When you become a new mum, your self confidence and self esteem can quickly take a dive, particularly when things don’t go quite as well as planned. One of the major issues new mums face is shifting from being in control of your child during pregnancy to feeling completely lost as your child begins to develop and grow into this new life. When things such as breastfeeding and regular sleep do not go well, new mums often begin to question their parenting methods and begin to assume they must be doing something wrong. Add to this the opinions of friends, other mothers, family members and health professionals, its no wonder so many new mums begin to feel like failures.
3 months ago · lizzie · 0 comments
Depression After Baby
Depression after baby is becoming more common than we would like in modern society. What do you do if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or exhausted after having a baby? Do you ignore your feelings, or think about getting support? There is a misconception that parenting should come easy. With all the pressures that befall mothers today, it’s very common to feel out of control as a new mum, to ignore these feelings and then to allow these feelings to seep into depression after having your baby.
There has never been more depression and anxiety in motherhood. However, both anxiety and depression after baby are not very well recognised by mothers. In fact recent research highlights that many mothers experience symptoms of postnatal depression, such as feeling overwhelmed, stressed, overly emotional. Mothers often do not recognise these feelings as potential signs of depression or anxiety after having a baby, or do not believe their symptoms are ‘bad enough’ to warrant help. If you are a mum reading this, can you relate to this?
As a mother, how much do you expect yourself to be PERFECT?
How does trying to be the perfect mum impact on having depression after baby?
Just today a friend was telling me about three different mothers she knows who have not been coping very well since becoming mothers. The first one has begun to lash out at her child physically, the second one has begun crying uncontrollably and the third mum has squashed her emotions and is finding it difficult to enjoy being a new mother as a result. All three mothers have battled with feelings of sadness, stress, pressure and low self-confidence for many years (even before having children), yet not one of these mums has sought professional help.
Why are these mothers waiting until things get so bad to even admit to having problems? Why are they so ashamed to ask for professional help – even when it’s impacting so significantly on their personal lives? There are a range of reasons for this. Fear of judgement, fear of appearing weak, not wanting to let other people down or not wanting to be stigmatised as a failure are common reasons.
The factor that most mothers do not consider are:
- seeking help significantly improved a mothers health and happiness
- seeking help makes coping with parenting much easier
- seeking help is private and no-one needs to know
- seeking help creates a positive influence for children and
- seeking help reducing negative responses in mothers such as snappiness
Being the Perfect Mum is not the Goal of Parenting – The Goal is to Be The Best Mum YOU Can Be For YOUR Child
Every parent and expert thinks they have the answer to parenting, but this could not be further from the truth. In fact, the plethora of views on parenting has influenced the increase in mothers feeling depression after having a baby. We have research and theories on parenting that work for some and not for others. Children are unique. You are unique. No two families are the same, so we cannot place our values and beliefs on others, because we are not walking in their shoes. All we can do is observe the outcome of parenting on a whole family.
If things are not looking right (e.g. people are not healthy, happy, safe, or secure) then something needs to be changed. This ‘something’ though is up for debate and discussion. There is no single one way to parent. As a parent your sole responsibility is to be the BEST VERSION OF YOU possible. Then you adjust your parenting style to meet the needs of your child/ren. You will adjust things as you go along. You can take on board the opinions and beliefs of experts and well-meaning others, but the only thing you need to consider, is how well your child/ren are doing. That’s all that matters.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, depressed or emotional don’t wait until you feel out of control, or until things start to go wrong in your personal life. Send an email, or pick up the phone and seek help. You can start by sending us and email at email@example.com or contact the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE). You owe it to yourself to make yourself a priority too.