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Being a new mom is hard. Demands are coming from all angles and it’s easy to feel the strain under increased pressure and anxiety. As if the outside pressure isn’t enough, there are things we do to ourselves that cause even more stress.


But that stops right now. Here are 10 things any new mama can do to preserve her mental health and happiness:

1. Ditch social media for real life

Those early days (and nights) of endless feedings, rocking and pacing the halls trying to soothe your newborn set the perfect stage for losing yourself in social media. Before you know it, baby is asleep in your arms and you’re still scrolling. While social media absolutely fills an important need for new moms—providing community and support no matter the time or location—it can also have a negative impact.

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Over reliance on social media can make it seem as if there isn’t a need for in-person support as well. And while the convenience of online communities can make it easier to reach out for help at times, there is tremendous value in face-to-face social interaction.

Particularly for new moms, having another adult you can spend time with in person can go a long way toward decreasing the sense of isolation that often comes along with this period in life. Whether it’s having a friend over for a playdate, or your mom tagging along while you run errands, few things are as good for the mental health of new moms as face-to-face time in the presence of supportive others.

In addition to the risk of decreasing real-life social interaction, social media overloading can also expose moms to harsh, judgmental behavior that can be quite damaging. The anonymity of social media can cause people to say things they would never say to another mom in real life. Responses to a post about ideas for how to help your newborn sleep are often filled with criticisms of the way the poster is raising their child. This is never helpful, but it is particularly damaging for new moms who have not yet developed much confidence in their mothering.

2. Change up your to-do list

To-do lists can be a mom’s best friend. With so many things to get done and so much swirling around in your head, combined with a nice dose of sleep-deprivation, it would be easy to forget tasks otherwise. But a traditional to-list is not always the best fit.

Generally, these lists have tasks assigned to particular days. Tuesday is the grocery store, post office and laundry. Wednesday is an oil change and vacuuming.

The problem is that life for a new mom is not predictable enough to determine ahead of time how much can reasonably get accomplished in a day. A rough night or particularly clingy baby can quickly turn a to-do list into a reminder of how much didn’t get done that day. This can cause unnecessary stress, feelings of inadequacy, and frustration.

So what to do instead? Change your conceptualization of the to-do list. Instead of it being one list that contains all of your must-do tasks, break it into two lists:

  • One list contains your daily required tasks. Things that absolutely must get done on a specific day—picking someone up from the airport, taking the dog to a vet appointment—go there.
  • The other list is a running, prioritized list of other things that need to get done but have some flexibility on when exactly they happen.

On any given day, you will now know what must happen, and then you can make a decision about what to pluck from the second list based on how your day is going.

Some days you may not be able to take anything off that second list, and that’s totally fine. Other days you may get more done than you could possibly have imagined you’d have time for, and that’s totally fine too.

The main point is your to-do list is now flexible and lines up with the reality of your day, rather than being rigid and causing distress when thing don’t happen as planned. New motherhood is all about learning to roll with it.

3. Trust your intuition

Studies have confirmed that intuition is not all in our head, and it is a real thing. Intuition is essentially all of the things we know without knowing how we know them. And for moms, it can be a powerful force in our decision-making process.

When we try to fight it or discount it, telling ourselves to ignore those feelings and concerns, not only do we cause undue stress trying to suppress something that is coming up automatically, but we potentially miss out on valuable information.

Now I’m not saying to trust your intuition over advice or information from medical professionals, but I am saying to start valuing your knowledge of your baby and trust your own mommy expertise.

4. Forget the snap-back

There are so many pressures new moms face, and bouncing back from pregnancy in a matter of weeks is one of the big ones. Rather than spending the postpartum period focusing on rest, recovery and bonding with our new baby, we are told to start the countdown until we fit back in our pre-pregnancy jeans. And when we find that it doesn’t happen quickly, we are frustrated and disappointed in ourselves. We view it as a lack of discipline or a sign that we’re forever doomed to a “mom bod.”

Here’s the thing: Pregnancy permanently changes some things about our bodies. Even if you return to your pre-pregnancy weight, those jeans may never fit your new hips again. All of the dieting and exercising in the world is not going to reverse this change in bone structure.

So yes, exercise and eat a balanced diet to keep your body healthy and your energy levels up to meet the physical demands of motherhood. But stop wasting time and energy focused on this unrealistic idea that your new self is inferior to your old one. It’s new and different, and that is totally okay.

