We had our baby after IVF treatment and were totally elated throughout the pregnancy, but now I’m feeling incredibly low. How can this be?
After the emotional and physical turmoil of what could have been several years to achieve your baby the reality of life with a newborn must be something of a shock. Both you and your partner have been through a tremendous experience not just the pregnancy but the process of becoming pregnant. All the hope and anticipation and worries are hopefully replaced by caring for a baby and developing a new family life. But that is not without its stresses and worries.
I’m not sure how long it is since you delivered but feeling ‘low’ is not abnormal. Many mothers can feel low in their mood initially after birth – a combination of pregnancy, labour, the changes in your body and learning to cope with a baby, coupled with sleep deprivation is a recipe for stress and extreme tiredness in many mothers. The baby blues may contribute to this in the first week.
If you are feeling tired, confused and unable to cope, coupled with the low mood you may be suffering from postnatal depression. Current medical opinion estimates postnatal depression (PND) occurs in 1 in 10 new mothers, with different degrees of severity. It can be particularly distressing when you have looked forward to having your baby through the months of pregnancy. You may feel guilty for feeling like this, or even feel that you can't cope with being a mother. Having been through the process of IVF your expectations were probably very high.
It can last for weeks or several months. Mild PND can be helped by increased support from family and friends, more severe PND will need help from your GP, health visitor or, in some cases, mental health professionals. But women do recover from postnatal depression and go on to enjoy their lives and take pleasure in bringing up their babies.
If you think that you may be suffering from PND, it is extremely important that you seek help as soon as possible. Talk first to your GP or health visitor. Family and friends are likely to be understanding of your situation so enlist as much support as you can.