Information or Birth defects- Emotional Support

What I Wish People Understood About Hearing a Child's Diagnosis

Unexpected birth defects can throw you for a loop after delivering your baby. I think we are fortunate to have all the medical resources that we have today. But it still does't take all the risk out of having a baby with out birth defects. The most common severe congenital disorders are heart defects, neural tube defects and Down syndrome. Although congenital disorders may be the result of one or more genetic, infectious, nutritional or environmental factors, it is often difficult to identify the exact causes.

One out of thirty babies are still born with birth defects. So you are not alone. My suggestion is that you ask your pediatric doctor how much experience they have with your child's challenge, prior to following their advice. They aren't always up on the newest studies and therapies, or even some of the conditions that babies are born with today. 

Health challenges can be particularly hard emotionally when you’re not expecting them. In the haze of shock, you can lose sight of what’s possible and fear takes over. The waves of loss will always be there, but it is the loss of a false future you created within the constructs of an imaginary life for an imaginary child. The CDC website is amazing for learning about your childs birth defect,

Knowing that THIS child, your child, will teach you daily how great love without boundaries or expectations can be.  So when it comes to acceptance, it’s going to be a daily process accepting the loss of what you thought your life would look like, but accepting this child will happen as soon as the dust settles and they are lying in your arms.

There are a wide array of possibilities when it comes to birth defects, and every parents outlook will be different on a case-by-case basis -no matter what the diagnosis is.

Many babies will go on to thrive even after being born with an unexpected birth defect.

But, sometimes the soul needs to weep or your heart feels like it will physically break when you hear the news and before you can make peace with it. 

My friend, Nancy R., used to say that there were moments that she grieved and cried in almost every day. But she also planned and intentially created moments of joy in her daughters life and thats what gave her peace as she fell asleep every night. She loved being her daughters mom, because she knew that she was given a special child as a gift from God.

Her perspective was always "A special needs child is still a child". 

The journey to inner peace in your situation will be uniquely different in your family. If you are one that plans everything in your life, plan on becoming more flexible. If you have an outdoorsy lifestyle, plan on becoming a clever and ingenious parent as you adjust to showing your child to seek the joys of being outside- just the way that your child is. You can still do the things that you love in your life and plan ahead to celebrate your little ones acccomplishments with unbelievable unexpected joy that you can not imagine when you hear that your child is special.  

 My hope is to fill you with encouragement and to inspire a way for you to bravely move forward, particularly if you have a child with autism. Life can throw a lot at you at once. And parenting can be one of the toughest jobs there is. However, you are better than you think you are at weathering it all. So talk it out with you closest family and friends. Choosing to embrace this special life requires an intentional focus, but its impact will overflow into all areas of your life to create special moments of joy in your life.

I remember when a parent said to me that she didn't see or prepare herself for a special needs baby. She imagined her life with a normal child and day dreamed about all the things she could do with and teach her baby. And now she doesn't know what is ahead.

It's the shock and the unknown of what is ahead that gets you at first. So I often have them respond to the challenge with a list of the normal parenting that they still get to do. And some about learning and the experiences in their journey ahead. 

So often they don't realize that the celebration of their baby's accomplishments is so much sweeter and the bond with your child (as they are) will be so much stronger than that with a typical child. It's a process that you go through with unexpected joy as your reward. It's not a huge leep into your future. So slow down and enjoy in the moments of your childs life each day and you will develop dreams for your childs future together.

Expect joy, create joy, and dream of yours childs joy in the days ahead. 
Joyfully discover their abilities just like all parents get to do.

You will learn what the quote “Having a child is like having your heart walk around outside of your body” means--- down to your very core. You are deeply affected by everything your child goes through and understandably so.

 You will spend part of your day on financial worries, health concerns (maybe even your own), work through challenges, family drama, and more. And that’s not even mentioning all the things you do for your baby during the day! So be kind to one another and give your child all the love that you can find in your heart.
And peace will come to your family too.

Choosing to embrace this special life (and all the blessings within it) requires an intentional focus, but its impact will overflow into your heart, your faith, your life, your family, your purpose, and so much more. 

Deciding to Shift Your Focus and Seek Joy and Hope

You will see a day ahead when you feel alive and happy and at peace.

