COVID-19 hasn’t shown too many silver linings, but for working mothers, being able to spend more time with their newborns has been a welcomed change to most. However, even with a silver lining, the changes in healthcare, community support, and even simple things like taking babies on walks can, and have, led to a lot of increased anxiety in new mothers.
Here are a few ways new mothers can ease their anxiety and focus on providing the newborn care their new family member needs.
Having a child is, for most, the greatest life change a person will experience during their time on this planet. The term perinatal refers to the time period during pregnancy, and right after giving birth. Some anxiety is expected, and even healthy, given the big change that’s coming, but too much can lead to depression which can ultimately take away from the focus needed to care for your baby.
Prenatal mental care involves recognition of overwhelming anxiety, and even depression. These two things can be amplified when mothers aren’t able to find the physical prenatal treatment they need. Lackadaisical caregivers, healthcare system barriers caused by coronavirus, and personal issues like finances or an inability to take the needed time off work can all lead to prenatal and perinatal anxiety, but recognition of the issues is the first step in fixing them.
Facing Emotional Challenges
If you have experienced prenatal anxiety, the odds of suffering from postnatal depression are even higher. Setting yourself up for success in defeating that depression is a must-do, but it’s not an overly difficult task. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an approach to treating postnatal depression (among other things), that focuses on ridding the mind of unhelpful thinking and behaviors. It focuses on determining what thoughts are causing depressive feelings, and learning about ways to increase confidence and not allow so much mental weight to be put on those thoughts. When utilized with support groups and other ways of calming the mind and body, CBT has been proven to rid people of their depression.
When it comes to self-help, calming techniques are godsends for anxiety and stress. For new moms, it can be difficult to get away for hikes, yoga classes, and things of the like, but there are many at-home options to help with maternal health. Deep breaths and positive thinking both align with CBT, and though they may be needed due to your newborn, that same newborn has a literal lifetime of things ahead of them that can be focused on to help calm the nerves. First steps, graduations, boyfriends, etc. are all great things to think about when Mom stress is weighing heavy.
Listening is also a great way to get your mind off of things. Whether it be soothing music or just hearing stories from family members or friends about their own maternal triumphs, the positivity shines through and reduces the mental effects of the stress.
If the anxiety is overwhelming, and self-help techniques just aren’t cutting it, there are many options online to help you out. For quick hits, simply reading materials from other mothers experiencing similar emotions helps you feel less alone. A step further would be to join an online therapy group, and many exist. A great place to start is 7 Cups, which is a therapy hub that offers free consultation, as well as many free group sessions where you can simply be “in a room” with other new moms sharing and instilling confidence in one another.
Understanding and acceptance of the inevitable changes that come with motherhood are, as mentioned many times in this article, the most important parts of removing the anxious load from your shoulders as a new mom. Constantly reminding yourself that you’re not alone, and help is abundant on the days when the load gets too heavy will help keep your head where it needs to be to raise your newborn baby as best as you can.