The 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
- In love
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?
If you liked this article then you may also like:
- 5 Tips To Deal With The Endless Work Of Motherhood
- A Mother? Who me? Changing Our Identity
- First Pregnancy – Are You Already A Mother?
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