Postpartum is an exciting time, yet it comes with a lot of different emotions and hormonal shifts. The lack of sleep, overstimulation, and overall difficulty taking care of yourself can make it hard to cope with emotions like sadness and anger (and many others). Although your hormones typically return to baseline around 6 months, the stressors of parenting persist.
As a mom of two (2 years old and almost 6 months old) these are a few things that I have found to be helpful to manage these emotions when I am noticing them impacting my day or I am feeling overstimulated.
- Grounding. For me this can look like a lot of different things. Stepping outside in the cold air, taking a sip of cold water or hot coffee, or checking in with senses (ask yourself what do you see, hear, taste, feel, and smell). Even hugging my cat or dog can help me quickly ground.
- A Mantra. Repeating a mantra that can reframe my mindset quickly in the moment. Some examples of this are “my baby is not giving me a hard time, they are having a hard time”, “I am a worthy caregiver”, “This too shall pass”, etc.
- Let it Out. Whether you need to scream into a pillow, cry, call someone, or text a friend validate your emotions by expressing them.
- Support. This may come in the form of a support group (in person or online), a family member, a friend, or trusted childcare. Finding a support system is imperative to parenting, it is not meant to be done alone.
- Rest. This one may feel laughable when you have a newborn, but giving yourself grace and finding periods of rest is important. Sometimes napping when the baby naps works, but this can even look like having lunch by yourself instead of trying to eat a granola bar during a feeding, watching an episode of your favorite tv show, playing a video game, etc.
Of course these can be adjusted to use throughout different stages of parenthood, so keeping in mind what stage you are in is also important. Showing yourself grace and adjusting these skills as you need them can help you cope with some the more challenging emotions. I would love to hear what has helped you!