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How New Moms Can Take Care Of Their Mental Health After Having A Baby


As any (possibly sleep-deprived) new parent can tell you, it’s typically a challenge to even think about self-care when you have a little one who needs you. Odds are, you’re so focused on your blossoming family that you’re just trying to get through each day. Any major life change – such as becoming a new mom! – takes transitioning, and the accompanying stress is a normal part of the flux.

This is a guest post from Zencare, a website that helps people find their ideal talk therapist. Visit Zencare.co to browse their vetted network of top therapists – using criteria like insurance, sliding scale, location, and specialties. You can also directly book a free assessment call from the Zencare site!

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As any (possibly sleep-deprived) new parent can tell you, it’s typically a challenge to even think about self-care when you have a little one who needs you. Odds are, you’re so focused on your blossoming family that you’re just trying to get through each day. Any major life change – such as becoming a new mom! – takes transitioning, and the accompanying stress is a normal part of the flux.

However, carving out time to care for yourself is crucial. Doing so allows you an invaluable opportunity to check in, relish restorative downtime, and recharge. It's also a vital opportunity to self-monitor for symptoms of more serious concerns, like postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression (which can be overlooked in the bustle of new-baby life).

Here’s how, and why, to take care of your mental health in the postpartum period:

If possible, get a head start – before your baby is born

Figure out your support system early on. Before your baby arrives, create a peace of mind for yourself to help navigate the early stages of your child’s life by interviewing potential babysitters and reaching out to friends and family and asking for help.

Even having a preferred cleaner who can help you out with tasks like laundry can be a lifesaver when you need an afternoon nap.

Consider making a calendar of monthly date nights with your partner, and stock up on basic necessities that you’re likely to run out of.

Get educated on potential perinatal mental health conditions

Knowledge is power – so when possible (likely before the baby comes), take some time to learn about the “warning signs” indicating postpartum mood disorders.

Signs of postpartum depression include:

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Mood swings, appetite and sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or of harming the baby

It’s helpful to understand the difference between postpartum depression and baby blues (which are much milder and more common).

Signs of postpartum anxiety include:

  • Living in a perpetual state of worry
  • Frequent concerns that something bad will happen (harm will befall them or baby)
  • Panic attacks (including chest pain, dizziness, and/or a residual intense fear of going out in public)

Make sure your partner and/or loved ones are educated as well, so they can help monitor for symptoms.

Also, make sure you’re getting properly screened at postpartum checkups with your primary care doctor! This is becoming more regulated and expected, but double check that you’re getting all the necessary evaluations. And don’t be afraid to ask what your score is, too, if it’s not already being discussed with you!

If you have a partner, discuss social expectations and limits with them what boundaries and limits are critical to you? For example, can your family and in-laws visit for the birth; and if so, will they stay with you? These “rules” you establish may change after birth – and you’re within your rights to make them stricter or looser, depending on what’s right for you. But discussing them during pregnancy can at least open the conversation for future reference. If needed, moving forward, set a limit to how many visitors you want to have over per week. It may be helpful to create a secret “safe word,” so when you get tired, you can hint to your partner it’s time to make up an excuse for visitors to clear out so you can rest.

 

Attend a new parent’s group – even if you think you won't like it

Support groups can serve as invaluable sources of shared strength. Joining a support group allows you to:

  • Feel fully understood by an entire group of people who are undergoing a similar experience. This can be like a breath of fresh air if you feel otherwise isolated in your everyday life – work, friends, extended family, and so on.
  • Get, and share, valuable recommendations, ranging from sleep-training tactics to how to find awesome nannies in your neighborhood.
  • Vent about pressing issues that might otherwise be bottling up, whether it’s trouble breastfeeding, or annoying neighbors who wake the baby up at all hours – and figure out possible solutions together.

Have a list of therapists handy

Many postpartum mental health conditions are highly treatable with talk therapy. Of course, you don’t need to be presenting with symptoms of a condition in order to benefit from therapy.

In the postpartum stages, you can see a therapist for:

  • Navigating the life changes and pressures inherent to new parenthood
  • Connecting with your infant
  • Rekindling your romance, and/or getting perspective in understanding your new relationship as co-parents
  • Counseling for the back-to-work transition as a new parent
  • Postpartum depression
  • Postpartum anxiety
  • Postpartum panic attacks

When searching for a perinatal therapist, you’ll want someone who’s worked with clients through the perinatal period and has experience diagnosing postpartum mood disorders. You can call or meet with a couple of different people in order to find the one you "click with” – a crucial factor in order for therapy to be effective.

If you’re in NYC, Boston, or Rhode Island, you can find vetted perinatal therapists on Zencare.co

The importance of self-care cannot be understated. Helping yourself, after all, is helping your baby and family – since taking the time to replenish reduces burnout, clears the heart and mind, and sets you up to be a more effective parent.

 

The Slumberkins affirmation from Alpaca isn't just for our little ones!
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I am strong and supported.
I am never alone.
Climbing these mountains, 
will lead me home
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We are giving a lucky winner on both Instagram and Facebook the chance to win their very own mama and baby XL Hazel Snuggler and Copper Alpaca Bundle*!

RETAIL VALUE: $110

To enter:

1. Comment below with how you or someone you know practiced self care following the birth of a little one. Include your @handle so that we have your full entry. 

2. Go to @slumberkins on Instagram or Facebook and tag your friends. The more tags the more entries!

This giveaway ends on Monday, May 27 at 11:59 pm PST. Giveaway is not associated or administered by Instagram or Facebook. Winners *prize will ship approx. June 15-30, 2019. 

335 comments

  • Kristina

    I am currently battling OCD and Anxiety disorder. I have yet to figure out how to control it. I’m not a big pill person so I have yet to take the medication my doctor has prescribed me. I have started taking 45 mins walks to try to help me release so stress. I know the give away has ended but just needed to be able to tell anyone who is listening and understands. I don’t feel like other people understand if they haven’t went through it.


  • Chelsea Poling

    I learned to practice self care by communicating with my spouse that I needed help and would ask for an hour or two of alone time to wind down in a spotless clean room, candles on and windows open. It helped me relax and gather my thoughts ♥️ @raise.good.humans


  • Maggie Calderon

    About five years ago I had my firstborn. He was not planned and i was 19. After giving birth, he became my whole life. But I felt off and not myself. I was depressed even with all this newfound love for this little human. I knew I had to do something even if I didn’t want to admit I had a problem. So I got help and it saved me in so many ways. You are not weak to seek help.


  • Natalia

    I connect with other moms on social media and make sure I make time for myself to take care of my health with non-rushed showers and naps. @bilinguallifestyle


  • Jennifer

    My wife has used walking with the baby as an easy go to for the blues. Getting out of the house, even for 20 minutes has helped tremendously! @pbandmommies


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