Suffering from a brief bout of very mild depression is common for women who have just given birth. Some women will fight through the depression and come out within a few weeks feeling better than ever before. Other women will suffer from baby blues symptoms that lead to a deeper more clinical-style depression. There is nothing wrong with going to your obstetrician to talk about your personal baby blues. Obstetricians understanding the hormonal effects and pressures of having a new baby and often work with psychologists and psychiatrists to help her feel better quickly.
Baby blues: mild depression
Baby blues are characterized by mild mood changes and a general feeling of worthlessness. Sleep deprivation, thanks to those two hour time windows between feedings, can make depression symptoms feel even worse. Pressure, both real and self-imposed, about raising a new baby, returning to work, and making ends meet financially are all contributing factors to baby blues symptoms.
Perinatal and postpartum depression
Postpartum depression is different from baby blues. When a woman suffers from postpartum depression, her feelings of depression may be deeper and more noticeable. Lack of appetite, inability to sleep, sleeping all the time, ignoring motherly duties, refusing to care for the baby and immense sadness are all symptoms of postpartum depression. The only thing difference between clinical depression and postpartum depression is the act of having a baby.
Check the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Quiz
What can family do?
Family members can watch the woman who just gave birth closely, but treatment may be needed before she feels any better. Family members can talk to the woman about her feelings to try and gauge how depressed and worthless she is feeling; it is important not to forcefully push or insist that she seek out mental care.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of women seek out treatment for some form of depression after giving birth. Being depressed does not make you a bad mom, woman, wife or person.