Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hello baby, goodbye you.

Some mums prep to the max and get all the books to prep for their journey into motherhood. Others, like me pick up one book and leave the rest to maternal instinct. Regardless of with methods you choose, you will definitely learn on the job.

From the moment your baby is born, you are in awe at this amazing little creature that has come from your womb. As you dedicate your time, your love, you forget about you. Out goes getting work done on time, replying to e-mails, cleaning the house, clothes that use to fit you just perfectly, time to leisurely shower, and pretty much time in general.  None of those things seems to matter anymore. Our focus is on the baby and we forget to take care of ourselves.

There lies a guilt with many mummies.  We are afraid to admit it, so it goes unsaid but sometimes we just want some me time. Me time; where you can sit quietly, read a book, go to the gym, go shopping, whatever you use to enjoy without worrying about a dirty nappy, or a hungry baby. Although mummies can be very hush-hush about it, some do suffer from post-natal depression, and the majority suffers from a tinge of baby blues. Statistics show up to 80% of women suffer from the blues. Feelings include feeling trapped, anxious, weepy, irritable, lost of concentration, appetite changes, and worried about being a good mother. These feelings are normal in the first few weeks after the baby is born and should disappear on its own.

Causes of the blues may be linked to the changes in your body and shift of your hormones as your milk comes in. The emotional aspect is typically linked to transitioning into a new routine while being sleep deprived. As much as they say “sleep when the baby sleeps” sometimes it is hard to accomplish that.

To help get rid of the blues, call a friend and have a chat. Better yet, try to arrange a date and meet up with them for a few hours while your husband or someone watches the baby. If there isn’t anyone to help, figure out when your baby usually sleeps a huge block of time and use it to pop in your favorite tunes, get some exercise, or take a nice bath. Exercise will be the best form for kicking the baby blues in the butt. But it may be hard especially if you had a cesarean. (We will discuss exercise tips for C-section mummies in December)

Postnatal Depression(PND) is a more serious matter. Although it piggybacks similar symptoms of the baby blues, the symptoms are much more severe and longer lasting. The signs and symptoms include: lack of interest in your baby, negative feelings towards the baby, worrying about hurting the baby, lack of concern for yourself, sleeping more or less than usual, lack of energy and motivation, lack of pleasure, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

There are 3 main causes of PND: hormonal changes, physical changes, and stress.

Hormonal changes. After childbirth women experience a big drop in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. Thyroid levels can also drop, which leads to fatigue and depression. These rapid hormonal changes—along with the changes in blood pressure, immune system functioning, and metabolism that new mummies experience—may trigger postpartum depression.

Physical Changes. Giving birth brings numerous physical and emotional changes. You may be dealing with physical pain from the delivery or the difficulty of losing the baby weight, leaving you insecure about your physical and sexual attractiveness.

Stress. The stress of caring for a newborn can also take a toll. New mummies are often sleep deprived. In addition, you may feel overwhelmed and anxious about your ability to properly care for your baby. These adjustments can be particularly difficult if you’re a first time mum who must get used to an entirely new identity.

PND can effect your ability to take care of yourself and your baby. If you suspect that you may have it, please be assured you are still a good mum, you just need to get a bit of help to make you healthy again. If left untreated, it can have detrimental effects on you and the baby.

Some tips to self-help on PND is getting enough sleep, setting quality time to yourself, eat, go out and get some sun, spend time with friend and family and let them know what you need, share your feelings with your loved ones, get some exercise, or join a mummy support group.

If you have tried the self-help and are still struggling with PND, you may want to consider professional help. Postpartum depression responds to the same types of treatment as regular depression. Therapy, medication, and support groups can all be helpful.

In the coming months, I will be putting together articles to help you get back into fighting shape along with nutritional tips that will help you and your beautiful baby stay happy and healthy.



  1. The baby blues are tough. This is a great guide to be aware of the symptoms and how common it is.