Caring for your mental health is essential as a mother, but that doesn’t mean we constantly prioritize it. Here’s why some mothers avoid getting the help they need.
Nobody prepared you for just how hard motherhood would be. You did all the registries, prepped the nursery, and took the birthing class, thinking that you’d be ready for the baby’s arrival if you checked off all the boxes.
While these things may have helped you prepare physically, they often don’t do enough to prepare us mentally.
You may Google “How to be a good mom” more times than you’re comfortable admitting as a new mom. Spoiler alert: the fact that you’re worried about this means you already are a good mom.
You might experience intrusive thoughts and silently wonder if they’re normal or if you’re the only one thinking them.
You probably even follow a few therapists on social media and wonder whether you should seek therapy but are hesitating.
Five reasons we avoid therapy as new moms
1. We believe motherhood should come “naturally.”
Societal messages tell us that our motherly instincts will kick in, and we’ll automatically know how to be a good mom.
But, here’s the thing, babies don’t come with manuals, and motherhood doesn’t either. We feel guilty when those ‘natural’ instincts don’t kick in and may feel ashamed to admit just how much we struggle.
2. Nobody asks if we are okay.
Once the baby gets here, everyone checks in on the baby, but few take time to check in on moms and our mental health.
Loved ones ask how the baby is sleeping and eating. We attend frequent “well visits” with the pediatrician centered around the baby.
Yet moms often get one postpartum visit at six weeks, and few visitors give attention exclusively to moms and their mental health.
3. Self-care doesn’t happen often.
Moms can convince themselves that their time, money, and energy are best spent on other things rather than investing in themselves. We put our needs on the back burner, even when we know therapy would help.
Therapy is most helpful if we seek help sooner than later.
4. You convince yourself it’s not “that bad.”
You have some happy moments, so it can’t be “that bad.” The truth is, we don’t have to be in a crisis to go to therapy—quite the opposite. Therapy is most helpful if we seek help sooner rather than later.
5. You don’t know anyone else in therapy.
You wonder how others will perceive you. Will they judge you and think you’re crazy?
If therapy hasn’t been normalized in your social circles, it can be normal to have some reservations around seeking help. The truth is, you’re not alone, even if it feels like it.
1 in 7 new moms struggles with mental health challenges.
It’s not that moms need therapy. It’s that we deserve it.
Final thoughts on maternal mental health
We deserve to care for ourselves and our mental health. After all, when moms are healthy, the whole family thrives. So, what are you waiting for?