We are more than six months into the pandemic, and for women who are either navigating pregnancy or surviving postpartum, it brings about even more challenges for moms to face. My cousin Terra talked about her feelings of anxiety while pregnant for the first time her daughter Dehlani in our inaugural Wynning Mom post. “The scary part is not being able to have in-person birthing or breastfeeding classes. And the possibility of not having a family at the hospital during my labor and birth.” Being pregnant under normal circumstances can be an emotional rollercoaster of joy and anxiety, but during a public health crisis? I can’t even imagine. Mindy Kaling even took to her IG page to talk about her experience being pregnant during the pandemic, “Being pregnant during the pandemic was a little scary, but it made me appreciate all the doctors, nurses and medical professionals who continue to work tirelessly giving treatment to those who need it, putting their own lives at risk.”
I immediately turned to my good friend Toni Kelly, a Tennessee State University graduate and therapist who provides outpatient mental health services to get her insight on how moms can cope with pregnancy and postpartum during the pandemic.
What advice would you give you a first-time mom who is pregnant and unable to have the usual celebrations (baby shower, gender reveal, babymoon)? You and the baby’s health is the most important thing. Get creative. Family and friends want you to stay safe and will participate in any “out of the ordinary” event that allows that to occur.
There are so many unique options to celebrate the arrival of a little one. From small, staggered in-person outdoor events to virtual showers, there’s an event style for everyone. Huffington Post has some great ideas in their appropriately titled article How To Host A Baby Shower During The Coronavirus Pandemic.
What can they do to comfort themselves when they are feeling down about going through it alone? Call up the girlfriends and vent. Try to look into online support groups; hearing other people’s stories and how they are coping offers you the benefit of personal connection and ideas for coping mechanisms that you may have never thought about.
With so many online communities for moms, you can most certainly find your own tribe. I happened to find mine 13 years ago on BabyCenter and most of us are still extremely tight to this day. From groups like The Black Mom Collective to communities like The Mom Center and the well-established MOPS International, there are a plethora of options available for every mom who needs it. You can even start your own Mom group.
What advice would you give a mom who is going through postpartum and unable to seek traditional methods of help like in-person counseling? Tele-therapy is a wonderful option. All of my current clients have transitioned to teletherapy and have found it just as beneficial. Therapy is most effective if you and the therapist have a great rapport and if you actively participate.
Online options are now becoming more accessible for those of us who need it, and Toni’s growing practice is evidence of that. Looking for online options for yourself? BetterHelp will match you with a qualified licensed professional counselor that suits your unique needs that you can speak with via text, phone, or video. The service costs $40 a week, and you can apply for financial aid. Talkspace is another option for virtual therapy, and they even take some insurance plans. With over 1 million users to date, this platform has thousands of licensed therapists in its network.
What ways can she cope at home given current circumstances? Develop a routine. If you are working from home and have limited space try to keep your bedroom/bed as a place of relaxation.
Having a routine is so important when it comes to your mental health. Don’t get too hard on yourself if you don’t follow your routine every day, just pick back up again the next day. And as much as we love to do as much as we can from the comforts of bed, try to keep it as your place of solace as much as you can. Here are some great hacks to help you get your bedroom in the mood. Now I say this as I type from my bed, but we can’t be perfect creatures of habit all the time now can we?
Looking to start being more intentional with your self-care? Check out our 30 days of self-care guide!