Being an overwhelmed new mom is not fun.
If you are a new mom and feel confused about all the different emotions you feel, you might wonder if it’s normal.
After all, you have the baby you wanted in your arms now. Aren’t you supposed to feel happy and grateful?
So, is it normal to feel overwhelmed with a new baby?
It’s common to feel overwhelmed by the sudden changes and responsibilities that come with motherhood, and you’re not alone in experiencing these emotions. When you become a mom, your life takes a 180-degree turn and it will never be the same again.
I am not here to scare you or dishearten you, I am just spilling facts.
Motherhood can change your life for the better as you have someone to love and care for. But at the same time, you are presented with many new challenges.
You may feel like you’re constantly juggling multiple tasks and struggling to keep up with the demands of your new role.
One reason you may feel overwhelmed as a new mom is the sheer amount of new information you’re expected to learn and process.
From feeding and diapering to sleep schedules and developmental milestones, there’s a lot to keep track of and it can be difficult to know where to start.
It’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind or not doing enough, which can lead to feelings of anxiety and stress.
The truth about parenting is that no matter how much you learn about parenting from books or hear about it from others before the baby arrives, experiencing it, in reality, is different. Because everyone’s experiences are different. And the way everyone measures their experience is different too.
Another factor that can contribute to feeling overwhelmed as a new parent is the lack of control you may feel over your time and schedule.
Babies have their own needs and routines, and it can be challenging to balance those with your own needs and responsibilities. This can leave you feeling like you’re constantly playing catch-up and struggling to find time for yourself.
As a new mom, you go through all kinds of changes: physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes.
You revamp your whole lifestyle and routines to fit that of the baby’s and hence it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the whole switching of your lifestyle.
- So, is it normal to feel overwhelmed with a new baby?
- Physical Changes
- Emotional Changes
- Lifestyle Changes
- Social Changes
- Now, here are some steps to take to reduce your overwhelm and other difficult feelings as a new mom:
- 1. Ask for help (lots of it)
- 2. Choose Your Priorities
- 3. Establish a routine (and simplify it)
- 4. Eat Healthily
- 5. Indulge in Self-Care
- 6. Do Simple Exercises
- 7. Talk with Other Moms
- 8. Reduce Screen Time
- 9. Practice mindfulness and embrace your new role
Let’s look at the different changes you go through as a new mom to understand your problems better and take action to stop the overwhelm for good.
As a new mom, your body goes through a lot of physical changes. These changes are a natural part of pregnancy and childbirth, but they can still be difficult to cope with.
You might experience two types of physical changes: hormonal changes and body changes.
During pregnancy, your body produces higher levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help your body prepare for childbirth and breastfeeding.
However, after giving birth, these hormone levels drop dramatically, which can lead to a range of physical and emotional symptoms.
Some common symptoms of hormonal changes include:
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of libido
These symptoms can be difficult to manage, especially when combined with the demands of caring for a new baby. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing severe or persistent symptoms.
In addition to hormonal changes, your body will also go through a range of physical changes after giving birth.
Some common body changes you may experience include:
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Swelling of the breasts and abdomen
- Vaginal bleeding and discharge
- Urinary incontinence
- Stretch marks
- Hair loss
These changes can be uncomfortable and even painful, but they are a normal part of the postpartum period.
It is important to take care of yourself during this time, by getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and staying hydrated. You may also want to consider gentle exercises, such as walking or yoga, to help your body recover.
During this time, try to get as much help as possible from people around you, a.k.a, your village.
In many cultures (including mine), new moms are confined to their houses for 40 days where they are usually allowed to rest and relax completely for six weeks.
During this time, we are given a lot of oil massages, hot shower baths, nutritious food, and snacks that help milk supply and general recovery. As much as I had felt frustrated about being confined, I now realize how helpful it was to my postpartum healing.
People also hire postpartum doulas who would stay with the moms for 40 days to take care of the newborn during the day and night so that the new mom can sleep and rest well.
If it’s an option available for you, I would definitely recommend hiring someone full-time or part-time because it will help a lot in your postpartum healing and mental health.
