Most women start planning for their baby’s arrival as soon as they get pregnant, and even sometimes before they’re pregnant. There are clothes to buy, toys to pick out, car seat to decipher. We start sorting out a birth plan. We often hear about how the first few weeks can be difficult, but we don’t realize the truth until we live it.
The changes our bodies go through during the pregnancy is incredible, but what happens afterwards is astounding. There are physical changes (lochia, involution, hemmorhoids, etc.). There are hormonal changes (drop in estrogen & progesterone, increase in prolactin). Psychological changes such as, “I’m a mom” and “That’s my baby”. (There can also be the overwhelming feeling of love towards the baby or sometimes it can take women several days to feel like the baby is really theirs. Both are completely normal and both can be shocking.)
Now let’s add on sleep deprivation.
In our culture, within a few days of childbirth, we are back home with the baby, maybe partner is there, maybe they had to go back to work quickly, but we’re alone or with one support person and trying to take care of a newborn while experiencing all these changes at once.
It’s no wonder we get the blues.
“Baby Blues” are normal. Approximately 85% of new moms get the blues and dads and adoptive parents can get them, too. The blues usually goes away or starts to get better by 3 weeks or so. As we pass the blues, we start to feel better and are beginning to adjust to the ‘new normal’.
There are things we can do to lessen the risks of more serious postpartum mood disorders: