The first moment you bring your newborn home, everything can feel overwhelming. You might be thinking about how impossible it is to keep your baby safe, healthy, and loved every minute. You’re not alone; many new moms feel this way. Between the hormonal changes, feeling exhausted every day, and the constant adjustments to a new life, this is what being a new mother is all about. However, if you feel like life is out of your control, even the smallest tasks can be your biggest challenges. This shows you may be experiencing postpartum anxiety.
How to Tell If You Have Postpartum Anxiety
Moms with postpartum anxiety often feel like they can’t relax. It’s as if they are constantly distracted by a sense of worry and dread. If you have postpartum anxiety, you might always think something bad will happen. For instance, you might worry and stay awake for periods throughout the night. You’re constantly checking on your little one to see if they’re still breathing. Then, you feel exhausted each morning. Yet, it’s worth it to feel this way because you always need to know if your bundle of joy is alive and well.
Other signs of postpartum anxiety include intrusive thoughts and repetitive mental images relevant to your baby. Maybe you’re constantly on the move, cleaning and checking to ensure everything is okay. You might feel shame or some form of guilt. Or, you could show physical symptoms, such as a decreased appetite, nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, and hyperventilation. Early in the postpartum period, 17-22% of women experience high anxiety levels. Fortunately, new mothers have several ways to cope with it.
How to Cope With Postpartum Anxiety
1. Get Good Sleep
Sleep deprivation can trigger your anxiety symptoms and mental health can affect your sleep. It can be tricky to break through that cycle. Yet, it’s crucial you get enough sleep, even though it can feel nearly impossible with a newborn. Try and do your best to rest by sleeping when the baby sleeps. Washing the dishes and folding laundry can always wait, so it’s okay to permit yourself to nap.
Ensure you shut off the TV at night, decrease your level of caffeine consumption, and get to bed early. Even when this feels like it’s out of your comfort zone, ask for help. Try to ask your partner, a family member, or a friend to snuggle with your baby while taking a half-hour to rest. You’ll be grateful for some uninterrupted sleep when you wake up.
2. Get Your Body Moving
As a new mother, you’re busy caring for your baby all day long, not to mention feeling exhausted. While adding exercise to your routine can feel unrealistic, physical activity can truly do wonders for your mental health.
Exercise releases those endorphins, making you feel good and less stressed. However, you don’t have to run a marathon. Start with five- to ten-minute exercises, rocking your baby while doing a few squats. Or, you could fit in a few push-ups during your baby’s nap time. Even taking a stroller walk outside or practicing yoga will trigger those positive emotions.
3. Make Time for Yourself
A self-care routine is vital, but it can also be incredibly fulfilling outside of your role of being a mom. Many people believe self-care involves planning a whole day of fun for themselves. On the contrary, a self-care routine can look like small moments where you sit down to read a book for a few minutes. Sometimes, doing a hobby you enjoy or watching your favorite TV show can be enough.
You might also enjoy soaking in a hot bubble bath while your partner spends time with the baby. Whatever activity you love most, make sure you do it every day. Carving out time to do the things you treasure is a must. Plus, it’s a great way to boost your mood.
4. Talk With Your Doctor
Talk with your doctor about all the symptoms you’re experiencing. Sometimes coping on your own may not be enough. Your doctor might recommend medication and that you start seeing a therapist. When you get treatment right away, you can feel like yourself again. Things will slowly but surely feel like you’re in control of everything. All that self-doubt will melt away – and therapy is the way to help you work through those problems.
If you feel like life is too difficult, your postpartum anxiety could indicate depression. Restlessness, irritability, mood swings, and crying spells are all signs of PPD (postpartum depression), and they may worsen if left untreated. If you think you may have PPD, it’s important to get the help you need to experience a better tomorrow.
Take Care of Yourself
Of course, being a new mother comes with its own set of challenges. However, mental health disorders can make these difficulties unbearable. If you’re feeling hopeless even when you implement these tips, help is always available.
Give yourself some grace and keep learning what works best for you. Treating your mental health is a journey, so it’s critical to take the time to care for yourself. If you have any of these symptoms or that of postpartum depression we encourage you to call your doctor right away. Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny wants to assist you as well; reach out to hire a postpartum doula.
About The Author
Cora Gold is a mother and writer who aims to connect with other moms through her experiences with navigating motherhood. Cora is the Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist magazine and writes for sites including For Every Mom, MommyBites and Playground Professionals. When she’s not writing about style and beauty for her magazine, Revivalist, she loves to share her experience with family life. Follow Cora on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.