New moms are smacked in the face with many, many changes. Even though many of these changes are expected, it doesn’t always mean the reality of them is easy to handle. New mamas may try to mentally prepare themselves for the changes that come with bringing their little one home, but mental preparation doesn’t always hit every nail on the head. There will always be those little pieces of parenthood that couldn’t be prepared for and sometimes those surprises get the best of new moms.
It’s normal to feel worried about certain things when it comes to being a mom. If a mama didn’t feel a little bit anxious or flustered along the way, people may wonder if she is human at all. Facing struggles is part of being human and having an emotional connection to those struggles shows genuine care.
However, Moms sometimes overlook their own personal struggles because they care so much about the needs of their little one. Though once you become a mom, your little one’s needs need to come first, it doesn’t mean you should forget your own. Caring for yourself benefits your baby in return.
Making sure a mom has support, sleep, and a teeny, tiny bit of sanity is important when riding the never-ending wave of motherhood. Finding positive, healthy outlets that support Mom as a person keeps her in-check and her morale high. It can be tough finding outlets that work into that overly stuffed schedule and new mama lifestyle, but making sure those coping skills are present is a start.
21 Help With Support: Social Media Groups
Mamas need a good support system and even though many new moms have friend and family to help them out, there are moms who unfortunately do not. Though technology can be frustrating at times, especially when it seems to be taking over the world, it can actually be a great tool for new moms.
There are Facebook groups specifically for pregnant moms, moms of multiples, stay-at-home moms, moms with children with disabilities, and many, many others. Instagram also has many “Mom Bloggers” who provide a supportive community for their followers. Since it can be tough leaving the house often for new moms, social media is a good place to go to seek out that necessary support.
20 Help With Sleep: Nap When Baby Naps
Being a new mom means feeling exhausted pretty much at all times. Therefore, when coffee just isn’t hitting the spot, taking advantage of your little one’s naptime is always an option. Well, the word ‘always’ can be used sparingly. A new mom may also say they should use naptime to do dishes, laundry, clean, and pump.
However, if you’re so tired you can barely keep your eyes open or put a sentence together – just nap when your baby does.
Some moms don’t like this idea, but if you have the time and need the energy, just do it. It doesn’t make you lazy and it doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you someone who knows you need to recharge to be ready to take on the rest of the day.
19 Help With Sanity: Talk To A Professional
Whether you are struggling with “Baby Blues,” postpartum depression, or are just having difficulty adjusting to parenthood, talking to a counselor may help. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Moms can benefit from two types of counseling: cognitive behavioral therapy, “which helps people recognize and change their negative thoughts and behaviors,” and interpersonal therapy, “which helps people understand and work through problematic personal relationships.”
However, sometimes simply talking to a neutral party can be just what is needed. It may not matter to you exactly what techniques are being worked on as long as you have the freedom to clean through your cluttered mind. Clearing that mental clutter can be extremely helpful.
18 Help With Support: Local “Mom Groups”
Whether you search through social media, look in your local newspaper (yes, they still have those), or contact your OBGYN, you can often find a local “Mom Group.” Most cities have local groups where Moms do monthly meet-ups, activities, and have insightful discussions. It can be great finding a supportive group of moms who have either been in your shoes or have been through something similar as to you. Not everyone fully understands everyone else’s situation. However, you may be able to find someone local who has a sense of understanding of who can become a go-to person of support for you.
17 Help With Sleep: Essential Oils
From Young Living and doTERRA, there are many different essential oil brands out there to choose from that aren’t just made for aromatherapy. Healthline states, “Essential oils can have many different benefits, such as weakening certain viruses and strengthening the immune system to soothing feelings of anxiety. Essential oils can also be a powerful way to help you relax and sleep better.”
Some people are skeptical of essential oils, but many people believe in them and rely on them. There are many different scents that, when diffused, can be relaxing and help you fall asleep with less stress and more ease. There are also certain oils that can be used topically that provide a soothing way to also fall asleep.
16 Help With Sanity: Positive Self-Talk
The Mayo Clinic says, “Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative.” By keeping those ongoing thoughts positive and hearing yourself speak them aloud, you can hear your tone associated with them and work through what needs to be worked through.
