Becoming a new mom can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. The joy of bringing a new life into the world is unparalleled, but the responsibilities of motherhood can take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being. Knowing how to take care of yourself as a new mom is crucial for your health and happiness, so don’t hesitate to prioritize your self-care.
Knowing what to expect during pregnancy and after giving birth can help ease the adjustment to motherhood. Recognizing these shifts can prepare you to seek assistance at the appropriate time. As we progress through this piece, we will:
- Learn about the changes in your mind and body during pregnancy and how to best care for yourself afterward.
- Discuss the role that hormonal shifts (the body’s production of chemicals that might impact mood and create despair or anxiety) play in these states of mind.
- Talk about how you and those around you can keep your mental health in check and watch for indications of depression.
- Evaluate how your relationship with your spouse may alter if you become parents, and think about what you can do to keep things on a healthy track.
The truth is that it can be difficult for mothers to accept aid when it is offered. You’re not a bad mother for needing assistance. Knowing exactly what assistance is required can make requesting it much simpler.
You may be familiar with “mommy brain” or “postpartum brain” to describe memory lapses experienced during or after pregnancy. Is a pregnant brain a genuine thing? Yes! Early in pregnancy, a woman’s hormones undergo rapid transformations. Hormones have an effect on brain cells called neurons. As a result of fertilization, estrogen and progesterone levels rise (the hormone responsible for your menstrual cycle and maintaining a healthy pregnancy).
These modifications allow for an increase in blood cell formation in the uterine and placenta. Your body is forming a new organ, the placenta. It’s true that throughout pregnancy, your body builds a new organ and a new human being. Wow, that’s a ton of effort! While most women report feeling happier throughout pregnancy, this is often not the case until the second trimester.
Mothers are prone to forgetfulness and erratic mood swings. This may result from hormonal fluctuations, the physiological changes associated with pregnancy, or a combination of these factors. The first and third trimesters of pregnancy are peak times for maternal irritability. They leave for the hospital only to return with the newborn. Still, every mother is different and can experience mood swings at varying levels. Hormonal changes after giving birth are discussed more below.
MENTAL HEALTH CARE DURING PREGNANCY
Most women consider their pregnancy a period of great happiness. Exuberance and happiness bring about physiological and psychological shifts. This may make you feel uneasy. Or maybe you’re wondering, “Do I have anxiety?” or “Oh dear, what have I gotten myself into?” It’s normal to experience uncertainty, fear, and anxiety despite all the planning and anticipation you’ve had for your baby. This is to be expected. It’s natural for a pregnant woman to have emotional ups and downs. A mother is allowed to feel whatever she feels, both before and after giving birth.
Taking care of yourself is essential, especially while pregnant. Before your kid arrives, take some time to do the things that make you happy. Take steps to improve your emotional and physical well-being by engaging in self-care. Some people find release through exercise. Some people need peace and quiet. Follow your instincts and do what helps you feel most comfortable when pregnant.
Having a strong support system of loved ones by your side during your pregnancy and afterward will be invaluable. It’s true that it typically takes a community to successfully raise a child, as the proverb goes. If you don’t have any close friends or relatives who might help you, talk to your doctor, OBGYN, or a psychologist about what kind of support you might need during your pregnancy.
SUPPORT BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER CHILDBIRTH
Good postpartum care often relies on a strong support system, which can be established during pregnancy. The term “postpartum” describes the period of time beginning upon delivery and ending at the end of the sixth week. When we think of a support system, we usually picture the medical staff, the doula, the parents, or the other parent. Doulas are paid professionals that assist new mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and the early days with their infant.
Consider your options for receiving emotional and practical help from loved ones. The support of those around you is essential. You’ve probably heard tales of well-meaning relatives coming to help with the newborn, only to add to the new mother’s stress and workload. Certain family members and friends are naturally adept at taking care of newborns and supporting new mothers.
