Unbeknownst to me at the time, this book is something I absolutely needed to read before the birth of my little man in 2017. Unfortunately Kelly Mager hadn’t written it yet, but I don’t hold that against her! With a new addition on the way, it seemed like the perfect time to read some self-help in advance of having a newborn in the house again.
Please note that this book was gifted to me in e-book format in exchange for a review. This in no way affects the content of my review or my personal opinion of this product.
15 Ways for New Moms to Manage Stress & Stay Sane: The Actually Useful New Mom Care Package – to give it its full title – was self-published in late 2020 as a response to the lack of mental support for new moms. Yes, there are countless books on parenting and breastfeeding and all the great things you should be doing to give your child the best start in life, or to allow your body to recover well, but there are rarely useful or helpful resources to ensure you are mentally able to cope well.
Many people talk about the “baby blues” in those early days when hormones crash, and there’s much to be found on post-natal depression and anxiety, and how to seek help for this. However the sheer magnitude of change from pregnant to parent is not something many articles mentally prepare you for.
Of course you’re going to be busy and focusing on your newborn, adjusting all the time, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also focus on your own wellbeing. This book is a short but succinct account of how you can do just that, with small, seemingly-obvious steps you can take to make sure your stress is at bay so you’re on top of your game for your family.
15 Ways For New Moms to Manage Stress Stay Sane focuses on a number of different areas of your life, from you-time (it doesn’t have to be non-existent now you’re a parent) to managing others’ expectations, finding mom friends and how to ask for help. Each of the topics covered is important in its own right – even the one on showers (in fact, most importantly the one on showers). With the benefit of hindsight, I can see how much better things became when I started naturally adopting some of these points in Travis’ early life. However, I was bumbling along blindly at that point and probably only managed to discover about 4 of these de-stressing tips on my own. If I’d had this book then, I would not have been half the stressed, anxious and neurotic parent I was in the first year of the little man’s life.
Each chapter includes lived experience, useful information and is rounded off with a top tip for that section. The book itself is only 57 pages long so isn’t a massive read and doesn’t feel like another chore in the life of being a parent. Even if you only tackle one short chapter a day, or every few days, and take the tips and advice on board, you’ll notice the difference in your life in a month.
The author, Kelly Mager, has also cultivated a commnuity around her experience and tips given in this book. You can access it via her website: https://fifteenways.mn.co where you’ll find resources for new parents, further suggested reading and a reframing exercise to help when you feel things aren’t going right.
Although I’m not technically a new mom, I found this book a hugely helpful reminder as I approach my due date with baby no. 2. A lot of the areas covered in this book are usually found in hindsight, so why not read this book in advance of becoming (or as soon as you become) a parent to save any unnecessary stress and tension. Even if it feels like a big ask to adopt all the suggestions, I can attest to the life-changing difference in mental health by adopting even just a few of these tips and practices.