Motherhood is a huge adjustment. Especially today. It’s a much different time than when you were a kid. In many ways, parenting has gotten more difficult.
Families today often consist of two working parents who must juggle parenting responsibilities amidst a dizzying array of choices, conflicting advice and ever-changing technology. The job of parenting is no longer shared among neighbors, as families are more isolated today than they used to be.
First-time moms are feeling this isolation, and social support has never been more important.
Numerous studies show social support is essential for all of us to maintain our physical and mental health. Especially new moms.
Having a baby can be a lonely experience. First-time moms often feel overwhelmed and find themselves withdrawing from friends and family. This is exactly what you shouldn’t do.
Social support helps new moms recover better after childbirth, manage stress better and feel more confident as a parent. Research suggests that social support is also a major defense against postpartum depression.
And it’s not only needed after your baby is born. A study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science found that women who receive strong social support during pregnancy had lower levels of a stress hormone which made them less likely to develop depression after childbirth.
The old saying it takes a village to raise a child holds true today. If you don’t have a support network, make one for yourself:
Have contact each day – Make some type of emotional connection each day. You may not be able to go out, but you can at least call, text or email. Video calls through FaceTime or Skype are great ways to keep in touch without leaving home.
Make social plans – You will need regular breaks from the demands of mothering. Use these breaks to strengthen your relationships with friends. Schedule a fun outing or girl’s night out. Even a quick meet up for coffee (we know you need it) or lunch helps you stay connected.
Join a support group – Support groups are a great way to get out of the house and meet other new moms, share ideas and get advice from professionals about issues that concern you. Find a support group near you.
Take a class – From breastfeeding basics to learning about childbirth, infant massage, infant CPR and more, classes can help you learn helpful information and meet other new moms at the same time. Check out our parenting and infant care classes.
Get online – Online communities offer ways to stay connected without having to leave home — a perfect solution for tired, strapped new moms. Try online support groups and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Now you can join our Facebook community for expectant and new moms, Healthy Driven Moms, featuring the expertise of our clinical staff at Edward Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital.
Get out in the community – Once you have a baby, family-oriented activities and events in your community become the norm. Participate! Parades, festivals and other community events are a great way to stay connected and have fun doing it.
Recruit an expert – A professional counselor can be a great source of support for new moms. It’s a chance to talk about your feelings and experiences with an objective listener.
Read 8 honest truths about life with a newborn.
How do you know when you’ve moved beyond baby blues? Learn the red flags for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs).
Check out our Healthy Driven Moms page on Facebook and instantly connect with other moms like you.
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