Social Phobia

People with social phobia have marked and persistent fear of social  or performance situations in which the person feels she is being  exposed to scrutiny by others. She would usually feel that she  would act in a way, or show anxiety symptoms, that will be humiliating or  embarrassing.

This fear interferes with work and other ordinary activities. Physical symptoms often accompany the anxiety of social  phobia and include

  • Blushing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty talking


Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation –  such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, eating or drinking  in front of others or, in its most severe form, a person may experience  symptoms almost anytime they are around other people

People with social phobia may have lived with it for a long time. For new  mothers their role as a parent may provide an opportunity to overcome  this or it may make things more difficult.

New mothers have to face many situations in which they or  their baby are the focus of attention e.g. family get-togethers, Plunket or  mothers groups. These situations may be very uncomfortable for someone with  social phobia. However having a baby may encourage some women to feel less  anxious as the focus may be on the baby. For some mothers  there is extra motivation to overcome their social phobia for the benefit of  their child.

Another concern for some mothers can be feeling that their parenting  skills are being judged. This may discourage them from going out.

Breastfeeding in front of other people is something that  any mother can be self conscious about initially. Breastfeeding in public or in  front of others can be particularly anxiety provoking for mothers with social  phobia. They often avoid it completely which can cause considerable  inconvenience. They may give up breastfeeding completely due to their anxiety.