The baby blues are something almost every new mum will experience but must not be confused with postnatal depression. Although I have studied psychoanalysis for five years, I am not a therapist or an expert on clinical conditions following the birth of a child. I am however, a mother of two with a wide network of friends with children and can confidently say that once the initial excitement of a new born passes, the visitors cease and you realise the furthest you have travelled in two weeks is to the washing line it is common to feel low. Very often these feelings will be combined with immense guilt and confiding in the wrong person may be met with an attitude of how could you be unhappy at this joyful time you ungrateful woman? If one is ufortunate enough to meet such misunderstanding please reject it and reassure yourself that experiencing sadness, bewilderment, irritability or even despair at this time is as natural as feeling pain during the birth. Other factors such as financial difficulty, lack of family support or generally not being happy with your situation can play a part in how the new mum is feeling. A change in hormone levels, a lack of sleep and a trauma on her body following labor are also huge factors. However, with vast information available on the medical and psychological causes of the baby blues and postnatal depression I am writing this article meerly to reassure any woman experiencing these feelings that she is not loosing her mind or a failing mother and that more often than not the feelings will fade and the job of parenting will become easier. After carrying a baby for nine months and being the only person who knows exactly when that baby is either sleeping or full of beans it is often very difficult to share responsiblity and joy with others once the baby arrives and can leave new mums feeling disempowered and slightly invaded of what was theirs for so long. It is important therefore for the new mum to be supported in her role and allowed to trust her instincts and remain in charge of the general wellbeing of the baby. I would urge new mums to enjoy their new arrival but also to embrace any negative feelings, knowing they are part of the process of bringing new life into the world. To be honest with oneself and recognise how you are feeling from day to day will lead to a positive outcome. Remember who you were before the baby arrived by playing music you love or treating yourself to a new lipstick can also help and when you are ready, accept any help on offer. If the negative feelings don’t subside after a couple of weeks and the low days out way the good then contact your GP or counsellor and start talking.

Erika Sanger

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