Up to 80% of new mothers experience severe fluctuations in mood. It may feel like everything is making you cry, making you feel irritable, anxious, and exhausted. Also, a total lack of appetite and/or trouble sleeping may occur. The mood swings are often caused by changes in hormonal balance, fatigue, and the release of long-term stress.
This phenomenon of overall feeling down, anxious, and maybe scared after pregnancy is called the baby blues. The condition is very natural and even has practical functions. The condition helps the mother to adapt to a new life situation and meet the needs of the new-born baby. Normally, the sentiments of feeling low fade away, usually within a few days or weeks. However, if symptoms persist, worsen, or return, there is a chance for a case of postpartum depression.
The Federation of Mother and child homes and Shelters (Ensi- ja turvakotien liitto) is an expert when it comes to baby blues and helping out families experiencing them. Find out more about the help the Federation offers here.
“The baby was approximately five days old, and we were just returning home from the hospital. I remember tears running down my cheeks the entire drive. In the stairwell, a neighbour came to admire the baby, and I nearly felt like exploding with all the tears and all those emotions. The worst bit of feeling tearful all the time passed after just a few days. But then later, I became ill with postpartum depression. In other words, the symptoms did disappear, but they also returned.” – Maria