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Essential Tips for Maternal Mental Health After Having a Baby - Part 2

Updated: 3 days ago

Continued from our last post of Part 1, here's some more helpful wisdom after having a baby!



A new mom looking at their baby


It’s a big deal for figuring out your identity after motherhood and getting to know this new tiny human that you are entrusted to care for. 

It’s a big deal because it's all new and you are often navigating the early weeks very sleep deprived. 


I think most of us as moms are going to be learning and re-learning ourselves from the day our babes are born on. When you begin motherhood you add an entire other aspect of yourself to your identity: many of us are wives, mothers, workers, siblings, friends, etc. Each of these roles is unique. 


One of the challenges of becoming a mother is finding the time to connect to all these different areas of ourselves. That is why for some the identify shift can take years to understand. 


Each experience is different– I know for me, the early couple of months the role of mother is the biggest one and I don’t feel like the self that existed pre-baby. But slowly, I am reconnecting to old things that help me feel like me and finding new things that are important. 


Below are a few practical tips to help prepare yourself for early postpartum time period and focus on maternal mental health: 


Maternal Mental Health tips to prep for the postpartum period


  1. Order supplies - Pro tip here: don’t open them until you need them. You may not need many of the things that you ordered to care for yourself 

  2. Decide how you want to spend the early days. Do you want visitors, do you plan to stay in bed, etc.

  3. Delegate and write out tasks that you typically handle in your home and consider creative ways to off load or share those tasks

  4. Consider a postpartum plan - Where you name a few simple tasks that you want to do each day/each week that help you feel slightly more “human”, decide who will handle meals/ clean up/ laundry etc. 

  5. Think about what things are really important to you– Being outside, working out, washing your hair and actually drying it, putting on “real clothes” even if they are just a different pair of comfy clothes, go out to dinner, invite friends over for coffee or tea. 

  6. Take out clothes from your closet - One of the most kind things I did during pregnancy and postpartum with my last pregnancy was took out clothes from my closet that I definitely could not wear and put them away until it was time to bring them back out. I purchased a few new things each pregnancy/ early newborn season to feel fresh/ feel a little more like myself. Then when I pulled out the back of clothes- it felt exciting to be “shopping” in my own clothes that I could wear again. 

  7. REST – I can’t emphasize this enough. You will hear the idea “sleep when the baby sleeps” ha– that can feel like a joke when so many of us are wired to do- but really it is important. I know as a therapist who works with moms that sometimes our brains just won’t shut off or you feel like there are a million and one things you “should” do but sleep. 

  8. Recognize and realize that "postpartum" doesn't end when you have your follow up visit with your doctors office or even at 12 weeks. There is conflicting research around how long this period last. In this article they define the postpartum time period where most of the body has returned to it's pre-pregnancy state. Even that statement- has conflicting research around how long it may take a women's body to return to a pre-pregnancy state due to various factors (such as lactation, complications, sleep depreviation, etc). I was reading a survey on instagram from mom's about how long it took them to begin to feel like themselves again on Expecting and Empowered. On average most women said 2 years, and then many said that they became pregnant again at that time.

  9. COMPASSION:

  10. Remind yourself that this is hard because it is hard. There is a lot happening (we highlighted some of those in Part 1). I love this helpful blog with some self-care tips for the postpartum session and barriers that can impact our self-care.


I read a quote somewhere that getting beyond 24 hours of sleep deprivation can be similar to a form of torture. Our brains truly can not function. Which means that we aren’t operating well. 


The biggest thing I have had to practice when it comes to rest over the last 3 years of motherhood is to have grace when I sleep and decide that even if I didn’t do x, y, an z during that time that my body probably needed the rest if I fell asleep that easily. 


This is not something I love but I commonly fall fully asleep on the couch by 8:30 if I am totally still. It’s not always because I am exhausted (that is true many times) but truly when I read the posts on instagram about the amount of energy required of pregnant, breastfeeding, and mothers in general compared to olympic athletes- my mind is blown. 


Seriously– every mom is a superhero and freaking strong. 

The days are long but the months are short- in the early days it can feel so easy to think you have to be perfect or do all the things. Just know it is temporary and with a little more grace for yourself and compassion, you will navigate through it.


If you are a new mom, dad, couple navigating new parenthood (whether your baby is 1 day old or a few years old), our team of therapist is trained and here to support you. If you are interested in learning more about what therapy can look like as a support system reach out through our contact form and our intake coordinator will follow up to share more.


At Steady Hope, we also really value connecting individuals to other organizations doing great work. If you find yourself longing for a free support group or to learn more about common experiences impacting parents in these early days- check out Postpartum Support International or this article from Maternal Mental Health Leadership Academy

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