3 Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health After Having a Baby
A new baby impacts your mental health just as many life events can have a significant impact on mental health recovery, a fact which I've been reminded of recently. Just a few weeks ago, I had a beautiful baby boy, and though I've been lucky enough to avoid postpartum depression, I've still had to make several adjustments in order to prioritize my mental health. In this post, I want to share a few of my tips for maintaining good mental health even through all the chaos of bringing home a new baby.
3 Tips for Maintaining Mental Health with a New Baby
- Get as much sleep as possible. People love to tell new and expecting parents about how little sleep they're going to get, but sleep is absolutely essential to maintaining mental health after a new baby comes. It's true, you won't be able to sleep through the night for a while, but you can get sleep other times, and you absolutely should. Naps will save you from losing your mind and you should take them whenever possible. Newborns often spend much of their time asleep, so take advantage of that and make sure you sleep when they sleep. I've found that even just an hour of sleep can completely change my mindset and keep me from going down a depressive spiral.
- Let go of unhelpful comments. Everyone has an opinion on parenting and they are more than happy to share it with you, even if it's judgmental, presumptuous, or just wildly unhelpful. If it helps you to argue with these people, by all means, stand up for yourself and tell them off, but I've found it most helpful to smile, nod, and walk away. For me, arguing only leads to huge spikes in my anxiety, and it's far better to let them think what they want and just do what I think is best as a parent.
- Get back to therapy as soon as you can. Once the baby arrives, you might take some time away from therapy as you stay home and heal your body and bond with your baby, but once you're feeling up to it, it's important to get back into therapy. When you have a baby, your entire life changes in just a few hours. Combine that with unstable postpartum hormones, and you've got the perfect recipe for a relapse in mental health symptoms. One way to combat this is by talking through these changes and challenges in therapy. I got back to therapy two weeks after my son was born, and it felt so good to go and have a good cry about everything that had changed.
These tips have helped me through the past few weeks with my new baby and helped me maintain my mental health, but I'd love to hear how you stayed on the path toward recovery after giving birth. Feel free to share your advice in the comments below.
Griffith, M. (2019, December 17). 3 Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health After Having a Baby, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, April 9 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2019/12/3-ways-to-prioritize-your-mental-health-after-having-a-baby