Q: Why don’t I feel connected to my newborn?A: “From the minute we get that pink plus sign on the home pregnancy test, we’re told again and again that a baby is going to bring us nonstop joy and happiness. I’m a pediatrician and even I believed that! But when I became a mother for the first time, I realized there's this whole other side of life with a newborn that we don't talk about with parents. All of a sudden, you go from weekend brunches with mimosas to being stuck at home and talking about poop all the time. When I was home with my newborn, it was the first time in my life I ever felt lonely. So the most important thing I can tell you is that it’s completely normal to feel disconnected. Not just from the new human attached to you 24/7, but from your old life and even from yourself.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 50% to 80% of mothers experience “postpartum blues” due to a combination of fatigue, hormones, and lack of sleep. I went through postpartum depression—the longer lasting version of “baby blues”—with both of my children. So I really get it. Let’s talk about some practical steps that can help bring you closer to your baby and back to yourself. The first thing I’d encourage you to do is reach out. Again, this is a very common issue, but it’s one that people don’t talk about. But know that when you open up and talk to your pediatrician or OB/GYN, they have so many tools they can share with you. It can sometimes be as “simple” as getting a bit of help. For one mom, I found her someone who could come babysit for two hours a day. It changed her mood completely. And in Covid times, I had another mom who would just leave her laundry outside and her parents would pick it up, take it to their house to wash and fold and bring it back to her porch. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do for your baby. I realized after going through postpartum depression that the love I give to myself is the love I give to my baby. That’s a powerful motivator!” For more Q&As with our experts, follow us on instagram or facebook.
“50% to 80% of mothers experience “postpartum blues” due to a combination of fatigue, hormones, and lack of sleep.”
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