And from what I heard, in many places, new moms are expected to start being on their toes taking care of the household immediately after birth.
Well, it could be considered one of the reasons that many new moms feel overwhelmed in the modern world because we are bombarded with many unrealistic expectations of being the perfect mom with the perfect parenting style and feel the pressure to get back to the pre-pregnant body.
As a new mom, you can experience a wide range of emotions. While some of these emotions may be positive, others may be overwhelming and difficult to manage.
Here are some common emotional changes that you may experience as a new mom.
Postpartum depression is a type of depression that occurs after giving birth. It is a serious condition that can affect your ability to care for yourself and your baby.
Some common symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor. There are treatments available to help manage postpartum depression, such as therapy and medication.
Anxiety is another common emotional change that you may experience as a new mom.
Some common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling nervous or on edge
- Difficulty relaxing or sleeping
- Racing thoughts or constant worry
- Physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, or a rapid heartbeat
- Avoiding certain situations or activities
Again, if you are feeling any of these symptoms, don’t be afraid to ask for help. They can help you manage your anxiety through therapy, medication, or other treatments.
It is important to remember that it is normal to experience a range of emotions as a new mom. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed or unable to manage your emotions, it is important to seek help. Your doctor can help you find the support and resources you need to feel better.
The next type of change you go through when you become a new mom is a change in your lifestyle.
Your old routines go in the trash and you welcome new ones that are made to cater to the needs of your baby.
When it comes to lifestyle changes, there are two main changes every mom goes through; sleep deprivation and fitting in new responsibilities into their days.
Sleep deprivation is a common issue for new moms. You may find that you are waking up multiple times throughout the night to feed your baby or change their diaper. This lack of sleep can leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. It can also affect your mood and ability to think clearly.
To combat sleep deprivation, try to nap when your baby naps.
I know this is a cliched advice. But this is the best time to catch up on your precious sleep.
As a new mom, it can be tempting to use your baby’s nap time to catch up on household chores or work. However, it’s important to prioritize your own sleep and rest when your baby is napping. By taking short naps throughout the day, you can improve your energy levels and feel more alert.
You can consider hiring help from a family member or a professional helper to manage the chores when you take a nap. You can also consider asking for help from your partner to put the baby to sleep after the nighttime feedings so that you can get a few hours of uninterrupted quality sleep.
If you’re breastfeeding, consider pumping milk so your partner or family member can help with nighttime feedings.
As a new mom, you have a lot of new responsibilities added to your shoulders. You are now responsible for taking care of your baby’s every need – from feeding to diaper changes to bath time. This can be overwhelming, especially if you are used to having more free time.
To manage your new responsibilities, try to create a schedule or routine. This can help you stay organized and ensure that you are meeting all of your baby’s needs. You can also ask for help from family and friends, or consider hiring a babysitter or nanny to help with some of the tasks.
Along with lifestyle changes, you can expect changes in your relationship with other people too.
Becoming a mother can change your relationships with family, friends, and even your partner.
You may find that you have less time for socializing or that your priorities have shifted. Some friends may not understand the demands of motherhood and may not be as supportive as you need them to be.
Your relationship with your partner may also change. You may find that you have less time for each other, and communication may become more strained. It’s important to make time for each other and to communicate your needs and feelings.
If you feel overwhelmed, the best person to talk to about it first is your partner (if it’s applicable in your case). You can share your feelings and divide responsibilities between each other so that at least some weight is lifted off your mind.
I hope by now you understand that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed as a new mother even though you love your baby or have waited for him/her for years.
Now, here are some steps to take to reduce your overwhelm and other difficult feelings as a new mom:
One thing to note is that motherhood is for life and even though you will be greatly relieved of your responsibilities as kids grow up, you never stop being a mother.
So, from the beginning, you can try to create the right mindset toward motherhood and learn to deal with the responsibilities in a fulfilling way.
Here are the steps:
1. Ask for help (lots of it)
If you are someone who hates asking for help (like me), it can get really overwhelming with a newborn. But luckily, I had lots of help from my mom and a postpartum doula. And I don’t think I would have been able to learn about the basics of taking care of a newborn without help.
