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Relationships, Romance and Reality

Feeling Blue After Having a Baby May Be Part of the Package

By Malcolm Leal, PsyD.

Day Dream
Day Dream
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel
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“…I had a baby about a month ago, and although we are very happy to have him with us, I feel all sad and depressed for no reason at all….”

 

After months of dreaming and waiting for the arrival of your child, and after hours of labor or surgery you finally see you baby. Hearing that reassuring cry after the delivery, you believe you can rest. Family and friends are prompt to find resemblance in the child to your parents, spouse, siblings and even some distant relative you have never heard of your life. Following the OK from the Doctor, you pack your bundle of joy and head for home. You settle in and look forward to spending endless moments of joy with your baby, and suddenly reality hits. The child was not the only thing you took home form the hospital. You also have a sore belly, vividly decorated with a ton of stretch marks, thirty or so extra pounds and your husband is not happy that your sex life will be out of commission for another 2 months at least.

After the parade of friends and relatives is gone, you are left to deal with an increased number of new responsibilities. Your life has been changed in fundamental ways beyond your imagination. The family vehicle becomes a portable closet, and your handbag swells beyond recognition to accommodate all you may need for your baby. Time for yourself becomes scarce and everything you say, do or think about seems strictly related to your child. Most young mothers have never worked so hard on a daily basis in their lives. And because the woman makes most of the changes and adjustments, you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of the rhythm of your new life.

Aside from the definite impact of the hormonal and other physical changes after delivery of your newborn, you most learn to cope with the additional stressors associated with the daily care of your baby and still manage to have a successful marital and social life. Realizing that you are no longer free to roam the stores with friends or enjoy a night on the town with your husband may be difficult. Being excluded from certain family or social functions because of the baby can be distressing initially. Also of great concern is the issue of money. You may find in some financial difficulty after the delivery because of greater than anticipated medical expenses, changes in employment status or simply because the same income now has to accommodate an extra mouth and a wardrobe that needs additions every other week, it seems.

Some feelings of despair, frustration and at times of helplessness are understandable. You have taken on your shoulders a great responsibility and the job appears to have monumental proportions at times. I hope your spouse is willing and able to share some of the load, and that some of your relatives and members of your extended family can lend a hand while you become a pro at dealing with children and can begin to enjoy the experience of motherhood. Now, is those feelings of depression persist for more than a month you should seek psychiatric intervention. Feeling blue after having a baby may be part of the normal process of adjustment, but postpartum depression is a serious mental condition that requires professional care and attention.

It is through women that the miracle and mystery of life is manifested. Your decision of having a child, and giving that child an opportunity to be born within the fold of your family has implications for all of us beyond our comprehension.  Rejoice with the fruit of your love and anticipate the years of happiness yet to come in the company of your child.

How about you? feeling sad after the birth of your baby? Find out more about post partum depression, by reading the following: