In the new book Understanding Your Moods When You’re Expecting, author Lucy J. Puryear, MD covers everything from hormonal effects on emotions throughout the three trimesters to bonding with your baby. She also touches on emotions, mental health and happiness after pregnancy, including how to deal with the stress and pressure that comes along with being a new mom. Following are a few or Dr Puryear’s tips to handle the hiccups that come along in the first few months of motherhood.
Forget being a perfect parent
Sure, some new moms make it look easy: With a few shushes and pats on the back, their babies go from fussy to completely peaceful in minutes. But if you’re finding motherhood more challenging, don’t fret. Chances are those “perfect” moms have her fair share of fussiness, too. And besides, no two babies are alike, so you should never judge your situation based on others.
Dr Puryear suggests that you allow yourself to be good enough, and don’t expect perfection. And go easy on yourself if you mess up once in a while – chances are you won’t scar your child for life if you make a mistake. For example, if you normally feed your child organic baby food and happen to be in a situation in which you can’t, it isn’t going to be the end of the world. And keep in mind that gourmet organic baby food by itself is not going to result in a happier, healthier child, particularly if you become a basketcase at every imperfection.
If you are super-stressed about every little thing, find other moms to talk to. Join a playgroup or take your baby to a mommy-and-me class. Being able to confide in someone in the same boat will make it easier for you to deal with your frustration and fears – and see that perfection is unrealistic for every mom.
Don’t put baby before marriage
That precious little bundle of joy may be front and center in your life, but your marriage should not take a backseat to your baby. After all, your child will be better served by having the example of parents who love and care for each other.
In order to keep your relationship healthy and intact, Dr Puryear recommends that you make a point to spend one night a week alone with each other. Leave the baby with a sitter and head out to dinner or just for a quick drive or walk. Just one hour can be enough to help the two of you feel connected. And while you’re out, try to talk about anything but your little one. Remember that there’s more to life than diaper changes and sleep schedules – and you need a break from all of the baby talk!
Avoid all the advice
People are always overflowing with advice for new moms. From tips on how to bundle babies during the winter to various ways to calm them, there are many approaches to child-rearing – none of which you’re obligated to follow.
You do not need to listen to advice about the “right” way to do things. There are many right ways, depending on whom you ask or what books you read. So if someone offers you unsolicited advice, simply smile and say a sweet thank you. Then, find the methods that work for you, and feel confident that you know what is best for you and your family.For more helpful advice and excerpts from Understanding Your Mood When You’re Expecting, visit Dr Puryear’s website LucyPuryear.com.
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