Taming the boo: 7 ways for new moms to manage fear & anxiety
Halloween is the one holiday where we actually seek out all things scary and spooky. However, feeling scared or anxious after having a baby can happen to moms all year. Here are seven ways to help with fear and anxiety after the baby is born.
Halloween is the one holiday where we actually seek out being scared and find the thrill in the "spooky." We are expected to feel nervous and anxious about black cats, skeletons and ghosts. However, feeling scared or anxious after having a baby happens to moms all year. It is often not expected, yet more common than we realize. Here are seven ways to help with fear and anxiety after the baby is born.
1. First, it’s important to understand that every mom (and dad) has many worries, but when anxiety interferes with your ability to enjoy life, it needs to be addressed.
2. When you find yourself on the “hamster wheel” of worry or fear, ask yourself the following:
“Have I had enough water today?” An anxious brain may be a dehydrated brain.
“Am I breathing deep belly breaths?” Shallow breathing deprives the brain of oxygen leading to fuzzy thinking.
“Have I had enough rest today?” Realizing your brain is sleep-deprived and is contributing to your anxiety can be helpful.
“Am I engaging in 'What if?' thinking?” If so:
3. Remind yourself that anxiety and fear are usually about either the past, which we cannot change, or the future which we cannot predict — both of which we have no control.
4. Bring your awareness back to the present... the room, the smells, the texture of the couch, your breath going in and out your nose, and sensations in your body.
5. Ask yourself, “What thoughts am I having that are bothering me and what is the evidence my fears are likely to come true? What action can I take today to help myself feel more in control and what can I let go?”
6. Most importantly, share your worry and fears with a trusted person on a daily basis. Also, write them down before bed along with the doable actions to help you let the anxiety go and feel better. If fears and worries persist, seek the help of a professional therapist.
7. Caveat: Some moms may have scary thoughts or images that pop into their minds, which they can't control. Sometimes, these thoughts can even be about hurting the baby. If the thoughts and images are disturbing and bother the mom, this is a good sign! With psychotherapy and medication women usually find relief within a very short time for these common symptoms.
Kristin regularly presents at various universities and to community groups on relationships and perinatal mental health and sexuality as well as finding balance and wellness in everyday living. She has a passion for women’s mental health, human and relational sexuality, spirituality and relationships. Kristin is a wife and mom of two children.