Pregnancy and birth are both times of rapid transition, and the days and months after having a baby can come with a wide range of emotions. While your little one may bring a lot of excitement and love, it’s also normal to feel stressed with your new role and responsibilities. Hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and physical changes to your body can make you feel like a shell of your former self. And with so much of your time and energy pouring into taking care of your baby, it can feel nearly impossible to find a moment to take of yourself. If you’re having difficulties following the birth of your baby, postpartum therapy can help.
Online counseling for women meets you where you’re at and makes receiving the mental health care you need accessible. Our psychiatrists at Thriving Lane bring along a great deal of experience and compassion to each session, using evidence-based treatments and holistic strategies to help you be the best version of yourself. Whether you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression or need support as you go through this transition, talking with a therapist can help you understand what you’re going through and discover treatments and tools for reaching your highest potential.
Who Is at Risk for Postpartum Depression?
While postpartum depression or associated conditions, like postpartum anxiety or postpartum psychosis, can affect anyone, you should be aware of the risk factors. If you struggle with your mental health during pregnancy, have a history of depression, or experience a difficult life event while pregnant, you may be more likely to experience postpartum depression after birth. Seeing a therapist for postpartum therapy while you’re still pregnant can help you begin to process the transition into motherhood and establish a relationship with a mental health professional early on.
No matter your background, it is important to educate yourself on the symptoms of postpartum depression and know when to reach out. While almost all moms experience the baby blues, postpartum depression can be extremely debilitating and affect new mothers for weeks or months after birth.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:
- Irritability and mood swings
- Feeling depressed for more than two weeks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Thoughts of suicide
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of motivation and pleasure
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Crying consistently, sometimes without cause
- Difficulties bonding with your baby
If the symptoms on this list describe how you’re feeling, we invite you to schedule a women’s teletherapy appointment with one of our psychiatrists for postpartum therapy. As your mental health suffers, your physical health can dip as well. Without treatment, your condition can last for months, or even years, and affect your overall wellbeing as well as your baby’s. We know each patient’s situation is unique and create a holistic treatment plan that is designed to help you achieve long-term healing, with a deep understanding of the impact of trauma, culturally diverse backgrounds, and other health factors.
Self-Care Tips for New Moms
At Thriving Lane, we are deeply passionate about helping our patients achieve better health and wellness in every aspect of their life. We recognize that your mental health is not completely separate from your physical health — instead, they work closely together to impact your overall wellbeing.
As you adjust to becoming a mother, prioritizing your self-care from the start makes a huge difference for your mental and physical wellbeing. In the beginning, you may feel guilty or think you are just adding another item to add on your to-do list. However, self-care extends beyond bubble baths and treating yourself to a bowl of ice cream. Rather, it’s a change in mindset and routine that promotes gratitude, self-preservation, mindfulness, and healthy boundaries. Here are a few self-care tips that can help you thrive during the postpartum period and beyond and reduce the need for an postpartum therapy.
Fill Your Diet With Healthy, Delicious Foods
When you feel stressed, exhausted, and limited on time, you may find yourself grabbing whatever foods look appealing or get you through the day. But snacking on sugary processed foods or picking up fast food can make you feel even more run down, stressed, and generally unwell. Fortunately, healthy food can be delicious and doesn’t have to be a hassle to make.
One important thing to keep in mind: eating healthier does not mean going on a diet. Depriving your body of the nutrients it needs will only make you feel sluggish and irritable. Rather, you can practice good nutrition, and self-care, by replacing unhealthy, processed foods with natural, nourishing foods.
Try to eat regularly throughout the day, making time for breakfast and adding healthy snacks in between meals. Aim for variety. Eating different foods can make mealtime interesting and helps you make sure you’re not lacking any of the key nutrients you need. And remember your food groups — your body needs a combination of healthy carbs, protein, fruits and vegetables, and fats to keep you going strong throughout the day.
If time is your biggest hurdle when it comes to healthy eating, you’re not alone. There a few steps you can take to help you with eating healthy on a busy schedule:
- Get help with grocery shopping. Taking your baby to the grocery store can feel like holding a ticking time bomb. When possible, ask your partner, a family member, or a friend to accompany you to the store. Or better yet, get help watching your little one so you can enjoy a solo grocery trip and get a much-needed breather.
- Plan meals ahead of time. While you don’t need to map out every meal ahead of time, take some time to write down a few healthy meal and snack ideas each week.
- Prep ahead of time. You may not have time to cook a full meal or cut up some fresh fruit in the midst of a busy day. Set aside some time over the weekend or whenever else you have time to freeze some meals or prepare a few grab-and-go healthy snacks.
Find Opportunities To Get Active
Daily exercise is a great way to promote extra sleep at night, relieve some stress, and boost your mood. If you just had a baby, your body might not be ready to take on a new exercise routine. And you may feel far too exhausted to take on strenuous workouts. If you’ve had a C-section or an especially strenuous birth, your recovery takes priority. Your doctor can provide advice on what activities you can safely do.
In the first weeks and months after having a baby, focus more on adding light activities that you enjoy. For many moms, this may just mean taking your baby on a short stroll around the block. You can also incorporate light stretching, pelvic floor exercise, and postnatal yoga. As your body recovers, you can add in other fun activities like swimming, gardening, and low-impact bodyweight exercises.
Don’t Forget To Unwind and Reflect
Balance adding more activity to your routine with taking time to intentionally relax and reflect on your day. First, think about what things help you relax and destress after a long day. This could mean a bubble bath, watching the sunset outdoors, reading a chapter of a book, or spending a moment alone with your partner.
When you’re overloaded and stressed, you may find there are times in the day you spend meaninglessly on your phone or zoning out to TV. While there is nothing wrong with these activities in moderation, these moments offer a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. This can include journaling, meditating, using breathing techniques, and repeating self-affirmations or feelings of gratitude.
Find a Support System
With all your time and energy directed toward your new baby, it’s easy to feel isolated and overwhelmed. Drawing close to others during this time and finding support can make a huge difference in allowing you to maintain a healthy mindset and get the time you need to take care of yourself. There are several potential sources of support during this transition.
- Friends and Family: If you have friends and family who are close by and invested in your life, don’t be afraid to ask for support and accept an invitation for help.
- Spouse or Significant Other: Be honest with your spouse when you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Ask for help when needed and try to find opportunities to spend alone with just your partner.
- Childcare: Your loved ones or spouse may not always be available to give you a break or help you manage other responsibilities, like a job. It can help to establish a relationship with a childcare provider you trust early on.
- Mommy Support Group: You can often find groups of other moms through social media, online communities, local organizations, and close friends who are moms. It can help to connect with other moms going through similar challenges and experiences as you and simply enjoy their time and conversation.
Consider Postpartum Therapy for Women
After having a baby, you will often have to be the one to prioritize your care and advocate for your own mental health. Self-care is an essential part of allowing you to stay emotionally and physically healthy during this time, and it’s never shameful to reach out.
If you’re having a difficult time transitioning into motherhood or are concerned about symptoms of postpartum depression, a postpartum therapy can help. Women’s teletherapy allows you to get advice and treatment from the comfort of your home.
Thriving Lane services are available in Florida, Georgia, Alaska, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Connect with us in Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, Athens, Macon, Alpharetta, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Sitka, Minneapolis, Nebraska, Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue.