When you’re holding your new bundle of joy should you really worry about taking that shower?
It’s not unusual for new mothers to put their personal care to the side once a new child comes into their lives. Things like brushing your teeth daily can be forgotten, let alone getting your hair done. But how important is self-care really?
While The Kids Will Always Be Mom’s Priority, A Little Me-Time Goes a Long Way[/caption]
Natalie Riewe, Program Manager for Child Health at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, says it is extremely important for new parents to take care of themselves, whether it means taking a shower or meeting a friend. “….In the first month or two after birth you’re going through a huge transition in terms of your parenting experience; a new role, and new challenges that you didn’t anticipate.”
Take The Time And Have That Shower
Riewe says there’s lots of services for families in the region, whether through private businesses or social networks, including online groups through Facebook. “ Moms will post that they’re going for a walk at the waterfront if anyone wants to join?”
One example of private businesses helping mothers with self-care is Beauty and Babes, a full service salon that offers beauty and wellness services to moms with child-minding on site. Owner Melissa Ferguson says she first got the inspiration for the business after having her own child.
Beauty and Babes shares self-care
“I started having postpartum depression, I started feeling sad and alone and after I took a bit of time to take care of myself; a little bit more than I would normally; I felt a bit better mentally.” Ferguson says it wasn’t always easy to find a place that was baby-accommodating, and this is how Beauty and Babes came to be. “I just wanted to create that safe space for moms to come and feel that at the end of the day they can be there and they’re important and need to take care of themselves.”
For kids, there are toys as well as staff to look after the children. Ferguson says they have almost created a community center saying “I find our clients will wind up helping each other too. When one moms baby gets cranky, another mom will step in and help too which is really cool.”
“I started feeling sad and alone and after I took a bit of time to take care of myself; a little bit more than I would normally; I felt a bit better mentally.”
Creating that community and taking time for yourself is important but it’s not uncommon for women to experience a greater level of isolation.
Facing isolation as a new mom
Riewe says it’s typical for a woman to have emotional variations the first two weeks after the birth of a child, “Sadness and irritably in the first few weeks is common for most women; what’s concerning is if those symptoms last or intensify to create a perinatal mood disorder.”
The Ontario average for women who experience a perinatal mood disorder such as postpartum depression is 1 in 5; a rate that’s actually higher than the provincial average in the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s coverage area. Causal factors that make our rates higher aren’t known but Riewe says “…that’s why we have the important job of making sure there are supportive services for woman experiencing challenges.”
If you’re concerned about how you are coping, Riewe says there are few ways you can seek out help: talk to your family, friends , partner and to your Doctor or Nurse Practitioner.
Reach out to a professional
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Connection line, where you can talk about your symptoms or do a screening.
Health Babies Healthy Children A program that offers support, services and programs for children from birth to school age.
Life with a Baby is an online group to help moms make connections with each other