Hey there fellow mommies!
I’m here to tell you that you are an amazing and beautiful mom and deep inside you know that too!
It's incredible how much it means to feel appreciated and encouraged, isn't it? Just a bit of appreciation makes us feel renewed and ready to take on the world.
As a new mom, we go through so many emotions and internal struggles that we miss to appreciate ourselves. So go ahead and take this moment to congratulate yourself.
I remember the first time I held my daughter in my arms. Never had I experienced such a medley of emotions - a never before felt happiness swept over me and at the same time a feeling of anxiety and maybe a bit of confusion too!
There were so many questions, doubts and worries that were racing through my mind. Though my mom was there with me through the last trimester till my daughter was about 5 months old and helped me through almost everything, I still had this feeling that no one understands me.
I decided to become a hands-on mother. I massaged and bathed her myself even though I had had a C-section. Initially I had hired a “Maushi” (massage lady specially for her and myself), but on the very first day I asked her not to continue the massage for my little one. I was afraid that she would hurt my little angel! Now this was a lady who was a pro and had done this to newborns for years and yet I was scared!
Anyways, so I took over doing everything for her myself and the end result was I ended up fatigued, frustrated and anxious all the time.
There is nothing wrong with this. I was just overwhelmed and did not know what to do!
This anxiety and feeling of being overwhelmed is something almost every new mom faces (just as we feel on the first few days of a new job). Many times new moms go through mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed and / or difficulty in sleeping. These occurrences are due to the various changes in the roles, bodies, uncertainty and anxiety of taking responsibility of a new life. Remember that none of these are deliberate, but unconscious and all of us go through this process - some more and some less. These are usually known as “baby blues.”
However, if any of these conditions take up a more severe form, it might lead to postpartum depression or postnatal depression.
Yes. Postpartum depression(PPD) is real and if left unresolved might lead to more complications in the mother’s emotional state and can further aggravate.
We need to accept and acknowledge this reality and not just wish for it to go away.
Unfortunately, like mental wellness, postpartum depression in our society and culture is often considered a taboo and supposed to be ignored because being a mother is wonderful so how can we be depressed!
Women go through many hormonal, physical and emotional changes throughout the pregnancy and post pregnancy for the first year and every woman experiences it differently. PPD is nothing to be embarrassed about or it does not make anyone any less of a mother. On an average, PPD symptoms tend to mellow down and eventually go away after a period of 6 months from delivery of the baby.
However, in very rare cases, it may last longer and if the PPD was severe and left untreated sometimes it may become the base for anxiety or clinical depression at a later stage.
As a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practitioner and an early years developmental expert, I have been able to help many mommies to overcome PPD successfully with few simple techniques and therapy if required.
- We need to remember that there is no need to be panicked and we can take things slowly. As I have mentioned above, all of us go through the baby blues phase. But, if you or anyone you know is facing any of the below symptoms, then it's time to look for help.
- Low mood for 2 weeks or more
- Lost interest in yourself and your new baby
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty sleeping and feeling constantly tired
- Being sad all the time
- Despair or feeling trapped in your life
- Low / no motivation
- Concentration issues
- Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
- Feeling guilty or inadequate
- Feeling irritable
- Withdrawing from family, friends and social occasions
- Physical signs of tension, including headaches, stomach aches or blurred vision
- Recurrent thoughts of self-harm, death or suicide
Here's what might help:
- Take time for yourself : Take a hint from my experience and don't overburden yourself by trying to do everything and anything. Take a break whenever needed and possible.
- Confide and share: Think about that one person with whom you can discuss anything and everything and talk to them whenever you are overwhelmed. It can be your mom, sister, friend, cousin, MIL, anyone who will lend you an unbiased ear.
- Get your sleep on : Know how they say that you should sleep when your baby is sleeping? That is gold advice right there. Since we may not be able to have that regular 8 hour night sleep as we need to attend to the baby, we need to get our sleep in small naps whenever possible.
- Try to get some light exercise or breathing exercises
- Eat right : You become what you eat! Eat loads of fruits, veggies and foods rich in antioxidants. Consult a dietitian if you have any health issues such as diabetes, high/low blood pressure and they will advise you with a proper dietary chart.
- Consult a professional : Being one myself, I would still suggest this as a last option when none of the above things have worked or you feel that you do not have anyone reliable to discuss your feelings with. However, depending upon the severity of the case, it might be advisable to visit a professional since everyone is different and feels and goes through the phases differently.
I hope this article has helped you and wish you and your little bundle of joy loads of happiness.
Remember that there is always someone to help. Look around for it and you might find someone just beside you!
Do you know someone who needs to read this article today? What is the next topic that you like to read about ?
Suchi Sen Basu wears many hats. She is an Early Years Developmental Expert, a certified Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Practitioner, a Social Entrepreneur and Sustainability Consultant, a Writer, an Environmentalist and an animal Rights Advocate. She is the founder of Little Papillons (India’s first emotional wellness initiative for early years and teens), Earthly Sienna (skill development startup for rural women in Bengal) & One Earth Social Initiative (Nonprofit working for Climate Change Mitigation). She sits on various nonprofit boards and is constantly working to create a better world for the coming generations!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.