All because you decided to shift your focus from your overwhelming circumstances to all the blessings and the good things in my life.

And you can do that too. Special needs parenting isn’t easy. It takes an intentional effort to focus on the good things:

  • Celebrating your child’s progress (every single milestone and every hard-fought inch in-between), rather than focusing on their weaknesses.

  • Reminding yourself of how much you have learned and grown and all the things you do as a special needs mother, rather than feeling like you’re not doing enough.

  • Asking God what He wants to teach you from this special needs parenting journey, rather than asking Him why He has you on it.

  • Counting your blessings and the good things in your life, rather than dwelling on the things that are hard and not what you expected for your life.

  • Remember that all of the Bibles heroes faced their own struggles and suffering and yet God used them and did mighty things through them. And He will do the same through you, if you are open to what He is doing and teaching you in your own journey.

Find the strength to BE MIGHTY TODAY-Your Child needs A hero!!!

Here is another inspirational story

I literally grieved when my son, Junior, was first diagnosed as being profoundly deaf. I cried, I moped, I thought about how the life I envisioned when I set out to have children was suddenly so much different than the life I now had. I thought about his future, the challenges he was going to face, the bullies he would have to ward off and the stares he would have to endure.

What was worse than a few months of grieving, however, were the well-meaning people who made me feel guilty for grieving… made me feel like deafness just wasn’t “bad” enough to be upset about. One morning a few weeks after Junior was born and had already failed three hearing tests but hadn’t yet been diagnosed, I was struggling with my postpartum emotions. I went to my doctor and explained the added stresses I was facing on top of the normal hormones of a recent birth, hoping to hear some encouraging words, but do you know what she said to me?

“So what if he’s deaf. It’s not a big deal. Just learn a little sign language.”

It’s been three and a half years since she spoke those words to me, but they are still as fresh as the moment she opened her mouth. I didn’t have the wherewithal to protest at the moment, but those words burned. I didn’t need someone with typical, healthy children telling me that I wasn’t allowed to grieve because it was “no big deal.”

As I told friends about Junior’s recent diagnosis, I heard many of the same sentiments:

“It’s not like it’s cancer or anything bad.”

“At least he’s not blind too.”

“He’s just deaf. He’s fine!”

“It could be worse.”

Yes, I knew things could have been worse. There were plenty of people in more difficult situations than us. But, that didn’t mean I wasn’t allowed to grieve. It didn’t mean that his deafness was “no big deal.” Especially when those comments came from people who had never been in the special needs world, had never experienced the pain of knowing their child was going to have added struggles in life.

I had to grieve before I could move on. I had to accept the reality before I could become his loudest cheerleader, biggest supporter and strongest advocate. I had to go through all those emotions, because it was a big deal. It was my child, and I was scared of an unknown future.

At just a few weeks old, we were making decisions for Junior that would affect him for the rest of his life. When I was supposed to be settling into the hectic, sleepless world of having a newborn and toddler, I was spending 20-plus hours a week at or traveling to doctors or therapy appointments. We were planning his life weeks, months and years down the road. It was a big deal.

The comments that were said to make me feel better only served to make me feel worse. Not only because I felt guilty for grieving, but also because I realized that compassion and empathy is rarely found in those who have not traveled the special needs path.

Looking back, the grieving process was a short but crucial part of our journey. Without it, I wouldn’t have forged lifelong bonds by reaching out to others who had walked this enexpected path, and I wouldn’t have realized that the valleys make the peaks that much more triumphant.

I realized that no matter what they’re going through, our beautiful children are a big deal just as they are.

Finding Support for Families Living with Birth Defects


Mom and dad kissing there baby

Having a child with a birth defect can affect the entire family. It might be helpful to talk with families or other people who are affected by the same type of birth defect as you or your family member.

Other people might have learned how to address some concerns and questions you have. Often, they can give you advice about good resources and share what worked best for them. Talking with other people that have been through your situations may also provide emotional support and hope for the future.

Remember that the choices of one family might not be best for another family, so it’s important to understand all options and discuss them with a health care provider.

