How to Begin the New Year in a Healthy Way
Healthy living should be a goal we all strive for, not just throughout the holiday season but 365 days out of the year.
While postpartum mood disorders are not entirely preventable, there is a lot you can do to build a strong foundation. This includes support to help make the postpartum period an easier transition. Here are a few things to do to set yourself up for success even before you have your baby:
Identify who your support system includes: It really does take a village to care for a newborn! Before you have your baby, write down a list of go-to people who you know can come and help if and when you need it. This may include your parents/in-laws, siblings, close friends, or neighbors. Talk to those people ahead of time to see what this support may look like - maybe it is them bringing over a meal or helping keep the house clean, or to take care of your baby while you get a nap in. Obviously Covid19 may change who you reach out to for support, so talk about what your “bubble” may look like, and how those outside the bubble may provide support in a socially-distanced way. See our blog post https://www.trueharmonywellness.com/blog/making-the-hard-times-good-times on coping during Covid for more tips on what that may include.
Identify support groups in the area and consider signing up for one: There are many postpartum support groups available, many of which are offering virtual sessions. Ask your provider about ones we recommend, or look into options in your community or ones that family/friends have enjoyed. If you put the work into finding an option ahead of time, it will make it so much easier to use it later on if you need to.
Consider making an appointment with a counselor/therapist: Establishing with a counselor that you feel comfortable with can make a huge impact on your postpartum recovery. Counselors help you process how you are feeling and give you tools for coping with your experience moving forward. There are even counselors who are specifically trained to work with people during the postpartum period.
Prepare meals ahead of time/set up a meal train: Having a baby means your schedule becomes pretty unpredictabl. It can be hard to find time to prepare meals, especially in the first few weeks when you are also recovering from the birth. Making meals ahead of time that you can freeze to reheat in the first few weeks can be a game changer. Some people also set up a meal train that family and friends can participate in so they are bringing food to you/add to the frozen meal collection.
Talk to your partner person about preparing for postpartum: Your partner people likely know you better than anyone, so they are often the first to notice if you are not acting like yourself. Have a conversation with them about postpartum mood changes, and review signs with them about what is normal and what is not normal. Talk about what you both will plan on doing in moments when you need extra support, and how you plan on implementing those needs.
Set up realistic expectations: Right after having your baby, the focus should be on you physically recovering from your birth, and learning to care for your baby. Many people try to pile on the work or try to “bounce back,” as fast as they can. But the motto “just because you can, does not mean you should” very much rings true during this time. Plan for this time to be a slow recovery, and embrace that your schedule is going to look different. Set realistic goals for yourself, do not try to overdo it. And if a goal becomes unmanageable, be gentle with yourself and acknowledge that you are working hard caring for this new little life you brought into the world.
Struggling with some postpartum mood changes? Talk to one of our providers at True Harmony, we are here for you!