As a new mom the holiday season can bring on a whirlwind of emotions, especially as you navigate the challenging new environment of postpartum depression. From the outside, the holidays sparkle with joy, but within, the weight of postpartum depression can dull the excitement of the holidays. There can be conflicting feelings of love for your newborn and an overwhelming sadness that sometimes accompanies new motherhood. I hope in reading this you find some help in navigating these feelings and finish knowing that you are not alone.
The holidays, with their social expectations and family gatherings, can amplify this difficult time. You may catch yourself between the desire to create a perfect holiday experience and the reality of managing your mental health. Holiday challenges for a new mom may include feeling overwhelmed by social events, increased stress, fatigue, and difficulties enjoying the holiday festivities. It is important to prioritize your own self-care and communicate your needs to loved ones.
Learning how to express your emotions in a safe place is a wonderful first step. This could be leaning on your support system, embracing self-care practices, or seeking professional help. Writing down your thoughts and feelings are ways to release and process your emotions. Channeling your emotions through creative outlets like drawing or coloring. It’s an ongoing process, but these steps can provide moments of relief and help you feel even a little lighter. Coping might involve setting realistic expectations and trusting in those around you to help where it’s needed.
For fellow moms on this journey, setting realistic expectations, communicating needs, and prioritizing self-care have proven crucial. The key is to acknowledge our limitations and find strength in asking for support. Know that your feelings are valid and important. Share your feelings with loved ones so they can understand your needs and offer support. Lowering your expectations can reduce stress. Take breaks when needed and take moments for yourself. Practice mindfulness to stay present and to help manage those overwhelming thoughts.
While the path is challenging, there will be moments of joy. Whether it’s a shared smile with your little one or a quiet moment to do something for yourself, finding joy amidst being a new mom are moments that matter. During this time try and incorporate small traditions, or enjoyable activities like decorating the Christmas tree, singing your favorite Christmas songs, or capturing memories by taking photos. Focusing on these precious moments can contribute to a sense of connection and joy among the challenges. Joy can be found in simplicity.
No one should face postpartum depression alone. It’s okay to reach out for help. Whether from friends, family, or professionals, seeking support is a courageous step towards healing. Knowing that you are not alone in your journey can be a piece of comfort. Connecting with other moms who have had the same experiences as you or are going through the same experiences that you are, can provide a sense of understanding and relief. Sharing your thoughts and hearing from others that have had the same experiences can provide support during this time. Remember that it’s ok to prioritize your mental health and seek the support you need.
As the holiday season unfolds, reflect on your journey so far and acknowledge your strength, resilience, and the support that surrounds you. Reflect and share things you are grateful for each day. Keep the hope in you alive by continuing to support yourself in this journey. In even the smallest ways. I invite and encourage you to share your experiences, thoughts, and coping mechanisms in the comments.