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Motherhood And New Parents Challenges and How To Deal With Them

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

Most new parents, especially new moms, find that parenthood is a far cry from what they thought it would be. Your idea of parenthood and the reality of being a parent will likely be two very different things. While it is fulfilling to raise your little ones, it often comes with a lot of challenges.

This guide is going to highlight some of the most common challenges of motherhood and being a new parent. It will also include insights on how to deal with each one.

The Challenges of Motherhood

Motherhood is a learning process. You are discovering more about yourself as you care for your little one. As you overcome challenge after challenge, you learn more about who you are as a person. Here are some of the most common challenges that new moms face and recommendations on how to deal with each one:

  1. You feel sore

Many changes will happen to your body in the first few weeks after you have your baby, including hemorrhoids, swelling, and tears. Ice packs, a peri bottle, and witch hazel pads can help with some of these, but for the rest, you’ll simply have to be patient with your body as it heals. You can help speed this along by making sure you get enough rest and proper nutrition. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner, family members, or friends for help with the baby and tasks around the house when you feel sore. Don’t push yourself too hard either.

  1. You don’t look like yourself

It comes as a shock to many women that they’ll still look pregnant even after delivering. It will take time for you to lose the baby weight, so take it easy on yourself. Avoid criticizing your body and instead focus on the amazing thing it just did: creating and birthing a baby! Try to stay positive and keep reminding yourself that your body will bounce back.

  1. You’re sleep-deprived

Sleep deprivation is inevitable when you have a baby. During those first couple of months, your baby is yet to establish a sleep routine, which means that your sleep schedule will drastically change as well. You’ll feel tired, and this may be accompanied by headaches, irritability, confusion, and depression. To manage a disrupted sleep schedule, make a conscious effort to sleep whenever you can.

  1. Breastfeeding can be challenging

Breastfeeding is not as easy as you might think. If you choose to breastfeed, several challenges could arise - like lack of milk production, the baby not latching, and painful feedings. If you’re having issues, seek guidance from a lactation consultant or your baby’s pediatrician to lower your likelihood of long-term problems.

  1. Bonding with your baby takes time

Your little one spends most of his/her time sleeping, pooping, and eating, barely acknowledging your existence. This might make you wonder why you haven’t formed a bond just yet. Take some comfort in knowing that it will take time to get to know each other. For now, focus on providing them with basic needs and lots of love.

How New Parents Can Cope With Stress And Anxiety After Having A Baby

After the excitement of bringing home your bundle of joy starts to fade into a routine of feedings and diaper changes, it’s not uncommon to experience low moments. While it’s an amazing phase of your life, it can also be tiring and take a toll on your mental health. While there is no perfect solution to handling all the different emotions you’ll experience after you have your baby, here are some things you can do to help manage feelings of postpartum stress and anxiety.

  1. Exercise

As a new parent, you’re tired - not to mention busy caring for your little one all day long - and adding exercise to your to-do list might not feel ideal. However, it’s important to move your body (after you’re cleared for physical activity by your doctor, of course) to help you work through the stressful feelings as well as to trigger the release of feel-good endorphins in your body.

  1. Get plenty of sleep

Getting enough sleep during those first few weeks can seem impossible. That said, try your best to get enough rest as it can do wonders for your mental state. Sleep deprivation can heighten feelings of stress and anxiety, as well as cause irritability and low energy. Try to get some rest when your baby sleeps and don’t be afraid to ask for help with the baby while you take naps.

  1. Take care of yourself

It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself when you just had a baby. You’ll be surprised at how much routine self-care such as a hot shower, a massage, and meditation can provide a much-needed boost to your mood.

  1. Remember to breathe

If you’re overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, give your baby to your partner or place them in a safe space. Take a moment to stop, take a couple of deep breaths, and try to calm your mind. You’re doing an amazing job, and the difficult moments will pass.

  1. Seek professional help

Postpartum stress and anxiety affect many new mothers, and there are many successful treatment options. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you’re struggling.

As Your Child Grows

Believe it or not, your little bundle of joy will not be that little for too long. Babies grow up super fast, and before you know it, you’ll have a toddler in your hands. And as your child grows, so will your parenting style.

You’ll often hear that as your kids grow, it’ll get easier. But just how true is this? If you already have a toddler or an older child, you probably already know that it doesn’t get any easier - it’s just different. There are plenty of similarities (the whining, the questioning of everything, the messiness). But there are also stark differences (younger children want to hang on to you all day, but as they grow older, they would rather hang out with their friends than spend time with you).

This is to say that parenting is not easier at any point in your journey. As long as you want to be a present, responsible part of your child’s life, you will always have to face challenges and overcome them. But the beauty of it is that you’ll get better at it. The bond you formed with your baby early in life will turn into a close relationship that will last an entire lifetime. And that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

Whether you’re raising toddlers or older children or even teenagers, it is important to be a parent and not a friend. Your emotional role as a parent is built on love, affection, and esteem. However, your role as a parent isn’t just emotional - it’s also functional.

For younger children, this means feeding, bathing, encouraging listening and cooperation, and generally providing for them. As your little one grows, it means encouraging their independence, setting and enforcing boundaries, and holding them accountable.

If you fulfill your emotional role but neglect the functional one, you put your child at risk of not maturing into a responsible adult. Emotional and functional parental roles go hand in hand. It’s not healthy to emphasize one (by trying to be a friend, for example) at the cost of the other.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, motherhood and being a new parent is full of learning curves. Right from the beginning, you’ll be tossed into a role that has no manual but you are still expected to be good at it. However, the most important thing to remember is that no matter how tough the going might get, you’ll get better at it over time. Take it easy on yourself and enjoy the ride. You’ve got this!

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