Having a baby should be a happy time, filling you with buckets of maternal joy and pride as you gaze on the chubby cherub in your arms. At least that is what the media tells us. Honestly, it is more likely to be a time of exhaustion, discomfort, and mood swings brought on by raging hormones â€“ and that is the best case scenario.
The baby blues are not uncommon among new moms, but there are times when those baby blues hang on and blossom into a more serious postpartum depression and worse. Keep in mind that symptoms will vary from person to person. The best rule of thumb is to talk to your health care provider about any concerns that you might have.
Baby blues normally only last a few weeks at most. You may have a few or many of the following symptoms -
- Crying spells
- Inability to concentrate
Rest as much as you can during the first month after your baby is born. Try to have a friend or family member help with meals and cleaning. You should concentrate on resting and taking care of the baby. Be open about any negative feelings you may have â€“ sometimes just talking about it helps to relieve the stress.
If the symptoms continue or increase in severity you could be dealing with postpartum depression. Before long, these feelings can interfere with your daily routine. These symptoms may last for more than a year. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and your lingering symptoms. It may be something like a vitamin B deficiency that is easily corrected.
Besides the symptoms above, you may develop any of the following â€“
- Alienation from your family
- Anger that is difficult to control
- Difficulty bonding with the baby
- Exhaustion that is not relieved by sleep
- Thoughts of suicide or thoughts of hurting the baby
This is a rare, intense form of postpartum depression. Typically it will show up within a few weeks of delivery, and is both obvious and abrupt. This condition should not be ignored.
If you have any idea that you or someone you know is showing the signs of postpartum psychosis you should talk to your health care provider immediately. This can be life threatening and the symptoms should be taken seriously.
These symptoms include:
- Attempts at suicide or infanticide
It is important to share your feelings with a family member or friend. Donâ€™t be so embarrassed about how you feel that you donâ€™t seek help if you need it. Be realistic about your recovery and what you can and cannot accomplish so that you donâ€™t get overwhelmed.
Keep in mind that actresses seem to lose 80 pounds overnight after their babies are born, but they generally have the means to hire household help and the time to work out hours a day. Keep it real and donâ€™t compare yourself to anyone else.
Disclaimer: This article is only written for informative purposes. It should not be considered medical advice. You should always talk to your health care provider about any concerns you may have.
photo credit: Emery Co Photo