Childbirth is without a doubt one of the most intimate and rewarding life events you’ll ever experience. The days and weeks afterward, however, can be a time of immense physical exhaustion, mental fatigue, and emotional upheaval. Attempting to recover from the physical trauma of the labor and delivery while caring for a newborn baby around the clock is overwhelming for many mothers, and the resulting emotional turmoil can leave them moody, anxious, irritable, and even depressed.
Although the post-pregnancy period can be a joyous time for the entire family, you as the new mom must take extra special care to safeguard and nurture your emotional health and well-being during the days and weeks to follow. Read on for tips on how to love yourself and your baby on your postpartum journey.
Emotional Wellness Tips
Postpartum anxiety, depression, OCD, and other related issues aren’t just in your head: they’re real and serious clinical conditions that can turn into a full-blown crisis if ignored. Aside from following your physician’s orders, keep the following mental and emotional health tips in mind.
Don’t try to do it all
Many women carry around an exaggerated image of what a new mother is supposed to be, and often unfairly burden themselves with unrealistic expectations. Subsequently, if they’re not full of energy and vigor at the prospect of taking care of the baby and home at every hour of the day, they’ll beat themselves up for being a “bad” mother.
Don’t do this to yourself! Enlist the aid of your partner, grandparents, and other family members, who are usually more than happy to pitch in a helping hand. It really does take a village to raise a child. Whether it’s cleaning the house, preparing meals, running errands, or even watching the baby for short spells, the physical and emotional break from being able to catch your breath and not obsess over every little thing is priceless.
Take care of yourself
Although taking care of a baby is a full-time job itself, make sure you don’t neglect your own needs. Have your partner or family members briefly care for the baby while you unwind in a relaxing hot bath, or nap for a few precious hours. Additionally, eat enough healthy, satisfying meals to keep your strength and energy levels up.
If you’re dealing with a whirlwind of emotions, mental and physical fatigue, and anxiety, don’t try to be the brave trooper and keep it all bottled up. Let a trusted friend, family member, or your partner know what you’re going through. You can even join a local mother’s support group to talk with other new mothers about your experiences and feelings, as they’re likely facing similar challenges and will enjoy commiserating.
Get out of the house
If you’re experiencing cabin fever and feel like the walls are closing in, try to get out the house for a while and do a little shopping, or run some errands. Make sure you feel up to it before you venture outdoors, however. The fresh air and sunlight will do you good, and the time away from the baby and home will help re-energize you.
What did you do to relax before the little one came along? Curl up with a good book and a cup of tea? Roll out the yoga mat and plop down for some stretching? Listen to soothing music with a scented candle wafting through the air? Well, do those same things when you’re on a baby break, or if you can manage it, do them while baby is in tow. Mothers and babies are naturally tuned into each other’s emotional states, so if you’re relaxed and calm, baby will mostly like be as well.
These are just a few of the basic things you can do as a new mom to keep yourself mentally and emotionally on an even keel. The important thing is to realize that down periods and stressful moments are totally natural, and taking care of yourself is not being selfish. In fact, the more energetic and upbeat you are as a whole, the better mom you will be for your baby.
For more information about emotional wellness, contact www.Smile2Baby.com at 855-797-BABY.