5. Stop comparing yourself to other moms

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Oh goodness, he could not have been more correct when it comes to moms. Any time I am feeling pretty good about my mom skills, a quick scroll through Facebook can bring me right back down.

Her house is way cleaner, she’s doing a better job than me. Her kids get along so well, she’s doing a better job than me. Her hair and makeup are done, she’s doing a better job than me.

While we may logically know that most people carefully choose and filter what they share on social media, we still find ourselves engaged in negative comparisons that can result in anxiety, depression, and lots of self-criticism.

Although this happens most frequently on social media, we can easily fall into the comparison trap in real life as well. Other moms at the park that seem to be managing their children better or women who look more put together at Target can all start that comparison cycle going in our heads.

When you notice this happening, I suggest taking a deep breath and telling yourself that you don’t know the full story based solely on outward appearances. Things are always more nuanced than they seem. And remember: YOU are the mom your children need. Perceived flaws and all.

6. Stop comparing your baby to other babies

Just like every mom is different and excels in different parts of motherhood, every baby is totally unique. Yes, your friend’s baby may be sleeping through the night already, but yours is doing way better with solids.

Or yes, your cousin’s neighbor’s friend’s 8-month-old is walking but has yet to take an independent nap. Keeping this all in perspective is key. Kids develop at their own rate and in the time that is right for them. But that’s hard to remember when you feel like your baby isn’t doing what she is “supposed” to be doing.

One of the biggest sources of this anxiety is developmental milestones. Remember that these milestones are rather broad and no two children will follow the same timeline. They will get there in their own way, and all you can do is support them as they develop.

So rather than comparing your baby to another baby, compare him to himself. Is he learning new things as time goes on? Then he’s doing great, and so are you!

7. Appreciate your body (and all it’s been through)

Let’s take a moment to think about all that your body has just been through. Depending on the specifics of your situation, things that your body may have endured include: Fertility medications and treatment, morning sickness, growing a new organ (yes, the placenta is an actual organ that your body is able to manufacture on demand), growing a human being, managing excruciating pain without medication, spinal injections, major abdominal surgery, and providing all sustenance for a rapidly growing baby.

That’s a lot. And it’s reasonable to expect it to look a little—or a lot—different than before.

While it’s easy to spot the flaws you see in your current body, focusing on them will serve only to increase your dissatisfaction with your body. Instead, try focusing on gratitude. We know that a gratitude practice has tremendous mental health benefits, and making sure to include some body-centric gratitude can go a long way towards making peace with the body you’re in.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have weight loss or fitness goals, it just means that they are well-balanced with an appreciation for what you currently have going. Like strong arms to carry your body. A voice that allows you to express yourself. Eyes that let you take in the beauty of your child. Focus on these things with regularity, and you will notice a shift in your body-related stress and anxiety over time.

8. Leave time in your schedule for “nothing”

Adjusting to life with a new baby is hard in so many respects. One particularly difficult aspect is learning to temper your expectations of yourself and redefine what productivity looks like on a daily basis.

Once you’ve healed from delivery, it can feel like you’re ready to get up and out and going again. You crave interaction with adults and a return to some sense of normalcy and routine. This is a totally normal and understandable desire, but unfortunately, the reality of caring for a newborn is that normalcy and routine are somewhat out the window for a while. If you were used to being on the go and running at full speed at all times, this can be quite the shock.

Over-scheduling and expecting that you’ll get too many things done in a day is a setup for disappointment, frustration and distress. Instead, it’s a good idea to start exploring what productivity looks like for you now in this phase of life.

Perhaps it’s making progress on getting baby down for an independent nap. Or getting a load of laundry washed, dried and put away in the same day. Or figuring out how to get everything together and loaded into the car on your own. Or making a homemade meal once a week. These things may have seemed trivial a year ago, but right now they’re big accomplishments that should be honored as such.

Unrealistic expectations will not motivate you to accomplish more. In fact, the resulting unhappiness may actually decrease your motivation and lead to even less being accomplished. Not to mention the emotional toll it takes when we fail to live up to our goals. Right now you cannot change the intensity with which your baby needs you and your time. But you can certainly adapt your expectations to fit your reality.

9. Remember, this season doesn’t last forever

I spent a long time trying not to get caught up in the “Can we really have it all?” debate. I felt torn and unsure of the answer. But then I heard the answer that made the most sense to me: Yes you can have it all, but not all at the same time.

