Being a mom to a newborn baby can feel both overwhelming and empowering. The demands of new motherhood can often feel insurmountable. You may feel guilty for thinking or talking about your mental wellness as a mother. Over 80% of all mothers in the United States experience baby blues and one in seven mothers reportedly experience postpartum depression. Postpartum depression may occur as early as during your pregnancy and can last through the first year postpartum. If you are struggling emotionally with new motherhood and feel like you may be experiencing postpartum depression, know that you are not alone.
Here are 4 self-help strategies you can use at home without ever leaving your baby.
Check Up from the Neck Up
Many mothers are not aware that they can screen themselves for symptoms of postpartum depression at home, at no cost. You may feel like you have been sad, unable to cope, and struggling to connect with your baby for 2 weeks or more. You may also be unsure of what you are feeling, but know you just desire to feel like yourself again. You can evaluate yourself online using a postpartum depression screening using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale . There are no right or wrong answers, answer your questions honestly! If your screen is positive, it’s important to seek professional help. You’re an amazing mother, and you deserve all the support you can get.
Confidential Online Support Groups
There are online options available to moms that are seeking judgement free, confidential, therapeutic support from other moms. Support groups are great because remind you that you are not alone and that are still an awesome mother. You can learn more about online support groups for postpartum mothers via Postpartum Support International.
Use Your Home Visitors
A new baby means visitors to welcome your baby. Empower your friends and family visitors to be your social support. Limited social support, sleep deprivation, and isolation can affect your hormones, mood and increase your risk of having postpartum depression. Identify who can help complete practical tasks such as laundry, transportation, cooking meals, grocery shopping, taking the kids to medical appointments, or school and start to delegate tasks. If you have minimal community support, it may be a great time to locate a mommy support group. Sometimes moms in those groups share their solutions to meet similar needs or you may make a new friend who will become a part of your social support system.
Online Mental Health Counseling
Today there are online counseling options known as tele-mental health available to you from the comforts of your home. Tele-mental health counseling is a great way to get self-care without having to secure childcare. Moms can sign up to participate in live mental health counseling via your cell phone, laptop, or tablet from the privacy of your home! Many insurance companies use this convenient service and many mothers are not aware of this cool insurance benefit. All sessions are facilitated by a licensed mental health therapist and scheduling tends to be more flexible than in office counseling visits. These therapists use special encryption technology to protect your confidentiality during your live online counseling session. Sessions usually range between 45- 60 minutes. Here are some tips to help you find a therapist that specializes in perinatal or maternal mental health via the Seleni Institute.
Trying new things can be scary but remember taking care of yourself first means you are also taking care of your family. Minding your mental health is an important part of your wellness seeking support is nothing to be ashamed about. Your mental health also impacts your baby’s wellbeing. So please prioritize your self-care.
Shivonne Odom, LCPC, LPC, NCC Perinatal Mental Health Therapist. Shivonne is a licensed mental health therapist that specializes in perinatal mental health counseling. Shivonne stands out in the field of mental health counseling because she has the only minority owned private practice that specializes in maternal mental health counseling in Washington, DC. Shivonne is passionate about counseling and supporting mothers. Her practice also focuses on meeting the emotional needs for mothers beyond their postpartum years. She created a nationally accredited continuing education training to help promote awareness for postpartum depression for mothers of color. She desires to empower mothers to live their best lives and to keep their maternal magic throughout their postpartum journey.
Visit Shivonne Odom and her practice Akoma Counseling Concepts