Managing Motherhood Stress - Part 1

Being a mom can be the most joyous and wonderful thing to ever happen to a woman. Children can be an unending source of love, pride and joy but the added responsibility that comes along with motherhood can also be an unending source of stress! In addition to the heart pounding, heavy breathing and muscle tensing that occurs from stress, it can have some more serious, longer term effects on a mom's health.

It is estimated that 60-90 percent of illnesses are caused by stress. If you allow stress to wear at you day after day and week after week, your body and your mind will both suffer. Stress can eventually overwhelm the coping ability of even the most well-adjusted person.

Your body is affected by constant stress in a variety of ways, but the results to your health are never good. Stress can cause problems with your both your digestive and your cardiovascular systems. It can also affect your immune system, which negatively affects your body's ability to deal with infection and disease, as well as injuries. Stress can affect mothers specifically in that it can make it more difficult to conceive another child, and if the stress affects the children, it has been known to stunt their growth.

Immediate physical problems associated with stress can include ulcers, acid reflux and other stomach problems. Some people experience headaches or back, neck and shoulder pain. Others can have an increase in skin outbreaks such as acne or shingles.

There are also mental affects of stress that can be as difficult or even more difficult to deal with. In the long run, stress that is never ending can change how your brain works - making it more susceptible to and less able to cope with simple everyday stressors. It can also lead to a variety of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and even eating disorders.

Some common short-term mental problems arising from stress can include crying jags, bursts of anger and yelling or other hypersensitive emotions. Stress can cause changes in the way you think or behave - even how you deal with your children.

Stress causes are potentially infinite and are as unique as each person that experiences them. What may seem like nothing to one person could be huge stressor to another. Whether or not someone considers something stressful depends on a variety of factors such as:

  • Ability to solve problems
  • Adaptive resources
  • Attitude on life
  • Personality
  • Support system

Often people assume that bad or negative things (losing a job, getting a divorce) are all that causes stress, and don't understand or may not realize that they are feeling stress because things are going so well in their life. It's important to note that oftentimes very positive life events (marriage, new job, pregnancy) can actually cause a lot of stress.

Even though stressors are individual to each person and each situation, there are certain stress triggers that are common to most mothers. Part two of this article is a list that we hope will help you recognize some possible stressors for moms.

Read more managing stress articles...

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