There are many ways to connect with other people, including in person, on the Internet or by telephone. The following sources can help you get started:

National and Community OrganizationsFor Support

A national organization that focuses on the specific birth defect, such as Spina Bifida Association, might exist. Most national organizations have state or local branches, such as Spina Bifida Association of Georgia. State or local area March of Dimes offices could also be helpful. United Way offices may be able to point out resources. Look in the phone book or on the Internet for phone numbers and addresses.

The following organizations have information about support groups

The Arc
The Arc website provides information to help children and families with Autism, Down syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and many other intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc is an advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing support and services for affected children and families.

Brave Kids
The Brave Kids website has an online resource for children with special needs and their families. There are message boards, resources, and games.

The Compassionate Friends
The Compassionate Friends website offers help to families in dealing with grief following the death of a child of any age.

Family Voices
Family Voices is an organization promoting quality health care for all children and youth, particularly those with special health care needs.

The Father’s Network
The Fathers Network provides information and resources to help families raising children with special health care needs and developmental disabilities.

March of Dimes
MOD works to assure that babies are born healthy. Through research, outreach, education, and advocacy, MOD addresses issues such as prematurity, low birth weight, and birth defects.

Related Links

What to Know If Your Baby Is Born with an Unexpected Birth Defect

Giving birth can be one of the most exciting, and difficult, days of your life. Meeting your baby for the first time and starting your life as their parent are moments you will never forget.

But for some babies, birth is also the beginning of a medically complex situation.

Unexpected developmental or structural issues, or birth defects, may be discovered in the initial moments or days after your baby is born. These conditions may require emergency action from your medical team.

When an unexpected condition is discovered, you might feel scared, confused, angry, or emotional. You might feel guilty and wonder why this is happening, and whether there’s anything you could have done to better prepare for your baby’s medical needs.

Just know that you are not to blame for this situation, and you are not alone. Birth defects affect 1 in 33 babiesTrusted Source born each year in the United States. Some of these are found through prenatal testing, but many can’t be detected until after birth.

Let’s take a look at the basics of birth defects, the reasons why some go undetected, and how you can prepare for what comes next.

What are birth defects?

birth defect is an abnormality that is present when your baby is born. Some of them are cosmetic, while others affect a baby’s vital organs. These issues can require no medical attention at all, or can be a medical emergency.

Many things can increaseTrusted Source a baby’s risk of having a birth defect, including:

  • environmental factors

  • family history

  • exposure to chemicals or substances

  • nutrition

  • chromosomal abnormalities

  • certain medications

However, not every baby born to a parent with a risk factor will develop a birth defect. Likewise, a person with no risk factors isn’t guaranteed to have a baby without any birth defects.

Having a baby with a birth defect does not mean you did something wrong during your pregnancy or that you could have acted to prevent it somehow. We still don’t know what causes some of these issues.

What birth defects may not be detected before birth?

There are two main typesTrusted Source of birth defects: structural and developmental. Both can sometimes go undetected before birth.

Structural birth defects

“Structural birth defects” refer to the way the baby’s body and organs are formed.

Some of the most common structural issues diagnosed after birth include:

Developmental and functional birth defects

Developmental and functional birth defects are related to the way the body functions, not necessarily the way it looks.

Functional birth defects that may be undetected until at or after birth include:

  • Degenerative disorders: These disorders get worse as they progress and may not be evident at birth. Degenerative disorders include things like muscular dystrophy and Rett syndrome.

  • Nervous system or brain: Changes in the nervous system and brain include things like seizures, developmental and intellectual disabilities, speech or language difficulties, and movement trouble. Birth defects of the nervous system include Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome.

  • Metabolic disorders: Metabolic disorders involve various chemical reactions and functions in the body. Common metabolic disorders include phenylketonuria (PKU)Tay-Sachs disease, and hypothyroidism.

  • Sensory: Sensory difficulties are things like blindness or hearing loss and deafness.

Many birth defects may affect both structures and functions in a baby’s body and may fall into both categories.

Finding support if your baby has a birth defect

These organizations can help connect you with other parents who have had a child born with a birth defect:

Was this helpful?

How are some birth defects detected before birth?

