Having a baby is a life-changing experience. For many new parents, it's a happy but emotional time.
The baby blues can affect lots of women and can make you feel down for a little while after giving birth. Some symptoms can be;
- feeling emotional, irritable or overwhelmed
- being tearful without knowing why
- feeling low in mood
- feeling anxious or restless
These symptoms are normal if you've just had a baby. They are usually mild and don't stop you leading a normal life.This can be an upsetting time but should usually pass after 10 - 14 days.
However, between 10-15% of women feel anxious or depressed beyond what can be described as the 'baby blues,' and it's important to understand this is very common. Talk to your health visitor, midwife or GP who will be able to offer help and support.
Exhaustion after the birth, mixed with lack of sleep and changes in hormone levels (not to mention the stress of looking after a newborn baby) leads to many new parents to feel overwhelmed or depressed. Dads can experience this too.
If you are;
- struggling to eat or eating too much
- struggling to sleep or sleeping too much
- not wanting to spend time with friends or family
- struggling with your relationship with the baby
- having thoughts such as 'I can't do this anymore'
- not being able to stop crying
- feelings of not being able to cope
- not being able to enjoy anything
- excessive anxiety about the baby
It can be hard to talk about these feelings. Many parents feel pressure to be happy and excited after the birth of their baby but this is not always the case. Some parents worry it will mean they are a bad parent if they talk about these feelings. Some parents even worry their children will be taken away.
It is OK to ask for help and support if you need it.
Who Can Help?
Talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP if you are still worried about how you are feeling.
Your health visitor might talk to you about some online learning and support called Wellbeing in Motherhood. This online course lasts for 8 weeks and is offered by a health visitor and a therapist from the Wellbeing Service.
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.