The Emotional First Weeks With A Newborn

WnC02K1468244304The early days of having our first baby is an intense time. As a new mum we are experiencing an all new state of affairs. We have our babies to care for. Our bodies are recovering from childbirth. We have the twenty-four hour world of feeding and changing to adjust to and the all-new emotions that come with caring for an infant.

It is hardly surprising that this time is one of both highs and lows. It can be amazing to have a new baby and it can also be nerve-wracking. We can at once feel more powerful and more vulnerable; we understand that we are playing a huge part in another’s life, in a way that we never have done before.

Being a new mother can be both exciting and scary Click To Tweet

Many of the mothers I interviewed for my book spoke of finding this time a real roller-coaster of emotions, wishing they had been told in advance that it is normal to find it scary at times (as well as wonderful). To illustrate, here are the emotions that my mothers told me they experienced in the first weeks of having their baby

  • Incredulous
  • Energetic
  • In love
  • Overwhelmed
  • Stunned
  • Sore
  • Immobile
  • Grateful
  • Fearful
  • Proud
  • Nervous
  • Battered
  • Drained
  • Happy
  • Elated
  • Tired
  • Anxious
  • Weak

As we navigate through the early days of motherhood it is of great value to know that this state of affairs is completely natural. It is a big adjustment to have a baby in our charge. Motherhood is a steep learning curve, especially with our first child.

Motherhood is a steep learning curve, especially with our first child. Click To Tweet

One possible reason for heightened emotions in the early part of motherhood is the ‘Baby Blues’. It causes us to feel weepy and irritable at times with an estimated 50 to 80% of women experiencing it. It is generally thought to be down to hormonal fluctuations with the worst of it calming down by day ten, after the birth of our babies.

I asked my mothers about their experiences of the Baby Blues and apart from one woman (out of twenty-four) none of them really felt that they could say that they had experienced it for certain. It is hard to know wether the highs and lows of emotion in the early weeks of having a baby are down to the Baby Blues or are about the all new world of motherhood with its inherent lack of sleep and uncertainty.

Either way, it is good to know that motherhood takes time to adjust to, for all of us. There is no timetable as such for this adjustment process. We all get used to motherhood at our own pace and it varies widely depending on our circumstances and personalities.

If however, you don’t feel things are improving and you don’t feel yourself then it may be worth sharing those feelings with someone else. Talking to someone who will listen can really help. Motherhood is not a self-sufficiency contest and we are not meant to cope alone.

But if you are still finding yourself stuck feeling low then it may be about more than the adjustment period of motherhood in which case it would be worth talking to your doctor, health visitor or counsellor in case you are experiencing postnatal mental health issues.

It can feel tough to seek help because we only want to be happy about having our babies. But sometimes it just is not like that. Postnatal depression, for example, is experienced by 10 to 15 women with a new baby out of every 100. The best course of action is to seek support because it can make a big difference. If this applies to you or someone you know click through to read a great leaflet on Postnatal Depression from The Royal college of Psychiatrists.

So what is next?

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72 thoughts on “The Emotional First Weeks With A Newborn

  1. I felt all those words and more. Nothing can prepare you for those first few weeks, it was such a shock to the system. Having suffered from post natal depression and anxiety I would implore women who feel they are experiencing the symptoms of the illness to seek help. It’s out there. You won’t be judged and you can and will get better. #bloggerclubuk
    Rach recently posted…Is Marriage The Kiss Of Death?My Profile

    1. Hi Rach, words don’t quite do it justice do they and everything is magnified when experiencing postnatal depression. I totally agree with you, seeking help is so important. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Having a baby really is the biggest shock to the system, there is nothing at all that can prepare you for it!! I had post natal with all five of my children and struggled massively with my mental health as a result. Seeking help is the first step for any recovery, great post. #sharewithme
    five little doves recently posted…BlogOn MSI 2016My Profile

    1. Hi Laura, Postnatal depression is tough. Having it with each of your children cannot have been easy. It is a time that we really want to enjoy with our new babies but it doesn’t always work out that way. I am so glad you got help and have come through it. Thanks for commenting.

    1. Hi Jo, It is such a strange time particularly with our first. I think the majority of us wonder what happened to our lives for a while until we get used to having a baby and our baby gets more used to being in the world. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I definitely had the baby blues! It kicked in the third day after my baby was born. All my family had come to visit (they live really far away) and I just couldn’t keep my emotions under control. It’s such an overwhelming, life-changing experience. But I lived to tell the tale. It does get easier. Posts like this are great for letting women know they’re not alone or abnormal #BrillBlogPosts
    Lucy At Home recently posted…The Nappy Police Live On AngleseyMy Profile

    1. It does get easier with time. with so much change, lack of sleep, recovering physically and all the responsibility it is not surprising that we have such diverse emotions. Thanks for commenting Lucy.

