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Having a newborn to look after is difficult for any mother, no matter what their situation is in life. When you have anxiety, though, the struggle of those first few months can become even more extreme if you aren’t careful. New motherhood is a time of high anxiety on its own. When you add a lack of sleep and a lack of time to yourself, those first few months of parenting become prime times for anxiety flare-ups. Which is obviously not what you want when you’re trying to provide the best care for your baby possible. In extreme cases, anxiety like this can lead to severe issues for both mother and baby.
That’s why it’s essential you know how to keep those anxieties at bay before your baby comes along. There’s no getting around it; you’re going to have more to worry about as a new mother than you ever have before. You’re also going to find it harder than ever to turn to the coping mechanisms you know so well. But, that doesn’t mean we’re going to leave you with no way to weather that anxiety storm. All you need to do keep these feelings at bay is take note of the following pointers.
I remember when my daughter was born. Thankfully I have a lot of help from my family but I was only 21. I was scared out of my mind. I suffer from anxiety in general and being a single mom made it worse. It wasn't just about me anymore. I was not responsible for this tiny little human being.
Make sure you take time to keep on top of coping mechanisms
The majority of us have go-to ways to ease anxiety symptoms when they flare up. Often, these mechanisms involve taking time out to meditate, or going for a quiet walk. Your ability to do these things will be sadly hindered when you have a baby in the house. But, that doesn’t mean you should forget about them altogether. The moment you stop knowing how to ease your anxiety is the moment things will get really bad. After a few weeks of not being able to do these things, you may start to experience panic attacks or worse. The first thing you need to do, then, is considering how you can still make time for these things with a baby in your life. It may be that you find you need to meditate at least once a day as your baby sleeps. Instead of taking solo walks, you may find that you need to take your baby along with you. Though it might not seem like it, you’ll still be able to enjoy the full benefit of methods like these with these alterations. The point is that both these activities help to calm your mind. And, that’s going to be the case whether you’re pushing a pram along with you or not. If even this doesn’t work, it might be worth asking your partner to take the baby for at least an hour a day. Then, you can embark on methods to calm yourself. At least that way you can return feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Let research ease your worries
Early motherhood is a fraught time for anxiety because of all the new worries you’ll have on your plate. Before, you only had to worry about your life. Suddenly, you’ll have a baby on your hands, and a whole load of new concerns to boot. You may worry about your baby’s health or development. You may spend time focusing on questions like ‘Is it normal for my baby to make that sound’, or ‘Is it normal for a newborn to have peeling skin?’ You may even convince yourself that there’s something wrong, which could kick-start your anxiety no end. The best thing to do in this instance is to research every question you have. We’re lucky now in that sites like Google can answer near enough anything like this that we want to know. You can bet that, whatever questions you have, another parent has asked them before. So, don’t worry in silence. Whenever a new concern makes itself known, look into the issue and find out as much as you can. More often than not, you’ll find that things like these are normal. Even if there is some cause for concern, research will point you towards a doctor rather than hours of worry.
Speak to someone about how you’re feeling
As mothers, we often keep a lot of stuff in. There’s this belief that a ‘good mother’ would just shut up and cope. But, that’s a falsehood and a sure way to excess worry. In truth, every mother struggles, and they should all feel free to express how they’re feeling. A problem shared is a problem halved, after all. You should know by not that internalizing anxieties only helps them to manifest. The moment you speak those fears out loud, you may come to realize that they’re unfounded. That in itself can go a huge way towards helping you. If you open up to any parenting friends you make, you may even come to find that they share your anxieties. Knowing that you’re not alone in your fears can be the biggest comfort of all. This way, you can talk through your worries together. Hopefully, you'll come to laugh at them rather than overwhelming yourself.
Don’t be afraid to let someone else help
Along the same vein, it’s important to accept help at this stage in your life. Most mothers feel pretty overwhelmed when a baby comes into their lives. Still, many of us are stubborn about accepting help or advice from others. You’re that baby’s mother, after all. But, that’s going to be the case whether you accept advice or not. By listening to people who have done this before, you can put your anxiety to bed about whether you’re doing things right. Accepting help may also mean admitting when you need a break. The chances are that there are plenty of people who would love to look after your baby for a day or even an afternoon. Letting them do so isn’t an admission of failure. If anything, it’s a sign of strength. It can certainly make you feel stronger when you return at the end of this respite.