Pregnancy is so different for every mother. I’m sure you’ve heard that numerous times throughout your pregnancy, and it’s true! Some women breeze through their pregnancies with no morning sickness, changes in activities, or evidence that they ever even had a baby! Then there are the mothers that have to be hooked to an IV in order to stop vomiting long enough to eat something. After the “being pregnant” part of the pregnancy is over, it’s just the beginning of the challenges, but also an immense amount of love. There are so many feelings and so many emotions that overtake you once the baby is born, that it is truly overwhelming. There are many mothers who will tell you that the moment she laid eyes on her child, she never felt such an insane amount of love. It was instant. There are some mothers who feel happy, but there are no tears, it takes a few hours for the craziness to subside and allow her to really focus on the event that just took place, and the miracle she is holding in her arms. Then there are the mothers who feel no connection. They get scared that they feel no connection and even feel depressed and they don’t know why.
Having a baby is such a huge life event that it takes a toll on the mother in every way possible, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and hormonally. In every way, that new mom can get totally out of whack. Here’s what you need to know: It’s okay. Actually, according to americanpregnancy.org (APA), 70-80% of new mamas feel some sort of “baby blues”, whether that’s negative thoughts or mood swings. You’re not alone. The hormone changes in your body cause chemical changes in your brain, sometimes leading to depression, as well as the adjustment period of becoming a new mom. These feelings typically start about 4-5 days after delivery and occur for a few minutes to a few hours each day. The symptoms typically go away about two weeks after having the baby. These symptoms usually include, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, mood changes, sadness, crying for no reason, fatigue, insomnia, sadness, and poor concentration (APA, 2015).
Take care of yourself! Ask for help from loved ones, take some time for yourself, enjoy the fresh air, keep a journal of how you’re feeling, and be sure to talk to someone! You are not going to be the perfect mother from day one, so be easy on yourself. If your symptoms last more than two weeks, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor, and be honest about how you’re feeling so you can receive proper care. Post-partum depression is a much more serious condition that needs to be addressed.
With all three of my children, I think I had some form of Baby Blues. Trying to get into a routine with an additional child doesn’t happen instantly. I wanted to be able to handle it all, and between the kids, the normal household chores, the constant visitors, and dealing with my post-partum body and pain, it’s enough to mess with anyone’s emotions and thoughts. Once everything settled down, my hormones and feelings began to settle down as well. There are still days that I feel overwhelmed, but with three kids under six, I’m pretty sure it’s a normal way to feel. Luckily I have caring family members who are there to help and listen to me when I need them. Just remember to take some time to just be you. My time is in the morning, before the kids wake up and during naptime. Those times are when I regain my sanity! Congratulations on becoming a new mom. You’ve got this.