All new moms worry and feel uncertain. Their new job is huge and the demands are high. This can cause a sort of gloomy feeling. The “baby blues” refer to the melancholy that some moms experience after birth. This is very common and usually passes on its own relatively quickly.
The thing about the baby blues is that they are a very normal reaction to the many huge changes that happen with a new baby. Moms may feel irritable or fatigued or lonely and begin to suffer from a type of situational depression that will fade as they fall into their new role as a parent.
But, there is a more serious condition that can be mistaken for the baby blues. Post-partum depression (PPD) is a serious, deep depression that impedes bonding with the newborn and the mother’s physical and mental well-being. This is troubling when it happens but also not uncommon.
You are not alone
Too many mothers are embarrassed by their PPD symptoms feeling that the feelings somehow indicate that they are a bad mom who doesn’t love their baby. Unfortunately, this may cause them to avoid seeing a doctor. But, there are huge chemical and hormonal changes happening in a woman after giving birth that cause PPD, and it has NOTHING to do with being a bad mother.
Here are five warning signs that it is not just the baby blues…
Your mood swings quickly from happy to sad when you have the baby blues. You may feel terrible one moment for making a mistake but then get a sense of pride about your mothering skills after something goes well. The feeling of misery is much more constant when you are suffering from PPD.
Moms with the baby blues may not feel like eating, showering, or taking care of their health because they are exhausted and focused on their baby. PPD sufferers are in a state of despondency and simply no longer care about their well-being and may not have the ability to show much affection toward the infant.
Many new moms may find themselves ill-tempered and apprehensive. It’s an anxiety-inducing and stressful time. However, PPD sufferers are overwhelmed with despair, may experience panic attacks and often lose all confidence in their ability to parent their child.
PPD sufferers constantly feel hopeless, miserable, hollow, and lonely and cry often. These types of intense emotions are not the baby blues. They are a sign of severe clinical depression which needs treatment.
5Not Bonding With Baby
A huge sign that something is amiss is if mom is simply not bonding with baby. It is not a sign that the mother does not love or does not care about the baby or that she has bad intentions toward the baby. When a person is depressed, their ability to effectively bond with their newborn is impeded. It is out of the mother’s control.
Moms who can’t eat, sleep, shower or take care of their baby because they simply can’t get out of bed or are overwhelmed with misery are likely to be suffering from PPD. This is much more serious than the mere baby blues. It can become dangerous for both mother and child if left unchecked.
These two issues are not the same and, therefore, must be treated very differently. If you have the baby blues, extra rest and naps, exercise, good foods, or a bit of sunshine will likely do wonders. If nothing changes, that may be a sign of PPD. If you have PPD, you need medical attention.
Please be aware of those around you and look for signs in the mothers you know. If you see something that concerns you, let them know that they are not being judged but that you are worried about them. Help to break down the shame about the issue because there is no shame in it.
The stigma surrounding PPD is disturbing because it prevents mothers from reaching out for the help that they need. We get messages regularly about how we are supposed to feel about our kids – especially when they are first born. PPD sufferers feel like admitting negative feelings implies a lack of love.
The fact is that ignoring PPD symptoms is not good for anyone in the family and will often lead to marital issues and other family conflicts. Seeing a medical professional when/ if you feel you may have PPD, is an act of sincere love for the child. The most caring thing that a mom can do for her youngster is to stay happy and healthy as much as possible.