Even if you have good support during pregnancy and after your baby’s birth, it’s very common to feel depressed, overwhelmed or isolated. The expectation that you’ll be feeling deliriously happy doesn’t help, either – and might mean you don’t want to admit your true feelings to anyone. But be reassured that an awful lot of women out there feel the same way you do.
It’s important that you don’t feel alone, and talking to someone will really help. Speak to your friends or family, if you think they might be understanding and supportive. You may prefer opening up to your midwife, health visitor or doctor – some women feel there’s less risk of ‘being judged’ if they talk to someone not immediately within the family circle. Whoever you confide in, rest assured there’s help available to support you through what can be a really difficult time.
Mum 1 – I remember filling out a questionnaire from the health visitor who implied that if my feelings didn’t change we may have to think about medication. I thought that was a step too far – actually, I was just totally exhausted from lack of sleep. I definitely felt I was on my own.
Mum 2 – We’re so far from our families and support networks. I think a lot of people are. And when you have a child you kind of feel like the walls are coming in. What am I supposed to do with this baby? It’s very difficult to relax and trust it’s all going to be fine.
Mum 3 – There’s just so much to do in those early days. The baby is completely helpless, you’ve literally got to do everything, plus you’re trying to get over giving birth. And my birth wasn’t even traumatic, but it was unexpected – she was three weeks early. So getting your head around all of that as well…it was coming up to Christmas. So all of those kinds of thoughts and not being able to just focus on her, as well trying to heal after a Caesarean. Overwhelmed, is the word I would use. That’s honestly how I felt at times.