It’s very common to feel mixed emotions after giving birth. Your hormone levels are changing rapidly, and it can be a major adjustment from being pregnant to looking after your new baby.
Even if your birth was uncomplicated, you may be finding adjusting to becoming a parent to your newborn a struggle at times. If things were difficult in labour and you or your baby needed emergency assistance or there was birth trauma, you may need extra support to cope with what has happened. If you have any worries, then speak to your midwife who will be able to refer you for support.
Some women have no problems with bonding with their baby during pregnancy or directly after birth. But for some women, they find it takes a while for the bond with their baby to develop, which is normal too. The more tasks you do to care for your baby, the more of a bond you will probably feel. Skin to skin (where both you and your baby snuggle with bare skin under a blanket) can be a lovely way of bonding. Babies are demanding, messy and exhausting and it can feel overwhelming at first, especially with your first baby. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others. Sometimes someone offering to bring you a cooked meal can be a wonderful opportunity for you to spend extra bonding time with your new baby.
Some women crave some time for themselves when they’ve had a new baby and others prefer to spend all their time with their baby. Whatever works for you is okay, but it is important to have at least a little time to yourself - time to get washed and dressed or whatever you feel like doing right then, can give you the breathing space you need to be the best version of you. It’s far easier to care for your baby if you’ve had some time to look after you.
Within the first week of your baby’s birth, it’s very common for hormonal changes to make you feel very tearful. These are called the baby blues. Find out more about the baby blues on this page
ICON is a programme that provides information on infant crying and how to cope
If you need support, speak to someone you trust, such as your family, friends, Midwife, GP or Health Visitor
All women and families will experience some emotional ups and dows following a new addition to the family. Read about the Baby Blues, a normal and common dip in mood following the birth of a baby.
The important thing is to be able to talk to those around you about how you are feeling. If your mood is low and does not seem to be improving a couple of weeks after the birth, or if you are struggling with your thoughts and feelings, this is common and help is there for your recovery.
It can be helpful to remember that 1 in 5 women will experience some mental health issues during pregnancy or after birth and that the sooner you get support, the better for your recovery. Find out more on our mental health issues and support page.