The emotions of motherhood can be confusing and simply exhausting. Though if one thing’s for sure, the birth of your baby is beautiful. You’ve welcomed a curious life on this Earth, and now you’re starting a new life of your own.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with unfamiliar responsibilities, hormonal changes, and even more information to learn about newborn care. In this new mom stage, that’s okay. This is your time to find yourself again and recover from the birth of your baby, both physically and mentally.
All-in-all, having a baby doesn’t mean losing touch with your true self; you simply just have to adapt to your unexplored lifestyle around the baby. If you don’t care for yourself, it’s going to be much harder to care for your baby. So, how exactly can you care for yourself right now and soon feel like you again? We’re sharing some of our favorite ways for new moms to be at their best postpartum.
During the postpartum period, it’s more important than ever to focus on your self-care. Some new mothers experience the sadness of “baby blues”, and others feel distressed and experience deep fatigue for weeks after birth known as a part of postpartum depression. While it is a serious condition, it is nothing to be ashamed about in the slightest. In fact, rates of postpartum depression nearly tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a new study in BMC Research Notes.
“Treatment is pivotal to recovery. Resources and education about postpartum depression must be better disseminated and implemented. These resources should be shared with the general public to reduce stigma, and shared with those who provide social and emotional support to postpartum patients, such as partners and family members.” says lead author of the BMC Research Notes, Clayton Shuman, U-M assistant professor of nursing.
Online help for postpartum depression is readily available 24/7 whether you’re looking for private live chat, group therapy, peer-to-peer support groups, or even family therapy. Organizations such as Postpartum Support International, Amwell, Hers, and TherapyTribe offer a range of behavioral-specific needs with experts in the space and can set you on the right path to healing.
Always tell your doctor how you feel, and open up with any questions you have. They may offer counseling and/or medicines that can help postpartum depression, and treatment can be life-saving. Learning to get through postpartum comes with a lot of acceptance, especially in the fact that life is going to be different from now on, but not in a bad way. Remember it will get better.
You’ve carried a baby in your belly for what’s felt like an eternity, and now you’ve finally given birth! You’ve seen and heard about that special connection of love and trust you’ll feel with your newborn and wait for that moment. But don’t set yourself up with preconceived notions of what that unbreakable bond will be like right away.
The mix of emotions you’re feeling is probably more confusing than ever as you adjust. It takes time to form a bond with your baby, and really get to know each other. It’s normal for the baby to feel like a stranger postpartum, and it doesn’t help when they’re always demanding to be fed, rocked, and changed at all hours of the day and night. While your new baby isn’t interacting quite yet, be patient with yourself and don’t rush the process. It can take several weeks for many moms to start feeling that motherly bond with their baby. So take your time and enjoy the meaningful times like making them feel safe and singing to them.
A new mom’s daily to-do list can certainly be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you from fitting in time to care for yourself. To ensure you don’t fall into a bad habit of forgetting things or becoming complacent, set up a healthy daily routine that works best for you. Rather than starting the day off slow, get back into the flow of your responsibilities by taking a shower every morning, brushing your teeth before noon, organizing and cleaning the house, and so on.
You’d be amazed at just how simply getting dressed every morning makes you feel better and more ready to take on even the busiest of days with energy. Fill your wardrobe with comfortable postpartum clothes that will make recovery and caring for your baby a breeze. New moms postpartum should always love themselves inside and out, and putting that extra self-care into your appearance can help you bloom.
Your vision can also be affected postpartum due to the hormones responsible for changes throughout pregnancy. Many women are prone to noticing dry eyes, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, double vision, and similar changes. Eyecare is crucial during this time, so instead of throwing on an old pair of glasses, swap out for a pair of safe women’s prescription glasses suitable for your needs and style.
Throughout each day, give yourself breaks and do something for yourself to stay grounded. Small acts of self-care as a new parent add up, and the more you tend to yourself, the more you have to share with your baby. Plus, you’ll find you’re more determined to get things done. Some ways you can sneak self-care into your busy schedule include:
Soon enough, every time you look in the mirror you’ll realize you have that beautiful glow again.
Recovering from childbirth is no small feat. These first few weeks are all about healing and recovery for your body. Unfortunately, as much as we wish it could, everything doesn’t just snap back into place right away. Be patient with your body and remember: you were able to grow a human in your belly; your body is amazing!
Try to squeeze in time for a soothing sitz bath to ease your aches and pains, go outside for fresh air, and wear some extra soft pajamas you can cozy up in. A full-blown workout isn’t necessary right now, but getting your body moving is also beneficial to help you become stronger.
Additionally, taking care of a baby can get distracting, but don’t let that make you forget to eat a well-balanced diet. It’s best to eat healthily and often during this time to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need. Eat more fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and food rich in fiber as these will give you more energy, plus help you lose the baby weight. If you’re too busy to prepare anything, you can always get food delivered to you. Drink plenty of water as well to avoid headaches and becoming dehydrated.
Having necessary social time provides that sense of individuality you need most right now. Go out to brunch, coffee, or even the gym with your friends. Focus on being around people who will inspire and motivate you, not bring you down. Spending time with a positive crowd and the people you love can be incredibly reinforcing. If possible, go without the baby and have someone else care for them for a while. This is your time to relax, decompress, and laugh! You’re not just a mom, you’re you.
However, no one is invincible. Never be afraid to seek or accept help from your family or friends, or professionally. Let them know what support you need to take some pressure off. You can also explore connecting with others online through social media and mommy groups. Sharing your hobbies, daily outfits, skin routine, and your new baby can quickly help you build more confidence. As you’re feeling better, you can even give advice to others.
Your lifestyle may be different than you remember now that the baby is around. As moms, we are notorious for putting everyone else’s needs above our own. But this shouldn’t stop you from doing what you love. If your passion is cooking, exercising, meditating, arts and crafts, writing, or anything similar; find time for it. If you don’t really have a hobby, enjoy finding one you feel passionate about! Even if you’re inspired to go back to work if that was what you thrived in, get a successful side hustle to start again.
Many moms find that these things can be a therapeutic escape for them during any chaos. Don’t feel guilty about having someone watch the baby so you can take some me-time. This recouping time to yourself takes your mind off of being a parent 24/7, provides a safe space for thinking, and allows you to truly be at peace. You need to be at your best so you can be the best parent, and with that comes loving yourself.
As a new mom, you may be thinking the postpartum phase makes it nearly impossible to make any time for yourself. It takes time to get back on your feet, which comes with plenty of self-care and acceptance. Your hormones are fluctuating and returning to normal, which can cause your emotions to fluctuate too.
Postpartum might have an influence on your partner and yourself, but there’s no need to suffer. Fill your cup a little at a time each day, and focus on the positive ways your baby has changed you to become patient, selfless, and caring. Always remember: you’re not alone. Be excited to find yourself again and be the best version of yourself!