Emotions, Depression and Baby Blues

Baby blues

Woman holding baby suffering depressionThe time right after your baby’s birth is physically and emotionally challenging. 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. 

Helpful coping tips:

  • Ask your partner, family and friends for help with the baby’s needs.
  • Don’t hide your feelings. Talk about them with your partner, family and friends.
  • Don’t make any major life changes during pregnancy or right after giving birth.
  • Don’t try to do too much or to be perfect.
  • Make time to go out, visit friends or spend time alone with your partner.
  • Rest as much as you can. Sleep when the baby is sleeping.
  • Talk with other mothers or join a support group.

Postpartum depression

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. 

Mothers with postpartum depression also report:

  • Being afraid to be alone with their babies.
  • Having negative feelings toward the baby or thinking about harming the baby. Although these feelings are scary, they are almost never acted on. Still you should tell your doctor about them right away.
  • Worrying intensely about the baby or having little interest in the baby.

If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

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