You’ve waited nine months to finally spend time with your newborn and embrace your bundle of joy. The last thing you may want is to do the opposite instead.
But childbirth is a complicated process. It involves tons of hormonal changes, and when it’s all over, your body may suffer from the effects of such changes.
You may also feel stressed due to your new responsibilities, like the balance between looking after them and yourself.
These external and internal factors that come with childbirth can leave you in a vulnerable state of mind. In fact, most women develop baby blues, an overwhelming feeling of distress and unstable moods, shortly after giving birth.
Some women also develop postpartum depression. It is a condition with symptoms similar to baby blues, but they are more severe and last longer.
But we’re here to offer you easy ideas to care for yourself so you can be the best parent. Here are ways you can take care of your mental health as a new parent.
1. Understand What You’re Dealing With
It’s crucial to understand what’s happening to you emotionally and psychologically. That way, you can learn to distinguish between what’s normal and what’s not and know when to seek help.
For some new parents, the problem may go beyond baby blues. This is not good, not for you, and certainly not for your baby, who wholly depends on you.
As a new parent, listen to what your body is telling you. You’ve been through a lot, and when you add to it the sudden lifestyle change, case in point sleepless nights, it’s not improbable to have a mental breakdown.
How to Recognize You May Need Help
If your symptoms are that of normal emotional distress that often accompanies childbirth, you can address them yourself. It’d usually take a few changes in your life and adjusting to the new you, and you’d be back on the saddle.
However, in some cases, it’s not that simple.
Here are some serious post-delivery signs and symptoms you shouldn’t ignore:
- Persistent depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts of aggression towards your baby
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Worsening mental distress
Look out for these severe signs that may hint at depression and seek immediate depression medication online for professional help.
2. Stay Active
After having a baby, it’s easy to stay hemmed in and forget about any activity outside your baby’s interests.
However, inactivity is bad for you after delivery, the same way it is at any other time.
As a new parent, no doubt you’re trying to adjust. You’re likely exhausted and sleep-deprived and would instead use any opportunity to rest.
But staying inactive is bad for you.
You need physical activity to:
- Help replenish muscle strength
- Boost cardiovascular health
- Relieve stress, as exercise releases endorphins
- Prevent sleep deprivation
The best way to get stronger and back to your normal physical and mental state faster is to maintain activity, even if in small proportions.
Start with low-key exercises like walking around the yard. You may want to consult your doctor before you start working out. This is especially critical if you had a troubled delivery.
3. Create Time for Yourself
Time can be a luxury after childbirth. You’ll barely sleep three hours straight at night, let alone have time for a hobby. While it’s usually hard to have quality time for yourself, it’s not impossible.
One mistake many new parents make is to wait and hope for a perfect time to care for themselves. Of course, this seldom works.
Sure, you could plan to get stuff done around your baby’s nap times. But with daily chores on top of personal care, nap times aren’t enough unless your baby sleeps for hours.
Learn to improvise. Create time for yourself out of what you have. If you like to go for walks, do it with your baby. Get your child used to your presence without you holding him or her. This way, you can keep them within your sight while you enjoy your “me time.”
4. Maintain Social Connections
Newborns are notorious for their ability to monopolize their mothers. You may not think you have the time for social activities.
Experts also encourage parents to cut down on their regular social activities to some extent. This allows for a complete focus on and forming a bond with your baby.
However, you shouldn’t detach yourself completely from your social life.
Your social circle can be the source of strength you need to manage and recover from postnatal stress. If you have parent friends, engage with them. You may find that the shared experience is beneficial to your mental health.
Alternatively, you may want to join support groups for new parents and gain valuable insight from people in a similar position.
5. Prioritize Tasks
Sorting out your priorities is key to a healthy and peaceful recovery. You don’t want to take on too much too soon.
It’s common to feel like you’re falling behind in many things, especially work. You may want to jump back into your routine as soon as possible.
But newborn obligations and other life stressors don’t usually coexist when you’re still in the recovery phase.
Repeat after us: Take time off work.
That’s the whole point of maternity leave anyway.
If you can’t manage every task at home, arrange for help. Try to limit avenues that put you under unnecessary pressure.
Remember, your health and complete recovery is your priority. Everything else will still be there when you’re back to your usual self.
Your physical and mental wellbeing is essential as a new parent. Remember that looking after yourself is not disregarding your baby, it’s the opposite – your newborn needs you to be okay.
Also, it’s normal to feel out of sorts after delivery. The baby blues usually subside after a week or two. However, if you’re not getting any better, seek professional help immediately.
Author bio: Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Chelsea Museum District to help them with their online marketing.