Dear Brand New Mom: The Worry Factor

It seems that with the arrival of your baby, something triggers inside your new mom brain: WORRY. You might worry about small things, big things, and/or the future…. I think this is something that comes attached to our babies and transfers to us immediately.

IMG_2469Think back to something small you worried about when they were born: a small mark on their body, a weird gurgly sound, their temperature, hiccups, clipping their fingernails, or their first cold. Depending on where you are in your journey, does this seem like a distant memory already? Have you moved on to something new and wonder how you were ever worried about that little thing?

Now think back to something bigger you may have worried about: their milk intake, a health concern, or even a disability. Are you still worried about it? This is the thing you probably sought medical advice for. Your worry helped you get what you needed for your baby.

There’s also the worry about the unknown: will they make it into adulthood, am I doing the right things for them, am I teaching them what they need to know, or what will the world be like for them. These are the worries that can make you miserable if you dedicate too much time to them. (But yes, they still hang in the back of your mind.)

Worry is a double edged sword; sometimes it isn’t productive, but other times it forces you to take action and trust your gut when something is wrong. The key is finding the balance between them; and that, my new mom friend, is the challenge we face even as we become more experienced. Me included. Confide in a friend, ask another mom, seek advice from a professional, or focus on self-care so you can ensure you are using that built in worry machine to your benefit.

Sincerely,

A Mom Who’s Been There

Note from the Professional

The good news is that worry is a productive and protective new skill you have as a mom and you will learn to hone this new skill in addition to all other new skills you are learning. When you are able to think back and wonder how or why you were worried about the little things, that’s a good sign that your worry is under control.

How do you know if your worry is something to worry about? You can, as suggested above, tell a friend or another mom or ask a professional. It’s always recommended to focus on self-care, including reaching out.

Please note: If your worry becomes unmanageable, constant, or destructive, please seek medical advice. This can be a sign of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder, which is the most common pregnancy complication. It responds well to treatment. Perinatal Support Washington is a local resource for support and information. More resources may be found on the PEPS website, including the drop-in Friday group Adjusting to Parenthood, offered to PEPS parents in collaboration with Perinatal Support Washington.

Mia Edidin, LICSW of Perinatal Support Washington helped with this ‘note from the professional’ – thanks Mia!


About the Author

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Jen Winckler is a Newborn PEPS leader in Snohomish County. She is a stay at home mom (aka. Volunteeraholic) to two boys, ages 11 and 9, and is still trying to navigate the constant curve balls that parenting dishes out. She used to dread the minivan driving soccer mom title, but has come to love watching her boys play their hearts out (and did sell the minivan as soon as they could open their own doors without banging the car in the next stall).

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