There is no question that becoming a parent induces a complete lifestyle shift. Even after spending months preparing for baby’s arrival and impending changes, I personally did not feel prepared for the return to work and motherhood balance. New mothers are expected to navigate the hormonal changes, finding childcare, figuring out new schedules, and exhaustion from irregular sleep. Throw a pandemic into the mix and cortisol levels are at an all-time high.
If you are a new parent, know that you are not alone with your feelings and concerns. I frequently sought consolation from friends, family, and the What to Expect forum for parents. This particular forum allows you to connect with other parents who had a child the same month as you. You can find the forum here: https://community.whattoexpect.com/forums/
Try different coping strategies to help alleviate anxiety. The strategies that I find most helpful are pausing and engaging in deep breathing or activities that encourage mindfulness. An example of mindful thinking while caring for your baby is listening in to their breaths or feeling the creases on their tiny hands.
If you feel overwhelmed, do not hesitate to reach out to your support system or a trained mental health professional for help. Take the transition one day at a time and be patient with yourself. No parent has it all figured out, but each day we are given a new opportunity to learn and improve.
By Emma Greene, LMSW – Mental Health Specialist