Mental Health Awareness For New Mothers: You Matter Too!
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Today, we’d like to use our platform to raise mental health awareness for new mothers.
Whilst it’s common, people very rarely talk about it.
In fact, when I started being more open to the fact that I developed postnatal or postpartum depression (PND or PPD) 18 months after giving birth, people were shocked.
Curious or in a hurry?
I’m usually so positive and happy, how could I possibly get depression?
Well, as you’ll find out below, it doesn’t discriminate and can hit when you least expect it.
For this particular topic, I’d like to welcome Génesis, the founder and content creator for One Stoked Mom as a contributor to our website.
Of course, every mother experiences postpartum differently but I thought that Génesis’ insight would be especially relevant to this topic as she’s a first time SAHM (stay-at-home-mum) who, like many mothers before her, gave too much of herself in the beginning – leaving nothing left for her.
I’m sure many mums can relate to that.
So, if you’re wondering why new mothers can be emotional, grumpy, ungrateful, blubbering wrecks, this is your answer.
And if you’re that new mother who’s going through a rollercoaster of pure emotion and is wondering why you can’t just be grateful for your husband and your new baby, you’ll find your answer here too.
So, read this post and know that you’re going through something completely common. And that help is at hand if you need it.
Remember that you matter too, okay?
Side Note: If you’re looking for tips on how to look after yourself on a daily basis (and why), check out these post:
✦ How Do You Love Yourself, Let Me Count The Ways: The Ultimate Guide to Self-Love
✦ Quick And Easy Self-Care Strategies For Parents Everywhere
✦ When Moms Need A Break: The Little Things You Can Do
✦ The Gift Of Self-Care: Self Love Gift Ideas That No One Ever Thinks To Give
When you first look upon the face of your child it can be an out of this world experience. You may find yourself questioning EVERYTHING. This love, which can be borderline obsession, that comes from deep inside you confuses the heck out of you.
You feel as if you’re weightless and invincible… at least that’s how I felt.
But OH, how wrong I was. I learned the hard way to take care of myself. Not just in body but also in mind and soul.
While my body was shattered postpartum, I worked hard to help it heal. I did all the right things but I was careless with my soul.
For 4 months I doted on my daughter and my husband, I gave them all of my time and my attention.
This was to the point that my showers became my daughter’s shower, I ate while holding her, there was just no break.
I no longer had any time for myself and it was eating at me, from the inside out. Then there was also this guilt for wanting THAT time… Guilt for needing to be away.
To the point that I began to have negative thoughts towards myself. I started to withdraw from my life and almost felt resentful of my daughter, how she was sucking the life out of me.
One day I said, “No more!” I snapped out of that ‘funk’ I found myself in and decided to just leave as soon as my husband got home from work (I’m a stay-at-home mom).
I just got up, handed my daughter to her father and drove off! I cried, I felt helpless and abandoned…
It was an awful feeling but I knew that it was just that, a feeling that stemmed from my lack of mental and emotional care.
This type of care, self-care is something that is often forgotten and left in a box hidden away! But it is crucial for personal growth, healing, and joy.
I neglected myself and in doing so I was looking negatively upon the most beautiful thing in my life, my daughter. I have a good home, a husband who loves me and supports me, and a daughter that couldn’t be more perfect.
Yet all this wasn’t enough because while I took care of them, no one took care of me; mainly myself. In my need to be independent and self-sufficient, I forgot that is okay to ask for help and to admit to myself that I cannot do it alone.
But once I got out of the house and roamed around a thrift store a mile from my house I realized that things needed to change. I needed to prioritize my mental and emotional health if I was going to be the mother and the wife I desired to be.
So, I began to reach out to friends and family and started to leave the house to socialize.
Then, I met with a friend one day and we just spoke. About nothing and everything. We caught up in what was going on in our lives and it was really nice.
Motherhood is hard, there aren’t enough hours in the day for all that we want to do and the little we can do."Motherhood is hard, there aren't enough hours in the day for all that we want to do and the little we can do." – One Stoked Mom Click To Tweet
Those moments that I shared with friends and other people helped me realized that although I have become a mother, I am still Genesis. The girl who can talk about anything and everything, who loves to listen to music and dance like no one is watching.