Different times of life require that certain aspects of ourselves come to the front and others have to step back a bit. So right now, mothering has moved to the top of the list, which means other things are going to get bumped. You may have to scale back the amount of time you have for socializing or pursuing hobbies or work hours. Now, of course, this will look different for everyone depending on your needs, preferences and resources.

The important part here is to remember that this is just one season in your life. Things will change. You will have more time for yourself again soon. Your baby will get on a schedule, and you’ll be able to plan around naps and bedtime. You and your partner will have date nights again.

While you’re in this new phase, try to appreciate it. There will come times you’ll long for days spent at home with your baby and miss the unscheduled time. Those other parts of you will have their moments again soon. For now, enjoy being mom first.

10. You’re making progress every day, mama

When you’re in the thick of new mom life, it can feel very hectic, unmanageable, and overwhelming. It’s hard to see the path you’re on, let alone trust that you’re actually moving forward. But you are.

Each day you’re getting closer to feeling confident in your mom skills. Each day you and your baby are growing together. It’s not linear growth. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back, but hey, that’s still progress!

Learning to let go a bit and trust yourself is key. Trust that you are enough for your baby. Trust that you will feel like yourself again. Trust that you will make it through. Trust that you are a great mom. Trust the process.

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We've all been there. You first hear those cries that don't sound like any other cries and immediately know what's happening. It's like our mama hearts know when our little ones need us the most. Having little ones feeling under the weather is hard. They can't tell you exactly how they feel. You can't explain to them that they'll feel better soon, and all there is for everyone to do is to take it easy and stay cuddled inside until you can get them to the doctor.

The issue, by this point, is that my son is old enough to know what's coming when we open the medicine cabinet, so giving him something for his throat ends up being like a wrestling match without the fun and giggles. My son especially likes spitting out anything as a way to protest how he's generally feeling, so we both end up covered in sticky syrup feeling defeated. Because, seriously, who thought that using a syringe or pipette to squirt out gooey liquid down an unwilling toddler's mouth was a good idea? (Probably not a parent.)

That's why when I found out there was an easier and more fun way to make these dreaded sick days better, I was all about it.

Enter: Lolleez.

Lolleez are organic throat soothing pops for kids—and adults!—that are made with organic ingredients that you can pronounce and understand like honey and natural fruit pectin. Plus, they're non-GMO as well as gluten, dairy and nut-free i.e. worry-free for all kinds of kiddos. The pops help soothe sore throats while acting like a treat for when kids are feeling under the weather. I also appreciate that the pops are actually flat and on a stick, as opposed to a lozenge or round ball lollipop. They were also created by a mom, which makes me feel a million times more confident about them since I know she knows exactly how hard sick days with a little one can be.

loleez

When I introduced my son to Lolleez pops, everything changed. Suddenly the battle to get him to take something to feel better wasn't... well, a battle. In the few times he's been sick since, he's been more than happy to pop a Lolleez, and I've been more than grateful that soothing him is now as easy as peeling open a wrapper. And, since they come in watermelon, strawberry and orange mango—strawberry is the favorite in this household—he never gets bored of getting a soothing lolly.

Also, they're easy to find—you can get them at stores like Target, CVS and online so I never worry that I'll be caught without in a pinch. After the sick days have run their course and my son starts feeling better, there's nothing like seeing that glow in his eyes come back and have him greet me with a big smile when I come into his room in the morning, ready for the day.

While our littles not feeling well is inevitable, as a mama, I'll do anything to make my child feel better, and I'm so thankful for products that make it just a little easier for the both of us. So here's to enjoying the snuggles that come with sick days, while also looking forward to the giggles that come after them.

This article was sponsored by Lolleez. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and Mamas.

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I was as prepared as I could be for my body to run the marathon that is childbirth, yet it turned out to be more like a sprint.

You see, I gave birth in a car—and I felt invincible.

During pregnancy, I chose to create a positive experience. I sought all the research I could. I watched birth videos and documentaries, read birth stories, learned about the stages of labor, recorded coping techniques, drank red raspberry leaf tea, and ate all the dates. I sought care, prepared my cookies and teas, gathered breastfeeding cream, a pump, and belly bind. I folded baby's diapers and clothes, praying for those important first weeks.

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Perhaps the most important thing I did was to join a due date group with like-minded mamas to learn and grow with, and to share all the information, research and tips we could.

