There are so many things that run through a new mums mind, and even if you’re an old hat at this mum business, there are some burning questions that cross your mind at all times. So I asked Leanne Hall – Integrative Psychologist and spokesperson for BabyLove – her thoughts on some of the most common ‘mum thoughts’.
Leanne, it was so lovely to meet you at the BabyLove event last week, I have a few questions that run through ALL mums minds at some point… I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- What’s the best way to deal with anxiety around labour and birth? It’s such a worrying thought when you haven’t been through it before AND even more so if you’ve had a distressing birth. Any tips?
This is such a normal thing to be anxious about, and it’s important to acknowledge that EVERY mum worries about this at some point! EVERY birth/labour is different, and just because you may have had a distressing experience the first time, doesn’t mean it will happen again. Talk to your midwife/specialist ask LOADS of questions. These are the people to listen to, not the next door neighbor or work colleague who had a horrible experience. Have faith in your amazing body, and remember that thoughts are just thoughts….they aren’t “facts”. Just because you think or fear something will happen, does NOT mean it will happen. It’s also useful to remind yourself of how many women deliver babies every day around the world…..our bodies are DESIGNED for this stuff!
- Everyone tells me to just choose the advice that suits me, with so many opinions flying around, how do I know what is going to suit me?
In short, you won’t until you try it! As much as it’s sometimes helpful to receive advice, I personally think too much can be harmful! (and opinions are very rarely helpful!) Everyone is different, every birth is different and every baby is different. Take it all with a grain of salt, and file each piece of advice away. There is no “right” or “wrong”. Each time you pull out a new “file” assess whether it feels right. If it doesn’t, then put in back in the cabinet and pull out the next “file”. Eventually you will find one that “fits”.
- How do you know if you have post-natal depression? Is there a definite line or what are the tell-tale signs?
Post natal depression (PND) is very different to the normal post baby blues that 4 out of 5 women get. The difference is that while the “blues” typically lasts for about a week after the birth, PND becomes progressively worse, and often appears 3-4 weeks after the birth. While both are characterized by feeling irritable, moody, tearful, exhausted. PND is also associated with anxiety – worrying about the safety of the baby, and feeling guilty (irrational guilt).
- What are your top tips on dealing with mothers guilt?
- Accept it’s normal (with the exception of the irrational and distressing guilt associated with PND).
- Talk to your support network, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Seeking support and reassurance is an important coping skill.
- KNOW the difference between feeling guilty and being a good mum (they are NOT related!)
- KNOW that we all make mistakes, and babies/kids are super resilient.
- Recognise that YOUR needs are important. If your needs are consistently unmet, you cannot be the best mum you can be. A content mum = a happy baby!
Do you have any questions that run through your mind constantly? SHARE with us in the comments below.
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