The birth of a baby can trigger a roller coaster of emotions for new moms.
Excitement, fear, even guilt.
Dr. Margit Lister has re-assuring advice for new moms wondering if their
feelings are normal.
1. Fear I think I large majority of women have the feeling of fear after the
birth of their new baby. There is fear about bringing a baby home for the first
time, fear about not succeeding to breastfeed. Fear of injury to the newborn
and all these feelings are a natural response to doing something for the first
time, on your own.
2. Uncertainity. Women feel uncertain about serious things, such as “Why
is my baby crying so much?” Is there a problem?” and sometimes silly things,
“What if my baby doesn’t like his/her name?” The trick with the uncertainty
is to keep it in check. It is okay to think these things but let your brain keep
your heart from making your decisions.
3. Frustration. This is a TOUGH time for new parents. My hat goes off to
single moms with little support. If you take the first two normal feelings, add
sleep deprivation, and unlimited piles of laundry, dirty dishes and endless
visitors, you get a healthy dose of frustration. Then maybe a colicky baby and
the wheels really start to come off the cart. Sleep deprivation is HUGE in this
equation. The more sleep deprived you get, the less you coop and the more
help you need.
4. Guilt. Now you have a sleep deprived mom, who feels like she is failing
because her baby is crying, the laundry piles up, dad has gone back to work,
breast feeding is still a challenge and it seems like she is too tired to get out
of her pajamas. You start to wonder if you are the only new mom that can’t
get it together? This is also normal. These are just symptoms of everything
that is happening to you.
5. Depression. This is where you stop wanting to be with your baby. You
are not interested in getting out of bed. You loose interest into things that
you usually like. You start to regret the birth of your child. You may not bond
with your baby like you had hoped. Crying is common.
What to do?
Fear and uncertainty are minimized with similar experiences (with family or
friends) and speaking with other veteran moms.
When frustration starts to rear it’s ugly head, ASK FOR HELP! You need time
for you. This is your yellow flag that things are slipping out of your control.
Be specific with guests. “Mom, it would be great if you folded the laundry,
vacuumed the living room, emptied the dishwasher”. “I would like to take an
hour for me, can you watch the baby for that time? I am leaving my phone
GET SLEEP! You need to have help during the night. Take shifts with your
spouse with feeding. If you are breastfeeding, have him get the baby and
bring it to you. When you are done, have him sooth the child back to sleep
while you stay in bed.
EXERCISE! Get outside and walk with your baby. Walking is safe after a
cesearan birth and vaginal delivery. Walk outside in the sun. Sunshine,
exercise and a shower are worth 4 hours of sleep! Take it from a woman who
has lived with sleep deprivation for years!
Lastly, TALK! Talk to someone you trust. Verbalize your fears, anxiety and
concerns. Speak to a counselor or your doctor if you feel like things are
getting out of control. Sometimes medications are needed to bring things
back into the normal realm.
Dr. Margit Lister is an OBGYN with Intermountain Health Care. If you would
like to schedule an appointment, visit: www.intermountainclinics.org