For any new moms out there, here are a few tips about dealing with the emotions that come with the territory. Being a new mom is an emotional rollercoaster so give yourself permission to be moody and unpredictable. There will be a lot of ups and downs as you adjust to the craziness of being a mom. Warn your spouse in advance so he can be unconditionally supportive, extra patient and loving to you. The first few days and weeks of being a new parent was unlike anything I had ever experienced– sometimes I felt helpless, other times overwhelmed, and more than once, completely incompetent! Don’t be surprised if you cry at the drop of a hat and get frustrated at things or people that never bothered you before. But there’s also all the good stuff… feeling a sense of accomplishment, adventure and joy. So remember that when you’re feeling exhausted and zombie-like, there’s a good moment waiting around the corner! In terms of how I felt about my baby, unlike what I expected, I didn’t immediately feel complete love and adoration for Leah. To tell you the truth, when they first plopped the newborn baby on my tummy in the delivery room, I actually thought “where did this thing come from”? It’s was strange to have this new life in front of me that I was completely responsible for. It took me awhile to form a strong bond with her and to feel a sense of attachment with my baby. My friend said it best, “though you may love your child, you may not always like him or her”. I found this to be particularly true during the wee hours of the night when she was wailing and crying for yet another feed or diaper change. In those moments, I felt much more anger and frustration towards my “bundle of joy” than anything else. But when the when the morning came, I felt much better and I enjoyed her more. The skin-to-skin bonding, snuggling and eye contact with my baby helped to fuel me for the long nights. Many of my friends experienced “Baby Blues”, which are mood swings and weepiness during the first 2-3 weeks after giving birth. According to postpartum.net, this is a normal adjustment period and resolves without any medical assistance. Take a look at these questions which might indicate that what you’re experiencing requires more attention:
- Are you feeling sad or depressed?
- Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
- Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
- Do you feel anxious or panicky?
- Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
- Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind?
- Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
- Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
- Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?
Learn more about the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression on the Birth and Postpartum Support Centre website. Remember there are resources and people out there to support and help you in all circumstances.