I’ve been writing my story for ‘Women’s Voices of PND‘ and it’s made me think, if I was to go through it again, what tips would I give myself – so here goes….
1. Speak to your health visitor and GP and be absolutely honest with them and all your symptoms and feelings. They will not take away your baby, but they will diagnose you more appropriately.
2. Organise counselling or other therapy. Counselling services from local PND charities such as CrossReach are amazing but in demand. If you find there is a waiting time and you have the money or you have access to private medical insurance through your employment (or your partner’s employment) find out if you can access counselling as part of it. You are worth it – don’t feel it’s an unnecessary expense – it’s essential to your health. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is well known form of counselling that has been proven to be very effective and there are many other types which have different benefits. I now offer EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) for mums and dads with perinatal mental health.
3. You might be struggling with energy levels or being able to undertake the most basic of things – that’s OK. Try to keep getting out of the house and do little things like go for coffee, go to cinema or an easy walk in the fresh air.
4. There are many free or cheap apps now for our phones which can help such as ‘Headspace’ or ‘Deep Sleep’ – great to calm you down and really effective for improving sleep. They don’t take long out of each day and will really help to clear your mind of negative thought processes.
5. Keep yourself distracted and brain busy doing anything but thinking – craft is brilliant at taking up headspace (take up knitting, baking, scrapbooking), reading books (which has been found to have positive effects for days after finishing a book), activities such as listening to music with a good sing-a-long, and being round positive, energy filled people who make you feel good!
6. Lower expectations – this includes from your babies/children (around sleep, eating, behaviour – they are just tiny babies and toddlers), yourself (you don’t need to be a perfect parent, you don’t need to cook from scratch, you might not manage a full on creativity session with your children, you can’t meet every demand put on you) and those around you (they might not manage to do everything you expect or want).
7. Practice kindness to yourself – do something every day for yourself – it could be a bath, lying listening to the radio in peace, cooking something that you want to do, going for a massage, or spending time with people you want. Take a break every day, one that is concious (ie not always a sleep) and if you can, organise a longer break from the children at least once a week.
8. Be grateful for the little things in your life – that could be the sun out in the sky, for the opportunity to get some “me time”, it could be your children, your husband, your home, your pets, your family, a new outfit or just anything that you feel you can be grateful for.
9. Practice positive affirmations – useful ones such as ‘I have been given what I can cope with’, ‘I am calm’, ‘I am respectful of myself and my feelings’, ‘I enjoy spending time with my children’, ‘I enjoy meal times with my children’, ‘My children are behaving like children’, ‘I am loved by my family’.
10. Let go – let go of the control, let go of the negative thoughts, let go of the parental guilt, let go of the clock watching and routines, let go of any expectations and start enjoying the chaos, life as a parent and cuddle your babies.
I offer Bump, Birth and Baby support which will take you all the way from pregnancy through to the end of the first few month. If you are feeling anxious in your pregnancy or with your new baby, Parenting Coaching can support your individual needs. Stand-alone EFT can be utilised at any time.
Much love, Tricia xxxx