You really can’t begin to sum up what it feels like leading up to the birth of your baby, and there are so many different emotions you feel. Every moment of your day is now spent dreaming about holding your little one in your arms for the first time, what you will dress them in on the trip home from hospital and all the hazy days you will spend at home nesting together. Each little milestone of your pregnancy brings excitement and a sign that you are getting closer to having your little one with you.
Except, it isn’t always as rosy as everyone else makes it seem, and that is perfectly okay. Pregnancy is a very romanticized ordeal. There are very few days where you feel like the glamourous pregnant lady in the magazines, and the hormones that come along for the ride can make you feel a little nuts at times. Your body is changing daily, making way for this precious new life. Not only is pregnancy physically demanding, but you will go through a rollercoaster of emotions from day one. There is so much excitement, joy and promise that come with having a baby, but also apprehension, worry and nervousness. Most mums deal with the whirlwind of emotion during pregnancy, but it can get quite tough once your baby is actually born.
It is difficult to say what to expect once you have given birth, every mum experiences various emotions and different timelines for their emotions. What is common between mums is that there will be many, many different emotions at play. Firstly, your body has just changed instantly. You are no longer growing a little life inside of you, and your post-birth hormones still have a lot of adjusting to do. These hormones alone can cause spikes and dips in different emotions and moods. Secondly, your baby has finally arrived – what an event! With it, your baby has bought so much happiness and joy, but you will also probably end up feeling weepy and irritable.
Having a baby is life changing. It takes a lot of adjustment, and it is not something that just clicks into place, no matter what other people may have told you. Up to 80% of mums feel some sort of baby blues after giving birth. This is the feeling of overwhelming joy, but also the new heavy responsibility of having to care for this tiny little baby. This can cause emotional outbursts, sudden tears, irritability, anxiousness or even a feeling of depression.
So many mums are left in the dark during this time. They feel that they have somehow failed their first part of motherhood, that they aren’t the picture perfect new-mum that they see everywhere else. This could not be further from the truth though. It would actually be pretty abnormal to not feel this way. You have just been through the most life changing event and your hormones are going wild – of course you have every right to feel a little weepy!
While the baby blues should wear off after the first few weeks, there are some ways to try and improve the way you are feeling. Speaking to someone, a friend, your partner, family or even a professional will help. You will feel supported and understood, and just voicing your feelings will give you immeasurable relief. Take some time for yourself as well. Even one or two hours once a week will do wonders. You can get so caught up in the first few weeks and months that you don’t realize that you have spared no time for yourself. Get out and be active, treat yourself to something nice or relax in a warm bubble bath. Your baby needs you to be okay, and you need to look after yourself.
Some mums find that the baby blues don’t disappear so easily, and that their feelings get worse. Postnatal depression is also common among new mums. Factors such as fatigue, imbalanced hormones or new overwhelming changes can all cause postnatal depression, it isn’t something that has been caused by you at all. Sometimes, mums can be nervous to seek help. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, seeking help shows that you have both your and your baby’s best interests in mind. If you cannot shake the weepy feeling, find yourself disinterested in your baby or home life and cannot get out of the emotional rollercoaster, speak to a professional who can really help you find your way back to enjoying every second with your precious baby.
Being a mum isn’t easy – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. From day one you are going to be riddled with the most overwhelming emotions, daunting nervousness and the most uplifting joy. While these emotions can be difficult to navigate through, they all come together to paint the most beautiful journey that is motherhood. Just remember that if your emotions feel like they are really spiralling out of control, the best thing you can do is seek help. You and your baby deserve all the happiness there is.
Help and support
If you or someone you know is showing signs of postnatal depression, there are a number places you can go for help:
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