by: Brittany Moffitt ( LICSW )
The day is finally here, your baby has arrived! It’s likely you are feeling overjoyed and overwhelmed at the same time. Think about it: Your body is physically recovering from labor & delivery, hormones are fluctuating rapidly, and you’re adjusting to an entire new routine with a newborn, while sleep deprived. Becoming a mother is a wild ride, and a lot of deep emotions come with motherhood. Maybe you’re experiencing baby blues or some postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety (PPA) or rage. Perhaps you had a traumatic birth and are wondering when you will feel like yourself again. Whichever it may be, the postpartum struggles from baby blues to postpartum mental illness are real and valid. If the postpartum period is not quite what you expected it to be, then you are certainly not alone! Here are 3 postpartum mental health tips.
1. What is baby blues and how to know when to get help?
Now you may have noticed a change in your mood since bringing your baby home. This could be weepiness for no apparent reason, irritability, anxiety, sadness, or mood swings. Up to 80% of new moms experience baby blues, which is nearly everyone! It is extremely common and typically goes away after 1-2 weeks post delivery. If you’re past the 2 week window and start having thoughts such as: “I don’t feel like myself”, “I am constantly worried”, “I don’t find interest in things like I used to”; then I recommend seeking support from a provider trained in perinatal mental health. Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety are common complications after giving birth and very treatable. With the right help, you can feel better.
2. Create a postpartum wellness plan.
With all of the drastic changes that come with bringing a baby home, it can be difficult to communicate what you need, when you need it. Especially in the midst of round the clock feedings and sleep deprivation. A postpartum plan is a simple way to communicate your preferences in the early weeks and months after having a baby. A few examples to consider are: How often do you want house guests to visit? What are your favorite easy prep meals to make? Who can help you with nighttime support i.e. changing diapers or preparing bottles? One of my favorite templates to create a postpartum wellness plan is here at Happy as a Mother. Everyone needs support from loved ones at times. Asking for help does not make you a failure, it demonstrates a sign of strength.
3. Practice Self-Compassion.
Mama’s, we can be hard on ourselves. Practicing self-compassion is one of the most important postpartum mental health tips to follow. When feelings of doubt, guilt, or inadequacy arise, it’s so important to counteract it with self -compassion. Self-compassion is giving the same love and kindness we give our babies to ourselves. There’s no manual to becoming a mother and there’s a learning curve every parent must go through. We are all learning and growing; especially in the early days of having a baby. Be mindful to give yourself lots of grace and remember you are exactly the mother your baby needs.
Brittany Moffitt ( LICSW )
Brittany’s passion is rooted in pregnancy, postpartum, and perinatal mental health. She provides individual counseling to mothers who are looking to reach mental and emotional wellness; while navigating the daily demands of motherhood. Her specialities include working with new moms, birth trauma, pregnancy-related anxiety, and postpartum depression.