top of page

Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life 

  • Writer's pictureTerri K. Lankford, LPCS

Maternal Mental Health Week: Why Moms’ Mental Health Matters



Maternal Mental Health Week is an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about the mental health challenges faced by mothers during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Maternal Mental Health Week was founded to address the pressing need for greater awareness and understanding of the emotional and psychological well-being of mothers, recognizing that supporting maternal mental health is essential for the health and happiness of both mothers and their children. This week-long event provides a platform for education, advocacy, and support for maternal mental health issues.


So, why does maternal mental health matter? Moms’ mental health profoundly influences not only their own well-being but also the health and development of their children and families. Research consistently highlights the significance of maternal mental health in shaping multiple aspects of a child's life, from cognitive and emotional development to social relationships and overall mental health outcomes. According to studies, untreated maternal mental health disorders, such as postpartum depression and anxiety, can have long-lasting effects on children, including increased risk of behavioral problems, impaired bonding with caregivers, and developmental delays. Clearly, moms’ mental health matters for more than just mom herself!


What can birthing folx do to cultivate mental wellness? The holistic counselors at Rise and Thrive are here to help! Check out three strategies below to create maternal mental wellness.


Strategy #1: Self-Care Practices for New Moms

In the whirlwind of motherhood, it's easy for moms to prioritize everyone else's needs above their own. It’s like it’s ingrained in us.  However, embracing self-care is not only essential for maternal well-being but also the well-being of all family members, especially baby! Try these three self-care tips:


  1. Prioritize Sleep: Adequate rest is crucial for new moms, as sleep deprivation can exacerbate stress and impact mood. AND, we know how “adequate sleep” can sound impossible right now! That whole “sleep while the baby sleeps” saying can feel like B.S. when you feel the pull to get allthething done around the house, or hell, even just to try to sneak in a snack.  While they say to “establishing a consistent sleep schedule”, we need to be realistic as to what that means with a newborn, infant, or even a still napping toddler.  I DO believe napping when baby naps is a good one,  even if it means letting the dishes sit in the sink or not folding that basket of clothes.  Those extra minutes of snoozing really can help replenish energy levels and promote overall well-being. You can try to create a soothing bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath or practicing relaxation techniques before bed, can signal to the body that it's time to wind down, facilitating better sleep quality. This might look like a nursing babe goes in the bathtub with you (it helps them too!) or handing off the baby to take that 20 minutes to yourself to reset. And by relaxation technique, we can keep his simple: Do the guiding breathing for 1 minute you watch might tell you to do, light a candle (yes fake ones count!) and sit in the dimmed light for awhile, or even allowing yourself 5 minutes to stretch.  If all else fails, you can call in reinforcements if your situation allows it to call a trusted family member or friend to babysit while you get some well-deserved sleep.

  2. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques can help new moms manage stress and stay present in the moment, reducing feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. I know, I know... you may want to ACTUALLY laugh out loud at this.  But taking short breaks throughout the day to engage in mindful activities, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or simply focusing on the sensations of eating or walking, can provide moments of calm amidst the chaos of caring for a newborn. It doesn’t need to be some 20 minutes guided meditation, it can literally be ONE minute of something small to let you check in with yourself.

  3. Engage in Physical Activity: We get it - your body has just been through a lot, and moving sounds … not great. We aren’t telling you to run a 5K - we’re advocating for gentle, nourishing, joyful movement. Incorporating regular exercise into a new mom’s routine can significantly benefit them both physically and emotionally. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters, helping to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Even short bouts of activity, such as going for a brisk walk with the stroller or practicing gentle yoga at home, can boost energy levels and improve overall mood. Try this mobility exercise to strengthen your pelvic floor here!


Strategy #2: Build a Support System

Whoever said “it takes a village” to raise a baby must have been a parent. Right now, your support system - your village - is more necessary than ever. If you need help cultivating your new mom community, try the following:


  1. Reach Out to Friends and Family: Don't hesitate to lean on your existing support network of friends and family members. Share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with trusted loved ones, and don't be afraid to ask for help when needed. Whether it's someone to lend an ear, offer practical assistance, or simply provide companionship, having a supportive circle of friends and family can make all the difference in navigating the challenges of new motherhood.

