Are you feeling more anxious after you gave birth to your baby? Research says that can be a sign of your strong bond with each other. Learn more about it, and about postpartum anxiety here.
In this article, you’ll read:
- STUDY: Mothers who are anxious are more “in sync” with their babies
- Postpartum anxiety symptoms
- How to deal with postpartum anxiety
Most mothers experience a certain level of anxiety when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth as well as motherhood. According to a new study, mothers with increased levels of anxiety are more physiologically “in sync” with their babies. On the other hand, the stress response of less anxious mums is less tightly coupled with their infants.
The findings of the study further suggest that anxiety symptoms can influence how parents and their children regulate their stress. This can also have important implications on the child’s psychological development.
Bond Between Mother And Child Psychology Explained In New Study
As part of the study, 68 mums who had 12-month-old infants wore microphones, electrocardiograms and had video cameras placed around their homes.
This allowed the researchers to observe the mums in a natural setting. The wearable devices thus went to record the participants’ heart rate, physical activity level, heart rate variability and vocalizations.
Study author Celia Smith says,
“We made sure to look at mums from a wide range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.”
They found that higher levels of maternal anxiety were associated with higher physiological synchrony. In simple words, it meant the arousal level of anxious mums will correspond to the arousal levels of their infants.
Both anxious and non-anxious mums showed physiological reactivity in response to large-scale changes in infant arousal. On the other hand, anxious mums also exhibited reactivity to small-scale arousal changes in their infants.
These findings highlighted the relationship between parental anxiety and parent-infant stress regulation. They also provide a basis for future investigations into how parents can best manage their anxiety symptoms.
Ms Smith concluded by saying that they would need to carry out the study with many more families before making any claims or recommendations.
“In (the) future, we would like to include parents of more diverse genders or with severe mental illness in our study. We would like to work out how to best support parents with anxiety in their perinatal period,” she noted.
The study clearly states that when mums are stressed and unable to navigate their emotions, the stress levels of their infant also go up. It is, therefore, important for mums to seek help if they are feeling too emotionally stressed.
What is postpartum anxiety?
Caring for a newborn can make a new mum feel so worried all the time. Wondering from time to time if your baby is alright and obsessing over her movement is normal. But when you become so anxious that your worry interferes with your ability to function on a daily basis, then you may be having postpartum or postnatal anxiety.
According to Medical News Today, postpartum anxiety refers to excessive anxiety during the postpartum period, which is the time after giving birth. It can become so severe that it can interfere with the mother’s ability to function and care for her infant.
The following are some symptoms of postpartum anxiety:
- Having thoughts that are uncontrollable, disrupting, overwhelming, recurrent and irrational
- Having thoughts that are centred on irrational obsessions or fears
- Constant worrying that something bad will happen to the baby
- Blaming oneself excessively when something goes wrong or feeling excessively guilty
- Physical symptoms like excessive tiredness, increased irritability, trouble sleeping and having tensed muscles
3 tips for dealing with postpartum anxiety
As mentioned earlier, being an anxious parent can mean you have a strong bond with your baby. However, postpartum anxiety can also make it harder for the parent to bond with their baby. It can also have a negative impact on your child’s mental and physical development.
Just like depression and other mental disorders, postpartum anxiety must be addressed and treated to prevent the negative effects on the mum and her baby. The following are some ways to ease anxiety in new parents:
Image courtesy: iStock
Find a local support group
If face to face interaction does not help and doesn’t suit your particular needs, you can join a local support group in your area. Perhaps, listening to the experiences of other mums is just what you need.
You may also feel a sense of relief by expressing everything on your mind in a more constructive and supportive environment.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
Being a new mum is a difficult task. Not only do you have to cater to an infant all the time, but hormonal changes can also make it difficult for you to cope with these new changes all alone.
So, reach out to your friends and family and ask them for help. Actively seek support to help yourself overcome these challenging times.
It is always important to know that no matter how severe your struggle with anxiety, it is not your fault. If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or suffering from postpartum depression, don’t blame yourself.
If your symptoms are severe, seek medical attention for faster recovery.
Helpline Numbers In Singapore
Image courtesy: iStock
Know that it is normal to feel anxious when your newborn starts wailing and you are unable to comfort him or her.
With a little time and practice, you will know what the cry means and how to pacify your little one. But if you are constantly feeling overwhelmed and experiencing frequent anxiety attacks, seek help.
Here are some helpline numbers you can reach out to.
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221 4444
- AWARE: 1800 777 5555
- NAVH: 1800 777 0000
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
- Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800
Don’t suffer in silence and instead try to address the issue. Your mental health shouldn’t be a hindrance between you and your child!
For more information on how you can choose a healthy lifestyle for your baby and the whole family, visit https://babypass.health/
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