The major life event of carrying a life in your body for an extended period followed by introducing them to all things is a profound, unique, and emotionally saturated situation. Feelings often associated with childbirth are happiness, excitement, and a little fear. However, that’s not always the case.
Some moms may experience serious anxiety that accompanies the feelings of anticipation. Then suddenly, the jig is up, the baby is out, and a whole new journey for mother, baby, and family begins. This remarkable adventure can bring about unpredictable emotions like depression.
Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression
It’s common for new mothers to experience mild sadness after birth that includes anxious feelings, trouble sleeping, mood swings, and crying. It can last from a few days to a few weeks, which is referred to as “baby blues,” though some mothers can experience it for far longer. This is known as postpartum depression.
The baby blues are essentially a precursor to or slightly milder depressive experience. As much as 75 percent of new mothers experience them just after delivery. Of these, about 15 percent will progress to postpartum depression. The worsening of this depression, while not common as it only occurs in one in every thousand women is postpartum psychosis.
Who’s at Risk
Women most at risk for developing any of these are those who have a familial history of depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). As well as depression during pregnancy or those who lack adequate social support or struggle with their marriage. Mixed feelings about pregnancy may also put a new mother at risk.
While symptoms can vary from case to case, here are some common symptoms and traits of feeling postpartum depression and baby blues.
Symptoms of Baby Blues:
- Feelings of anxiety
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:
- Depressive mood
- Mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Difficulty processing thoughts
When it’s Time to See a Doctor
If you have been experiencing symptoms or feelings of postpartum depression, know when it is time to seek assistance. You are not alone in your troubles, and they don’t need to persist. If you find that your feelings exceed two weeks, worsened over time, or are causing problems between everyday life and caring for your new baby, it’s time to seek a helping hand.
The struggle is not all yours. Reach out to individuals who can help you understand the situation and provide you with a helping guide to wellness.
A Note from GR8NESS
If you have been having any thoughts or feelings about suicide, please do not wait to reach out. Speak with a mental health professional, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.