mental health blocks

Maternal Mental Health After Pregnancy

Once you have given birth, you learn that there a quite a few appointments in the weeks afterwards, including midwife visits and a 6 week check up with your GP. I didn’t have the typical visit on day 5 then day 10. Instead, a midwife visited me for 10 days to monitor my blood pressure. It wasn’t pregnancy induced as I’ve had hypertension for around 4-5 years now. Because of this, I was under a clinic called MAViS who were absolutely lovely and also checked in on me while I was in the postnatal ward.

How do you feel?

During the appointments, you’re asked quite often how you feel. The truth is, I was a bag of emotions. I felt like a yo-yo constantly going up and down, happy then sad. Of course, fluctuating hormones play a part, and you feel like you can’t escape them. Looking back, I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself and maybe I wouldn’t be containing with similar emotions now. How was I supposed to really know how I really felt at 6 weeks? Motherhood was still very new. My body was and still is recovering – mentally and physically. I’ll be honest, I didn’t speak up earlier on, it took me until I was 3-4 months to have a couple of phone calls with a doctors which led to a referral and then another referral again. I’m not in a place to talk about it in great depth but I can tell you, it’s all very raw, and most of my feelings towards every day things in life seems to stem back to my younger days, perhaps high school.

I’m 9 months postpartum and I see a lot of posts on social media that still pressure me – it’s just how my mind can be. I used to read posts like, you’ve got this or it gets easier. And they are absolutely right even if I lose perspective a little on the tougher days. I have created an Instagram account focus on the truth and positivity that surrounds me on my motherhood journey. You can follow me @_hellomorningtea. I don’t have any weaning or sleep tips but my aim is to focus on topics that you, my fellow mamas can relate to.

It’s okay to say no

One thing I am telling myself more often is, it’s okay to say no. This has made a difference. I used to find it hard to come away from being the new mum who says yes to everything. I like to think I have find my place in motherhood and I see myself a lot stronger even though there are anxieties underneath it all. Visits from family and friends can be overwhelming as much as you love those people in your life. It’s okay to be honest and say you’re not feeling up to it. If I’ve had a day where I haven’t felt comfortable in my own skin or I am anticipating seeing someone and wondering how they are going to comment on me, baby, life in general, I will get sad. It’s not always easy to explain but the littlest of things can make me this way.

Your life has changed in the most incredible way. There are challenges, tears, frustration but above all, there’s wholeheartedness. A love like no other – with your child/ren. Having a baby isn’t for some people but I am so lucky to have my baby boy as what we have as our little family, is something more than I’ve ever dreamed of. I hope that one day in the future, I can take everything I’ve learned from my first pregnancy and having our first child into a new strength when we have a baby brother or sister for our son. Every single day is an experience for something new and another day we love and know our baby boy.

I know that each and every one us are different, including the wonderful daddies out there too. And for the support side of life, I am lucky to have my partner by my side – the one person I can rely on 100%. He always tries his best to be patient with me and understands that sometimes I just need him to listen, as much as he wants to find a way to take everything away from me.

Useful links

Image credit: Vie Studio on Pexels.

two soft cuddly teddies on grass

What Motherhood Has Taught Me About Self Love

If you’re a regular reader on my blog, you know that I have a constant mind of a worrier, I struggle to see myself through the eyes of people who love me the most, and I always have something circling in my brain.

Since becoming a mum, these thoughts and feelings have been challenged. There are (still) a surge of hormones going through my body as expected. I have become better in some ways and feel like I have weakened in other areas. That’s what I am going to talk about in this post.

Becoming a braver woman?

In ways, yes, I am stronger and braver since becoming a mum. Those instincts to protect your child wherever possible and speaking up hit me from day one, even when our baby boy was in my tummy growing. In other ways, I probably haven’t grown in ways I wish I could. Maybe I had too many expectations that my pattern of negative or worrying thoughts would lessen a lot or maybe even come to an end. I know now that’s way out of reach but I am still learning and growing where I can. There are things I do now which I was terrified of e.g. 1) going for walks every day with baby without wondering about people’s judgement, 2) meeting up with other mums for baby activities, and 3) having the confidence to speak out loud wherever it concerns my health or my baby’s.

I would be lying if I said I have hit all 3 things above perfectly. I am still working on them all in some way or another but I will get there.

Image isn’t everything

Another one that I am still learning to remember. I am very critical about my appearance, whether it be my hair, skin, weight, anything. Some days I might ‘like’ myself a little more than others but I don’t feel like the woman I used to. Sometimes I feel a bit lost then I try to remind myself that how I look isn’t anything to worry about. I need to be kinder to myself. I wouldn’t say the things I say to myself to anyone else so why should I be any different? I might not get in those same size skinny jeans at the moment or ever but it’s okay. I need to stop beating myself up and work on the things that matter.

Danny and Freddy love me for who I am so that’s what I think about whenever I start to feel down about my appearance. It’s so easy to criticise yourself. I want to set an example to our son that he should love who he is so I am doing my hardest to follow that too.

A different perspective

Becoming a mum hasn’t only changed how I feel about my body but it has changed my perception on a range of things. It can relate to things like work, social life, day-to-day chores around the house etc. And prioritising what needs to be done the most. Some days I might not be able to whiz round the house as quick as I used to but it’s okay because being a mum to Freddy is making sure he’s fed, clean and happy with lots of love around him.

I can see what’s really important and what matters to me the most – our little family. Our son comes first and the 3 of us are a family unit who share smiles but let’s not forget about the tears.

Becoming a mum has given my life a whole new meaning and I am so grateful that I have our beautiful baby boy. I fall in love with every little thing he does – learning something new every day, those cute noises, giggles, all of him.

I’m learning that it’s okay to go at my own pace with whatever comes my way.

