Baby blues after childbirth
The day that you’ve waited for so long has come and now you are a mother. Very soon your joy can be replaced with stress, insomnia and sadness. These are some of the many symptoms of baby blues. People around you can easily notice the changes, because these changes may affect every aspect of your life. But, don’t worry, baby blues are the common condition that may occur with women after childbirth. If it’s a common situation that doesn’t mean that you may ignore it. Because later this may lead to worse situation like depression or postpartum psychosis.
What are the Baby Blues?
For every woman, giving birth to a baby is like the epitome of womanhood and life in general. It is such an amazing life process that changes a woman’s life and her perception of love and joy. Truly, a baby is such a wonderful blessing and giving birth is a beautiful miracle.
But after giving birth, a woman’s body undergoes changes and adjustments and these could sometimes cause feelings of sadness. This is called baby blues, which is being experienced by around 70-80% of women all over the world after giving birth to their child. Prenatal worries, fear and hormonal changes cause baby blues after childbirth.
Even though experiencing baby blues is quite normal, you may find this astounding since the idea of having a newborn baby is phenomenal and inspiring. You might presume that all mothers who recently gave birth are in a constant state of elation but that’s not always the case for many. Majority women try to struggle with sadness and mood swings on their own and don’t talk about it.
How does it feel?
Depending on how the baby went on and how the baby behaves mothers may experience different feelings and emotions, and at different level. So, what are the feelings and thoughts can have a mother is experiencing baby blues? Here are some descriptions:
Mood swings from being happy to sad then back to happy then sad again
Feeling overwhelmed, irritable, and anxious
Not willing to take care of onerself
Crying easily and feeling down
Having trouble eating, sleeping, or making decisions
Feeling like you don’t have a special bond or attachment to your baby
Missing your old life
Feeling worried or stressed about your baby’s safety and health
Poor concentration and finding it difficult to think clearly
Feeling confused and incapable
Considering herself not being capable to be a mother
These are some of the things that a mother experiences when she is having baby blues. Some things that are listed here are not being experienced by all women and the degree of these symptoms always varies from one person to another. It is always important then to let your spouse and your doctors know if you are feeling and thinking these things so that you will be properly guided along the way. Share your thoughts and feelings about your condition with your healthcare provider. Remember, you are not alone going through this and you need to get support from others.
Baby blues vs Postpartum depression
Baby blues or temporary dips in the mood of mothers who recently gave birth are usually experienced or felt when the baby is just 2 to 3 days old. Sometimes it may start a bit later. The baby blues will lessen and eventually fade away when the baby hits 1 to 2 weeks old.
This means that baby blues usually last for just a few days. Good news, right?
Now, if a mother feels sad or depressed for longer than the abovementioned period, it is not considered baby blues anymore. Instead, it is something much more serious and it’s called postpartum depression. Even though only around 10% of women experience it, postpartum depression is real and can be very challenging for the mother, the baby, the spouse, and the entire family.
Postpartum depression has similar symptoms to baby blues, like mood swings, sadness, irritation or insomnia. However, with postpartum depression the symptoms last longer and are more severe. Only a doctor can diagnose a postpartum depression by evaluating patient’s condition with special tests.
Causes of Baby Blues
To date, the definite causes of baby blues are still not identified. Now, the common presumption is baby blues are caused by the hormonal changes or imbalances that happen to a woman’s body during pregnancy and after giving birth. These changes in the body could trigger the brain and lead a mother to feel sad and depressed temporarily.
Moreover, when a woman gives birth, it is truly life-changing. A lot will be affected including the sleeping pattern, routine, priorities, emotions, and more. Now this immense amount of pressure brought about by this huge change can also affect how a mother feels and thinks which then results to having the baby blues. A new mom needs some time before she adjusts to her new life, new habits and new routine. By that time she may have confused feelings and emotions.
What can you do?
1) Do not abuse substances like alcohol or drugs to try to eliminate or suppress your negative feelings. Instead, focus on regaining your strength naturally and on taking care of your newborn baby.
2) Sleep and rest as much as you can. You can join your baby in sleeping or napping so that both of you can gain more strength and energy.
3) Eat healthy. You are what you eat and if you eat good and healthy foods, you will also be strong and healthy. In no time, you will gain back the energy that you spent when you gave birth and you will have all the time and strength to take good care of your baby.
4) Try to do light exercises like walking or mild stretching. These, the sun, and fresh air will definitely uplift your spirit.
5) When someone is trying to help you, accept it. If you need someone to help you, ask for it. Everyone needs some help sometimes.
6) Take a deep breath and relax. Don’t think about the chores or other responsibilities. For now, just keep your focus on your baby and yourself.
7) Take time for yourself and make sure to still enjoy your life.
8) Befriend other new moms like yourself and learn from each other’s experiences.
9) Do not expect the perfection in the first weeks after giving birth. Give yourself some time to recover, to observe and understand the baby’s character and to adjust to your new “motherhood” life.