Postpartum Depression Or just Baby Blues by hannahgilmore


									                  Postpartum Depression? Or just “Baby Blues”?

Your baby has finally arrived and the months of anticipation are over. Now the hard part starts!
While the postpartum period can be a time of great joy, it is also a major period of adjustment as
you begin to take on the demands of motherhood and fit your newborn into your changing life.
We all have the picture in our heads of the beautiful, well rested looking mother looking lovingly at
her plump, laughing baby…but the picture is never exactly like this (unless you live inside a diaper
commercial!). Reality often looks quite different. A shower becomes a luxury, as does 4 hours of
uninterrupted sleep. It is not surprising that a woman may experiencing great emotional stress
due to lack of sleep, hormonal changes, and the feelings of guilt at not being constantly
overjoyed, or being what you perceive to be a “perfect mom”.

The difference between Baby Blues & Postpartum Depression
Up to 80% of women experience “baby blues”. Baby blues can consist of tearfulness, irritability,
sleeplessness, lack of concentration, feelings of isolation, and headache. It’s important to know
that baby blues is not the same as postpartum depression. Baby blues usually lasts only a few
days or weeks. If the duration of the symptoms become prolonged (more than 2 weeks),
become more severe, or if you begin to experience difficulty caring for yourself or your baby, have
difficulty completing tasks because of your depression, or begin having thoughts of harming
yourself or your baby, you should speak to your doctor immediately.

Postpartum Depression is Nothing to be Ashamed About
Do not be ashamed, postpartum depression can be caused by hormonal changes, changes in brain
chemistry, lifestyle, and even a family history of depression, and does not reflect your ability as a
mother. Your health care provider will be able to recommend a plan that may include counseling
and/or medication. If left untreated, postpartum depression can last for months or years, and can
effect your child’s verbal development, can negatively effect the mother-baby bond, and can
cause increased emotional and/or behavioral problems for the child.

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