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Motherhood And Anxiety

Being a mother can be a rewarding thing to do. It feels good to do all the best things for your kids and everyone in the family. However, there are times when stress and anxiety are too much to handle. You will start to realize that being a mom requires a lot of efforts to be patient and understanding on your part. Otherwise, you will experience chaos in your family.

 

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In this article, our primary focus would be about the smart guidelines that you must follow if you want to eliminate stress and anxiety in your motherhood life. The first thing that you must be aware of is the reality that the presence of a mom is a complicated one, which is why you have to take things slow to ensure that you can think clearly and can deliver better work. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the list:

 

Pamper Yourself

Clinical psychologist Jessica Michaelson, PsyD, said, “[O]ur culture still praises selflessness in motherhood, so there is a fear of being judged if you take time to attend to other interests and needs.”

When was the last time you went to a salon or spa? Never feel guilty to indulge in something that will make you feel relaxed. Take note that it is okay to treat yourself every once in a while. Do not worry about who will take good care of the kids because you can always ask your partner or seek help from a good friend who can do it for you. Remember that you deserve to take a break from the usual motherhood routine.

 

 

Meet Up With Other Moms

Do not underestimate the importance of support groups composed of wives and mommies. Just because you are already a mother does not mean that you can no longer have fun. It is still crucial for you to go out every now and then so that you can see your friends and hang out with them. Talk to other moms about your issues. You will never know what the other person might say. Her words can probably take your world upside down.

 

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Create A Journal

Find time to write down all your thoughts and emotions in a journal notebook. “It provides a quiet time to reflect, and that reflection creates an opportunity to create time and quiet and this meaningful solitude which is so important during times of chaos,” said Howard Weissman, PsyD, founder of the Chicago Stress Relief Center.

Make sure to keep it to yourself and prevent others from stealing it. The great and best thing about journaling is that it allows you to process what is going on in your mind. It will allow you to think clearly about the joys of motherhood. It is highly recommended to focus on the good when it comes to jotting down stuff in your journal.

 

Take A Vacation

What is the first or primary thing that comes into your mind when you think of vacation? Do you want to go out of town for the weekend or travel abroad for a few days? Knowing the answer to these questions is the key to eliminating the negative vibes in your life. As such, it is ideal for you to travel with your husband so that you can take a day off from taking good care of your beloved kids. However, be sure to avoid leaving the house unless someone is there to watch over the children.

 

Talk About Your Issues

As already mentioned above, it is crucial for you to find a way to talk about your life issues. Find someone whom you can trust your concerns and issues. It is understandable that you will have a hard time to do this during the first few months. Do not worry because it is only completely normal. Remember that opening up about your issues can set you free. In the long run, it will make you feel liberated to the point that you will feel nothing but genuine happiness in being a mother.

 

Do What You Love

Whether you like it or not, motherhood can take a toll in your life. There are some sacrifices that you have to make or opportunities that you have to forego. Karen Kleiman MSW, LCSW, wrote, “[W]hen a woman endures the pain of disconnection from her baby, or fails to meet the expectations dictated by her critical mother, or can’t face her own reflection in the mirror because she has lost touch with the soul within—it’s hard for her to know where to turn.”

As such, it is best if you will spend some of your days doing what you love. Being a mother is not supposed to stop you from doing what you do best. Look for your passion and dedicate yourself into doing it. Continue to do what you love, and everything will feel better in your life.

 

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Being anxious and stressed during motherhood is part of your journey to raising amazing children. Fortunately, there are tons of things that you can do. Be sure to follow the list above.

 

Postpartum Disorder – I Need To Talk About It

I recently gave birth to my only baby boy, and I somehow felt everything change after that. Instead of feeling excited and happy about the life ahead, I immediately felt extreme sadness, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. Though my doctor told me that it was normal to have baby blues, I‘m entirely sure it wasn’t like that because the emotional dilemma took longer than expected. There’s something about my condition that told me that my depression wasn’t going anywhere.

 

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What Is Postpartum Depression?

Science explains postpartum depression, also known as postnatal depression, as a condition that comes from hormonal changes, fatigue, and psychological adjustment that relates to motherhood. It gives new moms like me low energy that causes a long-term type of depression. The symptoms of the mental condition include feeling sad, tearful, worried, anxious, and stressed.

