If you’re not feeling like magical rainbows and unicorns just appeared over the sound of fireworks, don’t worry. It’s normal. Here’s what you can do to support your postpartum mental health and ensure emotional wellness after birth.
1. There is no perfect mother
Despite what your well-meaning friends and family seem to imply, there isn’t a perfect supermom who can do everything right. You might have peer pressure to have that perfect family, and perfect attitude of a mother. Let us tell you a secret you probably already know, you don’t have to compare yourself to other mothers.
If you try to live up to an image of what mothers “are supposed to be like”, you might fall short and bring on the guilt. That’s not taking care of your postpartum mental health or ensuring emotional wellness after childbirth. You may not like certain aspects of caring for your child, like midnight crying, or diaper changing. And that’s ok. Nobody likes stinky diapers or being woken up in the middle of the night. So don’t trap yourself in the never ending race to be perfect for your child.
2. A motherly bond doesn’t always come instantly
Most mothers expect there to be a magical moment where they connect to their child after birth. Well, we can tell you that there are no halos and heavenly music when you hold your child for the first time.
As with any normal relationship, it sometimes takes time to build that bond. You may be slow to warm up to being a mother. That’s perfectly normal. Spend time with each other and ease into this relationship. The feelings of warmth, protectiveness and involvement will come slowly but surely.
3. Fear of incompetence is normal
Part of supporting your own postpartum mental health is understanding that motherhood is a learning process. Especially if you are a first time mother, there are many things that you wouldn’t know. Just like you wouldn’t expect your newborn child to walk instantly, you can’t blame yourself if you are not as experienced as other mothers yet.
As you grow with your child, you’ll learn about what’s best for your child. You will notice how your child responds to you. Of course, we can’t promise it’ll be smooth sailing, but we’ll say again that it’s a learning process.
One of the most important parts of motherhood is setting time apart for your own needs. When you need a break, speak to your partner or your family for support. Getting some help to take care of your child every once in a while will help you relieve some of the stress. To ensure emotional health and wellness and take care of your postpartum mental health, you need to take care of your own needs as well.