Having a baby is stressful, no matter how much you anticipated it or how much you adore your child. It’s no surprise that many new moms feel like they’re on an emotional roller coaster, given their lack of sleep, new responsibilities, and lack of time for themselves. Mild melancholy and mood changes are so frequent in new mothers that they have a moniker: the baby blues. However, it should not be mistaken with postpartum depression, which is a serious illness.
Baby Blues vs Postpartum depression
The infant blues last a few hours each day and should go away fourteen days after birth. Postpartum depression, on the other side, can develop four weeks to several months after childbirth and can linger over many months. Without treatment, the “Baby blues” usually go away within a few days. If your symptoms worsen or you find it increasingly difficult to complete daily tasks, you may be suffering from postpartum depression.
The following factors may increase your chances of developing postpartum depression:
- Previous adversity
- Alterations in hormone levels
- A previous diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder, or a family history of depression or bipolar disorder.
- The physical and emotional stress of childbirth and childcare increased stress at work or at home difficulty sleeping
- Feeling overburdened and unattractive
- Feeling the need to be a perfect parent but being unable to do so due to a lack of free time
But it’s not just mothers, postpartum depression can affect new fathers as well. They may feel sad or tired, overwhelmed, anxious, or have changes in their typical eating and sleeping routines, which are symptoms shared by women suffering from postpartum depression. Fathers who are inexperienced, have a history of mental health issues, have relationship problems, or are financially struggling are the most vulnerable to postpartum depression. Postpartum depression in fathers, also known as paternal postpartum depression, can have the same negative effects on partner relationships and child development as it does in mothers.
At first, postpartum depression may appear to be the normal newborn blues. In fact, many symptoms of postpartum depression and the baby blues are similar, including mood swings, crying fits, sadness, insomnia, and irritability. The difference is that the symptoms of postpartum depression are more severe (such as suicidal thoughts or an inability to care for your newborn) and last longer.
- You may feel yourself withdrawing from your partner or having difficulty bonding with your child.
- You may find that your anxiety is out of control, preventing you from sleeping (even when your baby is sleeping) or eating properly.
- You may become overwhelmed by feelings of guilt or worthlessness, or you may begin to have preoccupations with death or even wish you were not alive.
Postpartum Depression Treatment
You may not want to tell anyone that you are depressed after the birth of your child. However, treatment can help you feel like yourself again, so it’s critical to seek help as soon as possible.
If you have signs of postpartum depression or if the baby blues do not go away after two weeks, see your doctor immediately away. Do not put off your 6-week checkup. To distinguish between a short-term case of postpartum baby blues and a more severe type of depression, your doctor will usually talk with you about your feelings, thoughts, and mental health. Don’t be ashamed; postpartum depression is very common. Inform your doctor about your symptoms so that a suitable treatment plan can be devised for you.
Brexanolone (Zulresso), a novel synthetic version of the hormone allopregnanolone that has been shown to be useful in treating postpartum depression symptoms, may be prescribed by your doctor. They may also advise you to seek counselling or take antidepressants to alleviate your symptoms. Postpartum depression symptoms usually improve with appropriate treatment.
Postpartum depression can progress to persistent depression in some circumstances. It is critical to maintain treatment even if you are feeling better. Resuming treatment too soon may result in a recurrence.
Postpartum depression is neither a flaw or a weakness in one’s character. Sometimes it’s just a complication of childbirth. If you have postpartum depression, getting help right away can help you manage your symptoms and bond with your baby.