Birth defects are often found during pregnancy via a series of standard prenatal screening tests. These tests include:

Blood work

Blood tests can be very accurate, but false negatives do occur. This can cause some genetic abnormalities and birth defects to get missed at first. Blood tests performed during pregnancy include:

  • maternal blood screen in the first trimester

  • maternal serum screen in the second trimester

Most prenatal blood work doesn’t test for every possible genetic abnormality, just the most common ones. If you have a family history of a rare genetic condition, you may be able to request that your doctor check for that condition, too.


Your doctor may use ultrasounds to see if your baby’s heart is pumping properly and that the skull is within the expected size and shape parameters.

But today’s ultrasounds, though quite advanced, can’t always detect congenital abnormalities. In low risk pregnancies, for example, an ultrasound may simply take a still image of your baby’s heart that shows its size and shape.

Ultrasound examinations in pregnancy may include:

  • 10-week ultrasound: Also called a nuchal translucency screening (NT scan), this scan is done in the first trimester (weeks 10 to 14). It tests for the risk of Down syndrome and several other chromosomal abnormalities.

  • Level 2 ultrasounds: Also known as anatomy scans, these scans allow for a comprehensive check of your baby’s limbs, heart, skull, and other organs to see if things are developing on schedule.

  • Anatomy ultrasound: Usually completed at around 18 to 20 weeks, this ultrasound checks the size of the baby and looks for birth defects or other problems.

  • Fetal echocardiograms: Fetal echocardiograms that record the heart pumping, as well as its efficiency, are now recommended by some experts as a better tool for screening for heart defects as well as diagnosing them.

Other diagnostic tests

  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): CVS is performed in the first trimester. It checks a small sample of part of the placenta called chorionic villi for chromosomal and genetic conditions.

  • Amniocentesis: Performed around week 15, this test uses a sample of amniotic fluid to check for chromosomal and genetic conditions.

Even with all of this screening, it’s possible that a birth defect will not be detected before birth.

Find support for your mental health

Talk to a professional and get support for your emotional or mental health symptoms from BetterHelp’s licensed therapists. Take a quiz, get matched, and start getting support via phone or video sessions. Plans start at $60 per week + 10% off your fist month.



What are some of the symptoms of birth defects in a newborn?

The symptoms of a birth defect will vary widely depending on the condition the baby has. Symptoms may include:

  • a visually detectable abnormality, such as an unusually shaped head, cleft palate, or club foot

  • difficulties during vaginal delivery

  • low blood pressure after birth

  • gray or blue coloring shortly after birth

  • difficulty latching during breastfeeding

  • slow or inefficient weight gain

During your hospital stay, your doctor will take a blood sample directly from your baby to check for genetic abnormalities and other issues.

Sometimes the result of these blood tests will indicate that further testing is needed.

What’s the treatment for babies born with birth defects?

The treatment for your baby is going to depend on what type of condition or issue your baby has.

Some unexpected issues need to be treated immediately, especially if the baby’s vital organs are affected. This may involve an emergency surgical procedure, followed by time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Babies with conditions affecting the brain, skull, spine, or heart may need these types of surgeries and interventions. Heart defects that are considered “mild” may never require surgery and can sometimes resolve on their own.

Some issues are found later if an infant doesn’t meet certain developmental milestones or weight recommendations. In these cases, your baby’s doctor may prescribe physical therapy, medication, supplements, or other treatments.

What’s the outlook for babies with birth defects?

The outlook for babies born with developmental or structural issues varies widely depending on which issue is present.

A birth defect may severely affect your child’s health, or it can eventually be a footnote in the story of a long and healthy life.

Heart defects

Babies with congenital heart defects may need ongoing health support as they grow older. About 1 in 4 babies born with a heart defect need to have surgery within the first year of life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source. The presence of mild heart defects that do not require surgery is increasing, notes the CDC.

Children with heart defects are more likely to develop other health conditions or have some developmental delays. The rates of autism, asthma, and intellectual disabilities are higher in children born with heart defects.

When treated appropriately, many children can have a normal life expectancy after being born with a congenital heart defect.

Craniofacial abnormalities

Children born with a structural issue affecting their face or skull, such as cleft palate or craniosynostosis, often need corrective surgery to address the issue.

These surgeries might need to be performed shortly after birth, or they can be delayed until your pediatrician recommends it.

