From the moment pregnancy begins, most expectant mothers become obsessed with the idea that everything needs to be perfect for their unborn child. However, new research suggests that these tendencies aren't just common during the pregnancy calendar - many new moms seem to have difficulty letting their guard down after the baby has arrived.
A study recently published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine shows that approximately 11 percent of new mothers experience obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms following the birth of their child. This is a stark increase from the three percent of the general population that lives with OCD, unrelated to becoming a parent.
"It may be that certain kinds of obsessions and compulsions are adaptive and appropriate for a new parent, for example those about cleanliness and hygiene," study senior author Dana Gossett told Futurity. "But when it interferes with normal day-to-day functioning and appropriate care for the baby and parent, it becomes maladaptive and pathologic."
These OCD tendencies can cause immense anxiety for new moms, who are already trying to adjust to being a parent. The study concludes that, when an individual begins to exhibit these symptoms, they may last up to six months. This can make it challenging to fulfill the role of a parent on a daily basis.
Taming anxiety as a new mom
Becoming a mother means new responsibilities, some of which can be overwhelming, if you've never had a child before. However, it's critical to understand how anxiety can negatively impact your family and your own well-being. As a constant worrier, you're likely making decisions more difficult than necessary, which can hinder your ability to be a good parent.
If you believe that your anxieties are interfering with your role as a mother, there are a few ways you can handle the situation. Think about making time for yourself in between parenting to breathe, relax and unwind. This can help you de-stress daily and be the best parent possible. Additionally, you might want to consider seeking professional help, if you think that your anxiety is becoming overwhelming. A counselor can help you work through your stress, identify your triggers and handle anxiety as you tackle your new role as a parent.
How have you handled the stresses of becoming a parent in the past? Does it get any easier after you have your first child? Leave your feedback in the comments section!