Postpartum Depression: Coping with the Baby Blues
Coping with the Baby Blues
The baby blues are an often-neglected aspect of the pregnancy process that many fail to have a conversation about before it can be too late. But to be clear, this isn’t meant to scare you. The headline is that the baby blues is a common experience, affecting approximately 70% of new mothers, although for most they only last for a couple of weeks.
What are the Baby Blues?
The lead up to having a baby can be that of pure euphoria. Especially in the weeks leading up to the birth, your brain is loaded with dopamine, getting you excited for the new life coming into the world soon. Indeed, when you’ve given birth this euphoria peaks giving off a sense of total bliss.
However, in the days following, some mothers are shocked to find that not only do they not feel this similar sense of euphoria, but they feel irritable, depressed and irrational. For mothers who are uninformed, this can be a scary experience because they have no idea what’s going on, and it feels as if they’ve switched bodies.
But what’s incredibly important to remember is that this feeling is very, very common. Far too many women suffer in silence because they feel guilty about their emotions. By putting up a wall around your emotions, others may not even know that under the surface you really need some help coping. Distressing feelings that seem to go against everything you believed before the birth can be terrible for mothers who don’t know what’s happening.
Dealing with Baby Blues
Experiencing baby blues or Postnatal Depression does NOT mean you are a bad mother. This feeling can make some women retreat into isolation from those who want to help. But there are some strategic steps to combat the baby blues. Reaching out and simply talking to loved ones about how you’re feeling is the simplest way to ease the weight of baby blues. Ask a close relative to look after the baby for a bit so that you can get some sleep or clear your head with a relaxing walk. Whatever makes you feel calm, you should try and do it every so often if you find yourself feeling down.
In more serious cases your doctor can prescribe anti-depressants, but some prefer not to take medication unless their mental state is becoming somewhat debilitating. Another more moderate solution, is to engage in counseling. Specific post-birth counselors can be of great help and act as someone to talk over the doubts and emotions you may be feeling.
Remember this - what you are going through is perfectly normal, and by reaching out to close friends and family they can help you through a common period of early motherhood that is too often neglected from the spotlight.