Being a new mom isn’t all cute clothes and endless snuggles

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A new baby's arrival brings a flurry of emotions. Excitement, joy, stress, and exhaustion are just a few. Sadness and depression are also common responses. It's not surprising. You probably aren’t getting enough sleep and have lots of changing hormones.

Some feelings of depression and worry—the baby blues—are normal. But if they last more than 2 weeks, they could be postpartum depression. Nearly 1 in 9 women suffer from postpartum depression. Know that it is not something a woman can just control. It is not a sign of being a bad mother.

Turn to BestBeginnings for even more trusted information just like this on anxiety and depression from clinical sources approved by doctors. The Learn Library in the app has hundreds of articles for all pregnancy symptoms, with specific sections just about mental and emotional health, with recommendations and resources if you are feeling depressed.

The feelings surrounding motherhood are complex. Society expects you to feel instant joy over a new baby, when you may actually feel exhausted, stressed, insecure, helpless, or guilty for feeling anything less than elated.

Having a baby gives anybody a lot to worry about. If you feel very anxious now, to the point where it affects your mood and ability to enjoy life, or you have panic attacks, don't ignore those feelings.

Stress can be a large part of becoming a new parent. Even though most moms have harmless levels of daily stress, a little TLC is a good thing. You can't always change what causes your stress, but you can change how you react:

  • List your top stressors; brainstorm with your partner, a friend, or your doctor about how to help ease them.
  • Keep active in ways your doctor okays. You'll sleep and feel better.
  • Call a friend who will let you vent.
  • Take a parenting class so you know what to expect. You can use the breathing exercises you learned in childbirth class to quiet stress now.
  • Find ways to calm your stress (baths, walks, naps) instead of using food, smoking, or drinks like alcohol and coffee.
  • If you feel overwhelmed or depressed, tell your doctor or someone else who can help. You don't have to feel alone.

The BestBeginnings app even has a meditation and centering tool – Baby Boost. It reminds you to take 20 seconds to think positive thoughts for you and baby. And with any questions you might have – about anything – add those questions to the app’s QList to help you remember to talk to your doctor about it.

Premera Blue Cross also offers mental health counseling in-person or from telehealth providers.

Therapy is an effective treatment for perinatal or postpartum depression. However, many women don't seek help, for fear of being judged, or of losing their freedom, their privacy, or even their child. Or they hope that by ignoring the issue, it will go away. But it's important to get help—don't suffer alone.

More resources for new parents

Postpartum Support International has a hotline for parents experiencing postpartum depression. Call Postpartum Support International 1-800-944-4773 for more information.

If you have been having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, please call your local emergency hotline (request a CIT-trained officer), or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255.

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