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3 months ago · · 0 comments

Depression After Baby: What can you do to reduce this?

Depression After Baby

depression after babyDepression 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:

  1. seeking help significantly improved a mothers health and happiness
  2. seeking help makes coping with parenting much easier
  3. seeking help is private and no-one needs to know
  4. seeking help creates a positive influence for children and
  5. 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 info@helpformums.com or contact the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE). You owe it to yourself to make yourself a priority too.

Depression After BabyLizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums & Author of Perfect Mum and Refresh Your Life

 

 

Having a New Baby: Getting Your Mindset Right In Pregnancy

3 months ago · · 0 comments

Having a New Baby: Getting Your Mindset Right In Pregnancy

Your New Baby

counselling for new mums having a new babyWhen you’re pregnant all you can think about is how wonderful life is going to be when you’re new baby arrives. Of course there are the usual anxieties about how things might change and how you’re going to cope with sleep deprivation and so on. However, no-one really talks about the expectations of parenting and that life cannot possibly stay the same – that it’s essential to make your child, yourself and your relationships a priority otherwise stress, depression and anxiety can easily set in.

We have a strange misconception about parenting that it should be easy. That mothers should be able to seamlessly work full time or part time, run the household, look after their health and happiness, be on top of their finances, maintain healthy relationships and just be calm, happy, fun, energetic and consistent parents all the time. But this is not the reality that befalls 99.9% of mothers in this world. Due to the fact the expectations do not meet reality, motherhood is often a shock for many new mums. Mothers can easily become confused about why it seems so tiring, difficult or not as seamless as expected and therefore can be left asking themselves regularly “why can’t I cope as well as I expected I would???”

But what if mothers were able to alter expectations and become more prepared for motherhood for their new baby as a result?

Having the right expectations

The first thing that needs to be altered in pregnancy is expectations. Specifically, the expectation that a child will just fit into your lifestlye, will always behave and will always give you time to yourself. The expectation should be that you have a child that needs you to make her your first priority, but not at the expense of yourself. You still need to look after your health and happiness but it’s important to understand that there will be times when you plan to do things a certain way and your child decides she needs you right now.

These instances are prime targets for high levels of stress. For instance, let’s say you have to pay some bills. You have been putting this off and now finally have a minute to pay the bills whilst your child sleeps. But, your new baby wakes up after 20 minutes and won’t settle down – she needs you right then. You start to feel resentful and angry that you can’t get a minute to yourself. However if instead of letting this resentment build up you took a breath and remembered your child has to be priority no 1, you would be able to think clearly for a minute to work out your best course of action to look after her needs and your own. You might put your baby in her sling and rock her to sleep and then sit on the computer to complete your bills.

Making your new baby a priority does not mean neglecting your own needs

One of the things that many mothers neglect is how to look after their own needs. They push through exhaustion, neglect to maintain a healthy diet, emotionally eat or drink to soothe negative feelings, worry about whether or not they are meeting the expectations of friends, family members, or the wider community, spend money they don’t really have in order to appear to be coping/or have the best dressed child and so on… When mothers neglect their own physical and mental health, it is very easy to feel insecure and allow self-doubt to impact confidence in parenting. Feeling insecure often leads to snappiness and fighting within relationships too. So, the key to maintaining a happy home and to achieve the goal of positive and consistent parenting – is to look after yourself as a mother so that you feel calm in the face of stress (e.g. when your baby won’t go to sleep or is having a tantrum in public), or to feel energetic when your child wants you to get down to his level and play. So, your health and happiness is paramount to the health and happiness of your child.

Motherhood is not meant to be perfect

You are going to make mistakes. This is part of being a human being. So, it’s really important to trust that being a Perfect Mum is not the goal of parenting. The goal is being the best mum you can be for your child. When you make mistakes, don’t criticism yourself. Just think through the situation and ask yourself “is there anything I can change that would make things easier or better?” That’s all you can ask of yourself.

