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Having a baby is a life-changing experience. It is physically challenging but also deeply emotional. Many new parents will feel joy and happiness but perhaps also worried and nervous about the responsibility of having a newborn to look after. Sharing your feelings - and how you're coping with parenthood - can be daunting but also helpful. Try talking to your partner, friends and family about your emotions after birth. You might also find it reassuring to talk to other new parents who will be experiencing many of the same emotions and challenges that you are. The baby blues During the first week after giving birth, many new mums can find themselves feeling weepy and irritable. This is called the ‘baby blues’ and it is experienced by up to 80% of mums after giving birth. There are various theories about what causes the baby blues, but no definitive answer. What is clear is suddenly your body has some major adjustments to make. You may also be experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions, such as great joy but at the same time overwhelmed with the responsibility of looking after your baby. Symptoms of the baby blues include: feeling emotional and irrational, bursting into tears for no apparent reason, feeling irritable or touchy and/or feeling depressed or anxious. The baby blues is not an illness and should lift, without any medical treatment, by the time your baby is around 10 days old. It is natural to experience some conflicted feelings after birth. If you’re still feeling low after this, you could have postnatal depression. Postnatal depression (PND) Depression can affect both mums and dads in the weeks and months after birth. There is no single answer as to why some new parents are affected and not others. Depression can be brought on by emotional and stressful events and having a baby can feel unsettling. Changes in your relationships and friendships, extreme fatigue and/or lack of sleep, chronic pain, issues from your own childhood and challenges to your sense of self can all contribute to postnatal depression (PND). Some women may also find that relationship troubles during their pregnancy, physical health problems following the birth, financial worries and a lack of support at home could trigger PND. For men, the increased pressures of fatherhood and associated responsibility, financial pressures and change in lifestyle, as well as changes in relationships, combined with a lack of sleep and increased workload at home, can all affect their mental wellbeing. If you are concerned that you or your partner may have PND, it’s best to seek help and talk about how you’re feeling — try your GP or health visitor, for instance. The recovery from PND is gradual but with help and support it can get better.

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Having a baby is a life-changing experience. It is physically challenging but also deeply emotional. Many new parents will feel joy and happiness but perhaps also worried and nervous about the responsibility of having a newborn to look after.
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