Modern mothers are anxious and stressed about their babies, say a new research. The study conducted by researchers at Monash University showed that mothers are feeling ashamed, marginalized and guilty because they can't meet the strict public health messages of breast feeding and sudden infant death campaigns.
Mothers feel even more inadequate when they are asked to use their maternal instinct to solve mothering issues when they are confused by conflicting information and battling to live up to an idealized image of how motherhood should be.
Researchers interviewed twenty mothers during admission to an early parenting service.
The researchers found that 40 percent of the mothers had above normal anxiety symptoms and 45 percent of them were experiencing moderate or severe stress.
Lead researcher Dr. Heather Rowe said, "This type of anxiety can stop mothers from sleeping, can make their muscles tense, interferes with their eating habits and in some cases can become a disorder that is debilitating."
"Public health campaigns with a strict single message such as 'breast is best' can make women feel pressured, and can lead them to feel guilty and ashamed if they make an informed choice not to breastfeed. Similarly the 'Safe Sleep Space' campaign to prevent SIDS can cause parents to over-estimate the likelihood of SIDS and lead them to be excessively watchful and worried," Dr Rowe said.
Public health campaigns, health professionals and others could reduce symptoms of anxiety among mothers by providing realistic, understandable, numerical information to assist decision making.
"By providing realistic and evidence based information to assist decision making, health professionals can help challenge the unhelpful messages that bombard women in pregnancy and motherhood, and benefit both mother and child," Dr Rowe said.