The outlook for babies born with these types of abnormalities can be excellent with proper care, monitoring, and treatment.

Developmental and intellectual disabilities

The outlook for developmental and intellectual disabilities varies very widely. Support from you and treatment from medical caregivers can mean the outlook is very good for babies born with these types of birth defects.

Frequently asked questions

What will a birth defect mean for my baby?

Some birth defects can have serious and long lasting effects on your baby’s health.

In some cases, corrective surgery may be required quickly to repair your baby’s heart or skull. In other cases, you may need to wait and see how your baby develops and whether medical intervention is required later on.

Who is at risk of undiagnosed birth defects?

Birth defects can occur in any pregnancy, but certain things can increase the risk:

  • smoking during pregnancy

  • being exposed to strong chemicals during pregnancy

  • not getting enough folic acid during pregnancy

  • contracting certain infections during pregnancy

It’s important to understand that many birth defects do not have a direct cause.

How are birth defects treated?

Birth defect treatment varies widely according to the specific issue your baby is born with. Some birth defects need to be treated immediately with surgery. Others involve a long-term treatment plan. And others resolve on their own as your baby develops.

What you need to know now

Parents of children with birth defects sometimes say they feel out of the loop as doctors discuss their child’s needs in highly specialized jargon.

You may see your baby in a situation that is difficult for you to witness. Babies born with birth defects are sometimes hooked up to medical equipment, such as an incubator, to help them breathe, or to an IV to get medication and fluids.

Keep in mind that when you see your baby in these situations, you may need to take a minute to decompress or process with a family member or your partner.

It’s OK to have strong feelings when you see your baby in a medically complicated position. It may help to remind yourself that these steps are being taken to help your baby have the best chance for a healthy outcome.

You may feel like things aren’t being explained to you in a way that you can understand while your baby is being taken care of. Things may happen quickly, without a lot of time for discussion or consultation.

If you’re at the hospital, you can ask for a patient advocate to help you during these times. You can also advocate for your child by asking staff and doctors for more information or to explain things to you in a different way. Writing things down or having another person in the room who can help you recall what was said can be helpful.

If you’ve never taken care of a person with a serious medical condition before, it can be intimidating to even consider taking your baby home. Take a lot of notes and ask about the support that is available before you leave the hospital.

It may be hard to fathom keeping track of medications and special needs that your baby has, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from the beginning. But don’t underestimate yourself, either: You are capable of being the parent your child needs.

The takeaway

An unexpected birth defect can throw you for a loop after delivering your baby. Health challenges can be particularly hard emotionally when you’re not expecting them.

There are a wide array of possibilities when it comes to birth defects, and outlook will vary on a case-by-case basis. Many babies will go on to thrive even after being born with an unexpected birth defect.

Find support for your mental health

Talk to a professional and get support for your emotional or mental health symptoms from BetterHelp’s licensed therapists. Take a quiz, get matched, and start getting support via phone or video sessions. Plans start at $60 per week + 10% off your fist month.


Last medically reviewed on July 27, 2022

When Your Delivery Surprise Is A Birth Defect

By Christy Lilley

I've been a worrier for as long as I can remember. It's just who I am — I worry about anything and everything to the point of obsession.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started worrying about whether the baby would be healthy. Our 20-month-old son, James, was born with a cleft lip, so I worried that this baby would have one, too — or something even worse.

We didn't know about James' lip until the moment he was born. After nearly three hours of pushing, the first thing the doctor said after the birth was, "I don't want to alarm you, but ..."

Those are the last words you want to hear.

It was a complete shock, and at the time seemed absolutely devastating. It took away from the first few moments we had with our son, and completely changed the whole birth experience as I had imagined it in my mind.

If we had known James would be born with a cleft lip, I could have been more prepared. I would have done research and known more about treatment, and how having a cleft lip would affect him. Knowing about his lip would have eliminated the extreme shock I experienced upon learning that my baby had a birth defect in the delivery room.

Christy's now-20-month-old son, James, was born with a cleft lip — a delivery surprise that Christy says seemed devastating at the time.

James has since had his lip repaired, and now it all seems like a distant memory. But it was an experience I hope I never have to repeat.

