It’s no secret that mothers want the best for their children.
From the moment their little one arrives, mothers find it easy to put their newborn child’s needs ahead of their own.
While caring for your child should come first, it doesn’t mean you should cease looking after yourself.
On the contrary, it’s important that you keep your own health in good standing.
That way you can come through for your child when they need you.
A mother’s mental health is of particular concern.
Things like lack of sleep, postpartum depression, and change, in general, can weigh on your thoughts.
If you’re a first-time mom, here are Tips for First Time Moms to Still Care for Their Own Mental Health.
Counseling and Medication
There are countless small, home-based tools that you can use to maintain your mental health.
However, it should first be stated that, if your struggles are serious, you should always consider getting professional help. This is by no means a failure on your part.
On the contrary, as a new parent, the willingness to get needed help shows responsibility. Over time that kind of behavior will even become a good example for your child.
The two most common forms of professional help are counseling and medication.
In both cases, you should speak with your doctor before pursuing either option. See what they recommend.
Counseling or “talk therapy” is a great way to help you sort through your feelings. Doing so with a qualified and trained mental health provider is always wise.
If things are severe enough, you may find that prescription medication is an option. If that’s the case, do so with care. Read all of your instructions.
Talk everything through with your doctor. Consider taking medications right after breastfeeding if possible.
And, as always, watch out for things like dependencies and certain symptoms.
You might even consider alternatives to medication if you get too concerned about the side effects of certain medications.
Stay Self Aware
Professional solutions aside, there are many other ways that you can work to maintain your mental health.
If done proactively, these can even avoid the need for more serious steps to be taken.
The first suggestion is to stay aware of yourself. Self-awareness is a key element in maintaining mental health.
It’s very easy to slip into various patterns of negative thinking.
Circumstances, hormonal imbalances, isolation, and an endless parade of other factors can leave you feeling unseen and unheard.
Rather than treating yourself as a victim and accepting your fate, strive to address the issue in a unique way.
Listen to yourself. You can do this in multiple ways.
For instance, conduct a body check from time to time. See if you’re getting what you need physically and consider what you can do to address any shortcomings.
You may not be able to fix everything at any one given moment. However, regular check-ins can help you resolve issues as soon as possible.
Also, consider your mental and emotional state. Are you struggling with any specific feelings or thoughts?
Are you using cognitive distortions to cloud your thinking?
In addition, look for any signs of more serious concerns, such as developing postpartum depression.
Signs of first-time mom anxiety and depression often include things like:
- Being more irritable and angry than normal;
- Suffering from brain fog or just going through the motions;
- Becoming extremely angry or sad, often at a moment’s notice;
- Feeling guilty about your parental journey or anxious around your baby.
By evaluating your physical, emotional, and mental state on a regular basis, you can catch any developing issues early on.
This can make it much easier to address mental health concerns and stay healthy.
Stress is the root of an abundance of mental health issues. It can put pressure on you from multiple directions at the same time.
This can lead to spiraling thoughts, erratic behavior, and a decline in mental health. Stress, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is present in many areas of life.
However, there are many unique and unusual stresses that you’ll face as a new parent. Disrupted sleep is challenging.
Fussy babies can be frustrating. Family finances can have you pulling out your hair.
If you find that the stresses are building up, look for ways to relieve them. This can feel impossible, but it is often quite possible if you’re willing to think in a creative and holistic manner.
For one thing, you won’t always be able to remove the stressors themselves. And that’s okay. Trying to eliminate stress isn’t the goal. Instead, you want to manage the stress and how you react to it.
For instance, if you aren’t sleeping well, try to go to bed earlier or sleep in later. This is worth it even if it requires giving up some free time at the end of your day. Once the baby starts sleeping better, you’ll regain that time.
You can also work hard to eat well and get regular exercise. This doesn’t mean you need to start a weight loss diet or begin training for a 5k. All you need to do is make good food choices that fuel your body well and take your child for a walk once a day too. No running required.
These physical activities can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health. For instance, your gastrointestinal tract is the prime creator of Serotonin. This neurotransmitter helps to regulate your appetite and sleep, prevent pain, and maintain your mood. This makes what you eat a critical part of how you feel, sleep, eat, and so on.
Exercise also releases endorphins. These feel-good neurotransmitters are essential for improving emotions. They also help minimize the effects of stress.
Mental health is a critical part of the parental journey. A healthy brain allows you to tend to your new baby in an effective manner. It also helps you begin to demonstrate positive, stable, and consistent emotions toward your baby as early as possible in the developmental process.
So consider the above tips. Are you staying self-aware throughout your new parenting journey?
Are you taking steps to manage the normal stresses and strains around you? Are you ready to seek out professional help if things get rough?
If you can keep these three Tips for First Time Moms to Still Care for Their Own Mental Health in mind, you’ll be able to stay on top of your mental health as you navigate the often exciting, at times stressful, and ultimately beautiful months that lie ahead.