The woman who was passionate and full of joy!
Over the last few weeks, I can say that I have begun to heal. I have mended my tattered soul, reconstructed the walls that hold up my foundation for joy and contentment.
All of this once I realized that I needed to surround myself with likeminded people, with other mothers and mainly get back in tune with myself.
Find a community of women, mothers or both. Become part of their activities and listen as well as share stories.
Mental health awareness is important, more so in new mothers. Our bodies have been ransacked and stripped through pregnancy and then labor.
We are so fragile in body and mind, whether or not we accepted this is something that must be talked about.
Do not be ashamed or afraid to speak out!
It does get better, you just have to be willing to admit it and accept help.
You, mother! Open your eyes and take a big deep breath. It is hard, it is tough but we are tougher and stronger together.
We as mothers need each other, we need the talks, the laughs, and the tears. We need the company, we need support.
Decreased social support, poor quality social support, and poor marital satisfaction increase the risk of PPD.”NCBI
Do not be afraid to reach out, or to admit to yourself that doing it alone is no longer the option.
There is this notion that motherhood is instinctual and that over time you’ll feel better but we couldn’t be more wrong.
Some people are born with a natural talent while others work their bums off for the same thing.
Mental health awareness is for EVERYONE.
Depression, sadness, helplessness does not discriminate.
FACT: A chemical and hormonal imbalance is completely NORMAL postpartum. This imbalance causes mood swings and more often than not, postpartum depression.
Together we can heal our tattered souls and mend our minds.
It isn’t just about the physical toll that pregnancy and childbirth take on our bodies. It’s about that shift in life, from a single human to becoming responsible for another life.
If we want to be great parents we need to FEEL great.
Now that you know how I felt, if it is something you can relate to then you need to reach out.
Please reach out, talk to someone.
Pour out your heart and just LET GO.
Begin anew to heal yourself.
Early warning signs of mental illness
- ✦ lethargy: feelings of tiredness, fatigue and/or sluggish, these can be mentally or bodily.
- ✦ sadness
- ✦ sense of doom
- ✦ resentment to the things that once brought you joy
- ✦ anger
- ✦ loss of appetite or overeating
- ✦ insomnia
- ✦ irritability
- ✦ unwanted thoughts
- ✦ fear
- ✦ helplessness
If you find yourself feeling any of the above, all or multiple, seek help!
Natural ways to combat mental illness
- ✦ spend time outdoors ( nature)
- ✦ exercise
- ✦ eat fresh fruits and vegetables
- ✦ listen to relaxing music
- ✦ visit a friend
- ✦ seek therapy or pet therapy: ( puppies and kitties are the best things ever) I own to lovely dogs who bring constant joy to my day.
- ✦ meditate : find a quiet area and relax to calm your mind.
- ✦ create a routine
- ✦ do a fun activity ( something YOU enjoy)
- ✦ spend time with loved ones
- ✦ avoid alcohol and caffeine: ( one cup of coffee is fine ) I cannot live without my java…
- ✦ sleep
I am in no way rejecting or denying the help of antidepressants but as a nursing mother, I had to find natural remedies to what ailed me. All of the previously mentioned activities I continue to practice to this day.
Maintaining a healthy mental and physical lifestyle is work, but it’s gratifying work.
I am happier, calmer and always in the moment.
I can focus better and be a better mother.
You caught that? Better… not perfect.
Remember, the first step is admitting that there is something wrong.
Life is about balance and all you need is the will to take care of yourself, so you can care for others.
Do not beat yourself up.
Depression is very common and guilt is not a welcomed emotion in this space considering it is something that is out of our control.
Some days will be better than others but stay strong. It does get better.
If you are an expectant mother or wish to be a mother one day, do your research.
Prepare for the changes you will be going through. Pregnancy has its own challenges and they continue once you deliver your baby.
Take care mama! Breathe in, then breath out. Rinse and Repeat.
Is there anything you do to bring joy into your day? Comment and let us know!
Thank you so much for this informative article of awareness for new mothers.