to spiral with fear and anxiety? (If there are techniques or mindsets, which do you recommend?)
Q: One POCF mentioned that her therapist worked through her partner’s death to overcome her fear of him dying. Although this technique may sound extreme to many, would this be a helpful process for POCFs in general? In other words, how do we learn to trust and let go if it does not come easy? Must we literally face our fears?
Q: Let’s talk about codependency. I’ve learned it has many faces, and it surprised me to learn that a controlling personality (me) is considered codependent in its own way. Could you please explain codependency, how it helps or hinders, and how to overcome it?
Q: The overwhelm many partners feel more than emotional. It is also physical, as many POCFs are left to “hold down the fort” for entire seasons with little to no contact with their partners. This can include managing the household and other responsibilities, and for a good number of POCFs, it means raising children on their own for weeks or months at a time. Your free course and book, Reinventing Supermom, seem like a beautiful place for POCF mamas to start. Could you please explain more about your fantastic offer?
Q: Another pain point is reconnecting with our partners after long seasons or during a season. Whether they’re gone for a day, weeks, or months at a time, the ocean offers a disconnect, and it can feel like you’re with living with a stranger at times. Moms experience this on an additional level. The flip side to solo parenting is that when you finally land on a routine that works for you and your children, the feeling of resentment creeps in when the fisherman returns home to (rightfully) parent, essentially throwing off the vibe a POCF has carefully constructed for themselves and family. What are your suggestions for reconnecting with your partner when distance makes you a little “weirded out” by their presence? Do you have specific advice for mothers when parenting this way as well?
Most Recent Questions from the POCF community:
Q: “In July, I got pregnant (I miscarried in September), but I want to know how to handle pregnancy and birth alone. I don’t have any family near me, and my partner would be home for birth and the latter end of the pregnancy, but of course, with a fisherman’s schedule and a new baby due soon, they need to be on the water during the first few months of pregnancy. I found this really, really challenging. How do I handle pregnancy and birth alone?”
Q: “I struggled a lot when I had my second baby, and my fisherman had to leave five days back to Alaska after the birth (he almost didn’t make it in time for the birth). During the following season, I also struggled with being alone, working from home, and taking care of a newborn. What advice do you have for working new mothers?”
What part of this interview was most helpful for you? If you could ask Kate a question, what would it be? We’re planning more interviews with Kate this year, so please let me know if there’s something you’d like asked, and I’ll be sure to include them!
If you liked this, you’d love Letter: What More Can I Do To Get Through The Season?