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15 Things Introvert Moms Want You To Know

15 Things Introvert Moms Want You To Know

Nothing can really prepare you for parenthood. And when you’re an introvert, there’s nothing in the world that can get you ready for the constant struggle you’ll face between being “on” all day and figuring out how to sneak in a little bit of solitude. Introverts need alone time to recharge but as an introvert mom, alone time is often the last thing we get to have. We all know that being a parent means our love of being alone will constantly be challenged but for introvert mothers, the impact is greater than you know. Here are 15 things fellow introvert mothers will only understand.

1. Pregnancy is when the privacy invasion really begins.

When you’re pregnant, people want to talk to you about it…all the time. And if you run into other mothers? Then it’s almost guaranteed they’ll share details about things you’d never discuss with someone you barely know – like bowel movements, graphic labor stories and even more graphic breastfeeding trials and tribulations. Not to mention the awkwardness we feel about our bodies acting as a vessel for the next nine months.

2. Introvert moms feel awkward asking for help.

We tend to be self-sufficient and embarking on the journey of parenthood often means depending on others for help. Let’s face it, when your water breaks in the middle of the night and we need to wake our partners up for that midnight hospital run, we’re the only ones who will feel slightly bad for disrupting his sleep. Even if only for a moment.

3. Even though we love our new families, it means there’s always someone around us.

Forget the long stretches of solitude you had before you became an introvert mom – one of the things about parenting people often forget to tell you (because it’s implied) is that kids are with you all the time. So is your partner and your mom and even some new mommy friends. So someone is always around you.

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4. Nap time means so much more to an introvert mom.

Alone time recharges us so the peace and quiet that nap time allows literally means everything to us. We could sleep while the kids sleep but it doesn’t refuel us quite the same as some solitude does, so you’ll rarely find us gazing upon our sleeping baby or even worse, waking our kids up on purpose.

5. Our need for alone time will make us wonder if we love parenting less than other mothers.

There’s a constant battle that introverts face – we need alone time to recharge, that’s just how we’re wired. But when you become a mom, you’re inundated with messaging that tells us that we should love our children unequivocally, and always want to be around them. So when we crave to be away, mommy guilt kicks in and we wonder if we’re actually just being selfish. The short answer is: no.

6. Drop offs and pick ups can be really straining for us.

Introverts don’t like to make small talk. It’s really just not our thing. So you can imagine how hard daycare drop offs and school pick ups can be when other parents make you feel obligated to say something to them.

7. Busy parks bring us anxiety.

We love our one on one time with the kids but when we head to the park and it’s jammed pack of kids and parents, we secretly hope that other parents won’t notice we’re there. The last thing we want to do is be in a situation where we may be forced to mingle and fail miserably at small talk.

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8. When your kid shares your introversion, you’ll feel unnecessarily guilty.

We are products of environment, so it’s inevitable that your child will pick up some introvert traits. But in a world built for extroverts, feeling guilty for having a “shy” child happens from time to time – even though it shouldn’t.

9. When your kid is an extrovert, parenting is more draining than you’d like it to be.

Parenting is a roller-coaster for everyone, regarding of their personality type. But an introvert mom with an extrovert child means you’re on, all the time. Heeding to every beck and call, showing interest in every single thing they do in a day, being fully present and attentive all day long means that when bedtime rolls around, you’re exhausted and only have enough energy to crawl into bed.

10. When our jobs involve a lot of face time, our tank can already be empty by the time we get home.

We’re all a little drained by the time 5 PM rolls around but if you’re an introvert mother and your day job involves a lot of face time, then you know that your energy reserves are pretty much depleted by the time you get home.

11. We’re often the only moms who don’t really feel guilty about putting our kids in daycare.

I can speak from experience on this one – as much as I worried about my daughter’s first week at daycare, I also really enjoyed the space. The time away gave me time to think about her and miss her. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

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12. A kids’ birthday party invitation is bittersweet.

Introverts don’t necessarily hate parties but when a birthday party invitation gets sent home, we can ‘t help the feeling of dread that ensues. And if it’s not a drop off and pick up party? Then we run the risk of being seen as distant or unfriendly because we’re merely content keeping to ourselves around the other parent attendees.

13. We want to be good moms, just like everyone else.

Our constant need for downtime probably raises a few brows from other moms. We love our kids as much as anyone else. And while we want to lovingly watch every move our children make, we also want to take care of ourselves too – and that often means getting in that little bit of energizing downtime.

14. When we finally get that coveted alone time, sometimes we don’t know what to do with ourselves.

This feeling isn’t exclusive to introvert moms – all moms crave downtime and when we finally get it, there are times where we’re just not sure what to do with ourselves.

