Taking Care of Your Wellbeing During Maternity Leave13 Feb, 20231-2 minutes
If you’re expecting, this time in your life is bound to be one of the most exciting. However, it’s also possible that you’ll have some anxieties about what lies ahead.
You’re about to meet the bundle of joy you’ve waited nine long months for, but this excitement might be coupled with worries about how you’ll cope financially and emotionally.
Maternity leave is designed to give a mother the time she needs to bond with her baby and adapt to parenthood. On average, new mothers in the UK take 39 weeks off for maternity leave.
As the saying goes, ‘Happy Mum, Happy Baby’ so it’s extremely important to take extra care of your wellbeing throughout your maternity leave. With that in mind, here’s our top 3 tips to take extra special care of yourself:
Leave work at work
When you begin your maternity leave, it’s important to leave your workload at the office door.
Juggling life as a parent and being distracted by what’s going on in the office could overcrowd your brain and lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.
Whether you’re a first time parent or not, you don’t want to lose focus on adapting to parenthood successfully because your mind has been elsewhere.
If you’ve been working from home, return any work equipment to the office before you begin your maternity leave to resist the temptation to ‘just check your emails’ or ‘check the status of a project.’
Remember, it is your employer's responsibility to ensure that your workload is sufficiently covered during your maternity leave.
Prepare as much as possible
Being organised ahead of your baby's arrival is an important way to look after your wellbeing.
Preparation is key and more than ever when your life is about to change in such a big way.
Make a list of everything you need to get or do before your little one’s arrival, the satisfaction of ticking things off will help keep your mind focussed.
You might want to put together a hospital bag for when the big day arrives or clean the house top to bottom - studies have actually proven that expectant mothers have an urge to tidy, known as nesting, as a way of protecting and preparing the environment for a new arrival.
If you’re the type of person who can’t let go of their work, leaving a detailed and thorough handover to your maternity replacement could help you to feel more relaxed. Knowing the work will still be completed to a high standard will enable you to enjoy your first few months of maternity leave without the worry of what you’ll be going back to!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If there’s one thing to remember during maternity leave, it’s that asking for help doesn’t mean you’re failing. As the old saying goes, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.
To provide a child with the safety and security they need, there is no harm in reaching out to your network of family, friends or colleagues for support.
Alternatively, there are many organisations who you can turn to for help. Gingerbread are a national charity who work with single parents and run local and digital support groups for those who need them.
If you’re finding parenthood significantly hard and this is affecting your ability to function in day to day life, you may wish to seek advice from a healthcare professional.
Postnatal depression is a common problem and affects more than one in every ten women within a year of giving birth. Symptoms can include a persistent low mood, loss of interest in the wider world, issues with concentration and in more extreme cases, frightening thoughts that involve hurting your baby.
If you’re worried you might be suffering with postnatal depression, it’s important to seek professional advice as soon as possible.
You don’t need to sacrifice looking after your wellbeing once your little one has arrived. There are plenty of ways to improve this with a baby in tow. Why not look into some local baby and mum classes which you could join?
Not only are these a great way for your baby to learn, they also create opportunities for you to socialise with other parents and create relationships with people who might be experiencing the same thoughts and feelings as you.
A change of scene will also keep you feeling motivated and positive. Instead of trapping yourself in the same four walls every day, get out and about with your little one. Explore new places and spend as much time as possible socialising in order to look after your wellbeing!
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