How to deal with baby-blues when you just relocated
Starting a new life at a new place is a huge life change, and so is having a baby. Things can be overwhelming and tiring that 80% of women experience baby-blues in the first few weeks after childbirth.
Find out how I tried to deal with baby-blues when I had my first baby shortly after I relocated.
What is Baby Blues?
Baby-blues is basically mental stress conditions due to overwhelming situations after childbirth. It’s different from postpartum depression though.
Postpartum depression is a worse mental condition than baby-blues. It’s a sort of depression that women have after giving birth. It lasts longer, and it can also cause anxiety and panic attacks.
Obviously, Baby-blues was the last thing that I expected when I had my first baby. Yes, I read something about it. But I didn’t think I would have it because I had a very good pregnancy. So, I didn’t quite expect and prepare myself for it.
Unfortunately, I did experience the baby blues. It was around three days after I had my baby that I started having the symptoms.
Reasons for baby-blues
Although it is thought that the main reason for baby-blues is the hormone changes after childbirth, the huge life change after you deliver your baby is an important reason as well.
The fact that you’re physically tired after giving birth to your bundle of joy, then followed by sleepless nights due to looking after your baby, inevitably can cause the baby-blues.
Even when you’re physically fit, it may not be easy to be constantly lacking sleep and caring for the baby at the same time. Moreover, your body goes to the process of hormonal change.
In my case, I was totally shattered when my first baby arrived.
I had two inductions within 24 hours. And I was in labor pain for 34 hours in a fasting condition when the doctors decided to give an emergency Cesarean. So, when the nurse handed my baby to me, I was just simply too exhausted.
Since then, I found being a new mom was super hard. And being thousands of miles away from my own family and friends had made things worse. Because I didn’t have anyone to ask for help during the first few weeks of being a new mom. House chores or cooking at the same time I had to care for my baby was not an easy thing to do because I was physically worn out. Although my husband did help the best he could in his free time, I could’ve done with more help.
Looking back, this is what had affected me mentally. I was merely tired and had no one to ask for help. It’s no wonder I had baby blues.
It is thought that baby-blues normally last for days or a week. But mine lasted much longer than that. It was on and off for months until my baby was nearly seven months old.
In hindsight, I might have had postnatal depression. If it was, it might’ve been a mild one. I’m not sure because I was not diagnosed.
But I thank God for helping me sort myself out and overcome this baby-blues. I never told anyone about what I was feeling, especially not my mom and my family. Because I didn’t want to worry anyone.
Having said that though, if you think you’re experiencing baby-blues and it didn’t go away after a week, you should seek help and support from others around you. Don’t let it persist for too long. Because you don’t want it to get worse and become postpartum depression. God forbid.
The Baby-Blues Symptoms
The symptoms of baby blues are similar to any mental stress conditions. You generally feel unhappy, irritable, sad, and tired. You’ll have a low mood, and no energy, etc.
The symptoms that I had were more like below:
* Emotional and weepy
I was very emotional and teary. I cried over every little thing and felt helpless about many things.
* Fatigue and lack of energy
I felt tired all the time. But then again, I was bound to be tired. Because I hardly had a good rest since I had the C-section. I constantly had sleepless nights due to feeding and looking after my baby. On top of that, I had to do other domestic housework whenever I was free from my baby. So naturally, I ran out of energy.
* Less motivation to do things
Because of fatigue, I became lazy and less motivated to do things. All I did was the bare minimum in everything, i.e. tidying and cleaning up the house.
I just couldn’t be bothered to do extra. But, this made things worse. Being in an untidy let alone dirty place is not good for your mental well-being, is it? So when you find yourself ok with this situation, then you should know that there’s something wrong with you.
Physically exhausted and mentally worn out, I was like fireworks. I got emotional very easily. And at times I found many people quite offensive that I didn’t enjoy being with people.
How to deal with Baby Blues after moving away
After a few weeks of constantly being miserable, I realized that I was having baby-blues. Because you’ll know when something is not quite right with yourself. Especially when you constantly feel sad for no clear reasons.
The fact that I was far from my own family and friends had made things more difficult for me. I only had myself to my own device. I felt lonely and depressed.
However, deep down inside, I knew I have to deal with it and change for the better.
So I tried to pull myself up and here are the things that I did:
1. Write a journal
I remember writing this journal for the first time when I was nursing my baby. It was more like a diary. I wrote what I was feeling and asked questions to myself about why I was feeling that way. And I tried to give answers to every question that came to mind.
In other words, I tried to have self-talk. I found this very helpful to clear a cloudy mind that I used to do it whenever the baby-blues hit me.
2. Write self-affirmation and self-encouragement
I think writing self-affirmation and self-encouragement helped me deal a lot with my sadness.
It also helped to heighten my self-esteem, as it was getting low when I had baby-blues.
As much as I wanted to do nothing at that time, I pushed myself to do extra. Especially, when it comes to self-care.
As soon as my baby had a morning nap, I would take a long nice shower. Then I put more effort to always dress up and put a little bit of make-up on.