They do the laundry, cleaning, and cooking without being asked. However, there are others among your loved ones that could prove to be more of a burden than a help. Women require attention and care after giving birth, too. You can put your trust in the people who will be caring for you as a new mom.
Keep your guard up and surround yourself with individuals who will accept you for who you are by thinking about your comfort zone and making sure they are on your support team. How does one go about establishing limits? Here are some potential limits you could impose on yourself:
- Keeping people away until you’re ready to accept assistance.
- Putting restrictions on guests’ length of stay.
- Doing the work of assigning tasks to each person you wish to support you.
Having the correct support system in place can help overcome postpartum depression. Close friends and family can help you look out for symptoms of postpartum depression and possibly even steer you clear of it.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND GET SOME REST
Your mental health can benefit greatly from the cumulative effect of the simple things you do to take care of yourself. The importance of self-care cannot be overstated, and there are various ways to practice it. This can be complicated, but it’s crucial. While the baby is napping, you can have some time by listening to a podcast, watching a favorite show, or reading a good book. Spend money on yourself without shame. You can’t make a drink from thin air.
Communicating with your spouse about how they can best assist is also crucial. A weary mother may find the nighttime feedings distressing. So that you don’t have to get out of bed, your partner can change the baby’s diaper and bring the infant to you for breastfeeding. If you’re not nursing, your partner can take over a shift and bottle-feed the baby, allowing you to get some much-needed rest. Remember that your partner is capable of helping you out as well! You should take care of yourself, so don’t be afraid to ask for time off if you need it.
After giving birth, taking care of your mental health is important.
Many new mothers experience sadness or irritability in the days and weeks following the birth of their child. The sadness associated with having a baby is normal and will pass. Baby blues can cause symptoms such as:
- Sad, irritable, or a bit grumpy.
- Incapacity to reason, rest, or digest food.
- An inability to feel confident in one’s ability to provide adequate care for one’s infant.
- Not feeling like you and your baby are connecting.
- Frequent crying.
Sadness that persists beyond two weeks requires medical attention. When the baby blues don’t go away after a few weeks, it could signify postpartum depression. You should seek assistance from loved ones and friends if you or someone you know shows any warning signals. This includes getting as much rest as possible, carving out even a small amount of time for reflection and relaxation, and avoiding substances like alcohol and narcotics that can amplify negative emotions.
Baby blues vs. postpartum depression
A new mother’s experience with baby blues or postpartum depression may be puzzling. Postpartum depression is diagnosed when the above symptoms persist for at least two weeks after delivery. You are not a horrible parent because of this. More women than you would imagine suffering from postpartum depression, but there is support for you if you need it. The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to the baby blues but far more severe. For example,
- Anxiety so severe that you experience panic attacks, fear, and even anger—sometimes when you’re alone with your infant.
- Just going through the motions and not enjoying things.
- Gloomy, melancholy, and negative emotional state.
- Constantly feeling sad or troubled by distressing ideas.
You might believe that postpartum depression is something you have to get over. Some people feel bad about themselves when they think of sad or terrifying ideas, so they strive to keep those thoughts to themselves. Depression after childbirth can be life-threatening if left untreated. Do not hesitate to seek assistance from close friends, relatives, or medical professionals. During this time, you must prioritize your health and well-being for your and your baby’s sake.
The best way to treat mood and anxiety problems is through talk therapy and medication. Seek immediate assistance if you are having suicidal thoughts, experiencing a loss of reality, or are afraid you may hurt yourself or your baby.
Mothers’ minds and bodies undergo some of their most profound transformations during and after pregnancy and childbirth—everything changes, including how we relate to one another and ourselves. Taking care of oneself is an essential part of being a good mother. Mothers taking care of themselves is not only acceptable but essential. The first step is understanding how the brain and body to function normally.
Meaningful articles you might like: Motherhood’s Perfect Mommy Myth, The Frightening Outburst That Made Me a Better Mom, Tips For New Moms on How To Be Confident