Having a baby is stressful no matter how much you have looked forward to it. Considering the new responsibilities, lack of time, sleep deprivation, new moms are on emotional turbulence.
Generally, it begins in the first couple of days after delivery and peak for days. After childbirth the mother undergo emotional instability ranging from joy and pleasure to sadness and breakouts. There feelings of sadness appear to 3 days after childbirth and are called “baby blues”, and they persist for 2 – 14 days. While women experiencing baby, blues tend to recover quickly, postpartum depression stay longer and severely affects women’s normal functioning. In the beginning postpartum depression looks like baby blues. Postpartum depression has a deeper level of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness and trouble functioning that last much longer. The symptoms last from weeks to months. New mothers go undiagnosed because of the fear of being shamed.
There is no single evidence for PPD, but the factors believed to be is the abrupt decrease in hormone levels after childbirth, the physical changes that a new mom undergo and the stressors.
The depression includes a wide range of symptoms which is actually not related to pregnancy. Poor appetite, depressed moods, severe mood swings, panic attacks, sleep deprivation, suicidality, over sleeping etc. Waking up all night with the baby, physically, emotionally and mentally draining. Trying to balance being a good mom, wife, daughter, sister …truly feels not enough for a woman. There is a tension between who they once were and who they are now, the transition into motherhood isn’t easy. Along with taking care of the new born, she has to make sure that everyone is cared for. Many undergo this turmoil, but they do not really understand what they are undergoing. A new mom holding together on the outside but struggling inside, scared to talk how she really feels, need support but won’t ask for it. This indeed can affect the relationship with the baby due to lack of attention and support of mother.
What should be done?
Let’s change the conversation around new moms and the transition into motherhood. A woman is not defined by mental illness, her birth experience, breastfeeding, size or shape of the body, temperament of the baby. Give social support, love and care. More than anyone else, spouse should provide much care and make them feel loved and worthy. Listen to the new moms and allow them to verbalize their feelings.
Treat new mothers with respect and dignity they deserve. create a nurturing space and safe space for all women as they transition into motherhood. This makes it easier for them to accept and adjust in the new role of being a mother.
Women’s, being a new mom your mental health matter. You are enough as you are. if you are struggling, it is not the reflection of you as a mother. Its oaky to be not okay. Make priority of your wealth, wellness, happiness and self-love. It is okay to reach out for help. It takes time to embrace your changing body, but you will gradually start to feel home in yourself.