First, I wanted to start this article by saying that motherhood is beautiful and rewarding. But when I thought back to my childhood and remembered my own mom, whom I endlessly love, I decided to start like this: Motherhood is hard work.
I think that as beautiful and rewarding as motherhood can indeed be, it is also full of challenges and significant changes. Balancing various responsibilities, sleepless nights, and the constant emotional demands can take a toll on a mother's mental well-being. Many women feel sad, overwhelmed or anxious during pregnancy or after giving birth, and they often feel guilty for these feelings.
So in this article, I want to take the time to talk about the difficult feelings that are completely normal in motherhood, and how moms can also take care of their mental health.
As a mother, it is natural to prioritize the needs of your children above your own. But remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish; it is an essential step to prevent exhaustion or burn-out. It’s possible that some days you simply won’t have time just for yourself, and there's no need to make self-care another item on your to-do list.
Here are some things you can try so you can get some rest when you have the space:
Especially at the beginning of motherhood, it is not necessary (and often not even possible) to have everything perfect. You don't need to have expectations of yourself to always have the house cleaned, the laundry done and the food cooked. It's okay to take care of the baby and yourself first and do the rest later.
You have your unique child and you are a unique human being yourself. Don't compare your experience to other mothers. It's good to talk to someone else, but if their experience or advice makes you feel bad about yourself and how you are handling motherhood, remember that your experience is unique. No one else can know how they would handle it if they were in your shoes.
Sleep and rest is important for both the baby and you. Allow yourself to rest when your baby is asleep. Everything else can wait. Take a nap or spend some time doing something that you enjoy and makes you happy.
If you can, ask your partner or a family member or friend to watch the baby for a while. Go for a walk, play some sport, go out with a friend or do anything else that makes you happy. It's important to have a personal life too and you don't need to be ashamed of it.
But you can also ask for help with practical things like doing the laundry, washing the dishes, cleaning the house or cooking. You don't have to do everything yourself.
Motherhood often feels like a whirlwind of tasks and responsibilities. Amidst the chaos, incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can help you find moments of peace and clarity. Take a few minutes with VOS each day to focus on your breath, practice meditation or reflect on your thoughts, and connect with the present moment. These activities can help reduce stress, improve your ability to manage challenges, and cultivate a deeper bond with your children.
Around 10% of women experience mental illness during pregnancy and 13% after childbirth, most commonly depression. These illnesses are medical conditions that outgrow common sadness and anxiety.
Women with depression around pregnancy often feel:
If you are dealing with something like this, trust that nothing you did or didn't do caused it. Postpartum depression can be treated if you seek help. Don't be afraid to contact your doctor or a psychologist directly. You deserve support.
Check the resources we used to learn more: