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Baby Blues and Postnatal Depression

What a horrible label it is. It evokes lots of emotions:

  • Relieve – that you never had to deal with it
  • Confusion – what does it mean?
  • Fear – what will people think if I admit to it - will I loose my baby?

These are just some of the thoughts that come up and often women (and men) choose not to talk about it as it feels safer to just keep quiet – and what a lonely place that is!

Here are some facts to help you decide where on the continuum you are:

Baby Blues – is a mild, temporary condition associated with the falling hormone levels after birth.

                      Around 30 to 85 percent of all new mothers experience “baby blues”, which usually start 3 to 5 days after delivery.

                      Some mothers simply find that they burst into tears for no apparent reason; others may experience mood swings, confusion,

                      forgetfulness, headaches, negative feelings towards the baby, restlessness, irritability and nightmares.

                      Fortunately, this condition typically lasts only a few days.

Postnatal Depression – Any of the negative feelings become intensified or if they last more than two weeks – for instance, if you feel

                                            overwhelmed, hopeless, agitated, worried or cannot sleep.

 

I hope this gives you a bit more of an idea of what you are dealing with.

(taken from La Leche League Leaflet – Adjusting to Motherhood)

 

What to do to support yourself?

Becoming a parent is a steep learning curve – there are lots of things you don’t know or you didn’t expect – give yourself plenty of room and time to adjust (it doesn’t matter if it is your first, second or third or…..).

                            Do whatever feels right to you e.g.: Rest – Sleep – Go for walks – Talk – Have a cry – Get a cuddle……

 

Most importantly - if you can - share it with people you trust and if you need more support talk to your Health visitor, GP or a Counsellor. There is no reason why you should carry it all on your own, despit the fact that it sometimes feels like that is what you need to do.

If you would like more ideas and information there are plenty of websites around. We are suggesting some of those who deal specifically with breastfeeding mums:

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett - http://uppitysciencechick.com/index.html

La Leche League – http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVIss2-2008p4.html

                                 http://www.llli.org/NB/NBMarApr09p18.html

NCT - http://www.nct.org.uk/parenting/your-feelings-after-birth-and-postnatal-depression