As a new parent, you want the absolute best for your baby. You’re filled with excitement and anticipation as you prepare to enter this amazing journey, but those feelings can sometimes be marred by fear or anxiety about the unknowns that lie ahead. Postpartum depression is one such worry – an unexpected burden that no parent should have to bear alone.
While it may not be possible to completely prevent postpartum depression, there are steps you can take during pregnancy or the adoption process to help reduce its likelihood and alleviate some of the mental health stressors associated with the transition into parenthood. In this blog post, we’ll dive into a few strategies to help with the transition into parenthood while actively preventing postpartum depression.
Creating a postpartum plan that protects your mental health.
A postpartum plan serves as a guide to help you navigate through the postpartum period and ensure that your physical, emotional, and mental well-being are taken care of. Here are some tips for creating a postpartum plan:
Don’t wait until baby is almost here. This allows you to have more time to research, gather information, and make decisions without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
Consider your needs:
Every new parent’s experience during the postpartum period is unique and different. Take some time to reflect on what is important to you and how you envision the first few weeks or months after baby is here. For instance, some new parents want family to stay with them while others prefer to have a few weeks with just the baby. If you have limited family or social support, it will be important to resource providers who could come in and help with the baby.
Set boundaries with your support system:
Discuss your postpartum plan with your partner, family members, or other close friends who will be supporting you during the transition. Be specific with your support system about what you will need during the postpartum period and your boundaries. This is the time to be selfish! It is important to only lean on support that respect your boundaries and listen to your needs. The last thing you want on your plate is drama or conflict.
This doesn’t mean making elaborate plans to get out of the house or having to do an elaborate activity. This can be getting outside in the sun or watching a favorite show. Having a newborn can feel all-consuming and monotonous and these simple activities can help break up the day.
Include mental health strategies:
Make sure to incorporate activities and strategies that promote good mental health into your postpartum plan. This can include things like taking breaks when needed, practicing relaxation techniques, or seeking professional help if necessary. It can be helpful to develop a relationship with a therapist during your pregnancy/adoption process and set up an appointment during the postpartum period. This can serve as a check-in and help identify any struggles you may be experiencing. A therapist trained in perinatal mental health can be a great resource for new moms and they will be able to connect you with groups or providers in the community. We have several specialists here at Informed Therapy Group. Check out our postpartum counseling page and contact us to schedule an initial consultation call.
Your postpartum plan is not set in stone and it’s important to be open to making changes as needed. While you may have set certain boundaries or actions in place, you can always change. While it is important to have a plan, you can’t always predict how you will feel or the challenges you may encounter with your baby. You can always change the plan.
Prepare for postpartum by researching local resources and joining classes or groups.
Parenthood is an incredible experience; it’s both exciting and nerve-racking. One of the most significant aspects new parents must prepare for is postpartum. To ensure a smooth transition into the new chapter of your life, research local resources and join classes or groups that can help you cope. These resources might include postpartum support groups, lactation consultants, or even online forums. Joining a class or support group can also help you meet other new parents and share experiences. Apart from getting tips and support from others, you can also discuss challenges that may arise and prepare yourself for them. Informed Therapy Group has a resources page with several support groups and providers for new parents.
Create a strong support system of family, friends, and healthcare providers.
Having a strong support system is essential for maintaining and improving overall health and well-being. When we are surrounded by family, friends, and healthcare providers who uplift us, challenge us, and provide us with the care we need, we are more likely to be happier and healthier in the long run. Friends and family can offer emotional support, encouragement, and help with everyday tasks, while healthcare providers can offer expertise, guidance, and evidence-based treatments to help us stay healthy. Building and maintaining a strong support system requires effort and dedication, but the rewards are immeasurable. By investing in these relationships, we can create a foundation of support that will sustain us through even the most challenging of times.
Set realistic expectations about parenthood.
While it is natural to have certain expectations about how you will navigate this journey, it is crucial to set realistic expectations. Let’s face it – parenthood is not a perfect science, and you are bound to have messy moments along the way or not feel like you know what you are doing. This is normal! You will also encounter moments where things don’t go as planned. For instance, you may have goals for parenthood such as having skin-to-skin with baby after the birth, enjoying a peaceful postpartum period with your child, or breastfeeding. It is important to have goals but be open to change and realize that these changes don’t reflect your ability to be a good parent. There are so many things that will be out of your control. In these moments, give yourself the time to experience sadness and grief over things changing yet try to challenge the idea or notion that you are failing when you can’t achieve certain goals.
Talk to someone if you feel overwhelmed, down, or anxious before baby arrives– seek help from a therapist if needed.
It’s completely normal to feel down, anxious, or even scared during this period of your life. But the important thing is not to suffer alone. Talking to someone can make all the difference. Whether it’s a trusted friend, a family member, or a therapist, reaching out for help is a brave and smart thing to do. And don’t worry, seeking help doesn’t mean you’re weak or incapable. In fact, it shows how strong and resourceful you really are. So don’t hesitate to reach out and get the support you need during this special time. Our therapists at Informed Therapy Group are passionate about helping new parents transition into parenthood. Reach out today and schedule an initial phone consultation to learn more about our services.
All in all, being a new parent can be one of the most rewarding experiences, but it’s important to take care of yourself first and foremost. By following the tips above and making intentional efforts to create a strong support system, set realistic expectations about parenthood, and practice self-care, you are setting yourself up for success. Don’t forget to lean on your family and healthcare providers if needed; they are there to help. Making your needs a priority will only benefit you and your family. While it can be easy to only focus on preparing for the baby’s arrival, it is important to help yourself transition as well.
Start Working With a Postpartum Therapist in Atlanta, GA
You don’t have to struggle with postpartum depression alone. Our team of caring therapists would be honored to support you in overcoming the symptoms that affect you most. With the support of therapy and family, you can cultivate stronger bonds. You can start your therapy journey with our Atlanta, GA-based practice by following these simple steps:
- Contact Informed Therapy Group to schedule an appointment
- Meet with a skilled therapist for your first session
- Start preparing for the postpartum transition!
Other Services Offered at Informed Therapy Group
Postpartum therapy isn’t the only service offered by Informed Therapy Group. Our team understands that you may be struggling with more than one mental health concern. This is why we are happy to offer support with therapy for depression, therapy for stress management, anxiety therapy, and therapy for grief and loss. We also specialize in couples therapy and pregnancy counseling. To learn more about Informed Therapy read About Us, FAQs, and our blog!