As any new parent knows, from the moment your newborn makes their debut, your life is changed forever. Your heart grows in ways you never thought possible, and you exist on less sleep per night than you've ever had before. Your whole world becomes completely focused helping your little one thrive and grow.
We know from research, however, that taking care of our own mental health and wellbeing is positively correlated with making the transition to parenthood more smoothly. Continuing to practice basic self-care can help reduce the instance or severity of postpartum depression and anxiety while deepening the bonds between mother and child. Counselor Sherry J. Duson has developed a basic checklist for new moms to consider and follow during those crucial first few months of your new baby's life. Many families find it helpful to print it out and display it prominently in their homes as a reminder not to forget their basic needs.
The Well Mom Checklist
By Sherry J. Duson, MA, LPC-S, LMFT-S (2001)
Have I eaten enough nutritious food today?
Have I slept at least 5 hours, or taken a nap?
Have I bathed or showered today?
Have I exercised at least 10 minutes today?
Have I had at least 10 minutes of quiet time for reflection and renewal today?
Have I let myself laugh today?
Have I let others help me today?
Have I kissed my baby and told him/her “I love you” today?
Have I talked to at least one adult about how I am doing today (not just about the baby)?
For more information about postpartum depression and anxiety or to talk with a counselor, you can contact us here.