Symptoms vs Feelings

Experiencing any of these feelings?  Break out of the symptom check list mentality to see if you really need help.

We all know that the first few months of parenting can be quite stressful for all parents- so where is the line between normal and yet difficult adjustment and a clinical mood disorder?  The answer may be different than you think.  Rather than focusing on a list of symptoms that you have or not- wouldn’t it make more sense to evaluate the overall sense of your own well being?   If we were to frame new parents’ experiences in this way- here is a list of feelings that you may have that would be signs that you need more support and help.

  • Feeling that something is not right, that you are not right.
  • Feeling completely overwhelmed and it doesn’t go away.
  • Feeling worried all the time and you can’t turn it off- about the baby, about yourself, about
  • Feeling so much self-doubt that you can’t shake the feeling that you are doing it all wrong
  • Feeling so much shame and guilt that you are embarrassed to tell people how you are really
  • Feeling less for your baby than for other things in your life- your dog, your spouse, etc.
  • Not liking parenting, not liking who you are, what you have become.  Wishing you didn’t
  • Feeling irritable, angry or resentful of baby, partner, or whoever.  Feeling unhappy.
  • Feeling like this wasn’t how you wanted it to be- the birth, coming home, being a mom.
  • Feeling upset, scared, or angry about your birth experience.

This is not an exhaustive list of feelings that you may be experiencing.  It focused on symptoms related to anxiety and depression.  A small percentage of new mothers may experience more serious symptoms that require immediate medical attention.  These include losing touch with what is real, feeling paranoid, hearing or seeing things that others do not, feeling like hurting yourself or baby.

If you would like to see a clear list of symptoms click here.