Emotional Well-Being Tips for New Moms
The emotional upheaval that comes with a new baby is undeniably challenging. Alongside the physical recovery from pregnancy and childbirth, there’s so much to navigate – a profound shift in identity, hormonal instability, and disturbed sleep patterns, to name a few. Add to that the disorientation of your changing body shape and your 24-hour responsibility for the tiny helpless human literally screaming for your attention any time of the day and night, and the prevalence of post-partum depression and anxiety – not to mention any other stress there might be in the home – and it’s an extraordinary amount to cope with. Here are some tips for new moms trying to manage their mental health.
1. Acknowledge your grief
Any new beginning, however wonderful, also marks an ending. As a new mother, you’ll never be quite the same person you were before having children. Let yourself feel sad for the life phase you’ve left behind if you need to – it doesn’t negate the love you have for your baby or the excitement you have for this new chapter.
2. Establish a daily ritual
Do one thing every day for yourself that makes you happy, however miniscule. A self-care practice can be anything from drinking tea from your favorite mug, to painting your nails, to listening to a comedy podcast at nap time. It can be whatever brings you back to you, even for just a moment.
3. Find community
Many moms find being at home with a baby very isolating and lonely. It can be a relief to talk to other moms going through the same thing, so look into local baby groups or online communities – having just one new friend that gets it can be a game-changer.
4. Go at your own pace
There’s no perfect way to parent, so follow your own instincts. Advice from friends, family members and moms’ networks is great to have, but make sure you’re doing what works best for you and your stress levels. It’s ok to cut a few corners if doing everything ‘properly’ is sending you spiraling.
5. Be honest about how you feel
Hiding your feelings doesn’t make them go away – in fact, doing so can often make them worse. So be honest when people ask how you’re doing – tabout he good, the bad, and everything in between. If you struggle to express it verbally, you can write it down in a journal or send it in a message. If you’re feeling constantly overwhelmed, anxious, or low, be sure to seek help from your doctor or a mental health professional.
6. Ask for support
There’s a reason they say it takes a village to raise a child. No mom should ever have to struggle alone, but sometimes people aren’t sure what you need or how to help you. Lean on your partner and establish a routine that works for you both. Enlist family, friends, the downstairs neighbor, or anyone else you could possibly rope in to lighten your load, even if it’s by just 1%.
7. Treat yourself to new clothes
Your body may well have changed size and shape, because it’s been doing the monumental work of creating and sustaining life. Your body is incredible! Eliminate any distress around fitting into your pre-pregnancy clothes by getting a few new outfits that fit you comfortably as you are now.
8. Plan your meals
Nothing feeds the blues like hunger, so make it a priority to make sure you’re well-fed. Have plenty of snacks lying around and stock up the freezer. You need more energy than ever to look after your little one.
9. Honor what you’ve been through
Many indigenous cultures and ancient philosophies treat the fourth trimester as a sacred time of spiritual recovery and transformation. The risks associated with childbirth are high, and it is a time to wrap the mother and baby in metaphorical cotton wool. Accept all the nurture you need, and think about whether a ceremony like the “closing of the bones” might give you some closure on this extraordinary time in your life.
10. Cut yourself a break
It’s important to exercise extreme self-compassion at this time. Many moms feel guilty about what they are or aren’t doing right, but you’re doing your best and that’s enough. Feel whatever you need to feel, cry when you need to, and let your emotions guide you towards what you need in the moment. And embrace the magic of just being with your baby rather than having to “do” anything at all.
All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals that influenced this article: Postpartum Depression; Regulation Of Anxiety During The Postpartum Period; Analysis Of Determinants Of Postpartum Emotional Disorders.
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