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Worried about motherhood? You’re not alone. Here’s what you need to know to help overcome common new-mom fears and worries.
It’s totally normal to feel worried or anxious about having a baby and becoming a mom. With all the new experiences, unknowns and uncertainties, new moms have a lot to navigate. Our team at Ashland Women’s Health is made up of real moms, so to give you some reassurance, we’ve rounded up tried-and-true advice and solutions to common first-time mom fears.
1. Is it normal to be scared of having a baby?
Yes! As a new mom, you face a lot of unknowns. You’re not sure what labor, delivery and recovery will be like. Plus, your home life, work and relationships are probably about to undergo a lot of changes. With all that ahead of you, of course, it’s normal to be a little scared.
To help combat your fears, ask your healthcare provider or mom friends questions to set expectations. Remember that most things are only a phase. Yes, those painful contractions will end. Your baby’s crying won’t last forever. You will sleep again. Even when life feels like it’s been turned upside down, give it time and soon enough, you’ll find a new normal that feels pretty darn awesome.
2. What should I register for?
With so many brands, models and gadgets on the market, the baby registry process can be a little confusing. Narrow down your options by asking your new-mom friends for recommendations. What are their favorite, most-used products? What are their go-to brands? What did they never end up using? Don’t be afraid to keep it simple! Babies don’t really need a lot—and you can always swing by a store or order something online if you find you need it later.
3. What if the baby comes before I have everything ready?
Sometimes babies surprise us! If you don’t have everything ready when labor begins, don’t stress. Ask a friend to help shop for last-minute baby items or assemble nursery furniture. Enlist a family member or your partner to install the infant car seat after delivery so you can bring the baby home. While nesting is a real thing, all that washing and organizing and prepping doesn’t have to happen before your baby’s born.
4. What if breastfeeding is hard?
When it comes to breastfeeding, moms put a lot of pressure on themselves. Sure, breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally—and that’s okay. You and your baby are learning and getting to know each other, so even if it’s difficult at first, it will get easier.
Our best piece of advice for calming this fear: line up a lactation consultant visit (we can help you do this!). An International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) can troubleshoot any breastfeeding issues, do a weighted feed to assure you that your baby is getting enough milk, show you different nursing positions, assist with your pump and give you support. And if you need to supplement or switch to formula, let go of any mom guilt. You’re taking care of your baby and that makes you an amazing mom.
5. Which breast pump should I get?
Contact our team at Ashland Women’s Health. This is what we do! We can help you choose the best breast pump for you and your lifestyle. Most insurance plans cover the cost of our pumps, meaning you can get a breast pump at no cost to you. Our team will take care of the whole process—from checking your insurance coverage and getting any necessary info from your doctor to discussing your pump options with you and delivering the pump to your door. We can also help get you any pumping accessories you’ll need.
6. Will having a baby change my relationship?
As with any big life change, having a baby can impact your relationship with your partner. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! It can be really incredible to see your significant other take on their new role as a parent.
Of course, in the midst of sleep deprivation and figuring out your newborn, it’s not always easy. Look for the good in the other person, work as a team, and know you’ll each do things differently (pick your battles!). To keep your relationship strong, schedule time together—quality time at home, date nights, even sex. Small gestures, like snuggling, a smile, a hug or just talking about things other than the baby also go a long way.
7. Will I miss my life before becoming a mom?
We’ll be honest—sometimes you’ll miss your pre-mom life. Becoming a mom is a big change and a lot of responsibility. To combat frustration or resentment, we highly recommend regular self-care. Take care of your own basic needs, like sleeping (when you can), eating and showering. Ask for (or hire!) help with the house, the baby or anything else. Finally, carve out time for activities you did in your pre-mom days, whether that’s reading a book in peace or going out to dinner with girlfriends.
As for your pre-baby body, try your best to be patient. You just grew a whole human! Your body may be different but it’s still truly amazing.
Nursing cravings are totally a thing and you should feel absolutely no shame about following them! Focus on eating nutritious foods and drinking lots of water, and if you want something a little more indulgent? Go ahead and treat yourself, mom! When you’re ready for exercise, start small and give yourself grace. A final tip on this front: focus on the positives. While pre-mom life was pretty cool, your present mom life can be great, too.
8. How do I know I’m doing the right thing?
We’ll let you in on a secret: no mom knows what she’s doing all the time. We’re all just doing our best! No matter how much you read or talk to people (hello, information overload), motherhood is still a learning process. Every mom and baby is unique, so what works for one family may not work for yours. Resist the urge to compare, over-research or beat yourself up and simply trust your mom instincts. You know your baby best!
9. How can I get over my fears?
It’s normal to feel nervous or scared to become a mom. Motherhood is new and unknown—and it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Talk about your fears with your partner, friends or family. Let go of the pressure to know it all, do it all and be it all.
Celebrate your new-mom wins! Those little (or big) moments will help you get through the uncertain ones. As you grow into the role of mom, you’ll gain more confidence and find that many of your biggest fears won’t even come to fruition.
If you find yourself struggling or are facing signs of prenatal depression and anxiety, know that there’s no shame in asking for help. Talk to your partner about your feelings so that you can make plans together. Give your insurance provider a call and express interest in postpartum mental health services. They should be able to provide guidance to help you select the right in-network provider for you, whether that’s a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) or something else. Explore your options and make getting the support you need a top priority.
Looking for more mom advice? Get in touch with our team. We’d love to help assuage your fears and make your journey to motherhood a joyful one.