When women and their friends or family members discuss bringing their child into the world, the conversation becomes flooded with words like “magical,” “blessing,” “dream come true” or something in between. For some women, these words couldn’t be further from the truth, and as a result, many newfound mothers hide their heads in shame. Experiencing negative emotions post-delivery is a real thing, and most women are either too nervous or scared to talk about it for fear of being ridiculed.
With that said, negative emotions post-delivery are normal, and millions of mothers have dealt with postpartum stress. Here’s what moms and moms-to-be need to know about postpartum emotional fluctuation.
Before exploring the vast array of emotions new mothers experience once their child arrives, we must learn to forgive ourselves. In a world filled with picture-perfect bodies, airbrushed photos and unrealistic expectations, being raw and vulnerable is something new moms should embrace. For readers who may have entered motherhood for the first time, real-life evidence gives you permission to be sad, depressed, and in some cases, angry!
Moreover, some mothers lose interest in their baby, and the thought of being a “responsible adult” sounds like mild torture. The emotion is not unfounded: For the duration of this child’s early life, you’re going to have to stick up for them, provide for them, clothe them, cook meals for them and ship them off to school. When you’re lying in a hospital bed or healing at home, these thoughts can overwhelm and cripple your motivation to move forward. If you’re experiencing these emotions, it’s perfectly normal.
Identifying Negative Emotions Post-Delivery
Postpartum and prenatal stress and depression can manifest themselves in a myriad of ways, most of which are easy to identify when you know how to spot them. For mothers who feel they may have an issue stemming from the delivery of their baby, how many of these symptoms ring true for you?
- Unfounded paranoia
- Recurring nightmares
- Anxiety attacks
- Emotional instability
- Feeling helpless
- Weight fluctuation
- Loss of appetite
- Erratic sleep schedule
All of these symptoms are telltale signs of trauma causing real-world side effects in the mother. While random emotions post-delivery are common and should be expected, they should be taken seriously when they’re chronic and negatively affecting the mother’s quality of life. Although this period may feel overwhelming for a mother, the first step towards recovery is identifying the symptoms and warning signs associated with postpartum depression.
When to Take Things Seriously
Let’s split this up into two distinct areas: feeling depressed and sad after childbirth is expected and normal, but if your behavior has become irrational, or worse, violent, you should treat it as a medical emergency. For women who fall into the former category, expressing your emotions, both good and bad, can help you process your mental state. Bottling up emotions post-delivery can lead to a decline in your mental health and cause you to resent your child in subsequent months.
To get things started, begin delegating tasks to other members of your family. As strong mothers, we know we can achieve any goal we put our minds to, but sometimes our confidence can be counterproductive. If you know you’re struggling with daily tasks and chores, don’t be afraid to ask for help! In conjunction with this, give yourself “me” time. Schedule a spa day, go out for a hike, do some shopping or go for a weekend drive alone. These actions will rebuild your self-esteem and improve your mental health.
Women who fall into the latter category need to seek outside assistance immediately. Romantic partners and family members need to familiarize themselves with dangerous behaviors and know when to intervene. Some of these behaviors include the following:
- Physical abuse
- Threatening to hurt your child
- Rapid speech patterns (mania)
- Confusion and hallucinations
With the right people in your corner and professional assistance, you can heal your mental trauma and move toward a better life.
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