Maternal Mental Health: Becoming a New Mom

Having a child is one of the greatest joys in life. After waiting for 9 months and surviving the physical
and emotional tolls of childbirth, you finally get to meet your baby and bask in the bliss of new-
motherhood… Except becoming a mom is hard! And no one can prepare you for how different (and
difficult) your new life will be. Thus, the newborn period can feel immensely rewarding and extremely
challenging at the same time.

Many new moms find themselves feeling overwhelmed and emotional, and this is entirely normal.
New moms experience significant fluctuations in hormones, which can feel like you are on an emotional
rollercoaster. And being exhausted from lack of sleep doesn’t help, either. Some refer to this period in
the weeks following the birth of a child as “the baby blues.” It can involve periods of sadness and crying,
feelings of loss over the life you previously knew, and worrying about how to care for your infant.

Often, these feelings subside with time and proper self-care. While it can be difficult, new moms
should sleep and rest whenever possible. Try to let go of expectations, such as feeling like you need to
get things done around the house. Recognize that being “perfect” as a parent is impossible. Take time
for self-care, such as taking a shower, going for a walk, and getting enough to eat and drink. Seek help
from family or friends. Support groups are also helpful for getting emotional support and meeting other
new moms who are going through the same things.

Some moms experience persistent or worsening emotional distress, and struggle to participate in
daily routines. This is called Postpartum Depression and/or Anxiety (PPD). Moms experiencing PPD
should seek help from their doctor or a mental health clinician. Getting help for yourself is the best way
you can care for your child.

Katie Falwell

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