Much of my preparation was mental and spiritual prep-work. I read tons of books about birth, including faith-based books about labor, a practical guide to an "emergency" birth, and a natural pregnancy and childbirth guidebook. (And yes, I did end up using knowledge of each of these resources!)

Each of my two births were very different. With my first child's birth, I did not know much about birth or my options. My water broke at the onset of labor and I labored grudgingly in the one hour car ride to the hospital. Once there, I begged for an epidural.

This time around, though, I approached labor differently.

I chose to experience unmedicated labor, even though it isn't an easily understood decision. There were so many unsolicited opinions from people about what I should do with my body, and it was hard to not feel bombarded with all of the negative talk surrounding birth. But by having the support of the due date group and learning the wisdom that has been passed down in generations about childbirth, I wasn't deterred in my decision.

I knew that I needed to focus on not being overtaken by the potential overwhelm of birth. I remembered that I had a right to informed consent and that I could find kind of positive help I needed to give birth the way I knew I needed to. I chose to memorize biblical and positive affirmations to recite during birth to help calm myself through the contractions, and focus on what's at hand, rather than panic.

Labor began

The day my son came, I woke up before the sun at 4am and headed for the bathroom. I felt nauseous and achy like I was going to throw up and have diarrhea all at once. It was a very distinct, disgusting feeling throughout my body. Yet even with that feeling, I was in denial that labor was really starting.

My water was intact, and I was expecting my water to break at the onset of labor, as it did with my first. I was having some contractions, although extremely erratic. They were not consistent with clockwork, but they didn't stop, either. I would have a contraction that lasted five seconds, then a break for 20 minutes. Another contraction, this time for 20 seconds, and a break for seven minutes. I tried using an app to track and time the contractions for a bit, but ultimately that proved to cause more anxiety than peace.

So I turned the app off, and focused on being present. I was so calm. I let the contractions come and go. My family didn't even know I was in labor until they woke up with the sunrise! (I didn't want to wake everyone up—silly me, being in active labor!)

I was grateful to labor on my own in a quiet house in the early pre-dawn hours before the house and outside world woke up. I kept my composure, breathed through contractions, read and prayed, and let the birth process happen on its own.

When the contractions did not stop, I realized this was the real thing.

Once everyone was awake, I realized that I should probably be doing more to prepare, like get to help! We haphazardly packed a bag and rushed out the door to drive an hour to the place chosen to have our baby. I was not excited for that long car ride. I remember laboring in the car before, and it was miserable for me. I also knew how quick my past labor had been, and had this deep feeling, perhaps a mother's intuition, that we wouldn't make it to our destination in time.

I knew that this labor was progressing very quickly, and the baby was going to be born soon. Yet we went.

Giving birth in the car

My family got into the car and we drove, planning to meet more family at the hospital to take over the care of our toddler for a few days.

I labored in the car for 40 minutes until the ring of fire came. I knew what this meant: He was crowning, and we had to park. I tried to get into the best squat position I could, facing the seat, relieved that the car had stopped at this point. I repeated my affirmations over and over, and tried to focus on staying as calm as possible.

And he was born in the car, in the back of a small town grocery parking lot.

My baby was 6 pounds and 6 ounces, born at 9:15 in the morning, as I was facing the seat backward and squatting in the passenger seat of the car.

I didn't really push. A combination of by body's contractions and gravity seemed to do all the work. I was squatting upright, and the baby to just sort of plopped out. Head first into the car seat, with my hand to guide his head down, and a bit of the cord and fluids followed.

I attempted to squat fairly awkwardly in the seat to hold my fresh son and rub the vernix into his sweet skin. We were in love, and I felt invincible. I immediately felt relief of all the pain and tension. The rush of oxytocin and hormones from birth made me feel on top of the world. (In that moment, I almost forgot that my toddler was in the backseat watching, eyes wide open—he was so quiet!)

The ambulance was called, we were checked out, and all was well. I waddled to the ambulance while the EMTs held towels around me and baby. They needed to take me to the hospital to make sure we were okay. I sat in the back of the ambulance stroking my baby, relieved to have more space to stretch out.

At the hospital, we sat in a room for a while until they figured out what to do with us, since the baby was already here. We stayed overnight and I reflected on the birth as I could.

Reflecting on my car birth

In some ways, I was sad. This is not what I wanted first moments with my son to be like. Although I was prepared for birth and felt incredible afterward, I felt sort of exposed to the world during the process. My body was depleted—and ultimately, my baby was born in the car (not exactly something that was on my bucket list).

