May is maternal mental health awareness month and Wednesday May 4th is World Maternal Mental Health Day. As many as 1 in 5 women will experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder (PMAD) during pregnancy and up to 1 year postpartum.
After having a baby, moms and their partners need to have support. I had the opportunity to speak on the local television station here in Sacramento, California Fox40 News about the importance of self-care for every mom. Watch now.
In the interview, we touch on why self-care is so important for moms, what self-care can look like, and how to seize those opportunities when they present themselves.
Want more tips that you can put to practice TODAY? Here are my favorites:
1. Small things on a daily basis.
Recognizing things we already do and just paying attention while you're doing them. When you're drinking coffee, really notice the flavors, the smell, the feeling and just enjoy it. Also, when you take a shower, feel the warmth of the water, hear the sound of it trickling against the wall, smell the fresh soap, and enjoy these few moments of solitude. All while talking deep cleansing breaths.
2. Connection is self-care.
Who are the people you call for support? Who gives to you and helps you feel energizing? Look for people to bring you up and validate the struggles or challenges you may be experiencing. Having trouble finding other moms to talk to? Look for groups on Facebook, Meetup.com--local baby-wearing groups and local hospitals often have new mom groups.
3. Self Care is not reward--it’s necessary.
Taking care of yourself is not something that a mom has to “earn.” Self care is a requirement to being the best mom a woman can be. Taking care of yourself as a mom is not selfish. Instead it is a necessary part of good parenting.
So, no guilt for needing to fill your cup, mamas.
And if the overwhelm or blues have you feeling like your "cup" is broken, then what do you need to do to fix it so you can start feeling better? Who do you need to help you get it? In other words, who are the people that can give you a timeout or the support you need? Start there. Ask for what you need. If you’re maxed out, say so.
If you know a new mom, please ask her how she is really feeling and see how you can support her. Acknowledge and validate how hard it is for a new mom. Offer your support, and be specific--offer to hold the baby so she can take a shower or to fold the laundry so she can take a shower. Offer to drive her to her doctor’s appointment. This is so important for her to know she's not alone and that help is available.
What’s your best tip for new mamas who might be struggling? Or what was the kindest way someone showed you support when you were a new mama? I’d love to hear your stories. Leave a comment below.
Are you a mom struggling with overwhelm? Check out my new class, “Finding your Calm as a Mom”.