It"s hard to believe that the birth of a baby would bring emotions other than joy, elatement, and hope.
So many positive emotions surface when seeing new life enter the world. We"re slightly prepared to know that there will be some underlying tiredness and financial obligations. We have some awareness that our daily schedule will be changing. All of these small preparations don"t seem to grasp the way that life is impacted by the arrival of a new baby.
As many as 85% of new moms will experience what has been normalized as the "Baby Blues." Women will commonly experience symptoms of tiredness, fatigue, unhappiness, worry, irritability, overwhelmed, and forgetful. These symptoms begin after the birth of a baby and may last up to three weeks postpartum. The symptoms are often a reflection of the many changes and transitions, lack of sleep, hormonal fluctuations, and newness of caring for a baby. Baby blues doesn"t necessarily need professional attention and will commonly be resolved though rest, care and support from family and friends, and time for adjusting.
Postpartum depression and anxiety affects 10-20% of moms, can begin in the last couple months of pregnancy and last 1-3 years after child birth, and causes greater distress. The symptoms become crippling and exhausting, invoking many thoughts of shame and guilt in not fulfilling the dreams and norms of being a "good mom."
The symptoms of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety include:
Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness
Loss of interest in doing favorite activities
Lethargy and fatigue
Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping
Loss of appetite
Anger, irritability, and resentment
Isolation and loneliness
Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
Thoughts of harming the baby
Women may feel a loss of control and identity as life seems to be demanding more than they are able to contribute. They may feel separate or distant from their infant with whom they were told that they would feel an instant bond and connection and a euphoria that made the birthing pains worth it. These new moms may feel like a failure for struggling to provide what they imagined should have come so easily.
Experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety with the birth of a child is not a personal failure. There are some common warning signs that can gathered to inform a mom of her predisposition to postpartum depression or anxiety, which may perhaps prepare her and normalize her experience.
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