First-time mothers are expected to be relatively clueless. They’ve never experienced pregnancy before and no matter how many handbooks or meetings they attend, they will never be fully prepared for everything that having a baby may throw at them. But it’s important to bear in mind that no pregnancy or birthing experience is the same and there’s no such thing as normal. Even if you’ve had two, three, or more children, you could still face new surprises with the next. While we may not be able to tell you exactly what life has in line for you, we can tell you a few common problems that many women face, so that you’re not caught quite so off guard if you find yourself in the given situation. Here are a few for you to be aware of!
Uterine cramping (otherwise known as after pain) is an issue that can affect any mother after giving birth. Generally, they are mild for first time mothers, but can be incapacitating for mothers who have had more children in the past. The process is called involution and is essentially your uterus slowly returning to its original size. You may feel that it is reducing your ability to look after your baby effectively, but remember that it is totally normal. If you feel that you are suffering from uterine cramping, contact your doctor to work out what pain relief option is best for you.
Postpartum depression, otherwise known as postnatal depression, is more widely acknowledged than ever before. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you or anyone else will be immediately aware that you’re suffering from it. The symptoms can easily be considered part and parcel of motherhood: a low mood, tiredness or weariness, low energy levels, troubled concentrating, and trouble sleeping at night. But you may be surprised to know that one in every ten women experiences some form of postpartum depression. With a condition this frequently experienced, recognizing what’s happening is extremely important. Left without intervention or treatment, the problem is unlikely to rectify itself or improve. Look for persistent feelings of sadness, a lack of enjoyment, lost interest in the wider world, or difficulty bonding with your baby. Don’t feel guilty. Just contact your doctor and seek help.
We are told time and time again that breast is best. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that every woman can breastfeed or that breastfeeding is the right choice even if she can! Mastitis, cracked nipples, particular medical treatment or the ingestion of particular medicines are all common reasons for an inability to breastfeed. Some women simply cannot produce sufficient milk. Remember that formula milk is the best that it has ever been and your baby will doubtless thrive on it. Throw any feelings of guilt to the gutter! Your baby will be just fine and won’t want for anything!
Remember that no woman is the same and no birth or child is the same, but chances are that you’re not the first person to experience what you’re experiencing. So seek advice from professionals and find comfort in other mothers. Everything is going to be okay!