There is often confusion about the difference between ‘baby blues’, ‘‘postnatal depression’ (postpartum depression) and depression. They are not the same at all! So, what makes them different from each other?
You’ve just had a baby. You were expecting to be basking in ‘new mom bliss’. You imagined celebrating the arrival of your little one with your friends and family. But instead of celebrating, you feel like crying. You were prepared for joy and excitement, not exhaustion, anxiety, and tears. Unfortunately, mild depression or anxiety and mood swings are common in new mothers.
So, what causes baby blues? It is triggered by the sudden change in hormones after delivery and made worse by stress, isolation, sleep deprivation, and fatigue. You might feel more tearful, overwhelmed, and emotionally fragile. Generally, this will start within the first couple of days after delivery, peak around one week, and taper off by the end of the second week postpartum.
Unlike the baby blues, postpartum depression is a more serious problem—one that you shouldn’t ignore!
In the beginning, postpartum depression can look like the normal baby blues. In fact, postpartum depression and the baby blues share many symptoms, including mood swings, crying marathons, sadness, insomnia, and irritability. However, the difference is that with postnatal depression, the symptoms are more severe (such as suicidal thoughts or an inability to care for your newborn) and they are longer lasting.
- You might find yourself withdrawing from your partner or being unable to bond well with your baby.
- You might find your anxiety out of control, preventing you from sleeping—even when your baby is asleep—or eating appropriately.
- You might find feelings of guilt or worthlessness overwhelming or begin to develop thoughts preoccupied with death or even wish you were not alive.
These are all red flags for postpartum depression.
Depression is a common and debilitating mood disorder and obviously not limited to women. Itis more than just sadness in response to life’s struggles and setbacks. Depression changes how you think, feel, and function in daily activities. It can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy life. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness can be intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.
Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom, while others feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic.
Here are some more articles if you would like to read up more on Baby Blues and Postnatal Depression:
Something that helped me to acknowledge that I had PND was a questionnaire that I completed in my doctor’s office. I would encourage you to complete the questionnaire below. May it be the first ray of hope as you battle PND.
From my heart,