It is a simple fact of life that the birthing process can feel like an emotional whirlwind for even the strongest individuals among us. Once the anticipation and buildup has given way to new parenthood, moreover, you may find yourself struggling with a variety of postpartum symptoms.

Although these physical and mental complaints may be worrying, the truth is that these symptoms are extraordinarily common among new parents. And while they may seem difficult if not impossible to manage in the short-term, approaching these issues with an attitude of self-care can do wonders for your mental state and help you to enjoy the wonders of parenthood. Here are just five postpartum symptoms that are more common than you might think.

Anxiety

Although some unmerited stigma still exists around this condition, the experience of anxiety is a completely normal response to the initial stages of becoming a parent: After all, the realization that we are now tasked with raising and taking responsibility for a child can send even the strongest individuals into panic mode.

If you start to experience anxious thoughts a few days after giving birth, you aren’t alone. This is an extremely common occurrence and one that does not receive enough attention outside of parenting circles. If the issue becomes overwhelming or persistent, speak with your doctor about treatment options.

Insomnia

In addition to anxiety, one of the most common complaints expressed by new parents surrounds the issue of insomnia. Babies are also known to wake up many times during the night and tend to upset the sleep schedules of parents. But even if your baby is sleeping through the night, you may find yourself restless. This is because insomnia can be caused by many different factors, including hormonal changes such as a decrease in progesterone or melatonin production. 

Postpartum depression may also cause sleepless nights. When coupled with anxious thoughts, insomnia can compound sleep issues and leave you feeling exhausted. This is a perfectly normal response to new stressors and to the beginning of a new chapter in life. Be patient with yourself and remember to seek help if you need it.

Urinary Incontinence

Although it might feel embarrassing or even stressful to experience this condition, urinary incontinence is actually a common complaint among new parents. Both pregnancy and the process of giving birth can be difficult on the bladder; after becoming parents, you may find yourself having to use the bathroom more regularly than you are used to. It’s not a postpartum condition that is spoken about often for obvious reasons; however, urinary incontinence is a regular occurrence after the birthing process and can last for many weeks or even months after childbirth.

Crying Spells

Sudden feelings of sadness are common among individuals who have just given birth to a child. And with good reason: as our hormones rebalance themselves after a pregnancy, life can sometimes feel like an emotional rollercoaster. It’s important to remember that this is a normal aspect of the postpartum experience and does not represent any form of emotional weakness on your part! Giving birth to a child is no easy feat; moreover, it is natural that significant life-changes will affect our emotional states in unforeseen ways.

Irritability

Becoming a new parent is a lot to take on. Indeed, the experience of parenthood can make us feel like we’re running an emotional deficit on a day-to-day basis. Like other conditions discussed here, however, feelings of irritability are completely normal for new parents. Just remember to pace yourself and practice managing your expectations. Remind yourself that you are accomplishing a lot during a challenging time!

At the end of the day, it’s never a simple matter to deal with postpartum symptoms. Ask other people who have given birth about their experiences, in fact, and you’ll probably find that your personal struggles as a new parent are far more common than you might expect. Give yourself credit: this isn’t an easy process! With the right approach, however, you will rise to the occasion.

By Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.

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