Sometimes you feel you aren’t good enough and things don’t feel ok.

See, what I find is that sometimes can become frequently, and then you find yourself waking up each day with sadness that and you forget what a good day feels like.

I am no expert in low moods, postnatal depression or mental health but this comes from me, a busy working mum with the best support network and the most amazing children, on a day when my get up and go has gone and I feel I can’t do anything right.

It’s so hard being a mum, from the first day you realise your life is changing forever when you get that positive pregnancy test and the fight begins against a tide of new emotions that have you crying one minute, furious the next.

All the questions start, what’s safe to do, eat, drink? Will I be a good mum? How will we cope?

Then there’s after giving birth, the hormones you have going through you, the lack of sleep, exhaustion and the raw spectrum of emotions you feel when you first see your precious new baby.

Let alone taking into account any potential difficulties you had with the birth itself and that impact on you.

One minute you go from having elation and pride and then in equal measure fear and self-doubt, all mixed up, 24 hours a day. That’s only scratching the surface.

See, as a mum, everyone prepares you for labour….’it hurts’, ‘you may feel pretty undignified’ but that  ‘you may be in so much pain you don’t care’.

Get the right advice and understand what you can do

They prepare you for the lack of sleep, the never getting things done etc. I understood that mental health would also be impacted but the day to day roller coaster of emotions, that really took it out of me.

I was told to be aware of post natal depression – again I am no expert in the field and understand there are many aspects to this. I was told that I may not feel attached to my baby, I was told I may feel overwhelmingly worried about my baby.

 

I was told that I may feel overly protective or overwhelmed or lost or alone. The list goes on.  For me, it was the managing day to day low mood and the impact that mood changes had on me that I felt unprepared for.

 

I will say from the off that there are degrees of low mood and you should always consult with you health professional.

 

They may just open up doors to you that will help you find your way, it may be that hormonal changes and lack of sleep are impacting on you, or it may be much more that that and it is important to seek the right advice.

 

What I want to do both personally and professionally as a personal trainer working with mums is to continue to champion for mums out there that are experiencing low mood, isolation, guilt, worry and lack of self-esteem so that you know that you are not alone.

 

That whilst you may feel completely and utterly alone in a room of people whether they be strangers, friends or family, that there will be someone who is or has been feeling just like you, and you know what’s more likely? that they too don’t feel able to discuss it or not sure what they can do to help themselves.

 

So, what do people advise you when you talk about low mood as a mum?

 

If you feel you can speak up and if you find the strength, let alone the time, to confide in someone, what are you told?

Maybe you see your GP and you are advised you may have the ‘baby blues’.

What support are you offered? Are you offered antidepressants?

Maybe you confide in your partner – also sleep deprived.

Maybe they say ‘it’s a phase’ and things will hopefully improve, but what if they don’t?

What if admitting to feeling low when the world tells you, you should be on top of the world,  is something you cannot face?

Maybe you talk to your own mum or parental figure.

Maybe they give you advice that they were told, maybe they say ‘well that’s called being a mum.’

Don’t get me wrong, I truly hope that talking to your mum, parental figure, doctor, nurse, midwife, friends, partner etc does the job, that the support you have can set you back on track and whilst we all have ups and downs that you have more ups as your journey progresses and you are lifting up through these networks.

Whilst I cannot advise on the myriad of aspects of mental health, what I can advise on is being a mum, exercise and understanding some simple things could maybe help you alongside your support network and the huge benefits exercise can have on mood.

What I can do to take control

I am not about to add to your list of  ‘things I should be doing and am struggling to’  but just ask you to consider the benefits of exercise and the amazing impact this can have on you.

Whilst I can say the words ‘exercise has a huge positive impact on mood’ it is important to understand why this is the case. Bupa states on their web page that exercise:

“ Helps boost production of ‘feel-good’ chemicals in your brain”

and

“Can help increase levels of the “feel good” chemicals, endorphins and serotonin”.

In addition to this exercise can “distract your mind from anxious thoughts”

Whether you’re taking aiming to kick a  ball or trying to get a yoga posture right, you’re focused on the activity rather than on your stress at that time.

In addition to this, exercise “Increase your energy levels and with more energy, you may feel better”. (1)

Now this is certainly not a one size fits all as everyone’s experiences are different, but certainly, for me and ladies I work with, we can all testify to all of this.

Remember when I talked about you not feeling alone? That there would likely be other mums that feel just like you?

What better place to find support and shared experiences than being with other mums!?

So, in addition to all other support available to you personally or professionally, maybe consider the following ideas if you are feeling low:

  • Spend time outdoors – Step out of the house, take your baby for a walk outside, take in the world and get some fresh air! Practice mindfulness or get support to do so.
  • Think about a group class – This can be a new mums fitness class or buggy fit group, just meet other mums, share experience and get mutual support.
  • Consider 1:1 exercise – If you don’t feel comfortable getting yourself out in public just yet and taking a fitness class in a big group or simply can’t get time alone, talk to specialist personal trainers about home visits and gentle introductions to exercise after having a baby.

https://www.bupa.com.au/health-and-wellness/health-information/healthy-living/exercise/reducing-stress/reduce-stress-and-improve-mood

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