All veteran moms will tell you that no matter how much you look forward to the birth of your little one, the stress will get to you at some point. You may love your baby with every fiber of your being, but sleep deprivation, lack of ‘me’ time, and added responsibilities can lead to a new set of problems altogether.
Baby blues are experienced by over 80% of moms, and it makes you feel like you are on an emotional roller-coaster. However, postpartum depression or PPD also occurs to about 25% of new moms and can have devastating effects. It is easy to think that you have one while you have the other, so this article will look at the significant differences between the two so that you can get the help you need:
10 Similar: The Symptoms
Both PPD and baby blues will manifest in the same symptoms right after the birth of your baby, or even after a while. You may be experiencing some negative, overwhelming feelings of despair and sadness; almost like grief. You may also experience impatience, uncertainty, anxiety, fatigue, and the inability to enjoy quality sleep even when your baby is asleep. You may also feel like your mind is hazy, and going back to your usual tasks at work and home is harder than you thought it might be. Many moms also experience spontaneous bouts of uncontrollable weepiness or crying for no reason.
9 Different: The degree of the symptoms
Most moms will feel overwhelmed at the new transition to having a little life depending wholly on you for everything and cry. However, if you cry for the better part of the day for many days in a row, then you may be having PPD rather than the baby blues.
The main determining factor here is whether your symptoms interfere with your ability to function; take care of baby and yourself both emotionally and physical needs. If you are too lethargic to get out of bed and too apprehensive to even look at your little one, then you may be having PPD.
8 Similar: The causes
Both Postpartum depression and the baby blues are triggered by pretty much the same phenomena in your body, the most significant one being hormonal changes. The severe hormonal changes right after birth where the hormones sustaining your pregnancy suddenly drop trigger changes in your brain’s chemical composition, and cause depression-like symptoms.
Again, if you are not getting adequate support from your family; emotional reassurance, encouragement, assistance with the added work responsibilities and physical tasks, you may feel overwhelmed and start resenting them for not being there for you. Not to mention the effects of sleep deprivation and the reduced ability to take care of yourself on your psyche.
7 Different: The duration
Both Baby blues and PPD are known by experts to crop up immediately after birth, but they do not take the same time to fade away. Baby blues should dissipate after the first two or three weeks. Any longer and you should consider getting treatment for PPD. Some moms have actually battled with PPD for up to two years. However, that should not alarm you, as with a robust treatment plan, you will win the battle over PPD and regain a fully functional relationship with your child.
6 Similar: They are quite common
80% and 15% are huge indicators of just how common mood disturbances after birth are, and you should not feel alone. There are many support groups online in which you can get valuable insights on other women who have been where you are now. Having a team of moms who have survived the blues and Postpartum Depression will go a long way in boosting your self-esteem, and will also provide for some new friends to discuss the journey of motherhood with.
5 Different: Treatment
Baby blues symptoms are mild but still valid, and if you need assistance, you can see your ob-gyn about steps to take to lighten their load. A change of scene, emotional and physical support from your partner, and going out every once in a while for some fresh air may work well to reduce the negative feelings.
However, Postpartum Depression has far more severe symptoms that may require a prescription for antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds to boost your brain's chemical composition and foster recovery. It is perfectly fine to take medication to reduce the degree of negative emotions.
4 Similar: Both require your input to overcome
There are plenty of resources and ways in which you can uplift yourself and get out of the pit when you have either PPD or the baby blues. Maintaining a balanced diet to replenish your energy reserves and boost your minerals after the stress of pregnancy and childbirth is one. Be kinder to yourself too, and remember that you are doing the best you can for your family.
Speaking to your partner and friends will also reduce the impact of the crushing sadness on your psyche and general wellbeing. Ask for help, and if the symptoms become too much, feel free to see your ob-gyn, midwife, or therapist for professional assistance.
3 Different: PPD has a genetic component
If you have a history of mental health issues such as depression or serotonin imbalance in your bloodline, then you are more likely to develop the symptoms of PPD. Baby blues are triggered wholly by the drastic changes in lifestyle, hormonal changes, and new responsibilities as a parent, and will rarely have anything to do with your genetic predisposition.
2 Similar: They affect your relationship with your baby
Though to different degrees, PPD and Baby blues will affect your relationship with your baby. You may feel resentful that they are getting all the positive attention from your family and friends, and all you are expected to do is take care of them and feed them. Some moms attest to feeling utterly disinterested in their child a few days after birth, which can be pretty scary. However, always remember that this does not make you a bad mom. It makes you a mom with rapidly fluctuating hormones that need care and support.
1 Different: The percentage of women affected
As mentioned earlier, baby blues are far more common, with eight in every ten new moms experiencing it, while PPD being experienced by one in six women right after delivery. Treatment for PPD is imperative, as failure to obtain treatment can lead to chronic depression, which is far more challenging to treat and overcome.
When it comes to being a new mother, self-care is not selfish, but a vital requirement for the proper care of your baby's wellbeing. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is better to err on the side of caution and seek professional help for both you and the baby's sake.