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2 years 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

2 years 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