Having a baby can be one of the most joyful and stressful times of a woman’s life. Experiencing mixed emotions after birth is very common. Those mixed emotions can often turn into the “baby blues”.
Postpartum Blues vs Postpartum Depression
How do you know if you have Postpartum Blues or if what you are experiencing is Postpartum Depression?
Mother’s can feel overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious, or irritable. These emotional changes are often referred to as the “Baby Blues”, and normally occur around the third or fourth day after birth. Baby Blues or Postpartum Blues usually last up to a week and fade without any professional treatment.
Postpartum Depression is similar in many ways to Postpartum Blues, expect Postpartum Depression is more emotionally intense and the feelings last longer than two weeks. In addition to feeling overwhelmed, anxious,or irritable women who are experiencing Postpartum Depression can sometimes become possessive of their baby, or they may disengage from and avoid their baby.
Other signs of Postpartum Depression include: feeling as though you’ve lost your identity, a loss of control, feeling hopelessness or a sense of failure, constant anxiety or doubt, feeling withdrawn and isolated, and feeling exhausted but unable to sleep.
Please talk to your doctor or midwife if you think you may have Postpartum Depression. They will be able to connect you to helpful resources like therapy and support groups.
The following is a list of suggestions to help lift your mood and cope with the Baby Blues:
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
Accept that feeling overwhelmed and anxious is common, and it doesn’t make you a bad mom. Acknowledge how you feel, and don’t judge yourself for it. It can be helpful to remind yourself that these feelings (and this stage of life) are temporary. You won’t always feel this way.
2. Make the bed everyday.
When you’re up every two hours at night with a newborn baby, the days may feel as though they’re running together without a beginning or an end. Making the bed around the same time each morning can help you feel as though you’re officially starting your day. Use the time as a moment to focus on a few things you’re grateful for, and remember that making the bed is an act of kindness you do for yourself.
3. Get the Right Nutrition
Making sure your body is functioning well will help you feel your best. Ask your doctor to check your Iron and Vitamin D levels. Omega-3s have also been proven to help prevent and treat depression in new moms. Talk to your doctor about supplementing it into your diet.
4. Rest as much as possible.
I know this piece of advice can sound impossible to new parents. But getting some decent sleep does wonders to help boost your mood and create mental clarity.
5. Get out of the house.
If you can, go for a short walk. It does the body and mind well to get outside and exercise. If you can’t go outside at least open a few windows to allow some fresh air into your home.
6. Try to laugh.
Laughter is the best medicine, for both the body and the mind. Ask your friends and family to send you their favorite funny YouTube videos or memes. It can also be a mood boost to try and make someone else laugh. Tell your friend or partner a funny story or share a funny video with them.
7. Talk to a friend about something other than the baby.
Talking about something other than the baby, can help bring a sense of normalcy back into your day.
8. Release expectations.
Everyone has expectations about what they think motherhood will be like, and when reality doesn’t meet those expectations it can cause grief and despair. Do yourself a favor and release yourself from those expectations. Just because it’s not how you thought it would be, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad.
I hope you’ve found this list helpful. Please seek professional help if your mood is not improving or if you feel that you or your baby are in danger. If you don’t want to contact your doctor, please call the Postpartum Support International hotline at (800) 944-4773 or visit their website at http://www.postpartum.net/