Dealing with new mum emotions
Here are some of the most common emotions after giving birth you might be going through.
At a glance
Your emotions will be like a rollercoaster, try and go with the flow
Feeling overwhelmed? Be kind to yourself. Don’t be scared to ask for help
Make time for yourself, it will help you be a better mum
Talk about your feelings, a problem shared is a problem halved
Having a baby and becoming a first-time parent is like being on a massive emotional rollercoaster. You’ll be up, down and sometimes all over the place! As always, please remember you’re not alone—these new mum emotions are all entirely natural and most if not all parents will go through them at some stage.
1. You’re feeling lonely
Do you know any other new parents? Perhaps there’s someone you chatted to at antenatal classes? Being able to talk through how you’re finding being a new parent or even just having a laugh with someone can help relieve that new mum loneliness and feelings of isolation. Check out any local mum and baby groups on social media and don’t forget just because you’re a new parent doesn’t mean you can’t catch up with old friends. They’re still there for you! Getting out the house if you can and meeting up with a friend for a coffee or a walk around the park can give you a welcome lift (when COVID restrictions allow of course). Check out these things you can do with your baby, which are good for you too.
2. You’re feeling stressed
You’re bound to be feeling a bit stressed. There’s lots to do and lots to think about after all. Things might seem particularly stressful if you haven’t slept much either. You can’t be super mum all the time so if you’re struggling to keep on top of all the chores, or the dog hasn’t been out yet don’t beat yourself up. If you need some help, we bet friends and family wouldn’t mind taking Rover around the block and doing a spot of hoovering. They’ll be pleased they can help with your new mum stress, and you’ll be able to tick off that to-do list, and maybe even put your feet up for five minutes!
3. You’re feeling overwhelmed
We’d be more worried if you weren’t! There’s so much to do when you’ve got a new baby and it’s a massive change in your life. The most important thing is to be kind to yourself. Feeling overwhelmed as a mum is entirely normal and you’ll need some time to adjust whether your little one is your first or even number five! Don’t feel bad; you got this!
4. You’re feeling exhausted
Again, what new mum or parent isn’t? Of course, it’s all very well people telling you to sleep when your newborn baby sleeps, but life as a new mum and dad doesn’t always work out like that. Try and rest when you can and call in help from friends and family if you need it. It’s amazing how many new parents forget to eat because they are so tired. Eat when you’re hungry and remember, you don’t have to make huge meals, keeping things simple and nutritious is a great way to give you a lift and beat that new mum exhaustion!
5. You’re feeling guilty
Becoming a new parent can be a wonderful, joyous moment, but it’s entirely normal not to feel that way 24/7! As a new mum or dad, you’ll be dealing with a vast range of emotions, including negative ones like mum guilt. It’s always good to share and talk about how you feel with your partner, friends and family. Remember you’re doing it your way and you’re doing it brilliantly. Try not to compare your parenting skills to other new mums and dads. You’ll only worry you’re falling short. You’re not! Trust yourself and your intuition—you know what’s best for your baby. Here are a few more tips on how to get rid of that mum guilt.
6. You’re feeling lost
You’re a woman, a friend, a daughter and possibly a partner—but now you need to add mum to that list. New mum identity crisis is really common, but remember you are still all of those things too. So it’s not in the least bit selfish if you sometimes need to put your self-care needs above your baby’s. Take some time to yourself to clear your head. Grab some exercise, have a long hot soak, go see some friends or family for a chat, if COVID restrictions allow. Ask someone you know to babysit so you can have a meal with your partner. It can do wonders; you’ll feel refreshed and like a woman, friend, daughter and a partner again!
7. You’re feeling sad
During the first week after giving birth, many new mums can get what’s often called the “baby blues syndrome”. You may feel tearful and emotional, anxious, or irritable, all perfectly normal feelings and reactions. Don’t forget you and your body have been through so much recently! How you feel will likely be down to the hormonal and chemical changes that take place in your body after childbirth (and a lack of sleep certainly doesn’t help either!) All those sad mum symptoms should ease once your hormones settle down. But please don’t suffer in silence. Talk to your partner, friends, and family. And if you’re worried, speak to your healthcare professional. Try our postnatal depression quiz.
8. You’re feeling confused
There’s so much baby advice out there; it can be difficult to know where to turn. Friends, family, sometimes even strangers in the street will be only too happy to give you unwanted baby advice! Everyone has an opinion these days and aren’t they desperate to let you know it! It’s hardly surprising you’re a little confused and feeling insecure about how you’re bringing up your little one. Their advice might be well-intentioned, so listen but feel free to say thank you and then ignore it! People questioning you all the time doesn’t help either. Check out our guide to dealing with the breastfeeding critics here and if you’re worried consult your healthcare professional. They are the baby experts!
9. You’re feeling like a failure
First things first, you’re not a failure! You’re doing it your way, and you’re doing it brilliantly. Let’s face it, you can read all the books and ask for all the advice out there, but nothing can really prepare you for the reality of becoming a parent. It’s easy for mums and dads-to-be to make plans during pregnancy and imagine how family life will play out. But baby will have other ideas meaning your best-laid plans have to go out the window! Sometimes it can make mums and dads feel they don’t have control, cheated even, and like you’re failing as a mother. Parenting is hard, and you really can’t plan for it, so try to go with the flow!
10. You’re feeling happy
That’s great! Being a new mum and dad is tough but wonderful, and the unconditional love you’ll feel for your newborn baby is truly amazing. Sometimes you might feel guilty about being so happy and so in love with your little one. But there really is no need to be… so let the love flow and embrace being a happy new mum. Becoming a parent is a wonderful thing so enjoy every crazy, tough, exhausting moment of it!