For many new mothers, a striking change of mood in the weeks following a birth can be a bit unnerving, especially after months of hectic schedules and major life changes. Indeed, a sense of sadness, loss of energy and bouts of crying can be an unwelcome series of events when a mother is already trying to adjust to a new life with a baby. However, a sudden change in mood is a regular part of having a child, with up to 80 percent of new mothers experiencing a period of “baby blues.”
When Sadness Becomes a Concern
It is when this sense of sadness and lethargy does not go away in a reasonable amount of time that a case of “baby blues” may start to become what is known as postpartum depression. While everyone goes through periods of sadness every once in a while, particularly when a person has experienced a big change in life, prolonged periods in this state may be a cause of concern and a sign that a person should consult their physician. Here are just a few differences between a brief case of the baby blues and postpartum depression.
When Feelings of Tiredness and Sadness Don’t Go Away
The period following the birth of a child is a time of great happiness for a new mother. However, it is also a time when the body must naturally readjust itself to a new form of care for a baby. As the body naturally adapts to feeding and taking care of a newborn, the brain’s response can often be to go into a state of clinical depression.
Knowing the Signs of Postpartum Depression
When this state of depression persists for longer than two weeks, it may be a sign that additional help is needed for a new mother to get back to a normal emotional level. While the following is by no means a complete list, consulting a physician should be a priority for mothers who experience any of the following symptoms for over two straight weeks:
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Feelings of hopelessness or anxiety
- Loss of interest in passions
- Inability to sleep or extensive oversleeping
What Can Be Done to Combat Postpartum Depression
Fortunately, physicians can do much to aid new mothers in overcoming a case of postpartum depression. Discussing options for treatments with a physician such as counseling or a program of anti-depressant medication can do much to make healing manageable. (It is especially important to discuss a plan for anti-depressant medication with a doctor, as anti-depressants can affect what chemicals a child receives through breastfeeding.) For these reasons, knowing how a case of the baby blues can tip over into a spell of postpartum depression can significantly help new mothers to be prepared after the birth of a child. After all, a new birth is a time for celebration and happiness and no one wants to spoil a bonding period with their child with the added difficulties of low mood and energy. Fortunately, there is much hope for mothers who want help for postpartum depression and a wealth of professionals and natural remedies to assist them.