Why the Holidays Can Hurt the Most as a New Mother
The holidays are an exciting time! There’s a special sense of joy or even a little magic in the air as we look forward to spending time with family, and making memories that last a lifetime. It’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year especially with a new baby in the family!
But what happens if it’s not? For new mothers experiencing a postpartum mood disorder, it can be far from a joy-filled holiday season. Many new mothers find themselves trying to get through the day to day grind of caring for their newborn along with caring for themselves. When you add on all the extra events, expenses and expectations that come with the holiday season it can be even more overwhelming.
Postpartum Anxiety Can Feel Debilitating
Postpartum anxiety is something that can take over your life in ways you never really knew were possible. Living in a world of constant “what ifs” is excruciating. One of the symptoms we don’t often talk about is ‘intrusive thoughts’, yet they are one of the most common things new mothers struggle with.
These thoughts often involve very vivid visions or flashes of scenarios of harm to one’s self or that of your baby. These can feel absolutely terrifying, especially if you have no idea what they are or why they are happening. There is no easy “off switch” for these and it’s often times a constant flow of unwanted thoughts all day, every day leaving new mothers exhausted.
The holidays can impact these symptoms in many ways. Pressure to attend group gatherings can be really challenging. Who’s going to hold the baby? What if something happens? Will they nap today? What if I don’t sleep tonight?
If this sounds like you this holiday season, it’s okay. Slow things down so not to overstimulate yourself. This is one of the best ways you can take care of you this year. Postpartum anxiety is something that can get better over time with a little help. Just remember, thoughts are NOT fact and this is not your fault.
Related: Book an appointment with our in-house counselor before the holidays to learn skills to help you cope with postpartum anxiety and intrusive thoughts
Postpartum Depression is an Unwanted Guest
To the moms who are experiencing the depths of depression this holiday season – we see you. Everything is overwhelming. We understand the constant dark cloud that has consumed your world.
You may be feeling hopeless, or filled with regret and the constant questioning of whether or not you should have become a mother in the first place. Who can even think about Christmas when you can barely get out of bed? We get it.
What I really want you to know is that it’s not you, it’s the illness. You are a great person who happens to be experiencing one of the most common complications of pregnancy and the postpartum period. You are a good mom! You’re actually the very BEST mom for your baby and it can get better.
It’s important new mothers understand that their mental health should be the top priority this holiday season. Although it’s not the Christmas you envisioned this year, and it can feel heartbreaking missing out on the traditions you love, you need to set boundaries or clear your schedule. Make sure that you can take care of yourself and avoid triggering situations this year.
No one signs up for postpartum depression and we need to look at ways to support new mothers, especially during the holiday season.
Strong Communication Can Be a Big Help
It’s hard for friends and family to truly understand how you feel if they don’t know what’s going on. Being honest about how your symptoms and needs is the best option. I know it can feel like and an awkward conversation, but trying to tough it out or pretend like nothing is happening feels even worse.
If you find it helpful, we have some free tools you can use that explain a bit more about what postpartum depression/anxiety is and how they can help during the recovery process. Reducing your stress where ever possible is key and although it takes a bit of planning, it’s worth it.
Above all, we want to make sure you are getting the support you need. If you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to start, we can help. Booking a free consultation is the best place to start. Together we can discuss your needs and build a plan that will help you recover much faster.
Our Postpartum Wellness Program is designed to support new mothers through all the ups and downs that come with new parenthood. Reducing isolation, accessing social support and connecting with a strong community of moms who are going through similar experiences are all powerful tools in the treatment of postpartum mood disorders.
Support looks different to everyone and our new Flex Pass allows for a more customized approach to the care we offer. We also offer our weekly classes on a drop-in basis so you can pick and choose which options are the best fit for you.
To make it even more convenient you can book and pay for your class online, before you even arrive at the Centre. Take some time to learn more about our program because you deserve to feel healthy and you don’t have to figure this out alone.
Take care of yourself this holiday season and we hope to see you soon!