Crying… exhaustion… a feeling of hopelessness… If you’re feeling these symptoms as a new mom, you may be asking yourself, Is this “baby blues” or postpartum depression? How long will this go on?
As therapists specializing in PMAD (perinatal mood and anxiety disorders), we hear this question often! Below, we’ll share general observations about the difference between the two.
To get insight about your specific situation and symptoms, please schedule an assessment appointment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314.485.SAGE, and we’ll help you determine the next right steps for you.
What are the “baby blues”?
In the initial weeks after giving birth, the body undergoes major fluctuations in hormones, not to mention radical changes in sleep patterns. It takes 1–4 weeks for our bodies and brains to adjust to this new normal.
During that time, up to 80% of new moms may feel mildly or moderately sad, weepy, lonely, tired, or stressed. It can be a shock — especially compared to how we see new motherhood portrayed in the media.
But with time (typically about two weeks), these so-called “baby blues” naturally resolve on their own. There is a feeling of the dust settling, or fog lifting. Moms at four weeks may still cry periodically and feel stressed out, but they feel like they’re managing the difficulties. They can point to specific healthy people, places, and things that help them cope.
How is postpartum depression different?
Moms with postpartum depression may find themselves thinking, This is unmanageable. It shouldn’t be this hard. Nothing I do is helping. If those kinds of thoughts are present for you, especially after four weeks postpartum, it’s a sign that therapy is the right next step.
People who care about you may reassure you that it won’t always be this hard, and things will get better. But that doesn’t mean you should simply “push through” or try to wait it out.
Unlike the baby blues, postpartum depression does not go away on its own. It requires attention and treatment. As we have seen with patient after patient: there is help, you are not alone, and treatment works!
The good news...
If you’re struggling, we are here for you — whether your symptoms come from baby blues or from postpartum depression. There’s no need to wait and see whether your symptoms are “just” baby blues. You don’t have to suffer through, and you don’t have to be “sick enough” to justify getting extra support.
To get started, email email@example.com or call 314.485.SAGE. We can respond to any questions and get you scheduled for an assessment appointment, which allows us to match you with one of our expert therapists.