 

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How PPD Affected Me

Postpartum depression affected me in a way that I found myself having trouble connecting with my newborn child. It was not that I didn’t want to be with him or anything. It just felt like I have this guilt of not going to be a good mom. I am sure I was ready to experience motherhood, but the emotional and psychological states I have right now tells me it was different. Though I was informed that postpartum depression could potentially escalate into something like suicide or have thoughts of hurting my baby, I’m pretty sure I haven’t reached that stage either.

After birth, primary care is mostly focused on the baby’s health. Well infant visits are more frequent than a mother’s postpartum visit to the obstetrician. To address this gap, Maria Muzik, MD, MSC, and co-authors emphasized the role of the pediatrician in screening postpartum depression: “Implementing a standard PPD screening using EPDS (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen) is very feasible in a busy pediatric primary care practice if local and online resources are identified and a clinic workflow is established ahead of implementation.”

How PPD Affects My Relationship

After I gave birth, I felt like I was also losing the relationship I had with my husband because he didn’t seem to understand my situation. There was this one time that he told me to snap out of it, but how was I supposed to? I would want to get out of this condition as much as he wanted me to, but I couldn’t. Our relationship was drifting apart, and all I can think of was getting divorced. It was the most straining times of our marriage because there was anger, confusion, guilt, arguments, and uncertainties. Due to my irrational thoughts, I also lost my interest in intimacy. It was not just about sex, but rather all those small connections we had such as touch, hugs, and kisses.

 

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How My Husband Assisted Me With My PPD

After I went to seek help from a therapist, my husband and I fully understood what postpartum depression was all about. Due to the diagnosis, my relationship experienced a drastic change, and my husband became so considerate of my situation. He started to avoid putting additional pressure on my emotional and psychological condition. He avoided giving unsolicited advice and managed to gather the right things to say. He became so gentle in delivering his words and maintained calm actions. It was an inspiring moment that I encouraged myself to get better, not only for my husband but my newborn baby as well.

Even men are at risk of postpartum depression. Janice H. Goodman, PhD, RN, CS, finds that a “strong correlation of paternal postpartum depression with maternal postpartum depression has important implications for family health and well‐being.”

A study by Dr. O’Hara, Gorman, PhD, and co-authors suggest that “IPT is an efficacious treatment for postpartum depression. Interpersonal psychotherapy reduced depressive symptoms and improved social adjustment, and represents an alternative to pharmacotherapy, particularly for women who are breastfeeding.”

My mental condition was a traumatic experience where I came to the point of giving up. But with the love and understanding that my husband gave me, I managed to flip the other side of its story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Paranoia: New Mom Syndrome

I did not lie, I just choose not to talk about it, but I never thought that it would haunt me.

It was the best day of my life, the day I gave birth to Aleya.  I never thought that my nightmares would start haunting me that very same day.  I began to feel fearful and suspicious people around me, even with my own husband at times.  I thought it was just typical for a new mom to worry about her firstborn.  I never thought that what I was experiencing was paranoia.

“There’s so much stigma about postpartum depression,” says Susan Hatters Friedman, MD, a psychiatrist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “As a society, we expect it to be the happiest time of a woman’s life. A lot of women don’t report if they’re having symptoms.”

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Bugs Of Life

 

Every trial is God’s priceless gift to me that He patiently wrapped in fears and miseries, boxed in anxiety, tied with a plain-colored ribbon, with a card on top saying, “You can do it, my precious daughter, I am with you!”

 

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My Millennium Bug

Seventeen years ago, as everybody was fearing the millennium that was approaching because of the threat of the Y2K bug, I never thought that it would hit me earlier than expected.

My husband out of nowhere packed his things and left us without a word, and my youngest son who was very close to him got depressed and fell ill.

I distinctly remember how I listened to every tick of my watch, stared at the wall of the hospital, walked to and fro the hallway hoping for good news, and then the doctor came out breaking the news no one wanted to hear.  The inevitable had happened. I will no longer see my son go to school because I had to walk him to his grave, the most painful phase of my motherhood journey.

I thought that was all, but no, God was not done yet. Another surprise came a month after, another sad news.   My mom had a heart attack and was declared DOA.

At that time, I was a single mom of three kids, and since my mom passed away, I also got to take care of my sick dad.

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Anxiety And Depression Kicks In

Months passed, and still, I got these sleepless nights.  Every night was just the same as all the others. I just tossed and turned on my bed trying to catch that elusive sleep, but all my efforts were of no use.  I couldn’t go on that way, so I went to my doctor who gave me some sedatives.  I avoided my caffeine and took herbal alternatives, which were supposed to induce sleep but all to no avail.   The best they provided me was 2 to 3 hours of sleep.

