For many women, the days after birth are filled with many of mood changes. Some women find they feel weepy without any definite reason. Some women notice a change in their appetites. A few women notice they cannot sleep, even when very tired; others may feel like sleeping much more than before. In the first weeks after birth, lots of women speak of feeling overwhelmed with the work of caring for a baby. Some women say they felt their lives would never return to a normal routine.
All of these feelings and changes are normal. They are sometimes called the baby blues. They are part of the first few days and weeks after birth for many new mothers. These feelings can be caused by rapid changes in your body after birth. The “baby blues” also come from seeing the amount of responsibility that a parent has. Even when you have thought a lot about caring for a baby, the reality of what a job that is does not really hit most parents until the first few days at home.
The baby blues may be eased by limiting what you do – giving yourself time to get used to this new job, just taking care of yourself and your baby and getting as much rest as possible. Often, that is easier to say than do. Taking care of a baby is a 24 hour a day job. One new mother said, “On a good day with my baby, I found time to brush my teeth.” That gives you some idea of how full your days will be in the first weeks.
Signs of post partum depression are different from the baby blues.
Women who have true depression can feel sad day after day, often feel overwhelmed by anxiety and may not have the energy to care for themselves or their babies. This kind of depression is a serious problem when not treated. If you notice any of those signs, call your doctor, certified nurse midwife or a public health nurse. Any of those people will be able to help you work through your feelings or put you in touch with others who have skill in working with mothers experiencing depression.