What Postpartum Blues and Depression Feels Like And How To Tackle It...
If you’re feeling blue postpartum, you’re not alone. Find out what the baby blues and postnatal depression look like, and what you can do to feel better.
The world can seem a little blurry when you’ve just had a baby, especially if it’s your first. Tiredness, hormones and the sometimes overwhelming feeling of taking care of a brand new, tiny little person can get the better of us.
There are some amazing resources out there to help us with our mental health postnatally. But generally speaking, there is a lot of misunderstanding around the subject. By arming yourself with the facts, you can begin to see why you or a loved one is feeling that way, and what you can do to help.
Difference between the baby blues and postnatal depression
There is a difference between baby blues and postnatal depression. The baby blues tend to happen a few days after giving birth and affects as many as 8 in 10 mums. You may feel anxious, unable to sleep, teary or irritable.
If this low mood continues for longer than a couple of weeks, you may have postnatal depression. This isn’t something to be afraid or ashamed of. Your body and your life have just undergone huge changes, and many women suffer from some kind of mental health issue as a result. At the same time, it’s important to get the support you need, to start feeling better.
Risk factors for postnatal depression
There are several risk factors for postpartum depression, and some of them are to some extent, out of our control. For instance, hormones, the physical changes pregnancy and childbirth cause, and stress are all common ones.
That doesn’t mean there is no way to deal with postnatal depression. That’s where the support and help from others come in.
How to help someone with postnatal depression
If you are feeling low, asking for help could feel daunting. But it’s the best way to work through the changes you’re experiencing in your life. If you suspect that someone close to you is suffering from postnatal depression, you can offer your help too.
Talking through worries and thoughts is one positive step forwards, as well as helping out in practical ways. That might include giving the mum some time to herself or holding the baby while she gets some rest. Or taking the lion’s share of the housework. Most of all it’s important to be understanding and patient. It may take a little time to start feeling better again.
Living with postnatal depression
Sometimes, advice from charities and other mums can be a huge help. If you’re worried about things lie postnatal depression and bonding with your baby, speaking to someone else who’s experienced it can be beneficial.
It’s also worth pointing out that there is such a thing as postnatal depression in dads. This can be for similar reasons, including hormonal changes, with symptoms including withdrawing from daily life, arguments with a partner, insomnia, irritability and substance abuse.
This often goes undiagnosed, but the right information and understanding will help you spot it early and take action.