Becoming a mother for the first time can be one of life’s most magical and rewarding experiences. But for many, feeling overwhelmed with a new baby can also lead to feelings of anxiety, not to mention the challenges of recovering from birth and adjusting to a completely new way of life. Many of us find ourselves facing ‘new mom stress’, at a time when the world tells us we should be glowing with happiness.
How to Cope With Stress As A New Mom
Motherhood is not the most relaxing role. We can vouch for that. But there are things that you can consciously do to protect your mental health and put yourself in the position to be the best mom you can be. Here are a few ideas that worked for us.
Relax Your Standards
Real life does not look like Instagram. Fact. When you are caring for a small human who relies on you for its very survival, a spotlessly clean house, losing that baby weight, having a picture-perfect life… It really doesn’t matter. That can wait until they’ve started school. It can be hard if you’re a bit of a perfectionist, but remember, being a parent is the one thing that no one is perfect at.
When you have a baby, you may find that lots of people offer to help. Jump on that! And if they don’t offer… ask. Anyone that’s had a baby will understand how it feels, and will happily help, even if they don’t know you that well. If that means someone holding the baby while you have a shower, or someone popping to the shops to get a pint of milk - don’t be afraid to ask. And if you’re lucky enough to have doting family or friends, absolutely lean on them to take care of the baby while you get some ‘me time’.
Go for a walk
Just get out of the house. Pop baby in the stroller and go for a walk round the neighborhood. Days can feel long when you’re at home with a newborn, so combat cabin fever and try breaking your day up with a stroll. A change of scenery and gentle exercise can release endorphins that will help to lift your spirits and (extra bonus) it might send your little one off to sleep.
Find Other New Moms
It can be daunting, yes, but put yourself out there and meet new moms. Seeing other people can relieve that intensity of 1-2-1 time with your baby and alleviate stress. Baby groups, parenting forums, mom groups - make the effort and try to meet new people. Having a baby is a little like orientation week at university, in that you find yourself in a big pool of people desperate to find their community. It might not seem like it, but that mom at your Baby Sensory class doesn’t actually have it all together - she needs friendship as much as you do.