Congratulations: After a long, exhilarating and exhausting childbirth, your nine months of baby making are finally over and your little one is finally here. When the doctor first pulled Yehia out and I heard him cry; I felt like my heart filled up with some kind of slimy love potion and I fell in love with him instantly. I was so happy and was exhibiting a mix of giggles, laughs and crying. When I was taken out of the OR and back into my room; Yehia was handed over to me. My little boy has arrived and from then on, I knew that that a new chapter in my life has already begun and I was not mentally ready for it yet. I am a mother now.
Having your baby brings so much joy, but it can also challenge you in ways you never expected. Soon after giving birth, you may find yourself crying for not being able to reach the remote control, or when you have to get up to charge your phone. Often enough, you can even get mad at your partner for watching TV or chewing too loud. You find yourself being bothered or weepy over things that would never usually bother you.
Top that with feeling exhausted and unable to sleep because your baby is up all night, pooping or nursing or worse, colicky. You start to feel anxious, tired and trapped. It’s 3:15AM and a realization suddenly dawns as you hold your baby in your arms: “Is this what my life will be like from now on? Am I ever going to get the hang of this? Am I going to be a good mother? This is harder than I thought it would be.” Yup – You’ve got the blues.
What you’re feeling is completely normal. Up to 80% of new moms experience baby blues. After birth, your body goes through very rapid changes, your hormones fluctuate, you start lactating and your breasts are engorged (and there’s no way to sugar coat this ladies, but this HURTS!) A saggy tummy and all the physical changes your body has endured also bring on the baby blues.
Some mixed feelings can also overwhelm you. You may constantly feel anxious for your baby’s well-being. Is he nursing enough, why is he pooping so little? How will I know if something is wrong? Are all questions that cloud your mind, making you feel anxious about your transition to motherhood. All these new things that you are in charge of are starting to take a toll on you, making you lose concentration and focus. The good thing is that the baby blues aren’t an illness, and they will go away on their own once your hormones level out. But there are ways that you can make this transition and these feelings a little easier to cope with:
- Talk to your partner/family: don’t bottle it all up and talk to your partner and family about how you feel. Having a baby and for the first time is an overwhelming experience. Sometimes speaking your mind out can lessen your feeling that you are in this alone.
- Bond with your close friends: If you have friends who have gone through pregnancy and birth, speak to them. It’s always nice to hear how a close friend managed to cope with such a life changing experience and make it through.
- Ask for help with the baby: If you have an opportunity to get an extra helping hand with the baby, USE it! Never shy away and make the most of this time to do something for yourself. You will be surprised how the little things like taking a shower, painting your nails or reading will make you feel much better.
- Get out of the house: Some days, you will feel like you don’t have the energy to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom to pee. But you have no idea how helpful it is to just go out for a quick walk. Dress your little one up, put them in a stroller and go for a quick stroll, you will feel much better.
- Take a nap: Once you have a baby, you will value and cherish your naps. While at first this could be difficult, especially with your baby’s random sleeping patterns, but my advice to you is nap whenever your baby sleeps. You will be able to do things better when you are not sleep deprived and cranky.
- Eat healthy: Once you have a baby, you either eat too little, or forget to eat all-together. Make sure to make your eating a priority. You need to maintain your health. what you put in your body matters not only to you, but to your little one too (if you are breastfeeding). Make sure to eat three main balanced meals and two healthy snacks every day. Liquids and fibers should be big on your list to increase lactation. Lettuce is your new best friend.
- Count your blessings: You have a healthy, beautiful baby. Sure your life is different now, but it’s a good different. Make the most if it and enjoy every minute as you watch your little one grow into the fabulous person they will be.
People often confuse the baby blues with postpartum depression (PPD)because they have common symptoms. How do you know what you are going through? If you’re in the first couple of postpartum weeks, expect some emotional upheaval. But if you continue to feel this way for more than three to four weeks after giving birth, reach out to a doctor or a health professional for medical support.