What’s the difference? I get this question a lot and there are a lot of misconceptions about this topic.
Baby Blues: Around 80 percent of new mothers experience the baby blues in the first two weeks postpartum.
The symptoms are mild in nature and include periods of tearfulness and moodiness, but your outlook overall is positive. You are still able to have moments of joy and happiness. If you have the baby blues, it should resolve on its own in the 2-3 weeks after giving birth. If you are experiencing more sadness than good times or just don't feel like yourself, don't hesitate to reach out for help, even if it is sooner than 2-3 weeks postpartum.
Postpartum Depression and other Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs): As many as 1 in 7 moms experience Postpartum Depression or another PMAD.
The symptoms can start anytime in pregnancy, in the first year postpartum, or longer if left untreated. Some of the symptoms include:
-overwhelming sadness / tearfulness
-changes in appetite
-irritability, anger, rage
-difficulty bonding with your baby
-overly protective of your baby
-troubles sleeping or sleeping too much
-anxiety | panic | fear
-doubting your ability to be a good mother
-intrusive thoughts (little movies of all the what ifs and worst case scenarios playing in your mind)
-not wanting to leave the house
-fear of being alone with your baby
-preoccupation with germs and your baby getting sick
You do not need to wait until things are unbearable to reach out for help. By getting the help you need, you will be investing in yourself and your family and child(ren). PMADs are very treatable. Treatment can look different for different people. Sometimes it’s traditional talk therapy, sometimes it’s medication, sometimes it’s increased support through a postpartum doula. Many women have gone through this or are currently going through it, so reach out for support. We are not meant to do motherhood alone.
If you are local to the Twin Cities, Analisa Jayasekera, MA, LAMFT, works with women experiencing PMADs and their partners, too. Call for a free 20 minute phone consultation today to see how she can help support you.