Having a baby is an exciting and unforgettable experience for new moms. However, it also brings about new challenges, like adjusting to life with a newborn, lack of sleep and getting to know this new person in your life. Before giving birth, you probably expected to feel nothing but happy and proud. However, many women develop something called the baby blues. When this happens, feelings of stress, weepiness, vulnerability and forgetfulness are extremely common. In fact, anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of women experience the baby blues.
The baby blues are fleeting and should fade by the time your baby is about two weeks old. If you just cannot get past those sad feelings, though, you may have what's called postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is an extremely common mood disorder that occurs in about 10 percent of women after giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, it is important to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional before it gets a firm foothold in your life.
But how do you know if you have the baby blues or PPD? Here are some differences that will clue you in.
Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression
Most women who have PPD don't realize it. If you have been wondering why your baby blues just won't go away, it could be because you have been struggling with PPD. But how can you tell the difference? Those with the baby blues experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Drastic mood swings from extreme happiness to sadness
- Exhaustion that keeps you from taking proper care of yourself
- Feeling overwhelmed
Unfortunately, the symptoms for postpartum depression are very similar to those above:
- Sadness and hopelessness
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Crying often
- Feelings of isolation
- Believing you're not doing a good job as a new mom
- Difficulty bonding with the baby
- Difficulty eating or sleeping
- Overwhelming despair that makes caring for the baby difficult
- Anxiety or panic attacks
Symptoms do tend to be more intense with PPD than with the baby blues, but it can still be difficult to tell the difference. The main thing to look out for is how long your symptoms have lasted. If these feelings have persisted for two weeks or more, then it's more likely you have PPD rather than just the "baby blues". If that's the case, then the next step is seeking treatment.
Knowing When to Seek Professional Help
Another difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression is how to treat them. The baby blues usually fade on their own. Eating right, getting enough sleep, relaxing, exercising and getting help from friends and family are often the only things you need to help work past these feelings. PPD, on the other hand, is an actual mood disorder, which makes it harder to deal with on your own.
The faster you get professional help for your postpartum depression, the sooner you can begin enjoying life with your new baby and your family. At Brookhaven Retreat, we can help you deal with your postpartum depression symptoms in a safe and supportive environment. We are women-only residential facility that specializes in the treatment of mental health issues. Contact us today to start your journey to recovery.