Is this stress?  I hope so.

I turned to read my Bible as I lay awake in the middle of the night, listened to gospel songs because they comfort me, and prayed that whatever I was going through, I hoped God will cure me.

Sleepless nights were then followed by hot and cold flashes and night sweats.   I felt afraid and, in panic, I just cried and cried.   My doctor finally told me that it was anxiety disorder combined with depression. “Anxiety is a kind of looking to the future, seeing dangerous things that might happen in the next hour, day or weeks. Depression is all that with the addition of ‘I really don’t think I’m going to be able to cope with this, maybe I’ll just give up.’ It’s shutdown marked by mental, cognitive or behavioral slowing,” said David Barlow, PhD, director of Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders.

It explained the sleepless nights. According to Katie Hurley, LCSW, “People struggling with depression are likely to have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.” My doctor then gave me some more medications and said that we should be able to identify the triggers to address the problem adequately.

 

Source: cowlitzfamilyhealth.org

 

Acceptance Is Never Easy

For someone who often looks down on mental health issues, this is nothing easy to take.  It was another blow, but I needed to accept and embrace my doctor’s suggestions for it’s the only path I know that would help me get on the road to recovery finally.

Julian Humphreys, PhD, PCC, wrote, “[T]he more open and accepting we are about what’s really going on with us, the more likely it is that we will find healthy defenses that contribute in sustainable ways to our own and others’ long-term growth and development.” I needed to be healed because I’m a mother, a daughter, and I had a small business to run.

Fear Of Breastfeeding

 

“Few new parents have accurate expectations of how much their lives will change after the birth of their first child. The physical and mental exhaustion, and the constant attention newborns require, leave virtually no time for the individual pursuits or relationship activities that had characterized their lives previously,” wrote Guy Winch, PhD.

 

First time moms have many fears, and one of these is the fear of breastfeeding.

 

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“A mother’s milk currently reigns supreme in the ebb and flow of what is the scientifically-supported, publicly favored infant feeding practice in our country. “Breast is best” is the ubiquitous chant that joins the chorus of physiological benefits supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics,” wrote Lauren Montgomery, MA.

 

Hours after giving birth to my eldest child, I woke up with a feeling of heaviness in my chest.   I panicked and called the nurse immediately.  She came and told me that I had produced milk. It was time to breastfeed, and so she brought the baby to me.

 

I’ve read some stuff about breastfeeding, but reading was very much different from me actually doing it.  My anxiousness made me forget about those things, and I suddenly didn’t know exactly how to do it.  How will I hold my baby?  What if I fall asleep, I was still feeling exhausted at that time, and I was afraid that I might not notice his fall off the bed, or I might accidentally lie on him.   Crazy thoughts began to play tricks on me.

 

The nurse might have sensed my nervousness, and so she guided me and reminded me of what I was supposed to do.

 

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Benefits Of Breastfeeding

To calm me down while I was breastfeeding, she told me some stuff about breastfeeding.

  1. Colostrum found in the early milk that mother feeds his child in the first few days of life is the source of antibodies which protects baby from diseases as his immune system develops in the first year of his life.
  2. Breastfeeding allows the uterus to get back to its size before pregnancy.
  3. It reduces bleeding after delivery.
  4. It can delay the monthly period (but not a guarantee that you are safe during intercourse, so if you’re on family planning, you must still use some form of birth control).
  5. It’s practical as it can save you a lot of money because of the high price of formula these days.

 

It worked!   I was able to do my first breastfeeding session without falling asleep because my nurse stayed by my side throughout the process, reminding me of stuff I should know about breastfeeding.   When the baby fell asleep, I felt some relief in my breast.   The nurse told me she would send someone after I got some rest.

 

Hours had passed, I got my nap, and another nurse (I thought) came in, a lactation consultant they called her.   She re-oriented me about breastfeeding so I will be more comfortable with it.  She told me that it’s natural for the first-time mother to feel anxious and panicky, but she said I would eventually get used to it.

 

 The Pain of Baby Latches

Latching may be one of the most excruciating pains of motherhood, but a good latch is crucial in a mother-baby relationship.   It helps lessen the mother’s risk of developing sore, bleeding, and irritated or abraded nipples.  A good latch allows the baby to suck effectively, feeding himself an adequate amount of milk.