15. Sometimes we don’t realize that we’re introverted, so we end up thinking we’re just failing as parents.

One of my favorite times of the day is when my little one is tucked away in bed and sound asleep. I used to beat myself up for rejoicing when I said my final ‘good night’ – until I realized it was because I was introverted and just naturally hardwired to refuel from being alone. There were many days I feared I didn’t love parenting as much as the next mother.

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As mothers, we already have a hard enough time letting ourselves off the hook for not being perfect. As an introvert mother, our guilt is tenfold since we crave more alone time than our extrovert counterparts. Society tells us that we need to savor every moment with our children but many introvert moms struggle to do this. Just know that it’s okay to want alone time – we need it after all to be the best mom we can be.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Published on November 30, 2018

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Postpartum depression (PPD) strikes about 15% of women around childbirth.[1] Moreover, this mood disorder is estimated to affect 1% to 26% of new fathers.[2] The causes of which are thought to be linked to hormonal changes, genetics, previous mental illness and the obvious change in circumstance.

The stigma of mental health – with or without support from family members and health professionals – often deters women from seeking help for their PPD. In this article, I will show you 10 ways to begin overcoming PPD.

Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression is defined as depressive disorder, beginning anytime within pregnancy up to the first year of the child’s life. The symptoms of post natal depression are the same as those of depression. In order to receive a diagnosis from the doctor, 5 symptoms must be shown over a two week period. The symptoms and criteria are:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, nearly every day, for most of the day or the observation of a depressed mood made by others
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of concentration or increased indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, with or without plans of suicide
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Low libido
  • Fatigue, decreased energy and motivation
  • Poor self-care
  • Social withdrawal
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Diminished ability to make decisions and think clearly
  • Lack of concentration and poor memory
  • Fear that you can not care for the baby or fear of the baby
  • Worry about harming self, baby, or partner

Should you, a friend or your partner be showing any of these signs, I recommend you to seek medical advice.

Causes of Post Natal Depression

It is worth noting here that there is a difference between what is commonly known as ‘The Baby Blues’ and post natal depression.

Postpartum blues, commonly known as “baby blues,” is a transient postpartum mood disorder characterized by milder depressive symptoms than postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur in up to 80% of all mothers following delivery. The Baby Blues should clear within 14 days, if not it is likely an indicator of something more in depth.

It is not known exactly what causes post natal depression, however there are some correlating factors. These factors have a close correlation and haven’t been shown to cause PPD:

  • Prenatal depression or anxiety
  • A personal or family history of depression
  • Moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms
  • Stressful life events experienced during pregnancy
  • Maternity blues
  • Birth-related psychological trauma
  • Birth-related physical trauma
  • Previous stillbirth or miscarriage
  • Formula-feeding rather than breast-feeding
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Low self-esteem
  • Childcare or life stress
  • Low social support
  • Poor marital relationship or single marital status
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Infant temperament problems/colic
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
  • Elevated prolactin levels
  • Oxytocin depletion

One of the strongest predictors of paternal PPD is having a partner who has PPD, with fathers developing PPD 50% of the time when their female partner has PPD. [3]

Ways to Overcome Post Natal Depression

1. Seek Medical Help

As knowledge of PPD grows, more and more physicians are becoming aware of the indicators and risk factors. This means that health care providers are looking for signs as early as their first prenatal care visit.

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If you are at risk, letting your provider know early in your pregnancy means that you’ll be given extra support and care throughout the process. It is best to seek treatment as soon as possible.

If it’s detected late or not at all, the condition may worsen. Experts have also found that children can be affected by a parent’s untreated PPD. Such children may be more prone to sleep disturbances, impaired cognitive development, insecurity, and frequent temper tantrums.

2. Therapy

This is the first line of defence against post natal depression and will commonly be prescribed alongside medication. Around 90% of post natal depression cases in women are treated with a combination of the two treatments.

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare. Your counselor will ask questions about your life, and it’s important you answer honestly. You won’t be judged for what you tell, and whatever you talk about will be just between the two of you. Your counselor will teach you how to look at some things differently, and how to change certain habits to help yourself feel better.

Therapy is personalized for everyone, but women in counselling for postpartum depression often discuss topics including; who you’re feeling, your behaviour, your actions and your life. (If you need immediate support please call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. The toll-free call is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)

3. Medication

There have been a few studies of medications for treating PPD, however, the sample sizes were small, thus evidence is generally weak.

Some evidence suggests that mothers with PPD will respond similarly to people with major depressive disorder. There is evidence which suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective treatment for PPD.

However, a recent study has found that adding sertraline, an SSRI, to psychotherapy does not appear to confer any additional benefit. Therefore, it is not completely clear which antidepressants are most effective for treatment of PPD.

