Motherhood, especially the early stages of it, can be incredibly daunting for mothers. And first-time mothers are also met with uncertainty, lack of experience, and often isolation. All of that can have a negative impact on mental health, and when you add exhausting childbearing to the equation, you can get a pretty unfavorable situation. Therefore, if you’re a mother who is also battling difficult emotions, then here are some mental health tips that will help you take care of yourself.
Accept that it’s okay not to be okay
If this is your first time having a child, then you may be confused by all the emotions and challenges that you’re dealing with. There’s this prevalent belief that says that motherhood is constantly filled with joy and that women who have issues, should take a look at the bright side – they’re mothers! This is untrue, and can also be damaging, because conceiving, pregnancy, giving birth, and caring for a newborn are all big challenges that have a huge impact on a woman’s physical and mental wellbeing. Therefore, it’s important to accept that not being okay, is in fact, totally okay from time to time.
If issues persist, be sure to ask for help
In many cultures, pregnant women are discouraged from asking for help due to the belief that it’s shameful. This is utterly wrong and can be harmful on so many levels. So, if you continue to experience symptoms such as depression, crying, fatigue, appetite loss, sleeping issues, guilt, and difficulty with bonding with your baby, then it’s quite likely you’re suffering from postpartum depression. This condition requires immediate action, and it’s best to talk to a mental health provider. Also, be sure to distinguish the difference between baby blues and postpartum depression: the first one is much less severe and is considered normal for all new moms out there.
Give yourself permission to rest
Since caring for children is exhausting, it’s safe to say that mothers deserve rest too. That means, taking some time off to relax, visit a beauty salon, watch some TV, read a book or meet with friends. Giving yourself the freedom to partake in non-mommy things can reaffirm your identity that you’ve had before having a baby, and which is important. So, once your kids become older and more self-sufficient, feel free to go for trips without them. For example, visiting a women’s retreat in Bali can show you the importance of self-care and self-love. Whoever tries to guilt-trip you for doing things for yourself, really doesn’t have your best interests in mind.
Don’t rely on what others think of you
Every baby/child is different, therefore, it’s up to parents to decide on which parenting style suits them the most. But, with the rise of technology, it’s become common for mothers to gather together and discuss various aspects of motherhood. These places, although helpful, can turn toxic quite fast. Comparison, judging and lack of empathy can be common among mothers, which is why it’s important to become self-assured and stop relying on what others think of you and your parenting style. That way you’ll be able to focus on what matters: your baby and your mental wellbeing.
Find your healthy coping skills
Taking time to relax and rest is important, but so are healthy coping skills, especially in case of stress due to illness or too many chores. Things such as exercise, socializing, and living a healthy lifestyle overall can be extremely helpful for parents who are dealing with excessive stress. That’s why coping skills matter so much: they keep you grounded and help you move forward without looking back. Also, sharing your doubts and worries with trusted people who care about you will help you feel less alone and accepted.
A happy mom is a healthy mom, that’s for sure. And mental health is an inseparable part of one’s health, which is why is essential to ask for professional help if you continue to have issues with depression, baby bonding, and taking care of yourself and your little one. Finally, remember to do things for yourself only. Also, surround yourself with positive people who will influence you to be the best mom that you could be, as that will keep you feel motivated and safe.
About the Author
Claire Adams is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. She is a regular author for Ripped.me and you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.