With this baby, I absolutely wanted to know what was in store for us before delivery. In the beginning of the pregnancy, I worried myself sick thinking about her lip. We were sent to a high-risk OB for very detailed ultrasounds of her face and lips.

Enlarge this image

A detailed ultrasound of Christy's daughter — shown with light hitting her forehead — has eased some of Christy's concerns over the delivery.

I was a nervous wreck on the day of our first ultrasound. I was shaking with fear during the exam, and could hardly look as the technician zeroed in on her face.

While we can't be 100 percent certain until she is born, the prognosis looks very good. Her lip looks great on ultrasound, and none of the doctors have seen anything of concern.

Why You Shouldn't Feel Sorry for Our Family With Special Needs

By Kelli Gruen 

Two years ago I had the honor of meeting one of the sweetest, most loving, cute, incredible, strong and down right most amazing human beings. Our meeting didn’t go quite as planned, but the second I saw her I knew she was special. She exuded pure light, as if her soul was shining from within.

She changed my life forever, for the better.

Her name is Ashlyn, and she’s my hero. She has special needs, and she is my daughter. Some people dream of meeting their favorite heroes, I was lucky enough to give birth to mine.

Ashlyn with her walker outside.


Ashlyn was born with not one, but two rare disorders, and lives with disabilities that will affect her everyday life, for the rest of her life.

But please, don’t be sorry.

It took us almost two years to get Ashlyn’s diagnoses. It was a long two years, with more tears and sleepless nights than most could bare. I would lay on the floor next to her crib at night and just cry. Why her? Why us? Why can no one give us any answers? But then the day finally came. After an extensive spinal, brain and skull CT/MRI, we finally had diagnoses. It was as if a weight was lifted off our shoulders. We finally had the answers we longed for. Having answers meant we could begin the care plan, treatments, therapies, appointments and interventions we needed to give her the best chance possible at living a “normal” life (Is there such thing?).

We immediately began updating family and friends with all the news we had received. I knew they would be elated and so happy we had answers, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the response we got.

“I’m sorry.” 

Now, I don’t believe these comments came from a negative or mean spirited place. I truly believe this was the response people had because they didn’t know what else to say. I mean, I get it.

Ashlyn near a tree outside smiling.


What do you say to someone who just found out their child has a condition that can’t be corrected by a procedure, and will live their entire life with a disability? Not “I’m sorry.”

My daughter is perfect, regardless of any diagnoses. 

She might not be on the same sports team as your child, and she might not be able to run and skip with kids her age, but that’s OK! She will excel in her own ways, and her father and I will be gushing with pride every step of the way.

She is silly, kind, fun and smart. She is like no one else I have ever or will ever meet.

She’s a miracle and everyday she surprises us and doctors with what she has and can accomplish.

She has the sweetest voice and the cutest giggles. Her crooked little grin can put a smile on any ones face. She has taught our family more in the last two years, than I learned in my entire 30 years of life before her. She is one of a kind, and she was given to us for a reason.

There is nothing for any one to be sorry about. She has blessed our lives beyond measure.

I am a special needs mom and I am proud of my daughter. Our family. My life.

So please, don’t pity us. Don’t be sorry. Just be supportive.

Our journey may be different than most, possibly more challenging, but we are up for the challenge, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.


10 Things I’ve Done to Take Control of My Mental Health

I’m not the first to admit that life is hard after you have a baby. Everything is different. You’ve lost your independence, finances are strained, and you are living on half as much sleep (or less).

It’s not that you don’t love your baby. You are absolutely in love with those sweet newborn snuggles, those first sleepy smiles, and the sound of baby’s first laugh. You might try to brush off the feelings of discouragement and exhaustion, fearing that if you do allow yourself to feel this you are somehow a “bad” mother. Maybe you allow yourself to feel and you begin to worry that you really are a bad mother.

I didn’t understand it until I had a baby of my own. I thought postpartum blues and depression were only for those with “chemical imbalances”. I didn’t realize the staggering weight of all mothers accomplish and sacrifice. I’m 3 months into motherhood and I already feel like a master of maternal struggles!

And I’m just getting started.

