Due to the stress a new mother encounters, most of women experience what is called "Baby Blues" after giving birth. In some circumstances, it develops to a higher level of depression called "Postpartum Depression". And in rare cases, it becomes more severe: "Postpartum Psychosis".
The "Baby Blues" are perfectly normal, but its symptoms don't last for longer than a few weeks after giving birth. The symptoms of "Baby Blues" are:
- You feel like crying all the time.
- You feel exhausted, anxious and weepy.
- You experience moodiness, sadness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, appetite change and concentration problems.
These symptoms show up a few days after giving birth and can last up to a couple of weeks. Aside from the support of your loved ones, you will need no necessary treatment or doctor consultation.
Postpartum is a more serious problem than "Baby Blues", although they both share many symptoms, including moodiness, crying, sadness, insomnia and irritability.
But in postpartum depression, the symptoms are:
- Lack of interest in your baby.
- Negative feelings towards your baby.
- Fear of hurting your baby.
- Lack of concern for yourself.
- Loss of pleasure.
- Lack of energy and motivation.
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Changes in appetite or weight.
- Changes in sleeping habits.
- Suicidal or death thoughts.
Postpartum Depression usually sets in soon after childbirth and develops over a period of several months. But for some women, it can come suddenly; the symptoms can appear after a few months of giving birth.
Postpartum depression can occur due to different factors:
Stress - New mothers are usually sleep deprived and anxious about their ability to take care of their newborns. They're often afraid of feeding their baby, holding him, giving him a bath, etc.
Hormonal Changes - After giving birth, a big drop in estrogen and progesterone hormones levels occurs, as well as thyroid level, accompanied by changes in blood pressure, immune system functioning and metabolism. All this can lead to depression.
Physical Changes - After childbirth, women may experience pain from the delivery or difficulty in losing baby weight which can leave them feeling insecure about their physical and sexual attractiveness.
Other Factors - Such as: Previous history of depression.
History of severe PMS.
Medical complications during delivery.
Lack of support from family or friends.
Postpartum depression affects the baby as well as the mother. It can create:
Behavioral Problems - Sleep problems, temper tantrums, aggression and hyperactivity
Delay in development - Walk and talk later than other children, learning difficulties and problems in school
Social Problems - Difficulty making friends or socially withdrawn
Emotional problems - Low self-esteem, more fearful, more passive or less independent
Depression - Risk of developing major depression early in life
Help in the situation of Postpartum Depression can come from different sources:
- Self-Help - Do some simple lifestyle changes such as: get plenty of rest when possible, get quality time for yourself, eat healthy, go out and exercise more.
- Help from others - Stay connected to your family and friends, talk about your feelings, join a group of new mothers.
- Professional help - Individual therapy, Hormone therapy or antidepressants (not recommended while breastfeeding).