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
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.