Dear Therapist: 'I have become an obsessive mother'
Our weekly Dear Therapist column responds to your day-to-day mental health challenges
I have a two-year-old kid and always thought I’d be a ‘cool’ mum, but now I find, to my horror, that I’m obsessing over my child. In the process, I’ve started disliking myself. My husband, too, believes I need to get a life. I am miserable most of the time and realise I need to disconnect from my mum role occasionally... but am unable to do so. I’ve tried keeping a nanny, but that’s not helped. — Pooja Suresh
Dear Pooja, many new mothers (parents) are shocked to realise how much time and work goes into being a parent. Sometimes, we over-estimate and minimise what it might take to be one. Anxiety in a new role is quite normal but when it begins to disrupt your life, then it calls for personal work. I would like you to take some time to pause and reflect on what it is about being a mother that makes you anxious. Is it the worry about your child’s safety and health? Worry about lack of control or of the future? Are you consumed by rigid expectations for yourself? When you find answers to these questions (or others), you can build strategies that can help you cope better. Finding time for yourself, engaging in hobbies and developing friendships with other mothers can help you realise that you are not alone and your fears are part of being a mother. But also try to find out who you are, apart from being a mother. This redefinition and broadening your sense of identity can also lessen the burden you currently feel. If your anxiety is paralysing you, it can be helpful to seek a professional, who can guide you on this journey.
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