Most mothers caring for infants have more things to do than hours in a day. Mothers spend almost all of their time and energy taking care of their new baby, leaving little time for chores and other things like washing clothes, grocery shopping, preparing meals, entertaining visitors, writing thank you notes, packing lunches, and cleaning the house.
In the best of circumstances, with support and resources, having a new baby can be a challenge and an adjustment. In circumstances where a mother is experiencing depression or anxiety after childbirth, having a baby can range from a significant stressor to a crisis. There is no right or wrong way to transition into motherhood, but there is always a transition. Try to let go of perfectionist tendencies and know that you are doing the best you can, and that is just fine! Here are 9 things you can try to make your life easier:
1. Ask your partner to give the night feedings on the weekends so that you can sleep. Resist the temptation to correct or control how this feeding is done. Focus on the extra sleep that you need.
2. Leave beds unmade and close bedroom doors when visitors come.
3. Take naps while the baby naps. Or have someone come over and watch the baby while you rest.
5. Keep a to-do list on the fridge so visitors who offer to help can see what needs to be done.
6. Outsource when you can. It may be worth it to pay for things like cleaning the house or gardening to save yourself time and energy.
7. Take care of yourself through healthy eating and exercise; taking care of yourself gives you the strength to take care of everyone else.
8. Ask for help and get help, there is no shame in this. If you are experiencing depression or anxiety after birth, call a perinatal expert for help.
9. Know that having a new baby is a challenge for every new mother and it will get better.
We need to take care of our moms, and moms need to take care of themselves. This is not always valued in our society, which can negatively impact the health and well being of the entire family. Moms, give yourself permission to be taken care of. For those who know or interact with a new mom, acknowledge this challenging transition and provide some much needed and appreciated support.
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About the Contributor:
Jamie Kreiter is a licensed clinical therapist certified in perinatal mental health, as well as the founder of Nurture Therapy. She offers therapy services to adults, both individuals and couples in the Chicago-area and online therapy services to individuals in New York. She received her master's degree in social work from the University of Chicago and has extensive training in cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal and supportive therapies in both outpatient and inpatient clinical settings. She's also an Expert on SocialMama.