Maybe I am hearing more and more about the “baby blues” because its February and doesn’t sadness always tend to kick you right in your face in the winter? The clouds, the rain, the cold, the snow trapping you inside - every day that beautiful and wondrous Vitamin D seems like its being stolen from you.
Now, just imagine that you’re a new mom, locked in doors because of the gross winter germs that are everywhere, as each gloomy, dreary day sucks the brightness out of your life, while you're body goes through one the most insane hormonal changes a human body can withstand. (Go ahead and google “Estrogen Dominance” or “After Birth Hormones.”)
I know, I know. - But doesn't she have that precious new being that she just gave the world to “cue” and “oooo" and “aww” at? - Sure, she might be losing some sleep, but she gets to nap with the baby and snuggle the baby and love on the baby. All these things should make her happy, no problem. Right? -
Sorry, buddy. I seriously hate to break it to you but, no. Not right.
Even if this is her first baby and she might get a chance to grab a whole 30 minutes of shut eye here and there after barely hitting REM sleep throughout the night, she's running on fumes. Even if she got the extremely beautiful birth she planned and everything went according to her needs, wants, desires, she’s still checking to see if her baby is breathing and anxiety is builds quicker as the advice from everyone around her becomes overload. Even if she has a stay at home nanny or fabulous family members who are taking care of the chores and food for her family as she sits and stares at her now tangible phenomenal powers of baby growing abilities, she’s creating a list of “needs” in her head. Crap, did I get that baby organic baby soap?! Even if she gave birth smack dab in the middle of the most beautiful Spring the world has ever seen with cartoon birds dancing around her room, making cute little baby booties and this new mother could be sad.
Sylvia Brown, author of The Post Pregnancy Handbook, put it this way to an audience member who flat out told her that she was on the verge of crying every minute -
“Eighty percent of new mothers feel exactly like you do in the two weeks after childbirth. This is known as baby blues and is due to the drop in hormones, and simply to the newness of the situation. It will go away. However, if you still feel on the verge of tears for several months after childbirth, you may be experiencing postnatal depression.The challenge is to determine whether you're just overly tired, possibly anemic, or lacking in some vitamins, or whether you are actually experiencing depression.”
Point? Take care of the “new” mama (“new” because it could be her second, third, or tenth baby. It doesn’t matter which number baby this is for mom, those hormones who are still working the their black magic.) Even if she is good at hiding her tears and fears, chances are, she’s got them streaming down her face in private, not even knowing why, and that, my friends, is scary. Try asking what you can do to help. Try listening to her and, even if she sounds a bit craycray, just let her get it out and reassure (over and over again if you must) that she is valid in her feelings. If we are talking about the proud brand of the new mama, the one who is reassuring you that everything is fine and not letting do anything, take initiative. Bring her food, bring her a card, bring her a gift card for a massage and a voucher for babysitting. Oh the possibilities. And, please (please, please, please, please) if you have an inkling that these baby blues might be holding on a bit to long and she might be showing signs of postpartum depression (PPD) look below for resources and help her find help.
Think it could be PPD? Check these out and schedule an appointment with your provider -
Cat is the founder of Birth Freely Birth Services. Her passion is empowering women through education and providing them with continuous labor support so they can have the birth they desire!