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Is it Postpartum Depression or Just the Baby Blues?

After the baby is born, everyone believes that life becomes perfect – with that beautiful baby the family was anxiously waiting to meet. And, while life does change, and that wonderful new baby is even more loved than anyone could have thought possible, in reality everything doesn’t just fall into place and people can have a hard time adjusting.

Most women will have some changes in their mood soon after the birth of their baby, which usually will be fairly mild. They may feel sad, alone, scared and guilty for not being the perfect mom they hoped to be. In most of these cases, these feelings will go away on their own after a few weeks postpartum.

The baby blues happen to at least half of women who give birth. Their emotions are heightened, and they may find themselves crying very easily. This period normally is at its worst between 3 to 5 days after delivery and can go on to last up to two weeks in some women. The woman may feel overwhelmed, easily agitated and have trouble sleeping. While uncomfortable and difficult for the woman to get through some days, the baby blues are considered normal and it doesn’t affect how she will care for her baby.

Postpartum depression on the other hand can become a serious concern and even interfere with how the new mom can look after her child. It can happen anytime within a few months of the birth, and needs to be diagnosed by a doctor. The symptoms go beyond those of the baby blues, with the woman feeling completely inadequate with caring for her baby, difficulty sleeping, extreme fatigue, loss of interest in pleasurable activities and an inability to concentrate. She may feel as though she is in a haze watching the world pass her by.

While the baby blues are a normal occurrence, postpartum depression needs to be recognized and treated before it grows into a bigger problem. There are treatments available that can help the new mom feel more like her old self, and enjoy the feelings of being a mom.

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