Emotional Rollercoaster of New Parenthood

by Shellie Spradlin

A child is born; you have crossed that first hurdle. Now you are holding your sleeping newborn waiting with anticipation to see what is going to happen next. While many moms can take the transition to parenthood all in stride, the first few weeks can be scary to some.

It is important to know you aren't the only one that has felt this way. Many mothers have felt terrified by this a tiny little being. A new baby comes with a lot of responsibilities, tons of things to learn, no instruction book and not much time. You may go through many different emotions during these first few weeks. Here are some tips to help deal with them.

Overwhelmed and Tired

At times you may feel completly overwhelmed, so go ahead and plan to take some time each day just for you. It may seem impossible to even think of right now, but volunteer someone to help you out so you can.

Although a newborn sleeps a lot in a 24 hour period, you will still be sleep deprived. Most of us do not normally get up every 2-4 hours a night before we have a baby in the house. Of course while pregnant, getting up frequent during the night to visit the bathroom kind of gets us somewhat use to the idea. The secret to helping with sleep deprivation is simple -- sleep when your baby sleeps!

I promise the world is not going to end because the laundry isn't done or the dishes need washed. It is important for you to stay healthy to care for your baby. Losing sleep can wear down your resistance and you might be more vulnerable to illnesses. So, snuggle up and take in that sweet smell of your baby as you drift off.

There are times when you might feel totally alone in the world. This is normal for some new moms. Since having the baby it seems they do not matter because everyone is focused so much on the new arrival. You can ease your loneliness by joining a moms club or an online community where you can chat with other mothers. They'll understand how you feel.

When you talk to family or friends feel free to tell them that you would like to talk about something besides baby. You can have a brief conversation about how baby is doing, but quickly change the subject to something else. If you do not feel any better let your family and friends know how you feel. You will be surprised how supportive they will be. They may even feel a bit ashamed for how they have treated you. Don't hold it against them though, everyone gets caught up in new babies; it's just part of our nurturing nature.

The "baby blues"

The "baby blues" or Post-partum Depression can occur after childbirth. Up until recently, it hasn't really been mentioned by practioners. The severity varies. Some women may have severe depression, paranoia, and feelings of hopelessness while another may just have times of tears for no reason. Baby blues can last several days or longer.

If depression is severe some doctors can prescribe an antidepressant to help calm the depression. Don't feel bad if you are depressed after your birth. Although a time of great happiness, it can still overwhelm a person. Plus, the fluctuating hormones rushing through your body as it returns to normal isn't helping any. So if you feel your depression is severe and you want to feel normal again please consult your physician. You should never be ashamed to ask for help.

Take a day off! Everyone thinks that being a mother has to be a 24/7 job! It can be and I am not slamming those that spend every waking moment with their children. But some mothers need time alone. Mothers can use daycare or enlist a relative to care for their baby one day a month or more often so they can "escape" for a while. It is important for some to retain a part of their lives that does not involve baby. Even if you just visit the local coffee shop to read a book, have a day at the spa or just going back home ALONE, that small amount of time can rejuvinate you.

Enjoy your baby

The most important thing is to enjoy your baby. They grow quickly so soak up every bit of that yummy lotion smell and clean baby hands. Soon, they will grow and clean hands will be a thing of the past. There will be dirty knees, sticky hands and gum in thier hair...but don't let me scare you. That's just a whole new "ballgame."

Shellie Spradlin is a long time Pregnancy.org contributor and beloved member. As mom to three beautiful girls, two terrific boys and a 1995 angel baby, Shellie has experienced both the pains and discomforts of pregnancy along with the excitement and joys! Shellie resides with her family in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky.

A special thanks to 5kiddos who gave permission to share this page's photo.

Copyright © Shellie Spradlin. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.