5 Ways Support Groups Can Help New Moms Move From Depressed And Lonely To Confident And Connected
Being a new mother can be a roller coaster experience. On one hand, there is so much joy that comes from creating a life. And on the other, there’s a lot of difficulty. You may have had so many hopes and dreams prior to giving birth, but one thing you weren’t prepared for was the feelings of loneliness and overwhelm that comes with motherhood.
Many mothers, before giving birth, think that they have everything figured out, only to be surprised after their baby arrives by their intense feelings of sadness and loneliness. Even with a very supportive family, friends, and a spouse/partner, there is still a sense of shock that every single aspect of your life will never be the same.
It is hard having a newborn or an infant. And many new moms struggle with the amount of support that they actually need as well as the lack of time for themselves, lack of freedom, and missing their old, pre-baby life.
It’s 2:00 in the afternoon, you’re still in pajamas, and you’re counting the minutes until your spouse gets home. You’re waiting for him so you can finally have a few minutes to yourself and some adult conversation. It’s been a long day and you have no one to talk to. Everyone is at work and unavailable, while you’re at home doing the same things over and over again.
You start to wonder how other moms get through this. And then you feel like a slob or a failure for not having prepared a home-cooked meal, baked banana bread or made macaroni art with your baby. You wonder how everyone else seems to “mom” so well. And you blame yourself for not being better at this.
Unfortunately, all these thoughts do is make you feel like you’re failing at being a mother.
Eventually, you wind up in a place that is lacking joy. Instead, you see sadness and difficulty in everything. But the truth is, many mothers struggle with feelings of depression and anxiety after giving birth. You’re not the only one to realize that motherhood is a lot harder than you thought it would be. It’s ok to seek out help to try to understand what is going on so you can learn the tools you need to cope and feel better.
It’s true that motherhood is a tumultuous adjustment. However, if you can learn how to ask for and receive support, you can feel a sense of acceptance about your new stage of life. When you decide to reach out and join others who are going through something similar, it is entirely possible to feel confident and successful as a mother.
Keep reading to see the 5 ways joining a new mom support group can help you feel more confident and connected…
When You’re Unhappy And It’s Making You Feel Lonely
It can feel embarrassing or even shameful to acknowledge that you are struggling emotionally since becoming a mother. There is so much disgrace that comes with feeling depressed because it is as if you are turning your back on all of the good aspects of being a mom. So much so, you may be tempted to bury your head in the sand and avoid acknowledging your negative feelings. But by doing this, you will be denying your true experience of motherhood which only causes you to continue to feel more detached and lonely.
At the very least, denying your true feelings makes it so you separate yourself from more positive – or more honest – friends. And when you have no one to share your struggle with, you end up feeling more depressed and more alone. Living this way is incredibly difficult because there is no one there to let you know that you’re going to get through your emotional battles.
Feeling More Balanced: Addressing Depression And Anxiety
Although motherhood has brought up some ugly and uncomfortable feelings about yourself, you don’t have to question your parenting skills or continue to feel lonely. You have the potential to feel more confident and connected to others who understand what you’re going through and have the potential to help.
When you choose to join with others who are similar to you, there is a possibility that you will feel good again. More importantly, you will begin to have a more balanced view of yourself as a mother. This will lead to more connections with moms who get what you’re going through, which is a great step toward feeling less anxious and depressed.
5 Ways Support Groups Can Help You as a New Mom
There’s no doubt that motherhood is one of the biggest changes you will go through in your life. And while everyone is quick to talk about the great parts, some of the not so great stuff gets swept under the rug.
But the key to making it through the muck and being able to focus on the happiest parts of being a mom is finding others who get what it’s like and who get you. And joining a support group can be a great way to do that.
Here are five reasons why…
#1 You are not alone.
One of the reasons you struggle with feelings of isolation is because you are comparing yourself to other mothers who on the outside seem to have it all together. But the truth is that you are not alone. First of all, there is no way to really tell that those other moms have everything together. Second, statistics show that 1 in 5 women struggle with some form of postpartum depression or anxiety. You have support available. It’s just a matter of tapping into the resources.
Even if your family support is small, support groups offer connections beyond your family and loved ones where you can bond with other mothers who are feeling similar to you. In connecting with them, you can build a community of support. When you attend support groups you can meet other moms who can give you hope and encouragement that things will not always feel bad. Here at Postpartum Health & Harmony, we offer such support groups which will help you feel more in tune with other moms and better about yourself as a mother.
#2 Surround Yourself with Others Who Get It.
It’s really easy to fall into the trap of believing you’re the only one who is having a hard time. Rather than suffering alone you can try surrounding yourself with other mothers who get it. When you spend time with moms who know what you’re going through, you will seek comfort knowing that there are other women who have been through mood changes, are healing, and can help you.
At PHH, our support group helps members realize they aren’t alone in having irrational thoughts and that we can’t all control our negative feelings all the time. Forming a group with similar women can help you not feel alone in your depression because they also experience it as well.
#3 You Have Wisdom to Share
It may not seem like it right now, but everything you are going through will help someone else. The beauty of this is that it truly counteracts your negative thoughts that you are not good enough. By sharing your wisdom with others, you can help them feel less alone and normalize their own experiences while also giving them hope that they can move past feeling depressed or anxious.
Whether you’re sharing something that you have learned along the way or your listening to them as they express their feelings, you are providing a gift to another mother.
#4 Support Groups are Sacred
It’s painful to live with the pressures and expectations that you have to behave in a certain way as a mother. Here at Postpartum Health & Harmony, we take pride in creating a group that is supportive of all mothers and fosters healing through unique perspectives. We truly believe there is something so freeing about talking to other moms outside those you see in your daily life. We steer clear of unsolicited advice and the main concern for our group is your emotional well-being.
#5 Perspective is Everything.
Hearing others talk about things you struggle with can help put things in perspective for yourself. If you can identify with some of the issues another mom is talking about and support her in that, you might find you can then feel more compassionate towards yourself. For instance, if someone is talking about feeling like a failure as a mom, the group will naturally try to find things that she is doing well.
One thing you and I will explore when you schedule a session is to imagine one of your friends was struggling with this same issue and what you would tell them. Acknowledging that you would have a totally different perspective or expectations of your friend is a great first step. Sometimes this acknowledgment is a starting place for you to challenge your own critical thoughts that cause you to feel so awful and doubt yourself.
Being a new mother is filled with ups and downs. It is very exciting to have created a new life and to celebrate milestones as you watch them grow closer to the hopes and dreams you have for their future. Yet, there is a darker side of motherhood which is often not talked about. The truth is, with all the changes that occur when you become a mom, it is completely normal to question your choice to become a mom and how this change has impacted your life. To seek support for your depression and anxiety is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
If you are concerned that you may be experiencing PMAD or you’re wanting to find support in a group setting, please schedule a free initial phone consultation.
Click here to learn more about Postpartum Health & Harmony and how we can help you.