Every pregnancy and birth is different and some women suffer more than others thus making them more susceptible to the baby blues. About eight out of every ten women suffer from the baby blues; it is that common. It starts around three – ten days after the birth of your baby and ends after two to three days. Common symptoms include weeping, anxiety, short – temper and sadness. It is exhausting and even more so if you are breastfeeding. It can be overwhelming after childbirth and a long nine months of carrying a child. Women may feel isolated and emotionally fragile. This is a normal part of having a baby. The good news is that these feelings should soon pass. Signs and symptoms of depression after childbirth can vary from mild to severe. Usually, the baby blues will pass and the most effective treatment is support from your partner, family and friends. Help is there but first, you must ask for it and articulate how you feel. People cannot read your mind. You are not alone many women in the past have gone through this and much more will in the future.
When the baby blues continue after two weeks you may have postnatal depression. Always seek medical advice from your local community nurse and doctor. They will have experienced other patients with this before and they know how to treat it. They will know what local resources and medicines are available to you. There is often a mother and baby group locally where new mothers share advice and experiences. It helps that other people know how you are feeling. They often share coping mechanisms and offer to help one another. Unfortunately, the postpartum depression can develop anytime during the first year after having a baby. It is often mistaken as the baby blues but the signs and symptoms are much worst and don’t pass. Many women can fear to hurt themselves or the baby. Get help immediately and help is available! You are not the first woman to feel this. Caring for a newborn infant and feeding them through the night is exhausting. Your body is healing and you are very tired. Research also shows that it can be genetic and if you have a history of depression this may put you at risk also. It will eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and yourself. Medical help is needed: medicine and/or cognitive therapy are offered.
There are many causes for the baby blues. Women suffer post birth from a decline in hormones: mainly estrogen and progesterone, which leads to depression. Hormones from the thyroid gland decrease and as a result in the women feel tired and depressed. Women speak of the absolute exhaustion and results of sleep deprivation, making it difficult to cope with even minor problems. Women worry about your ability to care for a newborn. Women struggle to lose their baby weight. Now you are a wife and a mom and feel that you’ve lost control of your life. You have the world on your shoulders. You alone are responsible for a new life that is totally dependent on you, a raw infant. You have to be fed and changed and are totally dependent on you. It can feel overwhelming.
Always seek the help of your family doctor and district nurse for support and advice. Talk to your partner, explain how you feel and articulate your problems. Make special time for your relationship. Ask for help from grandparents, siblings and friends eg, help house cleaning, making bottles, cooking meals etc. Make time for yourself: get some fresh air and exercise, watch your favorite TV show, eat properly, sleep well and take naps. Be organized and prioritize and don’t scapegoat the baby or your partner. Use your time effectively and try to manage your time as best you can. Play and bond with your baby, it will make both of you happy. Most women expect to bond with the baby immediately sometimes it takes a little longer. There is no manual for child-rearing and each child will have a different personality and likes and dislikes. You wing it and learn more about the baby’s needs and you learn new skills and strength gradually.
Make a list of your jobs and do the ones that are vital only. Ignore the housework, your best is enough. Don’t be hard on yourself or ashamed. Most women experience the baby blues but many are ashamed and don’t talk about it. There is no need to be ashamed. The more you suffer in silence the greater the isolation and burden. Use your six-week baby and mom check up, to discuss your baby’s and your health and mental health with your family doctor. It is important to mind your mental health too; it’s ok not to be ok! It may be overwhelming in the beginning. Every new mom feels that and in a week or two, you both will be in a routine that works for both of you. It gets better and very quickly, remember practice makes perfect. Soon baby will sleep through the night and the infant will get bigger and stronger every day. Your body will heal and your hormones will balance, everything helps.
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