Bringing your new baby home is no doubt one of the most joyous occasions in your life, but it also brings with it a monster of an emotional rollercoaster, thanks to hormones and lack of sleep.
Most people have heard of the “baby blues” and they’re really common after giving birth. If you’re currently expecting a baby, it’s a good idea to learn about the baby blues so you know what they are if you encounter them, and you also know the best ways of handling the associated feelings.
The baby blues often manifest as a mixture of feelings such as anxiety, hopelessness, fear and sadness, beginning a few days after giving birth. You might even cry and not really know why you’re crying. All of these emotions are normal and it’s important to know that they in no way reflect upon your ability to be a good mum, and you also shouldn’t be ashamed if you do feel this way. There are many factors which are believed to contribute to the baby blues. These include a sudden reduction in hormone levels, excessive tiredness and of course realisation of the responsibility of a brand new life.
Some great ways to ride out the baby blues are to keep busy and remember to eat and rest properly. Don’t be afraid to confide in your partner and other family members about how overwhelmed you’re feeling and ask them for help if you need it. Nobody will think you’re any less capable as a mum and they’ll be able to help you through your feelings. The chances are, if you mention it to your own mother she’ll be able to relate her own feelings and assure you of how normal what you’re going through is. Eating and drinking enough is a huge help as it’s easy to neglect yourself when you’re so busy with a new baby, but you’ll do a better job of looking after your baby if you look after yourself! If you’re breastfeeding it’s especially important to keep yourself fed and hydrated so ask your partner to make sure you’ve always got a drink within reach during nursing sessions.
The good news is the baby blues usually only last a few days, often disappearing as quickly as they manifested, and some people don’t get them at all. If you do get the baby blues, remind yourself that they are only temporary and you’ll soon be feeling better. I gave my mum a call in desperate tears saying I couldn’t cope and I needed her help but by the time she arrived I was already laughing about it!
Although the baby blues do not usually require any medical help, if you feel depressed and it’s lasting longer than a few days, or you feel like the problem is getting worse, it’s a good idea to speak to your health visitor, midwife or doctor, who will be able to help you.