After having a baby growing inside of a mother for 9 months, it can be quite overwhelming giving birth. After giving birth, approximately 50% of all mothers experience a form of mild depression, often referred to as the baby blues. Feeling emotional after a birth is completely natural for the mother and usually last anywhere from hours to at most a few days.
Typical Symptoms of the blues are having heightened emotions which are triggered for no reason in particular. Mothers will feel worried and potentially anxious, although they won't be able to pinpoint the reasons why.
Causes of mild depression after birth
The majority cause of these emotions is a change in the mothers hormones after the baby is born. Naturally, the mother's body has to adjust to giving birth and therefore there are biological changes that occur for the human body to adjust. As well as the biological causes, the emotional causes increase if the mother was anxious about the birth itself, or if the baby is born with health problems or complications. All of this results in additional stress on the mother and causes an increase in the chances of the baby blues.
How to support a mother experiencing the blues
A mother experiencing the blues will be very emotional and highly strung. The most important thing following a birth (particularly long, exerting births) is plenty of rest and some quite time to recover. This is seldom achieved as the mother is bombarded straight away with fending for her newborn as well as carrying on with day to day responsibilities. If possible, partners and extended families can help by sharing the immediate burden, giving the new mother time to recuperate and adjust to her post birth feelings.
Once mother and baby have been discharged from hospital, close friends and family can help her mood by being positive and providing plenty of reassurance. By reassuring the mother that the birth went well and that the blues are normal and a temporary phase, the mother can accept the emotional stress better, overcoming the blues as best as possible. The most powerful tool from all around a mother is empathy. The sharing of empathy will begin with hospital staff (in particular the mid wifes present during the birth) and then immediate family and friends.
If the blues continue and the mothers emotions seem to deteriorate she should consult her doctor and seek medical advice.