 

Help Your Baby Latch On

It is essential to know your baby’s feeding cues.    Giving your breast at the early phase of hunger cues will make it more convenient to get the baby on the breast properly.  There are steps you can follow to get a good latch.

  1. Sit with the baby where both your tummies are touching.
  2. Hold your breast near your baby’s mouth.
  3. Touch your nipple on the lower lip of your baby.
  4. When your baby opens his mouth, pull him in so he’ll latch on your breast.

 

Hearing my baby cry still puts me into a panic even after a week of feeding him.  So once my baby latched on to my breast, I made sure that I hear him swallowing to be assured that he’s sucking the milk.  Seeing him relaxed after feeding makes me calm down, too.

 

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The pain a first-time mom feels often puts her in a state of anxiety and panic, especially when it comes to baby feeding.   The lactation consultant who re-oriented me on breastfeeding helped me much, and as days passed, I got used to breastfeeding.   There may still be some pain at times, but the joy surpasses all the pain.

 

According to Robert Muller, PhD, “Every woman’s situation is unique. Lifestyle habits, medication use, and medical and psychological history can complicate the post-partum experience. With this context in mind, the healthcare team should provide a comfortable environment — free of judgement — when discussing post-partum issues, including how to provide an infant’s nourishment.”

 

Every mother should look at breastfeeding as a beautiful experience, a great bonding moment with her baby that she will treasure forever.

Caring For Yourself After Delivery

With all the exhaustion you encountered during labor and delivery, the journey of motherhood does not stop there. In fact, this is just the beginning. You will continue to experience sleepless nights and tiring days of nursing and taking care of your bundle of joy. Thus, conditioning your body is necessary, and this is possible through proper nutrition.

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My Greatest Fear Of Becoming A Mom

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I know for sure that motherhood is one of the most beautiful experienced any woman can have. It brings so much joy and purpose in life. There are discoveries about yourself, such as your ability, the willingness to grow, and the sacrifices you can do for your kids. However, feelings are not always like that.

Along with different expectations, there are mommies like me that I know who think about the opposite. There are too much anxiety and stress that come along because everything about motherhood is full of uncertainty. As for me, I also have my greatest fear of becoming mom.

Not Being Able To Provide The Right Love And Care

Being a mother is immeasurable. There are lots of expectations that somehow makes one lose control over things. It is not like hating life as it is. But there is more to the responsibilities that come with motherhood’s purpose. Sometimes, one of the greatest fears of becoming a mother is not about providing children their physical needs. These include shelter, food, and clothes. What bothers most mommies is their anxiety over what is the right process of loving and caring. Yes, there is no such thing as measured love and care. But, who can tell? The idea of not being able to give your kids the right amount of love and affection are something that makes most mothers feel bad about themselves.

For mom and psychologist, FrancyneZelster, Ps.D., providing love and care is evident in the quality time you share with them. “What’s more important than the quantity of time you spend with your kids is the quality of the time you do have together. When I am with my children, whether for an hour or a full day, I am responsive to their cues and needs; I provide undivided attention whenever possible to set them up for success.”

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Not Being Able To Create An Impact

Along with the responsibility of disciplining and teaching values to kids, mothers’ role should have to make an impact. But what if there is none? It is inevitable for the fact that mothers are aware of handling their kids up to their knowledge and understanding. But what if the type of parenting is not as compelling as most moms think and believe? Will they be able to know if their kids are getting the right understanding of life from the way of their mothers’ teaching only? Of course, not. Therefore, if most mothers cannot create an impact on their kids’ life, then no one can say that her role gets well executed.

Moms have a grave impact on their child’s well-being. This point is a matter of making positive or negative impact on your kids.William Berry, LMHC shares, “If you are a parent, have you honestly looked at what you have done wrong while parenting, and discussed it with your adult child? This is known cognitively, but do parents actually take responsibility for it?” Based on this point, the only way to know is to have that tough conversation with our kids.

Not Being Able To Set As A Good Example

With all the issues and family relationship complications that a lot of people experience every day, every mother’s decision is crucial. So what if a particular decision is not meant to solve problems? What if instead of fixing things up, it ruins everything that the whole family has? You see, every mother fear has something to do with their ability to set as an excellent example for their kids. But of course, not everything falls with their plans. There are times that the slightest motherhood mistake creates total damage to everything. Sometimes, there are unfortunate cases that there is nothing to salvage anymore. Mothers want their kids to look up to them. But not all are responsible enough to set themselves as an example.