What has becoming a mum taught you?

Photo source: Alexas_Fotos on pixabay.com

hands holding a candle

3 Little Reminders for When You Are Feeling Stressed

Are you feeling stressed? This post might help to take away some of the things which are on your mind and are continuing to put a strain on you. Or at least, I hope it helps you to find a different perspective.

We all feel stressed from time to time and there are different coping mechanisms that work for each of us. Stress can cause many anxieties but there is a way to fight back if you take control. Feeling under pressure or worrying about situations, even the smallest things or events that haven’t even happened, there’s a type of stress which hits us all. For someone who suffers with a number of conditions that can be worsened by stress, I need to start taking a leaf or two out of my own book!

Why not think about these reminders below…

This period of time is temporary and will pass

What you are feeling so low about? Do you think it’ll matter in a few weeks, months, or a year from now? I like to think that challenges arise to test us but we can learn how we react to certain situations which also encourages us to grow. I have experienced this on both a professional and personal level. Learning to find a coping mechanism like taking deep breaths, or having a quick break from the thoughts swimming around in my head, seems to help. Sometimes, you have to remove yourself from the environment that’s making you feel this way.

There is guaranteed to be things in your life that make you feel happy and grateful to have. So, next time you are feeling stressed, focus on those positive things to help make you smile.

Always remember to switch off

It doesn’t matter if you need to switch off from work, family matters, friendship/relationship problems, or to come away from something personal, do it. I have struggled with this one before now and too many times, I have let negative thoughts beat me up inside. My mind has been overblown to the point where I don’t understand anything, yet I’ll still quietly say “yes” or agree to everything because I am mentally and physically drained to say anything different.

Also, another thing to mention, about life in general is, we aren’t here to just sit around and question why someone thinks what they do. It’s your responsibility to live your life how you want to live it and accept that people will always have something to say whether you like it or not.

Pay attention to things that settle you

What helps you the most when it comes to removing yourself from a stressful scenario? I can think of more than a few things, can you relate to any of these? A hug, something to make you laugh, having a soak in the bath, going for a walk to clear your head, listening to music, the list goes on…

When stress triggers had hit me in the past, and were much more long-term, I completed a mindfulness course online and it worked wonders! Give it a go if you haven’t already.

Remember, try not to create scenarios in your head when they haven’t happened yet or might not even happen at all. It’s quite hard for us perfectionists when trying not to stress if things don’t go exactly how you wanted them to but these things happen and it’s just how life can be.

You might also like to read: 5 Ways to Wind Down and Relax

notepad coffee and roses on table

A Letter to the Me Who Worries

A letter to yourself, some people might think that’s kinda strange. But I don’t. I’ve seen a few recently and it inspired me to create one of my very own. This is a letter to myself, the version of my that worries. Worry seems to be a thing I can’t always balance. There are times when I think, “Yes! I’m feeling so good.” Then something seems to knock it all back down. So if you’re someone like me, please read this post until the very end.

Stop being so self-critical on your appearance.

The dry skin; spot; hair that really needs its highlights topping up; your weight; you’ve got a whole list haven’t you? People will tell you that you look okay. Your eyes might see something different than theirs but maybe you do look okay. Who says not looking okay means you need to have perfect skin or looking flawless day in and day out?

You feel bloated quite a lot. But don’t punish yourself by telling yourself that it’s ugly. Just because you’ve been ugly before, doesn’t mean that you are. When you do have that spare time though, take yourself to the hairdressers, a good pamper might just make you feel all the more wonderful.

Try to stop the little things getting in your way.

You can waste so much time battling thoughts in your head. Even when you think you’re in a place where you worry less about this, that, and everything, there’s something. At the back of your mind you feel a big anxious feeling. It’s horrible. No one else seems to get it. But you just want it to go away.

You can randomly wake up some mornings and you know it’s hit you. Try to show that feeling where to go! You’ve got to think that some of the things bothering you, wouldn’t bother others in the slightest. Be the person who carries on walking with their head up high regardless of what anyone says.

Stop getting caught up in things that don’t really matter – all of those little things that are your worries.

Time after time you’ve tried to explain what’s wrong and half of the time you’ve sounded so silly. Others have been genuine. But for the other parts, you spent a lot of time wondering. A whole lot of sadness it brought you. Do you remember?

Imagine what your granny and grandad would say to you. Probably something like,

Tasha! Come on. Pull yourself together.

Well granny being the tough one that is. Grandad would tell you, just like he did, that it’s okay to feel down sometimes. But he’d hate the idea of you being down about yourself. As difficult as it might be, try to let go, and enjoy everything you have.

Start living your life your way in the happy way.

See how we’ve got onto ‘start’ rather than ‘stop’? That’s because it’s time for you to start. You can carry on beating yourself up mentally. But you know just as much as others, it does no good whatsoever in several different ways. Start your day with more encouragement to yourself. Tell yourself you can do it, and if not, tell yourself you’ll learn how to and try your best.

Smile at every opportunity. Start doing your thing, rather than letting other people’s opinions, lives, and whatever get to you. Some people do this without realising. And you’ll realise that others’ lives aren’t always as perfect as they seem. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Just live. It’s what we’re all here to do. No matter how old you are, tell yourself you’ll make the most of life. And the big thing about this that others won’t see in the same way, it includes saying no. Turning something down or saying no doesn’t mean you aren’t making the most of something. It means you’re choosing what’s best for you at that given time. You’ll see a huge difference. Believe it and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

When you’re at the stage when you’re wondering what’s going on, remember why you started something. Try your best to leave those worries behind. If it’s still worth something today, keep at it. If it’s not, make a change. You’re in control. You’ve got this. And you will accomplish more than you ever imagined when you focus less on your worries.