Wednesday, December 2, 2015

More than just Baby Blues

Preparing for a newborn involves an array of emotions. There are about nine months to anticipate the day that the baby will come, and then, when delivery day arrives, a new set of emotions fills the air for parents and for close family and friends. Everyone wants to know: What's his name? Does she have hair? Who does she most look like? When can I come over and hold him?

These and many other questions are expressed with great excitement from family and friends. However, within a few weeks, the phone calls and the visits may become less frequent, and the house may become more quiet, at least from outside visitors. The long nights, early mornings and diapers to change continue. It is during this time that new parents may begin to settle into the tiredness, and the pendulum of emotions.

How do I know if I am experiencing postpartum depression?

One key indicator is if the symptoms of depression are lingering for more than two or three weeks. If any of the following or similar symptoms are consistent over time, inform a friend and talk to your doctor to find help:
Of course, with a new baby comes an array of emotions and challenges. However, there are many resources available to help work through these feelings. 

How is mom handling the transition? Of course, it is exhausting and time consuming, and rewarding and exactly what you've always wanted, but occasionally the exhaustion can start to weigh heavy and can turn into a downward spiral if partners are not aware.

It is okay to have downer days. However, if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of sadness, depression or an inability to regulate emotions for more than two weeks, please call a doctor. There are resources available to help.

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
  • Having no energy or motivation
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Having trouble focusing or making decisions
  • Unable to care for yourself or your baby
  • Having memory problems
  • Feeling worthless, guilty
  • Losing interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Having headaches, aches and pains, or stomach problems that don’t go away

The Utah Maternal Mental Health Collaborative has a website with a variety of resources for women experiencing depression and anxiety, including online resources and hotlines. Click here for a list of ways to find help. 

Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health


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