  4. I definitely got the Baby Blues after my first baby, but not in the way I expected. I couldn’t stop crying as I was so overwhelmed with the fact I’d managed to have a baby, she was fine, I was fine and we were now a family. My husband just looked at me when I burst into tears and said ‘i’m just soooooo haaaaaapppppy’. This was swiftly replaced by weeks of sleepless nights, a baby that wouldn’t nap more than 30 minutes at a time and I’d lost my initial excitement! Such an emotional rollercoaster, isn’t it? #bloggerclubuk

    1. It really is an emotional rollercoaster in those early days. We have so much to contend with that it is not surprising really. Thank you for commenting.

  5. I’m due with my first in less than 6 weeks and am preparing myself for not being emotionally prepared! Because how could I possibly prepare myself for this mix of emotions, which is different for every new Mum. I think the subject of post-natal depression is always such a good one to talk about because it’s not talked about enough (just touched on at the antenatal classes I’ve been to) so the more it’s discussed and understood the better #ablogginggoodtime

    1. I think that knowing that it is normal to feel overwhelmed helps massively in the early stages. It is too easy to think that we are getting it wrong otherwise. All and I mean all of the mothers I interviewed for my book found it an emotional rollercoaster most experiencing both highs, lows and everything in-between. We all get through it though and adjust. All the best for 6 weeks time and thanks for commenting.

  6. The first couple of weeks were hard for me. I would burst into tears at random times, over anything. I was so overwhelmed with both happiness and worry. Things are fine now, 6 months on, but those early days were like being on a rollercoaster! #ablogginggoodtime

    1. This is what I found interviewing mothers for my book Sarah. It is such a intense mixture of feelings for all of us but we do gradually adjust.

  7. When you see all those words written down together it’s no wonder that it’s such an overwhelming time. Another great incisive post thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xx

  8. Oh this takes me back to those first few weeks and feeling up and down. I remember my dad saying ‘are you enjoying being a mum?’ and wanting to burst into tears cos I felt so overwhelmed. I also remember feeling that I didn’t have a clue – now then, most days I feel ‘I’ve got this.’ #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Oh yes, I too remember that feeling of not knowing what I was doing and I found it all too easy to think that others did. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Good post. Nothing can prepare you for the emotions. Coupled with fatigue, it’s enough to break even a usually emotionally-strong person. I definitely had the baby blues. I would be happy and then suddenly cry at the smallest thing. I was fortunate to not come close to PND, but I can see how without support it would be a slippery slope for many. Thanks for sharing #CoolMumClub
    Angela Watling recently posted…What Little H did – 20 monthsMy Profile

    1. Hi Angela, There really is a wide spectrum of experiences in this stage but everyone I interviewed and have spoken with since talk of it being a rollercoaster of feelings. Thanks for commenting. It is appreciated.

  10. Absolutely agree with this and a lot of posts on my site deal with those first emotional months and years, thank goodness for blogs that share the real story. When I had Oliver, I felt no one had prepared me for how hard new motherhood could be x

    1. Hi Vicki, It really does need the attention because it has such a big impact on new mothers when they decide they are failing because they are finding it tough. Whereas in reality it is a real rollercoaster of emotions for so many of us.

  11. I agree with so much on that list. It really is a time of huge change and I remember my emotions were definitely all over the place. It’s so important to be open about these feelings and for us all to know that they are normal, that it’s ok to feel scared or overwhelmed. #ablogginggoodtime

    1. That is the big thing isn’t it Ellen, knowing it is normal, then we don’t feel bad for not only feeling pleasure at having our new baby. Thanks for commenting.

  12. Great post I am due with my third in December and so I already know what is in store and also that January and February are going to be tough months!

    I am definitely making sure this time around to take as much time as I need to heal and have visitors etc there can be so much pressure on us new Mums. #bloggerclubuk #picknmix

    1. Congratulations Natalie, There really can be so much pressure isn’t there?. I think with experience we learn how to alleviate it somewhat. I am glad to hear that you will be taking the time that you need.

    1. You are right. Many of the women I interviewed for my book, like you, didn’t know that they were experiencing postnatal depression because it came with their first child and so they thought it was just motherhood. More focus is certainly needed. Thanks for your commenting Mess and Merlot.

    1. It really is such an emotional time and really hard to know what to make of things in the all new world of motherhood. Thanks for commenting.

