As a brand that’s made up of moms ourselves, we get it. We’re Expectful, the number one meditation and sleep app for fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood. Designed with you in mind, we help women through every stage of pregnancy, from uncertainty and waiting during preconception through coping and exhaustion in motherhood. We’ve had our share of bumps in the road to and through motherhood, and one thing we hear a lot is that many of us aren’t prioritizing our mental health. We spend our days attending to the demands of others and we stay up all hours of the night to try and get back an ounce of time to ourselves which is usually spent catching up on other to-dos. Or, if we take a break during the day, we batter ourselves with guilt and ask, “Am I being selfish?”
So, how do you support your mental health in a way that is real and sustainable, but doesn’t leave you prone to mom guilt (and spiraling back into self-neglect)?
Mental Health Support That Actually Works for Moms
1. Take Small Steps
It can be easy to tell ourselves in the middle of the night, on the heels of an anxiety-induced adrenaline rush, that tomorrow everything will change. We’ll start working out, we’ll start taking the baby to grandma a few times a week, we’ll manage our time better, we’ll call to make those appointments, we’ll catch up on work, and we’ll do it all at once. But let’s be clear, taking too much on at once is a recipe for disaster and likely to leave you even more overwhelmed. Instead, pick one clear goal that feels realistic to tackle and start there. Then, celebrate the small win with a treat of your choosing.
2. Advocate for Your Needs
One of the first steps in prioritizing your mental health is realizing that you are deserving, and worthy, of putting your needs first. Though it can feel uncomfortable or even make you nervous to speak up for yourself, it is vital that you communicate your wants, needs, and boundaries to those around you. Self-advocacy is a crucial part of maintaining healthy relationships and overall happiness in life. Remember, a happy, healthy mom = a happy, healthy family.
3. Ask for Help
We’re often raised to think that we’re stronger, better, or superior for doing things by ourselves. But the truth is, we know it takes a village to raise a child, so why aren’t we utilizing ours more? We understand that not everyone has the same community of neighbors, family, and friends to swoop in and offer you 24/7 support. Thankfully, there are many professionals—from motherhood coaches to therapists who can help you navigate these confusing waters—or just be there for you.
4. Ditch Mom Guilt, For Good
One of the best ways to overcome mom guilt is to get to the root of what is causing it in the first place. Try making a note when you feel negative thoughts coming on and look for similarities in the occurrence. Once you can figure out what’s causing these feelings, it’s easier to watch for triggers. From there, you can make a plan for how to avoid negative thinking traps and move past the issue for good. We get that that’s all easier said than done, which is why we built a comprehensive course around tackling Mom Guilt, written and read by a perinatal psychologist (and mom, too!).
5. Practice Mindfulness & Meditation
Mindfulness can be a powerful tool to cope with the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with raising small humans—plus, it’s scientifically proven to decrease stress and anxiety during pregnancy and motherhood. No matter what stage of parenting you’re in, your meditation practice can be a touchstone to return to again and again. Try an app like Expectful for as few as 5 minutes a day. Expectful features the largest library of meditation and sleep content for fertility, pregnancy, and parenthood. It has been a trusted companion on one of life’s most challenging transformations for over 450,000 moms, and it can help you too.
Mothering is Hard, but You Aren’t Alone
The reality is that chores, showers, and trips to the store alone are not true forms of self-care or beneficial for anyone’s mental health in the long term. Repeat after us, you cannot self-care your way out of the need for community and physical support systems. Don’t be afraid to prioritize your happiness, and if you’re afraid that your anxiety will overcome you, then remember that there are coaches, therapists, and support groups to guide you through.
You can find everything you need on the Expectful app, the holistic haven for hopeful, expecting, and new moms. And because we understand that the journey to “mom” looks different for each of us, the app serves you meditations, events, support groups, education, and services catered to where you are, personalized by you. Start a free trial and get full access to the #1 Meditation & Sleep App For fertility, pregnancy, and parenthood.