Do I have the Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?

Posted by GPWHC on 9 May 2018

Sure, everyone told you having a baby would be exhausting and draining, but you still feel anxious and depressed several weeks after having your baby. What’s going on? Is it just an extended case of the ‘baby blues’ or something else?

Truth be told, having a baby is stressful, no matter how much you've looked forward to it, or how much you love and adore your baby. So many things happen after having a baby; the sleepless nights, lots of new responsibilities, and zero time to take care of yourself. It shouldn’t come as a big shock that a lot of new moms feel like they're on an emotional rollercoaster. The baby blues are perfectly normal, but if your symptoms don't go away after a few weeks or get worse, you may be possibly be suffering from postpartum depression.

What are the baby blues? As many as 80% of moms experience feelings of weepiness, sadness and helplessness after giving birth, and guess what? It’s totally normal. There’s a lot of expectations after giving birth, and some women feel guilty about everything surrounding childbirth. What if I can’t breastfeed? My baby cries all the time and I can’t console him. When will my body go back to looking normal? There is tremendous pressure on moms and feeling emotional, vulnerable and ready to cry are pretty normal for about two weeks after giving birth.

If your symptoms last longer than a few weeks after giving birth, and get progressively worse, you may have postpartum depression, or PPD. In the beginning, postpartum depression can look a lot like the baby blues. In fact, postpartum depression and the baby blues share many symptoms, including mood swings, crying bouts, feelings of sadness, and insomnia. The difference between the two is that postpartum depression symptoms continue and often get more severe. PPD can bring on feelings of anxiety, sadness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in the baby, and even thoughts of harming the baby or yourself. These symptoms should not be ignored. Postpartum depression is often overlooked since its symptoms mimic the baby blues. It’s imperative to make and keep post pregnancy appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your health and lookout for and treat signs of postpartum depression.

There are a few ways to help cope with the baby blues. First, it’s important to create a secure attachment with your baby. This means bonding with your baby. Breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding, cuddling, and bath time are great opportunities for one-on-one time to create a special bond with your newborn. Be sure to take care of yourself. If you are well taken care of, you will be at your best to take care of your baby. Enlist your spouse, a friend, or neighbor to help out with the baby so you can get out and do something for yourself. When things get crazy (and they will), lean on others for support. Join a Mommy & Me group, or connect with friends who also have newborns. Sometimes it’s good to know you’re not alone in your journey, and that others are going through the same things and experiencing the same feelings. Finally, make time for your spouse/partner. Plan a date night to reconnect with each other, remember you are working as a team!

If your loved one is experiencing postpartum depression, the best thing you can do is to offer support. If you are experiencing PPD, consult your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms and treatment options. Pretty soon you’ll be back on the road to happy motherhood.

 





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