Prioritise time for fun with your new baby

This is really important. Often mums feel guilty about all the tasks they ‘should’ be doing when they are playing with their child. Then they  feel guilty when they are undertaking these tasks – thinking they ‘should’ be playing with their child at that time. So they do not allow themselves to really enjoy the opportunities to have fun together and they never feel as though they are being ‘present” with their child. If you can relate to this, take a few minutes to schedule you day so that you can take opportunities to have fun with your child (for example going to the play centre or park together) and then feel relaxed and happy about having ‘you time’ or spending time on work or tasks during other times in the day. That way you create a balance and you and your child create special moments together that will last for every in your memory.

The key take-away

Always remind yourself why you had children. What was the reason you wanted to have a new baby and how can you alter your mindset to create more realistic and calming expectations of parenting. Being a mother is very taxing because children crave your attention. However, when you become mindful and set time together to have fun and relax, when you look after both your needs and the needs of your child and when you feel OK that things will not always go to plan, your live becomes easier and much less stressful. Plus, you can cope so much better when things don’t go the way your way.

new babyLizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help For Mums and Author of Perfect Mum & Refresh Your Life

 

 

6 months ago · · 0 comments

Four Easy Steps To Keep On Top of House Chores

How to stay on top of house chores when you’re a busy professional 

 It’s a new year, so you decide this is the year you want to get organised and keep on top of things – including the household chores.

But where do you start?

money bankingHere is an easy 4 step process you can take today that will get you organised and feeling on top of those house chores in no time

Step 1: Making your household chores list

There are several aspects to household chores to consider, so the first step is to label the chores individually, such as:

  1. Regular house cleaning
  2. Tidying
  3. Paying bills/budgeting
  4. Food shopping
  5. Gardening
  6. Looking after pets needs 
  7. Washing clothes/ironing
  8. Dishwashing & stacking
  9. Car cleaning 

 and so on…

Step 2: Out sourcing where possible

The second step is reviewing the list to see if there is anything you can outsource internally or external.

For instance, there are people who will come to your home to clean your car, deliver home cooked meals, wash the dog, iron your clothes and clean your home. Of course this all comes at a price, so it’s important to look at your budget, your spending and your current schedule to see what is financially feasible and where you might be able to save on overspending to accommodate for some of these new services. You may also decide to outsource within your home. For instance, outsource (internally) tidying the playroom to children as part of their house chores to be given pocket money 

Step 3: Your schedule

Step 3 involves devising a fortnightly or monthly schedule for the remaining chores. Use the examples below for ideas:

  • Food shopping online on Saturdays
  • Paying bills on Thursday nights
  • Washing the car on the way home from work on Wednesdays
  • Stacking the dishwasher every night
  • Washing the clothes on Mondays & Thursdays etc…

 Download my Free House Cleaning Schedule 

Step 4: Constant reminder

Now place this schedule in the kitchen where the whole family or those living with you can see it so it’s always top of mind.

Although it can feel a little rigid at times to stick to a schedule in the home, this is the best way for you to feel calm and composed in the home. One of the biggest sources of stressed for busy women and mums is having an untidy house. However, when you have a schedule the house runs much more smoothly and you can relax at home more frequently without feeling uncomfortable or guilty about your home environment.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc. MASR
Personal Development/Life Coach & Counsellor

 

 

9 months ago · · 0 comments

How To Boost Self Confidence As a New Mum

new mother at home with baby or todderAre You At Risk?

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.
So what can you do if you begin to feel like a failure, or begin to self criticise yourself ?

