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There’s no doubt that becoming a parent is an experience that’s unlike anything you’ve ever had before. It’s a massive time of change. All of your life, every area, will change completely almost overnight. For many new moms, the postpartum stage can be so much tougher than pregnancy. Unfortunately, not everyone feels comfortable admitting to this. There’s never an ounce of shame in admitting that this is a truly challenging time. But so often, new mums deal with feelings of overwhelm and feelings of loneliness alone. All those changes in hormones and changes to your circumstances, can be tough to deal with.
Motherhood is a beautiful journey filled with love, excitement, and inevitable challenges. Navigating the postpartum phase requires special care, patience, and understanding. Here’s how you can look after yourself and feel better while your body adjusts to life as a new mom:
Embrace Vulnerability and Seek Support
Historically, childbirth and postpartum care have been communal activities, with women being supported by a network of experienced mothers, relatives, and neighbors. In today’s world, while the traditional “village” might not always be available, it’s essential to create your support system. This could be in the form of family, friends, professional postpartum doulas, or support groups. Embracing vulnerability and seeking help when needed not only benefits your well-being but also ensures that your baby receives the best care.
Prioritize Your Health
The postpartum phase is a critical recovery period for new mothers. Regular medical checkups are essential to monitor healing and address any concerns early on. Whether discussing birth control options, breastfeeding challenges, or emotional well-being, these appointments provide a safe space for mothers to get the support and guidance they need. Additionally, other health check-ups and care like tinnitus treatment or a change in your eyeglass prescription, should not be overlooked, as the body undergoes many changes during pregnancy and postpartum.
Connect with Other Moms
The journey of motherhood, while unique, shares many universal experiences. Connecting with fellow mothers can provide reassurance, practical advice, and a sense of community. Local mom groups, online communities, or specialized apps can be valuable resources. Sharing stories, challenges, and solutions can offer perspective and remind new mothers that they are not alone in their experiences.
Focus on Mental Well-being
Mental health is paramount during the postpartum phase. Recognizing and addressing postpartum depression (PPD) symptoms early can make a significant difference in a mother’s recovery journey. Symptoms can range from persistent sadness and difficulty bonding with the baby to more severe mood swings and feelings of detachment. Incorporating mindful activities such as meditation, journaling, or light exercise can also be beneficial in managing stress and promoting mental well-being. Coping with newborns is a challenge – support can help!
Set Realistic Expectations
In the age of social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing oneself to the picture-perfect images of motherhood often portrayed online. It’s crucial to remember that every mother’s journey is unique, with its own set of challenges and triumphs. Setting realistic expectations, celebrating small milestones, and understanding that there’s no such thing as a “perfect mom” can lead to a more fulfilling and less stressful parenting experience.
Nutrition and Hydration
A balanced diet is essential for recovery and overall well-being during the postpartum phase. Eating foods rich in proteins, whole grains, and essential vitamins can provide the energy and nutrients needed, especially if breastfeeding. Hydration is equally crucial, supporting milk production and aiding in recovery. Keeping a water bottle handy, especially during feedings, can be a helpful reminder to stay hydrated.
Rest and Sleep
Sleep might be a luxury during the newborn phase, but it’s essential for both physical and mental recovery. While uninterrupted nighttime sleep may be challenging to achieve, taking short naps during the day can help. Creating a conducive sleep environment for both mother and baby using tools like white noise machines or blackout curtains can also promote better sleep quality and duration.