In many ways, you and your family members have become different people since the birth of your baby. Your sense of who you are may be altered when you become a parent for the first time. Your perception of self, your body, and even the day to day of what you do will all be new.
Most parents experience a roller coaster of different emotions. Positive feelings about becoming parents, your baby and your birth experience can be mixed with negative feelings about these same things. Your lifestyle has undergone changes throughout your pregnancy and continues to change now that your baby is born.
Your body may feel foreign. It's wonderful to be overcome with pride in your achievement of birth and pregnancy. You have been a part of the miracle that is life-giving. You may also feel intense disappointment in the parts of your experience that did not go as planned, or in the way your postpartum body looks and feels.
Stress is normal! The new changes you are experiencing can be overwhelming. You're dealing with your own new needs and your recovery from pregnancy and birth. You also have a baby who has many needs that you may not have previous experience with. Your body may react by feeling fatigued, with headaches, stomach ache, and even a rash. Too much stress can lead to feeling overwhelmed, worried, and nervous. You may be angry and irritable. Postpartum depression is a common side effect of giving birth.
You just might miss being pregnant. Many new parents miss the joys of pregnancy. You may long to feel your baby inside you, and miss how simple it was to care for your baby while you were pregnant. You may resent sharing your baby with the world. These feelings are very normal.
Many new parents are worried and afraid. You're concerned about your baby's health. Is baby getting enough to eat, wetting and pooping enough, too warm, or too cold? You might be concerned about your recovery and the changes in your body. Do not be afraid to ask questions of your doctor, doula or public health nurse. There are many resources to help you decide if what you are experiencing is of concern.
New parents often feel overwhelmed. It’s OK to take a parenting time out. Put your baby is a safe place, take some deep breaths and do something you find relaxing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with infant care or household tasks. The people that care about you want to help you!
Share your feeling with your partner. They may be having some of the same feelings that you are. Be a safe space for one another, to the best of your ability. You're in this together!
If any of the things you are feeling become intense and hard to manage you need to talk to your doctor. Should the stress of being a new parent start interrupting your day to day life, cause you to lose sleep, or change your eating habits, you may be at risk for a postpartum mood disorder.
Your family will find a new sense of normal. Over time, parenting gets easier. You will get to know your baby and yourself in your new role. Soon you’ll be parenting confidently!