Reduce the pressure you are placing on yourself

One of the first big mistakes new mums make is to stop listening to their instincts and to begin listening instead to everyone else’s advice and opinion on how best to parent their new baby. As a new mum, it’s very easy to begin to doubt yourself when things you try (like breastfeeding or placing a baby in a swaddle to sleep) simply do not work, particularly when you have been told by experts that these are the best ways to feed or get your baby to sleep. What no-one seems to tell new mums (or perhaps as new mums it’s hard to believe), there is no 1 manual of parenting that works for every child. Each baby is different and also has a mind of his/her own. Some babies will easily soothe, for instance, whilst other will not. Some babies will sleep for 2-3 hour stretches at a time, whilst others will only power nap for 30 minutes at a time. If you begin to place too much pressure on yourself to be perfect, you will quickly begin to start feeling overwhelmed and self criticism will begin to seep into your mindset and quickly reduce your self confidence. So, the key is to have a parenting plan and then to just go with the flow. Sometimes your parenting style will work wonders, but other times it won’t (for instance if your baby is feeling overtired or unwell). These are the times to take a brake and just try something new when you are feeling more calm and rational.

Do you trust that you know your baby best?

As a primary carer, no-one knows your baby better than you. Other experts and parents can provide you with support and advice as to what they have observed or perhaps trialled successfully with their children, but ultimately, you know your child best. You will know if your child will respond well to new environments, people and parenting styles. you will be able to assess whether sleeping methods such as controlled crying are right for your child and your family. Trust that you have your child’s best interests at heart and always look at things from the perspective of ensuring your child is safe, healthy, happy and secure (eg living in a harmonious environment).

Catch yourself in moments of negative self-talk

If you begin you hear yourself speaking negatively about your parenting style, try to catch yourself in the moment and rephrase your words. For instance, if you catch yourself saying things like “I’m never going to get my baby to sleep”, alter this to “Every baby eventually sleeps, we just need to keep adjusting things until we get things working well for our family”. Reducing negative self talk will go a long way towards boosting your confidence and ensuring you maintain a healthy self esteem throughout motherhood.

We have a great FREE ebook to help new mums boost self confidence straight away – check it out here

1 year ago · · 0 comments

What to do when you lose your self confidence as a new mum?

Boosting Self Confidence As A New Mum

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.

So what can you do if you begin to feel like a failure, or begin to self criticise yourself ?

Reduce the pressure you are placing on yourself.

One of the first big mistakes new mums make is to stop listening to their instincts and to begin listening instead to everyone else’s advice and opinion on how best to parent their new baby. As a new mum, it’s very easy to begin to doubt yourself when things you try (like breastfeeding or placing a baby in a swaddle to sleep) simply do not work, particularly when you have been told by experts that these are the best ways to feed or get your baby to sleep. What no-one seems to tell new mums (or perhaps as new mums it’s hard to believe), there is no 1 manual of parenting that works for every child. Each baby is different and also has a mind of his/her own. Some babies will easily soothe, for instance, whilst other will not. Some babies will sleep for 2-3 hour stretches at a time, whilst others will only power nap for 30 minutes at a time. If you begin to place too much pressure on yourself to be perfect, you will quickly begin to start feeling overwhelmed and self criticism will begin to seep into your mindset and quickly reduce your self confidence. So, the key is to have a parenting plan and then to just go with the flow. Sometimes your parenting style will work wonders, but other times it won’t (for instance if your baby is feeling overtired or unwell). These are the times to take a brake and just try something new when you are feeling more calm and rational.

Trust that you know your baby best

As a primary carer, no-one knows your baby better than you. Other experts and parents can provide you with support and advice as to what they have observed or perhaps trialled successfully with their children, but ultimately, you know your child best. You will know if your child will respond well to new environments, people and parenting styles. you will be able to assess whether sleeping methods such as controlled crying are right for your child and your family. Trust that you have your child’s best interests at heart and always look at things from the perspective of ensuring your child is safe, healthy, happy and secure (eg living in a harmonious environment).