When you’re home with your little one and feeling overexhausted, it can be tough keeping those worrying thoughts to yourself. Speaking those thoughts out loud may not only provide clarity, but organize them as well. Also looking at all the thoughts through a positive lens can help put a less frustrated spin on a tension-filled situation.
15 Help With Support: Reach Out To Other Moms
If you are typically a shy, introverted person who doesn’t have many close “Mom Friends,” it can be tough reaching out to others. Maybe you’re new to the city you live in and your family isn’t nearby, you may not know exactly who to reach out to. Even if you have one connection, use that connection to make new connections. Sometimes it takes some effort and bravery on your part, but having that support system is important mentally and emotionally. Try reaching out through social media or bring your little one to a busier playground. From there, take a deep breath and confidently strike up a conversation.
14 Help With Sleep: Breathing Techniques
You know the feeling: Laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, and just waiting for your eyes to close. When you’re laying there, you’re also expecting to hear your little one stir or cry. More times than not, you probably get up and check on them because you heard a “phantom cry” that never really happened.
The “phantom cry” is really your exhausted anxiety playing games with you.
When you’re just laying anxiously in bed, trying out different breathing techniques can help. Finding a breathing exercise that works well for you can help relax your body and mind. Dr. Andrew Weil told Medical Daily, “By simply focusing your attention on your breathing and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation.”
13 Help With Sanity: Positive Post-Its
New moms often struggle with positive self-confidence and self-esteem. This may be because their body and skin are not exactly the same as it was pre-baby – and it makes sense that it isn’t. A mom’s body has gone through an incredible transformation, but sometimes it can be tough embracing that when you don’t feel like yourself.
By putting post-it notes with positive messages on mirrors and in places around the home you visit often, you will constantly be reminded to “Stay Strong” or “Believe In Yourself.” By putting meaningful statements up around your home, you will have continuous reminders throughout the day that will, soon enough, become instilled in your mind.
12 Help With Support: Breastfeeding Or Baby Cafes
Almost every city has a Breastfeeding or Baby Café available for pregnant and/or new moms. These gatherings are often at different hospitals or facilities and are safe, comfortable places for moms to speak their minds and share stories. For those who do not have a big support system or are seeking support in a new area, these get-togethers can be the perfect place to find that support. It’s great to feel accepted by a group of people who are going through a similar situation as you are. Between nonstop dirty diapers to breastfeeding struggles, the moms in these groups understand it and can relate.
More information can be found here.
11 Help With Sleep: Rearrange The Bedroom
You may not expect your bedroom to be a reason behind your inability to fall asleep at night. However, if your bedroom does not give off a relaxing vibe when you lay down, you may be less likely to easily fall asleep.
You want your room to inspire you to fully let go and feel comfortable. If your room is cluttered and messy, your brain will also be cluttered and messy when you spend time there. The Better Sleep Council suggests using room-darkening blinds, trying dimmer switches to bring brightness to a comfortable setting, getting rid of gadgets (this is probably the toughest change to make), and putting the temperature at a comfortable setting.
10 Help With Sanity: Stay Active
Since a new mama is constantly on the move, you may not think continuing to move would be a good way to relieve stress. Well, physical activity can actually benefit a person’s mental state – even if they are someone who already is constantly on their feet.
“Aerobic exercises, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing, have been proved to reduce anxiety and depression,” explains the US National Library of Medicine. “Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.”
9 Help With Support: Talk To Doctors Or Lactation Consultants
If you feel as if you do not have support, talking about this concern with your medical team can be a good place to start. Since your medical team has been by your side from the start, speaking to your OBGYN, nurse, or a lactation consultant may be a supportive person to lean on. They understand your needs in a way other professionals may not since they were by your side during the pregnancy and, for some, the delivery as well. If you are having trouble with breastfeeding or pumping, a lactation consultant can help you through that process in a comfortable, safe way. If your hospital or clinic does not have a lactation consultant, a nearby site probably has one you could easily reach out to.
8 Help With Sleep: Don’t Worry If You Don’t Hear The Baby
Whether your baby sleeps in a bassinet in your bedroom or is in their crib across the hall, Moms often fear not hearing their little one. Even if there is a monitor right by the bed, Mom may find herself staring at the screen constantly or waking throughout the night to bring it to her ear.
