Anxiety and The New Mother
Oh How Times Have Changed
Imagine, it's 2 o clock in the morning, you've been woken up every night for the past 2 months. Yearning for the times when you could sleep in...or sleep at all as you rock back and forth cradling the little one that's turned your life upside down. New parenting is rocky terrain to maneuver, from late night feedings, crying, screaming, diaper rash, spit-up and a complete schedule transformation, becoming a new parent can make even the most stable-minded individual seem like they're going a little crazy. There is no doubt that this new little human being stole your heart the minute you felt a bump in the belly or a little hand wrap around your finger that first exciting, scary day but remember as you enter this new-found, uncharted territory you're not only sculpting a brand-new future member of our society but a brand-new part of yourself as well.
Postpartum Depression vs. New Mom Anxieties
With all those new mommy hormones flying around, being emotional is inevitable. When these emotions start to get the better of you and you're unable to effectively care for yourself or child that's when it becomes a concern. Before we go into how to deal with normal anxieties of being a new parent, let's take into consideration and explore the possibilities of Postpartum Depression as well. Make sure to follow-up at your doctor after childbirth no matter how tired you are, have someone drive you if need be. These check-ups paired with your honesty can be vital in determining if anything more serious is occurring or could possibly occur.
Common Side-Effects and Postpartum Depression
Below are symptoms of normal baby blues and Postpartum Depression. If you seem to exhibit more Postpartum Depression symptoms please contact your primary care physician as soon as possible.
Common Postpartum Symptoms (usually last from a few days to a few weeks after childbirth)
- Mood Swings
- Decreased Concentration
- Trouble Sleeping (when you get the chance to sleep)
The symptoms above are blamed in heavy part to all those pregnancy hormones fluttering away, Relax, take a breath. It will pass.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms
- Overwhelming Fatigue
- Lack of joy in life
- Loss of sex drive
- Thoughts of harming yourself or child
- Severe mood swings
- inability to bond with your child
- Intense anger
- Feelings of inadequacy, shame, or guilt
- Loss of appetite
- Withdrawal from family and friends
Postpartum can look like simple baby blues in early stages, but the symptoms become more intense with time and can last months after childbirth.
Postpartum Psychosis is a rare condition usually diagnosed within a few weeks of childbirth. Though rare, this condition is very dangerous and should be addressed as quickly as possible. Signs of this condition are:
- Confusion and Disorientation
- Attempts to harm yourself or you child
(Source of Symptoms: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/symptoms/con-20029130)
What worked best to calm your little one?
Having a Support System
Ever heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a kid." Well, maybe not a village, but having a good support system is not only good for the child, but you as well. After all sometimes even you have to take some time off of being Supermom to be human yourself. Some moms have a difficult time giving up their child even for 5 minutes. Encouraging bonding between a dad and child, grandma, grandpa, auntie, or even a close friend of yours not only teaches great social skills to your little one but can give you a bit of a breather as well. In the times that even taking a 10-minute shower seems impossible, you'll never be more grateful having someone you feel safe with caring for your little one while you need the mommy time you deserve. Think of these little breaks as practice perhaps if your maternity leave is ending soon or even when you have to leave for a day unexpectedly. Sometimes having a support system is difficult...maybe your family lives hours away or all of your friends don't have little ones of their own and therefore don't understand why your crying hysterically because you're covered in spit-up and haven't slept in two months. As corny as it may sound sometimes support system is just a Google search away. Many blogs out there are aimed towards new parents and have parents just like you on there venting, asking questions and finding comfort that they're not alone.
Comfort Tips for Mommy
Remember, babies went from being in the warmest, safest place they've known to being born in a big world filled with strange sights and sounds. In many ways Mommy is their safe haven. A stressed mommy can make baby uncomfortable. These soothing techniques can help to soothe mommy so you're at your very best to soothe baby.
- Take a relaxing bath (NOT with baby) Light some candles turn on some music and lay back, even for 10 minutes this can soothe aching muscles from childbirth to a frazzled mind leaving you rejuvenated and feeling fresh.
- Exercise- as hard as it may be to get the energy to do so, even a small 5 minute walk for some fresh air can clear your mind and limber up your body, releasing all those tight stress points. Low impact Yoga can be an incredibly effective soother.
- Go shopping- even if not for yourself, leaving the baby with someone you trust for 20 minutes while you run up the road for a pack of diapers can be a nice little break to clear your head and make you return calmer and ready for more bonding time.
- Dancing- exercise releases endorphins which are a proven happy-factor. When babies down for a nap, turn on your MP3 and jam out to your favorite song. afterwards your body will fell loose and your mood will have improved.
Comfort Tips for Baby
When crying is the only way for a baby to convey how they feel, a guessing game is in order. Some obvious signs to check for when baby won't stop are:
- A wet/dirty diaper
- See if baby is hungry
- Check babies temperature
- See if baby is too hot in clothing or too cold!
When all else fails remember the internet can be a very helpful resource. There are moms out there just like you that have been through the same sleepless, stressful first year. Above is a video from Cincinnati Children's Hospital giving you some measures to try for a happier baby, as well as a happier mommy!
Lastly, remember, you're doing great!! Raising a child takes patience and sometimes you feel as though you don't get incentive for all that you do. Watching your little one take those first steps or smile is well worth the hard work.