8 Tips To Help Overcome New Mom Anxieties
Being a new mom is like riding on a rollercoaster of emotions. There are moments of joy, unmatched excitement, and unconditional love. But there are also periods of uncertainty when you’re so sure you’re doing everything wrong.
Anxiety is a common feeling during this time of new motherhood. The enormous sense of responsibility to take care of a human being, matched with postpartum hormones running through your body, sets the perfect setting for anxieties to fester. Below are some concerns common to new moms:
• “Is it the baby blues or postpartum depression?”
• Losing the baby weight
• Lack of sleep
• Turning into a milk machine
• Baby keeps on crying no matter what you do.
• Am I feeding the baby the right amount?
• “Is my baby developing normally? Is my baby healthy?”
The list can go on and on, we know, but it helps to know you are not alone. While we can’t stop these thoughts from coming, we can do our best to make sure they don’t get in the way of cherishing our motherhood journey.
Worry Less, Enjoy Motherhood More
“All parents worry about their children, but not all parents are highly anxious. The highly anxious are mostly those who'd like to constantly be in control of a situation, as opposed to just letting things run its natural course,” says Dra. Anna Aurelia M. Noel, MD a Resident Psychiatrist at Veterans Memorial Medical Center.
There are many things that moms find themselves worrying about, but instead of feeling anxious, you could direct your emotions into positive thoughts. Here are Dra. Noel's eight useful tips on overcoming new mom worries:
1. Focus on the wonderful things motherhood has brought to you. Instead of worrying about what awful things may happen to your child, live in the moment and take in each milestone as they come. They grow up very fast, so go on and be present in the here and now.
2. Being anxious means you are always living in the future and you tend to forget the present. Remember that your worries will not change anything that is destined to happen. We must accept the fact that we cannot control everything, except our attitude towards parenting. Rest your worries.
3. Surround yourself with people whom you can learn from, especially other moms with stories of personal experiences.
4. When in doubt, ask your pediatrician or family doctor. When you're not quite sure what your child is feeling, do not consult Google. Go straight to the clinic.
5. If the worrying becomes too much and it starts to affect your family, your work, and your relationships with people, perhaps it is time to seek professional help.
6. Turn your energies into something productive. Tension that builds up must be diffused and there are many ways to channel it into productivity! Take up a sport, clean the house, or rearrange the baby's clothes.
7. Take care of yourself! Immersing yourself completely, without taking a breather, is never good for a parent, or anyone for that matter. Parenthood can be very exhausting and can lead to burnout. Exercise and eat properly, relax, take breaks. Resting and pampering yourself once in a while does not make you a bad parent.
8. For older kids, let them make mistakes. When we try to protect our kids from every potential threat, we hinder the child's ability to cope with challenges and stress. So, go on! Let them scrape their knee or fall off their bike once in a while. What is important is that you make them feel that you will be there for them, to pick them up from the fall; to accept them when they make mistakes. To teach them to handle life with courage.
As added self-care measure, Dr. Noel advises moms to indulge in calming music and mindfulness exercises and meditation. Frazzled nerves due to constant anxiety can sometimes lead to bad judgment calls and mood swings. A calm mind will lift your mood and will reflect on your interactions with your baby and family. You can try downloading apps like Calm, a top app for mindfulness and meditation. Podcasts and relaxing nature soothing sounds will work well too.
Parents will worry about their kids at one point. But we shouldn’t let fear and worry dominate our lives. Instead, we should trust in our instincts and give ourselves the freedom to learn, explore, and grow into the best moms we can be.