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Why Some Mums Can’t Help Feeling Anxious and 5 Strategies to Cope

Warning: Some mums may find the content upsetting


It starts from that very first time you pee on a stick. Before you even see the lines appear, your heart rate increases, your stomach churns and your palms begin to sweat like never before.

And when those lines appear, that anxiety goes through the roof! I’m actually growing a human being inside me. A real-life human being. I shall not drink, I shall not smoke, I definitely shall not eat pate! I will not partake in anything that may harm this tiny little being.

And suddenly, just like that, life is different.


And with each midwife appointment, the anxieties increase. The ‘what ifs’ are forever circulating. I remember crying all the way to my first scan, crippled with anxiety that it wouldn’t all be ok.

And so it begins…


You believe that if you can just make it through the pregnancy and birth, all will be fine. But that is just the start. Now it becomes a whole lot more real and not only are you dealing with your own anxieties, you take on others as well - parents, in-laws, professionals all coming at you with different advice, different strategies, different ideas. There are books and books that you can read, but they all differ. Confusing or what?

Then there’s the very real worry of SIDS, whether you are able to breastfeed, allergies, reflux etc. And that’s on top of the fear that you may not be bonding as well as you should with your child.

Is it any wonder that new mums suffer in the way that they do?

And it doesn’t end there…

There’s the worry of developmental milestones, are they walking and talking when they should? There’s the worry of social interaction, are they sharing toys, playing appropriately etc?

You feel every scratch and bump, every immunisation, every time their bottom lip quivers out of fear. You wish you could protect them forever and take all their pain away.


Then, there’s which nursery are they going to thrive in, which school will be best for them? Are they making friends? Will they struggle academically? Are they learning all they should? Are they going to turn out to be a decent human being?

And breathe………


What can we do to help this endless rumination? Here are my top 5 strategies to cope with the anxieties of being a mum:

1.  Don’t sweat the small stuff

Worries create worries. Every time you worry about something that may happen, you are embedding that negative imprint in your neural pathways. And we both know that these worries are unlikely to happen. And if they do, you can cross that bridge when you come to it. Overthinking and over worrying strengthens the negativities in your brain and make it harder to stop that downward spiral.

Every time you have one of these worries, try to stop yourself midway and think of something positive about your child instead. The more you concentrate on the good moments (and these don’t have to be huge, it can be as simple as having a giggle together) the more positives you will gain.


2.  Do ‘you’

What did you enjoy doing before you were a mother? What’s stopping you from doing that now? Is there anything else you would like to try? Hobbies provide physical and mental health benefits, offer a different perspective to just being a mum, help you to feel reinvigorated and can be really important for your mental wellbeing. Hobbies can be something like playing an instrument or perfecting a craft, but it can also just be going out with friends and having a chat. Try to avoid just talking about the children, this is your time for you.


3.  Let your kids be ‘them’

Kids make mistakes. They have to. Mistakes are just lessons in life that we learn from. Constant helicopter parenting to avoid the inevitable, could lead to anxieties in your children, afraid of doing anything wrong. Show love with affection, not worry. Encourage them to be and honest and share that time together. Their strengths may be different to yours, but still just as important and should be encouraged.


4.  Know that you are not alone

All mums worry. Even those ones that seem to have it all together, juggling 10 kids, 3 dogs, and a thriving career to boot. Do not compare yourself to those people. They worry too. They just don’t tell you. If women were a little more honest with each other, those feelings of inadequacy we all have would perhaps dissipate somewhat. Worries are normal and talking normalises them further. However, if you feel that your worries are controlling your life and you are struggling to live how you want, then it may be time to seek some help.


5.  Look after yourself

You spend so much time looking after everyone else, when do you look after you? So many mums are not able to remember the last time they took time out for self-care. Yet, until you look after yourself, you cannot effectively look after others. I often compare this to being on an aeroplane – they always say to fix your own oxygen mask before you fit others. And that’s because if you fit the others first, you may not be fit enough to do your own. The same applies to mental health. Take some time for self-care – whether that’s meditating, going to the gym, or reading a book - fix your own oxygen mask first…


I hope this has proved to be a useful guide to living a less-stress life. Sending all you mums love and strength. You are doing an amazing job.



Disclaimer: I am extremely fortunate to have 2 healthy children. I cannot begin to imagine the anxieties associated with having children who are suffering with illness or have additional needs. Some of the strategies above should hopefully still help you, should you be in that position. Be kind to yourselves, you are incredible.


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