Forms of depression
I recently ad my son four months ago, and even though I love him to death, I feel like I don't connect with him. Sometimes I find myself just staring into space while he's cooing and trying to get my attention and I'm just not there. I don't know what to do about it. I feel really awful about it. Any suggestions?
Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing how you are feeling here.
It can be so hard having a new baby. Do you have any other children? How was your pregnancy and birth? Women who have had a traumatic birth are more likely to find it difficult to bond with their baby.
I'm so sorry you are feeling like this. It sounds like you may have postnatal depression; it's really common and please remember that it's not your fault that you are feeling like this. Around 1 in 5 mums experience postnatal depression. Signs that you are suffering from this form of depression are:
- feeling sad for long periods
- a low mood you cannot break out of
- feeling unable to bond with your baby
- low energy
- some women experience a low appetite
- feeling constantly tired
Do you recognise any of these in yourself? As I say, please please don't feel guilty or that it is any reflection on you as a mum. It does not detract from how great a mum you are.
It's important to talk and get the support of those around you if you feel you may have postnatal depression. Why don't you make an appointment to have a chat with your health visitor or family doctor about how you are feeling? They will be used to helping mums with this problem. It depends on the severity and length of the depression as to the treatment options.
There may also be a support group near you for local parents who have/ are experiencing postnatal depression. Sometimes it really helps to know others are experiencing the same feelings. I am not sure where you are based, but there are also many charity helplines you can call for some further telephone support. We will also be here for you on this forum.
It's particularly important to eat well when you are a new mum. You may find you need to drink more water than normal if you are breastfeeding. A multi-B supplement can also help with your mood. Going out to: one baby group/see a friend/have a walk each day can also help.
How is your son sleeping? Are you able to get enough rest? Try to nap in the day when he naps if you can. I know sometimes I just feel so tired that I feel unable to appreciate the wonderful things my children are doing. You may also find that babywearing helps you to bond with your son. Do you have any family and friends nearby who can help with your son whilst you have a break?
Please don't suffer alone - you have done the first step in posting here - well done. Please do post back and let us know what you think.
Thinking of you,
I think, sometimes,this is normal especially when you are staying at home alone all the time. However, I guess, you must indulge with any other activities with your family once in a while to limit this kind of depression.
Postnatal depression is more than just feeling down or having the 'baby blues'. It is a low mood that you are unable to break out of that affects every area of your life. It commonly leads to a loss of appetite, low energy and feeling like you just don't want to/ can't get out of bed to face the day. If you recognise these symptoms in yourself then it is really important that you tell someone about it and see your doctor. There is no shame in postnatal depression; it can affect any woman who has recently given birth and is thought to affect 1 in 5 new mums.
As a new mum it is important to have good friendships and to attend as many baby groups and support groups that you want to - it is a huge time of transition and you must be gentle with yourself and take care of yourself too. However, postnatal depression is much more than these feelings of transition - it is really important to seek help and extra support if you have postnatal depression.