The baby is here! You finally get to meet your son or daughter.
All those difficult things are now behind you:
- the pregnancy with all its complications,
- painful delivery and
- those post-delivery days when you were still hurting and bleeding intensively.
Now, all you need to do is be a parent. Somehow, the media presents a new mother’s postpartum weeks from a romantic point of view. The postpartum blues symptoms are often never talked about.
Yet, it doesn’t feel romantic – you feel overwhelmed, and even empty and numb.
Or you cry excessively, while the sadness becomes more and more intense.
And you can’t but wonder, what is wrong with you?
Luckily, nothing is wrong. 75-80% of the mothers experience baby blues, a phenomenon distinctive from more serious postpartum depression and other postpartum mood disorders.
You are not ill, nor unfit to be a mother, you are just a human being in a situation that requires a lot of adjustment.
Plus, your body is still recovering from all those changes that happened during previous months.
What are the Postpartum Blues Symptoms?
Baby blues has similar symptoms to those of postpartum depression, but they are less intense and last shorter.
Postpartum baby blues is not considered a disorder.
It is a phase in the life of new mothers who tend to be too sensitive and emotional at times.
The postpartum blues symptoms usually appear few days after delivery and reach to it’s peak at 7-10 days post delivery. In most cases, the symptoms start decreasing and vanishing spontaneously afterwards.
Baby blues is described by some women as an emotional roller-coaster. Mood swings are often and you go from extremely happiness to overwhelming sadness in no time. It can affect the quality of life, yet you will be able to function most of the time.
The following postpartum blues symptoms make everyday life more difficult. You should still feel well enough to take care about yourself and your baby.
Postpartum blues symptoms may include:
- Sadness and excessive crying
- Anxiety, irritability
- Mood swings
- Confusion, concentration issues
- Feeling overwhelmed, loss of control, inability to cope
- Appetite changes
You might notice that all of these symptoms can also be related to postpartum depression.
However, these symptoms are not as disabling in cases of baby blues. Plus they last for shorter periods as baby blues usually end within two weeks.
You probably won’t experience all of these symptoms, you might just have one or two of them.
What are the Postpartum Blues Causes?
The main cause of baby blues are hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone levels drop rapidly after the delivery, and influence your emotional and physical condition. Fortunately, hormone levels stabilize quickly, as should your mood swings and other symptoms.
Since main cause of the baby blues is temporary, it usually doesn’t require any therapy or medication. However, several other factors may cause baby blues, and they can be influenced and eliminated.
At this time, all those unresolved issues such as money problems, marital problems or lack of support may become too much.
You need to talk to your loved ones and make them realize that you need help and support, and that they need to be ready to take more responsibility during this period.
Your partner can be a great support at these times. However, you must be aware that he simply cannot know how you feel.
People can’t read your mind, and yes, sometimes you need to be very explicit about the things you need. So next time you need a hug or some reassuring words, just ask for them.
Stress / anxiety management:
Every stressful event now becomes a big issue, as you are more irritable and exhausted.
There are some relaxation techniques that can help, and also, if you are able to prioritize, you will see that those events are not worth stressing over.
The best way to deal with this is to sleep when the baby sleeps. Otherwise, you will be a tired, cranky mother.
First-time moms are more likely to experience postpartum blues.
Don’t fear this condition, try to rest and relax as much as you can, and enjoy time with your newborn.
The important thing is to lower your expectations – there is no such thing as an ideal mother. You will make mistakes, but as long as you employ some common sense and you love your baby, everything will be just fine.
However, if these symptoms don’t vanish after few weeks – visit the doctor.
You might be having postpartum depression which requires treatment and possibly medication.