Finding support through motherhood

Our goal for this session is to help you find ways to lean on your social network for help during this busy time.

img Reviewing Your Chat With Zuri Zuri taught you the importance of involving other people in your baby’s life, whether they are friends, family, or neighbors. Having social support helps make motherhood more manageable.

Identifying Unhealthy Thoughts

Motherhood is a difficult journey, especially for first time moms. Some women face the challenge with others, often seeking the help and support of family, friends, and neighbors. Other moms pull inward and keep the baby away from people for fear of harm. This can sometimes lead to feelings of social isolation, which can be bad for you and your baby. These moms lose important sources of social support, and the babies can miss out on social interaction that promotes healthy development.

Here are some unhealthy thoughts that women sometimes have when they begin to pull away from family and friends.

Unhealthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
I feel anxious and shy discussing my problems with other people. Not sharing problems with other people. Increased stress which is bad for both the mother and the baby.
I don’t feel like meeting other people because no one understands me. Not making an effort to meet or talk to people. Gradually distancing from people and losing their support.
img Writing Prompt Have there ever been times when you did not want other people to interact with your baby? What made you feel this way?

Replacing Unhealthy Thoughts with Healthy Thinking

Most people are happiest when surrounded by supportive people. Having even 1 or 2 people you can call on as a new mom can reduce your burden, and give you much needed breaks, and help you avoid feeling isolated. Even if you find it hard to make friends or worry about bringing new people around your baby, you can take small steps now that will benefit you and your baby. Here are some ways you can replace unhealthy thoughts with healthy thinking.

Healthy Thought Makes Us Feel/Do Which May Result In
I can share my feelings with a few people I trust. Making an effort to share problems with people. Stress from life problems reduced by sharing.
A partner's/father's involvement is good for the baby's psychological development. Encourage your partner to attend to the baby as it is good fo the baby to experience the partner providing care like bathing the baby or settling the baby down to sleep. Partner's involvement helps baby's development.
I might feel good if I talk to one or two trusted friends. Actively trying to meet one or two people you get along with. Not being isolated.
img Writing Prompt What are some ways that you can actively try to meet new people?
img Let's Practice Practice is a big part of the Healthy Moms program. We must learn how to Think Healthy, and practice is an essential part of learning.

1. Identifying Your Social Support Circle

We used the image below in Session 3 to talk about who might be in your circle of social support. Think about this support group again. Have the people who have been most supportive for you over the past few weeks changed? Write the names of these people, even if they haven’t changed, under “Family” and “Community”.


Writing Prompt When do you feel most supported? What happens when you feel this way?

2. Spending Time with Your Baby

Try the following exercises when you have time and are in a comfortable space.

img Gentle Massage:
  • Give your baby a gentle massage while making soothing sounds or saying loving words.
  • Try to do this once a day.
img Talking or Singing to Baby:
  • Talk or sing to your baby every day after feeding.
  • Listen to the sounds and watch the gesture your baby makes and try to mimic them.
  • Aim to do this 3 - 4 times per day.
img Playing with your Baby:
  • Play with your baby 3 - 4 times a day during different times of the day.
  • Show him/her different multi-colored objects or things that make a sound.
  • Hold the object out so your baby can grasp it but make sure they keep it clear from their mouth.

Create this chart in your notebook and track how often you try these activities.

Did you give your baby a gentle massage? Did you sing or talk to your baby? Did you play with your baby?
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

3. Eating a Healthy Diet

img Writing Prompt Review your previous diet chart. What types of food do your friends and family like? What are some recipes you could share with new friends?

Create a chart like this in your notebook and use it to monitor your diet.

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Ex. Tea, porridge, banana Chips and sausage Mandazi Ugali, beef stew, sukuma wiki
Day 1

Day 2

4. Making Time for Rest and Relaxation

img Slow Breathing:
  • Relax your body. Inhale for 3 seconds and exhale for 3 seconds.
  • Do this 2 to 3 times per day for 10 to 15 minutes each time.
img Walking:
  • Follow a gentle walking pace.
  • Do this 1 time per day for 15 to 20 minutes.
img Sleep:
  • Let your mind relax
  • It's not easy to find time for sleep with a newborn, especially when there are other young kids at home, but a rested mom is a healthy mom. Lean on your support system to help you get some sleep.

Create this chart in your notebook and track how often you try the rest and relaxation activities.

Did you practice slow breathing today? Did you go for a walk today? Did you get a full night’s sleep?
Day 1 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No
Day 2 Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No

5. Keeping Track of Your Mood

Remember, keeping track of your thoughts and feelings is a great way to see how you change and grow over time. So at least once a day, imagine the 10-step emotion ladder from Session 1 and rate how you are feeling. On the bottom step (1) are women who feel very sad and blue. On the top step (10) are women who feel great with no sadness. Which step best shows how you are feeling?

Create the following chart in your journal. If you are feeling very happy—as happy as you have ever been—you might tick the box for a 9 or 10. If you are having a really tough day, you might tick the box for step 1 or 2. Tick whatever box is right for you. Just remember that low numbers mean more sadness, and high numbers mean more happiness.


img Writing Prompt How do you feel when you spend time with others? Do you prefer spending quiet time alone, or having a planned meeting with friends?
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