When To Get Help

You may have heard of the "baby blues" -- feeling sad and depressed shortly after you have a baby. Most cases resolve in time, but others need prompt attention.

Sad woman in bed with newborn

A multitude of factors come into play shortly after your baby is born. Your hormones drop and you may feel overwhelmed with a number of emotions, from joy and excitement to anxiety and stress. Even though you may be over the moon with your new baby and excited partner, you may find yourself weeping for no real reason or brooding about your baby's safety. You may feel emotionally unstable or unable to deal with well wishers who drop by your home.

The good news

Most cases of the baby blues resolve on their own as your hormone levels balance out and you begin to thrive in your new routine. My baby blues started even before I left the hospital -- amazingly, all four times.

Each time, shortly before discharge, I would start blubbering. When I sob, my face gets bright red, and I look quite dramatic, so there is no chance to pretend it isn't happening. I looked so pathetic after my last baby was born, the nurse offered to call the chaplain. I had to choke out that I really wasn't crying for any good reason at all -- I was totally fine, really! I'm not sure she believed me, but she did leave me alone after that.

The first week is so new and wonderful, and so overwhelming and a little scary, that it's no wonder we feel a little off-balance. But as one week turned to two, I started to feel better and was soon on my way to my normal self.

When to seek help

Sometimes, the baby blues pave the way for a more serious disorder called postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression warning signs:

  • Baby blues that don't let up two to three weeks after your baby's birth
  • History of depression
  • Emotional instability
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Excessive worry
  • A feeling that you can't take care of your baby or may harm her

This is a treatable condition, but if you or your family notice any of the warning signs, you'll want to mention it to your care provider so she can help you get the help you need.

More on postpartum moms

Effects of postpartum depression
Dads can experience postpartum depression
Sex after baby: Do's and don'ts of postpartum sex

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