Article by Hollie Hall, Pacific Post Partum Support Society phone counsellor and group facilitator
This time of year can bring with it a whole mixed bag of emotions for new parents. Usually our call volume here at PPPSS goes up with the darker days. For many of us the negative feelings can be very hard to cope with. I’ve been asked to contribute to our blog by writing about some triggers and self-care ideas. This is a pretty easy job for me as I remember this time of year to be particularly hard when my girls were very young.
Christmas ads are all around us. On the television, magazines and even YouTube. They usually have the picture perfect scene: Mom and Dad look amazing, babies and children are well behaved, the turkey dinner is scrumptious with all the trimmings and everyone is getting along. No chaos. In the real world many of us find a great deal of pressure to buy the best toys and gifts for the family and to create a perfect family holiday. For me, this was a big trigger and tied into wanting to be a perfect mom to my girls and to keep everyone happy. My kitchen wasn’t big enough to fit three adults, let alone be able to cook a full turkey dinner but I wanted to live up to the standards set by those picture perfect holiday cards. I had two very well behaved children, thankfully. However, my anxiety was keeping me from feeling relaxed especially during the holiday season. Loss plays a big role as well. We are often missing our families that are not near us or the loved ones who have passed on. Whether it be hosting a party, dinner or even trying to fit into the “perfect” party dress, feelings of sadness, anxiety, frustration and even anger can arise. That is why self-care is especially important over the holidays. A short list of self-care ideas may help you to keep things in perspective over the next weeks.
Lower expectation (of yourself and others)
If you are shopping for gifts, try little bits at a time and maybe start earlier rather than later
Try to get enough sleep and exercise, if sleep is an issue, think of lying down and resting as a good rejuvenation.
Cherish your body…try to celebrate the changes. You grew your baby, what an amazing feat!
Don’t beat yourself up for over having one too many treats. This is a time to enjoy food.
Allow yourself to grieve the loss of a loved one or even the loss of your old self.
Most of all, congratulate yourself on the wonderful job you did having your baby and watching your little one grow. This is because of you.
Seek out support if you need to talk to someone. This could be a good friend or any one of us at PPPSS.
These are just a few self-care ideas that may help during the holidays, however, they can be used at any time of the year.
On behalf of all us here at PPPSS, I would like to wish you all the best of the holiday season.
Remember to take good care of yourselves!