Catch yourself in moments of negative self-talk

If you begin you hear yourself speaking negatively about your parenting style, try to catch yourself in the moment and refrase your words. For instance, if you catch yourself saying things like “I’m never going to get my baby to sleep”, alter this to “Every baby eventually sleeps, we just need to keep adjusting things until we get things working well for our family”. Reducing negative self talk will go a long way towards boosting your confidence and ensuring you maintain a healthy self esteem throughout motherhood.

2 years ago · · 0 comments

How to get your baby to sleep

getting-baby-to-sleep

How to get baby to sleep

Are you suffering from sleep deprivation?

As a new mum it’s highly likely that you heard about sleep deprivation but never really understood it until now. It would be great if all babies just fell asleep when they were tired but the reality is that all babies are different and most babies need some form of assistance from you as the new mum to help get to sleep and to stay asleep (download my free parenting made easier guide that details how to parent with child temperament in mind here).

When it comes to your baby sleeping there are two very important motivations – 1) to give your baby a rest and 2) to give you a rest. The second point is vital for both your sanity and for your ability to parent in a calm, rational and safe manner. So bearing this in mind there a few things you need to decide on:

A) am I prepared to let my child cry it out?

B) will my baby even respond to crying it out (see the child temperament ebook to understand that some babies won’t)

C) Do I care if my child does not sleep in a cot – eg co-sleeps safely?

D) what does my child need to go to sleep – eg comfort, reassurance, food?

E) am I prepared to relax my expectations and do what I think is right for us, rather than worrying about what I think will make others happy?

Now, besides all the usual things by now you know to look out for in your baby (eg first signs he/she is tired – like pulling ears and hair or yawning) there are a few extra things you can do to help your baby sleep – once you have addressed A – E above.

1) If your baby has a sore tummy due to excess wind, try picking her up and with one hand gently on the lower tummy gently bounce her/him to allow the wind to move down and pass through. You can also try rubbing the tummy or gently holding both feet and rocking the legs up and down and side to side to pass the wind. Both my girls had lots of wind and these methods worked for them. We also used a natural product called Colic calm which we found very beneficial.

2) if your baby is regularly waking up he/ she may just need extra comfort. Here you have several options.

-) invest in a baby sling so your baby can sleep with you and you can still get on with your day. Personally I have used the Baba Sling for both of my kids and I love it because it’s adaptable up to 2 years of age and has freed me up to have a normal life whilst my girls have received the comfort they need.

-) if your baby keeps waking up, check if your baby has a wet or dirty nappy. Some babies really feel uncomfortable so need to be changed more often. Keep the nappies close to the cot and sleep baby in a grow bag so it’s quick and not too disruptive to change the nappy at night.

-) ensure your baby has had enough to eat so she’s only waking up when expected. When your baby gets older make sure you leave at least an Hour between the last meal and bedtime to avoid a sore tummy, when you’re baby is smaller though keep her in a more inclined position in bed, the pram etc to avoid excess wind. For instance place an extra folded blanket under the head of the mattress to incline the top only slightly so your baby won’t roll to the bottom of the bed. Remember to always follow SIDS sleeping guidelines so your baby is save and don’t place any blankets on top of your baby which could cover his head.

-) with a baby who needs extra comfort it’s all about either giving in to co-sleeping (again ensuring you’re following SIDS safe sleeping guidelines) or investing in a cot that you can place next to your bed so you can gently roll your baby over to the open cot next to you without you baby realising. I highly recommend the Bednest Bedside Cot. Not only is it beautiful, it serves this purpose perfectly.

There are lots of things you can do to ensure you get some sleep and your baby does too. The important thing is to not get stressed if your baby doesn’t just gently drift off to sleep. Your baby has spent months close to you, so it only makes sense that he/she may need some assistance to get to sleep. Be kind to yourself and be patient. You may need to try a few different things before you get it right.

If you’re a new mum and you feel you need some more personalised support, contact me at info@happylife.net.au to book in a private session or visit https://www.helpformums.com/products/coaching_for_new_mums for more information about Wellness coaching for Mums

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac