Postpartum Depression Versus The Baby Blues

May 25, 2015

Postpartum Depression vs. The Baby Blues

By Stephanie Simpson, LCSW

Welcoming a new child into your home and life is a surreal and magical time for mothers. They have endured nine long months of pregnancy, often suffering uncomfortable and even painful symptoms, all for the prize of holding that precious baby in their arms. For most women, the birth of their child promises immeasurable joy. For others, however, complicated and painful emotions can often emerge.

Baby Blues” have been commonly understood by the general public to be a brief period of time following birth where the mother may find herself feeling overly fatigued, more tearful than usual and irritable. Such an experience is very common, especially when faced with the massive surge of hormones post birth, and assimilating to the overwhelming demands of being a new parent. However, when an experience such as this lasts for several weeks, it is critical to speak with a healthcare provider or mental health professional to evaluate if you might be experiencing symptoms of Postpartum Depression (PPD)

The major difference between the baby blues and post partum depression involves the duration and intensity of symptoms. Feelings of PPD may include guilt, confusion, misery, exhaustion, changes in appetite and anxiety. It is not uncommon for a new mom suffering from PPD to experience feelings of anger and resentment directed at their child.  Support from a professional is critical during this time, as PPD that goes untreated can often lead to the mother neglecting the care of herself or her child. Treatment interventions can include individual therapy, group therapy, and possibly psychotropic medications.

Perhaps the most damaging thing a friend or loved one of a mother can do is to dismiss or minimize an extended period of sadness and mistakenly label it as “baby blues.” This invalidates the experience, and can often dissuade the mother from seeking help.

If you or someone who love may be experiencing symptoms of Postpartum Depression (PDD), please contact Associates in Psychotherapy at (866) 220-8371 for a consultation.