It’s OK to not be OK.
Motherhood is an emotional rollercoaster and most of us experience low moods at some point.
GPs know that motherhood can knock women for six and that postnatal depression affects one in 7 women within a year of giving birth. If the bad days are outnumbering the good, if you’re tired all the time, struggling to concentrate or sleep at night, are having frightening thoughts, finding it hard to bond with your baby or to snap out of the lows, speak to your GP. There’s so much that can be done to help. If they’re unsympathetic, consider asking to see a different doctor.
Talk to other mums: don’t do it on your own.
Motherhood can be lonely but the idea of striking up a conversation with a mum you don’t know is sometimes intimidating.
It’s a feeling we know well, in fact, it’s the entire reason Mush exists! Sarah, Mush’s co-founder, and I became friends after meeting in a playground when we both had two children under two. Our friendship transformed our maternity leave and then our lives, as we made it our mission to make sure no mum is on her own. However you choose to connect with other women, nobody ‘gets it’ like mums with kids the same age.
Don’t let social get you down.
So much of life is lived online but if your social feeds are making you miserable, give them a reboot.
No mum – not a single one! – leads a Pinterest-perfect, Insta-friendly life of healthy eating, tidy houses, crafternoons and date nights, not that you’d know it from looking at some people’s posts. There are so many wonderful, funny, honest mums and dads online who share the lows as well as the highs. Find the people who lift you up and unfollow anyone who brings you down.
There is no ‘right’ way to feel better.
Fresh air, good company, healthy food and exercise are brilliant ways to help you get closer to feeling on top of things again, but maybe you can’t face all – or any – of that right now.
Take baby steps. Just acknowledging the fact that you’re struggling is a great start. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Maybe counselling or anti-depressants could help, perhaps it’ll be reconnecting with your pre-baby life, getting some hands-on help with the baby (and some sleep!), going back to work or cutting down hours. Just remember, everyone’s winging it and you’re doing a great job. Be kind to yourself.