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A message to new mums: It’s okay to not feel overjoyed when you first give birth
As a new mum, there’s often an expectation of how we should feel towards our new arrival after birth. These expectations, however, aren’t always a reality as everybody’s experiences of pregnancy and motherhood are different.
If you’ve recently given birth and are yet to connect with your baby, you are not alone. The bonding process can take time, and you should never question yourself or your feelings. Your feelings are shared with many other mums, and they are normal and valid.
We’re going to explore these common feelings of uncertainty after birth and show you some of the resources that are out there to support you.
Is it normal to not feel connected with my baby straight away?
Life as a new mum is different for every individual who experiences it, but there will be times when we’ve all shared similar feelings and worries.
If the love doesn’t hit you straight away after welcoming a new baby, it can feel a little unsettling. However, bonding with baby takes time, and nobody can put a timeframe on when this will happen.
You’ve been on a rollercoaster. You’ve been pregnant for many months and now you are adjusting to life with someone brand new.
Whether it takes days for the connection to grow, weeks or months to build, you should know that it’s completely normal for you not to bond with your child straight away.
What are the ‘baby blues’?
After birth there are many sudden hormonal and chemical changes that take place within our body. This is often thought to be the reason for ‘baby blues’.
Within this period you may feel:
- Emotional and burst into tears at unexpected times
- Irritable or touchy
- Generally low in mood
- Anxious and restlessness
The baby blues are said to be experienced by over 80% of women after they give birth. If you think you’re experiencing the baby blues, you’ll probably be feeling a little low and run down. However, these symptoms tend to last just a few days and then you’ll start to feel slightly better.
Feelings can often also be exacerbated by tiredness which cannot be underestimated. Try to rest when you can and prioritise yourself over everything else on your to-do list.
Could I be experiencing PND?
Post Natal Depression (PND) is a topic that many women find difficult to talk about. However, it is nothing to be ashamed of and it is estimated to affect 1 in 10 of us mums.
The symptoms differ from the baby blues and can last a lot longer. The NHS states the following symptoms as things to look out for if you think you have PND:
- A loss of interest in baby
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Not being able to stop crying
- Feelings of not being able to cope
- Not being able to enjoy anything
- Memory loss or being unable to concentrate
- Excessive anxiety about the baby
It’s important to remember that PND is an illness, and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed for experiencing it. Rather than struggling alone, it’s really important that you access the help and resources out there for you. It’s not fair to allow yourself to suffer in silence, so we recommend confiding in a friend and speaking to your GP.
There is help, and things will get easier. Once you’ve identified your feelings you can access the support you need and begin to bring you and baby closer together. Mind has lots of great information for new mums to assist them in their journey to motherhood. Take a look just here.
What can help me put my mind at rest?
You’ve been on a crazy journey these past few months from pregnancy to birth, and you need to allow yourself to recover.
You need to remember to make your mental health and wellbeing a priority too. With a new arrival it’s easy to put off plans and focus completely on the little one, but you need to make sure you show yourself some love too.
Once you nurture and love yourself, you can welcome in the love from someone else too. This can help you and your new arrival to begin the gradual bonding process.
It can be easier said than done having some ‘me-time’ with a new born, but try to build in the time for relaxing baths and doing things that make you feel good.
After the journey you’ve gone through you deserve to feel treasured. Not only will this help you cleanse your headspace but it will also help you to de-stress. This can aid your relationship with baby as you can alleviate external pressures and build a gradual bond through spending time together.
Remember that you are enough…
As we are living in a social media world built on comparison culture, it can be so easy to doubt ourselves as new mums.
However, motherhood is incomparable. It’s a complex journey, filled with plenty of hurdles that allow us to learn and become stronger. When you say hello to your new baby, it can feel strange and overwhelming.
If that abundance of love for your little one isn’t there straight away, it’s okay. Remember, you are not a bad mum, you’re just a new mum who is growing and adapting to life with a new addition.