Being a new mom and having a baby to look after can be overwhelming and stressful, even for the best of us. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve anticipated your baby’s arrival, or how much you love them; you might still end up feeling like your emotions are all over the place.
Postpartum depression is so common in new moms that it has been given a nickname – the baby blues. With a complete lack of time to care for yourself, as well as the sleepless nights, it’s no wonder that many new moms suffer from emotions that can take over from time to time.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression, otherwise known as ‘baby blues’ is a mental health condition that can occur to a woman after she has given birth. Postpartum depression commonly manifests within the first two or three days after birth and can last as long as two weeks. Sometimes, though, it can last longer than two weeks.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Most new moms experience the baby blues to a certain extent, but only a very small percentage of them spiral into long-lasting depression as a result. Postpartum depression will appear to be baby blues in the beginning. In fact, they share very similar symptoms. The biggest difference between the two is that the baby blues usually abate after a couple of weeks, whereas postpartum depression hangs around.
One symptom of postpartum depression is withdrawal. If you feel like you’re emotionally distancing yourself from your partner, or you have trouble bonding with your baby, you might have it. You might also feel too anxious to sleep or eat, and you might feel emotions associated with worthlessness and guilt, which can lead to more severe thoughts surrounding death. Symptoms like this are often sure signs of postpartum depression.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
While there is no one reason that we can point to as the cause of postpartum depression, there are several that might contribute. The first is hormonal changes.
When you’re postpartum, you will experience drastic changes in hormone levels, particularly estrogen. You can also experience a reduction in thyroid levels, which can lead to depression and fatigue. Another possible cause of postpartum depression is the stress you may experience from having to take care of a newborn.
The majority of the time, new moms are deprived of sleep, which can have a negative effect on normal hormone levels.
One of the most important things for a new mother to do is to create a strong attachment with their baby. This helps the baby to develop properly, both mentally and emotionally. While postpartum depression sometimes prevents this bond from occurring, the act of attachment with your baby can sometimes be the cure, too. New moms experience a rush of endorphins when they actively learn how to bond with their baby.
While the baby blues are common and expected a lot of the time, postpartum depression is much more serious. If you have any concerns about this topic, make sure to consult your healthcare professional.