I asked my doubts to experienced moms, googled many things, and received help with many chores and mom duties. So if help is accessible, don’t make it a lonely journey.
Here are some ways people can lend a hand:
- Cook meals for you
- Watch the baby while you take a nap or run errands
- Help with household chores like cleaning or laundry
- Offer emotional support and a listening ear
Don’t be afraid to ask for specific help. For example, if you need someone to watch the baby for an hour so you can take a shower, ask for that specifically.
Sometimes you need more than just a helping hand from friends and family.
Hiring a babysitter can give you some much-needed time to yourself. Here are some tips for finding a babysitter:
- Ask for referrals from friends and family
- Use a reputable babysitting service
- Consider hiring a mother’s helper, someone who can help with both the baby and household tasks
When hiring a babysitter, make sure to do your due diligence. Ask for references, check their background, and interview them thoroughly.
Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a way to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your baby.
2. Choose Your Priorities
As a new mom, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the many responsibilities that come with caring for a newborn. One way to manage this feeling is to choose your priorities and focus on what is most important.
Cut Down on Overwhelming Activities
To do this, start by identifying the activities that are causing you the most stress and anxiety. These may include household chores, social obligations, or work-related tasks.
Once you have identified these activities, consider ways to cut them down or eliminate them altogether.
For example, you might choose to hire a cleaning service to help with household chores or take a break from social events for a few weeks. You might also consider taking a leave of absence from work to focus on your new role as a mom.
Here are a few more tips to help you cut down on overwhelming activities:
- Prioritize your to-do list and focus on the most important tasks first
- Delegate tasks to your partner, family members, or friends
- Learn to say no to requests that are not essential or do not align with your priorities
- Use technology to streamline tasks, such as online shopping or meal delivery services
- Limit visits from people if it’s interfering with your mental and physical wellness
By cutting down on overwhelming activities, you can free up more time and mental energy to focus on what matters most – your baby and your own well-being.
3. Establish a routine (and simplify it)
When setting new routines, simplify your expectations. Since you need to make changes in your lifestyle, make sure you add only the tasks you can manage in the initial days.
You can build up your routine once you get the hang of handling life with a baby.
Until then, less is more.
When creating a routine, it’s important to consider the needs of both you and your baby. Your routine should include time for feeding, changing, and sleeping, as well as time for self-care and other activities for you.
To start, try to establish a consistent wake-up time and bedtime for both you and your baby. This will help regulate your sleep patterns and make it easier to plan your day.
Next, consider scheduling your day in blocks of time.
For example, you might schedule time for feeding and changing your baby in the morning, followed by a nap for your baby and some household chores for you. In the afternoon, you might schedule time for play and socialization, followed by another nap for your baby and some self-care activities for you.
Keep It Simple
When creating your routine, it’s important to keep things simple. Don’t try to do too much in one day, and don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go according to plan.
To help you stay organized, consider using a planner or calendar to keep track of your schedule. You might also find it helpful to create a to-do list each day, so you know what tasks you need to accomplish.
By establishing a routine that works for you and your baby, you can help reduce feelings of overwhelm and stress and enjoy your new role as a mom.
4. Eat Healthily
As a new mom, it’s essential to eat healthily to maintain your energy levels, support your immune system, promote your overall well-being, and also have sufficient energy for taking care of another human being. Here are some tips to help you eat healthily:
- Plan and Prep Your Meals: Planning and prepping your meals in advance can help you save time and ensure that you’re eating healthy. Consider making a weekly meal plan and preparing some meals in advance so that you can quickly heat them up when you’re short on time.
- Eat a Balanced Diet: Eating a balanced diet is crucial for your health and well-being. Make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients by including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your diet.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking enough water is essential for your health. Make sure that you’re drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water per day to stay hydrated.
- Avoid Processed Foods: Processed foods are often high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Try to avoid processed foods and instead opt for whole, nutrient-dense foods.
- Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full to avoid overeating.
