The Baby Blues
Being a mother can be as overwhelming as it can be joyful and exciting regardless of whether they’re becoming a mother for the first time or the fourth. Especially the days, right after childbirth can be emotionally sensitive; they may feel moody, weepy and irritable. Many women go through this feeling of sadness after childbirth. Maternity blues, also known as baby blues and postpartum blues, is a transient condition that 75-80% of mothers could experience but in some cases, it can lead to postpartum depression. Baby blues can be considered as the least severe form of postpartum depression. Hence, baby blues can affect many new mothers.
They may find themselves in tears without knowing the reason. The mood swings include being irritable or touchy, having the feeling of heaviness of heart, being anxious and restless, being tired but unable to sleep- these all can fall under baby blues.
Causes of Maternity Blues: The causes of maternity blues or baby blues may be linked with the natural effect of the hormonal changes of the new mother which happens due to pregnancy and childbirth. Levels of estrogen and progesterone that increased during pregnancy drop suddenly after delivery, which causes mood swings, they might feel sad, irritable, discouraged, tired, or anxious. But there is actually nothing to worry as mostly it is temporary and usually gets better without medical attention. These hormones return to their pre-pregnancy levels within a week or so, and hormones gradually leaves the body just as they are producing breast-milk.
Their appetite may change too, though it’s not just physical changes that are happening to them but also struggling with the emotional changes. As the new mother starts spending time with her baby they begin to realize the responsibility, it’s much more than being a mum. They may struggle breastfeeding and may feel uncertain about how to care for their newborn. Sometimes they feel exhausted yet may not be able to get a decent night sleep and in the day they may find visits from family and friends stressful and tiring. Their new role could sometimes make them feel trapped and fretful. However the new sense of responsibility that comes with having a baby can be overwhelming.
When the feelings of sadness or exhaustion run deeper and last longer it is caused by postpartum depression (PND). Postpartum depression can start shortly before or any time up to 12 months after birth.
Postpartum depression can affect any woman. But women who have a history of depression (with previous pregnancy) or who have a family history of depression are more likely to get it. Other things that might increase the chances of postpartum depression include serious stress or medical problems during the pregnancy or after birth, and lack of support at home.
How long the maternity blues will last?
At this moment it is actually hard to tell as it vary from women to women though there’s nothing to worry about as it is not an illness at the same time it’s temporary and usually lasts for just few days with the right amount of rest, reassurance and understanding from family and friends, they will soon start to feel better.
How can I help them to overcome the maternity blues and make them feel better?
Even though depression is very common after childbirth most people don’t realize it. It’s important for new mothers and their close ones to understand the symptoms of maternity blues and to reach out for help if needed. With support of the close ones like partner, friends, family, relatives or through consulting with the doctors if needed it can be easily overcome.
Like, encourage them that they are doing all good. Remind them that they are learning new skills and will get better with time. Try the following,
-If she wants to cry let her cry give her some time, listen to her, reassure her that baby blues are common.
-Be sensitive and respectful to her. Try to be patient and asks her if she needs any help.
-Encourage her to rest as much as possible.
A partner can play a very important role, let her know you are there for her, no matter what. Give her the space she needs to take care of herself, too.
During this period rest, nutritious food and emotional support are quite important because being exhausted, sleep deprived or feeling stressed can make the depression even worse.
To cope with baby blues, new mothers should let family and friends help her with household chores and child care. Let someone prepare a meal or watch the baby while you relax or take a nap. Talking to people close to you, or to other new mothers, can help you feel supported. If baby blues stays longer than a week or two, consult your doctor.