New research from Emma’s Diary reveals that resentment is a key factor affecting the mental health of both pregnant women and new mums. Over a quarter (28%) revealed they have resented their friends for not adapting social plans to include them, while over half (51%) said they felt negatively towards their partner because they had a social life, were able to drink alcohol and had more energy. We asked psychologist Dr Kathryn Hollins to share her expert advice on how to overcome resentment as a new mum.
Becoming a mum is one of the most profound transitions in life. Everything changes. During pregnancy and the first weeks and months of your baby’s life you are responding to the intense needs of a dependent little being, who relies on you day and night. It is completely understandable if you are feeling resentful or jealous of those close to you for carrying on with their lives whilst your life has been turned upside down!
If you’re feeling resentful towards to those around you, the following tips will help to help ease how you may be feeling:
If you are feeling fed up and resentful whilst pregnant, reach out and tell someone. Dispel the myth that you are supposed to be blooming at all times and share your real feelings! Being tired and physically uncomfortable plus having to change your diet and drinking habits can feel really frustrating. Remember it is a time-limited phase.
When your newborn baby arrives, it can feel like an emotional rollercoaster whilst you recover from the birth and begin to get to know and understand your baby. Finding ways to embrace and accept this intense period of motherhood will reduce your resentment. It won’t last forever.
Instead of trying to carry on with everything you usually do, allow yourself to be in a motherhood cocoon for a while. This means asking for support from anyone who is available. Slow down, watch and listen to your baby. Be pleased if you manage to do one thing a day!
Let Others Help
Trusting and letting others develop their own relationships with the baby, and therefore giving you a break from 24 hour a day responsibility, will mean you feel less resentful. Having even a little space and time for yourself will help.
Talk to Your Partner
If you have a partner, talk with them about how you feel. When you are ready, start thinking together about how you want to share parenting your baby in the months ahead. Don’t feel constrained by what others do, instead dream and aspire for what works for you as a couple.
About the expert
Dr Kathryn Hollins is a Parent, Child and Family Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist in private practice. She has recently teamed up with Emma’s Diary to launch its #MyMindAndMe campaign. For more information about Emma’s Diary and it’s for a list of resources for pregnant and new mums who may be experiencing mental health problems, please visit www.emmasdiary.co.uk/wellbeing