Do you have any book suggestions for a first-time mom with anxiety?
Maternal mental health is a topic we don’t talk about enough. CareNectar expert Crystal Morgan shares insights on supporting the wellbeing of new moms during their first year of motherhood.
My good friend is pregnant for the first time, and it’s an exciting time for her and her family! She’s asked for book recommendations that explore the first year of life. Specifically, she’s hoping to find something that helps her provide the best care for her newborn while also addressing self-care to help reduce anxiety. Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you for the thoughtful question!
Maternal mental health is something that we do not talk about enough. I am glad to hear that your friend is taking the right steps in preparation for childbirth where anxiety is increased, even for moms who do not suffer from it before pregnancy. Kudos to you for being an awesome friend and support system!
Fear of the unknown can increase anxiety symptoms, so being as prepared as possible can help keep those symptoms to a minimum. Taking a childbirth class can help her feel more prepared. It can also serve as a time to get some of her initial questions answered, bond with her partner, if applicable, and form connections with other expecting parents. It may be helpful for her to understand that not only are her feelings valid, but others are feeling the same! If she plans to breastfeed, taking a breastfeeding class before delivery is also a great idea. Knowing what to expect and how to navigate some of the challenges that arise can help keep anxiety to a minimum when you know how to tackle them.
Another great idea would be to take a tour of the hospital where she will deliver. Something as simple as knowing the location of the labor and delivery unit within the hospital or the admission process will help ease anxiety when she goes into labor. She will know exactly where to go and what to expect upon arrival. The hospital tour is also a great opportunity to ask any questions she may have directly to the staff who will be caring for her and her baby.
Additionally, interviewing pediatricians beforehand is a great benefit. It is helpful to know the provider caring for her newborn practices according to her values and beliefs. This also gives her the opportunity to make informed decisions regarding the care of her little one. The relationship with the pediatrician should be a partnership and will help decrease stress and anxiety about parenting in general.
I also suggest that she speaks with someone she trusts in a judgment-free space. This could be a close friend, such as yourself, a therapist, or another professional. This will allow her to speak about her anxieties and concerns about parenting and other stressors without fear or worry. This generally is a good practice for anyone, as it can help equip people with the tools and skills to approach unfamiliar situations that can cause stress and anxiety.
The above are just a few suggestions that will keep anxiety to a minimum. It is also important that she get enough sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, create a support system, avoid caffeine, and remain active. Prenatal yoga has great benefits that will not only help prepare for childbirth but provide relaxation techniques that will be useful anytime!
Here are some great book suggestions on baby care and self-care to share:
- The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality
- Breathe Mama Breathe: 5-Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms
- A Year of Self-Care: Daily Practices and Inspiration for Caring for Yourself
- The Baby Owner’s Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance
- What to Expect The First Year
- Baby’s First Year Milestones: Promote and Celebrate Your Baby’s Development with Monthly Games and Activities
Best wishes to you and your friend! And remember, we’re here to answer any additional questions!
Meet The Expert
Crystal is a Board-Certified Lactation Consultant and Family Nurse Practitioner with more than 18 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery, Postpartum, and Newborn Nursery. She is passionate about all things related to women’s health and maternal child including breastfeeding education and support, and health and wellness promotion. Learn more and contact her at: toughtittylactation.com