Being a new mom can be overwhelming, especially in the first few days or even months. You are adjusting to life with a newborn, probably dealing with lack of sleep and body pain (from just giving birth and even breast pain if you’re nursing), and coping with the idea that you are now responsible for another person’s life.
And what about the wave of emotions and mood swings brought about by hormone changes? These emotions, also sometimes referred to as “baby blues” can forcefully hit new moms around four or five days after giving birth.
Do I have baby blues?
You might have baby blues if you are:
- Weepy, or cries even for no reason
- Mood Changes
- Poor Concentration
How long will this last?
You might get episodes of the baby blues for a few minutes or even hours each day, but don’t worry, the symptoms should lessen and disappear within 14 days or 2 weeks after you have given birth.
How do I deal with baby blues?
Aside from taking care of yourself, other ways you can deal with baby blues are to:
- Talk to someone you trust about what you are feeling. You can open up to your partner, your own mom, or even friends – whether they themselves are moms or not.
- Eat well. A new baby is not an excuse to eat unhealthily, plus, too many simple carbohydrates might make the mood swings more evident.
- Now is the time to take out that journal and write. Journalling or writing your thoughts and feelings could give you an outlet to just let it all out.
- Give yourself a few minutes of break each day. Don’t keep yourself confined to your room with all the diaper changes and milk. Go outside and just enjoy a few minutes of fresh air.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people for help – whether its help with your meals, getting into a routine with a new baby, diaper changes, cleaning your home, or even anything that can relieve you of any pressure you might be feeling as a new mom.
- Give yourself time – it is quite understandable for moms to want to be perfect, but perfection cannot be attained in just a few days. Give yourself time to heal from the birth and adjust to your new job as a mom.
Nothing’s working for me so far, what can I do?
If you think nothing’s working for you and the symptoms are stronger than ever, then perhaps you’re dealing with postpartum depression or PPD.
Baby blues is a less severe form of postpartum depression. Their symptoms are similar, but whereas baby blues’ symptoms can be relieved by a bit of comfort and time, postpartum depression’s symptoms, on the other hand, can be a bit more unmanageable and cannot be cured as easily. For example, baby blues can make you feel irritable, but it goes away after a little “me” time. On the other hand, with postpartum depression, irritability can easily lead to anger and even thoughts of harming yourself or even your baby – and it doesn’t go away as easily.
Another consideration is that baby blues can last a few weeks after you have given birth, while postpartum depression can last a few weeks or even months.
If you think you have postpartum depression and the aforementioned tips do not seem to work, here are a few things you can do:
1. Visit your OB or family doctor and seek help. Don’t be afraid to admit to yourself and to others that you need help in handling and overcoming this phase in your life. A healthcare professional can fully assess your situation and refer you to a course of treatment as necessary.
2. Don’t isolate yourself. If you wish to talk to other mommies who have gone through PPD or join mommy support and counseling groups, then here are a few options:
a. Better Steps Psychology: Located in Pasig, Better Steps is a team of psychologists experienced in counseling and psychotherapy for families and students. Call them at (02) 216 1586 or visit their website at http://bettersteps.org/
b. Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM): CEFAM has offices in both Quezon City and Makati, and offers counseling, talks, and workshops on marriage and parenting. Call them at (02) 426 4285 or (02) 894 5932, or visit their website at http://www.cefam.ph/mainpage.aspx
c. Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF): CCF offers counseling services for single parents and couples. Call them at (02) 635 3410 or visit their website at http://www.ccf.org.ph/
d. Love Institute: Love Institute offers talks, programs, and counseling on marriage, parenting, and relationships. Call them at (02) 436-4143 or visit their website at https://theloveinstitute.com/
e. Anxiety and Depression Support Philippines (ADSP): ADSP is a mental health community support group. Visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ADSPpage/
Always remember, and quoting Dumbledore – help will always be given to those who ask for it. So don’t be afraid to reach out if you’re feeling anxious, helpless, or dejected. At the same time, if you think your loved one is dealing with postpartum depression, provide them with the necessary understanding and support, and seek help for them.