After the elation of welcoming your new little bub and bringing them home for the first time, it’s quite common for women to feel more than a little anxious. Uncertainty about doing everything the right way in tandem with fatigue, if not sheer exhaustion, after a few days of broken sleep, can leave mums feeling not quite right. If it’s happening to you, you’re in the majority. No one knows for sure how many women experience the baby blues, but it’s fair to say that it is a very common occurrence.
The baby blues generally happen within the first week of giving birth at a time when your body “and emotions” have been put through the wringer. Hormone changes are thought to be a primary cause. You’ve given birth, started breastfeeding, and suddenly realised you are a parent. All this while attending to your baby’s every need and doing so on very little sleep.
When you think about it, it’s surprising not everyone feels a little blue. You may feel weepy, tense and unsettled but most people find these feelings disperse as easily as they appeared within a few days. While you are experiencing the blues however, don’t be afraid to cry and to seek help from your partner, your family, and the nurses if you are still in hospital. A little support and reassurance can go a long way.
If you find your blues last for more than a couple of weeks, or you are starting to feel depressed, than you may be experiencing something much more serious. Post-natal depression is also very common. It is an illness so if you suspect you may be suffering from post-natal depression, it’s vital that you see your doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms may vary from woman to woman, but in general can include any or all the following: feelings of hopelessness, guilt, exhaustion and anxiety. You are likely to feel like crying often and to feel very alone.
The important thing to remember is that post-natal depression is treatable. For some women, seeing a councillor, psychologist or psychiatrist will assist in beating post-natal depression. For more severe cases, anti-depressants may be prescribed. These are often effective but may not work in all cases and their can be side-effects. There is also the chance that tiny amounts may pass into the breast milk if breastfeeding. Whichever path you choose, it’s important to seek professional diagnosis and treatment early.
Both the baby blues and post-natal depression are beatable. In both cases, rest is important. Try and sleep while your baby sleeps, and accept help from trusted family members and friends where offered. This will help you get back to your old self and be ready and more confident to be the best mum you can be.
*While the greatest effort has been invested to ensure the validity of this information, the advice therein is set as a ‘general’ guide only, and your individual needs may require a different method to the one shown. Little Innoscents would like to encourage you to see your regular healthcare professional, should you be concerned for you or your baby’s wellbeing.
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