Evidence shows 80% of new mums – yes, 4/5 – experience baby blues. So, chances are, that will be you too. Symptoms? Irritability, anxiety, stress, moodiness, and sadness.
If that’s sounding all too familiar, I’m here to share – this is completely normal.
Lack of sleep has a direct impact on your mental health: it alters your happiness hormones.
With respect to anxiety….
Evidence shows stress hormone cortisol rises by 37% after just one night of insufficient sleep – making you feel more anxious, wired, and agitated.
With respect to stress…
Research indicates lack of sleep is the leading cause of stress for Australian’s – even more so than excessive demands.
With respect to sadness…
Clinical trials show people with insomnia – which is similar to what new parents experience – are 10 times more likely to experience depression.
Not only because of the rise in stress hormone cortisol (see above), but also, because you have an impaired production of serotonin and dopamine, happiness hormones which otherwise allow you to feel upbeat.
So… what to do if this is you?
- Offload responsibilities as you can.
Work? Can wait. Dishes? Can wait.
Replying to those emails or catching up with friends? All can wait.
What can’t wait? Your wellbeing.
Putting yourself first may seem counterintuitive, however it’s not – in filling your own cup, you can then overflow to the ones you love; baby included.
Part of this is making sure you get enough rest. The Welcare Sleep Sound Machine can play a recording of your heartbeat (so bubs feels they are still with you even if you are not physically there), which has been found in recent research to help babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, helping you get more of the sleep you require.
2. Ask – and accept support.
Logistical and emotional support is key – everyone is happy to help, however they won’t know you need help if you don’t say anything.
That extra time on those deadlines? Accept it.
Having your mum / sister / best friend come look after your little bundle of joy so you can get a bit of shut eye? Completely OK – and recommended.
Asking your partner to get up in the middle of the night? Also OK – and normal. You’re in this together, remember.
Your loved ones want you to shine – so if there’s any way to make that happen, make sure they know about it.
3. If it doesn’t pass, seek professional support.
Baby blues can quickly escalate into postpartum depression if you’re not mindful – and no one wants to see that.
However, if that has happened, reaching out for professional support via a psychologist, counsellor or mental health professional is strongly advised.
Remember: this isn’t just about you anymore – your mental health impacts that of your bub, so keep that in mind when considering the above.
Together, we are better.