  13. I loved becoming a mum the first time – it was all so exciting! Although it was good the second time too it wasn’t quite the same in terms of newness, and I don’t expect it to be third time round either… #coolmumclub
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…#MySundayPhotoMy Profile

    1. I think each child brings with them something different and new things to learn. The new world of motherhood is very exciting. I loved falling in love with each of my babies although they brought with them different challenges. Thanks for commenting.

  14. I had some really emotional moments the first few weeks after the birth of both daughters. It took a while for my hormones to get back in balance. Sleep deprivation doesn’t help either. I get very sad and emotional when I’m tired.

    Fortunately, the blues left and the after glow was awesome.

    Thanks for sharing these important words. It’s sometimes hard to accept the emotions and sadness when you feel like you “should” be so happy because you have this brand new baby.
    xoxo
    Jennifer recently posted…How to Effectively Slay the Laundry BeastMy Profile

    1. Hi Jennifer. I really agree. We really feel we should be enjoying it because we love our new baby but there is more going on for us than love. It is a time when we need to be really kind to ourselves no matter how we feel. Thanks for commenting.

  15. I could relate to every one of those emotions that you’ve described here. I felt totally organised and prepared for a baby, but hadn’t factored in my own recovery and emotions following the birth. It was such an incredible time but it wasn’t easy. I think it’s great that you’ve shared this and I’m sure that it will be so valuable to other new mums. Dawn x #MarvMondays
    Rhyming with Wine recently posted…Hooks and Dragons… and Rainbow Unicorns!My Profile

  16. I always enjoy your posts. This particular line was especially poignant to me: Either way, it is good to know that motherhood takes time to adjust to, for all of us. There is no timetable as such for this adjustment process.
    I think there is a lot of expectation that motherhood will make us unbelievably happy or grateful and that isn’t so for everyone and women need to know that that is OK.
    Thank you for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT

    1. Thank you Catie for your support. I think it is important for new mothers to know that it takes time to adjust to motherhood. Too many of us feel like we are not doing well enough or even that we are failing. Thanks for commenting and hosting.

  17. I felt like day 4 after having my baby the hormones kicked in. I felt totally overwhelmed and for a few days started to think if we had made the right decision. 2 weeks in and the fog lifted. I started to get used to being a mum and we begin to find our feet. It definitely does get easier xx

    1. Thank you for sharing that Stacey. The timings really fit in with Baby Blues for you. It can be a long two weeks but like you say we get through it and it gets easier.

    1. Postnatal depression is really tough but there is help and although it can feel like it, it is not forever. Thanks for commenting Fiona.

  18. I know this amy sound silly, but we brought home a new pup just a few days ago, that night before bed, my 12 year old (hormones and overtired) started crying and saying she felt overwhelmed with the new puppy and what to do. It reminded me of me when I brought her home I was hormonal, overtired x 1,000,000 and so emotional. I was overwhelmed and confused. I was so in love with her, yet wondering how I would cope now without the nurses. Obviously I got through it, she’s 12 and I am still wondering what I am doing lol, but she is happy, healthy, funny and so smart and so I figure I’m not so bad. being a new mummy is so hard, yet so amazing! great post! #mg
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Objective: To get my blog up and running #mgMy Profile

    1. I can imagine this Mackenzie. In fact I know that I m still wondering what I am doing plenty of times with my sons but it is certainly most intense when they are born. It is wonderful to hear you talk about your daughter in that way. Thanks for commenting.

    1. Hi Mummy Fever. There really are a whole range of emotions that is is hard to pin down the experience. Thanks for commenting.

  19. I think I had all those emotions, all mixed up, together when I first had my baby. It was daunting to keep on top of the physical tasks as well as deal with your own emotions as well. It is important that new moms know that it is all right to have these emotions and that they are allowed to talk too.

    1. I really agree here. It is not the emotions themselves that necessarily cause the problems it is believing we ‘shouldn’t’ feel that way. Thanks for your insightful comment Agent Spitback

  20. We get so many lessons on how to give birth but nothing on the bit that comes afterwards. I remember week three of having Zach, on dean’s birthday, Zach wouldn’t stop crying- all day- and I completely broke down. Called my sister in tears and she came round immediately! It’s such a hard time, especially with the first because it’s completely unknown. Great post! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    1. You make a good point. Most of my antenatal classes focused on birth too. A heads up on the emotions would have helped a lot. Thanks for adding to the conversation Lisa.

  21. I think as mums whether it is our first time or fifth time we go through every emotion under the sun about 3 millions times – how we don’t get sectioned is beyond me but it is totally worth it for the little bundle in your arms
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

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