Menu

I never thought being a new mom would come with so much anxiety

But I promise you’ll get through it.

I never thought being a new mom would come with so much anxiety

I have yet to meet a mother out there who has not experienced loneliness. It is one of the great ironies of motherhood—we create new life but often feel separated from our old one.


Motherhood can be isolating, especially when you have a new baby. You are basically hibernating in your house, recovering from childbirth—mentally, physically and emotionally. And this beautiful piece of existence you carried for nine months now requires all of your time and energy has taken your world by storm.

Friends from your ‘pre-mom’ life have jobs and obligations of their own. Family members go back to their lives. Spouses eventually go back to work. And there you sit.

What so many of us don’t expect—but happens quite frequently—is that loneliness goes hand-in-hand with anxiety. And unfortunately, anxiety is not usually quelled by staying at home with a screaming baby, little-to-no-sleep, and limited social interaction. This combo of frustrations happens to many women—myself included.

After the birth of my first child, I was filled with so much happiness that I thought my heart would burst. I’d look down at this face of an angel and take in every detail—the small bumps on her nose, her perfect brown eye lashes, her alabaster skin. I was so incredibly happy that I never saw the anxiety coming.

But anxiety tends to creep up on you. It can start in the peripheral, looming in the distance like a storm cloud. You can sense its presence but because of its elusive nature it’s hard to put a name to it—to call it out and say, “That. That is anxiety.”

My cloud descended slowly. It tiptoed closer while I sat alone, nursing my baby in the long winter mornings. It followed me closely, right at my back,as I wandered through the grocery store, hoping to see another mom who felt secluded like me.

I didn’t realize that I was fully enveloped in anxiety until much later—after the proverbial cloud had dissipated and I realized I had been sitting in the fog.

I had become consumed with keeping my baby safe, of making sure she hit her milestones and protecting her from any type of germs whatsoever. My entire world revolved around the responsibility of this precious little life, and nothing else.

Emerging from my cloud was a gradual thing. It took time and it took effort.

I didn’t know any other new mothers and I had no idea how I was supposed to meet them. I tried to make conversation in the lines of department stores but it inevitably got to that moment where one of us would have to take the next step...and neither of us would. There is only so long that two grown women can stand in front of the baby aisle and discuss the pros and cons of rice cereal. But when the moment came where I should have taken this encounter to the next level—to move it out of the store and into a living room—I was transported back to being a tongue-tied teenager with a real fear of rejection. It can be awkward. It can be intimidating. But mama, somebody has to do it.

Motherhood comes with a unique set of challenges and the person who is going to relate best to what you’re going through is another mother who is experiencing the same things.

She will understand your exact thoughts and your distant dreams. She will shed light on new techniques and provide a shoulder to cry on. She will discuss the color of your baby’s poop and help you navigate your breast pump. She will be the breath of fresh air that helps push you into the sunlight.

Here is my best advice to you, mamas: be conscious. If you notice you have your own storm cloud nipping at your heels then take action. Be brave.

When you spot the woman who has spit-up caked down the front of her shirt, who is sipping a coffee and singing “Baby Beluga” in the middle of the frozen section of your local grocery store—stop. Remind yourself that women belong in communities—we are born to relate, to include.

Take a deep breath and be the person you wish someone would be to you. Comment on her baby carrier. Ask how old her baby is. Ask if she is as deathly afraid of the Diaper Genie as you are. Reach out for the light of another mama and force the loneliness and anxiety to go elsewhere.

Sometimes, ladies, we have to create our own rainbows.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

Keep reading Show less
Life