As a new or veteran mama, your priority is to ensure that your new baby has everything they need. You also make sure your partner has everything that they need and siblings are receiving adequate attention and care. You attend to visiting relatives to make sure they are comfortable. While you’re trying to do all of this for everyone else, it is easy to forget to allow yourself time to adjust, relax, bond with your new baby, and ask family for postpartum support. Even when you attempt to take time for yourself, you may get in your head and struggle with trying to get back to your pre-pregnancy self and routines. Or maybe you’re struggling with the feeling that visitors’ focus have shifted from how they can help you to forming a relationship with your newborn. The first few weeks of postpartum motherhood are challenging for even a veteran mama.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 in 8 women will experience some type of postpartum depression or anxiety, with some research suggesting that the rates are closer to 1 in 5. The rates are higher for women who have experienced low support, have a previous history of depression, are caring for multiples, or experienced any pregnancy or birth complications. Still, a woman in any situation can develop anxiety or depression.
Postpartum Support: Ask for Help
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak up. Talk with your health care provider about receiving professional help. Ask friends and family to step in and assist with things around the house, make dinner a few nights, or watch the baby so that you can step back. Everyone needs help at different points. The best thing you can do for your infant is to be in the best mental and physical space possible. If you need extra support to get there, then work with your support system to figure out the best way to receive what you need. Even the closest friends and family may be unaware of how you are feeling if you don’t ask for help. Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny offers postpartum support and newborn care if you are looking for some extra help as you transition into motherhood; we are here to support you.
Self-care is so important, but self-care does not only mean asking someone to watch your baby so that you can sleep. Self-care goes above and beyond your standard needs when looking at postpartum support as a whole picture. You need to take the time to do things that you enjoy. For example, find a gym or studio that provides care and take an exercise class. Hire a sitter and go to a movie or simply drive to your local coffee shop and take the time to drink a full hot coffee by yourself. Instead of cooking or cleaning, take a moment while your infant is sleeping to read that book you’ve been meaning to get to. Your family and life have gone through a complete upheaval. This doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to spend time on your own or do things that bring you joy.
Remember that you are not alone
Depression, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed are extremely common for new moms. You’ll find that one of your best postpartum support resources is going to be speaking with other moms and parents about your experience. Attend a parenting group meeting or find one on social media. Form a tribe of other women who have been through what you have. Allow yourself to gain strength and confidence from these parents.
Remember that you were made to be the best parent for your child. Asking for help and finding support does not diminish that. If you do not feel comfortable speaking with your healthcare provider, family, or friends. You can reach out to the numbers below for anonymous support.
Postpartum Depression International: Call or text help to 1-800-944-4773
National Parent Helpline: Call 1-855-427-2736
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 800-273-8255
About The Author
Nia Davidson has over 10 years of experience working with children in Boston and Virginia, as well as abroad. She studied human development and family studies at the University of Vermont. She is also trained as a birth and postpartum doula, infant/toddler yoga instructor, and works as a Newborn Care Expert with BBN&N. Growing up mostly abroad in Germany and Qatar, she has a unique understanding of different cultures and traditions. She understands that bringing a newborn home is filled with wonder & excitement but also can be a time of stress. Nia’s calm demeanor, loving nature, and multicultural experiences abroad make her uniquely capable of supporting families through the newborn stages. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, and practicing yoga.