written exclusively for Give Yourself Kindness by Holly Price PGDip, MBACP, a postpartum therapist and maternal wellbeing specialist helping new mothers to feel seen, validated, supported and empowered through online therapy and resources.


What is self-compassion? 


Self-compassion can mean different things to different people, but it’s a bit more than just letting yourself off the hook now and then! 

Dr. Kritsten Neff, a lead researcher on self-compassion, breaks self-compassion down into three components(i).


Self-kindness (vs. self-judgment)

Talking to yourself the same way you would to someone you care about — with understanding, perspective, and acceptance of imperfection. 


Common humanity (vs. isolation)

Recognising the common human experience of suffering and the universal feeling of being inadequate.


Mindfulness (vs. overidentification)

Connecting to the present moment and noticing your thoughts and feelings without judging them.

These acts of self-compassion are especially important during the postpartum experience. If we can’t manage unrealistic expectations of ourselves as new mothers, we can increase our risk of postpartum anxiety and depression. 


The role of self-compassion: new motherhood is hard


As a postpartum therapist, I work with many mothers who really struggle to give themselves kindness even when dealing with such a significant and sometimes difficult life change. 

New motherhood is hard. There are the sleepless nights, the emotional and hormonal explosion and a new life that sadly doesn’t come with an instruction manual!

Yet so many of us still expect so much of ourselves. We doubt our abilities, we question if what we are doing is right, if we are doing the very best for our baby.

Unfortunately, when it comes to babies, things rarely go to plan. When this happens, we may start to look inwards and start blaming and beating ourselves up when in truth most of it is out of our control.


A little bit of self-compassion goes a long way


We live in a world where the expectations on mothers are higher than ever. It’s completely normal to feel like we just can’t live up to them. I’m afraid the idea of ‘having it all’ is just a myth and tends to make us feel guilty about not achieving more and more. 

This is why I feel so passionately that a little bit of self-compassion goes a long way. 

The way you speak to yourself matters. Self-compassion has been found to be fundamental in working through anxiety, depression, trauma and much more. It is a key part of the work I do with mother’s new and experienced.


"small steps can lead to big changes"


The good news is, it’s entirely possible to change that inner voice that keeps bringing you down and small steps can lead to big changes


6 tips for showing yourself self-compassion


Start your day with some positive affirmations


Give Yourself Kindness has a great selection of affirmation cards and there’s lovely words to take away from the journal too. You can even try creating your own. 

My current favourite affirmation to myself is “I am enough, exactly as I am”.

Take a moment to check in with your own needs


Baby might be fed and rested, but are you? Have you drunk enough water today? Brushed your teeth? Eaten a nutritious meal? Moved your body?

It can be easy to neglect yourself when in the throes of new motherhood but it’s vital that you make time for your own basic needs too.

Take a break from negative energy


I spent a surprising amount of time on my phone in those early days (mainly trying to keep awake during night feeds!) but I realised it was a breeding ground for anxiety and self-criticism.

Comparing your life to others on social media and googling every milestone and stage your baby “should” be at, is a sure-fire way to breed negative feelings towards yourself. So, my advice is to step away. Take breaks. Curate your feed to accounts and people that bring you joy and remove those that don’t. 

Try journaling


It doesn’t have to be every day, that’s probably a bit unrealistic as a new mama! But I am a big advocate for writing down your feelings as a way of releasing them.

It may be surprising for you to see how unkind you are to yourself. You may benefit from a guided journal to help you focus on gratitude and self-compassion. 

Release the idea of being a ‘super-mum’


You don’t need to do it all. By believing this you are putting immense, unrealistic expectations on yourself which can cause a deep sense of ‘over functioning’ and risks complete burnout.

This idea also conditions you to neglect yourself and your own needs, which as I said before, are super important too!

Create balance and boundaries


My final tip for being kinder to yourself is that you don’t have to put yourself last and take on too much.

Practice putting healthy boundaries in your life and taking the pressure off pleasing everyone. Think about what is important to you and try to let go of the rest. 

It’s not easy, I know, so try one small thing at a time. 


The effects of self-compassion


When we show true compassion to ourselves, we lead an example to others too. We can help change the narrative around new motherhood, by showing others that it’s okay not to be perfect and we all struggle at times. 


"it’s okay not to be perfect and we all struggle at times"


Let’s normalise being as nice to yourself as you would be to a friend in the same boat. Maybe we will begin to see a ripple effect on how we view motherhood and change the expectations we have as a society on new mothers.


The time for self-compassion is now


These are just some of my ideas for helping you to be kinder to yourself during a time in your life when you really need it.

New motherhood is extremely challenging and a little kindness and compassion can go a long way in helping you enjoy this precious time like you deserve to.

postpartum therapist holly price

Holly Price, PGDip, MBACP, is a postpartum therapist and maternal wellbeing specialist based in middle England. She helps new mothers to feel seen, validated, supported and empowered through online therapy and resources. She is also the founder of YOUR MAMAHOOD, specialist mental wellbeing support for modern motherhood.



(i) Neff, K. (2020, July 09). Definition and three elements of Self COMPASSION: KRISTIN NEFF. Retrieved April 2024 from https://self-compassion.org/what-is-self-compassion/