The time right after your baby’s birth is physically and emotionally exhausting. Your hormones and body chemistry are a long way from normal and will be that way for a while. Add lack of sleep to the mix and it’s easy to understand why many new mothers report feeling depressed, on the verge of tears all the time and very tired. This is called baby blues. The baby blues are a well-documented, hormone-induced condition often appearing 48 to 72 hours after delivery and lasting up to two weeks. This is a temporary, short-term condition. Keep that in mind, and it may make your emotions less overwhelming. Remember, even the most together moms need support at one time or another.
The baby blues is normal. However, if the blues don’t lift after about two weeks or get worse, you may be suffering from a more serious problem called postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is characterized by frequent crying, irritability, sleep problems, restlessness, feelings of hopelessness, feeling disconnected from life and an inability to care for the baby. This is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that requires professional treatment.
If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away. He or she can refer you to a mental health professional for treatment that may include antidepressant medication, talk therapy or both.