When you become a mother, your entire life changes. From your daily schedule to your responsibilities to your relationships with friends and family, the arrival of a baby definitely has a huge impact! But have you ever wondered about the ways that motherhood can affect your mental health? Read on to learn about five common mental health issues that occur during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
1. Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are two serious mental health disorders that tend to develop shortly after having a child. Postpartum depression is much more common, affecting around one out of every eight new mothers, as well as some new fathers and adoptive parents. Postpartum psychosis only occurs in two or three out of 1000 births, and it is considered a more severe version of postpartum depression. Both of these mental health disorders should be taken seriously and treated as soon as possible. Look for the following symptoms:
•Extreme feelings of anger, guilt, irritation and/or sadness.
•Brain fog and problems with concentration.
•A feeling of “just going through the motions”
•Anxiety that has to do with the baby.
•Delusions and hallucinations (in the case of postpartum psychosis).
Postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about, but they do require immediate medical treatment. Be sure to speak to your doctor if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of these mental health disorders. If you’d like to speak to a mental health professional regarding any issues that have arisen since becoming a mother, be sure to check out this site and other online counseling platforms, which offer affordable and accessible mental health treatment.
Often referred to as “Mommy guilt,” many new mothers experience crippling feelings of guilt and shame due to what they see as flaws in their parenting. Some receive negative comments from friends and family that exacerbate these feelings. This type of guilt can even keep new mothers from taking the time they need to care for themselves.
If motherhood seems to have brought on a lot of guilt for you, try to remember that no parent is perfect. What matters is that you love your child and want the best for them. It’s not wrong or bad to take time for yourself or to ask for help. It’s important to realize that you must take care of yourself in order to be able to care for another person.
Being a new mother is very demanding, and unfortunately, it results in sleep deprivation all too often. Having to wake up constantly in the middle of the night can definitely take its toll, and the need to be on high alert during the daytime as well can be completely exhausting. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it; sleep deprivation can impact your ability to care for both yourself and your new baby. If you’re able to get sufficient rest, you’ll feel much more in control and capable of caring for yourself and your child.
4.Struggles with Work/Life Balance
In today’s world, it seems like moms are expected to do it all. Have a full-time job, be a full-time parent, maintain relationships with a partner, family, and friends—even though all of these expectations aren’t realistic in the slightest! Simply being a new mom is responsibility enough, without everything else added to the mix. Many new moms struggle to find a good balance between their work life and their home life, and some have to make the difficult decision between working and staying at home with their child.
If you’ve been experiencing trouble balancing your work life and home life, rest assured that you’re not the only one, and that you’re not deficient in any way just because you aren’t able to complete the impossible amount of tasks you are expected to do. Planning for situations in advance can be very helpful when working to improve your work/life balance. Working together with your support system and anyone who assists you with childcare to establish schedules and responsibilities can be a great help as well.
5.Poor Body Image
As a new mother, your body has just done something absolutely amazing, and you should celebrate it! But sadly, many new moms struggle with their body image. The reality is that pregnancy and childbirth can change your body quite a bit, and for some, these changes can be difficult to accept.
Try to remember that you just brought a life into the world, and appreciate all that your body was able to do for yourself and your baby! Tell yourself you’re beautiful every time you look into the mirror, even if you don’t quite believe it at first. Be sure to take care of yourself physically by eating healthy and fitting in physical activity a few times a week as well; taking care of yourself in this way results in better physical and mental health, in addition to increased confidence.
It’s very common for new mothers to experience a variety of issues with their mental health. From postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis to guilt, sleep deprivation, problems with work/life balance, and poor body image, it can be difficult to cope. However, know that help is available anytime if you’re willing to reach out! Mental health problems are not anything to be ashamed of, and the sooner you admit you need help, the sooner a mental health professional can assist you in getting back on track.