I’ve had an incredibly busy time recently with NurtureMe. Being exposed to new parents (some who have specific concerns or issues), it’s made me think about what it is that mums really need support with emotionally in that postpartum period. Much of what’s in this posting seems so basic, yet these are some of the things I am getting first-hand experience of what it is mums need and are grateful for. For me, the loss of communities and living together in a bigger family environment is one of the factors that can lead to low-mood and in some situations PND, so I thought I would document what I think any mum needs so if you know someone who’s recently had a baby, you can provide some of this support – it’s not rocket science!
A sounding board
I can so often remember in the early days, and even now, thoughts ruminating in my head about what I was doing – am I winding the baby correctly, are they getting enough food, are they getting enough sleep, how can I improve their sleep, where should they sleep, do they have enough dirty nappies, what does this little spot on their chin mean, how should I…. the list goes on…. Verbally discussing what’s going on in a mum’s head will often make mums realise what they are experiencing is normal or lead to solutions or ideas to try. It can also make a mum see the lighter side of what’s going on and how a poo can become a celebration of wellness. Keeping a sense of humour at all times is of course essential.
A listening ear and empathy
Many of the mums I am working with just now, have had birth trauma and thereby not necessarily experiencing what they expected motherhood to be like. Having a listening ear for any mum to talk about what’s happened at the birth, subsequent recovery and those first few days and weeks as a mum has, in my view, allowed mums to come to terms with their journey. Even for mums who have had a reasonably ‘normal’ birth, talking about their experience of being a mum has had a positive impact. People like to talk, and they like being listened to and that in itself can be quite therapeutic – not someone who says “oh yes, I had that”, but someone who can actually understand why something that’s happened to someone else can be hugely traumatic – there’s only so much we can all experience ourselves so calmly listening and empathising is essential.
A cup of HOT tea
Nothing, in my view, is as essential as being able to enjoy a cup of tea and something to eat without holding a baby – no matter how much you want to be connected and attached to your baby – having someone hold your baby so you can see to your own essential needs including a 10 minute break where you aren’t feeding or holding your baby but drinking a cup of HOT tea is extremely therapeutic.
Feeding a baby can be quite isolating and lonely at times – for some they might enjoy that quiet time, but having silence or the company of the TV for every feed can be quite soul destroying – having someone to chat through what’s going on, your life, your travels, your interests, anything can be really good for the soul and a distraction.
There are of course many of other basic ways to help a new mum much more practically (ie walk babies so mum can sleep, hang up laundry, tidy up the kitchen, make meals, pop to the shops etc) but here are some of the emotional needs of any new mum… so who are you going to help first?
I offer complete support from Pregnancy to baby through my Bump, Birth and Baby package which includes up until the end for the first three months – focusing on emotional, mental and physical support.
Much love, Tricia xxx