So, you’re a new mother, soon-to-be-mother, or someone who is planning ahead, and you’ve heard the stories about postpartum depression, or PPD, and how it can affect women and their families. Of course, PPD is a serious concern for many new mothers and can lead to strained relationships between her and her newborn, but there are ways to manage PPD symptoms.
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Set Realistic Expectations
Motherhood isn’t perfect. It’s not all cuddles, giggles, and rainbows. Expecting everything will be perfect from the get-go can lead to feelings of disappointment and stress when things don’t go as planned. You need to go into this journey with clear and realistic expectations. Forget your old sleep patterns and daily routines ― those are about to be changed.
Another unrealistic expectation that many mothers have is that they will immediately bond with their newborn. While this might be the case for some women, it’s not the case for everyone, and it’s important to remind yourself that building a strong bond with your child takes time.
You may also feel overwhelmed or uncertain about how to handle situations ― and that’s OK. Remember that motherhood is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Each mother’s experience is unique and there’s no manual that guarantees all answers.
Realistic expectations, such as realizing that challenges are a natural part of motherhood, that no one is perfect, and that mistakes can and will happen can provide you with the mental and emotional tools to navigate your new role.
Make Time for Yourself
Losing yourself in the process of becoming a mother is a common experience for many women, but it’s essential to remember that you and your identity matter, too, and nurturing yourself can benefit both your own mental wellbeing and your child’s overall happiness and growth.
Set aside some time for yourself every week, or, if possible, every day. Engage in a hobby or favorite activity, connect with friends, read a book, or spend some moments in peace and quiet. Taking this time for yourself will help you recharge and maintain your individuality, while also allowing you to be more present for your child as you spend time with them.
Get Some Fresh Air
After giving birth, it’s easy to stay cooped up indoors during your recovery process, but the same environment day in and day out can become boring and may make you feel stressed.
Take a little time for yourself to recharge, and when you’re ready, step outside and bask in some fresh air and sunshine. Whether it’s lounging on your porch, tackling errands, or just a quick grocery store run, these simple outings can offer a breath of fresh air and change of pace, which will help you relax and improve your mood.
Plus, if you follow basic safety precautions, you can take your newborn with you.
Practice Self Care
As a mom, it’s easy to find yourself knee-deep in dirty diapers, baby vomit, and endless feeding sessions. These moments demand your attention and can happen at a moment’s notice. When all is said and done, it might seem like there’s hardly a moment left for you in between taking care of your precious little one. The continuous cycle of baby care can sometimes make you question your own worth and leave you feeling less confident about yourself.
Another thing you may notice after giving birth is that your skin has changed. Skin tags are a common occurrence during pregnancy that may form on your neck, armpits, and underneath your breasts. Skin tags can be handled with an over-the-counter skin tag remover.
So, it’s important that you make time to practice self care. Take a bubble bath or a hot, steamy shower. Wash your face when you can. Moisturize it skin with lotions and facial masks. Keep yourself hydrated. Give yourself a massage with a crystal massage wand. Heck, even giving yourself a mani-pedi can help you rejuvenate and feel more like a person again.
Find a Good Support System
Navigating motherhood becomes more manageable when you have a strong support system in place. Keep in touch with your family and friends. If you’re not able to visit them as much in-person as you used to, use FaceTime and phone calls to keep in contact.
Social media is another way to keep in touch and will allow you to share your experiences and vent, while letting others show their support through comments.
There might come a time when you need the support and guidance from other parents. If you’re lacking in parents or friends, no problem. There are plenty of online groups that allow you to connect with fellow parents.
You can share the highs and lows and get advice from others who may be going through similar struggles. You may even be able to find local groups where you can meet other parents in-person and arrange outings.
Change Your Lifestyle Habits
Prioritizing healthy choices in your daily routine can contribute to a more balanced and positive postpartum experience. A nutritious diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help support your mood and emotional health.
Getting enough rest and sleep can help you as you recover from giving birth and can prevent feelings of irritability and emotional instability. Regular physical activity helps release endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers. Plus, engaging in post-pregnancy fitness can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Consider mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga, which can also help eliminate stress hormone levels and promote relaxation. If possible, hit the gym or join a pilates class. Also, don’t forget to buy yourself a fresh pair of yoga pants, a funky t-shirt, a pair of sweat-absorbent socks and a set of new sneakers. A new attire means a new you and of course, you feel good when you look good.
Seek Professional Help
Finally, don’t be afraid to seek out professional help. A therapist can offer you guidance, coping strategies, and a safe space to explore your feelings. They will help you navigate the challenges of motherhood and postpartum emotions, giving you the support you deserve.
Their expertise can provide you with tools to manage stress, anxiety, and any feelings that may overwhelm you during the transition to motherhood. Therapy sessions will offer you a non-judgmental environment where you can openly discuss your concerns.
Your therapist may also work alongside a psychiatrist to help manage any medications that may be needed during this time, including antidepressants. Seeking counseling can help you stay in tune with yourself while also setting a positive example for your family, emphasizing the importance of getting help when it’s needed.