Depression

6 keys so that a mother never feels annulled by motherhood


There is no happiness comparable to becoming a mother. However, motherhood brings with it many other emotions and feelings that are not always so pleasant: doubts, worries, fears, guilt, self-demand ... All this, added to the fact that all babies are very demanding, especially in the first months of life, moms can feel overwhelmed. What can a mother do to avoid feeling annulled by motherhood? What are the keys to feeling good about yourself and enjoying the moment?

To reflect on this, we spoke with Paola Pedraza, a psychologist specializing in perinatal mental health in Colombia. She, in addition to her professional experience, speaks to us from the point of view of a recent mother, since her son Tomás is 3 years old and her little Valkyrie, 11 months.

It may sound crude or selfish, that's why not everyone dares to say it out loud, but as Paola explains a mother's priority should be herself, and then her baby. We cannot pretend to take care of a person, and that this is happy and healthy mentally and physically, if we do not take care of ourselves; take care of yourself to care. We cannot forget the premise: 'healthy moms, happy babies'.

The baby that just arrived in the family depends entirely on his mother and father, therefore both must be sure that they are in the best conditions. Otherwise, they will not be able to take care of your child as he deserves. For this reason, it is important for the mother to find moments in which she can take care of herself.

By forgetting these self-care, mothers can come to feel that motherhood is nullifying them; or rather, that they themselves They are allowing motherhood to nullify them. Although it is true that during motherhood a series of physical and hormonal changes take place that can play a trick, it is necessary that moms (and their entire support network) do everything in their power so that this cancels them .

Next, the psychologist Paola gives us some keys to prevent motherhood from annulling mothers.

1. Accept the change in routines and habits
It is indisputable that motherhood brings some obvious changes to a mother's life. However, it is important to take stock of the extent to which this new life is allowed to prevail over what was had before.

In this situation, we can find the two extremes: the mothers who try to continue with the life they had until then; and those that completely leave their old lives behind, totally changing their way of being and being. The key is to find the middle ground between one position and another, for the sake of mother and baby.

2. Understand that the puerperium is an evolution
After giving birth, a mother has to physically recover. In this sense, it is important that in the first weeks, even months, take the opportunity to regain strength. But it is also important that you dedicate a lot of time to the baby: to be with him, to feel him, to build a strong bond, to feed him ...

After this first period that must be respected for our health and for the development of the baby, some of the previous habits can be resumed. Each mother must find her own rhythms and activities: start going to the gym, go out some afternoon with her friends, find some time with her partner ...

3. Trying to adapt the child's routine to ours
As soon as it is born, the baby will have all the rhythms changed and, for example, we cannot expect him to sleep through the night. However, little by little, as they grow, routines and habits should be transmitted, since these are essential for the growth and development of the little ones.

To make time for themselves, mothers can adapt these routines to the child's rhythms and to their own. For example, if the child goes to bed at 11 o'clock at night (even if he gets up later), the mother will not have time to spend time before going to bed, since by then she will also be very tired. So if bedtime is advanced earlier, it will be easier to have some room to enjoy before bedtime.

4. Take advantage of any time to rest
It is important to take advantage of any time when the child sleeps or is entertained to rest. But we can also use those moments to enjoy hobbies: taking a bath, reading, cooking ...

5. Get organized and let yourself be helped
In most cases, moms are not alone when it comes to motherhood. There are different supports that can help to find certain moments of liberation and self-care. Your partner, grandparents, a babysitter ... Taking advantage of that support network can be very beneficial for that mother, especially when she is beginning to feel exhausted.

6. Find spaces for yourself
Thanks to this support from loved ones and good organization, the mother will find time for herself. These moments can be dedicated to whatever she wants: resting, getting ready, making friends again, getting a treatment ... Whatever she wants and needs at that time.

And what if we let ourselves be overwhelmed by the new situation at home. These are some of the consequences:

- Extreme tiredness can lead to physical problems
When a mother is not his priority, exhaustion appears both physically and emotionally. Some of the most common physical consequences are dark circles, constant sleep, weight loss, lack of appetite, anxiety about food that leads to a worrying weight gain ...

- Irritability
Another of the most common consequences of extreme fatigue is irritability. When a mother does not rest well, it is usual that she is more moody, has mood swings, is irritable ... And this ends up affecting her day to day. And in the end, this irritability can reach the baby.

- Mixed feelings
Due to fatigue, some mothers may develop mixed feelings towards the baby. They love and adore him, but they feel a certain feeling of sadness because they face too great a change in their lives that, for the moment, they do not know how to manage.

- Predisposition to child abuse
When a mother is very tired, any little gesture that she does not expect can make her explode. At this time, their way of reacting may be different: screaming, despair, violence ... However, when the mother is rested and cared for, love will be her first response.

- Postpartum depression
Sometimes this emotional change can lead to postpartum depression. It is normal for women to feel sad after giving birth. However, being sad is not synonymous with having depression. When a woman suffers from depression, she has permanent crying, insomnia, lack of hunger, contempt for the baby, lack of desire to do things (take a bath, get out of bed, etc.) ... And all this is maintained for 6 months or more .

If after this time these feelings remain, it is advisable to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist for help.

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