Is it Normal to Feel Sad After Having a Baby?
I Love My New Baby. So, Why Am I Sad?
Going from pregnancy to parenthood is a major life change — physically and emotionally. During your baby's first few days of life, it's normal to feel emotional highs and lows, something commonly called the "baby blues."
With the baby blues, you might feel happy one minute and tearful or overwhelmed the next. You might find yourself feeling angry, sad, irritable, or discouraged. Feeling this way doesn't mean that you're a "bad" parent or that you don't love your baby.
These mood swings are believed to be caused by hormone changes that happen in a woman's body after she gives birth. Levels of estrogen and progesterone needed during pregnancy suddenly drop, causing shifts in mood. Other things — like being tired and not getting enough sleep, for example — can add to these feelings.
Fortunately, the baby blues usually only last for a few days or weeks, and usually stop on their own without medical treatment.
What Can I Do to Feel Better?
If you have a case of the baby blues, try to take care of yourself as much as possible. Eat a healthy diet and get as much rest as you can, especially since exhaustion and sleep loss can reinforce and fuel feelings of sadness.
Here are some other things that can help you feel better:
- Accept help, especially in the first days and weeks after birth.
- Let family and friends help with errands, food shopping, household chores, or childcare.
- Let someone prepare a meal or watch your baby while you relax with a shower, bath, or a nap.
- Get plenty of rest and eat nutritious foods.
- Talk to loved ones or other new mothers who can help you feel supported and remind you that you're not alone.
If the baby blues last longer than a week or two, or if symptoms become worse, talk to your doctor to discuss whether postpartum depression may be the cause of your emotional lows.