The postpartum period is a time of bonding, beauty, shifting hormones, changing identity, and intense sleep deprivation. The weeks after birth can be an overwhelming and stressful time. Add to that a global pandemic and things can be even more challenging.
What can you do to make things easier on yourself? How do you postpartum during a pandemic with ease?
Establish a Postpartum Community
Humans are social people. We crave community, especially when it comes to motherhood. It is important to have an emotional, physical, and mental support system. This could mean some added preparation to make sure you have one person who can stay with you in the days and weeks after birth, maybe a partner, parent, or friend, so you have physical help. With concerns over Covid-19 (the coronavirus) and quarantine restrictions, it can be helpful to start thinking about who this person may be before baby is here.
Social distancing is different than social isolation. Just because you don’t have a steady stream of visitors coming to help you with baby, doesn’t mean you need to isolate yourself. Get creative with your postpartum community. Visit online support groups, regularly chat with friends and family over the phone, consider speaking to a counselor through online therapy. At Move Forward our licensed postpartum counselors serve online clients in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Williamsport, Harrisburg, and throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
We all have moments of doubt where we need to hear “you are doing great.” Make sure you have someone you can turn to during those times.
Set Media Boundaries for Yourself
There is a whole lot of unpleasant news out there these days and it can be easy to get sucked into the daily cycle. Limit yourself. Too much information can cause stress, anxiety, and depression during an already overwhelming time. Shield yourself and your baby from the scary stories of the world. Instead, give yourself a specific time to watch the news and switch to something more light-hearted the other hours of the day.
Making a conscious effort to create an environment of positivity and joy around your baby will have a big impact on your mood and even your bond with baby.
Embrace the Time At Home
All your baby really wants and needs is to be with you. Staying home is often encouraged in the first six weeks or so of postpartum under normal circumstances. This time allows for the bonding of you with your baby and helps your body to heal. Even if that time has to be longer because of a pandemic it is a great opportunity to embrace the simplicity of not having to go out. Enjoy all the extra cuddle time (and not having to lug a diaper bag or worry about where you will be when baby wants to eat or nap). Don’t put pressure on yourself to jump back into old routines.
This time secluded at home might feel tough and never-ending, but it will also pass.
Create a Postpartum Care Plan
Even with a pandemic going on your and your babies medical care is of absolute importance. Talk to your doctor about a plan for postnatal care and pediatric appointments to keep exposure to a minimum. Having a set plan can help to ease your stress and take some things off your plate.
Now is as great a time as ever to take care of yourself. Take advantage of the time you have to rest (maybe even catch a nap). Eat healthy foods. Take time to relax, whether that is binge-watching TV while soaking up the cuddles, taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, scheduling an online counseling appointment, or calling a friend. You must take care of yourself before you can best take care of baby.
Get Help When Overwhelmed
You don’t have to do this on your own. There is help. Don’t wait for the storm to pass. Reach out to a professionally trained counselor for online therapy. Call a friend if you feel like “you just can’t take it anymore.” Accept physical help, if you are comfortable.
Other things like keeping a daily journal, listening to meditations, and practicing some gentle yoga or exercise classes online can also be a big help in clearing your head.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
Move Forward’s professionally-trained and licensed postpartum mental health counselors have openings for online therapy. Just call our office at 717-462-7003×1 and speak to our administrative assistant to schedule an appointment. We want to help you enjoy this time.
Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.