But while it’s sometimes so hard… Sometimes I’m exhausted and can’t help but fall asleep with my baby while he nurses. Some days it seems I haven’t accomplished a single thing and I wonder where the hours went…. I’ve found some things that have really HELPED me to take control of my mental health and to feel good, happy, healthy, and successful at the end of the day. I’m hoping these can help you too 


Be Mindful about your Emotions

Acknowledging difficult emotions has always been really hard for me. I’m just a happy person and I love life. So I’ve somehow found it shameful whenever I’m bogged down by any negative emotion. The truth is, no emotion is inherently bad. Every emotion serves an important purpose. Emotions can alert you to imbalance in your life and relationships. Practicing yoga has taught me that instead of ignoring my emotions or letting them consume me, I can allow them to serve their purpose. Accept them, learn from them, and learn how I can change to create more enjoyable emotions. Allow them to serve their purpose. Putting up a happy facade is NOT being mentally healthy. You may be able to fool others for a while, but you can’t fool yourself and odds are you’ll eventually snap! So let yourself experience your emotions as they need to be experienced.

Talk About It

I can’t say how much this has helped me. After finally talking through some of my postpartum experiences with my husband, I feel like all my internal struggles have been released. No longer forcing myself to hold them in where only I can see, I can finally help myself and seek the support I need.

Set Down Your Phone

This seriously drains you mentally and physically. It interferes with your relationships, your conversations, and your self confidence.

This week I’ve decided to pick up my phone less and pick up my books more. Instead of scrolling on my phone while I’m breastfeeding, instead I indulge in an interesting book! I feel SO MUCH BETTER when I’m feeding my mind something tangible, rather than something empty.

Spend time Outside

After being cooped up breastfeeding and doing chores all day, I just have to get outside. For me, taking a walk brings me immense peace and clarity. For you, it might be going for a walk, but it might be many other things! Running, swimming, rock climbing… whatever helps you clear your mind, DO IT! Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family or friends so you can have some time to yourself.

Do what YOU WANT to do when Baby Sleeps

Some of the best advice I heard shortly after giving birth. Yes, it’s important to sleep when baby sleeps, and sometimes this is what you need. But sometimes you need something else more than sleep. Read a book, clip your toenails, take a shower, do some yoga… whatever is going to help you feel good!

Eat what makes you REALLY feel good

Not what feeds the way you feel. Choose foods that clear your body and your mind, that don’t weigh you down. Eat in balanced ways, but let yourself indulge once in a while, too!

Listen to Something Uplifting

I’ve recently started listening to some great podcasts while I clean, which helps to boost my mood while doing chores that can feel super repetitive.

Intentionally Spend Time with Loved ones

Put down your phone and any other background distractions and just devote some real time to each other!

Learn New Things and Share What you Learn

I love to learn! When I feed my mind I feel so much more productive and happier. I’ve been reading my social psychology textbook (reads more like a chapter book) while breastfeeding and I love it! I also love telling Carter about all I’ve learned in there and everywhere else 

Find Enjoyable Ways to be Productive

Your mom duties aren’t going to disappear. Babies will need feeding, diaper changing, and spit-up cleaning. Laundry will remain, as will the other chores. But you can still find ways to make even the most mundane chores more enjoyable!

For our new job, we have to vacuum our apartment complex every other day. One month in and I am already getting so sick of vacuuming! Carter has been really willing to help me out and the other night we decided to tag-team it and make a competition out of it. First one to finish their side of the building gets to pick out the Christmas tree next month! 


 That’s motivation enough for me… simply doing it together and adding a little competition made this chore feel MUCH FASTER than ever before. So get creative and find ways to make your must-dos a little more enjoyable.

I sincerely hope this post has given you some ideas of how to boost your mental health. You need some lovin’, mama! I encourage you to do all you can to take control of your situation, but if you are still struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. The suggestions in this post are in NO WAY intended to discredit or replace professional help. There are trained professionals who can help you to learn ways to get out of the negative downward spirals and prescribe medications where necessary (don’t be ashamed if you can’t seem to “figure it out” without medication! All resources are valuable if used in their proper place!). There are so many options and, when used in a holistic way, you can truly be well.

You can do it, mama! You are strong, beautiful, and courageous. You are doing a remarkable work. Never forget that ♥

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