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New Mom Support – Who’s Helping You?
I remember when my daughter, Bryley, tossed and turned day and night. She was 7 weeks old and stayed up from 3pm to 7am. If I put her down, she started crying, so I – the strive to be perfect, do it all mom – got up and bounced her across the whole night Needless to say, by the time 7 am rolled around, I not only felt absolutely exhausted, but I also felt alone, resentful, overwhelmed and confused.
The strange thing is:
It never occurred to me to ask someone for help.
Sound familiar? If so, you are not alone:
Many of the moms I talk to are trying to do everything by themselves.
Are you trying to do everything?
Answer the following questions and you will find out:·
- When was the last time you asked for (and received) some real help?
- How many times in the last month have you screamed in your
- head “HELP!” hoping that somehow someone would magically hear
- you and take over even for a little while?
- What do you do when you need support, rest or a sufficient break?
If your answers make it clear that you are a “do it all” (or “do too much”) mom, you may benefit from creating a support network dedicated just to you. Your own “new mom support network” will ensure that your “must-dos” get done, and that you get a chance to take care of yourself.
FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO CREATE YOUR ‘NEW MOM SUPPORT NETWORK’:
1. Learn to feel good about asking for help.
Our culture fails to teach us that it benefits people to ask for help. Rather, we are taught to value independence and view asking for help as a sign of weakness and deficiency: “If you were a REALLY well-adjusted and capable parent, you could take care of everything by yourself!” the voice in our heads proclaims.
Is this what you want to teach your child?
Taking time to get comfortable with asking for help will enable you to become the calm and content mother you want to be. Answer the following questions to understand why you find it difficult to ask for help, and to become more comfortable getting the support you need!
· What am I afraid of asking for support?
· How will it change how I view myself if I admit that I can’t do it alone?
· What would it take for me to reach out to others so that I can meet my own needs?
· What am I worried other people will think if I ask them for help or if they know I’m getting it?
· How would I feel if I was supported by a system that enabled me to really feel better day to day?
2. Change your focus:
If negative voices list the reasons you shouldn’t ask for help, replace them with thoughts about how you will benefit from the help you receive.
- Be a happier and more efficient mom.
- Feel better physically, emotionally and mentally.
- Feel supported and connected to people you like and respect.
- Feel less stressed and better equipped to handle challenges that arise.
- Feel less irritable and burned out.
- Teach your child to be comfortable asking for and receiving the support he needs.
- Teach your child to value himself.
3. Take action:
Choose your 3 biggest needs (for rest, alone time, emotional or parental support, connection, clean home, nutritious meals, intimacy, etc.), and choose 1 to 3 people who can support you in fulfilling the need. Your supports can be family, friends, groups, professionals, etc.
New mom support systems often include:
- Partner or best friend
- A new mom’s life coach
- A therapist
- A friend (especially another new mom)
- Support group
- Childcare (so you have time to fulfill your need for exercise, intellectual stimulation, artistic expression, socialization, etc.)
- Cleaning, errand or food service
- Health/body specialist (fitness trainer, massage therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, nutritionist, etc.)
4. Make a commitment:
Right now, make the commitment to:
1: Ask for help at least 1 time in the next week.
2: Have at least 1 person from your support network scheduled into your life by the end of next month so that one of your needs is met each week.
Copyright, Claudia Heilbrunn, Meaningful Self
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