Postpartum depression, commonly known as the baby blues, is a form of clinical depression that affects between 50% to 80% of all new mothers. Strangely enough even men tend to experience this, though it is not very common. It’s basically a mild and transitory moodiness that can last from a few hours to several days.
Hormones are the basic culprit in this form of depression. The levels of estrogen and progesterone drop drastically after child birth thus triggering the blues. Additionally, the emotional and physical strain of child birth as well as a general physical discomfort add fuel to the fire.
Other factors may also contribute to the onset of this form of depression. You may feel frustrated with your stay in the hospital and be anxious to get home with your newborn.
On the other hand you may feel anxiety thinking about how you will manage once you reach home with your baby. There maybe also a sense of inadequacy in terms of taking care of your newborn, especially if you are a first time mother.
Some women feel depressed over their looks and loss of freedom. All these thoughts and feelings can trigger the baby blues. The basic symptoms of the baby blues are a sense of helplessness, weepiness, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, loneliness, impatience and restlessness.
You tend to have a very low self esteem and feel totally overwhelmed. Some people experience loss of appetite and sleep and low energy levels.
However, there are ways to make the blues fade away. If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, you can always consider asking relatives or friends for help.
There is no need to feel incompetent. You are also a human being and require rest and relaxation, so it’s alright to ask someone else to feed or change the baby. Also try and get out when you get the chance so you can have some alone time.
It could be when the baby is sleeping, or when you feel you need some fresh air. Take the time to pamper yourself once in a while. Spend quality time with your spouse. If the going gets really tough, form a support group with other new mothers so you can share your feelings with each other and lean on each others shoulders.
Just taking to someone who understands you can be an uplifting experience. Always keep in mind that it is normal to feel the way you do and it is a passing phase. Soon you will be back to your normal self.