Having a baby can be an exciting time filled with joy and anticipation. As a new mother, you may spend months preparing the nursery, attending childbirth classes, and reading parenting books. After the baby is born, a woman experiences changes to her body, her hormones, and her emotions.
As a new mom, you may be surprised to realize that you might even feel sadness or anxiety. This can be known as post-partum depression or “the baby blues”. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, post-partum depression can be defined as “a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth.”
Symptoms that characterized post-partum depression can include feeling sad or overwhelmed, crying, feeling anxious, being moody or irritable, getting too much or too little sleep, difficulty focusing, mood swings, eating too much or too little, difficulty sleeping, feeling angry, losing interest in hobbies or activities, withdrawal, difficulty forming an emotional attachment with the baby, and having thoughts of self-harm or harming your baby.
If you are experiencing post-partum depression, do not be discouraged. You are not alone. 1 in 7 women will experience post-partum depression. This can be a normal part of the post-partum experience and may improve in a few weeks. If you do not notice improvement after two weeks or are not able to care for yourself or your baby, seek medical attention from your doctor.
If you are experiencing thoughts of hurting yourself, your baby, or others, it is important that you seek help immediately. You can ask for help from a close friend or family member, doctor, counselor, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
“Is there anything that I can do to help myself when I am struggling with post-partum depression?” The answer is yes! Seek out a support group in your community by contacting your medical provider or a local pregnancy center.
Although it can be difficult to sleep when you have a new baby, try to rest as much as possible. Don’t hesitate to ask your friends and family for help in caring for your newborn and with daily tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and laundry. If your doctor approves, take a walk or do another low impact exercise like yoga. Get out of the house for a breath of fresh air. Also, set realistic expectations of yourself, it will take some time to adjust to your new “normal”, but there is hope!
Please call us today to talk to someone if you are experiencing post-partum depression.