There are currently no antidepressants that are FDA approved for use during lactation. Most antidepressants are excreted in breast milk. However, there are limited studies showing the effects and safety of these antidepressants on breastfed babies.

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4. Communication with Partner

Don’t blame yourself, your partner, close friends or relatives. Life is tough at this time, and tiredness and irritability can lead to quarrels.

‘Having a go’ at your partner can weaken your relationship when it needs to be at its strongest. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone understanding.

By spending time with your partner doing activities that you both enjoy, like going for a walk, can really help. This change of state, from moving location, can significantly elevate mood whilst providing ‘neutral ground’ in which to open up communication.

Be honest with your partner and show ways in which they can support you best through this time, even if it’s just talking or letting you have time to go take a shower.

5. Self Care and Rest

Don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. Try to do less and make sure that you don’t get over-tired. It’s common that women are the experts at ‘being busy’ and ‘doing it all’.

Rest whilst the baby is sleeping, and really take time to prioritise yourself. Throughout life, if you’re constantly giving out energy, you will be left feeling unbalanced. It’s important to become aware of one’s energy and making sure to give yourself energy first, before giving out is imperative.

Your body has just been through the trauma of the birth, which is very stressful. It therefore needs time to recover so taking time to yourself is important. Things as simple as a cup of tea, or shower or listening to music will really help.

6. Supplementation (especially DHA)

St John’s Wort is a herbal remedy available from chemists. There is evidence that it is effective in mild to moderate depression. It seems to work in much the same way as some antidepressants, but some people find that it has fewer side-effects.

One problem is that St John’s Wort can interfere with the way other medications work. If you are taking other medication, you should discuss it with your doctor. This is very important if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill. St John’s Wort might stop your pill working. This can lead to an unplanned pregnancy.

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It is also worth noting that fish oil (containing DHA) is being shown to correlate with lower instances of PPD. DHA consumption during pregnancy — at levels that are reasonably attained from foods — has the potential to decrease symptoms of postpartum depression,” conclude study researchers led by Michelle Price Judge, PhD, RD, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing.

7. Movement

Before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your doctor and find a fully qualified pre and post natal specialist. That being said, there is plenty of movement that can be done prior to ‘hitting the gym’, such as walking.

Not only does being outside positively benefit you by getting some fresh air and vitamin D. The same is said for your baby, who will likely sleep better once they’ve been outside. Exercise gets your endorphins going, which helps alleviate depression symptoms, It can also get you focused on something for yourself. In an analysis of data from 1996 to 2016, researchers discovered that moms who stayed physically active after birth experienced fewer depressive symptoms.[4] In contrast, one study found women who led a more sedentary lifestyle were, in general, more likely to experience postpartum depression in the first place. [5]

The type of workout doesn’t matter much. Yoga for pregnant women, stretching, and cardio are essentially equal in terms of making you feel better.

8. Socializing and Support Groups

Do go to local groups for new mothers or postnatal support groups. Your health visitor can tell you about groups in your area. You may not feel like going to these groups if your are depressed.

See if someone can go with you. You may find the support of other new mothers helpful. You may find some women who feel the same way as you do.

9. Accept Help

Some cultures believe that the symptoms of postpartum depression or similar illnesses can be avoided through protective rituals in the period after birth. Chinese women participate in a ritual that is known as “doing the month” (confinement) in which they spend the first 30 days after giving birth resting in bed, while the mother or mother-in-law takes care of domestic duties and childcare.

Whilst this may seem extreme, it’s worth noting that being able to accept help from your friends, partner and family can be extremely beneficial.

10. Avoid Smoking, Drink and Drugs

Which may seem common sense, however you may be tempted by the short term ‘fix’.

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Don’t use alcohol or drugs. They may make you feel better for a short time, but it doesn’t last. Alcohol and drugs can make depression worse. They are also bad for your physical health.

Final Thoughts

Most women will get better without any treatment within 3 to 6 months. One in four mothers with PND are still depressed when their child is one-year-old. However, this can mean a lot of suffering.

PND can spoil the experience of new motherhood. It can strain your relationship with your baby and partner. You may not look after your baby, or yourself, as well as you would when you are well.

PND can affect your child’s development and behaviour even after the depression has ended. So the shorter it lasts, the better.

Sometimes there is an obvious reason for PND, but not always. You may feel distressed, or guilty for feeling like this, as you expected to be happy about having a baby. However, PND can happen to anyone and it is not your fault.

It’s never too late to seek help. Even if you have been depressed for a while, you can get better. The help you need depends on how severe your illness is. Mild PND can be helped by increased support from family and friends.

Featured photo credit: Derek Thomson via unsplash.com

Reference

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