Congratulations, new mom! Welcoming a baby into the world is a joyous and transformative experience, whether you are having your first child or adding to your ever-growing family. Motherhood brings forth a unique joy, but also various challenges and adjustments that can feel overwhelming at times. Together, we’ll explore common challenges faced by new moms, such as setting boundaries, communicating needs, connecting with family, and mental health concerns with practical guidance for navigating this journey of motherhood.
How Can a New Mom Set Boundaries?
One of the most significant challenges for new moms is establishing and maintaining boundaries. The influx of well-wishers, friends, and family members who are eager to visit can be overwhelming. Setting clear boundaries to protect your mental and physical well-being is essential during this time of transition. Here are some boundaries to consider:
Rest and Recovery
Give yourself permission to slow down. Allow yourself time to heal physically and emotionally after childbirth – your body and mind just went through a lot! Communicate your needs to your partner, family, and friends, and create a supportive environment that promotes your overall well-being.
Visitors and Social Activities
Family and friends are often excited to meet the new addition to the family, take pictures, and shower the baby with love. At a time when emotions are high and energy is low, it can be hard to feel like you have to host others. To prioritize your well-being, set boundaries around visitors and social engagements. Create a visiting schedule that fits your needs, communicate your preferences for visits (i.e. duration, amount of people), and acknowledge your limitations. If needed, ask for space and quiet time. It’s perfectly acceptable to limit socialization during the early postpartum period!
Learn to Say No
It’s okay to decline invitations or offers of help if you’re not up for it. If you aren’t ready for visitors, going out to meet friends, or you don’t need the type of support being offered – say no! Doing so is an act of taking care of yourself and the baby.
How Can a New Mom Communicate Clearly?
As a new mom, expressing your needs and emotions can feel challenging, but it is important for you and your baby’s well-being. By effectively communicating your expectations, emotions, and needs you can receive the support you desire. Here are some tips for clear communication:
Motherhood can bring a range of emotions, from joy to anxiety. Be open and honest about your feelings with your partner, trusted friends, or a therapist. Sharing your experiences can provide validation and emotional support. It’s ok to experience a rollercoaster of emotions, but sharing can create more opportunities for you to receive the support you need. If you’re unsure of how you feel, psychotherapy can be a huge support in understanding the mind-body connection and what emotions are presenting in the body.
We all have needs, but sometimes we struggle to communicate those needs in a direct way. No one is a mind-reader – not even your partner – so make sure to clearly state your needs to your partner, family, and friends. Share what you require in terms of support, assistance, and understanding.
We also all have expectations of others, even if we sometimes don’t realize it. Reflect on what you expect from your partner, family, and friends – then communicate those expectations with them. Open and honest communication can prevent misunderstandings and cultivate stronger relationships.
How Can a New Mom Stay Connected to Community?
Motherhood can feel isolating at different stages, especially in the early postpartum period. If you’re waking up throughout the night, needing more time to yourself, or focusing on new responsibilities – staying connected to community might be the last thing you have energy for. Isolation and overwhelm are common emotions new moms experience, which is why staying connected to community is important – you aren’t in this alone! Here are some ways to stay connected:
Seek Emotional Support
Don’t hesitate to reach out for emotional support when needed. Confide in loved ones who are supportive and understanding. Share your thoughts, feelings, and concerns with them. If you desire more support with the journey of motherhood, consider reaching out to a licensed psychotherapist.
Find Support Networks
Seek out other new moms in your community or online. Participate in support groups or mom-and-baby classes where you can connect with others who are experiencing similar challenges. Sharing experiences can help validate your challenges and create a sense of community.
Nurture Your Partnership
If you are on this journey with a partner, communication with them is crucial. Make time to connect with each other, express your emotions, and discuss any concerns you may have. It’s a common challenge for partners to get so caught up with the new baby and adapting to the change in the family, that less time is intentionally put into strengthening the bond of partners. Intentionally create time to connect whether that be with a date night, weekly check-ins, or sitting down for a meal together.
How Can a New Mom Support Her Mental Health?
New moms are often (somewhat) prepared for the physical impact of childbirth, but not always the mental and emotional impact. Supporting your mental health is important during this time of transition. Here are some ways you can support your mental health and signs that you might need professional support:
Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it’s necessary for your overall well-being and allows you to show up as a more present parent. Make time for activities that recharge you – take a bath with Epsom salts, read a book, go for a walk, or enjoy a cup of tea. You can be the best you when you take care of yourself. There are self-care activities you can do with the baby, but if needed ask your partner, family, or friends for support with fulfilling this need.
It’s normal to experience mood swings, fatigue, and tearfulness in the first couple of weeks after childbirth. You just went through a big physical, emotional, and mental change! Allow yourself time to rest, engage in self-care activities, and reach out for emotional support from your loved ones. Review this blog post when you need to and practice the tips you’ve learned about.
Postpartum depression is a more severe condition that requires professional support. If you experience persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest, extreme fatigue, or difficulty bonding with your baby, seek help from a healthcare provider and/or mental health professional. In my practice, I help connect you to other holistic practitioners who can help, in addition to encouraging consistent therapy sessions.
Psychotherapy for New Moms
To all the new moms embarking on this incredible journey, remember that you are not alone. If you desire more support with growing as a mom or if you are struggling with your mental health, I encourage you to reach out. The challenges you face are valid, and prioritizing your mental health is crucial for your and your baby’s well-being. As a licensed psychotherapist, I enjoy helping women discover more about themselves and stepping into their new role of motherhood. You are a strong, capable, and amazing mom – your well-being matters! If you’d like to book a discovery call to see if we are a good fit, click here.