Postpartum Expectations: Part Three

Postpartum emotions.

Emotional adjustments during the postpartum period are incredibly important and the postpartum parent should not feel ashamed of how they feel. You should vocalize how you feel to those around you.

Partners that recognize any behaviors that are not typical of this newly postpartum parent should also be communicative so that if anything serious were to surface they could discuss it with said parent and get the help they need from their care provider. Having someone else look out for warning signs can be nice, as even in ourselves, we miss/dont want to admit to.

Baby blues are common, and don't last very long, but can still be worrisome for the postpartum parent. Feeling weepy, crying a lot and feeling sad is all caused by the shift in hormones; nearly 80 percent of parents go through baby blues. Postpartum depression is much more serious, and professional counseling could be very beneficial. Scary thoughts is another emotion that can affect new parents, which can be frightening, though most do not act on them.

Babies cry, need diaper changes, feedings and need constant attention, not giving the postpartum parent much room to be alone, and when they are alone they can feel guilt for not being with baby, or with leaving baby with someone else. The mind can wander and leave a parent thinking scary thoughts, thoughts of harming baby, even though they would never do such a thing. Telling your partner, trusted friend or family member, or a trained professional about your thoughts can help you overcome them, as well as come up with strategies in which to manage some of the stressors of becoming a new parent.

(Scary thoughts are just that; scary. Thinking about hurting your baby because they wont stop crying, or let you have a minute alone are more normal than you think. Just hearing this from someone else made me feel so much less alone. Again, people typically don't act on these thoughts. Just know other parents are having them, and you aren't alone. PLEASE talk to someone if you are experiencing them. A trained professional would be best, but talking to a friend who supports and loves you is also good . Just make sure this is a trusted person.)

Having a new bundle at home is amazingly rewarding, but is also very consuming and hard. Feeling overwhelmed is normal, and having a support system to help, even if it is just to talk, can alleviate some worries; knowing that other people are experiencing/have experienced what you are going through provides tremendous relief and aids in normalizing and supporting the postpartum period.

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