New mothers are informed by the medical community on how to give themselves the time and space to heal physically after childbirth, but are often left inadequately prepared to handle the effects on their emotional health in the postpartum period. You may be surprised to find that despite having a positive pregnancy experience, up to 80 percent of women experience the baby blues. The primary difference between the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression is the duration and timing of symptoms. Baby Blues symptoms peak 3-5 days after childbirth and usually resolve within 2 weeks postpartum.
Common symptoms of the Baby Blues include:
· Loss of appetite
· Sudden mood swings
· Excessive crying
Unlike the Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression can surface any time within 1 year of childbirth and persist longer than 2 weeks in duration. 1 in 7 mothers experience Postpartum Depression.
Symptoms may include:
· Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed
· Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason
· Feeling worried or overly anxious
· Moodiness, restlessness, or irritability
· Anger or rage
· Persistent doubt about your ability to care for your baby
· Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
· Physical aches and pains
· Changes in appetite
· Lack of sleep or oversleeping
· Difficulty concentrating
Your body accomplished an extraordinary physically and emotionally taxing event. We don’t think twice about asking for help due to physical limitations after childbirth but may feel too embarrassed or ashamed to outreach for emotional support. If you are experiencing depression, anxiety, or not feeling like you “should” after having a baby, I would like you to remind yourself that you are STILL A GREAT MOTHER and that there are resources specifically tailored to help you in the postpartum period:
Click here to locate counselors in your area who are certified in Perinatal Mental Health.
Click here to access local resources from Postpartum Support International