Anxiety in motherhood is something we’ve all experienced at some point in some way. It is a normal human emotion that welcomes us to life.
I think anxiety has a special place on it’s couch for moms. I imagine anxiety saying, “come on over, sit down and let me freak you out about your pretend future”.
And if we’re not careful, we’ll sit on that couch, sink into the made up stories, and before we know it, we feel too stuck to move.
Some made up stories and worries are normal and to be expected with motherhood. It’s a new and ever-changing territory that quite naturally raises concern, uncertainty, and doubt.
In some ways this type of worry can be beneficial in managing danger. This worry comes and goes once resolved.
Examples of normal worries:
reading about each stage in pregnancy or development, wondering how pregnancy/motherhood will effect your relationships, thinking about your baby getting sick if someone touches his/her face.
So What’s the difference between normal worries and anxiety in motherhood?
The biggest difference between normal worries and anxiety is, anxiety is ongoing, persistent worries that interferes with daily functioning (www.psychiatry.org).
Anxiety can affect functioning physically, mentally, and behaviorally while normal worries do not. For example:
- What if my baby starts crying and I can’t console her? People are going to think I’m a bad mom. ( mentally )
- My heart starts beating fast and I feel a knot inside my chest every time he goes to sleep. I have to stay up and watch him all night because I don’t want him to die of SIDS. (physically)
- Somebody is going to steal my baby from me. I shouldn’t be in public places. (behaviorally)
Everyone experiences anxiety differently. But some common symptoms include: constant worry/feeling like something bad is going to happen/racing thoughts, loss in appetite, difficulty sleeping, irritability, feeling “on edge”, and lack of concentration.
If you’ve experienced anxiety in pregnancy or postpartum, you’re not alone.
According to postpartum.net, approximately 6% of pregnant woman and 10% of postpartum women experience anxiety.
So how do I pratically combat anxiety?
Darling, I’m so glad you asked!
There are several things you can do to help combat anxiety in motherhood. Some include things you can do on your own and some include involving others.
So alright. Here we go!
6 Ways to Combat Anxiety
Practice deep breathing:
4-4-4 method (take 4 seconds to inhale through the nose, hold for 4 seconds, take 4 seconds to exhale through the mouth, and repeat for 5 minutes).
having some daily time to ground yourself can be so helpful in reducing symptoms of anxiety.
Listen to your favorite songs:
during your commute to/from work, while you’re taking a shower, or preparing meals for the next day are perfect times to listen to uplifting music!
Rest as much as you can:
Now I for sure know this is SO hard but in any way you can, practice resting. You don’t have to sleep to rest. Consider finding new ways to gain recharge if napping isn’t an option.
Get outside and enjoy nature:
feeling a good breeze, hearing birds sing, feeling the sun on your face. All of these things can revive our senses and connect us to the present moment.
Talk to your support system:
link up with a close friend or family member who understands and supports you. If you live away from friends and family, consider joining a local mom group or small group at your local church.
Seek Professional Help
Say you’ve tried all of these things and still seem to struggle with anxiety. If this is true, maybe seeking professional help is your next step in managing motherhood well.
Talking to your PCP and finding a therapist who specializes in anxiety and utilizes evidenced-based treatment could make such a difference in managing your symptoms!
Looking to see who’s on your insurance panel and searching PsychologyToday is a good start.
I’ve taken what I know about managing anxiety and laid it all out in my Detach Anxiety From Your Identity course. Click here to find out more.
Taking care of your mental health is nothing to be ashamed of! In fact, it should ignite courage and the sense of being proud in molding a less anxious and more joyful you.
Mama, you are not alone. And you are not your worries or your fears.