I have a newborn who I love more than life itself! My daughter is the joy of my life. Still, I feel sad sometimes, and I'm not sure why. What's wrong with me?
The transition from pregnancy to parenthood is a major life adjustment — both physically and emotionally. During your baby's first few days of life, it's normal to feel emotional highs and lows, something commonly referred to as the "baby blues."
With the baby blues, you might feel happy one minute and tearful or overwhelmed the next. You might find yourself feeling angry, sad, irritable, or discouraged. Feeling this way doesn't mean that you're a "bad" mother or that you don't love your baby.
These mood swings are believed to be caused by hormone changes that occur in a woman's body after she gives birth. Levels of estrogen and progesterone needed during pregnancy suddenly drop, causing shifts in mood. Other factors — like fatigue and sleep deprivation, for example — also can contribute to these feelings.
Fortunately, the baby blues usually only last for a few days or weeks, and typically resolve on their own without medical treatment.
If you have a case of the baby blues, try to take care of yourself as much as possible. Eat a healthy diet and get as much rest as you can, especially since exhaustion and sleep deprivation can reinforce and fuel feelings of sadness.
Here are some other things that can help you feel better:
If the baby blues last longer than a week or two, or if symptoms become worse, talk to your doctor to discuss whether postpartum depression may be the cause of your emotional lows.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD, and Vanessa Ann Vigilante, PhD
Date reviewed: May 2011
|National Mental Health Association (NMHA) NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans through advocacy, education, research, and service.|
|Zero to Three Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the health and development of infants and toddlers.|
|American Pregnancy Association This national organization promotes reproductive and pregnancy wellness.|
|La Leche League This international organization offers support, encouragement, information, and education on breastfeeding.|
|WomensHealth.gov Developed by the U.S. Office on Women's Health, 4woman offers reliable women's health information.|
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|Recovering From Delivery After giving birth, you'll notice you've changed somewhat - both physically and emotionally. Here's what to expect after labor and delivery.|
|A Guide for First-Time Parents If you're a first-time parent, put your fears aside and get the basics in this guide about burping, bathing, bonding, and other baby-care concerns.|
|Postpartum Depression It's important for new mothers – and those who love them – to understand the symptoms of postpartum depression and reach out to family, friends, and medical professionals for help.|
|Becoming a Father Pregnant women experience a variety of emotions and life changes. But most first-time dads have lots of feelings and concerns to deal with, too.|
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