Why Self Care Is Important For Mothers
By: Sarah Fader
Updated January 25, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn
Being a mother is one of the most exciting and exhausting jobs in the world. You’re responsible for the life of someone else. You love your kids, and you want to make sure that they are loved and that you can give them the best chance to go out into the world and succeed. But before you can care for your children, you need to nurture yourself. You may be used to putting others before you, and that’s a beautiful quality. Unfortunately, when you continue to do that, your mental health and well-being can suffer. That’s why it’s crucial to take time to engage in activities that make you feel good. The importance of self care for mothers is invaluable. Here’s why taking care of you is crucial as a mom.
New motherhood, mental health, and self care
Being a new mom is a beautiful feeling, but it’s also hard work. You feel thrilled to have a newborn, and you want to devote all your time to them. If you’ve adopted an older child, you have the same feelings. For moms who have given birth, there are many emotions present. Some mothers dive right into their roles and have no noticeable mental health issues. They might feel anxious or worried about their baby or feel the rise and fall of hormones, but nothing of note. Other moms could develop more serious conditions, such as Postpartum Depression or Postpartum Anxiety. Some mothers have a more severe condition called Postpartum psychosis, where they see or hear things that aren’t there. If you’re a mom and you develop any of these conditions, you should see a doctor and get a referral to a mental health professional.
Here are some signs of postpartum depression:
- Notably depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Having trouble bonding with your baby
- Lack of sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Fear or sense of inadequacy that you’re not a good mom
- Thoughts of shame or guilt
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to reach out to your doctor. Postpartum anxiety also plagues mothers, and you might not know you have it until you ask a mental health professional. If you find yourself excessively worrying about your baby’s safety or health, you could have postpartum anxiety. That’s a condition that a therapist can support you with and help you heal.
Practicing self care takes effort
The important part of being a mom is making sure that you are grounded and stable for your kids. That means you practice self care regularly. It might not come naturally to you to put yourself first. But it’s crucial to do this so that you are emotionally available for your children. It might take time to integrate self care into your routine. Once you do it, it will come more naturally to you. Perhaps you will take a bath on a regular basis. Maybe you will go for a walk. No matter what you do, the importance of self-care is invaluable. You need to dedicate a certain amount of time per week to take care of you. Do things that make you feel whole. You are not only a mother, but you are a human being who needs nurturing. It’s about factoring in the time to do things that fill you up.
Mothering doesn’t always mean sacrifice
As a mother, you are likely to sacrifice for your children. Some mothers say that they’ve never known they could love someone so much until they had a child. Before you had kids, you may have done things for yourself, like get a massage or go shopping or engage in hobbies. But once you have children, you think about them before yourself. It’s crucial to curve the impulse to self-sacrifice. There are times when you need to put your needs on the back burner, but self care is essential to stay grounded. You don’t want to become resentful of your kids. The importance of self-care for mothers means that you take time to do things you enjoy. Maybe that means going out to dinner with your partner. It could mean taking a friend out for coffee. Every person has a different meaning behind self-care. If you don’t take a break as a mom, you will burn out. That’s why self-care matters. Of course, you want to sacrifice your needs for your children. But remember, when you do that all the time, you will burn out, and then you won’t be able to be a good caretaker. It has to be a balance between caring for your children and caring for yourself.
Mental health and self care
Children view their mothers as superheroes. As a mom, you are a role model for your kids. You have the power to produce food, give your child entertainment, and bring them to exciting places. You are their protector, and they look up to you. Though your child may view you as a superhero, it’s essential to remember that you’re a human being. Just because you’re a mother doesn’t mean you don’t have mental health concerns. Everybody has problems, including mothers. Some moms have been through traumatic experiences. If you’re a mom that has experienced trauma, it’s important to get help. Part of your self-care strategies can include trauma informed care. Trauma informed care recognizes the impact that traumatic experiences have on us. Many moms experience trauma before they had children. Once you have a child, if you’ve given birth, you could develop postpartum depression. That chances of having this condition if you’ve endured trauma are greater than if you have not. Part of your self-care could be trauma informed care as well. It’s crucial to attend to your mental health whether you have trauma or other mental health conditions. Mothers can have a variety of mental health disorders. Some moms suffer from anxiety, whether it’s postpartum anxiety or any other disorder. Some others have depression or bipolar disorder. If you’re a mom who lives with a mental health condition, it’s crucial to attend to those by seeing a therapist and, if necessary, a psychiatrist. If you want to be there for your children, you need to be there for yourself first, and getting mental health care is crucial.
Some people struggle with taking time for themselves. If you’re a mom who has a hard time doing that, you’re not alone. There’s a common expression, “mom guilt.” You feel guilty no matter what you’re doing. Whether you’re spending loads of hours with your kids or taking time for yourself, you sense that you’re not doing enough. The truth is there’s no right way to be a mom. You need to take time for yourself. It’s okay if feelings arise when you do that. Sometimes you may experience guilt when you want to take care of yourself. Remember that your self-care matters. You’re not doing anything wrong by putting yourself first. Getting self-care services can mean a lot of things. It could mean going to therapy. You might get self-care services by seeing a psychiatrist. You might get self-care services by going to yoga or taking a class. You might feel guilty because taking care of yourself is a break from being with your children, and you want to be there to raise them. Taking small breaks will not impact your children in a negative way. In fact, it will improve your parenting because you’ll come back to being a mother feeling refreshed.
Practicing self care makes you a good role model
Kids pay attention to what their parents do, and that’s why it’s crucial to be mindful of your behavior in front of them. When you practice self care strategies, including taking breaks, going for walks, seeing friends, taking a bath, going to therapy, and trauma informed care, you are showing your children that taking care of oneself matters. You’re demonstrating how, when you practice self care; it makes you a kinder person. Your children will appreciate this and probably grow up to do the same. When you’re taking breaks or time for yourself, and your kids ask you why you can explain what self care does for you. The importance of self care speaks for itself, but you can also show it to your kids.
Online therapy and self care
When you see a therapist, they can help you learn to practice self care. Online therapy is a great place to gain insight into taking care of yourself. You can work with a counselor who gets you. If you’re a mom who has experienced traumatic events, your therapist can provide trauma care services. An online therapist understands that mothers who have had traumatic experiences may neglect their self care. A skilled online counselor will help a mom dig deep into why they’re avoiding caring for themselves. The therapists at BetterHelp work with new moms each day. They also help mothers who have older children practice self care. If you’re struggling with any mental health concern, online therapy is an excellent place to work through it, whether you’re a parent or another person who wants to better their life.
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