As new moms, people often feel like they’re drowning in a tidal wave of emotions. There are so many ups and downs that it sometimes feels impossible to stay afloat. But there are ways to cope with the sadness, anxiety, or depression (or all of them!( that frequently show up after you give birth and while you are learning how to care for yourself and your new baby.
People will offer a multitude of coping skills to get through this period of your life, but so many of those depend on you having a bunch of time to dedicate to yourself, or a lot of help. So it’s important to learn achievable skills so you can put them into practice often enough for them to help you.
Here are five coping skills new moms in St. Louis (or really, anywhere!) can use to navigate their postpartum emotions.
1. Listen To Music That Helps You Feel Better
Even if this isn’t a normal habit, music can have a major impact on our mood, even if it’s not a favorite song. So don’t limit yourself to a specific genre of music. Bring some safe novelty into your life by trying out a new playlist that you're unfamiliar with. Share the songs you enjoy with others; it will give you something easy to talk about and might be a way to talk about your feelings without having to actually talk about them.
And if the mood takes you, a little dance party during chores or baby time is a good way to introduce some gentle movement, which is almost always a benefit to mental health.
2. Talk To Someone You Trust
If you're feeling overwhelmed and alone, talk to your partner, a friend, or a family member. You can also seek out a professional therapist in St. Louis to get help. It might be difficult at first to discuss your feelings with others, because it’s vulnerable and there’s a huge societal expectation that new moms are super happy because they have a new baby. It’s hard to let people know that you’re struggling and maybe not having the time of your life. But it’s important that you do. It might be just what you need to feel better. And it will help your loved ones and/or your therapist stay more connected with your support needs.
3. Eat What Makes You Feel Good
When it comes to feeding yourself and your baby, one of the most important things is to listen to what your body is telling you. If you’re hungry, eat! If you’re not hungry, wait until later.
Try to avoid eating foods that make you feel bad. We’re not talking about foods that are ‘bad’ for you, but foods that have bad effects on your body. For example, if you love super spicy tacos, but they give you major indigestion or nausea, those tacos should go on the ‘no’ list for now.
On the flip side, try to find foods that lift your mood and give you energy. If a plate of eggs and bacon gives you the energy to get through the day, eat it. If a salad makes you feel relaxed and nourished, go for that. This isn’t about any type of shame; it’s all about giving your body and mind the food that will serve them the best.
4. Get Outside And Walk, Or Sit, And Enjoy St. Louis
The birds and wind in the trees can help you relax and focus on something other than your worries, sadness, or stress. Even just leaving the house can give you an emotional lift–it’s so easy for days to pass with you staying inside your house!
So take time to be in nature. Take the baby for a walk with a friend and enjoy one of St. Louis's local parks. This is a great way to get some fresh air, exercise, and spend time with another adult outside of your family. It’s also good practice for when you’re ready to take the baby out for walks in the stroller along.
Finally, it makes sure you’re getting vitamins from the sunshine, and can prevent that cabin fever that so many people feel when they’re trapped inside caring for a new baby.
5. Care For Yourself, Even When You're Sad
When you're feeling sad, it can be difficult to take care of yourself. You might feel like there's no time or energy to spare. But it's important to remember that taking care of yourself is an essential part of coping with emotions. The more you can take care of yourself, the easier it will be for you to cope with those feelings later on.
Taking care of yourself means doing things that make you feel good and healthy.
Try to stay up on hygiene tasks like showering, not because you need to look clean for other people but because you will feel more like yourself.
Eat food that is fulfilling and makes your body feel good; worry about quality, not calories.
Be sure that you do whatever you can to get enough sleep. (“Enough” here means something very different than pre-baby! We hear you!) We all joke about the exhaustion of being a new mom, but sleep deprivation makes everything harder and can seriously damage your mental health. With a tiny human on an eating schedule it’s probably not possible to get a solid 8 hours every night but do what you can. Go to bed early or take a lot of naps when the baby’s napping, or at least make sure the sleep that you can get is deep and refreshing.
Ask for help and support so you have time to care for yourself. There will be times when you don’t want to do any of these things, but if you can muster the energy or have someone encourage you, they will make a significant difference in your overall happiness and mental health.
The most important thing you need to do is to take care of yourself.
You need to make sure that your mental health is in good shape so that you can be there for your baby and family. If you live in St. Louis or the surrounding area and think you might need support from a professional, then connect with a therapist. They can help you brainstorm ways to take care of yourself and give you a space that’s all about you where you can talk about your problems.
When you reach out for therapy for this situation, it’s best to find a therapist who specializes in postpartum and maternal mental health. The team at Marble Wellness in St. Louis works with these challenges. We are experienced in caring for and supporting new moms. You can reach out to us, and we will connect you to a qualified therapist who will walk with you as you navigate this exciting and exhausting time of your life. You don’t have to do this alone; connect with a therapist at Marble Wellness and get the support you need, so you can enjoy your time with your new child.
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Additional Counseling Services at Marble Wellness in St. Louis, MO and Chicago, IL
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Our St. Louis team of therapists have a variety of training backgrounds and areas of expertise. We specialize in anxiety, depression, grief, chronic illness, therapy for men, couples, and maternal overwhelm. We can also help new moms with various postpartum concerns, moms in the thick of parenting, and moms with teens. We can also chat from wherever you are in the state with online therapy in Missouri and online therapy in Illinois. No matter where you are in your journey, we would love to support you.
Our Chicago team of therapists offer a wide range of mental health services to help our clients through the different challenges and hurdles in their life. In addition to anxiety, depression, grief, therapy for men, and maternal overwhelm, we are specialized in professional burnout, therapy for breakups, and love partnering with working moms.