Tips for Pregnancy Week 37Brought to you by
Not Quite Love at First Sight: Sometimes even baby love takes a little longer.
It is magical. The doctor hands you your newborn, sunbeams shine through the window, the music swells, you cradle him in your arms and he opens his eyes and smiles up at you. Or not. This image of instant bliss is sometimes not quite what the reality turns out to be. You will certainly be thrilled to see your baby. Depending on your delivery, you might be able to immediately hold and cuddle him; or, one or the other of you might need attention from the doctors as the labor process continues. There is a placenta to deliver, Apgar scores to measure, and plenty of clean up for both of you. Oh, and the whole idea of the smiling newborn? Babies generally don't flash their first true grins for about 12 more weeks.
What can you expect in those first hours and days? Labor can be intensely stressful and exhausting. Depending on how long you labored, the time of day that you delivered, and a number of other factors, you may find yourself wanting little more than a nice, long nap. There will be plenty of action surrounding you. Nurses will monitor you and your newborn, you'll be working on learning to nurse, and visitors will be coming and going. Sometimes, that instantaneous bonding with your baby that you are expecting to feel doesn't immediately happen.
You are faced with this tiny stranger, a person who needs constant care, but doesn't otherwise seem to be that interested in getting to know you. Your new baby may sleep most of the day and night, only waking to eat, or fuss. Many new mothers find that the hormonal imbalance following delivery leaves them reeling – ecstatic one moment and hopelessly overwhelmed the next. You might cry with happiness or sadness, without really understanding why you're in tears. Despite the friends and family around you, you might suddenly feel quite lonely. You've spent months fostering this new attachment to your baby, quite literally! Some women find that they miss the sensation of closeness that they had when they were still carrying the baby within.
Keep in mind that it is entirely normal to have conflicting emotions about this amazing life change you are experiencing. Everything about your life, and your world, may seem to be completely altered. Feeling sadness or stress is a natural reaction. You will have a lifetime to sort out your feelings, and to enjoy watching your new baby grow and develop, so give yourself time to adjust. If you start to feel overwhelmed by your feelings, find that you aren't able to care for your baby as you should, or just feel that things aren't right, you shouldn't hesitate to speak to your obstetrician or physician.
The baby blues can be a normal part of the transition to motherhood, and will gradually pass. If you wonder whether or not what you are feeling might be something more, it could be postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a more serious concern, and should be discussed with a healthcare professional, to ensure that you can embrace and enjoy this time of your life.