Every holiday season, it is easy for moms to feel overwhelmed with all the activities that characterize the festivities. It is harder for moms with Postpartum Depression (PPD) because the season seemingly brings with it more intense symptoms and easily acts as a trigger for many affected moms. Even for moms who have recovered, this often poses a challenge because of the stress levels associated with the season.
Ranging from to-do lists to unending chores, to traveling with the kid(s) or hosting home parties, it is easy to feel like you are drowning under a never-ending sea of things to be done. To think that moms struggling with PPD already find it harder to cope with life’s daily tasks, the holiday season and all the festivities sound insurmountable. I remember how, to-date, I have no vivid recollection of Christmas in 2012. Smirk in the middle of PPD, and still hazing from the reality that motherhood is a never-ending process of learning, there is not much that comes to mind of Christmas that year.
The thought of coming together with family and celebrating feels dreadful, often leading to guilty feelings. Looking back, I thought to share some of the things that would make a difference for a mama struggling with PPD during this season.
- Your feelings are valid
Perhaps this is the most important tip in the list. Take time to acknowledge your feelings. You are not a bad mom for feeling the way you do, because PPD is a mental health condition for which there is help available. Listen to your inner voice, and do not be afraid to reach out for help.
When you start to feel like you are caving in under the weight of the festive season, reach out and ask for help. Whether this means going for a therapy session, or talking to a trusted friend, ensure you do whatever it takes to get you to feel better.
- Be realistic, manage your expectations
Simply put, you do not have to do it all. You need not host the party, be involved in the cooking, watch over the babies, wrap the gifts and travel the country all at once! In fact, choose the tasks that bring you the greatest joy and get assistance for the rest. Ask for help, have your partner help with the planning and the kids with the gift wrapping for instance. If this is not possible, perhaps fewer parties to attend and fewer meals to prepare is the way to go. Choose what matters to you and work on it. Do not stretch yourself thin.
Read More: Postpartum Depression – My story
- Take time for yourself
Selfcare really is that important. Carve out time for yourself and do what makes you feel relaxed. This not only helps get rid of the dread, it is also a time for you to discover what really calms your soul. And no, selfcare does not include grocery shopping at the market. It could be an hour-long nature walk, a massage session, ordering a latte and enjoying your favourite read or simply driving to the countryside for the fresh air and natural outdoors. You may have someone watch over the kids just so you can decompress.
- Remember that the holiday season shall pass too
Because that really, is the truth – the holiday season will come and go. Even though you struggle to get through the season, it helps to maintain a healthy and realistic outlook that the festive season is not forever.
Remember, you are not alone. Moms with PPD can get help. If you need to speak to a professional therapist, do get in touch using the contact form on the menu tab.