Study: Motherhood ages you by 11 years

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The team of researchers were surprised to find that one of the effects of motherhood is aging the cells in a woman's body by more than 11 years, which is more drastic than we previously thought!

Being a mum isn’t easy. From carrying a child for nine months to giving birth, breastfeeding, caring for your bub and more, motherhood entails a lot of sacrifices and effort. We all know that being a mum takes its toll on us in different ways. But according to a recent study, one of the effects of a stressed out mom of toddler might even be more drastic than previously thought.

Stressed Out Mom Of Toddler: What Are The Effects?

Anna Pollack, an epidemiologist from George Mason University, and her team, found that women who have given birth show signs of accelerated genetic ageing. They tested the genetic material of almost 2,000 women in the US and shared their findings.

They found that the telomeres (a type of genetic marker that shows a person’s age on a cellular level) of women who have given birth are 4.2% shorter compared to those without children.

“We were surprised to find such a striking result,” Pollack shared. “It is equivalent to around 11 years of accelerated cellular ageing.”  

In an interview with Newsweek, Pollack said, “We found that women who had five or more children had even shorter telomeres compared to those who had none, and relatively shorter relative to those who had one, two, three or four, even.” This means that the more children a woman has, the more significant the impact is.

As a mum herself, she quipped, “Anecdotally, just chatting with my friends who have children, we all do feel that having kids has aged us.”

“But scientifically, this does fit with what we understand pretty well. We know that having kids is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. And some large studies have linked telomere length to mortality risk and risks of other major diseases.”

She added that they’re not saying that women should stop having children, or that mums will die earlier. That’s because many factors can affect a person’s telomeres, including smoking, being overweight, and stress.

How Can You Deal With Mum Stress Effectively?

Mums deal with a lot on a day-to-day basis. Studies have shown that too much stress has a negative impact on a person’s health — and that’s really no wonder. When experiencing motherhood, the effects of a stressed out mom of toddler can be extremely profound and could steer most mums off balance. 

It’s definitely not something to brush off. Mums, it’s ok to recognise that you are facing a problem and learn how you can deal and manage your anxieties. 

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Stressed out mom of toddler: knowing how to deal with extreme stress and other effects of being a mom can help you better take care of your family, and yourself.

Over the long term, stress can even lead to problematic parenting. It manifests in not just the mind, but in the body as well.

Mums could find themselves in a state where they are unable to manage the “normal demands” that their little ones have, like how they used to. And these changes could lead to difficulties to “parent positively”.

Of course, the best way is to tackle the problem at its roots. 

Here are some useful tips and tricks!

1. Know the signs

Did you feel yourself go through the roof in a particular situation? Felt that your blood pressure was rising or your heart rate took a spike, causing a slight dizziness? Are you raising your voice, or even find yourself yelling? 

It could be as harmless as feeling a sense of slight irritability or being impatient. Recognising and being aware of the moment you felt those emotions is important.

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From there, you can track back what is it that triggers your stress. This could help you pre-empt yourself so that you can avoid putting yourself through a similar situation in the future and can better manage the times when you’re under a lot of stress. 

2. Take breaks

Don’t be afraid to take breaks. It’s a good way to calibrate your emotions. Being under stress can lead mums to experience “lapses in judgment” when dealing with their kids. 

Mums, if you feel that you’re too tired to care for your little bub, ask your husband, a close friend, or a relative to help you out. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Sometimes, you need to trust that things will be okay, even if you aren’t around. As long as someone is keeping a close watch on your little one.

3. Figure out what you can do to de-stress

For some mums, getting a pedicure, baking or reading a book can help them de-stress — or even watching the television. Find out what works for you. It can be in the simplest things like taking a nice shower or taking a stroll around the neighbourhood. 

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The key is to step away and clear your mind for a while. Focus on the activities that help you relax and lower your stress levels. You could even consider aromatherapy! 

4. Try deep breathing or meditation exercises

It’s all in the mind. Having the control of your own mind is a powerful thing to have. Deep breathing and meditation exercises have been known to significantly reduce stress levels.

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Try doing these exercises to help calm you down or help you deal when you’re stressed out from too many problems. You could also dedicate some time every day to meditate if you can. Slowly, but surely. Get a family member to take care of the little one for just this short while.

5. Exercise with your family

It might sound tiring, but exercise really does wonders when it comes to dealing with stress as it helps to “boost your feel-good endorphins”. Get your heart pumping and help keep your body strong and relieve tension. 

Could only mean more bonding time as well, right? 

6. Laugh!

We’ve all heard the phrase that laughter is the best medicine. And truth be told, it is! Apart from relieving stress, there are so many positive effects to laughing

It can improve your immune system, personal satisfaction, activate and relieve your stress response, and many more!

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Take the time to look on the bright side and just laugh. Tell jokes to your kids, or play with them and just have fun; focus on enjoying yourself and giving yourself time to relax and recuperate.

It’s a short-term relief from stress and tension, but hey, that feeling of laughing is one of the best feelings to have in this world!

7. Have a support group for stressed out mom of toddler

Lastly, having a group of mums that you can talk to when it comes to your problems is really helpful.

It’s always a good idea to connect with other mums since they know exactly what you’re going through, and they can really help you out when it comes to being a stressed out mom of toddler. 

Source: Science Alert, LiveScience, Mayo Clinic

ALSO READ: The most terrifying part of motherhood no one ever warns you about