Pregnancy and early motherhood are full of emotions. Good and not quite so good.

I shared with mums-to-be and new mums in the support group, Striding into Motherhood what emotions and feelings typically show up and 20 ways to help. Before I get into the list, I’ll set the scene with what typically shows up….

Feelings of confusion, overwhelm, unprepared, isolation, not feeling heard, exhaustion. Emotionally, it could be anxiety, stress, anger, but of course, happiness, excitement, curiosity, swathes of deep love & joy – we always need balance so let’s not forget the good stuff too!

Feel familiar?

Here are the 20 ways:

1. Breathing – pretty fundamental but there is a science behind why breathing calms us down and reduces anxiety, fear & stress. It can be as simple as 3 deep breaths. Look up the Art of Breathing by Dr Danny Penman. A cute little book with explanations, easy read and mindful how-to’s

2. Support network – whether its friends, new friends, family or paid-for…surround yourself with support, love, expertise – there will be times when you will need to call upon it

3. Talk to a trusted source – part of your support network there will be a trusted source, someone you feel comfortable opening up to. Have a think who are they?

4. Professional help – as we are talking about emotional help this would include mental wellbeing. If you are feeling you are in need of more trained support then visit your GP or HV as a starting point. There are different therapy styles which suit different people depending on what is showing up for you.

5. Take time out for you – in the early days it can feel like a one-way street, you are always giving out. Sometimes we need to have a little bit back for ourselves.

6. Journaling – a great way to get out of what’s in our heads and onto paper. It frees up mental space and allows for greater clarity. Also if an idea pops into your head you can quickly make a note of it. Soon your journal will be a book of your most precious thoughts, feelings and ideas

7. Peace & time – a phase I coined for my Postnatal Planner. Find a place in your home, garden and favourite spot that gives you some peace, a feeling of calm, where you are happy to spend some time to recharge and go again.

8. Music – I love my music and pop in the earphones so I can escape. Music is so emotive and immediately makes you feel good. Why not have a dance around the house too!

9. Exercise – it’s long been documented that exercise to proven to improve your wellbeing and make us feel good. It doesn’t have to be for long and there are lots that can be done with a bubba – walking, home exercises, mum and baby classes, pop baby into a sling.

10. Gratitudes – “the quickest way to feel rich life”. Thinks about your wins – small or big. Do this when things are going great and when things need a tweak. Brings so much value.

11. Laughter – don’t forget to laugh! We got caught up in the day to day stuff and we can forget to have some fun – with some friends, with significant other or even as simple as something funny on Netflix!

12. Sleep – and yes I know this is a sought-after commodity in early motherhood however there are shorter gaps of time which we have to ourselves. We do get used to the less sleep but if you are feeling fragile, use those shorter gaps of time for a rest. Lack of sleep heightens emotions. You can also tag-team with partner and do the baby care in shifts. This is where your support network can really help, but you must reach out.

13. Allow the emotions in – when we try and block a feeling or emotion, it simply amplifies the feeling or emotion we are trying to block out. Instead try letting it in, being aware and then letting it go…someone once told me to imagine a floating cloud, calmly drifting pass.

14. Walk in nature – this is fantastic for our wellbeing to be surrounded by nature, offering a sense of calm. Some suggest bare-footed but this would be weather permitting! Research studies show this has a positive effect on negative emotions and mental health.

15. Disconnect from technology – we are very much digital right now and technology has huge plus’s, however, we should give ourselves a break. Give yourself the time to check emails, notifications, connect with people however in the times we are supposed to be doing something else, be present in the thing you are set to do.

16. Affirmations – set the intentions for the day. The subconscious mind is more receptive in the mornings, you have a window. Starting your day off with intentions, goals and affirmations will get you off on the right foot. And it’s minimal time to do too.

17. Work out what’s causing the emotions and feelings – good or not. If it’s good feelings you are experiencing, be aware of what’s driving that so you know for the future. Equally, when we know what isn’t good for us, we can avoid doing the same or at least tweak to make improvements.

18. Cuddling – releases the love hormone (as well as two others) so get cuddling for that ‘feel good”.

19. Positive people – surround yourself with positive people, those that bring you up. Make you feel strong, inspired, like anything is possible.

20. Steps back for a few moments – when emotions are rising and cries are getting louder, take a few steps back, use your deep breathes, exhale the stress and go again. I am not suggesting leaving babies alone. I am literally talking for a few moments, you are still in the room. You are better off doing that than trying to work through a situation when you are both feeling less than calm.

Would you add any to the list? What ones resonate with you? Would love to hear.

Contact details below…also different ways of getting support postnatally.


e: [email protected]

Fourth Trimester Support Program