Adjusting to Parenthood During COVID-19
The first few weeks when you are home with your new baby are an adjustment, to say the least. Usually, new families rely on their family, community of friends and neighbors to help out during those first few days and weeks. Sometimes, simply spending quality adult-time with someone is all the support that is needed.
Today, because of COVID-19, moms are feeling more isolated at home, and families are experiencing job loss and uncertainty. Family members, who would have otherwise been present for the birth and available for support, aren't there because of travel restrictions and social distancing. Add a crying newborn to the mix, and new parents are now feeling the stress more than ever.
Although your village may be smaller, and not physically present, for the time being, here are some ways you can take care of yourself and find the support you need.
Taking Care of Baby Starts with Taking Care of YOURSELF
Rest as much as you can, actually try to sleep when the baby sleeps (the dishes can wait!). Even a short rest can do wonders!
Take a moment for yourself when your partner is watching the baby. Call a friend, make a cup of coffee, meditate in another room, and relax.
Get some fresh air! In most places, it is encouraged to take a walk outside as long as you are staying 6 feet away from others. Take your baby on a stroll around the neighborhood if you can.
Still Connect with Others
Video chat/call with a friend or family member.
Look for virtual mom support groups.
Find a forum, such as a Facebook group, to talk with other mothers and discuss your experiences. The Breastfeeding Guru - Moms Club is an uplifting group for both new and experienced moms that you can join. I bet others moms have some of the same questions and frustrations that you have!
Use the Helpers You Do Have
If you already have children at home, encourage them to help.
Ask your partner for help. They can't read your mind, so be sure to vocalize when you need an extra hand.
Take advantage of ordering groceries and meals online and using curbside pickup!
Your Healthcare Team is There to Help!
1 in 7 women will experience postpartum depression. Social isolation can amplify the feeling of depression, the most common mental illness in the US. Speak to your healthcare provider sooner, rather than later, if feel sad, anxious, guilty and/or lonely.
Your pediatrician is also there to offer you advice. He or she is an excellent resource who understands the needs of both you and your baby.
Many doctors, lactation consultants and mental health providers are set up for telehealth and are able to talk to you via video and phone.
Remember, this will pass and we will eventually return to life as we knew it. Hang in there mama and don't hesitate to reach out to the resources above!