Becoming a new mum can affect our mental health in a number of ways, no matter how we become a mother. There is a startling adjustment period as we are pulled, exhausted, and often confused by the needs of the bundle in our arms.
Depression, anxiety, worry, poor self-esteem, and a lack of confidence can all play a part in the first year or more of motherhood. Minding our mental health and focusing on our mental wellbeing is a vital aspect of new parenthood as we navigate the ups and downs of caring for a baby and raising children.
This is not news. We know we need to put our mental wellbeing first and focus on ourselves as individuals, but with the constant demands of parenting, relationships, work-life, and more, how can we mind our mental wellbeing?
1: Know You Are Good Enough
Being a good enough parent is all we need to aim for. We can look through the windows of the lives of others and compare ourselves to what we think is an ideal standard, but this is not our truth. We can only be the person we are, manage our own routines, and live our own lives. Know you are good enough by avoiding judging yourself, laying blame on your shoulders, or guilting yourself over everything.
2: Be Selfish
We carry a significant burden as a parent, and motherhood comes with an extra sack or two to hold. The old belief that mothers must take on the brunt of the emotional and physical labour of parenthood is still something we are all trying to overcome. However, there is one powerful way we can do this. Simply be selfish. Give yourself time alone. Eat the punnet of strawberries usually reserved for the kids' lunch boxes. Say no. Create boundaries. Know that your need to rest is as critical as everyone else's.
3: Sleep. Rest. Recharge
Motherhood is exhausting. It can feel as though we can never catch up. We run on empty and forget to refuel. Not allowing ourselves to rest is the quickest way to damage our mental wellbeing. Sleep. Rest. Recharge. Know your limits by downing tools when everything becomes too much.
4: Invest in "Us"
With children, our relationships evolve and sometimes not necessarily how we would like. Give your relationship the proper care and attention it needs as you would your newfound relationship with your baby. With the constant demands and needs of a newborn, it can be difficult to give our relationship the nurturing it needs, but making time for each other can significantly impact how we feel. Our relationships build our self-esteem, confidence, connection, and sense of self.