Our society is conflicted between the ‘selflessness’ of motherhood and the very real need women have to provide for themselves and their families. It is tough to live up to these ideals: to be a hands-on, engaged, and always on-point mom, as well as a successful career woman. So it’s no wonder why being a new mom is overwhelming sometimes.
Starting from the baby bump progression and pregnancy weeks, most new moms face societal pressure and unrealistic expectations of motherhood. As a result, they enter motherhood with continual and nagging self-doubt. Research shows that more than half of new mothers suffer a major knock in confidence in the first year because they suddenly realize they have no idea what they’re doing. It takes new mothers around 11 months to get back their confidence. To cope with these confidence bumps, you need to learn how to deal with the challenges you will face being a new mom.
Common Struggles New Mom Face
Compared to men, women are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, stress, and other issues before and after entering parenthood for the first time. Still, there aren’t enough resources to prepare you for being a mom. Check out these practical tips and resources about adjusting to motherhood.
The Hopelessness When Your Baby Won’t Stop Crying
We have all been there. Even celebrity moms aren’t immune to it. You’ve tried to find every reason why your baby is crying. You have checked the temperature. You have tried feeding, cuddling, and changing wet diapers. Then you wonder, maybe it’s colic, gas, or teething? But nothing works. Your baby just keeps crying and crying.
Here are some things you can try to soothe your crying baby in seconds:
- Try playing some soothing music. It doesn’t have to be anything specific, but lullaby music and white noise work best.
- Try to rock and sway your baby. You can do it using a rocking chair or a baby swing.
- Take your baby for a walk. If it’s possible, take him/her for a drive. Don’t forget to use an infant car seat when you take the baby out.
- Jump in the bath with your baby or give your baby a warm shower. You must check the water temperature before placing the baby in the bath.
- Try a baby massage. You can use specially formulated massage oils or creams for babies.
- Give your baby something to suckle. Infant Pacifiers are great options for any baby.
Before you run out of ideas and feel exhausted, it’s good to have someone step in and give you a break. Talk to your pediatrician, or socialize with other new moms. Give your baby a chance to interact with other babies. Finally, remember “This Too Shall Pass.”
You Feel The Pressure To Become “Super Mom”
Social networks, particularly Instagram and Pinterest, are inflicting a lot of pressure on new moms. These image-sharing sites make new moms feel inadequate and vulnerable from time to time due to the added pressure to be a “perfect” mother. Sometimes, the overwhelming pressure from social media can create stress that contributes to mental disorders in new moms.
First of all, bear in mind that the portraits of idealized family life never quite tell the truth. Instead of just scrolling past social media images, use these sites to interact with other moms, swap ideas, and find inspiration. It’s easier than ever to connect with other moms online. Join any mom-specific chat rooms, community forums, Facebook, and Twitter groups, to exchange advice and support. By doing so, you will feel less stressed and more confident.
The Feelings Of Loneliness and Isolation
Most new moms are told that their life will be different after having a baby. They expect there will be joy, excitement, and other unexplainable emotions. But loneliness? It’s probably the last thing they expect before entering motherhood. But it affects two-thirds of new parents, according to a recent study. Because they do not see it coming, they often struggle with the loneliness of new motherhood.
The unexpected loneliness of new motherhood can affect both stay-at-home and working moms. If ignored for a long time, it can lead to anxiety, paranoia, and postpartum depression.
Here are some powerful tips you can follow to combat feelings of loneliness in new motherhood:
- At first, remember that feelings of loneliness are not unusual for new moms. And the bad times will pass soon.
- Be aware of being overwhelmed as a new mom.
- Take better care of yourself. Make your emotional and physical well-being a priority.
- Your priority has changed. It’s okay if you have a messy house.
- Be active and connect with other moms.
- Ask for help.
You Feel Under Pressure As A Parent
Being a new mom is hard. For many new moms, it gets even harder due to parental peer pressure. They often feel under pressure to outshine other parents, which only brings stress and anxiety.
“It’s only natural to get a little competitive sometimes, but it can have a negative effect if you let it develop to a situation where you have to compete with other parents to feel you’re doing a good job,” suggests parenting expert Kate Barlow. Instead of giving in to peer pressure, do what’s good for you and your baby. Spend time reading uplifting books and watching your kids play. They really grow up so fast.
You Feel Pressurized To Breastfeed
The breastfeeding rate has notably increased over the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Although new moms are poorly prepared for breastfeeding, they are facing increasing pressure to breastfeed. The societal pressure over breastfeeding is affecting new moms emotionally. Many new moms, who try to breastfeed and fail, are particularly prone to suffering from feelings of depression, inadequacy, and exhaustion from midnight pumping.
While it may be true that “Breast is Best”, it is not always easiest, particularly when you are struggling with overwork and lack of social support. “If you are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding, supplementing with formula as needed may be part of the solution,” says Julie Lamppa, A.P.R.N., a certified nurse-midwife at the Mayo Clinic. Another point is that with formula feeding, you can get your baby and yourself on a more “normal” sleeping schedule versus having to feed or pump all through the night for 6 months or so. Do whatever it takes to keep both you and your baby happy and healthy.
You Feel Annoyed And Disconnected With Your Husband After Baby
Motherhood is incredibly draining both emotionally and physically. Apart from taking care of the baby, moms have to do everything to keep the household running. They often feel exhausted and irritable from their very long days. So they easily get annoyed, and fighting with their husband becomes a regular thing.
Yes, having a baby takes a toll on the relationship. But the relationship breakdown after a baby is not inevitable. “Time and babies have a way of changing every area of our marriage. But what if we could rekindle that fresh sort of love?” says Becky Thompson, author of Love Unending: Rediscovering Your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood. You can follow her tried-and-true methods to rekindle your marriage after a baby.
- Treat each other as you did back in the early stage of the relationship.
- Recognize and appreciate your partner’s perspective.
- Sit down and talk about marriage issues.
- Regularly plan a night out with your partner.
Your Body Isn’t The Same After Baby
Our society also puts pressure on moms who cannot lose their baby weight quickly or easily. It can be a great source of stress, shame, and anxiety for new moms. We should cheer all new moms no matter the circumstance of their physical selves.
Parenting is one of the hardest tasks on earth. Instead of worrying about your body, you should focus on the most wonderful gift in your life, the new baby.
You Struggle To Manage Work And Family
Working moms experience a lot of pressure to manage both work and child-rearing simultaneously. Our patriarchal society wants moms to stay home with the babies, yet makes it seem like such a burden. Many moms are also reluctant to ask for help because they had been made to believe that good parents should be able to handle difficulties on their own.
Remember that there will be many highs and lows throughout your motherhood journey. Be kind to yourself and find the balance. A support structure at home and at work is very important. Choose the right company to work with and look after your feverish baby.