The Birth of a Newborn Baby
This can be the most wonderful experience life has to offer. Two people who love each other deeply have given life to a new living human being who will be the center of attention in their lives going forward.
They have spent the previous 9 months preparing for this new members’ arrival into their family. They have shared the entire journey from the first confirmation of the pregnancy to the day this little one decides it is time to leave the security of his mothers womb and meet his parents for the first time. Prior to the birth date mother may have sung songs to or chatted to this little one growing inside her. Dad would have held his hand over the mothers baby bump to feel the movements. They would have made a list of names, decorated a room especially for the new arrival and spent a large amount of money buying all the necessary equipment such as pusher, cot, car seat, bath and clothing.
The Excitement builds as B Day approaches so too does a little anxiety. Questions will race through the parents minds, like “will our baby be OK.?
“Will I be OK? ” ” Will we have a home birth?”
“Should hubby be involved in the birth.?”
There will be many uncertainties until all is revealed on that special day.
New mum and baby do well for the first little while, they spend every waking moment together building a bond between them.
Then Something Changes:
The joy starts to fade as mother and or father gets less sleep or often very interrupted sleep. The baby might cry for no obvious reason. Going out socially becomes more difficult as the demands of the young child increase needing more time and attention.
Having a baby is a major life changing event and it can trigger different responses in different people. Some will just roll into it with ease and others will have a lot of challenges and feel anxious about the whole process of raising a child.
The responsibility of this new life weighs heavily on them. They have their own needs which are sacrificed to fulfill first the needs of the baby. They want to be good parents but there are lots of what ifs? What if my baby isn’t sleeping? What if they are showing signs of illness. What if I don’t have enough milk to feed my baby properly? and the list goes on.
This new little one might cause a mother to feel inadequate once dad has returned to work and she is left home alone to care for junior. She may have lost contact with some of the friends she had before because they are not yet mothers and interests have changed.
Dark clouds of doubt and insecurity might envelop this young mother. She cannot fully explain why she feels the way she does but she is downcast and sad most of the time when most would expect her to be happy and revelling in the life of a young child. The mother less able to function properly and may begin to show a real lack of interest in her own appearance and well-being.
The following video was produced by PANDA
PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia supports women, men and families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood. PANDA operates Australia’s only National Helpline for individuals and their families to recover from perinatal anxiety and depression, a serious illness that affects up to one in five expecting or new mums and one in ten expecting or new dads.
There is no real explanation for why this might happen but contributing factors could be::
- A young mother has recently been through a monumental change in her own body. There are physical and hormonal changes taking place. She has had to function on less sleep and increased physical demands on her. She may have a decreased interest in sex with her partner .
- Emotionally she has had to make major changes to share her time and love with someone else., She may be missing her independence and her need to be able to do the things she enjoyed before.
- She will be craving the social interaction with her friends or work colleagues and also finding that she misses the income she previously earned.
Post Natal Depression Creeps In:
The signs of post-natal depression are much the same as any other form of depression such as
- Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
- Feeling inadequate and guilty and can’t explain why
- Having Negative thoughts about life or anything else
- Life seems meaningless and without purpose
- Struggles to cope with everyday demands being expected of her
- Can be tearful or irritable for no real reason
- Struggles to get adequate sleep or rest
- Experiences a reduced or non existent sex drive
- May suffer anxiety or panic attacks
- May lose interest in eating or personal grooming
This can be a very difficult time for the young fledgling family. It is not unknown for fathers to become depressed too so it is important that they too are considered in the effects of the quantum shift they have each been through.
Around one in 7 to 10 mothers will develop post-natal depression within the first year following the birth of a baby.
Many women experience what is known as baby blues after about three days. I remember this well as on the third day after giving birth I would just want to cry and the only person I wanted to see was my husband on that day. I could not explain why but the tears would just flow for no apparent reason. Fortunately for me that was the end of it and I was able to move on and enjoy being a mum.
However I had a friend who was so depressed following the birth of her third baby that she even forgot she had him or any of her other children. Her mother had to step in and raise all three children for the first 12 months and then when it came time to reunite them with their mother she found it very difficult to give them back as she had developed such a strong bond with them.
Post Natal Depression is real, it is like any depression, very debilitating and can have dire consequences for the marriage if not taken care of and suitable help is sought. .
You Can Help
In Australia we have a movement called R.U.O.K ?
We need to be aware of each other, our partners, family members’ and friends. If we can do this we might well avert someone being gripped by depression.
This little video is a good starter for signs to look out for, It was produced by the R.U.O.K
It is often difficult for a young mum to admit that she is not traveling all that well. They are struggling with the new roles of motherhood, come nurse maid, come cleaner, partner etc that they can overlook their own needs and feel guilty if they are not able to meet the perceived expectations’ society has placed on them. As a caring friend you might notice some subtle changes and you could just stop by and ask R.U.O.K?
If you or someone you know is suffering depression of any kind ask them R.U.O.K and refer them to some help .
See also on this website