It’s normal to worry about your baby waking at night, but you will hear your little one if they do wake. Maternal instincts are weird, weird things. Even if an air conditioner is running in your bedroom and your little one is down the hall, you will still probably wake up when you hear the tiniest little cry. If you’re afraid you will not wake up, setting a couple alarms throughout the night may at least calm your nerves and allow some sleep to happen.
7 Help With Sanity: Find Time For Pampering
Moms must take time for self-care. Since all their focus is on the baby, Moms often forget about themselves. Finding time to get your hair or nails done, or getting a massage can be just what a new mom needs when she is feeling a little low when it comes to confidence.
Positive self-esteem can be a huge barrier for new mamas to overcome. They may not like the way they look, so finding a way to feel better can help. Spending an hour (and usually a couple bucks) at a spa or salon may help a mom mentally and emotionally heal.
6 Help With Support: Be Proactive With Reaching Out
If you’re a mama who is introverted, shy, and feels unsupported, reaching out to other moms can be tough. You may feel as if your effort will be ignored if you reach out through social media or if you shoot someone a quick text, they won’t give you the time of day.
The thing is: If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
Making a proactive choice and reaching out to another mom for support means putting yourself out there. This can be scary, but more times than not – Moms like to support other moms. Even in such a judgmental world, if a mom is contacted in regards to making motherhood-related connections, they will appreciate it and help as much as they can.
5 Help With Sleep: Make A Relaxing Playlist
You may want to steal your baby’s music machine after they fall asleep and use it for yourself. Music can truly take an atmosphere from harsh to relaxing within a matter of seconds. By creating a playlist or putting on a Pandora station you enjoy when you lay down to attempt sleep, you may find yourself drifting off. There are also many different smartphone apps that provide calming sounds and noises similar to the sounds of your baby’s music machine. That way, you don’t have to sneak into your newborn’s room to steal theirs.
4 Help With Sanity: Push Aside Judgments
Mom-shaming is a horrible reality new moms must deal with. Between social media and opinionated friends and family members, moms may have a difficult time pushing aside negativities thrown at them.
Psychology Today gives suggestions as to how to stay positive when faced with negative judgments. Psychology Today says, “Accept the fact that being a parent who is not judged, at least in some way, is probably unlikely. Understand that judging and criticizing makes some people feel better. Mom-shaming is often a cover for someone’s own insecurities or guilt about things they wish they had done differently.”
3 Help With Support: Ask For Help
New moms are often incredibly stubborn when it comes to asking for help. They want to do everything they can to care for their newborn – even if it means putting their own health and well-being at risk.
However, when you are recovering from delivery and feeling achy and exhausted, asking for help may be necessary. It’s okay to ask family and friends for help and they usually want to help in any way possible. Usually, they want to spend one-on-one time bonding with your little one and will take advantage of any time they can get.
Asking for help doesn’t make you a bad mom. It means you care about your mental state which, in return, benefits your little one.
2 Help With Sleep: Do Something Relaxing Before Bed
When your mind is cluttered and constantly going, it may have a tough time shutting off. When you try to close your eyes with a buzzing brain, sleep may be incredibly difficult. By doing an activity that takes absolutely no thought or energy, your brain is more likely to wind down and allow you to wind down with it.
Lawrence Epstein, M.D., tells Psych Central, “While there’s ‘no button to push’ to deactivate our thoughts, of course, we can ‘create the right associations’ to help us sleep well.” Once your brain gets into a rhythm of focusing on thoughtless activities before bed, your body will follow suit and take the hint.
1 Help With Sanity: Make “Mom Time” Happen
New moms sometimes feel guilty when they want to escape and take a few minutes for themselves. However, it is incredibly important to take those few minutes of “Mom Time.” Recharging yourself mentally as someone other than a mom will benefit you when it comes to putting that hat on again.
You never stop being a mom. That title will forever be cherished and loved. However, you’re also a person aside from being a mom. Focusing on your personal passions and interests is important for your mental well-being. If you don’t make time for yourself, you begin to forget what defines your identity in the first place. Maintaining that sense of self shows your little one how important self-love is.
References: National Institute of Mental Health, The Mayo Clinic, Dr. Andrew Weil MD/Medical Daily, The Better Sleep Council, US National Library of Medicine, Psychology Today, Lawrence Epstein MD/Psych Central