Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression or Postpartum Psychosis?
After my baby was born, whenever I cried or felt sad everyone just kept telling me that I had the baby blues or that it was my hormones still out of sorts. I had insomnia; I couldn't eat; I was anxious and nervous all the time. I suffered panic attacks, I would cry all the time for no reason. Then eventually I thought I was going to lose my mind and hurt my baby. I was living in fear.
Postpartum Depression is so much more than what people think depression is. This illness takes on many different forms and each woman has different thoughts and feelings associated with their postpartum illness. When you talk to women out there on their experience with PPD some just feel a sense of not wanting to be around their baby and not take care of the child. Other women just note that they could not stop crying. Some felt sad, lonely and had mood swings. Others had thoughts of hurting themselves or their baby. We need to be aware that postpartum depression can have one or many symptoms and any one of them cannot be overlooked.
The differences between baby blues, postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.
Most say that the "baby blues" comes a few days after delivery and is a mild form of anxiety and sadness. It will go away on its own within a few weeks with no treatment necessary.
Some symptoms of the baby blues are:
sadness and crying
feeling overwhelmed or anxious
lack of energy and fatigue
What is the difference from the baby blues and postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression will not go away by itself. If your baby blues lasts longer than two weeks and you have the the following symptoms (along with the ones listed for the baby blues) you may now have postpartum depression:
Thoughts of hurting the baby
Thoughts of hurting yourself
Not having any interest in the baby
Hard time eating
Seeing things that aren't there
Having rapid mood swings
Trying to hurt yourself or your baby
Postpartum Depression only occurs in about 10% of women and it is not really talked about that often. It is hard to recognize at first because most people will tell you that the feelings you are experiencing are normal and you just have "the baby blues." If your feelings continue to get worse as time goes on and you are not feeling better, you must seek out medical attention and talk to your doctor. Postpartum depression can get worse if it is not dealt with.
Postpartum Psychosis is rarely talked about because women are ashamed of the feelings that they are experiencing. Postpartum psychosis only occurs in 1-3 of every 1000 mothers. If you think that you are experiencing postpartum psychosis, please seek out medical attention immediately. Some tragic stories of postpartum psychosis end in suicide of the mother and possibly the baby. Women were too ashamed of the overall feelings that they were experiencing and did not want to seek out the help that they needed.
There are so many places to turn to if you are experiencing any irrational thoughts or feelings, please reach out. Of the the best places to start is your doctor. You can also seek out help through Postpartum International or any other health facility in your area. Your doctor can surely guide you in the right direction for medications and therapy. This is an illness that will get better with time. You may need to have a combination of medication and therapy, but do not be ashamed to talk about the feelings that you are experiencing. Once you start talking, people will start listening. You will start feeling better!