For a new mom to experience a bout of the baby blues is not unusual at all, and although some mom’s are lucky never to experience it, for many others it presents and awkward, guilty period which puts a damper on those early days of bonding their baby. For a new mom, understanding what she is feeling and even identifying the problem can be very difficult.
Even more challenging, is overcoming the conflicting emotions of guilt, loneliness, resentment or depression, speaking about it and actually realizing what it is you are going through.
My Baby Blues
My daughter’s birth was amazing and having the support of my best friend Lizl, who’d packed up and boarded a plane to come and help out for the first two weeks, was nothing short of a blessing. With my partner away on an out of town assignment, Lizl was an angel in disguise, cooking, cleaning and brooding over us like a mother hen.
I was breastfeeding and all went until about day four after Lizl had returned home. Without the extra help with chores and cooking, slowly I had fallen into a very dangerous habit of skipping meals and not resting when my daughter rested.
Instead, I’d dote over my sleeping baby or do chores, watch TV while moping about in my PJ’s all day. My daughter’s feeds, unknown to me, were not sufficient and my milk supply started dwindling as I neglected my own needs, causing her to become increasingly cranky.
The first feeling of irritated resentment crept up on my like a thief in the night, but even as I felt it, guilt sprang up in my throat and drove me to console her. The depression crept over me slowly, but the mood didn’t pass as I had hoped: I had no idea what was happening, but a day or so later, when I found myself in tears beside the cot, not knowing why I could not feed or what to do next, I knew I had to make a call a despite the shame I felt for those feelings.
- Mood swings
- Concentration problems
- Changes in appetite
What To Expect And How To Deal With It
The baby blues is caused by the hormonal changes, and as in my case, is agitated by bad diet and not restingwhile breastfeeding. The feelings will last from a few days to a couple of weeks and the best thing to do is get support from loved ones and make sure that you are taking care of yourself by getting enough rest and eating properly.
It’s completely natural and will pass but, if your depression does not go away and feelings intensify, you may have post partum depression. If this is the case, you will need immediate treatment and the support of your partner, family and friends, as this condition will have a direct impact on your ability to take of your baby.