What’s the difference between The Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression?
Many women experience some kind of “Baby Blues” after giving birth, and this is not so unusual! Right after giving birth, our bodies are acclimating to different hormone levels, lack of sleep, and fatigue after the event of giving birth. It’s common for women to feel some sort of let-down after birth—especially if we factor in the fact that for the past nine months, everyone’s attention has been on Mom, and now that the baby is here, the attention often shifts to the new little one. Typically speaking, this sense of The Blues lasts for a couple of weeks, give or take, and should not be confused with a true depression. If the woman has good social support from her partner, extended family, friends, and other moms, she will generally begin to feel well again on her own.
Some moms know there is something wrong when they are suffering with Postpartum Depression—they may feel that they are not connecting with their baby, they may feel very isolated, or they notice recurring thoughts like “I can’t do this,” “I’m not a good mom,” or “It would be better if I weren’t here.” Other moms may not even recognize these symptoms as being notable—they do not realize that suffering does not have to be a part of motherhood.
But the truth is that Postpartum Depression is the MOST common complication of childbirth, impacting 20% of new mothers. The medical community screens during pregnancy for gestational diabetes, for hypertension, and a host of other conditions, but doesn’t regularly screen moms for depression. Left untreated, Postpartum Depression may linger for weeks, months, or even years, and increases a mother’s risk for developing it again in subsequent pregnancies.
If you are looking for support, you may want to take the Edinburgh Screening test to see if you may be considered at risk of developing Postpartum Depression. If you score at 9 or higher, you may be at risk of Postpartum Depression, although this is NOT a diagnosis. It may be advisable to consult with a counselor or psychiatrist who specializes in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders to talk about how you’re feeling and receive the support you deserve.
If you are struggling right now, I want you to know you are not alone, you are not to blame, and with help, you will find hope again.