Unexpected Feelings After Baby Arrives

When you were pregnant you probably envisioned your life with baby to be all smiles, coos and giggles. But what if you’re not happy after baby arrives? It could be the baby blues or postpartum depression. Here’s how to tell.

sad woman in bed with her newborn

Baby blues

Postpartum blues, or the "baby blues," generally start around the fourth day after baby arrives and usually naturally goes away around two weeks later. According to WebMD, more than half of new moms experience some mixed feelings – happiness combined with some depression. Sometimes all it takes to bounce out of your baby blues slump is a good long talk with a friend or your spouse, a fun outing with your newborn baby (after all being cooped up in the house all day is no fun for you or baby!) or getting a good night’s rest. Never underestimate the power of sleep -- it can really change your perspective.

If these feelings don’t subside, however, you might be experiencing postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is like a more severe case of the baby blues. It can occur months after you’ve welcomed baby, and sometimes the symptoms can peak less than five months after baby arrives. In many cases, symptoms will need to be treated by your doctor. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, please talk with your doctor about some options for getting back on the happy track:

  • Crying, feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • No interest in your usual daily activities
  • Trouble sleeping/fatigue
  • Loss of energy/restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions

Generally PPD does not include thoughts of suicide or harming your own child but rather fear or worry that you will accidentally hurt your baby. Thoughts of suicide or death or purposefully harming your baby can be present in the postpartum psychosis.

Postpartum psychosis

According to WebMD, postpartum psychosis occurs most commonly in women who have bipolar disorder or a history of the disease. The biggest warning signal in this case is having feelings of harming yourself or your child. If you feel any negative feelings like this, get help as soon as possible. Do not wait.

More on postpartum depression

Effects of postpartum depression
Risk factors and treatment options for postpartum depression
Postpartum contract: Get the help you need to fight postpartum depression

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