Expecting your first child is an exciting, and sometimes daunting experience. While mom is still pregnant, she has all the time to prepare for the baby’s arrival. However, once they are born, most parents find much of what they learned through their Parenting 101 books goes right out the window and is replaced by learning what their baby needs on-the-go.
According to Pampers Parenting Expert, Sister Yolanda Mpilo, “new parents might find the reality of re-adjusting their lives and getting to terms with this new responsibility quite overwhelming. This may take an even bigger toll on mom, who is still recovering from the physical changes that come with pregnancy. This has the potential to turn mom’s new life into a stressful experience, throwing her mental wellness off-balance”.
\It is a crucial time for new moms to focus not only on the post-partum physical changes but also ensure that they equip themselves with tools to help keep their mental wellness in check.
Here are a few pointers from Sister Yolanda, to guide new moms on how to keep their balance, or re-balance themselves mentally during this time:
Having a new responsibility means most of your time and energy takes on a new direction, whilst neglecting our usual daily activities. It’s the same with a new-born baby. You have to feed, bathe, watch over and play with them, leaving less time for yourself. Moms needs to make time for the hobbies or activities that they enjoy. Keeping busy with fun things that are also relaxing helps keep the mind off the heavy responsibility you are always thinking about. It can be as simple as doing crosswords puzzles, planting something in the garden, or listening to your “feel good” music playlist
Take care of your body
Taking care of yourself physically is one of the most important things you need to take up on a daily basis. It is said to improve mental wellness at a high rate. Eating nutritious meals, drinking plenty of water, and exercising may decrease anxiety and improve your mood. Getting enough sleep, which is almost impossible during this time, is also quite important. Take advantage of when the baby is sleeping by taking naps when possible during the day. Keeping away from alcohol during this period is also recommended, you need to keep a sober and stable mind at all times.
Surround yourself with good people
Most people tend to isolate themselves from their loved ones when they are overwhelmed with stress. With the current COVID-19 predicament the country is in, the situation is even trickier. You need to be extra vigilant to make sure you protect yourself against exposure. During this life-changing motherhood experience, it is advisable to form connections with trusted family members or social connections that are generally healthier and still abide by pandemic regulations. Try to be in contact with other new moms via mom focused social media groups, to seek advice and support. Make small plans with family or friends, whether digitally or by organizing hiking or walk and talks in a park. This is much safer than being in close contact with people indoors, while protecting you and baby from exposure to the virus. Keeping in contact with people and being around people that make you feel any type of joy is good for your mental wellness.
Learn how to deal with stress
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, so it’s important to practice good coping skills. This will help you deal with the pressure that comes with having a new-born baby. Learning to recognize that you are stressed and that there are tools to help you manage it, will assist you in avoiding being consumed by it. When feeling stressed out, always take a few minutes to yourself. Put baby in a safe place (e.g. cot). Deep breathing or talking to someone can reduce heightened levels of stress. You need to look after yourself; after all, it is only by doing this that you can continue to look after your baby.
Get professional help when you need it
Seeking professional help is often viewed as giving in to your problems or a sign of weakness, but that is not the case. People who get appropriate professional care can recover from their mental and emotional exhaustion so that they are able to be a present and happy parent to this new life. “With all the challenges that come with having a new-born, including anxiety and stress, it is advisable that mom seeks healthy coping mechanisms that will aid at keeping their mental wellness in check. This is a precious time for mom and baby, and both need to make sure they get the necessary care, so that they are able to fully enjoy this life-changing experience”, says Sister Yolanda.
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