- Snack Smartly: Snacking can be a great way to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Opt for healthy snacks like fresh fruit, vegetables with hummus, or nuts and seeds
5. Indulge in Self-Care
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily demands of taking care of your baby when you are a new mom. However, it’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is just as crucial. Here are a few ways to indulge in self-care and avoid feeling overwhelmed:
Getting enough sleep is essential to your physical and mental health. While it may seem impossible to get a full night’s rest with a newborn, it’s important to prioritize sleep whenever you can.
Make Time for Yourself
It’s easy to feel like you have to be constantly available for your baby, but it’s important to take time for yourself as well. Schedule some “me time” into your day, even if it’s just 15 minutes to take a relaxing bath or read a book.
Practice Self-Care Rituals
Incorporating self-care rituals into your daily routine can help you feel more relaxed and centered. Consider taking a yoga class, practicing meditation, or indulging in a spa treatment.
When adding self-care rituals to your list, try to add only what you can manage to do.
If you cannot do something on your schedule, try to let it go and not stress about it. Because you can get stressed about not ticking off something on your list. Our goal here is to reduce the overwhelm and not add to it.
6. Do Simple Exercises
As a new mom, you may feel like you don’t have enough time or energy to exercise.
I am not a new mom, but I still end up in the struggle of “I don’t have the energy to exercise” and drag through the day feeling tired. But what I have found is that on the days I push myself to do at least 30 minutes of exercise, I feel more energetic and happier.
You don’t need to do an hour-long workout. Try to incorporate 20-30 minutes of activity in a day. When you do that consistently, you will find that it does make a difference in your energy levels.
Because when you feel energetic, you feel like you can take on more tasks in your day and thus feel less overwhelmed.
Kegels, squats, and walking are easy and effective exercises that you can do at home.
7. Talk with Other Moms
Talking with other moms can be a great way to find support, advice, and even new friends. Here are some tips on how to connect with other moms:
Participate in Online Communities
Online communities can be a great resource for new moms. You can find groups on social media platforms like Facebook or Reddit, or on parenting websites like BabyCenter or What to Expect. These groups can provide a safe space for you to ask questions, share your experiences, and connect with other moms who are going through the same things you are.
When participating in online communities, keep in mind that not all advice is created equal. Always do your own research and talk to your healthcare provider before making any major decisions.
8. Reduce Screen Time
Spending too much time on your phone or tablet can interfere with your sleep. The blue light emitted by these devices can disrupt your circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep at night. To reduce your screen time, try the following:
- Set a time limit for your phone usage before bed
- Turn off notifications or put your phone on silent mode
- Avoid using your phone or tablet in bed before bedtime
By reducing your screen time, you can improve your sleep quality and feel more rested in the morning. When you don’t have enough sleep, you might feel lethargic and even the simple tasks can seem overwhelming.
Not only is reducing screen time beneficial for sleep but also for your mental health. Browsing all the time or watching reels on social media can sometimes make you feel insufficient as you might feel like all those moms are doing so much more than you for their babies or for themselves.
You can get trapped in the comparison game and feel more overwhelmed. Thus, having a screen time limit is absolutely beneficial.
9. Practice mindfulness and embrace your new role
Overwhelm is a result of too many thoughts racing on your mind reminding you to do all the tasks of the day.
But the truth is, you can do only so much in a day considering your energy levels and not to mention the time constraints of being a new mother.
So, when the overwhelm strikes, take a deep breath and focus on the present moment and what you can get done at this moment. You know that you will get to the other tasks soon, but this is what you can do now and that’s fine.
Even if you can’t finish it on time because your baby woke up and started crying, remind yourself it’s okay.
In life, you go through different seasons, and the season you are in now is asking you to slow down and focus on the little one you have created.
It’s one of the hardest things you will ever do in life and hence it’s important to embrace the slowness and let go of the unrealistic expectations of being a mom.
Reducing your pregnancy weight can wait
Climbing the career ladder can wait
Expanding your business can wait
Dishes and chores can wait
But the time you get with your baby will not wait.
This is your time to nurture the new life and nurture the new mom in you. When you realize that you will learn to embrace the slowness.
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