(Adapted from The Highs and Lows of Early Motherhood | Psychology Today)
The arrival of your baby brings along intense feelings and emotions, and sometimes all the focus on the new baby leaves new moms out in the cold.
One strategy from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), called the STOP skill, might help you to better manage your ever-changing emotional states and better tolerate stress.
Solara Calderon, Ph.D., explains the STOP skill:
The STOP skill allows you to temporarily pause in order to take an objective, outsider look at what you are experiencing before you choose how to react. This skill is broken down into four steps:
1. Stop. Visualize a stop sign and physically freeze.
2. Take a step back from the situation. Take a break. This break can be momentary or longer if needed. Take some deep breaths. Splash some cool water on your face. Drink a glass of water. Look out the window.
3. Observe. Notice what is going on inside you and also outside you in your surroundings. How are you feeling? What are you thinking? What role are others playing in this situation? Learning how to notice yourself from the perspective of an objective observer is a skill that can be developed with intention.
4. Proceed mindfully. Before reacting out of intense emotion, ask yourself, “What do I need right now? What will be helpful to me at this moment?” You have the power to act with awareness. Maybe you need to ask a friend to drop off some groceries. Maybe you need to strap the baby into a carrier and take a walk around the block.
For those suffering from prolonged feeling of sadness, anger, hopelessness or fear, you might be experiencing PPD, or Postpartum Depression. Developing skills like the STOP skill is not enough to address the emotions you are feeling, and you should reach out for help from friends, family members, new mom groups or a medical professional. What you are feeling is legitimate and you need support. Don’t stop until someone takes you seriously and offers you the help you need.
As the founder of LuLé and a proud mom, I am passionate about helping you make the right decisions for your baby. All blog posts are based on information found on respected government or institutional websites, such as Health Canada.