Managing anxiety as a mother is challenging. From the time that your children are babies to the time they turn 18, you’re continually worried about them. Children cause us as mothers to worry, no matter what. When you first have a baby, as a new mother, you’re concerned about your baby surviving the night. You worry about everything including sleeping and eating. You even worry about the color of their poop – is it normal, or is there something wrong?
As your children grow older there are more challenges to look out for. When your toddler starts walking, your anxiety is likely going to be kicked into high gear. You will begin to feel anxious about them hurting themselves or even growing up too fast.
Then there are health concerns that preoccupy you, such as autism or speech delays. If you are prone to anxiety in the first place it will be amped up once you have children. Before you had kids you worried about yourself primarily. Now, you go from worrying about you into worrying about your kids. There are so many things that cause mothers anxiety that it’s impossible to keep track. When you go from having one baby to two, you might worry about how these two siblings will get along. Worrying about this isn’t going to result in an answer to this question, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have anxiety about it.
Moms with chronic anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder or PTSD have to be mindful of showing symptoms of their disorders in front of their kids. When your children are young, they may not understand what a panic attack is. It can be challenging when exhibiting symptoms in front of them because you don’t want to frighten them.
If you can’t help but be anxious in front of your child the best thing you can do is use developmentally appropriate language to explain what’s happening. This is a tool to use when managing anxiety. An example is something along the lines of “mommy is feeling nervous right now. But don’t worry she is going to be okay.” Unfortunately, there are times when you can barely breathe and it takes everything bit of energy you have to survive an anxiety attack. In this case, there’s no chance to explain what’s going on. If your partner is present, ask them to take over for a while so you can do some breathing exercises and utilize mindfulness techniques. Once you’ve calmed down, then you can come back to your role as a mom feeling more grounded.
Another trigger that can cause anxiety with regards to motherhood
is when your child misbehaves or throws a tantrum. In an ideal scenario, you
will keep your cool and stay grounded, but anxiety doesn’t always allow us (as
moms) to do such a thing.
It’s important to take time to ground yourself if that’s possible. If that means going into the other room and taking some deep breaths that is essential because you do not want to lose your temper around your children out of frustration. Your anxiety symptoms don’t have to run the show.
If you find that it’s difficult managing anxiety as a mother, you might consider looking into free therapy. There are many online therapy sites that offer trials of counseling to help you manage your anxiety as a mother.
Mothers are expected to be on call all the time. We do not
have the opportunity to let our guard down. We need to be aware and ready just
in case our kids get sick or need help in any way. We are always worried about
what’s happening with our children and we are conditioned to protect them at
all times. However, you have the right to take time for yourself to decompress.
You have the right to engage in activities that promote self-care because if
you do not do that you won’t be able to be there emotionally for your kids in the
way that they need you to be.
There is no stigma associated with seeking out counseling or therapy for your anxiety. You can learn coping techniques to manage your anxious symptoms and manage panic attacks. Some people view anxiety or any mental health issue as a weakness. In reality, anxiety is a medical condition and you don’t have to feel ashamed about it. Mothers are responsible for so many things. It is natural to feel anxious about your role as a mom. So don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. You are strong. You are brave. You’re beautiful. You are a warrior for your children and you are an amazing mother.
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