Let’s Talk About Scary Thoughts!
It’s completely normal for moms to have “scary thoughts” sometimes. In fact, if you’re worried you’re the only one, it’s safe to say that 100% of mothers worry about their child being harmed! Beyond that, about 50% of mothers worry about themselves being the ones to cause that harm. If you’ve ever been anxious about accidentally dropping your baby, giving them the wrong kind of food, or putting them in the wrong sleeping position, you’re not alone.
But, that doesn’t mean you have to give in to those scary thoughts. If you find yourself checking on your sleeping baby every hour to make sure they’re okay, or being extremely overprotective about everything they do, you have to ask yourself if it’s normal worrying, or if something more is going on.
Let’s talk about scary thoughts, and what you can do to overcome them.
Why Are You Worried?
Again, it’s normal for moms to worry about their little ones. This is a new experience, and you’ve got something small, helpless, and precious in your care. Wanting to keep your child safe and secure is never a bad thing. But, if that worry becomes obsessive and starts to interfere with your life, it’s usually a sign there’s something deeper going on.
Some women have scary thoughts about their babies because they experienced trauma as a child. Others lack self-esteem and confidence. Maybe you’re raising this little one on your own, so your fear and anxiety are already heightened and you simply don’t want to “mess up.” Getting to the root cause of your worries can make a big difference in how you manage them.
It’s also important to consider if you might be dealing with some effects of postpartum depression or anxiety. If you find yourself so worried that you’ll drop your baby that you don’t hold them, that’s a problem. If you don’t leave the house because you don’t want to bring home germs, that’s an issue, though the pandemic has certainly impacted this thought process.
It’s more common than most women think to have these postpartum thoughts. While you’ve probably heard of some of the symptoms of PPD, anxiety can be just as problematic and manifest itself in a variety of ways.
The easiest way to tell if you’re struggling with it is to consider how your scary thoughts have started to take over your life. Are they lessening your quality of life or how well you’re bonding with your baby?
What Can You Do?
If your anxious thoughts are impacting your life or your ability to care for your little one, you can take action. Reaching out for support is one of the best things you can do—and the easiest. Connect with the people in your life who care about you and your child. Your partner, family members, and friends can be great resources when you’re struggling.
Sometimes, you might simply need a break. Other times, you might need to see that your child will be fine in someone else’s care—even if you aren’t monitoring them every second. Getting the help you deserve gives you a chance to take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and self-care is crucial as a new mom.
You don’t have to let these scary thoughts take over. If you’re still struggling, consider seeking out professional help. Working with a mental health professional can help you sort out your thoughts, get to the root of your fear, and allow you to work on the skills needed to overcome your anxieties.
Feel free to contact me for more information. I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation for all new clients. The sooner you take charge of your thoughts, the sooner you can enjoy every second of time with your little one.
Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also Certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Professional by Postpartum Support International. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum
periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.