New mom anxiety, especially first-time mom anxiety, is often joked about. People characterize the helicopter parent, the worried mom who never lets her child out of her sight, as someone who just needs to let go. Many new moms, however, experience legitimate fears. During both an adoption and a pregnancy, I found myself plagued by fears and new mom worries.
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My Story of New Mom Anxiety
After experiencing a miscarriage and years of infertility, my husband and I decided to pursue international adoption. The adoption process teaches patience as the future of your family is in the hands of others. For me, the anxiety extended beyond the fears of the process to the health and well-being of the sweet baby we’d been matched with. His birth mom worked with an adoption agency who placed him in the home of a long-time foster family, yet constant worry about my child appeared with each new medical update. “Is this slight developmental delay normal? What will it look like in the future?” New mom anxiety increased as we got closer to the day we would take custody.
Once our son was home, I was plagued with fears about my own parenting abilities. Was I making the right choices? Was I doing enough to teach my son the truths of the Gospel?
Now that I’m pregnant with our next son, I see those same fears and anxieties creeping back in. Pregnancy anxiety after miscarriage is real and can be debilitating. In addition, being diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum means I take several medications to, hopefully, prevent severe dehydration and malnutrition. But every medical intervention has pros and cons and pregnancy anxiety easily builds up within me as I wonder what effect all of this will have on my unborn son. “Will my baby be healthy?” I struggle with fewer new mom fears, but I am still worried about my baby.
Although both ways of growing my family led to several choices for me to make, these experiences have shown me the lack of control I have over my children’s future. In the midst of new mom anxiety (or veteran mom anxiety), may we turn our eyes to the One who truly holds our children’s lives.
Each child's conception and birth are miraculously ordered by God. Click To Tweet
Three Truths to Combat New Mom Anxiety
Other mothers encouraged me during my struggles with anxiety, but I have found the greatest comfort in turning to the Scriptures to fight all the many fears that creep in. The Bible is sufficient for equipping every mother as it is the words of God Himself.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
Here are three common fears all moms may encounter and the truths of God's past and future faithfulness we can meditate on in the midst of mom anxiety.
1. Fear: Pregnancy Anxiety
Each pregnancy is a gift to be valued. After my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, I was devastated, yet that baby’s life was no less meaningful than any other child’s. God intimately designs life and each human is both fearfully and wonderfully made.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15 ESV
Truth: Each child's conception and birth are miraculously ordered by God
God sees and knows your baby because He intricately plans and weaves each life. Let us replace our pregnancy anxiety with praise to the amazing Creator for this precious life being knit together!
In the same way, it’s easy to fret about labor and delivery. There are many amazing resources with verses and prayers for labor and delivery, but let’s take a second to acknowledge God’s sovereign hand in even the timing of birth. If he’s aware of the birth of goats, how much more aware is He of the timing of this child’s birth!
“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the does? Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, when they crouch, bring forth their offspring, and are delivered of their young?” Job 39:1-3 ESV
**Be sure to also check out this list of Bible verses about labor and delivery for more biblical inspiration during your birthing process!
2. Fear: Worried Mom Concerned about Her Child's Health and Future
When my first was living in a foster home overseas, I struggled not just with new mom fears, but I was worried about my baby and his safety. I thought that once he was in my arms I would be able to protect him. As my body struggles through this pregnancy and with the experience of a prior miscarriage in my mind, it’s easy to think similar thoughts, that once this child in my arms, he’ll be safe.
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16 ESV
But, these thoughts don’t relieve my mom anxiety. Not only is this world fallen, I still struggle with my flesh. I may do everything in my power to keep my children physically safe but I can still fail. I may also hurt them emotionally. There will also come a day when they will leave the home and I’ll have even less control.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV
Truth: God Knows and Ordains Your Child's Future
I’m not the one in control of their lives now any more than when they were outside of my care or in my womb. The same God who knit them together knows their future. His plans for them will not be thwarted. Instead of being a worried mom, may I praise God for the good works he has set before my sons!
God's power is made known in your weakness. Click To Tweet
3. Fear: First Time Mom Anxiety – Will I Be a Good Mom?
Anxiety during pregnancy frequently gives way to new fears. After a baby joins the family, many moms question if they are good moms, raising their children in the best way possible. My first son joined our family over a year and a half ago, yet I still find myself worried about my parenting choices. The internet, our friends, and family members are quick to provide opinions about how things should be done, leaving new moms fearful that their parenting style is wrong. Even worse, many question if they are doing the best to teach their children about Jesus. You must learn to release your child to God and trust that He will guide your way.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV
Truth: God's Power is Made Known in Your Weakness
Leave these fears and seek Jesus. As you seek to know Him more, you will find that yes, you will fail as a mother. Use these failures as an opportunity to show your children that you are not perfect and will never be. If you were the perfect mother, then you wouldn’t need Jesus. In the midst of your weakness, find God’s grace and let that be reflected in your parenting.
New Mom Anxiety? Find Hope in Christ
Being a mom is hard and full of unknowns. Take time to write down and meditate on all of these verses when you’re struggling with mom anxiety. Pray through your new mom fears. Instead of being a worried mom, turn to your sovereign Creator today. Be sure to also read these encouraging tips for new moms to provide you with more hope and encouragement through this stressful season. And don't forget about your own self-care because you need to be mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy to care for your new addition!
Are you worried about being a good mom? Have you ever struggled with new mom anxiety? What Scriptures have you found most comforting? We'd love to share what has helped you so please comment below with the ways you coped with new mom anxiety.