So You Just Had a Baby… !?
This baby feels like… a lot
Discovering that you are going to become a parent is filled with endless emotions. Yes, there is joy and excitement – A baby! They’re so cute..and squishy..and their squeals…gah! But there are also questions of uncertainty and often trepidation – How will I/we pay for this? Will I go back to work? Will my partner go back to work? Will I breastfeed? What if they cry all the time? Are we going to be bonded right away? I’m going to miss my friends. And, wait, do I need to set up a nursery??
Immediately following the arrival of a baby is also a time of increased emotion…You may feel like they’re the cutest human on the planet (they are!) or that they smell amazing (they do!) and that they are the sweetest (for sure!). But, you may also feel overwhelmed by the drastic changes in your life. You’ve swapped out evenings with friends on restaurant patios with bouncing a baby on an exercise ball while simultaneously Googling the best burp cloths, diaper creams and swaddles. Or, you may feel like you’re just not bonding with your baby like you should (those Instagram moms made it seem different…).
These shifting environmental and social stressors coupled with the hormonal changes that occur both during and after pregnancy are difficult to manage! You are not alone. This adjustment is hard…for everyone. Say it with me, “I am not alone. This adjustment is hard…for everyone.”
It’s important to take care of yourself as you go through this adjustment. Here are my top 5 tips:
- Accept help. There is truth to the “it takes a village” saying. Accept those offers for keeping you company, bringing over dinner, folding laundry, etc.
- Go on walks. Getting outside can be so helpful! If you have a newborn in the winter and it’s not too cold, bundle up! Trust me on this… we live in Minnesota!
- Join a mom’s group. Whether it’s your 1st child or your 5th child, every baby is different and can present new challenges.
- Communicate with your partner and family about what you need. As much as we wish mind-readers existed (especially in this phase of life), they don’t; so speak up and let people know what you need from them.
Remember to be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can and this will get better.
Sometimes, it is also really helpful to connect with outside support. It may be that a postpartum doula would be helpful. Or, it may be that talking to a therapist would be helpful. Research shows that 1 in 5 women develop a Postpartum Mood and Adjustment Disorder (PMAD), so it’s more common than we think! Be sure to check out Postpartum Support International for more resources.
Blog written by Sentier therapist