As women, we understand that childbirth is no easy task, it is stressful and coping with your baby in the first year is very demanding physically and psychologically, regardless if it’s your first child or third. It hardly surprising that new mothers often feel a whole range of positive and negative feelings all mixed up, following the birth of their baby.
Your health, the length of the labour, and the method of delivery all plays a part in the intensity of the enormous strain on your body over childbirth. There is also the increased tiredness due to your baby’s feeding, sleeping, and bathing schedule. If you are a working mom, I seriously respect you.
“Some mothers are very optimistic and upbeat right from the start, but others, perhaps the majority are more apprehensive, less self-assured and with a lower level of self-confidence,” says child psychologist Dr. Richard C. Woolfson.
Lack of privacy with your spouse, lack of understanding from other people and unhelpful comments also adds the stress in you which may pressure you into developing Postnatal depression or baby blues.
Now, the differences between Postnatal depression and baby blues is that baby blues is a temporary emotion that is so common that most professionals regard them as normal, it feels like mild feelings of depression and anxiety, nothing too serious. They are an almost predictable psychological reaction due to the responsibility of caring for a new baby, coupled with the radical change in lifestyle.
Postnatal depression (PND), however, is much more severe and extreme as it lasts throughout the first year rather than just a few weeks like the baby blues.
Around 80% of new mothers experience the baby blues, usually within five days following delivery and even without treatment, this feeling usually passes within a few days. But 10% of new mothers experience PND and it is way more severe as it has such a negative effect on mothers’ relationship with their baby that professional help is required.
Postnatal Depression is less frequent in women who have a lively and responsive baby, ladies who are financially secure, and ladies who can talk about their concerns. As PND can cause new mothers to experience loss of self-confidence, poor sleeping patterns, loss of appetite, diminished sex drive, tearfulness, and unpredictable anxiety attacks.
You need to know that baby blues and Postnatal Depression are not separate conditions, but instead they are simply different points of one continuum. It also affects the mother-baby relationship, a baby with a mother who suffers from long-term PND is at a much higher risk of having emotional and relationship difficulties.
Should you find the need to, use these tips to help you out:
1. Talk to your husband. – Your husband is the closest one to you other than your baby, tell him how you feel, don’t be shy even if it’s silly, communication is one of the best ways to voice out your worries. If you don’t have a partner, talk to your close friend, your mother or your doctor.
2. Talk to new mothers. – Search out for a ‘new mothers group’ or if you have a friend who is also a new mother, you’ll be reassured to find what you’re going through is not unique and it happens to many others too. Sharing worries with others can be helpful.
3. Be honest with yourself. – Do not pretend these feelings do no exist, denial won’t make your worries go away, the earlier they’re tackled, the better. If you are worried that you won’t notice the signs, tell your husband or loved ones before you give birth to your child to take notes on your behavior after giving birth.
4. Remember that these feelings usually pass in time. – As you gain more confidence in yourself, your feelings of anxiety and depression will slowly ease as time goes by, so don’t worry so much.
5. Kick guilt into touch. – Do not blame yourself that you feel this way, it is not your fault nor it’s your baby’s fault. In fact, it’s not anybody’s fault, you are a strong woman and it’s just one of those things that happen unwantedly.
6. Get professional help. – If your anxiety, depression, and worries persist for more than eight weeks, speak to a doctor. This way a professional can help guide you in your path.
Mothers and even new mothers, do not be afraid to voice out your worries to anyone, people around you care for you and when someone shares their worries with you, listen.