Nearly everyone has heard of the baby blues. Your baby is born and your hormones are treating your brain like a high school chemistry lab. Nothing serious going on but you never know what kind of reaction you are going to get. In her book Beyond the Blues Shoshana Bennett tells us that “Baby Blues” aren’t even considered a disorder. Feeling sad, crying easily, feeling anxious, wanting someone to take care of you, and not being able to think a clear concrete thought can be expected to last as long as a month. My Midwife friend put it this way: “First all my blood was going to my uterus, now it’s going to my boobs.” So how do you know when you need to see a professional?
We know babies are affected by their mother’s moods and we also know that babies are resilient so a few weeks with a depressed Mom won’t cause any long lasting problems. If you are feeling that the “blues” are going on too long or even if you haven’t been feeling that way for too long but you are worried or just don’t know, ask your pediatrician, gynecologist, or family physician for some advice.
If you were depressed during you pregnancy or have a family history of postpartum depression, or other forms of depression you will want to be more pro-active. It’s not only your hormones that are changing. We know that your environment also influences how you feel and behave. Some babies are easy, and some are not, some moms are able to sleep when the baby sleeps and some cannot. A baby adds one more to the family and changes how everyone in the family behaves towards each other, birth experiences are not always what we were hoping for. These things too will affect the way you feel about yourself and towards your baby.
Remember, you are not alone, it isn’t your fault, and you will get better. There is a term among counselors, “a good enough parent.” It means you don’t have to be perfect and you can ask for help. A “good enough parent” will raise a good child and you are about to embark on an exciting journey whether this is your first baby or every child after that.