You’ve waited 9 months to meet your little bundle of joy and you thought you’d be excited. Instead, you’re experiencing mood swings and you’re crying more than usual. Childbirth can trigger a lot of mixed emotions and can result in depression. Often referred to as the “baby blues”, postpartum depression (PPD) is something many new moms experience.
Being a new mom is stressful in every sense of the word. Not only are you now responsible for a human being, you’re also learning to function on far less sleep than you’re accustomed. Not every instance of the “baby blues” turns into PPD, but, if it does, it’s nothing to feel ashamed about. PPD is not a weakness or a character flaw. It speaks nothing about how you are as a mother.
It’s normal to experience changes in your mood after giving birth because your body is still adjusting to the enormous change. But, when these symptoms persist or begin to interfere with your ability to care for your newborn, it’s time to seek professional help. Speak with your doctor to get recommendations on a good therapist. Don’t be shy; this isn’t the first time you’re doctor has dealt with this.
Seeking professional help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. You would visit your dentist if you have a cavity, wouldn’t you? Therapy isn’t any different. It’s all about getting the help you need in order to be the best mom to your baby.
Baby Blues Symptoms:
Signs and symptoms of the baby blues, which typically only last for a few days to a week or two may include:
- Mood swings
- Decreased Concentration
- Trouble Sleeping
Postpartum Depression Symptoms
PPD may appear to be the baby blues at first, but the signs and symptoms are more intense and will persist, which can interfere with your ability to care for your baby or daily tasks. PPD symptoms may include:
- Overwhelming Fatigue
- Loss of Interest in Sex
- Loss of Appetite
- Lack of Joy or Happiness
- Feelings of Shame, Guilt or Inadequacy
- Severe Mood Swings
- Difficulty Connecting or Bonding with Your Baby
- Withdrawal from Your Baby, Family and Friends
- Thoughts of Harming Yourself or Your Baby
If this goes untreated, PPD can last for months or longer. Please understand, this is common and there is nothing to feel ashamed about. Sometimes we just need a little extra help and care during different times in our lives.
When should you reach out for help? If you’re experiencing the “baby blues” or if your symptoms worsen for more than two weeks, you should seek help and the advice of your doctor.
Remember, you need to take care of yourself, too. Your baby is depending on it.
Live Mentally Healthy,
Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill