Top 5 Challenges New Moms Face and How to Overcome Them
The journey of motherhood is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences in life. But new moms also face many challenges as they give birth to, raise up and take care of a new life. Not only do they deal with sleepless nights, nonstop diaper changes, and tantrums, but there a range of emotional challenges that moms also struggle with.
To help deal with these common challenges, we’ve put together a list of the top five, including tips on how to cope and overcome them.
Having “unloving thoughts” toward your child
As cute and adorable children can be, they are at times infuriating to deal with, especially when they misbehave, talk back, or betray you. For example, if a child talks back rudely or refuses to do what you ask, you may find yourself feeling anger or even hatred toward your child. Many new moms also confess to feeling tremendous guilt immediately after.
To cope, firstly remind yourself that anger is a normal human emotion, especially for a parent, and if you learn to control it, can be used in a positive and healthy way. Do this by using the opportunity to teach your child how to behave when feeling angry by taking a few deep breaths, responding calmly or walking away, instead of exploding.
If you still find it difficult to control your temper, it may help to figure out why you are reacting in such a way. You may find yourself having unrealistic expectations toward your child, or that you are letting out your frustration at someone or something else toward your child. Emotions generally build up when you are tired or stressed, so looking after yourself may help you to feel calmer and better able to get a handle on your temper.
Difficulties with breastfeeding
New moms are often told that breastfeeding will come naturally and end up feeling discouraged when having difficulties getting it right. It also doesn’t help that a lot of pressure comes their doctor, friends or family to nurse their baby. However, in reality, most women find that it takes days or even weeks of work and practice to get breastfeeding right before it starts to feel natural.
If you are having difficulties breastfeeding, do not be afraid to ask for help from a lactation consultant or nurse. If you are feeling discomfort, it may be that the positioning needs some adjustment. Give yourself time to get the hang of it before stressing out.
Pressure to be perfect
Striving for perfection in motherhood will make you crazy. Instead of trying to live up to unrealistic expectations, learn to accept that you will make mistakes, your baby will cry, and that the house will not always be spotless. Rethink your goals and strive to provide a safe and loving environment rather than micromanaging every little detail of your baby’s schedule.
You may also need to learn to ignore criticism from friends, relatives, or even strangers about your parenting. People tend to judge and make comments on just about everything, so do not take it personally. Instead, thank the person for their tips and continue to do what you believe is right for your baby.
Anger toward your husband
Another emotional challenge new moms face is anger toward their husband, whether it be a disagreement about parenting, discipline, splitting the household chores, or simply feeling misunderstood. A lot of pressure is added to both moms and dads with the addition of a child. New moms may resent their partner for being unsupportive, while fathers may feel more pressure to provide for the family financially.
To cope, first acknowledge that parenting can be really hard and is going to stress your relationship at times. As you are both in new territory, accept that your spouse will have his own way of dealing with the added stress and that he is probably doing the best he can.
Communication is also very important. Let him know what you need from him instead of expecting him to read your mind. You can even schedule times when he will take over a night feeding, clean, cook or do the laundry.
Uncertainty about your job
Choosing between returning to work or becoming a stay-at-home mom can be a tough decision. Being alone all day with a baby can feel isolating and lonely at times. But at the same time, working moms often feel guilty over not spending all their time with their children. Work gives moms a sense of community and structure, which they can miss when taking care of a baby full-time.
When considering your options, don’t see it as a choice you must stick to for the long-term. If you want to try re-entering the workforce, give it a monthly time frame, and if things don’t work out then you can always make a change. Another option is to consider flexible, part-time work that can help you strike a balance between the two that works for you.
- Agnes Yoon