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This Mother's Day, Shay Mitchell Opens Up About Finding Community As A New Mom & The Importance Of Mini-Moments

Mom and daughter talking about teen relationships
Image by Raymond Forbes LLC / Stocksy
May 9, 2021

Shay Mitchell keeps it candid. If you're one of the actress's 29.8 million followers on Instagram, 5.9 million followers on TikTok, or 4.3 million subscribers on YouTube, you know that Mitchell is unfiltered and unafraid—especially when it comes to talking about motherhood. Among the adorable shots of her baby girl, Atlas, and the hilariously relatable videos that grace our screens (see: How to not build a stroller), she's also open about the ups and downs that come with the beautiful, ever-evolving journey of being a mother. 

"Speaking about my own experiences was always really important to me," Mitchell tells mbg. Sharing her story is how she bolsters her mental health, and considering Mother's Day falls during Mental Health Awareness month, it's important to acknowledge the two together—especially after an emotionally challenging year for so many moms. 

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It's Mitchell's second Mother's Day, and she's continuing to keep it real: Here, she chats about how she prioritizes her mental health, the importance of sharing her experiences, and why perfection is never the goal. 

She dedicates time to herself. 

Self-care, as we know, is an important part of a mental health routine—whatever that looks like for you. "That time could be directed toward working out, going for a walk, [connecting on] FaceTime, or doing absolutely nothing," Mitchell says. "It really comes down to listening to what it is you need in that moment." 

She advises fellow moms to carve out some time for self-care, even if it's just for a few minutes: "The better you're feeling, the better you can [take care of] other people." 

She leans on community. 

Social interactions truly feed Mitchell's mental health. We don't need to tell you how isolating this past year has been for so many, and keeping your community close can help combat those feelings of loneliness. "For my mental health, keeping in contact and being social with my friends is incredibly important," she says.

Mitchell has previously opened up about her struggle with prenatal depression, and she recounts what was most helpful for her was knowing she wasn't alone. See, prenatal depression—or depression during pregnancy—doesn't get nearly as much attention as it should, and Mitchell found that sharing her experience with others helped her navigate what she was going through. "Having people in my life that were like, 'No, what you're feeling is totally normal'—that went a really long way," she says. 

"There are a lot of other new moms that are feeling the same way," she adds. "I have a couple of friends right now who have just had newborns, and I tell them: 'I get this feeling, it's very isolating, [and] we all go through this.' Letting other moms know that they're not the only ones that are feeling this [way] is really important."

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She cherishes mini-moments. 

Mitchell finds comfort in those everyday, "uninterrupted" moments where she can connect with Atlas. For example, her solo morning routine has now expanded to two (but she's far from mad about it): "[I'm] doing those sorts of things with Atlas as well—like brushing her teeth, wiping her face with a facecloth." 

She continues, "[I want to show] her that we all can take a little time for ourselves. Having that moment with her and getting ready for the day...I get to show her little things that we're doing, and we get to do them together. It's really special."

She shows love through the little things. 

Mitchell, like many of us, is unable to spend quality time with her mom and grandma this Mother's Day. But that doesn't mean she can't shower them with the love they deserve. 

"For Mother's Day this year, I'm not able to be with my mom and my grandma," she says. "That's one of the reasons I was really excited about Pampers' initiative with #MillionActsOfLove—because it really is just about doing little things that show the mother figures in your life that you care and that you're thinking of them. For us, FaceTime checkups, texting my mom and my grandma, and seeing them on the screen are all really important." 

We're all emerging out of this challenging year together, and showing your love doesn't have to be this grand gesture—oftentimes, it's those mini-moments that truly count. "Making breakfast in bed, that's obviously always appreciated, I'm sure," Mitchell laughs. "But even just a little nice note or what we do to stay in touch—I think that's super important." 

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Her motto? There is no such thing as perfection. 

So often with motherhood, there's this veil of "perfection" that's unattainable and, quite frankly, outdated. Mitchell is quick to dismantle the assumption: "There is no such thing as perfect," she says. "I don't care what anybody says. Nobody is perfect."

In fact, perfection is the opposite of her goal: "You want to show your children that we all make mistakes and that's OK—we learn from them and we grow. That's a huge part of growing up." And with social media documenting everyone's highlight reel, that perfection myth becomes even more crucial to remember. 

"For other new moms out there, it's incredibly important not to compare your life to somebody's few seconds or few minutes of their day. I think that can be very detrimental to mental health," she adds. "We all have to recognize that everybody's journey is very different and that you're only seeing a glimpse into somebody's day when you're online. Keeping that in mind can really help out a lot." 

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