All new parents experience an emotional adjustment period in the weeks after the birth of their baby.
Emotional highs and lows
For birth mothers, it is especially important to recognize several factors that can impact their emotional experiences during the first 2-3 weeks after birth.
- Acute hormonal shifts during labor & immediately postpartum
- Birth experience or birth trauma
- Recovery and pain levels
- Possible separation of mom and baby (NICU stay for baby)
- Feeding challenges
- Sleep deprivation
- Past history of depression or anxiety
After birth, through about 3 weeks postpartum, it is completely normal and expected for over 80% of new moms to experience intense emotional highs and lows. New mothers may feel:
- Teary or even weepy, tears flow frequently and with no notice
- Irritable, cranky, with intense mood swings
- Indecisive and having trouble concentrating
- Extremely overwhelmed
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Don’t forget to ask for help
Having help and support from a partner, family, and friends can greatly impact a new mother’s immediate emotional experiences. A semi-structured sleep schedule for new mothers is also essential to ensure that she is getting enough sleep in the early days at home with her baby. Symptoms of depression or anxiety that continue or begin beyond 3 weeks postpartum may require assessment from a clinical care provider. A screening questionnaire can help new mothers determine if they should seek attention from their medical provider: https://psychology-tools.com/test/epds
You are not alone
Remember, if you are experiencing challenging emotional complications during your postpartum period, you are not alone! Many new mothers (and fathers) experience extreme emotional highs and lows. Talk to a trusted friend, reach out to your medical provider, and consider utilizing virtual support services such as parent groups or telehealth counseling support.