How To Be Deal With The Stress Of Becoming A Mother
Becoming a mother is a big adjustment. There are a lot of expectations, real and imagined, placed upon new moms. As your life becomes wrapped up in your new baby fears can start to crop up. Stress from unreasonable expectations and your own fears can seem overwhelming. So how do you deal with this stress?
First, remember that you don't have to know everything about being a mother immediately. As your child grows, you will have time to grow as a parent. Your own mother wasn't the woman you now know when she first had you. So, connect with older relatives and friends. They've already been through the trenches. Get their advice on how they handled their children. They can also provide reassurance that your feelings are normal, because you can't expect to have an instant bond with your child. A bond is something that takes time to grow and develop. If your first thought about your baby was "Where did he get such big ears?" don't stress about it. Many moms edit their first thought for the baby book.
That being said, do take the time to examine your little miracle: the tiny hands and feet, the gentle sweep of eyelashes. When those big eyes look into yours your heart will start to melt. You needn't be discouraged if you didn't feel connected from the first moment you saw your baby. Developing a bond takes time. Just take that time.
However, while it may be tempting to gaze at your little angel while he or she sleeps don't neglect yourself. Baby is stealing a lot of your night time sleep, so take advantage of nap time. When your baby is sleeping try to catch a few z's yourself. Newborns spend a lot of time sleeping but it is more in the nature of a catnap. They never sleep for very long at any one time. So take a few catnaps yourself, until your baby starts sleeping for longer stretches at a time. If you can't sleep during the day, than go to bed a little earlier at night. Stress is easier to handle after a good night's sleep.
Also, while childbirth may be natural, it is a lot of work. It will take you time to recover. So, don't expect to bounce right back into your routine. You may have to let some things slide. Those first few days just taking care of your baby will take nearly all your energy. Therefore, if someone offers to help, take them up on the offer. If you can arrange the help before baby comes so much the better. Let your husband know that after the baby is born you will need help, especially those first few days. Pre-prepared meals are especially helpful. Or, if your friends and relatives would be willing to bring a meal when they come to meet the new little one, you will be very glad you asked for help.
People offer help to new moms for a reason. Your body was changing for nine months to accommodate your baby. Don't rush your recovery--especially if you had stitches. Take time to heal. Light exercise can be good, but don't push yourself. Listen to your body. Your baby is dependent upon your--you don't have time to fall ill.
However, while your baby may be totally dependent on you, you can't forget to take time for yourself. Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries. Now, as a new mom you will have even more draining those batteries. So, even if all you can manage is a bubble bath while baby is napping--take that time. Try letting Daddy watch the little one. And don't check up on him. He may not handle baby like you would, but he needs to find his own way to bond with the baby. So calm your fears and try to relax. You will find yourself better able to handle the stresses of life as a mother if you've had a little time to regroup.
Take time to connect with other moms--especially if you are staying home with the baby. There will be times when you just need to hear the voice of another adult. Plus, sharing with other moms will reassure you that everything you are going through is perfectly normal. This will also provide you with a playgroup for your child when he or she is older.
One final bit of advice: line up a couple of dependable babysitters. Then you and your husband can go out for the occasional night on the town. Dressing up to go out will help boost your self-esteem as you are working toward your pre-baby weight. A night out will also give you some time away from the baby for adult conversation. Plus, it will reassure your husband, who may be feeling neglected with the new baby taking so much of your time.
Becoming a mother is a wonderful experience, and that first year your baby is changing every day. They might not all be Hallmark moments, but take the time to enjoy them, because life changes very quickly.
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