Parenting involves a lot of difficult transitions, which is why it is important for moms to stay on top of their mental health
It is not a secret that becoming a mom presents a whole new world of challenges and emotions. Many moms will feel overwhelmed as they take care of their new baby and try to navigate motherhood for the first time. Too often stressful feelings are pushed to the side to be dealt with later. However, these feelings can compound and lead to burnout amongst new mothers. That’s why we’re taking some time today to talk about ways that new moms can monitor and manage their mental health. There is no shame in feeling stressed or overwhelmed as a new mom—nearly every new mom will experience these feelings. The important part is how you choose to manage them. Keep reading to learn about different ways that you can keep calm and feel your best including finding online therapy with insurance and techniques to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Find a Therapy Service That Takes Insurance
Therapy can be intimidating for new moms. Luckily, therapy services that take insurance are more accessible than ever before
It is never a bad idea to jot down your feelings before your first therapy session.
Lots of new moms are hesitant to find a therapy service that takes insurance. Unfortunately, a lot of the hesitancy comes from misconceptions about therapy. Often, therapy is thought of as a last resort or something only necessary when you’ve hit your lowest low.
Therapy is a mental health service that helps people manage their symptoms over time. It is sometimes beneficial to think about therapy as a form of exercise. When you exercise, you are putting in the time and effort to improve your physical fitness—and in some cases your mood and your self-esteem. Therapy works the same way. By attending therapy, you will be able to “train” yourself to cope with unpleasant feelings and burnout associated with new motherhood.
Another common misconception about therapy is that it is prohibitively expensive. However, therapy becomes affordable when you can find therapy services that take insurance.
Busy moms reading this might be thinking—“I don’t have time to attend therapy!”—and they’re right! It can be nearly impossible for new mothers to find the time to attend in-person therapy sessions. That’s why so many new mothers are opting for online therapy as an alternative. Once you find a therapy service that takes your insurance, you can ask about virtual therapy options. Virtual therapy is a perfect tool for new mothers to process their feelings and emotions from the comfort of their homes. Sometimes one hour of therapy every 2 weeks is all it takes to improve mood and help new mothers deal with the tough transitional period after giving birth.
Limit Time Spent On Social Media
In general, time spent on social media makes us more distracted and causes excess stress in new mothers
Time spent on social media is unavoidable, but it can be limited.
Social media—we all have it, and we all more than likely have a love/hate relationship with our favorite platforms. Because new moms are required to spend so much time at home with their baby, social media might seem like a healthy outlet. While we are not encouraging new moms to delete all of their social media, we want to talk about the benefits of limiting social media usage.
Social media affects our brains in different ways depending on how we use it. For some new moms, it can become a crutch that makes up for in-person interactions. This can lead to feelings of loneliness since social media is a poor substitute for face-to-face socialization. As much as possible, new mothers should make an effort to have friends over and socialize with other adults. If you have friends that also have very young children, you can invite them to make trips to each other’s homes for a bit of socialization—both for you and your newborn.
Another downside of using social media is the tendency to compare yourself to others. This is not just true for new moms, but it can affect new mothers differently than it affects others. It is easy to compare yourself to other new moms on social media, which can create feelings of inadequacy. No one on social media is honestly posting about the hardships of being a mother without a little bit of exaggeration or storytelling element, so more often than not social media obscures what new moms are actually going through. That’s why it is so important to limit social media usage to avoid constant comparison that negatively impacts your mental health.
Self-confidence and intuition play a huge part in raising your first child
Trusting your intuition is important—but, don't be afraid to ask for help.
After your first child is born, it can be difficult to know the right steps to take each day as you deal with the trials and tribulations of motherhood. For new moms, it can be difficult to feel confident in their decision-making—especially when it comes to your newborn. Trust in yourself and your intuition are important aspects of motherhood that new moms learn to rely on over time. There is the old phrase—“mother knows best”—which is true in many cases. It is important to acknowledge your intuition, as opposed to ignoring it. While we are not encouraging new mothers to eschew information from trusted sources or family members, we are encouraging mothers to practice self-confidence and practice making decisions for themselves and their newborns.
Make Body Positivity a Priority
Body positivity is more than just representation, it is a tool that new moms can use every day
Make a list of things you love about your body.
Because of social media, many new moms are exposed to unrealistic body standards and unrealistic expectations for weight loss after birth. The pressure to achieve an ideal body type can be overwhelming for some moms. To practice body positivity despite the pressure to “bounce back,” it helps to take a realistic and sympathetic look at your body. You have just given birth to your first child—which is nothing short of a miracle. A new mother’s body goes through so much after birth that a healing period is required. While it is important to eat healthily and exercise as allowed by your doctor, new mothers should avoid holding themselves to strict diets and exercise programs while raising a newborn. Strict diets and exercise regimens on top of raising a baby are often too much for mothers to handle, which can lead to low self-esteem. To prevent these feelings, take it slow, remember that everyone’s body is different, and practice appreciating your body as it is.
Avoid Comparison to Other New Moms
Motherhood can be frustrating, which is why new moms will benefit from avoiding comparison
Every new parent’s experience is unique.
We touched on this a bit in our social media section, but it is worthwhile to expand our discussion on unhealthy comparisons. As humans, we are naturally inclined to compare ourselves to others. In some ways, comparison is healthy as it helps us inform our current experiences and make decisions based on how others live. But, more often than not, comparisons are unhealthy for new mothers. First-time mothers have a lot to worry about and are dealing with constant demands every day, so it is super important to remember to cut yourself some slack. It is also important to remember that people are very seldom completely honest about their struggles.
For example, a new mother may feel discouraged after talking to another new mom who claims that her baby has no issues sleeping through the night. Just because someone else is not experiencing the same struggles that you are does not mean that you are less than or not succeeding as a mother. All mothers—and all newborns—are unique and have needs that are not always understood by others. That’s why it is in a new mother’s best interest to drop the comparisons and focus on remaining self-confident and compassionate.
Find Time to Meditate
Short meditation practices help new mothers destress and center themselves
The hardest part about meditation is getting started.
Sometimes when raising a newborn gets overwhelming, moms need a way to destress at the moment. A great way to ease stress and create a sense of calm in a chaotic world is through meditation. Meditation is a well-documented tool used to help people let go of their major stressors and focus on living in the present moment. There are a lot of great—and free—guided meditations out there for new moms looking for a place to start. Meditation takes a lot of different forms, too. Yoga is an excellent example of meditative practice. Plus, there are free yoga classes on YouTube that are catered specifically to meet the mental and physical needs of new mothers.
We hope that you got a few helpful pointers from our 6 tips to help new mothers take care of their mental health. Mental health can be easy to neglect when you have a million other things going on all at once, so remember to take a few moments for yourself and be compassionate toward yourself! Being a new mom is hard—but you got this!