Have you heard of the "baby blues?" and postpartum depression? have you wondered whether you had the "baby blues" after giving birth? Or was it more severe?
Well let me tell you that many women experience baby blues after giving birth: mood swings, feeling overwhelmed, sad, anxious, trouble sleeping, experiencing crying episodes; but these feelings usually last a few days to a week. Being a mother to a tiny little baby is a scary thing! so of course we are going to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and at times sad. However, if these symptoms continue longer than two weeks, become severe, and interfere with your daily routines it needs to be discussed with your doctor. Do not wait for your follow up six weeks after giving birth, call and make an appointment.
The symptoms of depression can actually start while you are pregnant and that is called Perinatal depression. The symptoms can also emerge within the first four weeks of giving birth which is Postpartum depression. You want to take note of your moods: are you crying more often than not, are you feeling hopeless, feeling worthless, excessively guilty. Also be aware: do you have a lack of motivation and energy, difficulties sleeping (not because you wake up to feed the baby), lack of appetite/eating too much, difficulties focusing, isolating yourself, having thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, or a lack of interest in interacting with your baby. If so, you are not alone! About 3-6% of women experience perinatal or postpartum depression. If you are experiencing five or more of these symptoms all you need to do is discuss it with your doctor in order to receive the support and help to improve those symptoms. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, please call 9-1-1. Emergency response will be there to help you!
Just remember, we are not perfect. Pregnancy can be stressful, you experience hormonal changes, it is overwhelming, tiring, and you will doubt your abilities as a new mother. There is no harm in asking for help, even if you do not experience the symptoms mentioned above but you are not feeling like yourself. Seek support, seek help, talk to your doctor.
For more information: www.womenshealth.gov www.nimh.nih.gov www.apa.org www.nmha.org