Dear New Moms: How is it going?

Share with us @tryverima or comment below how you are coping post-partum during the pandemic. 

Having a baby is a wonderfully exciting time, and parents revel in the joy of meeting their little
one for the first time. It can also be a stressful time, as mothers try to recover from labor, adapt
to all the changing hormones in their body, get used to caring for this tiny new human, and
learn to manage their days on very little sleep. It is often a time of very mixed emotions, and at
times, parents (and mothers especially) can experience feelings of anxiety, stress, depression,
and more. Throw into the mix a global pandemic, which is forcing many new parents to
navigate this new journey on their own, and the feelings of stress and anxiety can be
exacerbated ten-fold.

How are new moms coping these days amidst this pandemic? Studies show that the rate of
postpartum anxiety and depression are on the rise, and that really does not come as much
surprise, considering mental health in general has been a concern throughout this challenging
time. Where doctors typically saw approximately 13 – 15% of women developing postpartum
depression, these days that figure is sitting closer to 21%, which is alarming.

Now, there are some wonderful stories out there of parents enjoying the increased time at
home during the pandemic, and families benefitting from the change in lifestyle. My brother
and his wife are one such couple, as they recently brought their first child into the world. While
the actual labor and delivery was stressful, not knowing whether my brother would be allowed
into the delivery room and what safety protocols they would have to take, once my sweet little
nephew was born and they were home, their little bubble closed and they were safe and snug
at home. My brother was able to work from home, and the two new parents benefitted
immensely from the increased time together at home bonding with their sweet little babe.
Being self-employed, the pandemic actually gave them the maternity leave my sister-in-law
would not have had otherwise. Despite the stress, uncertainty, and worry cause by the
pandemic, this is one family that was able to see a silver lining through it all. Unfortunately,
however, they are a small minority who have been lucky enough to experience such a positive
outcome of having a baby during this global pandemic. Many mothers are struggling with the
stress and uncertainty of being a new mom, without the support they would normally have,
due to social distancing restrictions and such.

So, what are some things they can do to help lessen the burden and feelings of isolation during
this time? We at Verima went in search of some simple but helpful things new moms can do to
help make this time a little easier.

Stay Connected

Being a new mother is isolating at the best of times; you’re tied to the baby’s sleep schedule,
you’re exhausted, and you’re desperately trying to learn the ropes of being a new parent. Being a new mother amidst a global pandemic causes increased feelings of isolation, as your access to
additional support from friends and family is limited to almost nothing. There are ways to stay connected though, and this is so important. Call and Facetime family members when you can;
not only would they love to see the precious new addition, but the support (even if it’s just
virtual) can really help to boost your mood as well. If it is possible, plan a socially-distanced visit
where friends or family members can visit outdoors and from a distance. Whatever way that
you can, work in some times to connect, especially if you are feeling depressed, anxious, or
vulnerable. Don’t ever hesitate to reach out for support and connection when needed.

Get out there!
This time in your life is exhausting, and you may not necessarily feel like getting out and
socializing, but it can honestly do a world of good for your mental health. Try to join a local
moms group, even just a digital one on social media, and put out a *personal ad* of sorts
looking for other moms of similar aged babies for walks outside, meets in the park or even
wine/cocktail time via Zoom after babies are asleep. However you can, and whenever you can,
try to socialize with other moms, because if anyone understands how completely
overwhelming, wonderful, and stressful this whole journey is, it’s another mom!

Make Self-care a Priority
This is often something that seems like a cliché almost, because it often feels like there is simply
no time for self-care. Not only that, but self-care is more than just a bubble bath every few
days. Self-care involves carving out time every day to do something that feeds your soul and
renews your energy, and that in itself can often be challenging to do. But, if you can manage it,
have your significant other, a babysitter, or a family member step in and help you slip away for
a bit each day to have some time on your own. This, of course, is incredibly challenging during
this pandemic, but if there is anyone that you can call on who can come in to relieve you a bit,
take advantage of that. Making yourself, your physical well-being, and your mental health a
priority is so important during these challenging times, especially when you’re in charge of
raising a little baby. It is not selfish to do so, it is crucial.

Be Active When Possible
Even if it is simply getting outside for a walk with your baby, fitting in some physical activity can
help to lessen feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation. By being active, we get our blood
pumping and our body releases that feel-good hormone serotonin, which helps to improve our
overall mood. Getting outside also helps us to feel less isolated; we may not be interacting with
people while we’re out walking, but just seeing others out and about can remind us that there
is still a world out there, and we are still a part of that world. So, bundle up your baby, and get
out for a walk every day if possible!

Limit How Much Social Media & News You Access

It is important to stay on top of world events, but if you are finding that it is interfering with
your overall mental health, then try to limit how much you tune into, as well as how much
social media you access. Fear mongering is everywhere, and it is incredibly unhealthy. Yes, this
pandemic is stressful and it is very serious. It does not, however, need to take over our lives
completely. Limit your access to social media and news, especially if you find that it is causing
you to feel increasingly worried and stressed.

Share the Responsibilities
You can’t do it all, Mom! Although it is completely normal that you would want to do it all. As
mothers, we tend to want to manage all of the things necessary when looking after our
precious babes. But, you won’t be any good to anyone if you’re exhausted and burnt out. Share
the responsibilities with whoever you can – your partner, a family member, even a babysitter.
Call in some help when you need it, and do not feel an ounce of guilt about it! Being a new
mom is overwhelming and stressful, and it is important that you do not try to manage it all on
your own.

Sleep When You Can
This was always something that annoyed me as a new mom – people telling me to “sleep when
the baby sleeps”! How can I do that?! Are they going to do the 5 loads of laundry that need
washing? Are they going to wash the baby bottles so there are clean ones for bedtime? No,
they aren’t. But do you know what else? It is not the end of the world if the loads of laundry
wait a while longer, and you can wash just one bottle for bedtime. Rest is so important, and
again, if you are burnt out and exhausted, you will be unable to keep up that frenetic pace for
very long. Rest when you can, even if you split your baby’s nap time in half – half of the time
you rest, half of the time you get one chore done. But, squeeze in moments to rest and unwind
as often as you can.

Tag us and tell us what suggestions work for you.