In parenting, it is all about setting a good example for your children because they are watching you, says Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D. “Don’t just react on the spur of the moment. Ask yourself, ‘What do I want to accomplish, and is this likely to produce that result?” Children often end up absorbing their parents demeanor and behaviors.

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If the teachings and values of motherhood appear mishandled, then people can expect failure in parenting. And that my friend is scary.

Loosen Up – Don’t Be A Hyperparent!

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If you are a mom who is classified as a hyperparent, you may not even know that you are. Parents, as most of us know, tend to deny these kinds of things. I did – a few years back. I can recall the anxiety, frustration, and the pressure that was pulling me down when Alaena was born. I couldn’t handle all of it, and so I decided to talk to a therapist to help me solve my problems so I wouldn’t go spiraling into depression. It took me months to finally accept that I was indeed a hyperparent, and all the stress and other mental health concerns I had were simply because I was too on edge. Therapy helped me realize that I needed to loosen up – for my daughter’s sake and mine.

What Is A Hyperparent?

A hyperparent mom (or dad) is someone who attempts to teach her child even while she is still in the womb. She regularly stimulates her unborn baby with operatic music in hopes that she will be more intelligent than the usual kids her age when she grows up. She is fixated on everything, including her child’s small scrape on her knee down to the moment she comes home all wet because she played too much. She is overpowering, overprotective, and domineering. Are you a hyperparent?

As someone who was once an annoying and overwhelming mother, I would like to share a few things that I’ve learned. I hope my experience helps all the moms – and dads – who are trying to break this unpleasant habit. Perhaps there are some suggestions I will make that you won’t agree on, but it’s okay. Just know that this is the best that I can do to guide you into relaxing a little while still loving your child unconditionally. When I changed my ways, I noticed that my relationship with Alaena is much better. She has become more honest and comfortable telling me about anything. She can explore and try new things, although I can’t help but supervise her (and she allows me). I am hopeful that these steps will work on you too.

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Your Child Deserves Respect Too. Just because they’re still children doesn’t mean you can push them into doing what you want. That is disrespect. Showing them that you respect them may mean that they are allowed to refuse something that you ask of them, especially if it is not something that they must do, like playing with your friend’s child or enrolling her in ballet classes when she wants to sing. These are simple acts of respect and kindness that will go a long way in strengthening your parent-child bond.

Do Not Expect Too Much From Them. This is a mistake that many parents commit, perhaps because they have a lot of dreams for their kids. They want their children to excel in a specific sport, and when they don’t, they see the disappointment in your face. I used to tell Alaena that I wanted her to join the writer’s club, as I’ve always loved to write ever since I was very young. I didn’t know that she hated it. I only knew it when I saw her incomplete phrases and sometimes blank papers from her bag. It was just not her thing. Support what your child loves doing and celebrate her wins.

Minimize Saying No. But this is not to say that you should say yes to your kid all the time. “Some kids can’t understand or learn the reason for the rule if they only hear the word ‘no’,” says Bruce Grellong, Ph.D. It is often a parent’s nature to say no to whatever their kid asks of them, which is sometimes a reason for them acting out. This is also quite stressful for both you and your child. Try to stop saying no. If you’re hesitant to say yes because you don’t want to be definite, maybe do a little negotiating. For instance, you can say, “Yes, we can probably do that, but let me finish what I’m doing first.”

Let Her Discover Things On Her Own. Letting your child explore is one of the best ways for her to learn about the life, among other things. “What seems like defiance is actually just your child exerting his autonomy and trying to figure out what he can and can’t do,” Christine Raches, PsyD, says. If you allow her to run around the house and she does it rather inappropriately, then she’ll know she needs to slow down when she hits that wall. Let her bike around the neighborhood and make new friends. Of course, you should establish some safety rules before giving her some freedom to play and be a kid.

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Don’t Change Your Child. Your child is unique, with distinct qualities and skills. Don’t try to modify her into a perfect creature. “Even though someone might be your child, they are still their own individuals with their own feelings, opinions, goals and lives,” says Ashton Burdick, LPC. I never attempted to change my daughter simply because I knew she is already perfect the way she is.

So don’t control your child. Protect, but don’t over-protect. Reprimand, but don’t manipulate. Be thankful for whatever she is. She is one of your greatest blessings. Give her enough freedom to explore the world. Love her – unconditionally.