The pressure on new mums to be perfect
The arrival of a new baby is a joy for most first time mums, but it can also be the cause of anxiety. Women desperate to do the right thing for their infant will often spend a lot of time surfing the internet for advice and guidance on everything and anything about taking care of baby. The sheer volume of information available online, contributes to the stress of mothers searching for tips on being the perfect mum. Women often feel immense pressure to get everything right and often worry endlessly about the well-being of their baby.
There is also significant pressure on women to breastfeed their baby and mothers often feel guilty and inadequate if they are unable to nurse their baby. If they opt to use formula milk, they risk being stigmatised. Bottle feeding can be frowned upon by others who have no knowledge or understanding of the woman or her reasons or choices. It’s important that friends, families and partners simply support the mother without question or judgement.
Fretting and worrying about being a perfect parent has its consequences. A mother who is anxious will inevitably suffer from the physical and emotional effects of stress. This means that instead of enjoying being a new parent, she is likely to be strung out, exhausted and miserable.
Many new mums absorb themselves totally in their newborn to the exclusion of everything else. Whilst a new baby naturally becomes the centre of their mother’s world, an obsessive desire to do everything faultlessly is unrealistic, as well as impossible. By pursuing this perfectionist approach, ‘failure’ is inevitable. What needs to be learned by new mums is not how to be a model mum; but that it’s alright to make mistakes and learn from them, as it is in other situations in life. There is no manual with the right way of doing everything all the time and all babies, just as all mothers, are unique and individual.
Regardless of what your mother, mother-in-law, grandma or auntie might say, motherhood can only be learned through experience - your experience. Advice changes over decades and your midwife or health visitor will have the most up to date information. Friends from your ante-natal group can be a great support too, although there is sometimes an unspoken pressure to appear to be coping well, rather than admit to stress or self-doubt. Pregnancy and childbirth play havoc with your hormones too and post-natal depression and anxiety are quite common. If you are suffering, a good first step is to see your GP. It may be that they will offer medication or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), but if you want to use hypnotherapy to help you feel better, cope better, or sleep better, look for a qualified and insured therapist who is a member of a professional organisation and has full insurance.