According to the American Psychological Association, an estimated 9-16 percent of new moms suffer from postpartum depression. Many others struggle with less general melancholy – the culmination of 9 long months of morning sickness, swollen ankles, and sleepless nights (not to mention the cravings and inevitable mood swings). Couple that with a tiny newborn who needs to be fed, and changed, and then fed and changed again and again and again - and at all hours of the night and day, and it’s easy to feel over-whelmed. Add in all the shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning…oh, and if you have any other children…well, welcome to the Baby Blues.
One main reason, according to Melissa Cohen, psychotherapist and founder of The Mommy Bond in Westfield, NJ, is that it is all too easy for new moms to be trapped by unreasonable expectations and the need to be perfect.
“Post-partum perfectionism is what tends to make moms feel overwhelmed,” Cohen explained. “Most moms don’t call it perfectionism but they have internalized the societal message that a mother is devoted and self-sacrificing, putting their children’s needs before their own at all times. The message is pervasive, whether you identify with it personally or not. Mothers unknowingly set themselves up for disappointment and overwhelm when they try to measure up this unrealistic, idealized version of motherhood.”
So what can new moms do to combat Baby Blues? Cohen has a few ideas:
And remember we’ve all be there and felt that! Looking for more suggestions to keep the Baby Blues at bay? Here are some ideas we here at NJ Kids have used (and that have helped!) to get us through the emotional roller coaster of new motherhood: