Motherhood. Isn't it supposed to be sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, everything that's wonderful… that's what it looks like on TV and that's what it seems like before you have a child. However, motherhood is not the lyrics of Lesley Gore. Motherhood can look quite different for moms.
Motherhood could be 4 AM pumping, inconsolable crying, late nights and early mornings, when was the last time I showered? Now, don't get me wrong motherhood can be beautiful and wonderful and lovely! It's a time of growing, learning, changing, and transition. However, it can also be a time where hormonally your body is changing, socially your circles are morphing and neurochemically you could be experiencing quite a roller coaster ride. One of the rides that many women have a ticket for is the one of postpartum depression.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs after giving birth. Symptoms can include feelings of hopeless or helplessness, appetite and sleep disturbances, unexplained physical complaints, sadness and tearfulness, feelings of guilt or shame, as the inability to care for yourself or your newborn. You may express it as lack of feelings toward your baby. Loss of interest, joy, or pleasure. You may say to yourself, “...this doesn't feel like me.”
Isn’t this the Baby Blues?
There is such a thing called the baby blues. It's different from postpartum depression. The baby blues affects about 70 to 80% of new moms. Symptoms can include crying, feeling overwhelmed with motherhood, impatience, irritability, fatigue, and poor concentration. It's due to extreme hormone fluctuations at the time of birth and sleep deprivation can also create these feelings. However the dominant mood of the mother is one of happiness.
Postpartum depression vs. baby blues?
The baby blues has some symptoms that mirror postpartum depression. This can be confusing if you are not aware of what you're looking for, especially if you're a new mom. You may think that the symptoms of postpartum depression are just the baby blues. However, when evaluating postpartum depression three things are considered.
The baby blue symptoms are typically mild and less intense than those of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression symptoms tend to feel overwhelming and are more severe than baby blues.
Baby blues symptoms can occur minutes after delivery and tend to peak 3 to 5 days after delivery.
Baby blues symptoms should not last more than 14 days after delivery
If unsure here's a video that can help you determine what postpartum depression may look like.
There is Help.
Women who develop postpartum depression should know that there is help! There are people that are ready and willing to help and asking for help is one of the most courageous things you can do for yourself and your family. Don't know where to start? Assemble your team.
Mental Health Counseling Services
Postpartum mental health counseling can include supportive education, psychological assessment as well as provide tools for relief. Discussions could include mom’s identity, renegotiation of roles, as well as expectations of motherhood. Also, referrals can be provided for family therapy to support the overall health of the mother, baby and family, as all are affected.
Maternal Counseling Services, PLLC is a mental health practice located in Kalamazoo Michigan. It provides mental health counseling for for new moms and mothers to be. To schedule an appointment with a mental health counselor or if you have questions about postpartum counseling or pregnancy prevention counseling and you live within Southwest Michigan visit www.maternalcounselingservices.com or schedule an appointment.