Bringing a new life into the world can be a transformative and magical experience, but this is not always the case. Pregnancy and the postpartum period come with a set of unique challenges. It is important to know you can ask for help when challenges arise during this journey. Often, the birthing parent and their partner are fearful to ask for help because there is worry about being judged by others (e.g., “you’re pregnant, I was so happy pregnant”, “you’re so lucky! Look at this bundle of joy”, “It’s normal, it will go away.”) These comments can be perceived as invalidating and lead to individuals feeling alone in their challenges during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Prioritizing mental health during this unique and demanding stage of life is important. Recognizing the spectrum of emotions during pregnancy and the postpartum period can be difficult. Joy and excitement are common, but so are a range of other emotions including sadness, anxiety, and fatigue. If at any time during pregnancy or postpartum a birthing parent or partner has questions about their mental health, it is important to seek out support. Seeking out support is a sign of strength and is encouraged.

Postpartum Support International has a variety of free resources and free groups for parents and caregivers.

Other self-care strategies to help during pregnancy and the postpartum period:

Movement! Walking and other exercise during pregnancy can promote positive mood states. Be sure to be cleared by your OB before engaging in exercise of any kind during pregnancy.

Meals trains for new parents

Establish realistic expectations: Remember everyone’s pregnancy and postpartum journey is different and that is okay.

By: Lauren Koby, PsyD