What is Postpartum Depression?
Before we get into differentiating the two, let’s first discuss postpartum depression. What is it?
Postpartum depression is a mental illness that usually develops after giving birth. It can lead to intense feelings of loss, emptiness, or sadness. Also, it is important to take postpartum depression seriously because if left unchecked, it might impede a mother’s capacity to live normally and fruitfully after giving birth. It can also cause mothers to feel disconnected to their baby, as if the child isn’t hers. Postpartum depression can also result in self-harm, suicide, and harming others.
Is it Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?
The difficult part of answering the question, “Is it baby blues or postpartum depression?,” is that they usually share the same signs.
As stated earlier, the body’s hormones levels drop after giving birth. This sudden drop can often lead to sadness and mood swings. This phenomenon is what we know as the “baby blues.”
If you find yourself crying, anxious, irritable, or overwhelmed after giving birth then that still falls under the baby blues. What’s important to keep track here is that baby blues will only last for two weeks after childbirth at most. This means that if you experience these feelings for longer than that time, it has developed to postpartum depression.
In addition of not going away, postpartum depression feels more intense than the baby blues. These feelings can be severe that sometimes they might stop you from functioning on a daily basis. In addition, unlike the baby blues, postpartum depression can begin even before giving childbirth.
Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Here are signs and symptoms of what to look out for when it comes to postpartum depression.
- Severe mood swings
- Depressive mood
- It’s hard to bond or connect with your baby
- You find it hard to socialize with family and friends
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive appetite
- You find difficulty finding pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability
- Intense anger
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Fear that you might not be a good mother
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, or inadequacy
- You find it hard to think clearly or make decisions
- It’s hard to concentrate
- Severe anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Thoughts of self-harm
- Thoughts of harming your baby
- You keep thinking about death and suicide
- Hearing voices
- Seeing things that are not there
- Increased or irrational paranoia
Cause of Postpartum Depression
There is no exact cause for postpartum depression. However, it is believed that physical and emotional issues may have a hand in it. Physical changes like a sudden drop in hormones might lead to postpartum depression. In addition, pregnancy is a very stressful event. It can lead to a lack of sleep along with a lower level of confidence and sense of self. All these factors can contribute to a mother developing postpartum depression.