During pregnancy, it’s easy to get caught up in practical preparations. From birth classes to nursery décor to maternity leave provisions, there’s no shortage of tasks to occupy any parent-to-be as you get set to welcome a life-changing bundle into your home. And this certainly doesn’t change once your bundle of joy is born. From nappy changes, feeding, sleeping routines and just general chaos, spare time may seem like a thing of the past.
But experts say that taking time to look after your mental health during and post pregnancy can help pave the way for a smoother transition into parenthood, also laying the groundwork for self-care that’s crucial for keeping balanced when you’re looking after a tiny human. Here’s how.
Take time for yourself
It may be more difficult to get out of the house post pregnancy to see a movie now you have a baby in toe. But look for opportunities to take time for yourself in other ways. You may find a stroll to the café while your baby sleeps in the pram a relaxing task. Or why not try a play date with another new mum at home so there is less travel time. Or maybe it’s a little facial once the baby has gone to sleep for the night.
Say yes to help
If your family or friends offer to cook you a meal or clean your shower grout because you’ve got a lot on your plate, for goodness’ sake, say yes!
Remember, they say it takes a village to raise a child, so utilising that village right from when bub comes along and give yourself permission to take a breather. Caring for your mental health post pregnancy can be as simple as taking this breather!
Have a go-to comeback
No sooner has your tummy begun to show than you will likely discover how many people fancy themselves an expert in all things pregnancy and parenting. From well-intentioned in-laws to randoms in the street, it seems that everyone is desperate to share their pointers.
For new mums, it can be difficult to decipher horror stories from useful advice, so if unwarranted or unwanted insights come your way, it’s handy to have a go-to response to halt a conversation in its tracks. You could try, ‘Thanks, I’ll give it some thought’ or, ‘I’ll talk to my doctor about it’.
Talk to an expert
It’s normal to have occasional negative thoughts or doubts about parenthood, but if you’ve been feeling depressed or anxious for more than two weeks, see your GP for advice or counselling.
No mum-to-be should feel alone with depression post pregnancy, so ensure you take care of yourself and consult with a professional if you’re feeling down.