So here's the thing, pregnancy and becoming a new mum is extremely emotionally and physically demanding. This transformational time in our lives brings unique challenges, highs and lows and is a time where we have to give so much of ourselves to another. This is why remembering to look after ourselves is more important than ever. There is a saying "you can't poor from an empty cup, take care of yourself first".
And this is very true. Looking after ourselves is so important in helping us stay mentally and emotionally well and allowing us to meet the demands of our baby - enabling us to be the best mum we can be.
If you are struggling with your mental health then finding ways to look after yourself that fit in with your lifestyle and needs can make a big difference to you. Below you will find some top tips for self care and remember our Mum Befrienders are able to provide you with support and help to develop ways to care for yourself.
When you are busy looking after your baby and your family it's very easy to forget to eat properly. This will affect your energy and mood. Have a simple meal whether that's soup, a sandwich or a smoothie. We find using a slow cooker can be an excellent and easy way to make sure you have a hot meal ready at the end of the day when you might be short of energy.
Talking is key to helping us feel okay, but it can be difficult to open up if you are finding things hard. However it is true "A problem shared, is a problem halved". Talk openly to friends, family, health visitors, your GP, Nurture the Borders, even the Samaritans if you need to.
Our mum befriending service can match you with another mother who is trained and able to support you providing a safe non judgemental person for you to talk to.
Talking to other new mums finding that others share the anxieties and frustrations you are experiencing, can be very reassuring. It can also give you a chance to share skills and experiences, to realise that you are not alone. It can help to affirm you in your new role.
Joining an antenatal class in pregnancy is a great way to met other mums as you share the experience together. Once your baby is here you could go along to a drop in baby group which is a good place to meet other new mums.
Be Kind to Yourself
Don't compare yourself to others, every mum and baby are different and we are all walking our own path. Comparing yourself to others can leave you feeling inadequate and it's easy to think that other mums are coping better when in reality the majority of new mums find things hard and struggle at some point.
Lowering your expectation of yourself instantly reduces stress. Trust that your best is good enough and remember the pictures people put on social media don't portray the reality of their lives.
Rest & Relaxation
You might feel like you have no time for yourself, or that all you do is sit around at home, but actively taking time to relax can mean more than just watching the TV. Think about what really helps you unwind, whether it's reading a book, having a soak in the bath or listening to a relaxing music track. . Taking even a few minutes for yourself to physically and mentally relax and unwind can make a huge difference.
Try to get outside every day if you can and go far a walk (even if it's just around the block). The fresh air and gentle exercise will reinvigorate you. A change of environment can help lift your mood and fresh air also helps babies to relax and sleep too!
If your friends or family members offer to do the shopping, help cook meals or do some cleaning, say yes! There's nothing wrong with needing some support, and your loved ones will probably want to do something practical to help you.
One Step at a Time
It can be overwhelming and scary to think into the future, especially when you are tired and not feeling great. Taking things an hour at a time can help make life more manageable especially if you are having a bad day.
A lot changes with time and from one week to the next. Remind yourself that this will pass and things will get easier.