- This article is the second in a two-part series on asking for help. -
View part one here.
When my son was several months old and I was back at work struggling with sleep deprivation, self-motivation, juggling daily responsibilities, etc., it took strength and nerve to ask my friends and family for help. I felt a bit embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn't do it all. After all, other moms seemed to be handling things just fine. But I knew that I needed rest and so I would sheepishly ask my mom or next door neighbor to watch my son for a couple of hours so I could rest or catch up on some chores.
It wasn't until I found myself crying day after day, lethargic and apathetic about life in general, that I knew it was time to seek help outside of my close circle of support. I needed more than a catch-up nap or an hour of alone time. So with the encouragement of my husband and my family, I reached out to my birth team to ask for a recommendation of a local psychologist. It was time to face postpartum depression head-on.
The tale of my depression and subsequent recovery is a story for another article, and one that I will openly share, but what I learned and what I want to empower other new moms with, is the power that you have to seek professional help when the time comes.
As soon as I sent that first email stating the truth in my life, owning my current state of mind, and asking for professional help, the floodgates opened and I felt I would soon be on the road to recovery. I enjoyed a great partnership with my counselor for over a year throughout my recovery and it made me think, who else is out there in my community who can provide the professional support that I need to truly be well and live well?
I started seeing a women's physical therapist who helped me repair my diastasis and regain strength in my pelvic floor. I now recommend her to anyone who will listen. And once my postpartum depression was under control, I decided to see a coach who specializes in trauma to help me come to terms with some of the experiences I had during birth so that I can approach my next birth from a place of peace and power.
From these women, and so many others, I have learned that knowledge is power. I have learned so much from each of them and I have taken those pieces of wisdom and information and woven them into my ongoing pursuit of well-being.
Sending that first email stating that I needed help beyond what those who loved me most could offer, was one of the hardest things I have ever written. But the healing and recovery that followed that moment of vulnerability, has truly changed my life.
My wish is for all moms to have the courage to seek professional help when they need it and to have knowledge of the resources available to them so they know where to go when they need help.
Professional help doesn't have to be limited to counselors or therapists. It can also come in the form of those who provide help when family is not around, like postpartum doulas or night nannies, or those who coach us through a particular challenge like a Pediatric Sleep Coach or Parenting Coach. Here is a list of the types of professionals that I have either personally learned from or have learned about from the many new moms I know and work with:
- Physical Therapist
- Postpartum Doula
- Night Nanny
- Postpartum Fitness Coach/Trainer
- Lactation Consultant
- Infant Sleep Coach
- Parenting Coach
This is only a snapshot of the resources available to new moms if you know where to look. If and when you reach a point where you need the experience and guidance of a professional, I hope that you will reach out and find that help for yourself.
Have you sought the help of a professional in your journey of motherhood? How did it change your experience and would you recommend it to other new moms?