When you feel you cant cope. Blaming yourself for not being able to keep your child happy all the time can do a great deal of harm, with many mothers becoming anxious and depressed. When you are depressed you feel closed in and despondent. You feel as though you cannot cope with your new life and although you are exhausted you cannot sleep. You may stop eating or eat compulsively and sometimes you become incapable of performing even simple tasks.
If you are a perfectionist, perhaps someone who has had a successful career, you could feel shattered to find that you cannot live up to the image of what a mother should be. Some mothers become obsessed with the thought that there is something wrong with their baby despite their doctors assurance to the contrary. Sometimes you are so tired and unhappy being stuck at home with a baby who seems to depend on you so much, that you wish you never had her. You feel that other mothers cope so easily and you wonder if you will ever get back to being yourself again. You even wonder if your child will survive with you caring for her, and you sometimes feel like lashing out and beating her until she is quiet.
All mothers experience some of these feelings at times, but when you feel like this all the time, you need help urgently. You may not even realise what is wrong, or be able to bring yourself to do anything about it. It is up to those around you, your husband, or a close friend to see that you get the help you need. Being given a pep talk and told to snap out of it will do no good, and will probably make matters worse.
Becoming a mother puts enormous psychological, emotional and physical stress on a woman, besides playing havoc with hormonal activity. After all, the foetus is able to attach itself to the lining of the uterus, and go through all the other processes that must take place for it to grow primarily because of an alteration in hormonal secretions. After delivery, hormonal activity should return to normal fairly quickly, but fluctuations are common and you could have mood swings for some time, especially if you are breast feeding. Anaemia, and the depletion of trace elements, can complicate matters and add to a general feeling of tiredness, so you should continue taking the multi-vitamin and iron pills you were given during pregnancy for at least three months afterwards. Lowered thyroid function especially after several pregnancies may also be a contributing factor in making you feel tired and depressed.
Vitamin B6 may help in certain cases, but large doses can affect your milk supply adversely if you are breast feeding. If you feel you cannot cope phone your nearest Crisis Clinic or Life Line – they are in the phone book under C and L, and they will give you sympathetic and understanding help. They will also be able to direct you to the appropriate professional services if necessary.
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