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  • Writer's pictureMegan Furman, LPC, LCPC

Emotional Resources and Tips for Postpartum Moms

Updated: Apr 10

Hello & welcome! Given my specialization in and passion for perinatal mental health, I figured it was apt that my first blog post come on the heels of Mother’s Day and right smack dab in the middle of Maternal Mental Health Month!

Entering motherhood for the first time is a transformative experience. New parents often feel joy and excitement, but it is not uncommon to also experience worry, uncertainty, grief, sadness, and irritability. Here are some of my basic suggestions for you in seeking support from others and supporting yourself as someone who just welcomed a child.

Find a perinatal therapist. For help managing emotional symptoms as a new parent that are causing distress or interfering with life, I advise seeking therapy from a licensed mental health professional, and specifically one who is trained in perinatal mental health (like me!). There are nuances of the postpartum experience and symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders about which perinatal therapists are knowledgeable and experienced. Perinatal therapists provide support, resources, education, and coping skills that are tailored to your specific needs in this postpartum period. Similarly, if you’re considering medication, I suggest seeking out a perinatally-trained psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Engage in a postpartum support group. Local in-person or national virtual support groups can be a great source of community, encouragement, and information. Most are free and can be found within your local hospital or online. Postpartum Support International offers dozens of virtual groups specific to individuals' struggles, needs, and identities.

Fuel your body. No, you will not have the time or energy to make any gourmet, from-scratch meals. We’re talking basics here. Keep a strawed water bottle and some snacks that are easy to grab with one hand available. Think trail mix, apples, granola bars, and nuts. It is an added bonus if friends or family organize a meal train for you. As a new parent, you spend so much time caring for another human that you often forget or deprioritize your own nutrition and hydration.

Get some sleep. I understand that this suggestion may seem laughable in the first few months postpartum. How you can accomplish this depends on what your baby is eating and how frequently. The common suggestion to “sleep when the baby sleeps” is advisable, but not always possible or desired if you want to have any time to be yourself. Getting 4 to 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep is restorative to your body, but with newborns needing to eat every 2 to 3 hours, we’ve got to get creative. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, 6 hours of rest is simply not a possibility in the early days, but incorporation of pumping and/or formula allow for more flexibility. Utilize your partner or another support to take at least one overnight feeding. For maximum benefit, you’ll need to sleep away from the baby (or the monitor) so that you do not wake when the baby wakes while your partner is on duty.

Practice being present. When emotions or experiences feel overwhelming, our initial intuition is often to avoid them. Try to engage in a way that feels grounding, by focusing on your 5 senses. While you’re feeding your baby, take in the experience of your baby’s scent, their tiny finger nails, the texture of their swaddle, the sound of their suckling. While snacking on your apple, describe to yourself or your baby the swirls of shiny reds and yellows of the apple’s skin, the sound as you crunch into it, and the sweet and tart taste. Walk outside to experience the cool morning breezes or afternoon sun, and focus on the details of a tree that you may not otherwise attend to. This will allow you a little bit of space from the intensity of your emotions and engagement with the here-and-now.

You’re so focused on this other human who is now a part of your life, that I want to encourage you, grant you permission, or even insist that you also take some time to consider which of these resources and tips for postpartum moms could be helpful for you in this amazing yet often stressful time of life!

The content on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional mental health or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are in a mental health crisis, please call 988 or the Maternal Mental Health Hotline at 1-833-852-6262.



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