Pregnancy and child birth can be a wonderful experience for both parents and baby. Although pregnancy is a special time, it can also be difficult on mom’s mind and body. This makes it very important that mom makes sure that to take care of herself to the best of her abilities. When a mother doesn’t take good care of herself, she simply can’t be there for her new baby. An excellent way to take care of yourself during pregnancy is with prenatal massage. Not only does it help soothe the aches and pains of pregnancy, but it can also help to relax the mental woes that may accompany pregnancy.
It is also very important during pregnancy to have the courage to ask for help. Too often, moms think that they have to continue to do it all as they did before they were pregnant. The fact is, however, that your body is going to undergo incredible change, both physically and hormonally. During these changes, women will usually find themselves depleted, exhausted and overwhelmed. New moms need to realize that it is okay that they can’t do it all anymore and to ask for help from wherever they can get it. Help can come in the form of simple things like having your partner do the grocery shopping or clean up the house for you Partners, if you are reading this, think about those little things that you can do to help brighten mom’s day, flowers, foot rubs and attention are some simple starting points! Help can also include the more serious assistance like finding someone to open up to about, talk about what you are going through and, possibly, even seeking professional counseling if it just seems like too much. There is no shame in getting assistance. In fact, it will be one of the most rewarding and important things that a woman can do for herself and for her baby!
It is also important for the mother to be to remember that taking care of oneself does not end once the baby is born. Most women experience some kind of depression 2-4 weeks after their baby is born. What most don’t realize is that this is a normal process due to the hormonal changes that occur as a woman’s body continues to change. It is very common for a new mom to suffer symptoms which include tearfulness, sadness, decreased energy and increased anxiety. During this period, it is critical for new mothers to remember that they are not alone in this process and it is essential to continue to ask for help. Too often, friends and family come to visit and meet the newest member of the family and, in all of the excitement and hustle and bustle, they neglect to ensure that they are helping to take care of mom as she adjusts. Asking friends and relatives to help by preparing food, doing dishes or just being there to “vent“ to is critical in maintaining mental health for both mother and baby. Usually this depression will only last for a few weeks and you will be back to normal, if it continues for longer than a few weeks or symptoms increase in severity, it is time to call a professional. For more information on the baby blues and postpartum depression, check out my mother’s support page.