Bringing home a new baby is a joyous moment. But it’s also one of the most life altering experiences you’ll ever have. Many new moms expect to be ‘over the moon’ about their new little one but sometimes it’s a moment that can be overshadowed by feelings of sadness and mood swings.
These sad feelings are not uncommon and it’s normal to feel this way for a little while. Both the baby blues and postpartum depression can cause feelings of overwhelm and mood swings, except postpartum depression is more severe and needs to be treated. Let’s go over the differences between the two and what you can do to help yourself work through these feelings.
What is the Baby Blues?
Most new moms will feel some level of the baby blues, or short term dips in your mood, after giving birth. In fact, it happens in up to 80% of women. Rapidly changing hormones, sleep deprivation, and the stress of taking care of a newborn is enough to make anyone feel a little overwhelmed.
The baby blues often start when your baby is just 2 or 3 days old and last for about 1 to 2 weeks. You might feel happy one minute and in tears the next. It’s impossible for a new mom to be happy all the time and sometimes you just need to put your baby down and take a deep breath. These are normal feelings and you’re not alone.
Symptoms of Baby Blues
- Crying for no apparent reason
- Mood swings
What is Postpartum Depression?
If the feelings of sadness and overwhelm seem more extreme and persistent, you may have postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can start anywhere from 4 weeks to several months after delivery and can stick around for a year or more. It can make it hard for you to take care of yourself and your baby. It’s a serious, but treatable, postpartum complication.
You may have a higher risk of postpartum depression if you have a history of anxiety or depression outside of pregnancy, if you’ve had postpartum depression during a previous pregnancy, or if there’s a family history of postpartum mood disorders.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Anger and irritability
- Feeling inadequate as a mom or not bonding with your baby
- Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby
How to treat the Baby Blues
Your mood swings with the baby blues will come and go for a brief period of time. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that these feelings will soon pass but in the meantime try some of the following things:
- Go for a walk and get fresh air
- Eat healthy
- Do your best to get some sleep when you can
- Ask for help and accept help with chores and taking care of the baby
To help support your mood and fend off the baby blues, try Pink Stork’s Postpartum Mood Support capsules. Each capsule contains essential vitamins and nutrients to support lowering stress levels and balancing your emotions.
How to treat Postpartum Depression
If your symptoms are more severe or don’t start to go away after 2 weeks, you may have more than just the baby blues. Don’t be afraid to tell someone how you’re feeling, especially if you’re having a hard time taking care of yourself or your baby. These feelings are nothing to be ashamed of. Postpartum depression can last for months and even years if left untreated, so talk to you healthcare provider right away.
Treatment for postpartum depression will be different for each person, but medications and counseling are usually the main therapies prescribed. Antidepressants and Zulresso, the first FDA approved medication specifically for postpartum depression, can help you feel better sooner.
Don’t wait to ask for help…
It can be hard and embarrassing to talk about our feelings, especially when it comes to the sad and overwhelming ones that often follow a new baby home. We’ve been told our whole life that having a baby is one of the happiest moments of our lives – and while it is very much a happy moment, that doesn’t mean it’s easy and without overwhelm and stress. Being a new mom is a challenge and many of us don’t talk about how hard it actually is. We don’t want to convey any signs of inadequacy or that we’re having negative feelings at all. We feel judged and, often times, alone.
We want you to know that it’s ok to have these feelings. Many new moms do. But don’t wait to ask for help. Make your mental health a priority. When a mom feels good and is thriving, her baby will feel good and thrive too.