The “Baby Blues” & Peripartum/Postpartum Depression
Have you heard of the “baby blues?” It refers to feelings of sadness or anxiety that happen soon after childbirth. Mood swings are common during and after pregnancy. Most women will experience the “baby blues” within 4-5 days after birth and usually remits within two weeks. After all, a new mom’s hormones can be all over the place. It is not easy to create a new person!
While some mood swings, and moments of worry or feeling sad are typical, it is also possible for moms to experience severe challenges. Often referred to as postpartum (after birth) aka peripartum (during pregnancy or after birth) depression, these conditions indicate a woman who is really struggling and may need help.
Symptoms of peripartum/postpartum depression
- Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed
- Crying a lot and/or for no apparent reason
- Worrying or feeling overly anxious
- Feeling moody, cranky, or restless
- Having no energy or motivation
- Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Experiencing anger or rage
- Losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy
- Suffering from physical aches and pains, including frequent headaches, stomach problems, and muscle pain
- Eating too little or too much
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Keeping away from or avoiding friends and family
- Not having any interest in the baby, not feeling connected to the baby, or feeling as if your baby is someone else’s baby
- Persistently doubting your ability to care for her baby
- Thinking about hurting yourself or the baby* (seek help immediately if you’re having these thoughts)
If you suspect that you or someone you know may be struggling, encourage them to seek help. Contact your doctor or ask a loved one to contact them for you if you are not able. Effective treatment options include:
- Therapy- individual or group therapy can assist a new mom in learning how to manage her anxiety/depression, adjust to life as a mom, and get support.
- Medication. There are various medication options that can help a woman struggling with peripartum/postpartum depression. Talk to your doctor about options,
- Both! Research shows that the combination of therapy and medication can have the best results in helping struggling moms feel better.
Motherhood is not easy, but it’s worth it! Especially when you struggle emotionally and physically. Moreover, Peripartum/postpartum depression is more common than we think. 70-80% of women will experience the “baby blues” and 10-20% will have clinical depression/anxiety. Therefore, it is very important to seek help- from your partner, your family, your healthcare providers. Do it for yourself and for your new baby. Their mom deserves to be taken care of too!
To learn more about our individual therapy services click here, or upcoming peripartum/postpartum support group click here. If you would like to know about free monthly consultation opportunities click here.
Sources: NIMH, American Pregnancy Association, womenshealth.gov