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Meditations for the new mother

Postpartum depression affects nearly 20 percent of new mothers. It usually occurs in the first two weeks to six months after the baby is born. One way to prevent postpartum depression is to focus on the positives of being a new mother.

"It's important that new mothers don't become overwhelmed and lose the excitement of the child's birth amidst all the stress of having a baby," says Ellen Sue Stern, author of Reflections for New Mothers. "After giving birth many mothers experience anxiety and low self-esteem. They may lack confidence in their parenting ability. One way to overcome these feelings of inadequacy is through meditation."

Here are a couple of meditation reflections, followed by affirmations that Stern offers in her book, "Reflections for New Mothers."

•Emotions run amok. Overwhelmed. Flooded with tenderness that was never imagined. None of these words entirely describes the waves of emotion mothers feel as they cradle their baby in their arms. Such deep and boundless love. Such passionate commitment. And so much at stake. Although mothers may tell their child how much they love him or her every day for the rest of their life, it's impossible to convey completely the pure emotional intensity experienced in the early weeks of motherhood. Invest in a journal and try to express feelings now, while they're fresh. Or write a letter to the child, one that will serve as a keepsake of the first precious days of their life together.

•Personal growth is important. Mothers are not born with the feelings or the skills that are necessary to be a good parent. Mothers have years�in fact, a whole lifetime�to become a better, more effective parent. Also, learn from mistakes, from reading and talking to parents, and mostly from spending time getting to know the child. As a parent comes to know their child�what each cry means, her likes and dislikes, her idiosyncrasies�they get better and better at giving her what she needs. And as their skills grow, so does their love. With each passing year the child becomes dearer and dearer to the parent, and the parent become more confident in their ability to nurture and guide. Mothers are already better parent than they were two weeks ago. And they'll be a better parent two months from now and two years from now. But that is only if they are willing to grow on the job.

Affirmation. As a mother, the rest of one's life is the time to become a better parent to their child or children.

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