Becoming a mother is something that many women look forward to, and throughout pregnancy, many soon to be mother’s try to imagine what their lives will look like once their child is born. Many women experience a range of emotions throughout pregnancy in anticipation of the arrival of their baby, focusing on the excitement of preparing themselves to take care of another human being, who they will love and cherish unconditionally. What first time expectant mothers should also consider is how they will take care of themselves once they transition into motherhood.
How do I meet my own needs and the needs of my child?
One very simple but significant thing to remember is that a child needs a healthy mother. It is so important for your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your newborn that you take some time for yourself, and find small ways to keep yourself healthy and happy.
- Ask for help: so many new mothers want to try to do everything on their own. They expect they can balance their new role with the other hats they wear, and that it is somehow their responsibility and only their responsibility to take care of their newborn. It is healthy to ask for help, and it will help you keep yourself healthy amidst the diaper changes, feedings, and unpredictable sleep schedules.
- Take a break: don’t be afraid to do something for yourself while your newborn sleeps. Read, take your own nap, do some yoga in the living room, call a friend, or just savor the silence.
- Manage expectations: you love your child and you are doing the best you can do, and they know that! Remember that you are learning and adjusting to motherhood and that is a process, one that may take some time, and know that the uncertainty and fear is normal and will not last forever. You are not perfect, so don’t feel like you have to be a perfect mother (newsflash: its impossible!). Forgive yourself and highlight your strengths!
- Don’t be afraid to call your doctor and ask questions: every new mother goes through the “baby blues” as hormones are adjusting after the birth of your child and emotions are running high. However, if you notice that you are having a particularly difficult time adjusting, know that it is common for many women to experience postpartum depression. Do not be afraid to contact your doctor and talk about your symptoms to determine if you need additional help. According to the American Psychological Association, 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression.
Adjusting to motherhood is wonderful, but also fraught with many changes and challenges. If you are experiencing a difficult time adjusting and would like to learn more about how I can help you through this transition, please do not hesitate to call me at 312-729-5089 for a free 15-minute consultation.