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Parenthood: What are YOU expecting?

Meagan Sergerie RN, BScN

If you’re planning a pregnancy, or are now expecting, congratulations! You’re about to enter a new chapter in your life. Likely, you’re impatiently awaiting the newest addition to your family. You may already be picturing your little one and what being a parent will be like. But what does that picture look like in reality?

Your friends and family must already be telling you about the exciting journey ahead; but what about the “eeks” and “ahhs” of parenting? All mothers have dreamt about the baby that doesn’t cry and that will sleep all night, the spotless home, perfect meals, and neatly pressed “super mom” cape. But parenthood, although very rewarding, is challenging and not always what we expect.

Parenthood is an adjustment for both you and your partner. It can be more difficult than expected to juggle new roles as well as the care of a newborn, house work, and other life demands. What follows pregnancy is also a rush of hormone changes. This can lead new moms to feel sad or tearful at things they normally wouldn’t.

In fact, most moms feel mood changes in the first two weeks after their babies are born.  This is commonly known as the “baby blues” and it can add to the challenge of being a new mom. Did you know the blues can happen anytime during your pregnancy or within the first year of giving birth? ...It’s true! And every mom’s experience is different. What’s important is that you seek help if things don’t go back to normal.

You’re probably asking yourself now what you can do if you start feeling this way. And the answer is: take care of yourself. It’s never too early to plan who your supports will be when baby arrives. This can be a family member or close friend that will be there to support you in this transition.

Second, accept help from those around you when it is offered. They are offering because they would love to be there for you and your little one.

Most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself (super mom’s don’t really exist). Having a plan in place can help cut stress. Rest or personal time, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can help with that.

Sometimes, the baby blues don’t go away and symptoms may worsen. This is called a postpartum depression or postpartum mood disorder.  Postpartum mood disorders can cause added feelings of guilt, anxiety, fear, confusion, or inability to bond with your baby. They can also lead to thoughts of harming yourself or your infant, which requires immediate medical attention.  

You are not alone in dealing with the baby blues. It’s important to remember that help is out there, and that you can recover fully. If you are concerned for your wellbeing, you can talk to your family doctor, OB/GYN, counsellor, or call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000.