Becoming a mother for the first time, or the second, third, fourth etc. is a wonderful time for most, but usually there is a certain level of anxiety associated with bringing a human into the world, and rightly so – it’s a massive deal! You have created a life and now you have to keep ‘it’ alive!
Nothing is more important!
For some, anxiety will come in ebbs and flows, serving its normal, natural purpose, but for others, it will be debilitating, and ultimately lead to post-natal anxiety and/or depression.
No one of us are the same, and therefore our worries differ.
- Some women stress about their milk supply, or lack there-of, while others are more focused on the safety of their baby whilst asleep, are they swaddled correctly?
- Some worry about their babies contracting a virus, while others are more concerned with how their older brother will react to this new addition!
No matter the reasoning behind the anxiety, it’s always valid as it’s your personal concern, so it’s real, it’s relative, and it’s warranted.
There are a number of ways anxiety can be dealt with, the trick is to find what works best for you. At Cadenshae, we surveyed close to 2000 of our mums and asked them how they best dealt with anxiety. The majority of our mothers all agreed that having a solid support base was crucial. Being able to rely on their partner, parents, siblings, friends etc., was vital in easing their anxiety levels. Following on from this, many mothers talked about the importance of ‘letting go’ and allowing other people to help them.
In many cultures throughout the world, the village truly does help raise the child. In Western society however, we have somehow made the mother the primary care-giver, whilst also being the house executive and often there is a huge expectation on mothers to get back to work ASAP as well! In many places in China for example, the mother is placed on ‘bed rest’ for 40 days after birth while the extended family looks after the child. We Westerners could learn a thing or two and scale expectations down for our mothers. We aren’t superhuman, we are incredibly awesome for sure…but we can’t do it all, all of the time. Ask for help, and don’t for one second feel guilty about it.
Making time for you is also essential for your mental health.
- Whether it be going to get your nails done,
- taking 15m to meditate,
- or even just going to the supermarket alone!
Taking time out for you so you can gather your thoughts is vital to your well-being and the well-being of your bubs. Many of our mothers choose to exercise for their ‘me time,’ not only do they get some time alone, but they get their endorphins pumping, which we all know is one of the major ways to combat anxiety. Movement literally IS medicine.
A lot of women spoke about learning to ‘go with the flow.’ As a society, women are having children later than previous generations and therefore a lot have established their own careers and their own way of doing things. They’re independent, strong women who are used to doing things their way. They have been in ‘control’ of their lives for many years, so when a baby comes along and doesn’t fit in a ‘routine’ straight away, this can cause new mothers some angst. Learning to trust your intuition is key, you know your baby best, not the experts online or in a book…no one knows your baby like you do, so trust your judgement and realise your wee precious bub is a little human, and not a robot you can program to fit a certain schedule! Just listen to their cues and roll with it. Some days will be easy, some will be hard. Our babies teach us so much throughout their lives, and right from day dot!
Comparing yourself, or your baby to others is also not the wisest thing to do for your anxiety levels. Just remember every mother is different, so she mothers differently! Every child is different, they grow and develop at different rates so there is absolutely no point comparing yourself to others – it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Two entirely different mothers, in two different environments nurturing two completely different children…how can you compare? And why do it to yourself? Your baby is developing just as he/she should. As long as you’re doing your best and loving your child as much as you can, then you’re doing everything just right. Perfectly in fact.
And finally, the dreaded ‘mum guilt.’ We have all had it from time to time. A number of Cadenshae mothers stated that we should be looking at ‘mum guilt’ from a different perspective. If you are having ‘mum guilt’ then all this really means is you are trying to be the best possible mum you can be…a really inferior mum wouldn’t feel guilty about much! So if you’re feeling guilty about anything…just remember the fact you feel guilty just goes to show how much of an exceptional mother you are, and how lucky your baby is to have you.
So ladies…motherhood is tough at times, it’s stressful. We won’t ever be able to ‘rid’ ourselves of anxiety completely, but we can manage it effectively and learn to work with it by following these simple tips. Go get ‘em, you rock mama.
Anxiety is a natural ‘side-effect’ of being a mother, but if you think your anxiety levels are through the roof and causing major issues, please consult your GP immediately. You CAN be helped, and remember…this too shall pass.
Written by Ellen Chisholm.