While its a topic that is beginning to be spoken about more publicly, and more through high profile media personalities, baby blues and postpartum depression still have a stigma attached to them. It’s important to note that the baby blues and postpartum depression are different due to the severity of symptoms.I am not an expert in this field but I did experience serious baby blues with my first child. For someone who likes organisation and feeling in control, I was thrown onto a rollercoaster that I couldn’t get off. This post is purely from my experience and relates to baby blues only.
It’s scarily common for new mums to go through an array of emotions following the birth of their baby. And why wouldn’t they! Our body has undergone many hours of pre-labour then labour (or mentally preparing for a c-section in my case!) and our hormones don’t know whether they’re coming or going.
Baby blues affect the vast majority of women with different degrees of symptoms, and usually hits around day three. Women will experience a variety of feelings – sadness, crying for no reason, irritability, worried about bonding with their baby or frustrated about feeding (the milk usually comes in around the same time as the baby blues hit). What I know now is that it is normal to have these feelings but it is important to ensure you have support around you. I would’ve been lost without my husband, cups of tea and pre-made meals.
Here are some tips that helped me at the time (though the last thing I wanted to do at the time was have a shower, get dressed or go out):
- Don’t have everyone visit at the same time. Yes, people are excited to see the baby but if you’re not up for visitors that’s okay.
- Shower and get dressed. It may be impossible to take the long showers you remember but it will get easier as baby gets older and into more of a routine. The main thing for new mums is to feel fresh, even if you feel like staying in your pjs all day (that’s okay to do too on the odd day!). It’s amazing how a wash and some fresh clothes (and perhaps even some make-up) can make you feel human again.
- Go outside. Even if it is just to walk around the block like I did, or sit on your balcony/back yard if it is raining, breathing fresh air will help clear your head. If you have to take baby with you that’s fine – a crying baby outside does not sound as bad as a crying baby inside a house/apartment, believe me!
- Ask for help. Have someone come over and help around the house, with the baby or just for company. I found it amazing how much I craved company during the first few weeks of having both my children, and I didn’t ask for enough help. Being a new mum is nerve wracking even for those who feel they are ‘natural’ mothers. There is nothing more depressing than feeling alone with a newborn – having company will make you feel better, trust me!
For me the baby blues kicked in on day two – my obstetrician walked in to do his morning check, said hello and I burst into tears! ‘Oh you’re early’ he said. ‘I don’t usually get the tears until day three!’. I laughed through the tears though I truly cannot express in words the emotions I felt over the next few days and weeks.
Like millions of new mums, I was overly exhausted from the unscheduled feeds and the sense of the unknown. I felt I was constantly feeding and left a permanent bum mark in the couch from where I sat to feed. I cried when I was sad. I cried when I was happy. With family living 16,000 kilometres away Skype became my best friend. My parents came to visit though it wasn’t until my first child was 6 weeks old – that was my decision so they could spend Christmas with us and their first grandchild. In hindsight, had I known how alone and unprepared I would feel I might have had them arrive sooner.
It took me a few months to feel like I had established a routine for this new stage of life. Each woman is individual and you may or may not experience the baby blues. My one take-away tip is to ensure you have support around you for what will be the most amazing journey you’ll take 🙂
Did you experience anything similar?
What tips would you have for new mums?