The transition to motherhood is a beautiful and life-changing experience, but it can also be incredibly challenging.
From the physical demands of caring for a newborn to the emotional ups and downs of adjusting to a new role after a pregnancy into postpartum, it’s no wonder that many mothers feel overwhelmed at times.
Postnatal depression affects one in every 10 mothers, regardless of the number of birth experiences prior, usually lasting from 3-6 months. It is important to recognise the signs early (whether personally or through observations from family or loved ones) and seek support early to cope and manage.
It is not easy getting to know and taking care of a newborn. There are misconceptions about what being a mother should be like – for instance, no one is a natural mother. We all learn and pick the skills as we go along.
It is also common to experience negative emotions (resentment, guilt, anger, pain etc) along with the positive feelings (joy, fulfilment, pride, contentment, etc). Know that emotions are part of being a human.
That’s why it’s so important for mothers to have access to postpartum support during this time.
Here are a some things that new mothers can do to navigate the challenging thoughts and emotions through the transition to motherhood:
Talk to someone you trust. This could be a friend, family member, partner, therapist, or counsellor. Whether it’s from loved ones, or even just other mothers who understand what you’re going through, having someone to talk to and lean on can make all the difference. Talking about how you’re feeling can help you to feel less alone and to make sense of what you’re going through.
A counsellor can also help you talk through your struggles, identify negative thoughts and explore options to cope and build your confidence and perspectives.
Give yourself permission to rest. This may be difficult when you have a newborn baby. So, it’s important to try to get as much sleep as possible. When you’re well-rested, you’ll be better able to cope with the demands of motherhood.
Eat well with a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet will give you the energy you need to care for your baby and to cope with stress. Avoid going for fast or comfort food as your body is recovering as well.
Take some time for yourself each day. It could be reading a book, taking a bath, or going for a walk when you can. It is an intentional activity as most new mothers have to cope with changing sleep routine and energy level throughout the day, and sometimes feel guilty for taking time for self. . Being out in the sun can also provide positive changes to your dopamine level, and mood.
Join a mummy support group. Support groups can provide you with a safe space to share your experiences and to connect with other mothers who understand what you’re going through. If you are a first time mother, it can be incredibly helpful to have this support where mothers also share knowledge that are new to you and your baby.
Ask for help with the housework. Where possible, engaging help at home with the chores or organizing equal responsibility load with your partner or family members may be helpful even for just a short period of time. You don’t have to do it all alone, nor is it on you fully.
Talk to your doctor. If you are struggling or suspect that you might be going through postpartum depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor. There are support available that can help you cope emotionally and physically during this challenging period.
If you have suicidal thoughts
If you experience thoughts of harming yourself or your child at any point in time, please seek support immediately.
- Let your partner or close ones know immediately.
- Go to your nearest hospital A&E
- Call the Samaritans of Singapore (1767, 24-hour hotline)
- Call IMH (6389 2222, 24-hour hotline)
- NUH Women’s Emotional Health Service
Tel: 6772 2037
Operating Hours : Mondays – Fridays: 8.30am to 5.30pm (Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays)
- You don’t need to know ALL about your Baby’s milestones now.
Just In Time Parenting provides month-on-month information about your child’s developmental growth and needs.
- Breastfeeding is a choice. If you would like to find out more or receive breastfeeding counselling support, visit Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (Tel: 6339 3558)
It may help to remind yourself that you are not alone and it is not your fault. Many mothers experience challenges during pregnancy and postpartum. There is help available, and you deserve to be and feel supported.
Be kind to yourself, and give yourself the time and space you need to adjust to this new stage in your life.