What is baby blues and how is it different from postpartum depression? I had a bout of the baby blues after my baby was born and I had to learn how to cope with it. Fortunately, it did not last too long or turn into postpartum depression, something many moms are having to deal with every day. Now that it has been a year since I was coping with the baby blues, I wanted to tell others about my experience and maybe offer some first-hand advice.
Postpartum Depression is a severe case of baby blues which can be dangerous and, although it mostly affects women, men can get it too. The baby blues is a much milder form of anxiety and depression that is believed to occur in some degree with most women after giving birth. I hope my story can help others understand what they are going through and realize that these feelings are normal.
The postpartum blues, maternity blues, or baby blues is a transient condition that 75-80% of mothers could experience shortly after childbirth with a wide variety of symptoms which generally involve mood lability, tearfulness, and some mild anxiety and depressive symptoms. ~Wikipedia
My personal experience with the Baby Blues was only a month long but I did learn how to cope with it at that time. Since my husband had to return to work just a few days after our baby was born, I was having to cope with being alone for most of the night- he worked from 3 pm to 3 am. It was the oddest feeling but I always dreaded the sunset during those days of dealing with the baby blues- it was not the darkness that bothered me though.
As soon as the sun began to set on the horizon, a feeling of anxiety would develop becoming almost unbearable until I felt like I would have a panic attack. I did not want my husband to worry since he had to work all of those long hours while being completely exhausted and sleep deprived. So I kept it to myself for a while and researched it on the internet, finding other new moms who experienced this exact feeling- it’s called the baby blues.
Along with this horrible anxiety, I would cry every night when the sun went down, for no reason at all. During the day I was having crazy mood swings but I figured that was a common problem when you are sleep deprived and your hormones are all over the place. I finally told my husband I was worried I would get postpartum depression because of the crazy way I was feeling.
He tried to be supportive and reassured me that I was probably dealing with the baby blues, not PPD. If the symptoms I was having did worsen or lasted for more than a couple of months, then I would probably need to be evaluated for postpartum depression. Looking back I understand now that I was just dealing with the baby blues brought on by a lack of sleep and a sudden, dramatic change in hormones.
Coping with the Baby Blues
When I was dealing with the baby blues, I found a few things to help me keep my emotions in better control. The most important way to prevent postpartum depression and ease the baby blues is by breastfeeding your baby. The hormones will help to balance your emotions a little and bond with your baby. Along with that, I felt better on days when I took the baby for walks around the block- the fresh air really helped me to cope better.
Another way I would keep the baby blues at bay was by taking several naps throughout the day so I would not be quite as exhausted. Having people around who love you and want to help out, makes a big difference too. When my family was staying with me I barely noticed the baby blues symptoms. The best thing to do if you are dealing with the baby blues is to talk with your partner since they cannot help if they do not know.