I felt grief for the way (or rather, place) that my labor happened. But I was also thankful for a powerful, unmedicated birth. I grieved the loss of expectations, while being thankful for the reality. And that's okay.

I did it. We did it. This birth was a sprint, not the marathon so many women talk about.

Nothing about my labor and contractions were predictable. I did not have much knowledge about birth before I was pregnant, but the preparation during my pregnancy helped me feel more at ease. Despite the situation, I didn't feel that it was challenging. I felt able, or at least as able or prepared as any mother can be, for labor.

The feeling of being in labor is indescribable—the juxtaposition between pregnancy and postpartum, the time in labor where you are in the hyphen of here and there, a time that forever changes your life and family.

It was truly vulnerable and powerful—an unusual presence of two feelings that left me over-the-moon. As soon as my son was born, the feeling of pain was gone, just like that. And in its place was exhilaration; a rush of adrenaline and awe. I did it completely on my own, in the front passenger seat of the car!

Our bodies are absolute miracles. I grew into a mother of two that day, and with that, my new mission was born: to help other mothers learn and experience the feeling of being empowered by your birth and labor, not in fear of it. I decided to become a birth and postpartum doula, to empower, coach and be alongside other mothers in their own journey in birth and motherhood.

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Life

For starters, this article is not to be confused with 10 ways to win a power struggle. I know, I'm disappointed too, but there is no way to win a power struggle with a 3-year-old. They can refuse to put on their shoes all day—they have nowhere better to be!

More importantly, you don't necessarily want to win a power struggle. Sure, you may occasionally triumph in a battle of the wills with your child, but I doubt either of you will emerge from the experience feeling good about yourselves or your relationship.

Plus, as nice as it would be to have our children just do what we ask without argument, our goal isn't to raise little people who blindly follow orders. Rather, we want to raise children who are able to compromise, accept advice and guidance and follow a trusted authority.

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What we can think about is how to make the most of the inevitable power struggles we find ourselves in with young children, and how to come out of them with our relationship intact.

Here are 10 ways to turn power struggles with your toddler into a win:

1. Demonstrate how to compromise

One of the best ways to teach children how to be kind and reasonable in their interactions with others is through modeling. I know, no pressure, right?

Instead of standing over them and yelling at them to pick up their toys while they sit there with their arms crossed giving you the evil eye, try offering to put away the blocks while they put away the dolls. Or, try offering them five more minutes before clean up time. Extend the olive branch and see if you can gain their cooperation rather than their obedience.

In time, you can involve your child more in coming up with the solution. Say something like, "I want you to clean up your toys and you don't want to. What's a compromise we could use here?"

2. Model empathy

It can be really hard to show empathy for something that seems completely ridiculous to us. Can you really have empathy for someone refusing to eat their breakfast because you gave them the blue spoon? Maybe not.

But you can show empathy for how hard it is to not get what you want, or to not have the control you wish you had over your own life. You can say something like, "I know the red spoon is your favorite. It's hard for you when it isn't clean."

This shows our children that we see and care about how they're feeling, and it is often enough to help them move on.

3. Show the strength of your relationship

Perhaps the most important win that can come out of a power struggle is a stronger relationship. Power struggles are incredibly draining for us and for our children, and it can be hard not to emerge from it angry and tired.

Once you've recovered, spend some time repairing your relationship and let your child know that, no matter what, you still love them for exactly who they are.

4. Model how to apologize

At some point you will inevitably lose your temper over a power struggle you have with your child. It's almost impossible not to. When this happens, it is a great opportunity to show your child how to apologize.

While making children say "I'm sorry," doesn't teach them remorse, when we apologize it teaches the importance of admitting when we do something wrong.

You might say something like, "I'm sorry I yelled at you earlier. I was so frustrated when you wouldn't put on your shoes and we needed to leave, but yelling wasn't a good choice. May I give you a hug?"

5. Teach them to read their bodies

Children frequently become argumentative when they're tired, hungry or thirsty. They are not good at reading their own body's signals, yet the way they feel physically dramatically affects their behavior.

When you find your child buckling down and refusing everything you ask them to do, teach them how to pause and scan their body. Explain to them that when they are feeling this way, it is sometimes because they haven't eaten or rested in a while.

Teaching your child to be in tune with their body is a lesson that will last well beyond the stage of power struggles.

