Sadness and fatigue

Why am I so sad and tired?

Having a baby can be difficult. It may produce confusion, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, guilt, fatigue, or sadness. A mother’s mental health may be even worse if she also feels pain from delivery or breastfeeding, fatigue, financial challenges, or a lack of support or if she develops post-partum depression. Mothers should ask for support from friends and family and connect with other mothers. Eating well, sleeping when possible, and regular outings can all help to increase energy. It can take a few months or more for a mother to regain the balance in her life after having a baby. Mothers should see their health-care providers if they have persistent or severe sadness or fatigue.

A) Describing sadness and fatigue

Having a baby can be both wonderful and difficult. Pregnancies and labour can have complications, and raising a child is exceptionally hard work. Indeed, parenthood may be the most demanding job you will ever have and it is even more challenging if you are struggling to breastfeed.

Mothers may feel a range of unpleasant emotions after delivery that can contribute to sadness and fatigue. These include:

B) Additional stress

A mother’s mental health can be poorer if she faces challenges such as (Cooklin 2018):

Rarely, mothers can have strong or sad feelings brought on by their let-down.

C) Dealing with sadness and fatigue

It can take a few months or more before a new mother regains a sense of regularity and balance in her life. Seek appropriate support during this time if you are facing challenges. You can also consider:

  • Get support from your partnerfamily and friends.
  • Getting into a routine.
  • Taking your baby outside each day. Babies are often happier once they have been out of the house. We all need a little adventure in our lives! Even a simple walk around the block with your baby can give you more energy.
  • Connect with other mothers.
  • Eat well and drink when thirsty.
  • Exercise.
  • Sleep when you can.
  • Ensure that you are not depressed. 

You may be relieved to know that most breastfeeding problems show up early and can be solved. Once they are, you will find that breastfeeding actually makes life easier for:

Furthermore, breastfeeding appears to decrease a mother’s stress and improve her mood (Mezzacappa 2002).

Take one day at a time and remember that this period of your child’s life will not last long. Before you know it, your child will be grown up!

Persistent or severe sadness and fatigue can be a sign of low thyroid hormone or iron levels or other illnesses. Consider seeing your health-care providers if this is your situation.

References

Cooklin AR, Amir LH, Nguyen CD, et al.; CASTLE Study Team. Physical health, breastfeeding problems and maternal mood in the early postpartum: a prospective cohort study. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2018 Jun;21(3):365-374
 
Mezzacappa ES, Katlin ES. Breast-feeding is associated with reduced perceived stress and negative mood in mothers. Health Psychol. 2002 Mar;21(2):187-93