You've just had your baby. Your adjusting to having a new tiny human in the house. Your learning to function on little to no sleep. Your tiny new roommate isn't able to tell you what they need or want. Your family is driving you insane by always "popping by" but not being able to help you cope. Your partner has been so wonderful but cant magically make all the problems disappear. Being a new parent is H A R D. Baby blues and postpartum depression are unfortunately very common, so if any of this applies to you, know you are not alone. Although there is no single, well understood cause, some contributing factors are sleep deprivation, feelings anxious, feeling less attractive, struggling with sense of identity, feeling at a loss of control, having a demanding baby, having other children to take care of, difficulty breastfeeding, financial strain, lack of support, etc. Here's a little insight on if what your feeling is normal, or is cause for concern.
****DISCLAIMER: IF YOU ARE FEELING CONCERNED FOR YOUR OWN WELL BEING OR THE WELL BEING OF YOUR BABY YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR MEDICAL PROVIDER/SUPPORT GROUP ASAP. THIS IS BY NO MEANS A PLACE FOR DIAGNOSIS. TALK TO YOUR PROVIDER SHOULD YOU BE LOOKING FOR TREATMENT. ************
Baby blues is the result of hormones trying to stabilize themselves leading to an emotional adjustment. It can last anywhere between a few days to a few weeks. It varies in severity, but typically mild and manageable. Symptoms include anxiety, sadness, decreased concentration, trouble falling and staying asleep, mood swings, and/or loss of appetite.
Postpartum depression is if baby blues lasts longer than 2-3 weeks or starts 1 month or more after the birth. It can last for months or even years, depending on the severity. It affects 10-20% of woman. Many woman develop PPD and are unaware of it until much later. Symptoms include loss of appetite. sadness, guilt, insomnia, anger, hopelessness, exhaustion, anxiety, physical pain, low self esteem, irritability, little to no sex drive, thoughts of self harm, thoughts of harm to your baby, severe mood swings, difficulty bonding, and/or obsessive compulsive behavior.
So now you know the most common symptoms, what can help? Talking to others who have experienced PPD, taking a break,finding help while mom rests, develop a good night routine to slow down before bed, let the emotions out (ex: crying, talking, meditating, writing, etc), talking to your medical provider, finding a local support group. By far the most important thing that can help should you be experiencing these things of emotions is support. Unwavering support allows you to work through what you are feelings, in order to better yourself, that will in the end make you a better mother.
In conclusion, these emotions are common. It happens. It is ok to feel defeated and overwhelmed. It is ok to need help and to need support. It is ok to need a break or some alone time. You can overcome anything you set your mind to. Know that the scary thoughts are just that: thoughts. You are one amazing mama, and you will get past this. Should anyone ever need someone to talk to, please know my inbox is A L W A Y S open and I am more than willing to listen to you, support you, and give you any kind of reference needed to help guide you through this time.