Sitting there, holding that newborn baby in your arms is probably one of the happiest moments of your life. But at the same time you can feel vulnerable, sad or anxious for a while after childbirth.
And yet you discover that, like so many other new mums, you suddenly burst into tears for no real reason. This usually happens during the first week after childbirth. It usually improves quickly, particularly if you have plenty of rest and sleep. Having people around you who show compassion and help you with the practicalities is also important.
Roughly three days after childbirth, you might feel low, sad and be on the verge of tears. This is because of everything you've been through, but also hormonal changes.
Despite nine months of preparation, suddenly everything moves really fast. You can't predict exactly what will happen and how it should feel. Suddenly, within just a few hours, everything is upside down. Everything has changed and the physical exhaustion is overwhelming.
Feeling low and your hormones are all over the place
Certain hormones, which were important during your pregnancy, subside whereas those that are essential for breastfeeding increase. Powerful forces are at work in your body, which can make you feel more vulnerable. It's important that your partner looks after you now, if there are two of you. This fragile feeling lasts a few days, but then it passes. Don't mistake this normal sadness for post-natal depression.
Post-natal depression for mums and dads
New mums and dads can sometimes feel so shattered after a while that they react with depression. In some cases, it could be a relief to seek help and have a third party to talk to. Talk to your doctor or paediatric nurse if you continue to feel depressed, sad or low. It might be post-natal depression. Only a few new mums and dads are affected by it.
If you have post-natal depression, your doctor can refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. A lot of those thoughts that make you sad or doubt you'll be able to have a functioning relationship with your child are put to rest by talking to someone who knows, who has helped a lot of people and who can help you.