Having the Baby Blues Can Shred Your Self-Esteem
The “baby blues” can hit any mother of a newborn. When a new baby is in the house, the mother may succumb to feelings of overwhelm. This often manifests itself in one having mood swings, crying, being anxious about being a good mother or not, and having feelings of guilt that the aftermath of having a child should be delight, not depression.
This is hardly the case. Often such feelings are normal immediately after giving birth to a child, and it does not make you a bad mother. After almost a year of everyone being focused on you, all of a sudden their interests have switched to the baby. This can contribute to a feeling of not being needed or wanted. These feelings are normal, but in the absence of that knowledge, a new mother can let her feelings get the best of her, dragging down her self-esteem and making it harder to pull herself out of the blues.
What to Do
You may feel that you alone need to perform all of the tasks related to caring for someone so helpless and needy. You need to remember that you have a huge support group when you have a new baby. Mothers, and sisters and friends with children, all have taken care of newborns and probably understand the strain it can cause.
Many mothers would probably jump at the chance to hold and care for a newborn again. Having someone else be responsible for a feeding or the occasional dirty diaper can be an immense relief for you, while your child is in the capable hands of someone you trust. Also, lean on your partner to help out when others aren’t around.
The baby blues can hit any mother of a newborn. This is different from a mother who falls into postpartum depression, a more severe problem than the baby blues, and often takes professional treatment to help in recovery.
Take Care of Yourself
One of the best things you can do to help yourself through, or possible prevent, the baby blues, is to take care of yourself. Sometimes it feels like this is impossible, having a baby that you can’t take your eyes off of for a minute. Finding a way to take some time for yourself can go a long way towards helping you feel good about yourself. In turn, that will help strengthen your resolve that you can do this baby thing. Here are some self-care suggestions:
- Skip the housework — An investment in a cleaning service can be worth more than you might imagine. Walking into a kitchen with no dirty dishes in the sink and no baby schmutz everywhere, or slipping into a freshly made bed with clean sheets can make you feel like a princess, especially when you didn’t have to do any of it.
- Exercise can help — Exercise can help improve your mood. Put your baby in a stroller and take a walk around the block once a day. Something as simple as that is doable, without having to find a sitter, and is enough to help you ease back into your exercise program.
- Work on getting enough sleep — Having a newborn around makes getting enough sleep a challenge, but neglecting your sleep pattern will make your depression worse. Have a friend or family member come over to watch your child for a couple of hours, so you can take a nap without having one eye open.
- Make meals a priority — When you’re depressed, you tend to neglect healthy eating, but what you eat, or don’t has an impact on your mood as well. Make sure that if you’re just grabbing something from the ice box on the way by, that it has nutritive value so that you have the energy to keep up with your child.
- Get out in the sun — Sunlight lifts your mood. Try make sure you get at least 10-15 minutes a day outside.