"The more you care, the more you have to lose." If that's true, then a new mom suddenly feels like she has a whole lot to lose. The stakes are higher than you've ever imagined when a baby enters your life, and your worries are boundless — from your life as a new mom to how to keep your baby alive, and everything in between. Being forced to handle these new fears basically overnight would put anyone in a constant state of panic. So trust me when I say there are totally normal things all moms of newborns panic about, and they'll definitely make a gal feel like she's going off the rails.
I felt fine voicing my worries about my new baby, but I was careful about saying my more "selfish" worries out loud. Things like, "What is happening with my postpartum stomach?" or worries about my C-section scar didn't seem like valid concerns a new mom was "supposed" to have. I felt like it wasn't normal to be stressing out about my body or how I looked. It wasn't that I was not panicking about the baby, too, because I was. I had equal room for all kinds of panic. My real estate for anxiety was quite expansive, so "Come one come all" was basically the big sign hanging in my brain at the time.
It took a while for me to feel comfortable talking about how panicked I was. It was just so damn difficult not to care about how I'd be perceived by my friends, family members, and even my partner. Could these things possibly be important compared to whether my baby was hitting his growth milestones, or whether he was wetting enough diapers?
Yes. Yes they are.
Ignoring my panicked feelings, feeling shame about them, and deciding they weren't "normal" meant that I was missing out on wonderful opportunities to connect with other new moms in my life. Once I joined a local mom group and we started airing our grievances, I realized I was not alone. Other people — who seemed like completely normal, loving, non-self-involved mothers — were also freaking out about their postpartum hair loss, the loss of their independence post-baby, and sometimes just plain irrational things that I feel comfortably saying almost every new mom can't help but think.
Knowing that these feelings were something I shared with other new moms helped me relax into motherhood more easily. It was good to at least be able to cross "panicking over the types of things I'm panicking about" off my list. So if you're worrying about the following on a regular basis, please know that you're not alone.