After nine months of carrying your baby in your womb, giving birth, and holding your new baby is the best feeling in the world. However, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. After childbirth, some mothers experience baby blues.
Why does postpartum depression happen?
After giving birth, the woman’s body experiences a significant drop in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. Then there’s the stress and sleep deprivation from taking care of the new baby. In addition to that, there are physical changes like pregnancy weight and stretch marks that affect the self-esteem of new mothers.
Other factors can lead to postpartum depression such as the history of depression, physical and emotional issues, stressful life events, financial constraints, and lack of emotional support. All of these risk factors may lead to postpartum depression, especially in new moms.
When this happens, know that you can always ask for help and learn how to cope with postpartum depression. For moms-to-be and all the non-first-time mommies out there, please know that you are doing a great job. Take care of yourself and know that there are many ways to cope with postpartum depression.
Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression, and Postpartum Psychosis
You may have heard different terms like baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis. Here’s what you need to know, all these three are different. The three mentioned have different signs and symptoms and differ in time periods, but they are somehow similar in the coping mechanism.
Baby blues may happen hours after giving birth, and this is common. There are extreme mood swings, like in one minute you’re feeling very happy, then the next minute feeling very sad. Mothers who experience baby blues cry for no reason and feel lonely, anxious, restless, or irritable.
Baby blues can last for up to two weeks and doesn’t usually require health treatment. However, joining support groups with other mommies helps to avoid postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) may occur within the first few days up to months after childbirth. It is categorized as a type of mood disorder that can occur to new moms and non-first-time mothers (women having their second, third, fourth child, and so on). The signs and symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to postpartum blues However, the symptoms last longer, and it affects the mother’s everyday activity.
When the mother’s ability to care for the baby and function in daily activities gets affected, it is best to consult with the primary health care provider (OB-GYN). Postpartum depression is a serious disease that needs a treatment plan, medication, and counseling with a mental health professional.
The worse type of mental health problem after childbirth is postpartum psychosis. This happens quickly, often within the first three months after giving birth. With this mood disorder, the new mom can experience delusions, think about hurting themselves or other people around them, lose touch with reality, auditory, and visual hallucinations. Women who experience postpartum psychosis should get immediate help because this is considered a medical emergency.
Signs & Symptoms: Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression, and Postpartum Psychosis
|Baby Blues Symptoms||Postpartum Depression (PPD) Symptoms||Postpartum Psychosis Symptoms|
|May last up to 2 weeks|
-Feelings of anxiety
-Feelings of sadness
-Crying for no reason
|May last up to a year|
-Similar symptoms to baby blues
-Inability to function well in tasks
-Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
-Unexplained emotions: Sadness, irritability, anxiety, hopelessness
-Withdrawal from partner
|A serious medical problem that may last for more than a year|
-Seeing or hearing things that are not there
-Agitation, extreme anxiety, bizarre behaviors, rapid mood swings, confusion, disorientation
-Thoughts of harming oneself or hurting others
How to Cope With Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression does not have a definite cause, but there are risk factors that can affect the development of these mood disorders after childbirth. Other moms are lucky not to experience baby blues or postpartum depression. For some who do, don’t worry, because there many ways to cope.
Bond With Your Baby
Bonding and attachment are important to the development of the baby. These include cuddling, eye contact, smiling, reading, or singing to your baby. Bonding and attachment do not only benefit the newborn but the mother as well. Study shows that mothers that are bonding with their baby release endorphins (happy hormones), making them happy.
Take Care of Yourself
If you’re a first-time mom, ask for help from family and friends when taking care of your baby. Rather than doing everything on your own (house chores, taking care of the baby, and job), take a break and take time to take care of yourself. One of the best ways to avoid postpartum depression is self-care to have intact physical and mental well-being. If you need a pamper day, you deserve one.
If you need help with housework, communicate with your husband or ask for help from your best friend. Do not deprive yourself of getting that full 8 hours of sleep (even when it’s impossible at times when the baby awakes at dawn). But you can always take a nap time when the baby naps too.
Squeeze some exercise time; even just a 30-minute walk with your baby in the stroller in the morning helps a lot. You and your baby will get Vitamin D, you release happy hormones from the walking exercise, and you get to breathe fresh air. Practicing mindfulness meditation, yoga, or praying can help you feel more energized and calmer.
Aside from self-care, take time to take care of your partner too. Go out on dates if you can get a loved one to babysit, communicate with your husband, and avoid lashing out to your partner.
Related: Knowing the Basics of Self-Care
Talk to Someone
When you do not talk to someone and bottle up your feelings, this may worsen postpartum depression (PPD). Take care of your mental health, and do not keep all your feelings to yourself. Reach out to friends, family members, or your loved ones. Join a support group with other new moms to get insights on how to take care of your mental health.
If you can’t leave the house, you can always get help from Telehealth Counseling from Kentucky Counseling Center. Sometimes all you need is someone to talk to, an emotional outlet, and a support system that can help you to be the best mom.