Whether you’re becoming a mom for the first time or the fourth, the days and weeks immediately following your baby’s birth can be as overwhelming as they are joyful and exciting.
Having a baby is a major life adjustment – both physically and emotionally. During your baby’s first few days of life, it’s normal to feel emotional highs and lows. Up to 80% of women experience these “baby blues”. You might feel happy one minute, tearful or overwhelmed the next. You might find yourself feeling angry, sad, irritable, or discouraged. Feeling this way doesn’t mean you’re a “bad” mother or that you don’t love your baby.
These mood swings are believed to be caused when hormone levels needed during pregnancy suddenly drop. Fatigue and sleep deprivation can also contribute to these feelings.
Fortunately, the baby blues usually only last for a few days or weeks and typically resolve on their own without medical treatment.
Here are some things that can help you feel better:
•Accept help, especially in the first days and weeks.
•Let family and friends help with errands, meals, household chores, or childcare.
•Let someone watch your baby while you relax with a shower, bath, or a nap.
•Get plenty of rest and eat nutritious foods.
•Talk to loved ones or other new mothers who can help you feel supported and remind you that you’re not alone.
If the baby blues last longer than a week or two or symptoms worsen and you feel intense feelings of sadness, anxiety or despair that interfere with your ability to care for your baby, you may have postpartum depression. Women who have suffered from depression are at greater risk.
It is important to seek help early; tell a family member or health care provider how you are feeling. There is no shame in asking for help, only an opportunity to feel better. With the proper support and treatment, mothers who are experiencing any degree of postpartum depression can go on to be healthy, happy parents. I
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