Tears. Quick changes in mood and demeanor. Teeny, tiny things setting me off... these are some of the ways I've been reacting to the postpartum hormones.
After writing the other day on my personal blog regarding postpartum emotions, I wanted to take it one step further and really delve into what is typical and normal postpartum.
Many women that I've met are uncomfortable even discussing or briefly talking about their emotions during the postpartum period. It seems that in our culture, many women feel that admitting imperfections in ease of adjustment after having a baby is a sign of weakness. Either that, or women believe they will be labeled as having postpartum depression (PPD), at the mere mention of feeling upset.
That, however, should not be the case.
A woman who has just given birth is experiencing massive changes in her body, running off of extremely poor and disconnected sleep and is adjusting to the huge amount of love and bonding hormones rushing through her body and mind. Episodes of crying, frustration, and stress is typical, normal and — most importantly — okay.
As new mothers, the best thing we can do for ourselves is recognize those emotions as being normal and respond to those emotions. Whether that means taking an extra nap during the day while a partner, family member, or friend watches baby, giving yourself the luxury of a hot shower and a warm meal, or just simply spending some time talking with your spouse or a friend about your feelings — these are things you need to do.
When we don't recognize those emotions and give them time and space to process, resonate, and heal, we put ourselves at risk for further problems. Because just like when you constantly throw your trash bags out into the garage where you can't see them, they are still going to be waiting there for you the next time you go out to your car.
While feelings of sadness that persist past a reasonable adjustment period, inability to function, or feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or your family are not normal and should be discussed with your doctor, there are early postpartum feelings that are normal and we can help ourselves to get through them.
How did you feel the first few weeks after having a child?