Mental Health Awareness Week runs from Monday 10 May to Sunday 16 May 2021. With this in mind I think it is important to stress the importance of looking after your own mental health after giving birth.
Post pregnancy can be a turbulent time when emotions run high. You may be suffering the ‘baby blues’ or just be struggling with a constantly irritable infant.
But sometimes it is more than ‘baby blues’ and becomes, what is known as ‘postpartum depression’, this can become very serious and you should speak to your healthcare practitioner immediately if you suspect this is what you have.
Whatever your struggles at this time, it is important to put time aside and find ways to look after your own postnatal mental health as well as caring for your baby.
How your own postnatal mental health can affect your baby
Babies are perceptive. As young as they are, they very often can pick up on their parents state of mind. If you are feeling anxious or stressed it is very easy to pass these feelings on to your baby.
Looking after your mental health after giving birth is important. Mothers who are depressed or suffering from the anxieties of caring for a new baby may not care for themselves as well as they should.
This could in turn lead them to turn to unhealthy ways of coping which may lead to such things as eating disorders or alcohol dependency.
It is vitally important therefore that you care for yourself as well as your baby!
Ways to look after your own mental health after giving birth
Caring for a new baby is difficult enough but if you are also struggling with your postnatal mental health after giving birth it can be all consuming.
You may feel under pressure to feel excited and happy after giving birth but secretly be feeling that you’re a bad parent as you’re struggling to get through each day.
These feelings are common and not your fault and it is important to know that there is support out there if you should need it!
1.Build a support network
- Seek help on-line – see our sources of help below
- Talk to other parents by joining mother and baby groups
- Talk to your midwife or doctor about the way you feel
2.Take time for yourself and accept help
- Learn to say ‘yes’ to those around you who offer to help
- Don’t put pressure on yourself by setting unrealistic goals
- Take time away from your baby to relax
- Put together a support network, whether it is family or friends, so you have someone to call on at short notice
3.Look after yourself
- Ensure you eat well
- Keep active
- Get plenty of sleep
- Try to sleep when baby sleeps
- Take a bath
- Paint your nails
How reflexology can help postnatal mental health
Following childbirth, hormonal changes and fluctuations can cause new mums to feel intense mood swings. These mood swings are often referred to as the ‘baby blues’ and affect 8 out of 10 new mums.
The symptoms can be weepiness, impatience, irritability, restlessness, feeling tired but not able to sleep, lack of concentration and mood swings. All this usually happens around 4 days after giving birth and this is because of the hormonal shift in your body.
You do not have any control over this so you have to stop beating yourself up about feeling so bad.
Reflexology can help to re-balance hormones, which in turn, improves the general feeling of well-being, thus improving postnatal mental health.
By working on your endocrine system and hormonal function, the main glands that secrete the female hormones will be targeted so they become more balanced.
Commencing reflexology treatment soon after becoming a new parent will help you feel relaxed and improve mental health after giving birth. Not only that, it may also help to improve your energy levels which are very important at this time.
The benefits of postnatal reflexology:
- Hormonal rebalance to help with mood swings and postnatal depression
- Provides relaxing ‘me time’ away from baby
- Aids healing and recovery after giving birth
- Helps the menstrual cycle return to normal
- Calms and relaxes the anxieties of new motherhood
- Helps to provide restful sleep
Sources of help and support
If you are struggling with your own mental health after giving birth, there are several organisations who offer support to new parents:
Family Lives – offering information and support to new parents
Home Start – practical and emotional support from volunteers
Family Action – offers support during pregnancy and after giving birth to parents with mental health problems
NCT – offering courses for new parents
The Association for Postnatal Illness (APNI) – offering information and support regarding postnatal depression
The Breastfeeding Network – offering support on issues surrounding breastfeeding
If you re struggling with your mental health after giving birth and would like to arrange a reflexology session please contact me today. Providing reflexology throughout Yorkshire including Halifax, Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield
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