The birth of a baby is such a special time, but with it can also come a mixture of feelings, from excitement and happiness to anxiety and fear. Sometimes, though, the birth of your baby can result in feelings, you aren’t expecting to happen.
It is common for moms to experience the “baby blues.” Symptoms of the “baby blues” include:
- Mood swings
- Inability to sleep
- Poor concentration
These can last from a few days to a couple of weeks.
For some moms, they experience longer lasting symptoms called postpartum depression. It may seem like the “baby blues” initially but the difference is these symptoms last longer and are more severe. Seeking treatment can help you manage these symptoms.
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to sleep
- Irritable and angry
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Social isolation
- Withdrawal from activities you once enjoyed
- Lack of joy
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Left untreated, these symptoms could last for many months. Also, postpartum depression can start anywhere in the first couple of weeks after birth or within several months after childbirth. Some moms are hesitant to seek treatment, they don’t want to be seen as weak or feel like they aren’t a good mother. The best thing you can do is get help. You can’t care for you baby if you aren’t caring for yourself. If your symptoms last more than two weeks, you are finding it difficult to look after yourself and your baby, or you are having thoughts about harming yourself or your baby, you need to seek treatment.
While waiting for your appointment or to help yourself start feeling better you can:
- Stay active and eat healthy
- Be realistic – being a mom is hard work, don’t put pressure on yourself to do everything around the house you were doing before the baby came. If someone is offering to provide help, take it.
- Focus on the positive. Don’t let the negative thoughts weigh you down
- Schedule “me” time
- Avoid isolation – join a mom’s group, visit a community centre
A rare condition that can develop in the first two weeks after childbirth is postpartum psychosis. Get help immediately if you are experiencing:
- Have attempted to harm yourself or your baby
Please contact me if you think you are experiencing postpartum depression or psychosis.