When I got home from the hospital with Maxwell, it was one of the happiest times of my life. You are in a state of euphoria and bliss, no other feeling in the world can quite compare, I felt high on life. You spend hours just staring at your perfect baby. You are in a baby bubble that you never want to leave. After being at home for just over a week I remember always crying and feeling weepy. This was the last thing I expected and came as quite a shock. I felt completely overwhelmed and scared, suddenly the life of this tiny baby was all my responsibility.
Becoming a Mother is a HUGE life adjustment, it is a demanding 24/7 job. For the first month I felt like a milk machine, I was feeding Max every 2 hours, running on little or no sleep, some days not having time to shower, not being able to eat a proper meal or leave the house.
Before having a baby, I had never heard of the baby blues, I didn’t know anyone that had been sad after having their baby. Having a baby is meant to be the happiest time of your life, you wait 9 long months for this moment and you feel guilty that you are even experiencing those feelings of sadness. For many women it can be a very lonely and sad time. No amount of motherhood books, antenatal classes and online reading can prepare you for the explosion of emotions that come once your baby arrives.
It is estimated that up to 60-80% of new Mums experience the “baby blues” for a short time after giving birth. Symptoms of the baby blues include sadness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, unstable emotions and feelings of being overwhelmed. After birth, there are huge hormonal adjustments in the body which may include coming down from the adrenaline high that you felt when your baby was born. When you add into the mix sleep deprivation and going through a major life change, it makes sense to have these feelings of sadness. The good news is that the baby blues will go away within 2-3 weeks as your body adjusts. A big percentage of women experience the baby blues and just as you need time to recover physically after child birth, your hormones need time to return to normal.
Around 1 in 7 new Mums don’t feel better after a few weeks of giving birth and their symptoms can progress into postpartum depression which can be diagnosed anytime in the first two years after the baby’s birth. Postpartum depression is more than the baby blues and can become a serious matter for Mums who don’t get the help they desperately need. If your blues are persisting, and you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember to reach out to your family and know when to seek professional help to feel better. Chances are, other Mothers have gone through or are going through exactly what you are. I think it’s so important for mothers to know how common it is and that you are not alone when experiencing these feelings.
I hope this post helps other Mothers who are going through similar emotions and to know that you are not alone!