This is a collaborative post.
Becoming a mother was the best thing that ever happened to me, but it was also one of the most stressful.
I absolutely adore my kids, and the days both of them were born were the absolute greatest moments of my life.
But the adjustment to being a mother is a tough one. It’s totally overwhelming to suddenly be responsible for a tiny person who needs you to do absolutely everything for them.
Anxiety was a real struggle for me with my first child. I worried over every single little detail, from whether she was comfortable and dressed appropriately for the temperature to whether she was getting enough sleep, or even sleeping for too long without feeding.
There’s no manual that comes with your baby. Of course you can turn to baby books and pick up the odd bit of advice from your friends and loved ones, but every single baby is different. This means every mother’s own individual parenting journey is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all guide to getting it all “right”.
I think it was coming round to accepting this that finally helped me to beat my new mother anxiety. I realised I needed to surrender to the chaos a little!
If you are struggling with postpartum stress and/or anxiety you need to know right now that it is totally normal. Although you might feel like you’re all alone some days, you’re really not!
There are lots of places you can turn to for help, including Emma’s Diary wellbeing support.
To help you overcome postpartum anxiety, here are seven tips for new mothers.
Take time for self-care
I know you might be staring at this tip with a cynical look on your face, because when you’re a new mum time is not a commodity you have a lot of!
But, even 15 minutes in a separate room from your baby while someone else watches them can be enough to reset your mental wellbeing and give you a little boost.
You could try a bath, or a face mask in bed while watching your favourite TV show.
Other ideas are grabbing a coffee with a friend while the baby stays at home with your partner or getting out to the cinema if you can grab a couple of hours.
However small the time is, it’s so important to grab a few minutes away from your baby where you just focus on yourself and enjoy the peace.
There are some great tips for postpartum exercise as part of the Emma’s Diary wellbeing advice.
You do not have to do everything all yourself! During the early weeks you are recovering from the birth, as well as getting used to your new baby and what they need.
Do not try to keep up with all of the cooking, cleaning, shopping and other chores. It’s much better if you reduce your focus down to just your own self-care and the baby.
Try making a list of things that need to be done and then when someone offers to help with something you can give them an idea of what to do right away.
Speak to your partner, who should be happy to help and support you in any way they can.
Talk about how you feel
Sometimes the best thing you can do is just open up about your feelings. If you are overwhelmed, tell your parents or your partner or a friend.
Even if the chat does not bring about any immediate solution to the issues that are causing you worry and stress, it may still make you feel a lot better to get it off of your chest.
You do not have to pretend like everything is alright and perfect all of the time!
Sometimes advice from fellow parents, or relatives, is brilliant. Other times it can be so confusing it leaves your head spinning.
Instead of struggling with all of the conflicting advice, try to just find your own path and your own way of doing things.
Every parent and baby is unique. You know best, so listen to the advice, nod and smile, then do things your own way. How you raise your baby is up to you!
Make friends with other new mums
One of the very best ways to feel better about your own struggles as a new mum is to discuss it with other people who are in the exact same boat as you are.
Research local baby groups in your area and try to pop along to one or two.
These groups tend to meet for around an hour, so it’s only a quick outing for you. Not only does it get you out of the house but you get to have a good chat with fellow mamas.
You may pick up a few tips on how to handle certain issues, or just be able to have a moan with someone who understands exactly what you’re going through.
Stop pressuring yourself
No-one is a perfect parent – that just does not exist.
If you place lofty expectations on yourself then you will just be beating yourself all of the time. So much of motherhood is out of your hands, from the projectile vomit you didn’t see coming to the explosive nappies and sleepless nights.
Take the pressure off and just try to get through each day one at a time.
Focus on your little wins
When you have a good day, or manage to achieve something like getting the baby down for a nap, give yourself a little pat on the back.
In the early weeks with a newborn it can be a real rollercoaster of ups and downs. Your hormones are all over the place, which definitely does not help!
Try to remind yourself to focus on the great things that are happening, rather than anything you feel you didn’t do properly. Trust me when I say, the most important thing is that your baby is happy, healthy and growing.