Nothing can prepare you for the difficulty and variety of feelings you can experience when you become a new mom. You can set your expectations and see them shatter in front of you. You can say, ‘It will be just like what so and so felt, and I’ll be ready for that.’ And you never know how wrong you can be.
It could be challenging to distinguish what feeling is normal and not during the entire pregnancy and even after childbirth. Surprisingly, even health practitioners and social workers can say that it’s just how it is being a new mom. This disparity can stir up someone’s state of mind.
It’s no wonder post-partum depression, anxiety, and other abnormal behaviors are often missed and worsen through time. People would say that ‘you’re fine, it’s just new motherhood.’ What’s even worse is when the new mom would reach for something to ease her confusion, like a bottle of pills or wine to drown the sorrows and negative thoughts, until she becomes numb and repeats the process.
In the United States, 23.5% of new mothers experienced post-partum depression in 2018 in Mississippi alone. It’s a serious matter; if not given the support they need, it could be easy to succumb to alcohol and drug addiction or even suicide.
As a new mom, you must prioritize your mental health for your benefit and your child. Hence, here are a few ways to help you out:
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1. Seek Help
Your family will realize that there’s something wrong with you, and hopefully, it won’t be too late. As soon as they discover substance abuse, they need to seek addiction and mental illness treatment to help them. Addressing the problem the soonest will bring you out of that hole so you can live a normal life with your child and family.
A facility specializing in treating this illness will be your best hope because they have a structured medical plan that could manage this disease. However, you must take the first step to acknowledge your problem. A new mother with mental and substance abuse has a co-occurring disorder, and this illness needs specialized treatment; otherwise, you can expect things to spiral downhill quickly.
2. Practice Self-Care And Self-Love
A new mother can still prioritize herself. Of course, your child is tiny and helpless, so they need you to nurture them at all times, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you’re depleted, you don’t have anything to give; thus, it would be best to allow yourself some periods of self-care and self-love. You can do this by doing the following:
- Eat nutritious food.
- Take a rest when you’re tired.
- Have enough sleep.
- Take a long warm bath.
- Go to the spa.
- Have a makeover at the salon.
- Paint your nails.
- Read a book.
- Watch a movie.
Doing these things can do a lot of good for your well-being. You’ll feel invigorated, ready to face another day. After this, you’ll have much more to give and love to share with your newborn child.
3. Accept Help From People Around You
As a new mom, you don’t need to prove anything to anybody. You don’t have to compare yourself to your mother or other mothers who may have raised their children singlehandedly. You are an entirely different person at a different time. So, when people offer to look after your child, allow them to help you.
The help people offer will provide the respite you need to reset your body and feel whole, even for a moment. Another great thing to remember is the phrase, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ Your family, community, and friends will always be there to give you the support you need, even if you think you can do it yourself.
4. Speak To Somebody You Can Trust
To let all your feelings out in the open is cathartic. It doesn’t have to be with a professional. You can share your innermost thoughts and struggles with someone you can trust. Doing this will allow you to release pent-up emotions and lessen the heaviness you may be feeling in your chest.
Call a friend, invite your sister over, or you can also attend groups of similar moms in your situation. You can find commonality and hopefully relate with people who share the same feeling. An online support group can also be your helpline at these times. These people will be willing to listen without judgment and prejudice and offer advice you can use in your situation.
5. Kick Out That Mom Guilt
Mom guilt is an idealistic feeling that many moms, old and new, feel when they try to do something for themselves. It could also be that feeling of worry that you’re not doing more and not being good enough. It’s not a healthy feeling, and allowing it to take hold of your mind could be detrimental to your mental health. It could put your body to exhaustion and make you feel inadequate, leading to anxiety and depression.
It’s essential not to allow mom guilt to be your predominant emotion. You can kick this unhealthy feeling by identifying the source, prioritizing self-care, meditating, and avoiding comparisons with other moms, especially on social media.
6. Go Out And Run Or Exercise
Spending time out in the sun to run in the morning can be therapeutic, too. Soaking your body in the sun’s healthy rays will give you ample amounts of vitamin D, which is excellent for bone health, immunity, regulating mood, and reducing symptoms of depression.
Running and exercising can help release your body’s endorphins (happy hormones). They can relieve pain, reduce stress, and give you a euphoric feeling. Even 30 minutes of moderate exercise will do that to your body, so while the baby is sleeping, sneak into your exercise gear and start doing some cardio exercises.
You waited so long to be a mother, but now that the baby’s here, you have mixed feelings. Most of the time, you’re confused. A lot of times, you’re unsure. However, remember that it’s okay not to be okay. Motherhood doesn’t have to be perfect, so allow yourself to make mistakes. Enjoy the journey because the destination is still far away.
The child you’re holding in your arms will love you no matter what, but that child would want you to love yourself first so you can be whole. Please take a deep breath, close your eyes, and allow yourself to feel bliss because you deserve it.
Featured Image by Iuliia Bondarenko from Pixabay