6. Let them learn from natural consequences

Many power struggles center around things we ask our children to do for their own good. We ask them to bring a coat so they won't be cold. We ask them to use the potty so they'll be comfortable. We ask them to do their homework so they don't get in trouble at school.

Next time you feel a power struggle coming on, ask yourself what would happen if your child didn't do what you asked. Is there a natural consequence that would be meaningful, but not harmful? If so, let the situation unfold.

You might say something like, "I think you should wear a coat so that you're not cold, but it's your body, you can decide."

Later, when they're too cold and have to leave the park, you can talk about what happened. Sure, your child will be mildly uncomfortable for a while, but you will avoid a daily power struggle about coats.

7. Show them it's okay to change your mind

Some rules are really important and we simply cannot back down. Other times, you may make a minor request in passing, only to set off a monumental power struggle. Do you have to stick to what you said simply to avoid backing down to your unreasonable child?

No, of course not, what message would that send?

If something isn't important to you, simply tell your child that you've changed your mind, not out of exasperation, but simply because it's not important to you.

Say something like, "Wow, I can see this is really important to you. You know what, now that I think about it, I'm okay with it if you wear your princess dress to the park, if you're okay with it getting dirty."

This demonstrates that it's okay to give in to what someone else wants sometimes, we don't have to be in a power struggle just to avoid backing down at all costs.

8. Teach respectful disagreement

Power struggles can be an excellent opportunity to teach our children how to disagree, respectfully. After all, there is nothing wrong with our children having a different opinion, we just don't want them to express it by flat out refusal or laying on the floor screaming. You can explain this to your child, offering them an alternative way of expressing their opinion.

Say something like, "Wow, I asked you to get dressed and you really don't want to. You could say 'I'm not ready Mom, may I wait five minutes?'" If your child is already emotional, try having this discussion later when they've calmed down.

9. Practice problem solving skills

Involve your child in coming up with a solution for ongoing power struggles. Do they argue every day about what's for breakfast? Invite them to look through a healthy cookbook with you and choose a new recipe to try.

Do they say no and run away every time it's time to leave the park? Sit down with a pen and paper and involve them in coming up with a good solution for when it's time to go.

This is a great exercise in creative problem solving and children are far more likely to go along with a solution they helped create.

10. Show them they can trust you

In the midst of a battle of wills, it is generally useless to use logic, to explain your reasoning to a child who has already decided that they are, under no circumstances, backing down.

Later though, when all is calm and you have both recovered, sit down with your child and explain why you were asking them to do something.

Explain that you asked them to get in their car seat because it's so important for safety and you care about them. Explain that you asked them to put their toys away because it's important for your family to have a nice and tidy home to live in.

Explain to them that you always, always, have their best interests at heart, that they can trust you.

The best way to handle power struggles is to avoid them. Still, you are human, and you are likely to get dragged into some power struggles from time to time. When that happens, just try to make the best of it.Your child will likely try to initiate many power struggles, but you don't have to actually join the fight every time. Remember that protecting and repairing your relationship is more important than winning any battle.

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Learn + Play

Meghan Markle is opening up about some of the challenges of pregnancy and life as a new mom. While most of us can't relate to her status as a royal we can totally relate to some of her feelings about motherhood.

Markle was recently interviewed by ITV News at Ten anchor Tom Bradby—and when Bradby asked her how she was doing she kept it real.

"Thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I'm OK, but it's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes," Markle said.

ITV News on Instagram: “'Not many people have asked if I’m ok... it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.' Meghan reveals to ITV’s @tom.bradby…”

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Many moms can relate to this, and it's something we at Motherly have often commented on. People always ask how the baby is doing, but don't always think to ask mama how she is. Of course, we want the people around us to care how our babies are doing, but mom needs to be cared for, too.

Bradby pressed on, asking Markle if it would be fair to say she is " not really OK?"

"Yes," she replied.

The most famous new mom in the world is saying that she is not okay. We applaud her for that because by telling her truth she is no doubt inspiring other mothers to do the same. We don't have to pretend that motherhood is free from stress and struggle. It is hard, even for someone with the resources Markle has.

The Duchess of Sussex has a lot of financial resources, but she has also been highly scrutinized during her pregnancy and early motherhood, which has added to her stress.

"Any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging," Markle says. "And then when you have a newborn, you know. And especially as a woman, it's a lot. So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed. It's um… yeah. I guess, also thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I'm okay, but it's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes."

Media coverage of Markle's pregnancy and personal life were a factor in Prince Harry releasing a statement on the matter earlier this month.

"My wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences—a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son," it reads, in part. "There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face—as so many of you can relate to—I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been."

As Prince Harry suggests, there are certain things about Markle's struggle that many of us can relate to. Pregnancy and life with a newborn are hard, and trying to pretend you're okay when you're not (or as Harry calls it, putting on a brave face) can make it even more stressful.

Here's to it being okay for a new mom to say she's not okay.

The rest of Bradby's interview with Markle (and conversations with Harry) will air during the upcoming ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, this Sunday in the UK. Stateside, the doc will air Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Johnson & Johnson announced on Friday that it's initiating a voluntary recall in the United States of a single lot of Johnson's Baby Powder due to low levels of asbestos contamination. In a statement posted to its website the company explained this is a "voluntary recall in the United States of a single lot of its Johnson's Baby Powder in response to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test indicating the presence of sub-trace levels of chrysotile asbestos contamination (no greater than 0.00002%) in samples from a single bottle purchased from an online retailer."

The recall is only for one lot of 33,000 bottles of baby powder. If you have a bottle of Johnson's Baby Powder from Lot #22318RB stop using it and contact the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Care Center at www.johnsonsbaby.com or by calling +1 (866) 565-2229.

Johnson & Johnson stresses that this recall is a precaution and that it can't yet confirm if the product tested was genuine or whether cross-contamination occurred. The voluntary recall comes after years of allegations about asbestos contamination in Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder-based baby powder.

As Bloomberg reported in July, the Justice Department and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Johnson & Johnson due to concerns about alleged asbestos contamination in its baby powder. This came after numerous lawsuits, including a case that saw Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay almost $4.7 billion to 22 women who sued, alleging baby powder caused their ovarian cancer. In July 2018, St. Louis jury ruled the women were right, but what does The American Academy of Pediatrics say about baby powder?

It was classified "a hazard" before many of today's parents were even born

The organization has actually been recommending against baby powder for years, but not due to cancer risks, but inhalation risks. Way back in 1981, the AAP declared baby powder "a hazard," issuing a report pointing out the frequency of babies aspirating the powder, which can be dangerous and even fatal in the most severe cases.

That warning didn't stop all parents from using the powder though, as its continued presence on store shelves to this day indicates. In 1998, Dr. Hugh MacDonald, then the director of neonatology at Santa Monica Hospital and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn, told the Los Angeles Times "Most pediatricians recommend that it not be used," adding that the consensus at the time was that "anybody using talcum powder be aware that it could cause inhalation of the talc, resulting in a pneumonic reaction."

Recent updates

A 2015 update to the AAP's Healthy Children website suggests the organization was even very recently still more concerned about the risk of aspiration than cancer risks like those alleged in the lawsuit. It suggests that parents who choose to use baby powder "pour it out carefully and keep the powder away from baby's face [as] published reports indicate that talc or cornstarch in baby powder can injure a baby's lungs."

In a 2017 interview with USA Today, Dr. David Soma, a pediatrician with the Mayo Clinic Children's Hospital, explained that baby powder use had decreased a lot over the previous five to eight years, but he didn't believe it was going to disappear from baby shower gift baskets any time soon.

"There are a lot of things that are used out of a matter of tradition, or the fact it seems to work for specific children," he said. "I'm not sure if it will get phased out or not, until we know more about the details of other powders and creams and what works best for skin conditions—I think it will stick around for a while."

Talc-based baby powder is the variety of baby powder involved in the The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission's investigations and the lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, but corn starch varieties of baby powder are also available and not linked to increased cancer risks.

In a statement on its website, Johnson & Johnson states that "talc is accepted as safe for use in cosmetic and personal care products throughout the world."

When Motherly requested comment on the recall and the safety of talc a spokesperson for the company issued the following statement:

"[Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc] has a rigorous testing standard in place to ensure its cosmetic talc is safe and years of testing, including the FDA's own testing on prior occasions--and as recently as last month--found no asbestos. Thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos."

Bottom line: If you have one of the 33,000 bottles of Johnson's Baby Powder from Lot #22318RB, stop using it.

If you are going to use baby powder other than the recalled lot on your baby's bottom, make sure they're not getting a cloud of baby powder in their face, and if you're concerned, talk to your health care provider about alternative methods and products to use on your baby's delicate skin.

[A version of this post was originally published July 13, 2018. It has been updated.]

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