We’ve all heard of the baby blues, but what exactly are they? Are they different from postpartum depression, and how can a woman know whether or not her postpartum emotions are normal? These are all questions that many new mamas have, which is completely understandable. After all, we all want to know what’s going on with our bodies.
Fortunately, there are some answers. That said, the differences between normal postpartum moods, baby blues, and PPD may not be incredibly noticeable at first. Therefore, if you even think you are suffering from PPD, seeking help from a healthcare provider as soon as possible is always the best thing to do.
What Are the Baby Blues?
The baby blues are completely normal and something a huge percentage of new mamas experience. Typically, the baby blues last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, during which the new mother will feel big mood swings and heightened emotions, a large amount of stress, and/or extreme disappointment.
These feelings are caused by a variety of factors including adjusting hormones, lack of sleep, and the enormous life changes that are happening all around the new mother. Luckily, the baby blues will gradually go away on their own accord as the family finds their new normal.
What is Postpartum Depression?
PPD looks and feels very much like the baby blues. It may include increased and relentless negative feelings, lethargy and lack of motivation, and even harmful thoughts. Unfortunately PPD affects up to 1 in 7 new mothers. This condition does not tend to go away on its own and can be dangerous if left untreated.
Fortunately, there are treatments available, and by finding help, affected mothers will be able to live the happy life they dreamed of.
How Can I Tell the Difference?
Length of Time
The length of time that the negative emotions last is a pretty good indicator of whether or not you’re dealing with a case of PPD. As mentioned earlier, the baby blues will almost always go away after 2 weeks. Cases that last longer are likely to be full-fledged postpartum depression and should be treated as such.
Intensity of Emotions
Because it’s good to seek out treatment as soon as possible when it comes to postpartum depression, waiting for two full weeks may not be the best solution in some cases. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the intensity of a new mama’s negative emotions. If the mother seems to resent her child, or if she is having thoughts of harming herself of others, it’s time to find help.
Other signs a mother is experiencing PPD rather than baby blues include any and/or all of the following:
No motivation to do basic tasks
Constant crying or anger
Anxiety or panic attacks
What Should Be Done about PPD?
If you think you or a loved one is suffering from PPD, it’s very important that you seek out help. The best place to begin is with a primary care physician, midwife, or OBGYN. This care provider will be able to help solve the problem with prescriptions, referrals, or a combination of both.
One of the best ways to keep negative feelings at bay and make your postpartum weeks a bit easier is by hiring a postpartum doula. If you’d like more information on how a postpartum doula can help you, please contact me today!