New motherhood is this wild combination of worry and happiness. On one hand, you feel this incredible, intense love for your baby. Every little thing they do lights up your world. But on the other, you’re this big ball of anxiety, scared of every move you make as a mom. Am I holding her the right way? Am I feeding him the right things? How will our relationship be when they get older?
Let’s be honest: Motherhood is a lot to process.
Just ask writer and actress Mindy Kaling, who gave birth to her first child, daughter Katherine Swati, on Dec. 15, 2017. Kaling hasn’t shared any photos of Katherine since welcoming her little one to the world, and there’s good reason for that: She told TODAY she’s “such a worrier” and “far too fragile” to expose her daughter to the public. The idea gives her anxiety, and while worrying about paparazzi baby pictures isn’t something most moms can relate to, maternal anxiety totally is.
“I knew how much I would love her and love the experience of being with her. I never understood how much I would worry and how much that worry is unceasing,” she told TODAY.
“Happiness for me, now, is just a feeling of relief,” she continues. “I’m in a constant state of worry but I’m enjoying it too. I hope she’s developing correctly — I’m anxious constantly. I’m hoping that will change a little bit. I haven’t even thought about when she’s bigger.”
We feel you, Mindy. It’s hard not to worry as a new mom. After all, there are so many thoughts that can trigger anxiety, especially if you’re a worrier by nature. But there are ways to face maternal anxiety head on.
There are a few truths you should keep in mind whenever anxious thoughts creep into your head.
1. There is no single right way to do things.
Motherhood doesn’t come with an instruction manual. If your baby is happy and healthy, then you are doing things just fine.
2. Trust yourself.
They may be your first baby, but they are your baby.
3. You are doing a great job and you’re doing things right.
You love your baby unconditionally and want them to have the best in the world. That makes you a great mama already.
4. Avoid comparisons.
Comparisons can fuel anxiety for some parents. Measuring yourself against other moms or comparing your baby’s milestones to another child’s isn’t productive, because your motherhood journey is about you and your baby, no one else.
Remember, though, if you find that the worry is taking over, ask for help. Reaching out to your support system, and talking to your doctor or a therapist can help you manage your anxiety. You don’t have to live in a constant state of worry, and it does get easier, mama.