It has been your lifelong dream to become a mom. You feel your heart burst with joy every time you look at your newborn and see a hint of a smile forming on your precious baby’s face.
But while your goal of being a mom has been fulfilled, you might find yourself thinking of so many stressful things as you gaze at your precious newborn.
“What was I thinking? I’m not ready to be a mom! Why did I tie myself down right away? I have so many things I haven’t done yet!”
“The world is an awful place. How can I protect my child from bad happenings in the world?”
Well, we can’t blame you for thinking any of these things. After all, taking care of a baby can be exhausting. You might not be eating and sleeping as well as you did before you had the baby.
Plus, your entire life has basically changed. When before you were just thinking of you and your partner, you now have to think of the well-being of a human being that NEEDS you as they grow up. If you weren’t used to being depended on like this, it can indeed be very stressful to experience.
As a mom with so many things going on in your life, how exactly can you cope with stress?
We have to accept that stress is part of the baby package for mommies.
According to the American Psychological Association, stress is defined as “the physiological or psychological response to internal or external changes affecting nearly every system of the body, influencing how people feel and behave.”
In other words, stress is your physical, emotional, or mental reaction to pressure or demand from a certain situation or event.
Having a baby falls right into the abovementioned pressure or demand from a situation. There is no doubt that nurturing and caring for your newborn takes up a lot of a new mom’s time.
While having a baby is certainly a happy occasion, it is also a huge responsibility. As such, stress is a natural part of the baby package for new moms.
If you do feel any stress (and we’re sure you do), be encouraged by the fact that you are not alone in feeling all these emotions. Nearly one out of every five new moms experience mood changes (some even go through depression!) after the arrival of their newborn.
Some causes of stress for new moms
There are just so many sources of stress for new mommies like you, such as:
It always feels like there isn’t enough time to do all the things that need to be done. Not only do you have to take care of your baby, but you also have to make time for your usual chores and eventually, work. You will barely have time to take care of yourself.
Having and raising a baby requires plenty of money, especially nowadays. New moms have to take time off from work to devote time to their babies. That means the burden of making money falls on their partners, meaning the family might have to tighten their belts for a while.
No nurturing of other relationships
While you’re busy taking care of your baby, that means you will also be spending less time with your partner, your family, and your friends. These relationships will have to take a backseat to caring for your infant.
That can be stressful especially since you still do want to feel like you’re more than someone who does nothing but care for a baby.
Four ways to help you cope with stress
If ever you do feel stressed, be kind to yourself. There are plenty of sensible and logical reasons why.
But you don’t have to stay stressed. Based on our years of experience providing post-partum doula support to new moms, here are four things you can do:
1. Take care of yourself.
While your primary role as a new mommy is to take care of your child, there has to be ample space in your life for self-care. In fact, you should make self-care part of your everyday routine!
After nine months of carrying your baby in your tummy, the work of caring and nurturing for your child does not stop. In fact, the demand from you as a new mommy is even greater. That’s why you should get as much rest and sleep as you can.
Plus, don’t forget to nourish your body by eating nutritious food. If possible, ask your partner or spouse, or other members of your family to prepare healthier meals. A healthier eating habit reflects a healthy mindset, one that will be of good use in your new mommy journey.
And don’t feel guilty about putting your needs first sometimes. Yes, your baby has to feed (whether breastfed or otherwise), but if you don’t eat well or get rest, how will you be able to feed them, much less take care of them the whole day?
2. Stay active.
While it may seem counter-intuitive given that you are already exhausted from taking care of your baby, staying active is one of the ways to cope with mommy stress. Engaging in physical activity facilitates the release of happy hormones that promote feelings of well-being.
And while you’re at it, staying active also helps you become physically fit. And don’t worry, we don’t mean that you spend countless hours in the gym. A simple walk around the block on a regular basis after meals will help keep you physically fit and healthy.
3. Tap into your emotional sources of support.
As you nurture your emotional bond with your baby, make sure that you also make space in your day to tap into your emotional sources of support. This could be your partner or spouse, family, and close friends. Make sure that during these moments of intimate connection, there are plenty of hugs, cuddles, or massages as they also boost the production of happy hormones.
4. Take time off.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, know that it is ok to take time off from taking on the primary responsibility of taking care of your newborn. Ask your partner or spouse or someone close to you to take your place for a few hours. Use that time to get a massage, have your nails or hair done, or sit alone in a café while reading a book.
Again, do not feel guilty! You need to be in a proper state of mind to take care of your baby. And if taking breaks helps, do it!
Let Northeast Doulas be part of your motherhood journey.
While these ways may help you deal with stress, our recommendation is that if you really need help, get help.
We at Northeast Doulas provide new mommies like you with the physical, emotional, and informational support you need to cope with the joys and stresses of motherhood. Let our experienced doulas help you navigate a more positive post-partum experience for you and your baby.
Contact us today – we look forward to hearing from you and helping you out.