The end of pregnancy and the arrival of a new family member is anticipated to be filled with excitement and joy after the months of pregnancy. In addition to these amazing experiences and feelings, a woman’s body goes through many changes plus she might be more sensitive and emotional than usual. Some women might feel “the blues” or depressed even while pregnant. For some it is harder than expected, they have to stop working, they are not as active as before, and have to be careful with what they eat and drink, not to mention quitting smoking. It is stressful time both during and immediately after pregnancy, especially if a woman is used to having a very active and fast-paced life.
What is Postpartum Depression and the “Baby Blues”?
The “baby blues” and postpartum depression is a type of depression a woman feels after giving birth; postpartum depression can kick in the month after giving birth and usually occurs within the first 12 months after the baby arrives. Postpartum depression is not the same as “baby blues”. Postpartum depression is more severe than baby blues, and generally is longer lasting.
Signs of Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues
1Feeling Overwhelmed and Feeling Guilty
With the arrival of a new baby, parent emotions are all over the place. Laughter, tears, happiness and confusion are just some of the feelings. Parents are even sometimes afraid to hold a newborn. A baby is a big change in life, and asking yourself questions such as: am I doing this the right way, am I hurting her, am I squeezing her too much, is she hungry or just sleepy, etc. are all common occurrences. And sometimes, this can grow in feeling overwhelmed. Thoughts like: I am not capable of doing this, I am not a good mother, and I am not sure if I can do this now or will I be able to do it ever in my life start to crop up. This feeling of being overwhelmed can lead to questioning becoming a mother in the first place. Depending upon the degree and how long these thoughts continue is the difference between “baby blues” and postpartum depression.
Many new parents (and yes, Dads can get this as well) might feel guilty because they are not sure if they are doing things right. We all feel insecure with things we are new at, so this feeling is normal, and you should not be too concerned. Your mother wasn’t perfect either, and you don’t have to be perfect to raise a healthy and a happy child. Some mothers feel they are not connected enough to their baby or feel that the baby might be questioning their mothering skills. Self doubt in varying degrees depending upon whether it’s baby blues or postpartum depression is common. The severity and how long it lasts is a key sign.