When you find out you're expecting a child, it's natural to start preparing yourself for the challenges you'll soon face. For some, that means moving to a bigger place or enrolling in prenatal yoga.
For actress Amanda Seyfried, it meant taking a proactive approach to her mental health.
Speaking to Elle UK, Seyfried opened up about how she prepared for her daughter's arrival in March 2017. Having dealt with with obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety for years (and being on a low dose of Lexapro since she was 19) Seyfried, now 32, recognized that she was at an increased risk for perinatal mood disorders. So while she was still pregnant, she set about getting help.
"I prepared myself before I had her by going back to CBT [Cognitive Behavioural Therapy], just to get myself in that frame of mind to notice when my OCD might be getting worse," she told Elle, adding that she's actually found her obsessive thoughts and anxiety have lessened since becoming a mom.
"It definitely didn't void it, but it's absolutely gotten quieter," she explains.
Seyfried says that while she doesn't think medication is the right choice for every person, Lexapro, (in combination with therapy) has been good for her personally. Having support has also been key to maintaining good mental health as a new mom.
"My mother is our nanny," she said, adding that she doesn't expect her mom to work for free—she pays her for her childcare. "She came out of retirement to live with us and it's amazing."
Having her mom available allows Seyfried to take acting gigs away from home when she needs to, and she admits that while she misses her daughter she also (like many of us) values her alone time.
"'Yes, I FaceTime her three times a day, but I actually feel okay because I have this time back. I'm staying in a hotel room, I get to knit whenever I want, I get to listen to audio books, and I can't do that at home any more," she tells Elle.
Now not every new mama can afford to pay a nanny while they chill in a hotel room, but we can all make an effort to be proactive about our mental health in pregnancy and beyond. Maybe that means talking about medication with your doctor, as Seyfried has, or maybe it means talking to a therapist or doing both.
Whatever preparations you can take to safeguard and support your mental wellness in motherhood are important, for yourself and your baby.