  2. Join Mom Groups or Parenting Classes: Seek out local mom groups, parenting classes, or support groups in your community. Connecting with other moms who are going through similar experiences can provide a sense of camaraderie and validation. These groups often offer opportunities to share advice, swap stories, and form friendships with other moms who understand the joys and struggles of raising a child. Additionally, parenting classes can provide valuable education and resources while fostering a sense of belonging and support.

  3. Utilize Online Resources and Communities: We get it - putting on real pants and leaving the house is the last thing you want to do. The good news is, you can start building your village online. Join online forums, social media groups, or virtual communities dedicated to motherhood, where you can connect with other moms from around the world. These platforms offer a safe space to ask questions, seek advice, and share experiences with a diverse and supportive community of fellow mothers. Whether it's finding reassurance in late-night chats or accessing a wealth of parenting resources, online communities can offer a lifeline for new moms seeking connection and support.


Strategy #3: Know When to Get Professional Help

Let’s talk about the scary stuff - the mental health concerns that are unique to new moms. We’re talking about postpartum depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Here are some ways you can recognize it may be time to talk to a professional: 


  1. Recognize Signs of Mental Health Concerns: Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders. Be attentive to significant changes in mood, sleep patterns, appetite, and energy levels, and don't dismiss persistent feelings of sadness, worry, or hopelessness. Trust your instincts and seek professional help if you're experiencing symptoms that interfere with your daily functioning or well-being.

  2. Consult with Your Healthcare Provider: Don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider if you're struggling with your mental health. Your obstetrician, midwife, or primary care physician can offer guidance, support, and referrals to mental health professionals who specialize in maternal mental health. Be honest and open about your feelings and experiences, as healthcare providers are trained to offer compassionate care and assistance tailored to your needs.

  3. Seek Therapy or Counseling: Consider seeking therapy or counseling from a licensed mental health professional experienced in treating perinatal and postpartum mental health issues. Therapy can provide a safe and supportive space to explore your thoughts, emotions, and concerns, while learning coping strategies and tools to manage symptoms effectively. Whether it's individual therapy, support groups, or specialized treatment programs, therapy can empower you to prioritize your mental health and well-being as you navigate the challenges of new motherhood.


Above all else, please remember it takes the average new mother anywhere from 2-3 YEARS to start truly feeling like themselves again and to get into a true groove with littles in tow.  And to give yourself some grace, you will not be the same person as before.  We hope this blog post demonstrated not only the importance of mental health for moms, but also strategies to cultivate mental wellness. If you want more holistic help, look no further than Rise and Thrive Counseling. Our holistic counselors can help address all areas of life. Reach out today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!


0 comments

Comentarios


_DSC2260.jpg

Welcome to Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life.

 

I’m Terri Kiser Lankford, owner of the Rise & Thrive Counseling Practice, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (in NC), and the host here at Rise & Thrive Counseling, PLLC and the Embrace| Overcome|CreateYourLife Blog.

 

I’m also an entrepreneur, Syltherin, foodie on a fitness journey, complete book nerd, photography novice who happens to think music is life. 

 

Warning! This site is about motivation, health & wellness, and self love.  but its also about various mental health issues and may talk about subjects such as suicide, self-harm and other touchy subjects at some point. This site is not intended for youth and may be “too much” to some.

 

Nothing on this site should be considered a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Anything of interest should be discussed with your doctor or therapist, or me (in person) if you are my current client.  No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. (Sorry, I have to say that.)

 

All writing and mental health information here are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publication. However, keep in mind my opinion, and available information, changes over time.

Join our mailing list

Be the first to know when a new post gets published and never miss an update!!!

*** Be Sure to Check your Spam/Junk Folder in case that's where your Welcome Email lands!! ***

bottom of page