Pregnancy and giving birth is a rollercoaster of emotions from joy to anticipation to fear and anxiousness. Postpartum depression is one of those feelings that most new moms undergo. That said, we round up some important things you need to know about postpartum depression to be more prepared when the wave comes.
Baby blues and postpartum depression are not the same
While the “baby blues” usually begins two to three days after delivery and can last up to two weeks, postpartum depression is more intense and can last beyond that timeframe. The symptoms of the latter include severe mood swings, excessive crying, prolonged difficulty bonding with your baby, excessive irritability and anger, and overwhelming fatigue, among others.
The timeline for experiencing these symptoms can vary
For some moms, the symptoms of postpartum depression can manifest within the first few weeks of giving birth. Still, for some, it can begin to show during pregnancy. How long it lasts is different for different moms too, with some even lasting a year after birth.
There’s no single cause for postpartum depression
While there’s really no known particular cause for why this condition occurs, physical changes and your emotions can affect its likelihood. Know that after childbirth, a mom’s hormones (particularly estrogen and progesterone) drops drastically. The thyroid gland can also drop sharply, and when this happens, it can leave you feeling drained and sluggish. Moreover, new moms can feel increasingly overwhelmed which, when left to fester, can lead to anxieties about their ability to care for a newborn, or further contributes to their struggle for finding their lost sense of identity.
The word ‘depression’ may connote a stigma, to begin with, but just remember that experiencing this feeling as a new momma does not equate to a character flaw. It’s simply part of the process of being a mom. In case you encounter this, know that you are not alone. Consult with your doctor and find solace in who you consider to be your safe spaces.