The New Mum Column: H is for Hormones

Written by Nikki Featherstone

I’m not crying, you are!
If pregnancy has sent you into daily crying fits or rages, then I have one word for you: hormones. These lovely hormones can influence things like the way you now sob at every episode of Jane the Virgin (true story) and explain the pregnancy ‘glow’, which to me just felt more like sweat. But incredibly, they also help your growing baby develop and certain hormones even help relax your ligaments ready for labour. ..

The amount of oestrogen and progesterone in your blood increases as soon as you are pregnant which affects how you feel. It is completely normal to have mood swings, feel tearful or be easily irritated, but these symptoms should ease after the first 3 months of your pregnancy, slightly unhelpful timing when you may not want to tell people you're pregnant straightaway and before that pregnant belly pops out - therefore trying to explain to a class of thirty children why you’re crying because they picked a flower for you is challenging (again, true story).

After giving birth, a high number of women can also experience the ‘baby blues. During the first week after childbirth, many women can feel low and mildly depressed at a time when they expect they should feel happy. I had this for both of my babies, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt and loss. With Joseph I felt a sense of loss for the life I had with my husband and then guilt that I was not enjoying motherhood straight away, with Elijah I felt guilty that Joseph now had to share his mummy. Baby blues should only last for a few days, however if you find yourself feeling anxious, depressed, emotional for longer this could be a sign of postnatal depression which affects 1 in 10 women so please talk to someone you trust, never feel ashamed and seek help. You can find great information at the Tommy's website if you'd like to look at a helpful resource. 

I’m an emotive person, so having this surge of hormones was difficult. I had to acknowledge when my hormones were getting the best of me and understand how to manage them. I needed to communicate how I was feeling, from my fears and worries, right through to the anger I felt when I finished Jane the Virgin too quickly.

Remember not to be too harsh on yourself (or others!), your body is going through a lot of changes. There are times when your feelings are completely just and there are times when we are (slightly) irrational, this is when talking really helped me distinguish between the two and not let my emotions take over.

Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash