Emotional Well-Being

Feeling Anxious

The first few days and weeks after childbirth may invite a whole variety of emotions that you have never experienced before. Feeling especially anxious during this time is very common. Your baby appears so small and delicate that you are afraid you are doing something wrong. You may feel anxious that you are not going by the book and that you are doing everything incorrectly.

People around you may even comment that you should feed or carry your baby a certain way, or dress a baby a particular way to make sure that your baby doesn’t catch a cold. Remember, there is no right way to parent your baby and be the perfect mother because there is no such thing.




There is no clear-cut way to parent your baby and there is certainly no perfect mother out there. You need to quiet and ignore people who tell you there is one way to feed your baby or other moms who may be judgmental that you are supplementing and not nursing exclusively. Moms may judge you that you are nursing exclusively and that nursing is overrated and is not enough to ensure your baby’s proper growth. It is important to stop aspiring to perfection or follow another person’s advice wholeheartedly because perfection doesn’t exist, and you will feel better and less anxious. Each day you will learn more unique things about your baby that will work well with you and your baby.




Mood Swings


Since your hormones are still adjusting during this time period and your estrogen and progesterone levels have decreased substantially, your moods may shift sporadically from feeling very happy to feeling sad or angry.  




Mood swings are completely normal during the postpartum period. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, mood swings are a result of a stagnation of Liver Qi, which is the organ that governs proper Qi flow. Basically, the energy is not flowing throughout your body, which results in heat because the energy stagnates in your body. In order to free the energy, you should pay attention to your nutrition and lifestyle. You should consume foods and herbs that circulate the Qi. Common foods that help circulate Qi include small amounts of black pepper, turmeric, cardamom, garlic, ginger, stewed peaches, scallions, rosemary, and basil. You should avoid alcohol, coffee, spicy foods, fried foods, and excessive amounts of sugar because it causes stagnation and more heat, worsening your mood swings. After the 30 day confinement period, you should take a brisk walk in the park with your baby in a stroller. Being surrounded by green trees and walking in the fresh air will stimulate your Qi flow.




Feeling Sad


It is very common to feel sad and experience bouts of baby blues after delivering your baby since you are transitioning to this whole new life which is overwhelming. The symptoms may reach its peak anytime within 8 weeks after childbirth when your body feels the effects of sleep deprivation and exhaustion. While you are happy that you have your precious newborn to take care of, at the same time you may feel sad that your life is not how it envisioned. You may feel it is harder than you expected, your relationship with your partner has changed, or you just feel tired and exhausted and wish it would get easier. It’s completely normal to feel this way because you are deficient in Qi and blood and the abrupt drop in estrogen and progesterone post-pregnancy cause you to feel especially sensitive and emotional. 60 to 80 percent of new mothers experience baby blues in the first two weeks after delivery.  




Overcoming the baby blues can be treated through adequate rest, healthy nutrition, herbs, and light exercise after the 30 days of rest. It is essential to ask for help when necessary and treat your body well during this critical time. You also need to sleep especially when your baby sleeps. You need to consume healthy whole foods that could replenish all of your Qi and blood that was lost during childbirth. Consuming herbs that build your blood, boost your Qi, and also circulate your Qi to prevent any blockages will also make you feel happier, making the quality of time you spend with your newborn better and more fulfilling. Once the 30 days have passed, you may also want to engage in light exercise like walking that will help stimulate endorphins and increase circulation.




If the feeling of sadness persists for more than a few days and you are constantly feeling depressed, then you may be experiencing postpartum depression. You may feel continually depressed that it prevents you from taking care of your baby. You may feel constantly fatigued and exhausted, anxious, feel inadequate about the ability to take care of your baby, detached from your baby, sluggish, constantly crying, and feel lack of happiness in activities that previously made you content. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of new moms deal with postpartum depression for up to a year after giving birth.




If you are experiencing such symptoms of postpartum depression, it is essential to contact your health provider to receive treatment specialized to your unique situation, which may include alternative complementary therapies like acupuncture, acupressure, and herbs, Western medication, or psychotherapy.



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