Becoming a mother is an emotional roller coaster. Childbirth is a joyful and exciting time…however immediately after other feelings can creep up such as: fear, anxiety, sadness, guilt and overall mood swings combined with trouble sleeping. If any or all of these emotions appear within the first 10 days after the birth it is referred to as “maternity blues“. If these symptoms continue past that (up to a year after giving birth) you should consult a professional.
Here Anna tells the story of how she went through postpartum depression after the birth of her first son:
When I first gave birth, I was ecstatic and happy…however soon after that I started to feel really sad, I felt like crying all the time…I fell into a downward spiral: I thought that I was a useless mother and I felt nothing for my son. It feels very strange to talk to people when you feel like this, they are constantly mentioning how wonderful motherhood is and I felt ashamed to share how I really felt. I felt overwhelmed and judged. Now I know that without professional help I wouldn’t have been able to overcome this. 1 in 10 women go through this and back then I would have loved to have known that fact, I felt that it was only happening to me.
There is no specific reason it occurs, and it doesn’t happen because the woman did or didn’t do something specific. It’s also not proven that women who undergo assisted reproductive procedures are more prone to suffering from postpartum depression. However, there is a lot of stress related to getting fertility treatments since there is a higher level of uncertainty associated with them. It’s really important that the fertility clinics that help women through these procedures also have a team of mental health professionals that can help them deal with any added stress this might cause.
Some tips that might help:
- We are not superwomen, ask for help: trust people who are understanding and don’t judge you.
- Talk: say how you feel. Always remember that this is not a freak occurrence, 1 in 10 women are going through the same thing you are.
- Try to get some sleep, rest, have time for yourself. Don’t try to please everyone (like when having visitors over), think of yourself.
- Oftentimes we focus solely in the physical aspect of the postpartum recovery, but we must also recover mentally. Spoil yourself!
Remember that if your mood does not improve, it’s important you seek professional help.