Motherhood is a competition.
There I said it.
There is this constant need for your baby to be better then someone else’s, your wardrobe to look better, or your house to be cleaner. I plan to focus on this more from the kiddy side but today I want to focus on the motherhood side.
As I sit here completely under the weather, crying internally and externally for a break, I realize that’s the part of motherhood us mothers hide.
We feel the need to hide the “bad” parts of motherhood. The parts that show we sometimes fail or sometimes don’t like our kids.
This week is National Suicide Awareness week.
Did you know that the leading cause of death for new mamas is suicide?
That is why motherhood self care is so important to me.
As moms we internalize so much. We take on our kid’s emotions, partner’s emotions, and sometimes even what feels like the world’s emotions. We struggle in silence and say nothing because you know, “Mamas are the backbone of the family”.
When I first had Tate I quickly realized how easy it would be to slip into depression. I was not only going through a terrible break up but I was healing both emotionally and physically. I was losing myself. Being a nurse I had seen depression plenty of times. I knew the symptoms to look out for. and how to manage them. By the grace of God I was able to overcome these things and pull myself out of dark places but not all mothers are able to do the same.
Here’s how you can help a new mama today:
Offer to help but don’t be pushy.
Just a simple “how can I help” will suffice. And then actually help in the way they ask. Be sure to pay attention to the detail and get it done to the best of your ability. This is important or we’ll never ask again.
Look for ways to help without being asked.
I know contradictory from the first, but us mamas we’re superheroes at heart. We’ll take on more tasks then we can handle because again “Mothers are the backbone of the family”. That being said, we may not always ask for help. Look for ways you can help without us asking. See laundry in the washer flip it in the dryer. Dishes in the sink wash them. Dirty diaper just change it. Trust me, this will speak to us abundantly.
I know it sounds simple but you’d be surprised how easy it is to criticize. Sometimes as humans, we don’t even realize when we’re doing it. So that means no “why do the eggs look like this”, “oh my white shirt is now pink” or even “the baby’s late for nap again”. It’s as easy as thinking before you speak. If it could come off as judgmental in any way, don’t say it.
On the flip side provide lots of compliments. Simple things such as, “wow I wouldn’t have even thought of changing his diaper that way”, “I appreciate all you’ve done for the baby and me today”, “You’re an amazing mother”, goes a long way. Remember we’re insecure and not feeling like ourselves right now we need these words of encouragement more than you could ever imagine.
Remind us of our self care.
We’ve forgotten us. Society tells us it’s all about our baby and family now and we have completely turned off the idea of caring for ourselves. Suggest self care activities without being too forceful. Say things such as: “Hey I can watch the baby while you shower”, “I’m going to come over and watch the baby so you can sleep”, or even something like “Hey I brought you a gift card to get your nails done and I’ll watch the baby when you go”. Trust me that last one will make you a stellar friend.
These tips are for friends, family, significant others and more. Being a new mama is hard. Our bodies went through trauma and now our minds will go through it for at least the next 6 months.
To my mamas, life is not a competition. If you are struggling in the beginning say it! It’s okay to need extra help at some point in life we all do. I cannot personally say I’ve experienced depression personally but I fully understand deep sadness in the beginning of motherhood and have seen it many times before. If you need someone to talk to reach out to your doctor and let them know how you feel. There are so many great resources (not even just therapists!) that they can recommend.
Take care of you too mama,
If you’re a new mom looking for a way to increase your self love when you look into the mirror, sign up for my 4-page workbook all about using affirmations to increase your self care!