Managing the baby blues
The NHS guidelines are that some mothers can experience the ‘baby blues‘ for up to 2 weeks after giving birth. This can be down to tiredness, hormonal changes and also the dramatic life change of a tiny new person coming into your life! For 1 in 10 mums, the baby blues may develop into postnatal depression.
Here are my 5 top tips to help manage the baby blues in a healthy way.
Talk lots. Be very honest about your thoughts and feelings. Whether that is with your partner, your family, friends, health visitors or midwives. It’s so important to keep the communication channels open. It can be an amazing, terrifying, wonderful yet daunting experience becoming a parent, and by being honest, the people around you will be able to support you where needed, and help make things a little easier for you.
Creating time for you. Remember that person you were before you became a parent? That person still lives inside of you, and deserves some time to recharge the batteries! Self-care is not selfish; it allows you to have space, time to reflect and an opportunity to gain enjoyment or relaxation for a few precious moments. If you can arrange someone to watch your baby for even just half an hour, my top self care ideas would be napping, having a nice quiet bath with some candles and a facemask or even just sitting and enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee!
And I’m not talking about the house! To move ourselves and integrate some gentle exercise is a great way to get the endorphins flowing and allow those happy hormones to lift the mood. (In the few weeks after childbirth, this should be agreed by a health professional). But gentle exercises such as walking, postnatal yoga or swimming are a brilliant way to move your body, and help you feel like you have achieved something. All of these activities can be enjoyed with your baby in local groups also, so childcare needn’t be a worry!
Find a support network
Especially for a first time mum or dad, it can be a very overwhelming experience becoming a parent, and often what we see on social media will give us the perception that everyone has self-latching, all night sleeping, and perfectly behaved babies from the get-go! To have a real support network around you gives comfort to the reality of parenthood with others who are going through similar experiences. Whether this is a group of friends, a local class, an online forum or the pre-school mums, make sure that you have a group of non-judgemental people that you can rely on, and wont blink an eye if you need a rant or a lengthy cuppa!
This is probably the hardest task to master, but will be worth its weight in gold if you are able to try and add a touch of positivity to your thoughts. You could learn to do this through the art of mindfulness, practising gratitude or even by positive mantras or affirmations. When times are really tough, it’s important to remember how far you’ve come, that the night waking won’t last forever, you won’t have to wear big pants for the rest of your life, your boobs will return to a normal size, and you will become more confident in your parenting ability!
AUTHOR: THE MADE UP MOM
MINDFULNESS PRACTITIONER, SURREY
Emma, The Made up Mom, is an advocate for mums (and dads) regarding their maternal mental health and parenting in general. She experience postnatal depression and following this became a mindfulness practitioner.