You have a new beautiful baby and this should be the happiest time of your life but you’re feeling very sad and anxious. Why? While most women don’t like to talk about it, out of shame or guilt, the truth is that you’re suffering from postpartum depression or the “baby blues”. The extreme shift in hormones causes this emotional turmoil.
In most cases, the “baby blues” last about two weeks or so. If they last longer, you probably should talk with your physician. Symptoms of postpartum depression include: fatigue, insomnia, change in appetite, anger, negative thoughts/feelings, sadness, crying, headaches, stomach aches, anxiety and concentration difficulties. Many women blame these feelings on lack of sleep during the early months. Although lack of sleep does not help in any way, there is more to postpartum depression.
Many new mothers began to experience feelings of guilt because they are unable to fully enjoy this new baby. Others begin to feel paranoid that someone or something is going to harm the baby. The most important thing to remember is to be easy on yourself. You’ve just given birth, you have a baby that requires your attention 24/7 and you’re body is changing. Give yourself time to rest, eat well and venture outdoors. Remember the advice given during air travel: “Attach your own oxygen mask before attempting to assist others.” This advice is also true regarding motherhood. You can’t take care of your child if you’re not taking care of yourself.
Don’t be afraid to talk about it with your partner, family, friends and physician. If you feel as though you may want to harm yourself or your child, seek help immediately.
“(24/7) once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.”
― Jodi Picoult