Tips for Coping and Celebrating
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the amazing moms out there! (If you don’t feel like an amazing mom, don’t stop reading. You are not alone.) For mothers experiencing postpartum anxiety, Mother’s Day can bring up a range of complex emotions that can be difficult to navigate. Postpartum anxiety is a common condition; about 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum mothers experience anxiety.
The Impact of Mother’s Day on Postpartum Anxiety
Anxiety can make the already challenging job of parenting feel even harder and when you add on the unrealistic expectations on Mother’s Day, it can feel downright overwhelming. Maybe you feel like you have to be the perfect mother and do something special for your child when really, they just want to spend time with you. The day can also bring up fears that you aren’t doing enough as a parent or that your child won’t turn out okay because of something that you did or didn’t do. These feelings can make it hard for you to enjoy the holiday. If you’re experiencing postpartum anxiety, here are some coping strategies that can help you navigate Mother’s Day and beyond.
Understand Postpartum Anxiety
Before diving into coping strategies, it’s important to understand what postpartum anxiety is and how it can impact you. Postpartum anxiety (properly named perinatal anxiety) is a type of anxiety that occurs during pregnancy and/or after childbirth. It’s characterized by excessive worry and fear, often about the safety of the baby or your ability to care for the baby. Symptoms of postpartum anxiety can include:
- changes in your sleep or appetite
- racing thoughts
- physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea.
Many moms struggling with postpartum anxiety worry that they aren’t doing their job of parenting well enough. They may worry that they’re not spending enough time with their child, that they are not doing tummy time enough, or that their worry will negatively impact their child. And these worries can spiral.
For some mothers, the anxiety consists primarily of constant worry and some of the other symptoms mentioned above. For others, panic disorder with panic attacks or obsessive-compulsive disorder may occur. A panic attack occurs when feelings of anxiety lead to intense physical symptoms including:
- racing heart
- difficult breathing
- feeling like you are going to faint or die
Obsessive-compulsive disorder includes intrusive thoughts, typically of a worrying nature, and/or compulsive behaviors like excessive cleaning or checking, to manage the worry.
It’s important to remember that postpartum anxiety is a treatable condition, and seeking professional help is essential. Serenity Solutions’ therapists are trained to provide therapy to pregnant and postpartum clients in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas in person and with clients throughout Pennsylvania virtually.
Tips for Coping with Postpartum Anxiety During Mother’s Day
Planning can help you stay on top of your anxiety and stress so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by it. For example, if you know that Mother’s Day is coming up and are worried about how to deal with the day, make sure that you have some things planned out in advance. That way, when the day arrives, your plans will help ease some of those feelings of inadequacy or guilt over not being able to “do enough” as a mother. And remember, planning can mean asking your partner or someone else to make the plans.
Set Realistic Expectations
As a new mother, it’s easy to put pressure on yourself to be the perfect mom. However, striving for perfection is unrealistic and can contribute to feelings of anxiety and stress. Instead, set realistic expectations for yourself and your family. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help and that being a good mother doesn’t mean doing everything on your own.
This Mother’s Day, focus on enjoying time with your family rather than worrying about creating the perfect day. Remember that the small moments of connection and love are what matter most.
Take Care of Yourself
As a mother, it’s easy to put the needs of your family before your own. However, taking care of yourself is essential for managing postpartum anxiety. This Mother’s Day, prioritize self-care by doing something that brings you joy. It can be as simple as taking a relaxing bath or reading a book. If possible, take some time to be alone and recharge. Remember that taking care of yourself isn’t selfish – it’s necessary for your mental health.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool for managing anxiety. Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. It can help you stay grounded and reduce anxiety by focusing on the present moment rather than worrying about the future or ruminating on the past.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness, including meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga. If it feels too difficult to find time to incorporate a mindfulness practice into your daily routine, there are ways to do it that don’t take any extra time.
Focus on your five senses:
An excellent mindfulness practice that you can do at any time is focusing on your five senses. Whether you are playing with your children, doing laundry, or taking a shower, you can notice what you are seeing, hearing, smelling tasting, and touching. It’s a way to help you be in the moment and enjoy the moment, instead of being caught up in worrying thoughts and feelings.
Focus on your breath:
Another great mindfulness exercise that doesn’t take any time out of your day is to focus on your breath for a few minutes. Just notice the air flowing in and out of your lungs and on the rise and fall of your body with each breath. Not only will it decrease your focus on worries and catastrophic thoughts, but it will also physically calm down your body if you are experiencing physical symptoms of anxiety.
This Mother’s Day, take a few minutes to practice mindfulness and remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can.
Use these coping strategies on Mother’s Day and every day. If you are struggling with postpartum anxiety, another important coping strategy is to seek support. Serenity Solutions offers therapy for postpartum anxiety, helping you to learn the tools and coping strategies to bring down feelings of anxiety so that you can relax, be in the moment with your child, and enjoy motherhood. Call us at 267-317-8817 or schedule your free 15-minute phone consultation here to start your postpartum recovery journey.