You’ve just had a baby and this is supposed to be the greatest event in your life or so you’ve heard. You ask yourself, what’s wrong with me, why do I feel so sad or maybe even depressed? Babies are blessings, no question, but they also demand and require a lot. Their demands are so frequent that it’s difficult to decipher yourself from the baby. You feed the baby, change the baby, feed the baby, rock the baby, and change the baby, repeat. If it’s your first child, your life has changed in ways you didn’t or couldn’t imagine. You didn’t anticipate the changes in your body, the constant fluctuations in your emotions, the loss of time, the excessive loss of hair, and most of all the lack of sleep. It’s no wonder you’re sad, so many things about your life as you’ve known it, have changed. So if you’re wondering if it’s the baby blues or postpartum depression, keep reading.
The baby blues are common and affect 70-80% of women. Some of the symptoms are mood swings, feelings of sadness, anxiety, being overwhelmed, crying spells, trouble sleeping (even when you can), and loss of appetite. These feelings or symptoms usually last a few days or a few weeks but are not severe and usually go away on their own.
Postpartum depression (PPD) consists of the same symptoms but are more severe and often interfere with your daily functioning. PPD can also occur anytime within the first year after childbirth. Here are a few things to look for:
Feelings of disconnect and withdrawal from family and friends
Decrease in energy
Difficulty bonding with your baby
Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
If you think what you’re experiencing is postpartum depression, seek out help immediately from a trained professional. There is no shame in asking for help. Don’t suffer in silence!