I felt that when I looked after myself, my mood would be lifted up a bit.
4. Stop being hard on myself
I tried to be kind to myself by allowing myself not to do too much. Especially when I already felt tired anyway.
As for the housework, I tried to plan and organize more about what I could do every day. And if I couldn’t meet the target, I would forgive myself, and try not to worry about it. I’d remind myself that ‘housework never ends’.
5. Establish a daily walking routine
We all know that exercise is really important for our health, right? But when we’re under a lot of stress, exercise becomes more crucial for us to get rid of the stress. Because the enzymes that our body produces after exercise can help to calm our nerves.
However, when you have a baby, doing exercise can be challenging. It’s not easy to find a special time dedicated to your exercise.
The best thing is to go for a walk with your baby.
So I used to put my baby in the pram and take him out for a walk for at least one hour E. V. E. R. Y. D. A. Y.
I found that not only was walking good for me to overcome my baby blues, it also helped me recover from cesarean quickly. Besides, it helped my baby to sleep better after the walk.
6. Menu planner
When I planned my menu, the food shopping and cooking became easier to do. I would know how much time I had to spend cooking.
Also, with the right plan, I didn’t have to cook every day.
7. Change the timing to clean the house
Before the baby, I would normally tidy up the house in the morning as soon as my husband left for work. So I adjusted the timing to clean the house according to my situation.
Because my baby didn’t like the white noise, i.e. vacuum cleaner, washing machine, etc. He would be unhappy and cried a lot. So, I cleaned whenever my husband was home. Or I would only use the vacuum cleaner downstairs whenever my baby was fast asleep in his cot upstairs. And I would clean upstairs whenever my husband was home.
8. Try to nap when my baby naps
It’s not always easy to have a nap at the same time as your baby having a nap during the day. Especially when your mind constantly reminds you of other million things to do, e.g: housework.
But I forced myself to at least chill and relax when my baby naps. Eventually, I got used to it and after some time I was able to nap when my baby napped.
9. Do what works for you
When you just had your first baby, you’d be eager to learn about how to look after your baby. You’d read and listen from all sorts of sources.
But I found that could stress me up. Because some advice couldn’t be applied to my circumstances.
So instead of getting worried about whether I was doing the right thing according to what others suggest, I would just do what I felt right and what worked for me and my baby.
For example, baby sleeping patterns and places. There is much advice on how to train the babies to sleep on their own and how to make them sleep longer.
I remember I tried one of the tips which are by putting down my baby on his cot just before he falls asleep. Did it work for me? Hell no.
It made things worse.
Because by doing that, I literally disturbed my baby and upset him. So instead, I would make sure he fell asleep first before I put him down. Or I put him in his cot while he was still fully awake after we had our bedtime routine. And I tried to create a sleeping ambiance for him.
10. Treat yourself a smile
No one knows us better than ourselves, right? So when we’re not happy, we’re the only one who knows best how to cheer ourselves up.
So think of something that can make you smile. Something you’d like to do. But, make sure it’s something positive though.
It can be as simple as meeting up with your new friends. Or maybe dancing to your favorite music? How about treating yourself with the food that you love? Or you can just watch that series on Netflix that you’d been wanting to watch. Anything.
As long it makes you smile and lifts your mood up. Even if it’s only a little bit.
I did this to myself. I tried to make happy little bubbles every day. I aimed to do one thing that could make me smile and feel happy every single day. And I’d do different things every time.
Conclusion on how to deal with baby-blues when you just relocated
Being a first-time mom is exciting but it’s not as easy as we might think. It’s a huge life changer. You’ll experience changes physically, mentally and socially.
Therefore, when you have a baby, you’re at high risk of having baby-blues. Four in five women experience baby-blues after childbirth. And one in ten women can go into postnatal depression/ postpartum depression within a year of childbirth.
So it’s important for you to know what baby-blues is, and to prepare yourself with a bit of knowledge about it
And when you have your baby after you relocated to a foreign land and live thousands of miles away from your family and friends, it’s even more important to recognize the symptoms of the baby-blues and postpartum depression. So that you’ll know when to ask for help.
Baby-blues symptoms can be:
- Low mood and irritability
- Over-sensitive and teary
Postpartum/ postnatal depression can have the following symptoms:
- All the symptoms of baby blues but more persistent and last long
- Feeling hopeless
- Being unable to cope with your baby
- Being unable to enjoy and bond with your baby
- Panic attack
- Pains and aches
- Generally unwell
Although I managed to overcome my baby blues (which I now think it could’ve been postpartum depression at some point), I strongly suggest you seek help and talk to your spouse/partner, family, or doctor if you think you have baby-blues.
Don’t leave it too long. If the symptoms do not go away after a week, then you know you need to tell somebody. Don’t be silent. Let others know and help you.
All the best.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor nor am I a mental health practitioner. The content above is solely based on self-experience and must not be used as medical/mental health advice. If you have any concern with your mental health after childbirth, you should seek advice from an appropriate mental health practitioner/medical doctor.