Postpartum anxiety, commonly known as the ‘baby blues’, can affect any mum. Studies show that about 60 to 80 per cent of mums feel depressed or anxious only a few days after the delivery. The stress and anxiety can even hit you a few days before the birth of your little one. It can make you feel upset or irritable and even cry at a time when you should be celebrating and welcoming your bub into your home.
Objectively, the new role can be extremely overwhelming. The process of childbirth and caring for a little person is especially hard on first-time mums. The process of giving birth to your bub can be exhausting enough, but it's accompanied by fluctuating hormones, pain, and the inability to move.
A complicated delivery process comes with its own set of challenges. Now your baby needs round-the-clock attention, and you're the only one who can soothe and nurse the little one. It is only natural that you feel the baby blues, and it will get better with time. However, to deal with the overwhelming anxiety in a better manner, there are a few tips that can help.
- Recognise these feelings -Tune into your feelings and recognise the signs and symptoms of you feeling the baby blues. Are you scared about taking care of a newborn? Is it frustrating to not have time for yourself? Are the physical changes in your postpartum body affecting you? Some or all of these can be the cause of your mood swings and stress. While it is a common response to being a new mum, if the feelings do not go away in the next two weeks or continue to grow stronger, talk to your GP or maternal and child health nurse (MCHN). Leaving the feelings untreated can lead to depression.
- Let out the tears -It is perfectly normal to cry when dealing with stress and emotions. Do not suppress feelings and concerns. You need to share them with your partner, family and friends so that you can receive the support, encouragement, and affirmations you need. This does not make you a bad mum. It only shows how serious you are about taking care of your bub.
- Be kind to yourself - After a long stretch of pregnancy with its own set of challenges, you give birth to a human being. Your body can feel tired, puffy, and unfamiliar. You may not have the perfect delivery and postpartum experience. This is all part of the process. Within a few weeks of taking care of your bub, you will both fall into a rhythm and routine that will make your life much better. Do not rush yourself or your body. You are doing a wonderful job as a mum, and everything will work out fine if you remember to be kinder to yourself.
Make time for yourself- The initial days with your little one will just run by. However, remember to take a few minutes for yourself. Have someone take care of the baby while you take a hot shower and a bath. A brisk walk or a 10–15 minutes relaxing break will do you a lot of good.
Connect with other mums- Everyone feels anxious and worried on some level. Many mums will feel the same as you. Talk to your maternal health nurse about first-time mum groups in your area. You can also join some groups online to make mum-friends. It will help you get a better idea about how you can take care of yourself and your little one. Lifting each other and going through motherhood together will make the whole experience so much better for all mums involved.
- Stay grateful- The time you get to spend with your child as a family is one of the best gifts of motherhood. Keep a journal to help you manage the negative emotions. Write down all that you are grateful for as a mum, and revisit it whenever you feel down. It will not only serve you as a good reminder now but can also be a thoughtful gift for your little one when they grow up!